Monday, December 27, 2010

Sending the Holiday Season of 2010 into the history books

I'm hoping everyone had a fantastic Christmas!  I know I did!  I had such a lovely holiday, and I'm thankful every day.

I got the job I applied for!  I am the new chef for an assisted living facility.  I will only be working weekends, which is great so I don't have to worry about a babysitter.  It only pays $10 an hour, but its $10 an hour more than I had before!  I have big plans for the budget of 2011 and I'm looking forward to saving money and getting life back to 'normal' around here.  It will be nice not to stress about money.

My kids had a great Christmas!  We had to cut way back this year due to money restraints.  I thought the kids would notice and say something, and they surprised me.  They were thrilled with the things they did get.  We opted for quality over quantity this year.  My mother in law helped me get them a Wii and they were so excited, they havn't stopped playing with it.  I had earned about $80 with Amazon this year through Swagbucks,   and was able to get a lot of shopping done that way too.  I had saved a little bit of money from my husband's paycheck, and so I was able to get what I needed.

Our first snow storm of the season ended up being a blizzard, so we are snowed in currently.  We need to do some shoveling, but otherwise, its been a great weekend.  I've been stuffed for 2 days, and eating a ton of leftovers from my Christmas breakfast feast.   I made a delicious broccolli Bacon Quiche that I'll be sharing the recipe for, as well as a French Toast casserole that everyone loved as well.   I made TOO much food and have been eating it for days! LOL  I was so full on Christmas, I didn't eat for the rest of the day.

And so, I'm sending 2010 into the history books, and looking back fondly this year as the year I cut back.  I was happy to see that my kids didn't need all that extra junk and they were happy.  I'm thankful I have them to hold, and cuddle and they haven't stopped sneaking me hugs and kisses since Christmas day.  I have great kids and I'm thankful to God.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve EVE!

Is everyone ready? Christmas is only 2 days away!  I'm SO NOT ready!  I have so much to do, plus I'm still waiting for some boxes from Amazon and Oriental Trading company to arrive.  I wish I didn't cut it so close, but I didn't have much of a choice.

I think above all, things are going to go better than I thought this Christmas.  I did have some money to spend on my own, I had swagbucks to help me out, but I also got help from my MIL and my Mom.  My kids are getting what they want, and we did it almost totally credit free.  I got the kids a Wii, they have wanted it forever, and my MIL bought it for me at Target and put it on her Target charge. SO I do have to pay that back.  But everything else I got was either from Amazon with AGCs or  with cash I had saved up.

Now I just have to get my house cleaned,  get organized, finish wrapping, bake my ham, make my dishes for Saturday morning, and get ready for tomorrow night.  ACK!  So much to do, so little time left to do it! LOL  Guess I getter get going!

Have a great day!

Merry Christmas from the Stuyniskis!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I got a job interview

And so an era ends. The one where I thought I was done with working and I would be staying home and raising my children and taking care of my house.   Its a tad dissapointing, but its reality.

The economy stinks.  Oil and gas prices are up.  So are Grocery prices.  So when you get to a point when no amount of coupon clipping, re purposing,  and reducing isn't helping, its time to do something.

I'm going to interview today for a chef's position at an assisted living facility.     The position is only part time, and its only weekends.  But its something. And I don't have to do it forever, I only have to do it for the next 6 months or so, or unless I find something better.  The guy on the phone assure me there is always room for advancement, so its possible I might move forward and get a full time position, IF I want to.

Have a great day everyone! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Menu

We used to have a huge family dinner back in the day, but as things evolved,  it turned into a very informal breakfast/brunch type deal. And much cheaper than serving a formal dinner with all the fixin's.

This started when I was still working.  I was supposed to cover the 11-7:30 shift, but I worked it out with my coworker so we could split the day. She would work 11-3, and I came in to cover the rest of it.  This way she would leave to have dinner with her family, and I was able to enjoy most of the day with mine.  This way, I didn't have to worry about a big meal, and all the clean up that I know no one else will do. 

SO for our breakfast, we'll have a french toast casserole, a broccoli bacon quiche, roasted potatoes,  fruit, muffins, cinnamon rolls, coffee and orange juice.   Later on in the day I put out some cheese and crackers to munch on, and my husband like shrimp cocktail.    Last year I put out a meat platter I picked up cheap, and some rolls for sandwiches, but no one even touched it.  Not gonna do that this year.  If I do, I'll just make my own. 

I'd love to hear  what others do for this day.  How do you celebrate with your family while keeping it on the cheap?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Counting my blessings this Christmas.

On  Tuesday, Dec 7, around 4:30 pm our small town of about 12,000 people was shattered  by the most tragic accident.  4 young lives were lost, and a 5th was fighting for his at Yale Hospital.   Lost were the driver John Clapper 16, his girl friend Sativa Cornell 16, Dillon Clifford also 16, and Steven Szklarz who was only 15.  All these kids were students at my alma mater high school.   The manner in which they died was especially horrific, they died when they car they were riding in  hit a tree head on at a high rate of speed.  The 5th passenger Joel Gallup is in critical condition and looks forward to mulitple repairing surgeries, and is still in a medical induced coma.  He does not yet know the fate of his 4 friends.

As a member of the community, I just felt sorry, remorse, compassion.   No, I didn't know the kids. I knew of them, I knew that Dillon was on the football team.  I knew John was the son of guy my husband knew well.  As a mother, my heart is broken.  Broken for the parents that have lost their beloved children so close to the holiday.   Dillon was buried on his 17th birthday.  He was the only child to his parents. 

It was an accident.  It was an accident caused by poor choices, but it was still an accident.  John was driving, he didn't not have a license, he only had his permit. He was not legal to drive in the state of CT without a legal licensed adult in the car.  There was not one present.  Sativa was the only licensed  driver in the car, however she only got her license in Oct.  According to CT state law, she was not supposed to have anyone else in the car with her, except for her parents, or siblings.   No other peer member should have been in the vehicle.  At some point, she handed the keys over to John and gave him permission to drive the car. The car belonged to her mother.

Things like this really make you stop and think.   Kids are kids, we know this, and we know that will push the envelope, even when we restrict them. Its part of being a teenager, its part of growing up.  Remember the ridiculous stuff we used to do as teenagers?  We may have looked back, now,  25 years later and say to ourselves, how did we survive?  We cheated death constantly and won.  Its hard to look at these kids and say to yourself, 'well, what did you think was gonna happen?'  They don't get that second chance.  They don't get to go to their parents and say "That was stupid. I won't do THAT again, I'm sorry".

As parents, we always want better for our kids than what we had. We know how teenagers operate, we should have seen this coming at some point.   I took the opportunity to sit down with my own children, my 2 oldest girls are 9 and 10, and we had a discussion about it.  They had seen the news, they have friends that knew these kids through their older siblings.  They have teachers that taught these kids just a few short years ago, and were openly grieving.  I sat my girls down and asked them if they had any questions, and if there was anything they wanted to discuss.   Neither was really sure what to say, so I did the talking. I told them there is always a choice.   There are good responsible choices, and there are bad ones.  And the consequence of a bad choice can always be death.   When I say things to them like "Don't ride your bike in the middle of the road", its not because I'm trying to be mean, or take away their fun, its because I love them and I want to keep them safe. I want to protect them so I can keep them forever. A mother should never have to bury her child.   I reminded my girls that  they would asking me to get their driver's license in a few short years, and I hope this is something that stays with them.

And so, this holiday season, please hold your children close and thank God for every blessing you have.  Please have that talk with them, and feel free to share this story with them.  There are 4 families tonight wishing they were scolding their child,  or getting annoyed with their tantrums, probably because they took the keys away.  They also wish they were holding them tight and thanking God for their blessings.  And please remind your children they are not  invincible.  These things can and will happen to new and inexperienced  drivers.  Remember, a car is not a toy.  Driving is a privilege, not a right. Do what you have to do to keep your kids safe. 

I dedicate this blog to the memory of John Clapper, Sativa Cornell, Dillon Clifford, and Steven Szklarz. I'm praying that Joel Gallup continues to recover and eventually goes on to live a fulfilling life.

Once a Wolverine, Always a Wolverine.  Rest in Peace Guys, your memory will live forever.