Tuesday, July 14, 2009

BLS (Buy Less Stuff)

I was just reading a blog I follow - Money and Happiness. She talked about how we need to buy less stuff. We've been living by that motto - that is until I found out I had my own classroom this year. I have felt justified in spending 100's of dollars on "stuff" for my classroom. I don't want students walking into a room with blank walls and no color! I have been somewhat frugal about things. I started my search at thrift stores and found some great deals - like a fabulous chair for my reading area for only $15.00! However, some things can only be found at the Teacher Aid Store which costs an arm and a leg! I'm sure if I had been more patient I would have been able to appeal to all the friends I teach with to share the things they've been collecting over the years but no longer use. But, as most of my friends and family know, patience is not one of MY virtues. So, was I justified in that spending? I'm not sure. I will save the receipts for taxes. My students will have a warm and welcoming room on the first day of school which research shows will improve their attitude toward learning - I'm molding the leaders of tomorrow right? This is important stuff! :-)
I'm slowing down now, balancing the check book brought me back to reality. I'm going to the websites that the Money and Happiness blogger suggested - like freecycle. (Have any of you ever used that?)
For everyday family expenses, I've been a little off track too. It's summer - it's difficult to not hemorrhage money. Trying to find activities that keep the kids happy etc. I know - Laura Ingalls managed to have fun on the prairie with out money - but this aint the prairie! We play cards, take bike rides, go to the library... we find inexpensive things to do but it isn't easy. I suppose it will have to get easier if we run out of money! :-( We make the girls pay for their own "extras" - like the Harry Potter t-shirts they HAD to have to wear to the midnight movie tonight. Oh yea, the midnight movie. Am I completely insane? I don't stay up past 9:00 most nights and tonight I will be waiting in line at 9:00 for a movie that starts at midnight!!
But, once again, I digress. The Money and Happiness blogger said that changing a brain to be frugal is like working out. I have to work that muscle -"Is this a need or a want?" until it becomes fit and a natural part of who I am. I'm trying - but again, my friends and family know that I suck at working out!
Sooooo, I guess it's good I'll be working full time to help pay for that classroom! (Does anyone else see the irony?)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Phew! Summer if flying by....

I say it every year. I know it's going to happen. Yet still, every year, I find myself in shock over the fact that summer is already half over! It certainly hasn't been slow or boring this year. I think I've only slept in one day. (That was until 8:30 - that's sleeping in for me!)

Bailie has had lots of tennis - she starts practicing with the high school team today - she's nervous and excited. She's been babysitting a lot too. She has her 4-H camp counselor job starting a week from Sunday and there have been several meetings and orientations to attend.

Kate's summer has been less eventful, but no less fun. She went to Ashland with my parents for over a week and I've been taking her to RockSport to feed her new rock climbing passion. We've been slowly looking for school uniform clothes - she's starting to see how much easier these uniforms will make her mornings. I can't believe my baby is going to be in middle school!

The girls and Dan are taking a trip to visit his mom this weekend. I'm taking that opportunity to try and get the bulk of my classroom finished so I can focus on planning for the rest of the summer. I leave for Chicago on the 22nd to work for Corporate Kids Events for 5 days. Then we go to the cabin for a week's vacation. Dan has big plans for that week - mine are to sit on the deck and watch the trees grow - we'll have to find a happy medium I guess. I'm sure we'll get hiking and kayaking in. Dan has horseback riding, fishing, swimming and many other things on his list.

The days flying by this summer are reminding me yet again about stopping and taking a breath. I start to feel so overwhelmed with all there is to do and how fast time is going . If I just stop and
breath - feel the moment - all that goes away. Yesterday I took the time to just watch B and K have a conversation. I realized how rarely I just stop and see how tall they've gotten, how mature they are now, how kind they can be to each other and the genuine love they feel, how beautiful they are inside and out. Of course then they saw me staring and started giving me a bad time so that was the end of that! :-)