Black Friday

Next week at this time the stores will be packed with shoppers looking for incredible deals for all the gifts on their shopping lists for friends and families. From store to store they’ll trek, pushing through the crowds, being shoved about, and often struggling to get that elusive “hot toy” of the year.

But before this all starts people start scouring the black Friday ads, planning their attack, and plotting with those who they’re shopping with. What I find troublesome is that this tradition once started on Friday, the day AFTER Thanksgiving has evolved into a 3 – 4 day shopping frenzy. Last year stores started their sales a littler earlier to entice shoppers and make more money of course, so at midnight or earlier the stores opened their doors to the flocks of people who had camped outside the doors.

This year though they’re starting the black Friday sales at 8pm! 8pm! This is pure insanity!

What happened to the Thanksgiving holiday? What happened to family time? What happened to resting & relaxing?

When did we as a society become so materialistic that we have to give up time with our loved ones, some of whom may have driven hours or spent hundreds of dollars on airplane tickets, to run out shortly after the family meal is finished just to fight the crowds for a supposed great deal on wrapping paper or some TV that isn’t really necessary for kids?

I’ve braved the crowds once… yes, just once in my entire life to go to a black Friday sale and it was around 5am that I went out. You know what? It wasn’t really worth it! The deals were so-so, the products that were on sale weren’t anything that spectacular, and more often than not the toys that they have on sale aren’t ones that my kids want.

black friday

So here’s a little history about black Friday from that I dug up.

The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

This year I challenge you.

I challenge you to skip the black Friday insanity and instead stay home. Yes! Stay home with your family and friends. Spend some quality time with them talking, eating a wonderful home cooked meal or creative leftovers, sipping a glass of wine in front of the fire, or playing cards together.

Do something other than giving into the insanity that is causing us to forget about actually giving thanks for what we have and spending quality time with our families.

The sales and “special” deals will always be there. Family won’t.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas Card

I hope that you and your family have a


holiday this year!

Thank you all for your love, support, kind words, and friendship over the past year. It means more to me than words could ever express and I look forward to the upcoming year and all that has in store of us!

Andrew, Santa, and I

Every year we pass by the center of the mall where Santa has set up shop and is surrounded by a magical winter wonderland. I watch the families as they wait patiently or not so patiently for their turn to talk with Santa so they can explain those bad moments, elaborate on the good, and tell him everything they want on the never ending list. I look at them with fond memories of doing the same thing with my girls when they were younger, but now they’re older and don’t fully believe in Santa.

As luck would have Andrew believes in Santa! He recognizes the big man and will look at me with his head titled slightly and says, “anta?” Other times he smiles and says, “ho, ho, ho”. It’s all beyond cute!

We braved the mall to have our turn with Santa. But this time I planned ahead! I didn’t want to stand in that line, weaving in and out of the ropes that help form the line, for an hour or more with a 2 year old who can’t sit still. We left early and got to the mall just before the stores opened and Santa had just arrived. We were first in line and there was nobody after us.

We had plenty of time to make our way carefully up to Santa. Andrew was enthralled with the animated deer and fake snow that surrounded Santa’s chair and had to check it all out. Finally, I was able to get him closer and he stopped, pointed and said, “anta.” He refused to get any closer to the big man. This was my fear…. I really was hoping that we’d get a good picture… but he wanted nothing to do with him.

Eventually we made it to Santa but it was only because I had to pick him up and walk over there. Andrew was glued to me and his little arms weren’t letting go for nothing. Nope, the cute Santa picture wasn’t happening.

Thankfully the photographer was great and we got a picture!

andrew, santa, & I

Yes, that’s me in the picture. It was the only way that we could get Andrew close to Santa. Better than nothing right?

Good thing I got ready that morning!

Creative Kristi Designs

Surviving the Holidays

With the holiday season fast upon us family gatherings, office parties and other celebrations with family and friends will soon occupy a lot of our time. This can be a stressful time of year and even more so when you have divorced parents, are divorced your self, or worse yet both! Coordinating all the events could give even the best planner a run for their money!

But what can you do to get through the holiday season without causing harm to one of your family members or going absolutely insane?

Yes, I know what you’re thinking…. Wine! Lots and lots of wine. But in all seriousness there really are a few things that you can do to survive the holiday season!

  1. Just roll with it – Yes, you heard me. Don’t let things get to you otherwise you’ll end up getting stressed out. If you know that the holidays with your in-laws is a rough time then prepare yourself in advance and just let things slide, because it’s only one day and then you can go back to your own home and relax.
  2. Stay home – I know it’s radical but if you have to do it then stay home and do what’s best for you and your family.
  3. Me time – I think that this is an absolute must. Take time for just you whether it’s reading a book, taking a long hot bath, or get out for a cup of coffee with a girlfriend.
  4. Don’t have the party at your house – for me this causes more stress on myself and my immediate family because of all the work that it involves and the stress of making sure that everything is perfect. Let someone else throw the party and you just go and enjoy it.

I know that I’ll be taking some of my own advice this year! With at least 4 family gatherings to attend this holiday season I’ll need some me time at home… with a glass of wine!

So how do you survive the holiday season with your family? Join the conversation on BlogHer and share your thoughts with everyone and while you’re there enter to win the $250 sweepstakes!

The Valentine Gift

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Samantha from Mommy to a Princess. Take a few minutes to check out her blog after you read this!

She is the 28-year-old mother of Princess Roxy and wife to Russ.  She is a paralegal at a small law office in Kentucky and is involved with her local March of Dimes chapter.  In her spare time, she blogs about the antics and milestones of raising a 29-week micropreemie.

February 14th. Valentine’s Day. Its only 5 days away! Are you ready?

I checked Wikipedia when I agreed to do this guest post to read up a bit on the history of Valentine’s Day. I already knew it was previously known as Saint Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t know that it had been taken off the Roman Catholic calendar. I wonder how they decide to remove a special day from the calendar? I was also shocked to know that Valentine’s Day originates from way back in 500 A.D. That’s a long time! Unfortunately, I believe it remains on our calendar today as a commercial holiday that boosts the economy one $60.00/dozen rose purchase at a time.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Is it with the usual flowers/chocolate/dinner out?

The first two Valentine’s Day when I had a boyfriend, I received stuffed animals. The first was liberally sprayed with my high school boyfriend’s cologne. I guess it was the thing to do back then.

My first Valentine’s Day with Russ I received a dozen long-stem roses at work. Along with two other dozens of roses from family members who didn’t want me to be the only one at work with no flowers. Um, where do I put three dozen roses on my desk? I even had a co-worker offer to buy a dozen so that he wouldn’t have to order any for his wife.

What do I want for V-day this year? There are a few things that top my list:

  • A massage. I don’t care if its 30 minutes or an hour. Its a little bit of heaven for a hectic mommy.
  • New socks. Goofy request I know, but I can’t help it. I am spending way too much time in the morning trying to find two socks that match or that match the outfit I am wearing.
  • A meal that I don’t have to cook and that I can eat while its warm.
  • Any of the commercial V-day gifts would work, too. Flowers, chocolate. They are always good.

I was searching for a good gift for Russ for Valentine’s Day this year and I can tell you a few things that he is not going to be getting:

  • A new furnace. Because, well, we just got a new one and even if we hadn’t, they are a bit expensive for Valentine’s Day. However, according to a local radio station and their advertising, it would be the perfect way to “warm” your significant other’s heart on V-day.
  • Bacon anything. A search on MSN led me to a site with anything bacon – bacon candles, bacon flavored coffee, chocolate bacon, bacon bandages for boo boos. Yep – its not happening. As much as I love bacon for breakfast, I do not want that smell hanging around my house. Ick!
  • A picture frame. I tried this one our first V-day together. Its still in my closet somewhere because Russ left it at my house and never tried to take it home.
  • Candles. I saw an advertisement for candles for V-day. It was a set of two for $73. $73 for a candle? I don’t even want to pay Yankee Candle prices and I adore their candles! These two were supposed to be two different rose-based scents (enough for a migraine to start right now!) that could be burned separately or together. The other selling points? When sitting together their abstract design forms an abstract heart. Same with the packaging. No need to wrap. For $73 I had better not need to wrap them!

Valentine’s Day Flowers!

It’s not to soon to start thinking about Valentines Day!

You can send flowers with Teleflora and make your special Valentine smile! Their flowers are designed in beautiful arrangements and hand-delivered to your Valentine’s door by a local florist. Nothing will delight them this February 14th like Valentine’s Day flowers delivered to their office or home! The romantic Valentine’s Day bouquets will show them how much you care!

I know that I love getting flower and have even sent them to my husband at work! I think it caught him off guard…. he totally didn’t expect it! Surprise your sweetie this year!

A Beautiful Winter Morning

Doesn’t that title sound like it belongs to a poem? I think so, but alas… you won’t be finding poetry here because as much as I love it I just cannot write it.

Instead I give you this.

Winter 2008

Winter at my house 2008

Normally when I drive into work when the roads are snow covered I tend to take the ‘safe’ route. You know, the one where you’re sure that the roads are clear and I do this because of my deep fear of landing in a ditch again. Instead I took the back way into work and I’m glad that I did.

It was truly a beautful morning. It was that time where it’s between night and day, just as dawn is starting to break.  The sky was just starting to lighten up and I could see the full moon through a thin veil of clouds. The snow was slowly falling from the sky and had been for some time.

The ground was covered in a smooth layer of fluffy white snow, covering mounds here and there that looked like big marshmallows on the ground. The road was covered lightly as well and as I drove down the road the snow glistened as my headlights reflected off of it. It had a magical look to it all.

My back way takes me through the country so there are a lot of open fields, farms, large homes, and lots of holiday lights. Many people had their holiday lights on so it only added to the magic of it all as they twinkled in the twilight.

By time I reached town the roads started to clear and then as I passed a large salt truck the realization hit me that soon the beautiful white snow would quickly be turned to brown, slushy, slop that is far, far from what I saw on my way into work.

The beauty of a snowy, winter morning can be peaceful and enjoyable.

My Favorite Holiday Movies

I have a fondness for old movies especially the traditional or classic Christmas movies. Some of them I just love for no reason in particular, others remind me of a simpler time of life, and then there are some that are childhood favorites that I love being able to share with my kids.

Even now my kids are starting to like the old movies that I like. Musicals are a top genre in our house… unless you ask the husband and he’ll tell you a different story all together.

Here are some of my favorites.

  • White Christmas
  • Holiday Inn
  • A Christmas Story
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • A Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Rudolph
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I’m watching White Christmas as I write this post. It’s actually one of my favorites that I watch year round with my kids and it’s one of those movies that remind me of the simpler times, when life was a little slower for everyone.

Do you have favorite movies that you like to watch during the holiday season with your family and what are they?

The Magic of the Holidays

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...
Image via Wikipedia

Do you remember the holidays when you were a child? How everything started at Thanksgiving with the family gathering and hope for snow to soon start falling. I remember running around with my cousins and sitting at the kids table. It was a magical & fun time.

As children my brother, sister, and I would all make lists of all the wonderful and newest toys that we wanted, we promised to be good and often tried really hard too! Once the decorations started going up the magic only increased. The smell of the fresh cut pine tree was always the first thing because every year no matter what we had a real tree and never a fake one. We’d all go out to a local tree farm and walk around until we found the perfect tree and then my dad would cut it down, the following day we’d bring it in the house and begin to decorate it.

The twinkling lights, the shiny bulbs, and decorations that were made with care in art class at school all went up on the tree. It was never one of those perfect show trees and to this day I’ve never had that kind of tree! Shortly following the tree the stockings and all the other decorations would go up around the house. It was all so beautiful and even more so as a kid!

We’d watch all the great Christmas shows & cartoons that we patiently waited for each year! To this day I watch every single one of them with my kids! And I don’t know a person who doesn’t like them!

As Christmas eve approached the excitement grew! We’d leave out cookies & milk for Santa, which he always ate, and carrots for the reindeer. Now, my kids leave cookies out as well, but sometimes instead of carrots they’ve left reindeer food that they’ve made in school. I hear the reindeer really like the oatmeal & glitter mix a lot more than carrots!

Even now, as an adult there’s magic in Christmas. I love watching the building excitement in my kids as it gets closer to the big day! Every Christmas Eve we leave the tree lit all night as we wait for Santa and then once the kids are all tucked away in their warm beds upstairs we start pulling out the presents and stacking them around the tree. Slowly our living room transforms into a Christmas wonderland! Afterwords I even find it hard to sleep the night through! It’s so exciting waiting for the kids to wake and come down in the morning!

My favorite part is when they come down and see all the gifts & the stockings filled to the top. I can hear them looking around excitedly, poking at all the gifts as they figure out which one belongs to who. It’s so much fun to listen and then pretend to sleep when one of them comes to wake us.

It really is magical! What is your favorite part of the holiday season? Is it still magical for you?