Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 22- Get A Family Membership To A Sports Club

We finally did it! We bought a family membership to a sports club. It is club that we have been wanting to join for a long time. This is the first year that we feel like we can afford it. Individual memberships were always possible, but for a family of 5 the cost can be high.

This morning my husband and I went to the club and worked out together. The girls went to a room set up for kids that has a Wii, rock climbing, recumbent bikes for kids and other fun things to do. They seemed to have a lot of fun. I can sign my older kids up for a program that will eventually allow them to use the workout equipment. I see a lot of good times as a family. The facility has a pool, tennis courts, basket ball courts, an outdoor pool for summer and other fun things. I am very excited.

I am optimistic that we will all start to get into better shape, exercise more in our free time and try new things that the club offers us. I can't wait to get started.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 21 - Honesty Is The Best Policy

Yesterday I took the kids to McDonald's for lunch. We rarely go to McDonald's, our youngest is the only one in the family who likes the food. The rest of us find it repulsive and avoid it at all costs. But, Maeghan really wanted to go for her good grades, so we went.

I ordered 4 milkshakes for us, the only edible thing on the menu. I also ordered some more food, had a coupon and paid in cash. I thought the order process was going pretty smooth, for McDonald's that is. We found a table and started eating. I started thinking about the cost and realized that it seemed too low, so I did something I should always do and looked at the receipt. Sure enough I was only charged for 3 milkshakes. I casually mentioned this having every intention of just throwing the receipt away and never thinking about it again. My daughter Hannah spoke up and said "do you want me to go pay for it?" Wow, I was in a pickle at that point. I say no they forgot, I am teaching her that it is all right to take what isn't hers. Obviously I said yes and gave her some cash and the receipt and told her to offer to pay for it. We got the response I was expecting, we did not have to pay. It was their fault and policy that once that happens, McDonald's takes responsibility.

We learned a lesson though, or at least I did. Actually, I learned a couple lessons. First, these kids really do watch everything we do, they watch it and they make note of it. If I would have said no, my daughter would have seen me as dishonest and a thief. Second, I learned that it really does feel good to do the right thing, no matter how small it seems. The manager came to our table and told us how nice it was to have honest customers and how much she appreciated knowing that their were still honest people out there. My kids heard that and will remember it.

I have to come clean though, I have always been one of those people that lets something like a missed charge at a restaurant go. I know most of us do it. I would never take wrong change, or let a missed article of clothing go at a store. I have always thought of missed charges at restaurants as being different for some reason. It is not different at all, it is all the same. It is stealing and I have "stolen" my own share of forgotten milkshakes over the years never really thinking it was stealing. I won't do that again. My 12 year old daughter taught me a lesson that only a child who truly knows the difference between right and wrong can teach, and she didn't even realize she had done it. So thank you Hannah for making me a better person, I needed that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 20 - Buy My Daughter A Bird

Buying a bird should not be on my list of things to improve my life. I really do not care for animals in my house that are not of the K-9 variety. I think they smell, I question why they are pets and I am not responsible enough to take care of a pet that does not let me know when it is time to pee. My husband and I are dog people and that's it. My daughter, Hannah, is an animal person. She loves all pets and would love to have a room full of rodents, amphibians, birds and reptiles. She has an aquarium of fish, which she takes very good care of. But, she has wanted another pet for a long time.

At the start of the school year Hannah and I signed a contract. She gets a 3.5 in school, participates in a sport and practices her violin and she can have a hedgehog. I still can't believe I agreed to that, but we were desperate. Hannah is very smart, but is more than content to just get by without effort. Her teachers have been telling us for years that she rushes and doesn't try as hard as she should. That is why we created this contract. She worked her butt of this semester at school, practiced the violin and joined volleyball. Her GPA is above a 3.5 and she made the high honor roll. Proving what the experts have been saying all along. She can do it!

Thankfully she decided that a hedgehog is not the best idea and decided on a bird. So today I fulfill a promise to my daughter and she understands what it means to be rewarded for hard work. While I wish we were not getting a bird, I understand that I have to keep my promise, she kept hers. I also know that when I see her excitement at the pet store today I will be happy I did this for her. I only hope that bird understands that when the cover is on it's cage it has to be quiet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 19 - Exfoliate

I have had problems with dry skin and eczema since the birth of my second child in 1999. It is not uncommon for me to have such bad eczema on my hands that I am unable to cut fruits and vegetables that are acidic. My hands are often cracked and bleeding, with dry patches that are just plain gross to look at. It has been an embarrassment and I had always been at a loss of what to do.

A couple years ago, I went to see my dermatologist, again, to beg for a stronger prescription. I was told that I really was maxed out and that I couldn't have a stronger steroid to get it under control. He told me that when I get a flare up I have to get it under control right away or else it will get worse. For a couple years I used the steroid cream, eucerin, aveno, and the aveda hand relief. None of these worked to my satisfaction until I found a trick, recommended to me by someone who was giving me a manicure. She told me to exfoliate my skin at least once a week. She told me that I need to get the dry skin off my body in order to get the dry skin under control. I tried it and it worked! I exfoliated once a week and used an over the counter moisturizer after showering. That was it, no more steroids or weird lotions. Last winter I was symptom free and this winter I have been symptom free because I make this my daily routine.

I bought myself a pair of exfoliating gloves and use them every morning in the shower. My hands have never gone so long without eczema. I just have to remember to do this everyday, probably for the rest of my life in order to keep symptoms away. It is becoming a habit, I hope I can keep it that way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 18 - Shovel the Driveway

I posted last night that we got a lot of snow. Peeking out the window this morning and seeing a snow packed driveway was not a surprise and gave me an idea. Instead of using the snow blower today. I am going to remove the snow the old fashioned way, I am going to shovel! Instead of my basement workout, my workout today is going to be a bit of multitasking. I know I am up to the challenge. It usually takes me an hour to shovel our driveway, that gives me the recommended workout and it keeps me outdoors for awhile. I see it as a win/win situation.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 17 - Safety First

Tonight all 3 of my kids have music lessons. My girls take violin and my son takes guitar. The lessons are about 15 minutes away from our home and require we take country roads to reach our destination. Well, tonight Wisconsin is getting a lot of snow and the plows are not keeping up with what is falling from the sky. The roads are slippery and the visibility is nearly none existent. In other words, driving is hazardous.

Winter storms on the nights of music lessons seem to be a trend. It does not matter what night of the week they are scheduled, the winter storms will always happen on music night. I always load the kids up and we go. Even though I know it is dangerous and not worth the risk. But, being the frugal person I am, I hate knowing that all that money is being wasted if we don't show up. Because, we pay even if we can't go to the lesson.

Tonight, I decided that part of my transformation this year has to involve letting go of this mind set and putting safety first. The safety and well being of my children is priceless, if I can't give up a few dollars to keep them safe, than I need to reconsider my priorities. I also find that when I drive in winter weather, I am scared, on edge and stressed out. I find myself angry at everyone because I feel like I have been forced to do something I don't want to do. I yell at the kids and my husband. Of course that makes sense, they are responsible for the bad weather (okay, a little sarcasm). Tonight we are staying at home, eating some crock pot chili and staying safe from the storm, a price tag cannot be put on peace of mind.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 16 - Spend Time With Young People

Okay, so I know that I am not old. But, I find that I feel really young when I spend some time with my kids and their friends. I did that this weekend and I had a blast.

Friday night I took my daughter and 5 of her friends out for her birthday. The girls all got manicures and then we went to my daughter's favorite restaurant, Bravo. I call Bravo the Italian version of Applebee's, maybe a little nicer, but a family place where it is fine to take a group of tweens.

When I am with my kids and their friends, I try not to get involved in the conversation, I just like to listen. I realize that little has changed in the way that kids this age interact. They may have more technology than we did, but everything else remains the same. They gossip, they talk about who they like and don't like, they laugh and just have fun. That is what happened on Friday and like I said, I had a blast.

These girls really made me laugh, a lot. No need to get into the details of our evening, I doubt anyone cares, plus it was our time. But, I walked away from the evening glad that I have children this age, they really do bring a lot of happiness into my life.