Need a Second Job to Pay for the Kid's Activities

I just got back from writing cheques for my son's acting classes this spring.... OK I need a Job. Between Acting School, Dance Classes and Gymnastics I'm broke again. Is it OK to tell your kids in lieu of birthday gifts they can still go to their activities?

It's not like they play hockey - that is an expensive sport. However, I'm learning that competitive anything is costly. How do families do it and still manage to get ahead?

My Son Wants an Agent

The upside to moving to the Vancouver area is the large film industry here. My son has been asking me to take acting classes and get an acting agent for years now and I've finally relented. Hopefully he can make enough money to afford college since the expense of living here is eating up all our money.

He's been going to Kid's Only Acting School in Whiterock and he really enjoys it. What I like about the school is they are NOT pushy and seem to be very well respected. The teachers there have experience, years of it, and are really helpful.

I was reluctant to let him get serious about working as an actor at a young age. I just wasn't comfortable with it. I thought making your kid work was a terrible idea. It's still not a great idea if your kid doesn't want to work or if they work so much they don't have a childhood or neglect school. I'm hoping he'll learn about the industry and make some good connections so if he is still serious about it when he's older then he has a decent resume to start with. If he does it now and finds out he hates it, that's OK too - then he can look to a different activity or career.

He doesn't have an agent - I've only just started to research it - but he's enjoying the classes and gaining confidence. He's learning about commitment and being a professional, so even if he doesn't go into the acting biz he'll walk away with some new skills and lots of confidence. Public speaking isn't easy, after all more people are scared of it then death, however he's becoming a natural. So it's been worth every cent!

Why My Kids Are BFFs

Everyone that meets my kids are amazed at how close they are to each other - They really are each others best friend. I am really fortunate that they are because it has made life a lot easier, they play so well together and rarely fight. How did they get to be best friends?

Partly Luck:

My son is the oldest by 3 years less 8 days and his personality has lent a lot to this relationship. He is very easy going, doesn't need a lot of attention, and is very responsible. When his sister was born he just stepped aside, grew up and started caring for her.

My daughter is a handful but he keeps her in check and well behaved because she wants to be like him. She loves everything he loves and wants to do everything he does. The best part is he wants her to, he encourages her to, and it doesn't bother him to have her tagging along. That is to say for the most part.... He needs his personal time and time with just his friends every once in a while and it's hard for her to give it to him. When he needs his space or she is being too pushy then I step in and ensure he has what he needs.

Partly work:

Before our daughter was born I talked to my son about what the role of a big brother was. I asked him to be responsible for her, to help her, teach her and take care of her. He takes his job as a big brother very seriously.

When it became apparent that my daughter was getting the best part of the deal and taking full advantage I realized she was old enough to become responsible for her big brother. I asked her to be responsible for him, to help him, teach him and take care of him. She takes her job as a little sister very seriously.

They are responsible for each others happiness - sounds like too much? Well, its not. It's teaching them to think about someone other then themselves in a relationship. When the other one is hurt or sad the other steps up to get them to laugh or be happy. Both find it very rewarding since life is happier when your friend is happy too.

Every night right from when they were small I made it part of their bedtime routine to say "I love you" to each other. It's much easier loving someone and wanting to be friends with them when you know they love you too. It isn't good enough to assume children just know if their sibling loves them, they need to know it. By saying it they will come to love each other.

Anytime they started to fight they'd be separated and if they couldn't be they'd be made to say "I love you" and give hugs and kisses. Ever stay mad at someone who says I love you and gives you a hug? Hugs and loves puts an end to a fight faster then any time out - and with better results.

When there is a disagreement I don't solve it for them, I've helped them figure out how to resolve it themselves. They've come up with contracts to solve conflicts and role definition to create something out of nothing. ie One's the mayor the other the assistant.

It's not always roses in our house, but it is far from a war zone. They do get on each others nerves and they do need their space. My daughter is very bossy and my son's tolerance for it though high does have a limit. However, through love, communication, and responsibility for the other they work it out relatively quickly and are the best of friends again.

Yin Yoga and My Aching Back

I like Yin Yoga it's relaxing and meditative however sometimes the next day my back is in major pain. I don't have huge back problems but this morning I woke up in so much pain I could barely breath. This happens to me every once in awhile the day after a Yin class. I'm not sure why since Yin is suppose to be healing.

I've taken 2 Robaxacet and am using my husband's massage chair to try and reduce the pain. As usual I have a lot of house work to do and can't lie around on my back all day. I'm going to a hot yoga class later this afternoon so hopefully between the heat and the stretching I'll sweat out the muscle pain.

Yin has helped me meditate and center myself in the present with an eye on the future. I use the meditation time to experience the stretch and visualize myself working out, eating well, and fitting into my blue suit. So far it has created in me a desire to exercise that I've never had before and I'm not as hungry.

Well the chair's taken a break and I should stretch it out.....

January is a Drain on My Bank Account

Will it ever end? Payments for dance, acting classes, and hot lunches - every time I turn around I need to write a cheque for something. Christmas tapped my account into the red and with all these extra expenses I don't know if my account will ever see black.

September is expensive because of back to school and new activities. During September the kids come home almost everyday with a new request for funds or things to buy.

December is a complete financial loss with Christmas and all the holiday trimings.

January has more activities to pay for.

April is my most expensive month because both kids birthdays land in this month.

June brings my husband's birthday and father's day.

July and August are expensive due to holidays, activities, daycare, and wardrobe change.

There is nothing like kids to drain the finances.... well except maybe a house. I am trying to get a surplus of funds to pay for renovations on the new used house we purchased but at this rate we'll be living with plywood floors for a long time.

My kids haven't even hit competitive programs yet. Once that happens their activities will cost more than groceries each month and groceries aren't cheap.

I'm not about to deprive my kids of activities or school perks so I just have to suck it up and find other places to save.... like groceries.

Changing the World One Day at a Time

I came across an interesting blog today called How I Changed the World Today. Everyday Julia does something to make a difference to a stranger in the world. Her giving is beyond anything I've ever seen or heard of. It may not be the millions that celebrities or the rich give but her giving is more valuable.

It got me thinking, what if everyone set out to do something to change the world? Even just the little things like a smile or general courtesy. What if we did something everyday to make the world a better place. There is so much that we could do, so much that we probably already do.

Here are some ideas:

1. Use manners and courtesy with everyone you meet
2. Write a note of encouragement or give a gift to someone who is struggling
3. Give to a charity, not just money but your time and talents
4. Pick up litter and garbage
5. Recycle
6. Get involved in a cause, whether political or not
7. Think of others before yourself
8. Buying Free Trade items
9. Be joyful and positive

What are some of your ideas or things you do to make the world a better place?

Soup - Easy Family Meal Made with Leftovers

My mom always makes great homemade soup out of leftovers. I have discovered just how easy it is to feed the family and use up food that would otherwise go bad. If you plan your meals right, or at least freeze the leftovers properly, you'll have the ingredients to make perfect soup on the weekend.

During the week make a chicken or turkey. Save the bones - freeze them and any left over meat.

The rest of the week make at least one pork roast and keep the leftover meat.

On Saturday get the bones out of the freezer or fridge. Boil the bones with 1 cut up onion, some celery, and poultry seasoning. Cover and let simmer for a most of the day. In the evening pour the stock through a strainer and cool in the fridge overnight.

On Sunday remove the layer of fat and put the gelatinous liquid back on the stove. Add the frozen meat, any vegetables that haven't been eaten this week (or are going limp), an onion, a can of tomato soup, some salt to taste, and let simmer until lunchtime.

Any leftover soup can be poured into cleaned jars while hot and put into the fridge. The jars will seal.

The jars of soup can be easily packed for daily lunches.

I know it may sound very time consuming but its not. The time the soup is on the stove on low heat simmering you can be doing other things around the house. Its perfect way to clear out the vegetable drawer in your fridge ready for the next week of fresh produce.

Christmas Left Me in the RED!!! Broke, No cash left.

Even with cutting back I spent everything I had on gifts for Christmas, I even gave my husband his late so I could wait for the next cheque to come in. My husband and I talked about money and my spending habits last night because I can't afford to buy groceries. I am terrible at keeping track of what's in my bank account and what's suppose to be coming out of it. I thought I had $100.00 left after I paid for everything but I forgot about my kids activities and specifically a dance costume fee that would be debited January 1st.

I've tried keeping track and it lasts for all of 2 days and I'm back to spending money without a record. It's not like I have a lot of cash, after all I'm unemployed, so I need to be more careful.

Thing is I know what to do and I know how to budget and tricks to keep on track but I just don't do it.... I'm too lazy to organize myself every payday. The best way I've found so far not to spend money is to stay home - of course it works for me because I cut up all my credit cards.

I don't get why I'm so irresponsible when it comes to money. Both my parents were very thrifty and responsible when it came to money, that's why they are so financially solid now. My brother is a good saver and very responsible with money and credit. I am not....

Thankfully my husband is extremely responsible and anal when it comes to money and that is what keeps us afloat and in the Black as a family. He has ensured that are solvent and never are strapped for our mortgage payments etc. When I think of all the money I've wasted it's no wonder he is always mad at me.

When I look back to 10 years ago when my son was born it was different, I was very responsible with my money. I only bought what I needed, I only bought him stuff on his birthday and Christmas. I had money in the bank and an RRSP savings account. Then 3 years later I stayed home and started scrapbooking and going to WalMart or the mall more often. I started buying him toys and stuff every time we went out and then it just became habit. Now my house if filled with books, scrapbooking supplies and toys they never use and my bank account is empty.

Basically my income went way down - I mean way down and my expenses went way up. I didn't manage my money or my time very well. Well that has got to change - there is nothing that anyone in this family needs and there is one thing I want but I'll save for it. Time to get responsible, time to be an adult.

Time Our Most Precious Commodity

I've been thinking a lot about time lately, how fast it passes, how much of it I waste, how I never have enough. This year I want to start making better use of my time and being more productive. Since being home I feel like I'm always so far behind I can see my big butt and I don't get anything done, ever!

Some blogs I follow I have to wonder why these women seem to have so much more time then me and are so much more productive? For example, the writer of the Country Heart and Home blog has 4 boys, is pregnant, always is baking amazing treats and creating amazing craft projects, both on a daily basis. I am stumped at how she does it all.

Time Management tricks that have worked for me in the past:

1) Every morning making a to do list
2) Planning out my week
3) Planning out meals - quick and easy ones
4) List of goals to accomplish in view
5) Post it notes in specific places
6) Focus on task at hand
7) Break down tasks into smaller ones
8) Block time into similar activities - a day to run errands not everyday
9) Get off the computer
10) Get my nose out of a book - or listen to a book instead on my MP3 player
11) Turn off the TV - we finally cancelled cable, great time saver for everyone

There's a start to the list at least. I will continue to add to it as I figure out ways to better manage my time and be more productive around the house. The biggest issue I have with being productive at home is being interrupted, I can never get anything done because I'm always being interrupted to do something else and by the time I get back to the first task I have to start all over again.

What are some of your time saving ideas?

Life What is it Suppose to Be?

This wasn't suppose to be my life, this wasn't the plan. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom and yet, here I am at home raising my kids and caring for my family. I have no career to speak of and my identity is wrapped up in my family. It wasn't suppose to be this way, I was suppose to do something with my life, to be more than this. Yet here I am waiting.

Ever feel like life hasn't worked out for you? Like you are on the wrong path or in a rut? So many of us are not living up to our potential or not doing what we had hoped we would be. When I hear about old high school friends who are out jet setting and seeing the world, I cringe inside. I see career women dropping their kids off at activities and they look like they have their whole life so put together and I am envious.

Where do you wish life had taken you? What would you have done differently? There is so much I would have done different if I had only had the guts to do it. I would have travelled more, chosen a better career, and I would have waited longer to have my kids.

Do you sometimes wonder where all the time went? I see young mom's out shopping and think - hey that's suppose to be me. I have babies, don't I? I turn around and see my babies are growing up and I am left alone at home waiting for school to be over. My life wasn't suppose to be like this.

I have done a lot these past 10 years and I have worked, stayed home, worked from home, and now I am about to start off on another adventure in the workforce. Starting at the bottom again, at entry level in my mid 30s. I should be more by now but I'm not. I am who I am and that is going to have to be enough for now. Maybe by my mid 40s I will have everything I ever wanted out of life, and then again maybe not. I'm tired of the road I'm on though, time to make a change and take a different route, do I turn left or right?

Are you ready to make a difference in your life? Oprah always has some challenge going on to help you do just that. The latest - a 21 day challenge to detoxify the soul.

Stampin Up Handmade Cards with Pictures

I was working on a challenge to use Stampin Up Christmas stamps in a non-Christmas way. Vote for your favorite in the comments.

A. Dasher Stamp - Thinking Of You

For this card I used the Stampin Up Dasher stamp and the Autumn set. The paper was chocolate chip, close to caramel and some yellow and printed paper from my generic stock. For the leaves I used Stampin Up always avocado and old olive inks. Dasher was stamped in chocolate chip ink.

B. Dasher - Thinking of You 2

You can't tell because I scanned this picture but the circles are cut out of the top of the card and Dasher is stamped with Versa Mark on the inside then embossed with Stampin Up gold embossing powder. The leaf is from the autumn set and the thinking of you is from the greeting for all seasons set (both discontinued).

C. Congratulations on the New Baby

The mom and baby were stamped on glossy paper and then I used a Stampin Up blender pen to color it in. I used gold ink to mess up the edges of the chocolate chip cardstock. I stamped a flower on white and cut it out. The Congratulations stamp is from the a greeting for all seasons set, the mom and baby is from the Miracle of Christmas set and the soother is from the little layers set, I forget the name of the set the flower is from.(all discontinued)

D. New Baby Card

For this card I used painter's masking tape - the green stuff. I cut it into thin pieces and made a grid on the card. I then stamped the background using stamps from a greeting for all seasons set and fresh flowers set. I then stamped the paper with versa mark and spread clear embossing powder on the whole sheet and heated it. When it cooled I removed the masking tape and voila the background was complete. I then used the baby from the Miracle of Christmas set. (all sets are discontinued)

E. Spring Embellishment for a Scrapbook Page

This is not my favorite but I thought I'd throw it in here too.

Vote for your favorite in the comments section.


Related Posts with Thumbnails