Monday, January 3, 2011

What do you mean Christmas is over??

I know this post may be a little “late”, but the holidays were a little different for us this year.  We opened presents with the kids on Christmas Eve, and then Christmas morning we drove from Michigan to Iowa to see my husbands family.  We were there for a week with no internet to access the blog.  So bear celebrate with me while I draw Christmas out just a while longer.  =)

Like every other time of year, I love to see how far we can stretch our budget.  Christmas is no exception of course – the stakes are just a little higher.  The Lord has blessed us tremendously this past year and it may have been our least “tight” Christmas we’ve ever had.  So I felt a little more freedom to spend where “necessary”, but I was able to find some great deals too…..

I was able to find a couple great things at “Toys Are Used”.  It’s an awesome toy consignment store in Grand Haven, MI - a tiny little place, packed to the gills with nearly every kind of toy you can imagine.  “Pre-loved”, but clean and with plenty of life left!  I always find some sort of treasure there, and the owner is such a nice lady!  If you’re in the area, I suggest you check it out! 

A couple highlights were.....finding a Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Scoot So Cute Doll for my daughter Emma for $4 – normally sells for $20-30!  She loves it! 

I also came across a cool little wooden rattle/teether for my Lucas called a Skwinkle Teether (packaged with another rattle) for $2.   A few days later I was flipping through the Land of Nod catalog and found the very same rattle for $16.95!  Saved some big bucks there, and they’re perfect for my two smallest curtain climbers.  Lucas really likes the bright colors and it kept him busy for a lot of our long drive.
Oh!  I also bought a couple (code-less) Webkinz that will be adorable additions to the boys “jungle” bedroom for $1 each!

It never ceases to amaze me that the simplest things are often the kids’ favorite presents at Christmas time.  This Christmas is was chipmunks.  They all think it’s hilarious to imitate the little critters from “Alvin and the Chipmunks”, so when I came across some little talking Happy Meal toys in a free bin at Toys Are Used, I knew they were perfect for the kids stockings.  They were thrilled!  I think they’ve gotten more fun out of these silly little things than almost anything else they received.

The chipmunks weren't the only free gifts either.  I gave Elijah and Jacob magnifying glasses I got for free from Menards, and Grace and Jacob got free flashlights from Menards.  Gracie had some Walgreens freebies in her stocking – Scunci hairties and Secret body spray.

You'd think with 5 kids this could be the most stressful Christmas so far (at least I thought it might be!), but it was far from it.  By planning ahead, thinking outside the box, and keeping Christmas in the back of my mind throughout the year it took soo much stress off, and kept the costs down.  We all had a great time and the kids enjoyed their gifts without breaking the bank or racking up credit card bills.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration and were able to spend precious time with friends and family celebrating the birth of our Savior! 

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