It seems like every year when Christmas time approaches we are strapped for cash. It's always something. This year our dog Henry got hit by a car and we racked up a pretty hefty hospital bill. Instead of Christmas presents we spent a couple thousand dollars to fix our dog and bring him back home. Now don't get me wrong, Henry is fully worth the money, but it did throw a wrench in our plans. Even before our plans changed I made a goal for myself to try and make or buy used things for Christmas, so I was already attempting to save money.....and instead of changing Christmas for the kids, Dan and I decided to sacrifice our gift budget for each other and focus on the girls. We did however decide to buy a Roku (an electronic netflix live streaming device.....ask Dan, I don't know much about it!) and Dan got a ladder because he's been needing one for different chores around the house; currently cleaning out gutters and putting up Christmas lights. And I am getting a crafting space!! We have a nook in our guest bedroom that isn't really big enough to fit much, but Dan is going to build me a large (59 x 36) counter height table that I can sew and craft on, and he's actually on his way right now to pick up a cool shelving unit that I can store all of my craft/sewing supplies in instead of having it all over the house! We are also going to use the lower shelves for books. I'm sure this will probably shock you, but we found the shelf on craigslist! :)
So, that is pretty much our Christmas. We might buy a few stocking items to give to each other, but for the most part no highly anticipated Christmas surprises this year!
We sold the girls play kitchen on craigslist (surprise, surprise!) last week (for more than we bought it for!!!!). It was the big Step 2 deluxe kitchen with all the gadgets and about a zillion pieces of plastic play food. The kitchen was big in overall size, but all the cabinets and drawers were really small and it was very crowded with all the bells and whistles. The girls just didn't play with it. I decided that I wanted to get rid of it and replace it with a simple, no frills wood kitchen with minimal accessories and play food made of wood. I really think a play kitchen is good for kiddos, there are so many fun ways to use their imagination in a kitchen/home environment, but our old kitchen left nothing to the imagination. Anyway.......their big present this year is a new kitchen set. Dan and I got them the refrigerator, and the grandparents got the oven and sink. Each piece is separate so we can space them out as much as we want, and they are a good size for preschoolers.....the refrigerator on our old play kitchen was like 12 inches tall, this fridge is 34 inches and they are so simple! I love them!
We also got them 1 wooden pot and 1 pan, 2 wooden plates, 2 wooden bowls 2 sets of wooden silverware, 1 wooden tea set with 2 cups and 2 saucers, a few pieces of wooden food, and a wooden toaster! Just enough accessories to play with, but not so much that it gets spread all over the house! I'm also working on making felt food in my spare time (snort!) which has been really fun to try and figure out! So far I have only completed a strawberry, but I have eggs, carrots, pasta and more strawberries cut out and ready to hand sew. If I get them done....great, if not.....they can always wait! I'm also in the process of making them some canvas grocery bags that they can use to grocery shop with their new kitchen!
I also got the girls a Waldorf doll. If you don't know what I'm talking about, chick HERE. Or you can google Waldorf. I really want to make them Waldorf dolls, but not only do I NOT have time before Christmas, I also have no idea how to do it, so I thought I'd buy one and at least have an example that I can work from in the future. My sister in law let me borrow her pattern to make a heavy baby which is in the Waldorf style, but seems a lot easier to me for some reason....so maybe that would be the best place for me to start. Anyhoo.....this is Waldorf doll I bought:
And of course they are getting the way cool plantoys doll house I got off craigslist a couple months ago. I decided that I'm not going to give them ALL of the dollhouse accessories at one time.....it would probably be very overwhelming so I'm going to save some of the furniture for birthdays and such.
I also got them pattern blocks and boards and I think they will love them.....a little too old for Charlotte, but Maddie will be able to rock it! And since Maddie is obsessed with all things mail related, I found a cute Melissa and Doug wooden mailbox set off craigslist!
I am making them ribbon wands and I already finished making a dyeing playsilks! I also plan on making a stuffed pig and another stuffed owl out of old sweaters. Maybe a rabbit too if I can find the time!
I know that it seems like a lot of stuff, but Dan gave me a budget and I totally stayed under it......I'm a very good bargain hunter, and honestly, making things myself saves a LOT of money! Plus, the play kitchen stove and sink are not from Dan and I, and I used the money I made off selling our old play kitchen to buy the refrigerator! Something untypical that we've decided to do with our girls, is not buy them individual Christmas gifts. They play with all of the same toys everyday, and until they get to the age where they are asking for specific items that aren't sharable, we just decided that it doesn't make sense to get them separate gifts. What's the point of giving Maddie a gift, telling her it's for her, and then making her share it with her sister or vice-versa? All of the gifts will be for both of them, and we'll just have them open all of them together! I haven't come up with any creative ways to deal with birthday presents yet, but I have 5 months (until Charlotte's birthday) to come up with something! :) So, I guess that's it for the Schultz family Christmas 2009. Now you can go and have visions of sugar plums dancing in your heads! Ho-ho-ho.