Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How To Make The Holidays More Affordable and Enjoyable for All

 Black Friday... Cyber Monday...

The spending adds up quickly.

Did you make your list and check it twice? Or did you splurge on all those deals and now are sitting on a pile of stuff you didn't really need to buy.

It's hard to resist all those great bargains the weekend after Thanksgiving. However, they can put a big dent in your wallet and sky rocket your anxiety when the bills start coming due.

Christmas is a season all about giving. It is told that three wise men came and bestowed gifts upon Jesus. Three wise men. Three gifts.

Are you getting what I'm saying?

You don't have to spend your last dime and borrow a few dollars to make this holiday season seem more special or even enjoyable than the last.

Here are a few tips we've learned over the years.

1. Vintage is vogue. It doesn't have to come new in the package for someone to appreciate the reception of a gift. If it's like new, hard to find, or out dated, there are collectors, apprectators, and those whom it doesn't make a difference what store it came from. It's the thought that counts. Places you may find great items like these are thrift stores, eBay, and craigslist.

2. Custom by Hand. Handmade gifts are an affordable and personal way of creating a gift that will long be out cherished then a store bought gift. You too, may find an elevated appreciation of receiving gifts after taking the time to create one for someone else. You can find great patterns and ideas online at places like freepatterns.com, craftbits.com, and crafting blogs.

Don't like to make the gifts your self, no problem. You can find affordable gifts at etsy.com made by crafters and artist that will even personalize the gift for you.

3. Baked not Fried. Around the holiday season, we pull out our cookie presses, dump in the chocolate chips, add the sugar sprinkles on top and exchange cookies with varies groups of people. It's easy to get fried, tired out, from all that baking. However, if you love to bake, add a few dozen to your baking list and give them away to family members as gifts instead of the traditional store bought packages. Don't like to bake, join a cookie exchange of a few people to have a small variety available to your family over the holidays. This way you won't get fried.

4. Book It. One of our favorite gifts to get and receive are books! They honestly never go outdated. When they are no longer contemporary, they'll historical. Fantasy, Sci-fi and non-fiction all have their place. No one ever minds getting a used book. You can swap books at paperbackswap.com, buy used books at places like half.com, and ebay.com.

5. Swap It. There are many sites where you can swap and trade for cd's, dvd's, and books. Try these sites paperbackswap.com, swapadvd.com, swapacd.com.

It's fun to exchange gifts and spend time with family. Don't let the stress of your wallet to cause your holiday season to be un-merry this year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ten Thanksgiving Blessings For You

On this day of Thanksgiving, we sit at the table with friends and family, blessed by their presence.

One of the long traditions in our family is to go around the table and say something your thankful for this year.
Perhaps it's a prayer that's been answered. An expectant blessing, what ever it is... we're thankful.

Today, I'd like to share with you ten things that I'm most thankful for in no order of relevance:

1. All of you.
2. Grocery Stores that sell pre-cooked Turkeys
3. Safe Travels by air, road, and sea
4. A supportive family and loving husband
5. Grace
6. Good Friends
7. Children who always seem to make me laugh when I'm about to cry.
8. Ministries that support and educate others on living healthier and happier lives.
9. Publication of the third consecutive year of the Mood Organizer
10. The power of prayer

And so dear friends, I leave you with this ending quote from Henry Ward Beecher :

Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!

Don't forget if you're heading out to shop tomorrow to refer back to Tuesday's post.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are You Making A List and Checking It Twice This Holiday Season?

Already, they're out. No big surprise with Black Friday only a few days away.

What's on your list?

Or more importantly, have you written your list, created a shopping strategy, and checked it twice?

Let's face it, Black Friday can escalate stress just by saying it's name - Black Friday.

The goal is acknowledging what your limits are, how far you will go, and what you plan to do  about.

If you're planning on getting up with the hussle and bussle of the holiday shopping spree extravaganza along with countless of other people, then you need to have a strategy.


We're not talking the maybes and they what ifs. Sit down and list everyone on your Christmas List this year. Who are they? How much do you plan to spend on them? what do they like? What is one thing you know you can afford to buy them out of the like list - circle it.

Okay, so  you've made your list, now check it again. This time, pulling out all those black Friday fliers. They'll come in Thursday's paper, by email, or by checking online at www.blackfriday.info.

Check your list against the sales.


Obviously, you can go two places at once. With over crowded malls, pushy people, and long lines, you can't afford to browse every store for what you're looking for. Not only that, by lunch you'll have run out of patience and your anxiety levels will be higher than Santa's flying reindeer.

Mark off your list by order of the sales ads. Go only to the stores that have items of interest to you. If some items are door busters offered at different times of the day, then create a plan to go to those stores in order of the time of the offered item.

Remember, you're on a mission. Keep checking your list. At anytime you feel too overwhelmed to keep going....stop. That's it. You're done. You can come back to the stores another day or shop online, no big deal.


When all else fails choose plan B. Plan B come in handy when the store is all out of an item you went specifically there to get, or an item on your list is harder to find than you thought, and perhaps out of your price range.

Don't fret. They say there is more than one way to skin a cat. Thus, the saying goes for holiday shopping. Have a secondary item listed on your list in case you can't find the first. If an item isn't at one store and you're going to another store that sells similar items, check there instead. Ask a friend to go gift hunting with you. Shopping is always more fun with a friend. And, you can wind down while having lunch together. It's hard to make yourself laugh when you're alone.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, as you make your list and check it twice, be thankful for those whose names you've written and feel blessed to be able to share the holidays with those who love and support you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sustaing Happier and Healthier Lives

Daily planning and interchangeable schedules have become an essential part of life, a tool for growth and self-development that keeps track of time, places, and routines. Millions of people suffer each year from mood disorders. The vital information kept inside a planner can help develop new strengths and abilities to prepare for another phase of emotional, physical, and spiritual transitions. By recording daily feelings, appointments, and both positive and negative activities in our daily routine, we can use each daily experience to develop and sustain a happier and healthier lifestyle.

The 2011 Daily Mood Organizer poses the following tools:

 Complete planning with monthly and weekly grids

 Weekly Medication Charts and Activity List

 Daily I.A.M ScoreTM (Irritability, Anxiety, Mood)

 Monthly Tips and Notes of Encouragement

 Address Book

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Do The Holidays Mean To You?

One of the fondness memories I have about the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving, is the smell of fresh baked pies and family gathered in one place.

On the morning of Thanksgiving, my siblings and I would gather around, one pie. Yep, one yummy pumpkin pie that my mother would slice and service with a cup of tea. While we indulged upon this holiday treat, my mother was given the peace she needed to finish preparations for the feast we'd have later that day.

This may not be the norm for many other families. Some family have to travel from a afar to a meeting place, thankful to share just a few hours or a few days in each other company. While other families must remain a part during this family themed day, but not forgotten and thought of often.

For some, a few in the vast majority of the world, the holidays are just another day, a lonely day, a day not worth celebrating. They can't find what the big deal is about everyone crowded into one house, one room, or around one table.

Those are the ones we must embrace and yank into the circle of Thanksgiving.

There are many meanings of the word Thanksgiving, many different traditions followed during the holiday season, and many memories created.

What is that one special memory to you? What do the holidays mean and how does your family celebrate them?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Create a Space In Which To Entertain This Holiday Season

It never fails, right around this time the anxiety and stress begins to build over one big thing in our homes - clutter. Yep, look around. You see the books piled, the toys scattered, and last year's pile of things to be donated still stuffed in the hallway closet.

Home Made Simple has this great weekly set process to you help you prepare your home for the holidays with their Guest Prep Timeline.

One hour, one room, one day a week.

You can do it. Get the entire family involved. Think of all the good you'll be doing. Not only will your home be de-cluttered, you'll feel better, and all those clutter items can be donated and put to use by someone who needs them.

No more shoveling stuff into coat closets upon company arrival or herding guest into the only clean room in the house. Enjoy the day, be thankful for the company, and be blessed by you're holiday prep.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Plan For The Holidays Without Thos Last Minute Stressors

There is just something about turning the corner from Halloween to the 1st of November that has everyone singing Jingle Bells and writing Christmas lists. Even eBay now has a countdown until day of Christmas arrives!

One thing you can be thankful for this holiday season, is there's a plan that can help you get through the holiday's without all the stress!

Last year, I over spent. I kept saying, "just one last thing" until all those things turned into twelve. Together, with a bunch of ladies at my local MOPS group we had a discussion about what helps us eliminate stresses during the holidays, what plan works best, and what kinds of list people actually find useful.

I took all that information and it's available in MRsCHADT's HOLIDAY PLANNER. (check it out on our BOOKS tab)

I also have a free version available over on my website.

Whenever I think of Thanksgiving, I think of travel, turkey, and pumpkin pie. All about in that order.

Then when it comes to Christmas I think of the long list of presents I need to buy. Sometimes I make gifts and hardly do I ever bake. Sorry, not one of my talents. That's okay, because my family members who love to bake, love giving cookies as gifts!

What about the holidays stress you the most? And do you have plan that helps elevate it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Now You Can Keep Track of Your Mood and Appointments, Too.

Here it is! Fresh off the printer's press. The 2011 Daily Mood Organizer is now available through Amazon.com.

Now you can keep track of your mood and your daily appointments all in one.

You will notice that this year's edition has been updated with a few new symbols. Due to software revisions and windows updates, some of the old symbols were no longer available through our fonts. I pray that you find none of them offensive.

As always the 2011 Daily Mood Organizer runs from December 2010 through January 2012.

This isn't your typical daily planner and appointment tracker. This organizer was designed to be an efficient way for mood suffers to summarize information about themselves, their lifestyle, and their habits through the use of charts, lists, and calendars. This information can easily be shared with family members, significant others, and most importantly, doctors to assist in learning to manage one's life through their mood shifts, depression, and other mental health issues.

It doesn't get more simpler or compact than this.

Just one of the many testimonies we've received over the years.

"I recently received the 2010 Mood Organizer as a gift, and I have already found it to be extremely helpful. Small enough to fit in my purse, this organizer makes it easy to keep track of each day's relative levels of irritability, anxiety, and depression. Looking back at daily entries has enabled me to see patterns in behaviors/moods and how they might relate to sleep, nutrition, activities, medication, and other external factors. I definitely recommend the 2010 Mood Organizer to all who are looking for an easy way to monitor and manage any level of anxiety or depression."

If you or a loved one suffers from any kind of depression or mood disorders, then this daily planner can help. With the holidays just around the corner, what better gift than to give one that helps sustain happier and healthier lives?


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