I’ve been Tagged

I have been tagged by my old friend Beast Mom so here we go..

Here are the rules. (1) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.(I will tag a few) (4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Okay theme…since I have been offering up Christmas tips I will go with a Christmas theme.

1. I am a Christmas babe, yeppers that is me born during the dinner hour on Christmas morn.

2. My decorations are out and up….

3. We open one present on Christmas eve and it always pjs! How does that happen?

4. We stay in our pjs all of Christmas day. Since it is just me and Roo and it is my birthday a girl can do whatever she wants right!

5. I am up till about 1 in the morning and back up before 6 Christmas morn. I am the big kid, and fake sleep to Roo announces Santa has been here and can she open her stocking now!

6. Stocking only gets opened before breakfast!

7. Breakfast is cinnamon rolls that are freshly made.

8. Since Christmas is my birthday my birthday has yet to be celebrated with a party ever!

So who is now it…since Ordinary Mom couldnt decide what to write on I will tag her, and how but Catholic Mom while I am at it and Shannon.

Christmas Tip #8–If you are one of those who shops online or orders via catalouge get those orders in this week. Up here in Canada our dollar is strong so mail will take longer this yar and there are already back logs at Canada Post so this is the week to finish that kind of shopping if you can.

Today I am thankful for yesterday, it really did make me and Roo both smile to be part of giving. Then last night I got some major good news for my daughter’s school community but that will make up a whole blog of its own so more to come on that very soon!

World’s Largest Stocking and Tom Brown

World RecordPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketToday at the Sony Center on Front street, we took part in the making of the world’s largest Stocking! Roo and I went out and bought a couple of large unwrapped toys this morning(thanks alot GC’s). Then it was time to head down to the Sony Center. We got there at 11 and already there was a line! I think this speaks volumes to the generous hearts of Torontians. All the toys are headed to the Salvation Army to help families here in To have a better Christmas. When we got there, cookies and hot chocolate was offered up to all of us waiting our turn…Then it was a quick dash inside where Roo struck up a conversation with Tom Brown, yes the CTV weatherman. She ended up doing the lunch time weather with Tom and then they both had there picture taken. Then they both made a mad dash up the stairs to where they could both put toys in the 9o ft  stocking. Soon I had my daughter back and we stood in line for a quick pic gifted to us by the fine folks of Sony and then we headed up the stairs where Roo put our second gift in the stocking. She was so excited that she was on tv. It was funny because when we got home there was a message from my aunt saying she saw her on the news. It was great fun to be part of the action today and all for a very good cause and at 4 pm it was annouced that we had the record!

Christmas Tip#7- Before in with the New, think recycle and get rid of the old. I have Roo clean out her toys boxes and we give her toys that she no long plays with to the local shelter here. As well I use this time of year to get rid of things that no longer fit. You have to have room for the new stuff right!

Today I am thankful for a fun day out with Roo that taught all the right stuff!

Works For Me Wednesday- Backwards Day

  Over at Rocks in my Dryer, she is hosting another great Backwards Day. What is a Backwards works for me Day you ask? It is when I get to ask you a question that I really want to know the answer to… so we all know I am cheaper than cheap right? We also if you are a reader of mine know that I am in the Christmas spirit early. What is you favorite cheap or frugal Christmas tip? I may feature your comments as Christmas comes closer and I feature a tip a day. I of course would give you the credit.

Christmas Tip#6..Start your Christmas Card List now. Getting it done know helps with mail time. Check your country for mailing deadlines. Some of these are fast approaching if you are mailing overseas. Also think outside the box when it comes to your list. Do you really have to mail 100 cards out? Can you maybe do a Christmas Email or Blog?? Think about it…

Today I am thankful the ability to move and feel. This morning I woke up sore and stiff and had to think at least I can feel my limbs and move them all on my own esteem.

Fare thee Well George for Now…

 I know I know I have already broken the Post a Blog a day pact. Im sorry. The last 2 days have been very hectic here as I took a very temp job to try and get some extra cash for Christmas.

Tonight I knew as soon as I heard the news that is now being reported everywhere that my post today would NOT be my usual frugal kind of post.

Today George Osmond passed away. If you don’t know who he was. He was the dad to Donny and Marie and seven other. 

For those of you who don’t know this: I grew up in love with Donny as did many girls my age.  I was excited when Donny lived here in Toronto for a wee bit during his performing time up here and we were in the same ward.

 When I think of his dad and the impact that dad had on his family I couldn’t help but think of two things. First the incredible love that was shown between all family members and it started from the top and flowed down and back up. Secondly they lived there faith. Then my thoughts were drawn to sacred covenants made at alters long ago and what they mean to those who call themselves LDS.  One of the primary beliefs that are held is that we can be together as a family unit after death. With that in mind. I know the Osmonds will miss their patriarch but I can just imagine right now a certain dance in the heavens between a man and his eternal bride who used to dance together to make money. I am sure as they grieve they will also be comforted by their faith.

Today I am thankful for my own family…For having had and having loving parents , and the bestest daugther.

Christmas Tip #5This is more a local request for those that live here in Toronto. Down at the Sony Center on Thursday, Nov 8th they are attempting a world record. What record: an attempt to fill the worlds largest stocking with unwrapped gifts for the Salvation Army. If you can please bring a large unwrapped toy between 12-3 pm to 1 Front St E please do so. If you are one of the first 1500 to do so you will receive as a thank you a ticket to White Christmas for the Nov 22nd performance. As well they will have lots of hot chocolate and cookies on hand and I have hard even a few giveaways….so come lets help some of the kids who need it have a brighter Christmas.

If you aren’t here in Toronto may you make giving somewhere somehow part of your holiday season.

Starting to Feel A Bit Like Christmas

Tis starting to feel a bit like Christmas. Yes all the store are quickly getting to into Christmas gear, and you truly know the season is at hand when The Bay on Yonge St reveals its Christmas window, they are a site and a tradition here in To.

Well here at Castle a La Cheap Mom we too are getting into the spirit so much so that guess what we broke out this weekend. The Christmas decorations.We went through the box, checked it once, checked it twice, and then began can I say this out loud — to decorate! Last year because we were tree less till just a few days before the holiday I really didn’t get to enjoy the season. So this year I am starting early! But then again I really love the season..

We are using an artificial tree, and have all the decorations we will need for the season minus a table cloth( can you figure out where I will be looking for one this week?).

Christmas Tip #4– When getting out your Christmas decorations why not try and save some green and use LED lights. We switched to these last years and for pennies our tree was well lite while not wasting much electricity…So be good on your pocket book and go green.

Today I am thankful for a daughter who loves Christmas as much as I do! Decorating with her after a hard morning of school work. (She finished her Emperor Scorpion project this morning) was so much fun. We laughed and giggled and remembered where and when each ornament came into our home. It truly was a great afternoon of fun.  

Happy Blogging Birthday to Me

It was five years ago tonight that I first sat at a computer screen and typed my thoughts for the world to see. Over the year many sites have hosted the evolution that is me.

I started my blogging journey on Xanga. My site there called “Simply Hollie” was the beginnings for me. It was there that I stayed for a bit. It was there that I first had to write about the fire that would change my life.

Then I moved my blog to MSN and took back an old MSN forum name I have used for many years on line: that being “Celestialmom”. I blogged here for a long time as well. It is here that I first blog about Roo’s diagnosis of being a special needs child.

Then when MSN was going through a period where my site was more down then up, I moved to blogspot again as Simply Hollie…while there I began Cheaper then Cheap as well( but it was only a few month old when I came here) and am now combining all that I am and ever will be.

In the last 5 years I have come to know and visit many bloggers  some stayed on my radar and others faded. You know us bloggers have a life outside our computers right? I have favorite reads that I must go to…girlfriends that I have known only through what they have typed to me over the years. Catholic Mom, Lynne, Beast Mom, SAMM, Jungle Mama, Katy, AM, Holy, Thotman are all old friends with many exchanges between us. AM moved from the blog world and has become one of my closest girlfriend’s…but we started our friendship online. It is her parent’s that took me in for a year after the fire.

I love the interactions that come from being part of the blog community and so I will make that what I am thankful for today this my blogger birthday! For those of you who have read me over the years thanks for letting me ramble-may you of taken away a piece of me. I want to thank you for stopping by, for sitting and reading a bit, for sharing and for caring.

No Christmas tip today I have a blog birthday party to get too! Happy Birthday to me!

November Has Blo In

Well November has come in with a roar! There is much to do for this cheap mom. Today begins National Blog Posting Month and I am participating so expect to see a post every day this month..

And I even have two themes for the month: Frugal Christmas tips and Gratitude. Since I am a thankful mom who is cheaper than cheap you will get to read the best of both. I may even sprinkle in some of Roo’s antidotes( when you are solo parenting a child with special needs you never know where life might take you).

So on to Christmas Tip#3:

If you already haven’t figure out your holiday budget..there is nothing worse then going in debt to show some love…so plan ahead.

Here is my holiday budget:

Christmas Baking: $20

Gifts for Roo:$175 ( $100 of this amount comes from her dad and gram who send cash and I buy gifts from them)

Gift for Mom:$25

Gifts for others: $30

Christmas Meal:$40


Roo and I are busy planning what we are making this year and I am sure than will come up in a tip to come.

When the fall comes it really does get you in a thankful mood as the holidays come along. Today I am thankful that I am a mom. It is the best job in the whole world. I love the fringe benefits of mommyhood the hugs and cuddles.

Well time to go pack up the candy that is still out…

Halloween Night-

costumeIts the night of ghosts and goblins, and trick or treaters gone mad and all thru the streets children are getting home with tired feet, and bags of goodies galore.

Roo and I left for a night of scares and treats at about 6:45 and got home about an hour later. Roo the mermaid dug into her candy and quickly surmised there were candies she would eat, so to the door she quickly went to hand out treats to the few revelers left outdoors.

Then in she came like a dash to sort and stack and see what she had amassed. Tired and happy we took pictures of one great haul. Roo is busy munching and filling freezer bags with chocolate galore.

candy haulHer haul

Gum and candy in one bowl, chocolate in another and chips are in the big bag to count and sort and nibble while we watch a movie till a child sleeps and mom can visit some blogs.

Happy Halloween

halloween  First I want to wish you each that stop by here today a great Halloween night….may this day not leave you too exhausted. Roo is going as a mermaid. My girlfriend Anne Marie(who spoils Roo rotten) bought her a mermaid costume. This mom was going to make Roo make a costume from stuff we have here at home. How dare I right? Well lucky for me me dear girlfriend is on a plane at this very hour going from China to Australia for a once in a life time trip. So no more Roo spoiling till at least December…

Now the thing every parent will of a school age trick or treater will be asking is what to do with all that candy..Roo usually brings home a pillowcase full….can you say candy mania!

Tonight I let her eat as much as she wants! Maybe I spoil her too. But after tonight things change in this house rather quick, and I become the Grinch that stole the Halloween candy.

After tonight this cheap mom lays down the law….

1. The cookie jar becomes the candy jar for the month of Nov…roo favorites go in here and she is allowed one a day…Don’t they say one a day keeps the doctor away? Wait that is for apples.

2. Chocolate bars that mom can get my hands on go into the freezer, these make great inserts for baking, and don’t you know frozen chocolate takes longer to eat making the treat last longer.

3.Think math concepts: sorting and stacking and grouping all help our lil ones learn math skills…do we have any future bankers?

4.Think craft time: Have you ever seen a candy tree? or strung life savers to make an edible necklace.

5. Some candy gets set aside for holiday baking…can you say cheap gingerbread men and houses…

6. Now if you are ambitious you could make a pinata for an upcoming birthday party( if you have a child like mine this means less favor buying right?)

7. Okay another craft idea Christmas ornaments….do I have you thinking, huh, Okay Hollie must be nuts or she has too much time on her hands.

Oh and I love the big oneas we go out early Roo instantly recycles her candy…anything she doesn’t like goes out to the late trick or treaters( you know the teens).

So with that send and done all the candy disappears quite quickly thank goodness.

Which brings me to Christmas Tip #2

Save candies for the gingerbread men and house, put in a sealed container or ziploc baggies to keep fresh.

Well time for this parent to get ready for this LONG day. May you not get too spooked tonight.

Um Um Um I hate to Mention It

 Today I woke up and thought what a great day for a walk around my favorite sites, and then I realized I have much work to do! Why?

Because Christmas is in 55 days!

I know Halloween hasn’t even passed yet and here I am thinking of Christmas, but in this house I am not only getting ready for Christmas but both me and Roo have birthdays over the holidays! Can you say stress for this cheap mom!

There are lists to be made, gifts to be made, visiting to be done, don’t forget parties to attend, concerts to listen to and so much more. This time of year makes us get to Jan 3rd( the day after Roo’s birthday) and collapse in exhaustion.

Well NOT this year! Being the wonderful cheap mom that I am I have a plan-  boycott Christmas!

Not really but I think this year I am ahead of the game and will be able to pull off a frugal Christmas, that still exudes the excitement that comes with the season…so for the next 55 days look ahead with me to that great day, and lots of frugal tips along the way.

TIP#1: Decide what about Christmas is important to you and your family. Make this the theme of your Christmas. Christmas is a time for traditions and values to come to a forefront.

Here in our house what matters most is family time! So there will be lots of that as we work, shop and play together this holiday season.