A Bucket List is Built

With only a few hours left in 2013 so many people are reflecting, summing up the old and getting ready for the new. Tonight we’ve opted the frugal approach to new year’s..yoga pants, chinese take out and Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve (if that’s what it’s still called). I can’t help but sit here and think about what 2013 has brought and the truth is it’s all pretty blurry. I can’t find words to sum it up. The highs were great but the lows were too low. My roller-coaster of emotion ran a record number of runs and while I don’t know what 2014 will bring I do know that life is short, too short. So, with that being said, I see no better time to put my bucket list in writing. After much thought and many months of random mention, here it is…

bucket-list-pic

  1. Make something on a pottery wheel or better yet, just use a pottery wheel once.
  2. Bicycle through the California wine vineyards
  3. Take a family road trip vacation (que National Lampoons)
  4. Zip-line
  5. Watch my children graduate college
  6. Be married for 50 years (to Brent)
  7. Go to a Broadway Musical in NYC
  8. Stay at the Waldorf-Astoria or the Plaza (either one will do lol)
  9. Take a painting class
  10. Go on a tropical vacation with my Bratpack ❤
  11. Stand under a waterfall in Hawaii
  12. Ski
  13. Take that celebratory cruise with the Paul family
  14. Swim with dolphins
  15. Ice Skate in Central Park
  16. Hike the Big Tree Trail in the Sequoia National Park
  17. Swim in Hot Springs
  18. Write a book
  19. Make and keep a New Year’s Resolution

And there it is. It’s not a long list but it’s my list. I realize most of these things may not happen especially with my inability to ride a bike without falling or get on an airplane without a panic attack lol but I digress. Staying positive, I will remain focused on the fun of what can be done and for 2014 I plan to tackle the last item first. Together, Brent and I are going to make (and keep) a New Year’s resolution: to give up ice cream for one year. And because there is power in numbers we will take on the challenge of omitting our favorite snack food for the next 365 days, together. Wish us luck (because anyone who knows us, knows we will need it). Until next year…

Thanks for reading along and Happy New Year from the Fowler Family to yours.
ox

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12 Memories of my Dad

For the moment I’ll blame my child as my reason for being up ridiculously early on day 2 of my vacation. She spent the whole night kicking me in the head #momproblems. Of course the fact that I’ve been tossing and turning all night thinking about my Dad would have nothing to do with this…at all, right?

It is an understatement to say that finding my spirit this year has been difficult. Cue, Faith Hill’s Where Are You Christmas? but let’s be real, I know exactly where it is for me, in heaven with my Dad. I’m desperately searching for the feeling of magic and I’m damned and determined to make it happen in the next 24 hours not for me but for my girls. So I’m going to post a tribute 12 Memories of Dad and then drink a cup of (coffee) cheer and have the “hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f@#king Kaye.”

12. His favorite Christmas present was a popcorn tin with the three flavors of popcorn.
11. He always smelt of diesel fuel and old spice
10. “I’m just a redneck but I could shoot the shit with the president. What? He ain’t no different. He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like me.”
9. When we lived in Tx. He let my sisters and I get up, get ready for school, walk to the bus stop and wait. We thought we missed the bus so we walked back after 30 minutes and he told us “oh, sorry you have a snow day” Thanks, Dad.
8. “The ball doesn’t have a brain.”
7. He once “spanked” the wall instead of me and told me not to tell my mom. I went out and sarcastically told my mom what happened in a “nah-nah-na-nah” way …then I got spanked.
6. He called make-up war paint
5. Being a kid at heart he loved to jump on beds and furniture. Even as a grown man, he could do a front flip in a hotel room from one double-bed to the other. No joke!
4. In Middle School he would wake us up with a wooden spoon and pot. As a parent, I now fully understand this was payback to us for when we were babies/toddlers. Well-played, Dad. Well-played.
3. He loved water fights and food fights and often started them at the dinner table.
2. “The sun came up.”-His number one mantra
1. My favorite memory is when he would wake me up, sometimes around 4 or 5 in the morning, while everyone was asleep, and we would go get breakfast. I’d roll out of bed and into the car. We’d eat at some dive and then I’d come home and crawl back into bed #priceless

Merry Christmas, Dad. ox

This Season: Don’t indulge with your wallet.

ImageBeing frugal can be a challenge for some. For me, if you ask my husband, I am “the cheapest woman on the planet” lol (thank-you, babe) that’s not to say it isn’t a challenge, we all have our moments and weaknesses. And I am fully aware that there is one type of spending that I have little to no problem doing, on others. 

I have always had this problem. I remember when I was little going on field trips I would want to bring my mom and dad home souvenirs. So for me, the personal challenge of frugality comes during the holiday season when I wish I had the money to spend on everyone else. I’d love to be able to go Christmas shopping with a limitless credit card as long as I promise to spend on everyone but me, that sounds like one fun shopping spree! Especially this year. So many people have helped us and supported us throughout this past year of ups and downs. Most recently some amazing peeps came through with an overwhelming outpouring of love to try to make right our neighborhood grinch. I so badly want to give back and make everyone feel as special and as wonderful as they are to us. Unfortunately we simply don’t have the money to do this and I can honestly say the words “thank-you” have never been said with more true meaning and gratitude than we have for each and everyone near and dear to us. Let this be the first lesson, a true heartfelt thank-you where you can feel the warmth when you say it…now that is priceless!
 
Regarding my shopping downfalls, I have to say I had never considered the way I gift for any occasion. I always simply justified it but again, this is not budget friendly. We always make presents, but let’s be honest this can add up. Yes, it is better than hitting up those big box stores for all the presents but ingredients, supplies, wrapping and shipping can certainly extinguish one’s budget just as fast. This year was a combo of both. But what about Santa? Christmas is so magical to kids and getting to help fulfill that joy is priceless in and of itself but the truth is it is not priceless it is costly. This is not frugal whatsoever. As we embarked on the holidays season and began looking out our options I happen to stumble across the answer and was over the moon about it. This, in my opinion, is a brilliant philosophy for Christmas gifting/shopping especially for kiddos. Thank-you, Pinterest. Let the nods begin. Yes, Pinterest has once again saved the day with the following little ditty:
 
Something they want
Something they need,
Something to wear,
Something to read. 
Perfect! (and furthermore why I haven’t I thought of that?)
 
No over spending. No last minute “oh, but she would love this” and the best part is while it’s great for the kids, it works for just about anyone you need to really shop for. I even shopped for Brent like this, success! There are other takes on this shopping mantra, religious, personal, etc. but these seem to fit the bill for our family. Of course there is the challenge of what does a 2-year really “need’ besides life’s necessities but that can be the fun of it too. Toys are a part of this (and thankfully still can be this year!) but I know our children will have the same magic regardless of how many pkgs are under the tree. For us, Christmas isn’t about the presents and bows but rather the presence of our faith and celebrating the gifts that come from within. However, there is magic in the belief of a child in Santa- a magic that lives in our hearts and for some there can even be a connection made between the two; but this is not a religious rant, to each their own; but rather the point here is about balance. Not undoing all we have worked hard to accomplish in the light of indulging in gift giving. If somehow we can maintain a balance between losing our savings and keeping the faith this seems to create the most well-balanced holiday in a season full of indulgences…besides that’s what the cookies are for. 
 
Merry Christmas 
ox

Count Your Blessings Not Your Debts

It’s been a while since my last post. Thanksgiving was hard and holidays tend to serve as a reminder of the grief and pain of what was lost and who is missing from this special time of year. I’m doing my best to remain positive. It doesn’t mean I miss my Dad any less. Grief goes with you regardless of location, date and time. Sure some are harder than others (clearly from my last post) but I am humbled by all that I have experienced. A frugal blog is open to many types of shopping tips and tricks this time of year and perhaps that post will still come but for this moment I’d like to reflect.

 
Why are holidays always so stressful? They shouldn’t be. In fact, aren’t they supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? Why do we put so much emphasis on the expectation. If we all took time to simply appreciate and breathe, wouldn’t it be easier to find our personal peace? Take an extra moment to hold a door, buy a well-deserved yet unexpected cup of coffee for a stranger, say I love you instead of “we need to do this or can you do that?” Just pause for a moment and reflect. Even in the hard times let the most wonderful time of year remind us- not of what we are missing, be it fiscally, physically or emotionally, it does not matter- count your blessings not your debts.