Friday, November 21, 2008


Is it Friday already? Well come on in. I have a cold, so I will try not to cough on you. The coffee is hot. :)

I hate being sick. It really is no fun. Not that I expect it to be fun per se, but I do sometimes wish it wasn't so incredibly miserable. I mean, why can't my body fight off the bug without making my throat hurt and my head ache? ugh.

And of course I can't just crawl into bed like I want to and take a nap. There is too much to do.

Like blogging. The important stuff you know. ;)

Anyway, we had to make a heart breaking decision this weekend.

I am all about people being honest and open about money and finances. I know I've talked about that here before. I honestly believe it would help people so much if it wasn't considered impolite to talk about money. I would love to know how some of my friends are affording the things they do. I would love to know how I can do better with managing our money, so that when things happen we aren't up the creek. I do the best I can, but without real life examples and honest, truthful information there is only so much I can do.

Suze Orman can't help me.

Anyway, because the economy is in the toilet and every industry sucks right now, the company Hubby works for decided to stop all bonuses. That is a huge, huge pay cut for us. It is especially harsh though because Hubby took an offer for a bigger percentage of bonuses in lieu of a decent pay raise at his annual evaluation last year (which was several months late).

Because of this decision we are now going to be about $300 in the hole each month.

So, because this takes effect in January, we have decided the best thing we can do it go on a spending freeze until we at least have enough saved to pay for next year's property taxes and home owner's insurance. Our mortgage doesn't have an escrow account so we always paid those things out of pocket with Hubby's bonuses. Until now it has worked wonderfully.

The spending freeze means several things. Mainly it means that unless something miraculous happens we will not have anything for Christmas presents. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. There are so many things I wanted to purchase for the kids for Christmas. I know they will be ok without anything from us; Lord knows the rest of the family will spoil them rotten! But I just don't know what to do about stockings and Santa and of course the tree is going to look really strange with nothing under it.

And before you suggest it - I am not crafty. Making something is pretty much out. Because even if I could make something, I don't have the money for the supplies.

It is Port's first Christmas! I am so sad for him. I know he won't remember, and I know he would absolutely go ga-ga over empty boxes wrapped in shiny, crinkly paper, but still. It is the principle of it all I guess. I don't want to look back 5-10 years from now and tell him "oh honey we didn't get you anything for your first Christmas. We were poor."

I am a bit dramatic.

Anyway, aside from all that - the heartbreaking decision was this. We aren't going to see my parents for Thanksgiving.

Normally we go to their house for turkey day. It is a tradition that has been in my family for oh, maybe 34+ years or so. When my grandmother was alive and it was her house we all went there. When she passed away and my parents moved in, Hubby and I went there every other Thanksgiving and every other Christmas. When we had Kiddo, we decided that Christmas was for us to make our own and we now stay home. So, Thanksgiving we go to my parent's house every year. It is the one time of year that Hubby has enough days off that we can go and it not kill us getting there and back.

So this year - it is out. Not only could we not afford the gas, we can't afford the eating out expense on the road, we can't afford the very high possibility that something will go wrong with our car (like it does every year) and we can't afford to miss the opportunity to


Yup. That's it. I am done with this no sleep thing. We are taking the week and we are going to hard core train this child to sleep in his bed. I have reread Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution and I think I am ready. Please pray for us - we are starting tonight.

Port is the main reason we are not going. I simply cannot risk taking a trip and screwing up his sleep any more. We are miserable, miserable folks here, and something has got to be done.

Of course, now we are all sick so I am being especially cruel thinking I will start sleep training him now. *sigh*

All of this decision making and lifestyle changing has made me pretty sad. It will just be us Thanksgiving, and I can't afford to make a huge, elaborate meal like we would normally have. What would we do with all that food anyway?

I need your help. What can we do on Thanksgiving to make it a special day? It has to be cheap (or preferably free), easy and doable with two small children. Plus, do you have any ideas for a fun, special dinner?

I need ideas. My cold medicine is clouding my head.

D :)


secondofwett said...

Oh my...I'm so sorry you're going thru's really difficult to not be with family for these important days....I'm afraid I'm not very good with suggestions...I would try to fit a small roasting chicken into my food budget....there's always leftovers that can be used for many things including chicken soup for your cold! :0) I hope others come up w/better ideas!

TitanKT said...

Do a scavenger hunt field trip for pinecones and pretty leaves and stuff that you can then arrange into a centerpiece for your table.

Take lots of pictures.

Play games (games you already have).

Make it a new tradition to go to church on Thanksgiving (maybe you already do).

Or, since you're in a bad spot, help those who have it worse by volunteering the morning at the food bank or Christ's Kitchen. I bet there are plenty of volunteer opportunities of various sorts that you could do as a family that would sure take the focus off yourselves which is the best distraction (counting your blessings, I always try to do that).

Are there others from your church you could maybe arrange a Thanksgiving potluck and then you wouldn't have to make (and buy) the whole meal yourselves? Neighbors?

I wish you didn't live so far away, Dawn, I'd have you and yours over for Thanksgiving at my house... we always have a TON of food.

I know it's difficult, but try to think of it as an opportunity to focus on love, family and charity this season, rather than the material. You can create lasting memories even without spending a lot of money. It may end up being far better than you're anticipating... that's where the real magic lies.

Joyful Dreamer said...

I'm so sorry things are so tight financially. It is rough when $ ruins the holidays. However you are probably better off this year getting your baby to sleep anyhow. Would it be possible for your parents to come down to see you for Thanksgiving instead?
Turkey is actually pretty frugal as far as meat goes. Make a small turkey, then freeze it for future meals. It can substitute for chicken in just about any recepie. They even sell just turkey legs or breasts which are quite big and very cheap, and two might be enough for your family. Cranberry sauce, some mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans and a homemade pumpkim pie. Not fancy, but still traditional fare. Any leftovers can be dinner the next day. And it won't cost you more than any other meal really.

As for stockings, food can fill a lot. Popcorn packets, cocoa packets, an orange, some nuts, a few candies, some dollar store toys can fill a stocking pretty quick. For the baby an outfit, a toy and some baby biscuits, or baby snack foods. Think simple and something you'd buy anyways.

I hope that things look up soon!

Rachel Anne said...

Dawn, let me first say....I feel your pain. Our business is s.l.o.w. right now and we are owed a huge (to us) payment that I fear we will never see. I was SO BUMMED yesterday I could barely move. Argh!!!

Let's cry together.

I do feel better, but I'm fighting hard for positive thoughts. I am doing my best to meditate on Zeph. 3:17 and then I opened THREE TIMES to this obscure verse: Habakuk 3:17-19. Believe me, I am working it over.

Tips? Suggestions? Maybe get together with another family or a single person/college age people. Make everyone bring stuff :) It may be your only opportunity in the next 30 years to do something other than get together with your parents, so it could be kinda fun. Just once.

I wish I was crafty myself.......I've made gifts in the past, but that's really not my forte. Your photos are so amazing, what about a small photo album?

I hope you feel better soon, don't OD on the cough meds. I REALLY hope Port will let you get some sleep! Things always look better when you're rested......

Great idea to ask for suggestions...I like what the other ladies had to say.

tommiejo said...

I'll keep you in my prayers. I've always thought Thanksgiving could be the most frugal of holidays if you stick with the traditional food items, buy the sales and make things from scratch. I was a single mom of two boys for many years, sans child support so I HAD to learn to stretch a dollar. And, although I am much better off these days, the frugal is still in my blood. There are lots of frugal blogs that might be offering suggestions for this time of year (and the rest of the year). One frugal blog I know if is
You'll be fine. This too shall pass.

J. Nalley said...

We are primitive camping for Turkey Day. But last year we had chips and dip. So we are no help, but we are definitely frugal and having family time! Anything can be a fun tradition (my chicken dip is actually a tradition for us). You could spend the day putting up your Christmas tree if you haven't already. All these other ideas are great too. A game night, a craft day, lots of books about holidays all can make it special. Your kids will just love time with you! I am never in short supply of construction paper so let me know if you feel crafty and I'll send some stuff your way! You will make it special! I'll pray for you and hope you will discover new blessings this year.

Julia said...

*hugs* No one should have to deal with financial stress during the holidays (and especially when sick). I think everyone has given you some terrific suggestions.

Erin said...


I'm not a crafty type, so I totally understand.

As far as Thanksgiving. Do you have friends and neighbors in the area also staying home? Offer to hsot a potluck. No turkey necessary, just ask everyone to bring a dish and I love the scavenger hunt idea.

Hope you are feeling better. A cold when you are already feeling down is a double whammy of bad feelings.

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