Monday, March 16, 2009

The lost art of bartering

My daughter wanted to start piano lessons. I know this isn't a tangible product that would be entering my home. I still felt the need to eliminate the expense. Actually, if I couldn't get it for free, I couldn't afford it.

I found someone that would allow me to barter for lessons. She teaches piano and I iron her husbands shirts while she is giving the lesson. Equal time spent for both of us. I guess she would rather teach piano than iron shirts. Can't blame her.

I don't iron any clothes at home. The sacrifices I make for my children!

My's birthday party season!

Well, with one kids party under my belt, now I am challenged to two more within the next two weeks.

The one we attended on Saturday, went very well. Our recycled gifts were very well received. We gave the birthday girl some gently used dress-up clothes that no longer fit my girls. I also threw in a Learning Resources toy that I had purchased, new in the box from Goodwill, prior to my year without buying.

I may have to get a little more creative with all these parties coming up. I just had an idea...I could give the birthday girls a gift certificate for a special day with my daughter. Take the two of them someplace special and treat them to ice cream or a stop at a fancy bakery. I'm not sure I will try that. Most of the kids probably wouldn't get the concept. Back to the drawing board.

I do have a few more items stock piled in the closet. I don't know if it will last all year however.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another small dilema

Well, we just received a birthday party invitation. Both of my children are thrilled and definitely want to attend the party. The dilema lies in the expected gift. Now, I know the mother of this child doesn't care if we bring a gift or not. She is following my year without buying anything.

With past parties, I would go out with the girls and let them choose something to give to the birthday child. This would lead to the inevitable whining for me to buy them something too. Not that I ever caved to the pressure, but it was still painful! Then of course there is the agonizing decision of how to package the gift. Which pretty bow to pick, which bag....all of this used to take place at the dollar store granted. I could never have paid retail for that crap. So that's a minimum of two store visits.

This is another situation that people often go overboard. I really think the kids would just be happy to be together and play. Of course the cake and ice cream would be a big bonus. I think feeling like the center of attention for a whole day, could be gift enough. If a child could possibly be raised in an environment where he didn't know about birthday gifts, would he still be happy on his birthday without receiving any gifts? I think so. As long as the people in his life make him feel special.

So what am I going to do? I know I will have the kids make cards. That's not frowned upon generally. I have plenty of paintings my kids have done. Hopefully, I can convince them to part with one to use for gift wrap. If not, I'll have them create an original with this intent. We also have a stash of pretty bags and bows that I always save to reuse. I am considering giving some gently used items. I have been saving a "dress up" outfit that no longer fits my girls. I think it will be perfect.

What do you think? Please weigh in on the subject.