STOP the holiday CHAOS! Pt. 2

Are YOU caught up in the holiday CHAOS?
Holiday-stress

Last time, we focused on the holiday stress of Dinner and House Preparation. We talked about ways to minimize your holiday stress when it came to cooking and house cleaning for the holidays, if you are hosting a party.

Today we are going to focus on a stress that most people must handle during the holiday season.

The second category I want to talk about is

Presents and Gift Giving

0511-1005-0201-0025_Cartoon_of_a_Woman_Tired_Out_from_Christmas_Shopping_clipart_image

Throughout the year, you often have to buy gifts for birthdays, baby showers, weddings, etc. But nothing throughout the year compares to the lengths most people go to for the holidays. Gift giving can be stressful. There is the stress of picking out the right gift, then there is the stress of finding the right price. For Moms, who end up doing most if not all of the holiday gift buying for family members, it can be very difficult indeed. So let’s discuss some ideas and tips that can help to alleviate your gift-giving stress.

The biggest stress I have when it comes to gifts and presents is my budget. If you’re smart, you will budget throughout the entire year to allow a gift budget for the holiday season. I know a few people that do this, they allot an amount of money per month to be held just for this time of year. However, if you’re like me, it’s basically a mad scramble to collect gifts, just about as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is digested. Sometimes, I don’t get down to really buying things until the first or second week of December! So, obviously, our budget isn’t exactly prepared for a large subtraction! So, over the years I have developed a few things that allow me to get by with minimal spending!

My first suggestion: Budget all year

Now, I know I just got through talking about how horrible I am about budgeting and saving. But, if you can do it, I highly recommend it. One option would be to make a list of the all of the people for which you plan to buy gifts. Then, select a price range for each person. Add up the total amount needed and divide that number by 10. Each month from January to October, you set aside that much money in a different bank account, piggy bank or wherever you keep your savings! Then by the time you reach November, you can successfully shop for all of your gifts!

If you can’t manage to save money all year long, like me, you can still plan a short-term budget. All you have to do is set a spending limit a few months ahead. Then, you can collect larger increments for fewer months. However, with this style of budgeting the best idea would be to set a standard, that each person gets a certain amount. What I tend to do, is break it down into categories: Each niece/nephew gets the same amount, each sibling gets the same amount and each parent gets the same amount. This keeps me from over spending on each person and also keeping everybody from getting envious! lol

My second suggestion: Minimize Presents

Much like the idea of assigning a certain amount of money to each person, you can easily employ a few options for minimizing how many presents are given during this time. One option is to adopt a “Kids Gifts” only idea. Meaning, the only people who get multiple gifts would be the younger people within your group. Then, for the adults you have a few options for how to limit it. You can play a gift exchange game. This year, with the adults in my family, we are doing a “White Elephant” gift exchange. To learn more about this game and others visit: “28 Ideas for exchanging gifts”  from RealSimple.com. By playing these games, not only do you minimize the cost of buying 1 gift versus 10-15, but you also get to create a new holiday tradition. One that I know, personally, can be a lot of fun! Another option would be to do a “Secret Santa”. Where everyone buys one present for one person. Though this way would have to be done in advance, it has the perk of allowing people to get more expensive gifts than they would with the games.

My third suggestion: Make it, Don’t Break it (the bank, that is)

This suggestion happens to be one that I use personally just about, if not every, year. Making your own gifts can not only save you a ton of money, but some of the best gifts I’ve ever given or received were homemade. There are so many different projects and cute things you can make for any age, male or female. A good place to look for great ideas would be Pinterest. It’s free to sign up and you can collect ideas all year long for not only gifts, but decorations and meals! Another great suggestion is taking a family photo and distributing them in homemade frames. For Family Photos, there are many options. You can easily check out any of the major photography companies, but in my opinion the best way to go is with a local photographer. Using a local photographer allows you to incorporate familiar scenery, to have a wider variety of prints and ultimately, in my opinion, a more comfortable and cozy photo. You can easily look up local photographers online. If you are near my area (Dallas, Tx), I have two photographers that I personally recommend.

AprilPintoApril Pinto with April Pinto Photography

and

JenniferPritchettJennifer Pritchett with Jennifer Pritchett Photography

Both of these photographers are especially good with children. Capturing wonderful and magical moments in nicely edited photos that will amaze you, all at decent prices! Don’t forget to mention that Wild Mommy sent you!

Using family photos as a present can easily cut down on your total budget. If you decide to frame them, you can easily purchase bulk frames online. Or you can wait until a craft store like Michael’s or Garden Ridge (Which is now: At Home) is having one of their regular frame sales. And you have options with the frames as well. You can either get bulk frames, then purchase paints and paint each frame specifically for each person and/or family. Or you can buy different and specific frames for each person and/or family.

I hope you have found some of these tips and suggestions helpful to your holiday situation! Join me next time when we talk about the third and final category: Guests. Where we will discuss ways to help handle anything a guest throws at you before, during and/or after a holiday event!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC

@WildMommyMC

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com

STOP the holiday CHAOS!

Are YOU caught up in the holiday Chaos?

Holiday-stress

The holiday season comes but once a year and for most Moms out there, it’s a good thing. While the holidays are a wonderful time that bring family together in joyous celebration, if you’re anything like me, the holiday season also brings on enough stress to be crushed under! So, this season, instead of stressing, let’s focus on some tips to

STOP the holiday CHAOS!

As much as I’d like to deny it, most of the stress I experience during the holidays has nothing to do with outside sources. What I mean by that, is that most of it comes from my anxiety over wanting the occasions to be perfect. There have been very few time that another person is the source of my holiday madness. So, the easiest way to mange that stress is to plan ahead. If you tend to freak out during the holiday season, join me over the next 2 days to see if some of these tips can save your sanity this holiday season.

The first category I want to talk about is

Dinner and House Preparation.

woman cooking and cleaningIf your plans for the holidays are to travel to another person’s home or another location, then these tips may not be necessary for you. However, if you’re like my family, though we travel for the holiday season, we may also have a small gathering for our immediate family and/or friends. And, these tips are helpful when hosting ANY event in your own home as well!

In my case, the first stress I have when hosting in my own home is cleaning. Though your house may be clean (most days, if I’m lucky, lol) and well kept, there is a special kind of clean when hosting a party. I call it “Deep Cleaned”. For me it means scrubbing base boards, washing windows, dusting things I don’t usually dust and basically scrubbing every surface of my home. When it’s holiday season, however, you usually have a lot more on your plate and cleaning seems to be the biggest and most tedious task.

My first suggestion: Hire Someone.

Don’t be shamed into thinking that hiring a local maid service to deep clean your home is not an option. I know a lot of Moms out there who are hesitant to hire someone because of the stigma of

A) Not being able to do it yourself, B) That it must mean your house is disgusting

and/or C) That you are a snob or lazy.

For one, if I had the money to hire someone to clean my house ALL of the time, I would. There is nothing wrong or lazy about allowing someone to clean your house. Plus, there are many Moms out there who are in the business of cleaning houses. That makes it a Moms helping Moms situation! But especially hiring someone to deep clean your home before you host an event is just sensible. By taking that pretty big task off of your plate, you make room for doing the things that you can’t necessarily hire someone to do. Consider it an investment and breathe easy! To help find a maid service near you try Care.com

However, I know times are hard and money is tight already, not including the holiday extras, so if you need to cut the cost, hire a kid. It could be a friend’s kid, the baby sitter or a youth from Church or the neighborhood. By hiring a kid you cut your cost, but you also allow a kid to make money for their holiday season!

My second suggestion: Ask for help.

If you’re a Mom to a child basically 5 and up, you already have one volunteer for cleaning! lol But seriously, let your child(ren) help with the cleaning. Give them a task at a time and reward them with something they will enjoy for every task completed. You can even make certain tasks that may be harder or take longer worth a larger reward. And don’t be afraid to ask your family and/or friends to help you either. Find that friend, sister, brother or cousin that wouldn’t mind rolling their sleeves up for a nice dinner and/or movie. Then you get help, plus some bonding time with the person!

The next stress that I have is with the food. Good cook or bad cook, either way, most Moms out there do not have just a TON of experience organizing, preparing, cooking and serving LARGE meals. Sure, we may cook for our family of 5-8, we may make very intricate and detailed dishes and we may have served food plenty of times. But doing all of it from top to bottom for more like 10-20 people can be a daunting task.

My first suggestion: Keep it Simple.

If you’re like me, the holiday season is the reason for new recipes, as well as old favorites and traditions. For example, one tradition/old favorite I have developed over the last couple of years are cheese balls. I began doing it one year and have since perfected 3 recipes and thought of about 15 more. So for me, every year, it’s about making something that is better than the year before as well as bringing back the favorites collected over time. But when you’re hosting an entire meal, it’s a different story. Time won’t always permit you to do ALL things bigger and better. So, keep it simple with some of your dishes. You still have specialty dishes, but make them special. Not every side needs to be an intricate affair. It can be refreshing and exciting to have simple sides, with just a few specialty dishes.

My second suggestion: Plan Ahead.

Cooking several dishes, several additions and a large hunk of meat can be overwhelming. However, there are ways you can plan ahead that can help you keep your dinner running smoothly.

For instance, prepare your table ahead of time. Set out plates, bowls, cups, utensils, etc. Have it all done before you even begin to cook, that way even if you happen to need more time on your turkey or ham, you can allow guests to sit and begin on salad, rolls or even sides. For suggestions on easy holiday food, check out “25 Tips for an easy holiday” from www.Food.com.

Another tip is to prepare as many dishes as possible a day in advance. Many dishes that are served during holiday season can be made and stored over night. Then all you have to do is put them in the oven the next day for heating. For this, I suggest buying the disposable aluminum pans. They come in just about every shape and size, most often with lids for storing and they are obviously, oven safe. And, you don’t have to clean them afterwards!

aluminum_pans

My third suggestion: Ask for Help/Hire Someone.

Now, there are two ways you can ask for help with preparing the holiday meal. One way, is to just ask a friend or family member who will be attending the party to come early and help you with the food. If you don’t have anyone that can be available, try hiring someone to be your Sous Chef. Basically, a person that can do the more tedious aspects of the cooking, like stirring and mixing. You could, again, hire a teenager you know or you could place an ad on CraigsList. There are MANY chefs and/or caterer’s that would be willing to help for a few hours for extra cash.

Hopefully, you found at least one tip that can help you eliminate some of your holiday chaos!

Join me tomorrow when we talk about the second category: Presents and Gift Giving. Where we will discuss ways to minimize spending and eliminate gift-giving stress!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC

@WildMommyMC

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com

Boo’s Kingdom

Tonight, My daughter, Boo, and I created a neighborhood and a town with ALL of her doll house items. It ended up being pretty neat.

Pictured here in:

The Neighborhood is:

The Family:  Daddy, Mommy, 2 Strawberry Shortcake daughters, 1 Minnie daughter and 1 Mickey Baby Boy

The Workers: 3 Minions, 1 Plumber, Handy Smurf, GIJoe, 1 Scarecrow, Squirrel and the Worker Trucks

The Fairies: Beach Minnie, Smurfette, 2 Ballerinas, 1 Fairy, Unicorn, Boots, Pooh and all of the Sea Creatures

Princess Castle: Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, 1 Strawberry Shortcake and Woody

And in The City is:

The Doctor: Albert Einstein and his Minion Assistant

The Park: Alligators and Birds

Walmart/Gas Station/Airport: Pilot/Checker

The Farm/Zoo: Country Girl, Country Boy, 1 Scarecrow and all of the Animals

 

Needless to say, she was   quite happy And we had a REALLY   good time.

(Some of these photos aren’t too great, but I figured I might as well include them all,

Since I didn’t get to take too many before Boo told me to go away and let her play. lol

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Easy craft to do together…

craft-materials

Hey Wild Mommies!

Here’s an easy craft you can do with your kid and ways to make it bigger, better and more difficult!

Spy glass: Take Glue, a Marker, The cardboard roll from a toilet paper roll or paper towel roll, Paint (any kind will do!) and Any dime-sized “decorative” pieces (ex: pieces of jewelry you don’t wear), Alternative to paints include: nail polish, food coloring etc.

Paint and glue things to the roll, then write “_________’s Spyglass” on it!

Belt: Take a belt, scarf, sock or the like.

Tie/belt the item loosely, putting the knot/buckle at their hip!

Sword: Take paper, cardboard, glue, crayons and marker.

Outline a sword on paper and have your kiddo color it. (If you have any small items left from your “spyglass” use them too!)  Then, cut out the paper and glue it to cardboard and cut the cardboard out in line with the paper.

Combine those crafts with some pirate like clothes and you’ll have a top notch, one of a kind Pirate Costume!

Plus, once you have spent them time doing the craft, and you need to make it ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE, your kiddo won’t mind playing on their own! Just say “Okay, no go play treasure hunt”

Bonus: Include an actual treasure hunt with map and TREASURE while they color or WHATEVER and they will be occupied even longer, plus work on good skills!

Round… Set… FIGHT! – Wild Mommy Myth Buster

So, as I have mentioned before, being a “Wild Mommy” is about breaking societal “norms” about motherhood and parenting. So, I’d like to begin breaking down these walls with what I like to call a “Wild Mommy Myth Buster”. These posts will tackle topics that are common parenting misconceptions or misunderstandings, while giving advice on building a better alternative to the myth!

So, Wild Mommy Myth Buster #1- NO FIGHTING

I can already hear people in my head arguing with me. Before I have even begun to articulate my point, some parents will have already tuned out. See, the common misconception is that your child should NEVER FIGHT. Not you, their friends, their teachers, etc.  And to a certain degree, you are right! It is perfectly normal to teach your child to avoid fights. But, we must be careful, because we want to raise CIVIL, PEACEFUL children, but we also NEED FIGHTERS!

Ask yourself, where would the world be today if no one ever FOUGHT? There are so many important issues in today’s society that might not have ever been brought into light without these fighters. Because a black man stood up and fought, we have equal race rights. Because a woman stood up and fought, we have equal gender rights. And so on and so forth.  So many good things have come from people that fought for their beliefs. But the fact is, most parents are actually DISCOURAGING this trait in their children.

Now, obviously there are some forms of fighting that I do NOT CONDONE! I do not EVER condone physical fighting (unless in self-defense) or OFFENSIVE fighting. Offensive fighting is when someone is fighting strictly to be mean or offensive. Those 2 types, and any like them, that do NOT produce good results, should, for obvious reasons not be allowed! But, that leaves quite a BIT of gray area, where kids should find their ground.

Throughout my entire childhood I was allowed to fight. When I was punished or lectured, I was allowed to argue, so long as I kept it ABSOLUTELY RESPECTFUL! So many of my friends thought this was CRAZY! When my mom or dad would ask me to do something, if I was busy, I would ask if I could have 5 minutes and they’d usually oblige. Seriously, my friends thought I was NUTS to respond that way. But, I had 2 parents who weren’t afraid to let me speak my mind! Because they knew it was a mind based in RESPECT for THEM! That’s not to say I didn’t ever use my smart little mouth on them, but I did it FAR LESS than most of my friends and I managed to have a REALLY HEALTHY, FUNCTIONING relationship with my parents, which most of my friends didn’t have with theirs. As long as I followed the rules, outlined by my parents, I was allowed to discuss ANYTHING with them. And occasionally, I changed their minds!

This way of parenting helps children feel like their opinions matter. And quite frankly, parents aren’t showing kids that enough! A lot of parents are so STUCK on the idea of being right because they are the parent, they don’t see that sometimes we’re WRONG and our kiddos have it right!

But, the real issue, isn’t about who is right and who is wrong, it’s about their future.

If you raise a child who is never allowed to argue or fight back when they are truly passionate about something you will create that SAME TYPE of adult. But, as an adult, a lack of fight can translate into a lack of AMBITION! Allowing your child to argue their point creates an adult that won’t be RUN OVER by everyone! Think about it, if every time your child tries to argue you shut them down, they will eventually NOT ARGUE. And to some parents, this seems like the RIGHT thing. But, here’s the message you’re sending:

No matter WHAT you truly believe, if the acting authority over you disagrees, you must comply with their choice.

Which, don’t get me wrong, to some degree is a good lesson. Obviously, there is a level of respect given to ANY person of authority. But, what if a teacher begins to fail them for personal reasons? or if their boss hits on them for a promotion? When your child, as an adult, is faced with an authority that is WRONG, you will want them to be able to STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES! Well, it begins by standing up to YOU!

As their parent, you ARE the AUTHORITY. There is basically NO ONE above Mom and/or Dad to a child. So you must use YOUR relationship with your child to set an example for their future relationships with authorities.

So, how is it that you actually go about breaking this MYTH?

First, build a relationship based on respect and love that allows your child to speak freely with you. This will encourage them to talk to you and to be honest when they do.

Secondly, always encourage your child to question everything and make their own decisions. This will help your child find who they are and give them a strong sense of self.

And the third MOST IMPORTANT aspect is to set out RULES for arguments, and be STRICT about those rules/punishments. Decide what actions and attitudes will be “conversation enders”, set up a way to identify whose turn it is to speak, etc. Then, don’t ever WAIVER from the rules!

By utilizing those 3 tips you can allow your child the freedom to fight, without the loss of respect for those in charge. Therefore, creating an adult who stands for what they believe in and isn’t afraid to FIGHT against INJUSTICES!

Join me Wednesday as we continue to learn more about our children and ourselves, while BUSTING these Mommy Myths!

ALSO, If you need any TIPS for setting up your “Rules of Argumentation”, email me or check out the list that will be coming soon to http://www.WildMommyMC.com!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC

@wildmommymc

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com