Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Tree Decorating


Last night, we finally got around to putting up our Christmas tree. I say finally, because we'd been trying to do it since Saturday afternoon. And while one day plus an afternoon doesn't seem like that long in retrospect, at the time, it seemed like we'd never get it accomplished. You see, every night this week, I have suddenly and predictably inexplicably gotten quite exhausted around 7:30 or 8. It started Monday and carried on all week. I thought that perhaps my body was having a difficult time overcoming the illness we brought back from Oklahoma, but the fatigue was my only symptom. So, I thought perhaps I wasn't getting enough vitamin D. I upped my intake, but that didn't help. Saturday evening, after I had made cookies and muffins, and was ready to decorate the Christmas tree, I sat down to rest because I was incredibly tired. Then, I ordered the boys pizza and went to bed. At 7:30. It dawned on me with the morning sun yesterday morning that after a month of daily trips to Starbucks to write, I had not had any caffeine in nearly a week. Oooooh, yeah, that'll do it.


So, last night, we decorated the tree. We chose to not get a real tree this year. We all much prefer a real tree, but it really wasn't in the works this year. Quite frankly, they're heavy, and awkward, and labor intensive. I just didn't have the energy to invest in one this year. (Probably because of the lack of caffeine.) 



At any rate, the boys broke out our tree. They hung the beads after much searching, and untangling, a bit haphazardly perhaps, but who cares? I've given up on my obsessive need to control where everything goes on the Christmas tree, which makes my life much easier around this time of year. Sadly, Gabriel seems to have inherited this trait. He spent much of the evening talking about putting ornaments up evenly, and even attempted to make a case for removing the beads and putting them on again. 

Xavier is one of those people who is never still. It is hard to get a non-blurry photo with a camera phone.
I spent the time organizing our pantry. If I can't be in control of the Christmas tree, I must be in control of something. It looks pretty, all organized and stuff.


After I convinced Gabriel that the beads would be okay, the boys put the ornaments on, and spent quite a bit of time 'posing' for blog pictures. 




We take turns adding the Santa to the top of the tree. I'm not sure how Gabriel felt it was my turn. I'm sure it wasn't, but he was insistent. That Santa is rather special to me. Gary and I bought it our very first Christmas together 17 years ago. It's not really a Christmas tree topper, but it is hollow. We picked him up in a little store full of Christmas things in Chania. I wish had gotten more things while we were in Greece, but we were not focused much on decorating while we were there, mostly on each other.



After the tree was decorated, I made Chacon, a new family favorite for dinner. For those who wish to know, I sliced a chicken breast almost in half, stuffed some cheese in, closed the breast, wrapped it in bacon, and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes. It was delicious. 


While the Chacon was cooking, we watched Unaccompanied Minors, which for some reason required the wearing of hats. Which, of course, meant I had to take more pictures. None of which were not blurry, because one of my children never stops moving. Never. Ever. 


And, just for fun, I included, for your viewing pleasure, some gratuitous shots of our pets. I didn't get one of our tom cat. He chose not to join me throughout the day, only gracing me with his presence at about 4 am this morning to tell me that I had not filled my bathroom sink with water for him to drink, which I promptly did in the dark, just to shut him up. (Yes, I know, you're saying what? Your cat drinks out of your bathroom sink? Really, they both love it, and we have two sinks in my bathroom, and if I don't put water in the sink, they sit there waiting for water to drip from the tap, whining all night.)



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Make Money On Cyber Monday


Tomorrow is Cyber Monday. Most online stores will be having fantastic deals. If you're planning to shop online tomorrow, or at any time ever again, you should sign up for Ebates. Ebates is a wonderful place on the internet, sort of like an adult Candyland. You sign up for free. Then, every time you shop online, be sure you access stores through their website. It's very easy. You just sign into Ebates and find your store on their website. They even have an app for shopping on your phone.


Sometimes, they have special coupons or free shipping. They usually have a percentage of cash back from your purchase. For instance, in the above picture, there is an offer for Living Social that gives 25% off your next purchase, plus 4% cash back. This offer is good until December 3rd. It's a great deal because this is in addition to the savings you already get by shopping through at Living Social.

You can use all your other promotions with the cash back. For instance, my mother got an 8% cash back offer for Kohls, and used that in addition to the 15% off the Black Friday deals she was taking advantage of for Christmas. She also got Kohls bucks. Since she was sending this gift long distance, she took advantage of Kohls' free shipping, and saved even more money.

If you'd like to save money this year, and you plan to shop online, be sure you take advantage of Ebates. Another tip I heard last year is that many grocery stores give special deals for gift cards. For instance, our local grocery store, Kroger, gives double points for gift card purchases. I can then turn around and use those gift cards to buy things through Ebates. This enables me to get cheaper gasoline, and save money on my Christmas gifts.

I try to purchase as much as possible locally, and make many of my Christmas gifts myself. But, if I do any online shopping, I try to remember to go through Ebates

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

*If you follow my links, I get a referral bonus if you make a purchase. I would love for you to follow my link, and share your own link with your friends and family. In this way, we can all save a little money this holiday season, and all year.

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