Monthly Archives: November 2010

Zulily Shoppping

OK, so I may not be a Black Friday shopper, but the lure of so-called Cyber Monday caught me. Recently I signed up for Zulily for “Daily Deals for Moms, Babies and Kids.” I was curious about what kind of deals they have, and the only way to find out it to sign up to  Zulily .

We had already decided that our gift for Big Guy should be tag along bike, since he has clearly outgrown his $10 second hand bike but isn’t ready to ride long urban trips yet. Plus he loves bike commuting, but takes up 2/3 of the space and is a 56 pound lead weight.

But I hadn’t figured out what could be equally appealing for our Girly. So, when Zulily had a 40% off sale on Smart Gear toddler bikes for $50, I couldn’t help but get one. She loves the walking tricycles at her school and over the weekend had a blast trying out a borrowed tricycle. The problem is that her hand-me-down trike of Big Guy’s ready never worked that great…either too small for it or suddenly too big! Plus, on our last trip to REI, we had to coerce her off the display bike! Plus, I’m pretty sure that once Big Guy is on the ridealong we’ll be able to fit the push bike in the trailer for some special trips and she can ride on safer paths and parks once she’s ready.

Zulily has lots of other eco-oriented toys on sale right now:

  • Green Toys – trucks, teacups, planting sets and more…(on the kids’ wish list!)
  • Wooden and cloth toys by Wonderworld, include a mini-ecocar
  • Le Toy Van wooden creative play toys
  • SIGG stainless water bottles for kids
The deal with Zulily is that products are on sale for only 72 hours (usually 30-60% of retail), so you have to buy when the sale strikes.

Are you signed up for Zulily?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Save the Season

I hope your holiday weekend was as relaxing as ours. It reminded me of how laid back I want our entire holiday season to be. Less stress, more fun.

I read a great article on our drive that sums up how important it is to simplify the season. Just like the story they share of the overwhelmed toddler, I remember a similar event and I keep that imagine in my mind when I get tempted to buy too many gifts. We’ve already adopted many of the ideas they discuss:

  • We did a gift exchange in my family growing up, I loved giving/getting one special present. Hubby’s family also did one, and now the cousins do a “Pollyanna”. It’s such much more fun for kids to be a part of the gift giving and too many gifts for a child can be really overwhelming.
  • Send a “wish list” to family members that includes experiential gift like a family membership. Also list items that are off limits, like video games or toy guns. If you don’t send some guidelines there a much greater chance of having a misunderstanding and hurt feelings.
  • Make gifts. We often made some gifts growing up. I definitely plan on making more gifts as the kiddos grow up. So far, I’ve been giving away my homemade jam as hostess/dog-sitter presents.
  • Adopt a family. My mom’s group is adopting a family for the third year. We buy gifts, clothes, and food for two families in need. By pooling our resources we’re about to do a lot more together. Last year I remember buying hats/gloves/scarfs for the family members. My kiddos were also in need, and I just couldn’t imagine not being able to just go to the store and buy them cozy essentials.
  • Support a toy drive. Sock drive. Food drive. We support as many giving efforts as we can during the holiday season. Last year I was so proud of our Big Guy picking out a Thomas train to give to a child in need that just the year before he had coveted for himself. This year he really seems to understand why it’s so important that we share during the holiday season.
  • Throw a party! We’ve thrown a Danish “julefrokost” for the past decade to share the festive traditions of Denmark with our closest friends. I cook a ton of Danish foods, and enjoy sharing some the culture that I love so much.

How do you plan to simplify and “save” this season?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Giving Thanks!

I love having a tradition that focuses on giving thanks and being together with family. I love cooking more dishes than can practically fit on your plate. I love indulging in simple healthy foods saturated in butter. I love having a long relaxing weekend to look forward to once all the dishes are done…by Hubby of course 😉

A few years ago I decided that I really wanted to get some holiday books, since it’s hard to get them on hold from the library and it’s nice to have some family favorites as a tradition. 

Thanksgiving Is…  shares all the different harvest traditions, from the Greek and Romans to the Pilgrims and Indians. I read it to our Big Guy’s preschool class and they really enjoyed it (although slightly other kids would too.) 

Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks  has great illustrations, although the melody isn’t very catchy and kind of drones a little.

Some time over the summer we also picked a used copy of Big Guy’s first favorite series of chapter books with Jack and Annie:  Magic Tree House #27: Thanksgiving on Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Sharing Hope

Here in Portland there is a big homeless population. I start to think about them the colder it gets, and right now it’s freezing here.

Honestly, I’m busy raising a family, and I don’t feel like I have much capacity to help in any significant way. But I don’t think we should think less of the small efforts we make. They matter to a person who is hungry and tapped of hope.

During the holidays I donate to whichever organization happens to be at my grocery checkout line. This year New Season’s customers are donating to Loaves and Fishe meals for seniorsWhen you consider that a few dollars can feed someone, it’s hard not to add a little to your holiday meal tab. We are so very blessed.

We also make donations to several canned food drives a year. I call it my Costco tithe, because I’m really just giving away any savings. 

In the past I’ve donated socks, sheets and towels to local shelters.  They are many shelters in Portland . I really appreciate how they are trying to connect with people on an emotional level as well as fulfill practical needs. Here’s a quick video about the Portland Rescue Mission:

Do you help the hungry and homeless?

Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.