Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stretching my creative muscles

For many people this time of year is a time of showing appreciation to those who are important in our lives. For me I think about the recycle and garbage man who takes my 'waste' every week; or the librarians who are always so helpful tracking down books for me; or the folks at the bottle depot who always give my boys suckers; the teachers who... teach! Of course there are family and friends as well. Being that our family is of a faith that has different holidays, we are still free to help our family and friends who do celebrate this season.
Many people have asked us, 'How are you going to 'handle' Christmas?' We all know what Christmas was intended for, and see how it has somehow morphed into a medley of materialistic mayhem! :(
I know our family isn't faced with the magnitude of celebrating as most of you are - the tree, the lawn decorations and lights, the interior tinsel, perfect presents piled high, but we DO have people in our lives that we honour on their special holidays, and as such will have gifts to give like everyone else.
Being that we aren't buying the newest gadget for $19.99 at the action aisle of a Big Box Store, we are using our creative muscles to present thoughtful gifts to our important people.
One project I am working on for my mother in law is making a scrapbook mini album of recipe tags for things like playdoh, goo, dough buddies etc and providing the necessary ingredients to make them, such as food colouring, flour, salt etc. I am able to make the tags out of materials at home, and buy the ingredients at the grocery store, or find them in my own cupboards. This provides nana and her boys hours of fun and activity together. I'm sure she doesn't need any more knick knacks, coffee cups or kitchen towels. This would also be a great gift for a parent with a toddler or even your day home provider.
How much fun can you have with a 2X4 piece of wood?! I can have LOTS!!! I have glued three staggered length pieces on top of each other, painted white, glued some cotton from the vitamin bottle along the bottom and decorated it as a snowman with buttons and a hat from an old teddy bear. You can also do the same shape, wrap it in a ribbon with a bow and use chipboard letters to write 'Let it Snow'. SO many possibilities out of scrap wood and old house paint.
I wish I could post pictures to show you... but since 'my' people may be reading this post, I have given away too much already! lol
These gifts can work for budget savvy people too. The activity basket will maybe cost $10 and the 2X4 projects came in under $2. Yes, more time and thought is involved in these gifts, and you may even get dirty making them, but that is the part that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. ;)

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Giving

This site trickled onto my facebook newsfeed - and although it is a small departure from our 'nothing new, nothing wasted' challenge, it shares the same backbone - intentional, conscious, thoughtful choices and actions.
I have come to love challenges, so I am going to embark on intentional giving for the next 30 days. This blog appears to be written by someone of a certain faith, but don't let that stop you if you are of a different one - all the mighty religions of the world teach the Golden Rule!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another challenge....

As this challenge draws to a close, I find myself thinking ahead and wondering what to do for a challenge next year. This challenge really brought our family together on the same page. It gave the kids a great family identity. I am SO proud of them! If Jamie or I found ourselves pining away for something we saw on t.v. Andrew was always the first one to remind us about the challenge. Now, rather than ask 'Can we buy that?' they say, 'When we chose to buy things that are new, I think I would like to have XXX.' They are putting more thought into it now. They have been told that as a reward for participating so enthusiasticly all year they could each pick out a new toy once the challenge is over. I see them weighing their options and thinking about it a lot more.
People have asked me what is the first thing that I will buy once the challenge is over and I honestly don't know! What I have been thinking about though, is next years challenge...
The options are as endless as they can be personal. It can be anything from start recycling, to volunteering once a month, to starting family dinner/game night to finding a new way to meet some of your needs or wants. It doesn't have to be something you 'stop' doing (like we did with not buying anything new) it can be something you 'start' doing! That is going to be our focus this year. I just don't know what it is yet! Have you ever thought about what you would do?

show time...

As I write this, Global Calgary news are on their way to come interview us again. I always feel like such a poor ambassador to this challenge when I am interviewed. Trying to sound articulate and say something thought-provoking or inspirational while on the spot is a challenge all in itself! I have new respect for those who do it on a far more regular basis than I do!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I would get fired!

It is a good thing this blog isn't my job - because I'd get fired for inactivity! I am here now so lets see where my thoughts take me...
It is getting long now. Tedious. Tempting. We have been doing this for over nine months now. I can even see the light at the end of the tunnel! But I can also see the tunnel is full of enticing things I want that I have to walk by to get to the end of the challenge and see the light. Take two weeks ago for example - Craft, Stitching, Scrapbooking trade fair. I felt like a crack addict in a crack house!! (I mean no disrespect with that analogy)I was surrounded by all things creative. There were moments where I literally vibrated! lol Stickles for only a dollar?! Gorgeous ribbon for only $3?! That new thingamabob that looks like it will make my life so much more worth living?! On and On and On. I tried to tell myself that if I bought, I'd actually be *saving* money because I know I will buy it eventually. Some booths I walked by with my blinders on and didn't even dare explore.
Looking back now, I learned a couple things about myself; 1) it is okay to be tempted, it is what you choose to do with that feeling 2) that if I was really in the zen of this challenge I'd be able to explore each booth without blinders on, with peace in my heart. 3) that I managed to make it through the fair because I had friends keeping me accountable 4) in a lot of ways the challenge was a gift - an 'out' because I could have spent hundreds of dollars that day! lol 5) that I am proud of myself.
Not buying on the spot has enabled me to really think hard about the stuff I wanted to buy. I now have 3 months to weigh all things and make an informed, delayed, thoughtful decision.
Now is the challenge in the challenge for me - I've been great all year. I guess these next 3 months will tell me what kind of woman, consumer, or role-model I am. It will test my virtues of committment, perseverance and follow-through.
It will be interesting!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shopping soothes sadness?

Yesterday was not a good day for me. It was one of those sad/mad/tired/hopeless feeling kind of days. And nights. All I wanted was to curl up and fall asleep reading book 5 of a series I have been reading. But I didn't have book five. I called the library to see if they had it. It was closed. I posted on facebook and asked if anyone had it that I could borrow. Nada. I wanted to escape so badly that it crossed my mind to break the challenge and go to the store and buy it. (Then I thought about sending my husband, because he is less recognizable! lol) I gathered some strength around me and curled up to watch PVR'd America's Got Talent, a shabby chic book to finger through and tried not to think. (did you guys see that 10 year old little opera singer?! Wow! The world is sooo gifted with talent)
So at the end of the day I managed to fall asleep and wake up this morning in a better mood. Without breaking the challenge. Shopping doesn't have to be our savior.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

WHAT?! That is sooo cool!!

Just when I think the exposure of this challenge can't possibly go any further, something else pops up! I just found out that we are featured in an ebook! http://www.earth.10top10lists.com/
These people looked at over 3000 sites and chose what they felt were the best 10 sites, on being green or going greener, in 10 different categories. Our blog is featured in the 'Inspiration' category. Other categories include children, garbage, pets, home, garden, money, resources, life and self. Remember - there 10 different sites in each of these categories. Please go check them out!