The Xmas Budget

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Christmas is approaching at a rapid pace and there’s a lot pressure to finish and or start shopping. There’s so much temptation to spend and overspend your hard earned money everywhere you look, from online to sales in the mall. Below I’ve compiled some helpful money saving tips to keep you from overspending:

1. Set a realistic budget. It’s important to set a specific amount of money that you are going to spend and no matter what don’t break the budget!
2. Assign a set amount of money that you are going to spend for each person on your list.
3. Consider thoughtful gifts versus expensive gifts. Also remember that toys are toys. They don’t have to be expensive! The cheap ones work the same and the expensive ones. Places like Five Below, Dollar Tree, and Big Lots have really affordable toys.
4. If you are buying gifts for a family such as a mother, father and kids, then consider getting a gift that they can enjoy as a family such as a gift card to a restaurant or a movie.
5. It’s great to be generous and have the spirit of giving, but don’t give what you don’t have. If you can’t afford to give then find other ways to show your generosity.
6. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. After all Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, it’s not all about material possessions.
7. If you have small children like my son, then remember they don’t need a lot to make them happy. Don’t go crazy and buy an entire store!
8. Compare prices at multiples stores when shopping and use coupons and promo codes when shopping online. Remember that most stores will price match!
9. If you are an emotional spender like me, then you have to be very tactful when shopping. Have a plan when Christmas shopping. I need a list before I go into stores, otherwise I will buy things that aren’t necessary and get carried away.
10. Have fun! Remember to laugh, love and make memories with your loved ones.

~Kristle (A frugal shopper)

Embrace, Love, and Share

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Growing up my family was not the super affectionate kind. We didn’t say….I love you when leaving, or have to hug and kiss when we encountered each other. We pretty much just assumed that we all knew how the other felt and carried on from there. I didn’t grow up feeling unloved or unattached in any way. I actually felt pretty close to my immediate family growing up. It wasn’t until I became an adult, and started experiencing death that I begin to notice the differences in my families interactions. It was when I experienced loss that I wanted to be closer to those alive. I guess we don’t realize what we have loss until we lose love ones. The missed or avoided hugs, kisses, and I love you’s, all become wishes that will never be met.

That is why now, I have opened up much more emotionally and learned to express my love while I have my love ones here with me. During this this holiday time, many of us will travel to see family members, and some of us will have family come over to visit with us. But, let’s not forget the family that doesn’t come or the family that we may have falling out with in the past. It’s never too late to forgive or just embrace someone that you have limited contact with. It’s also never to late to step outside of your comfort zone and start showing those around you more love and affection.

Our family and friends, are the people who will be able to love us unconditionally. Sure we will argue with each other and disagree, but that doesn’t mean that we love each other any less. Showing each other love creates a memory that will last forever in our minds. It could be the last memory for some and the happiest memory for many. There are times that I feel drained and I will think of a love one smiling at me or them hugging me and immediately feel warmth again. Our lives are emptier without affection. Not being affectionate does not make us stronger. It makes us weak and often means that we’re afraid. Most times we’re afraid to get too close, because we fear the connection. This holiday, be sure to embrace all of your love ones and let everyone know why you are thankful for them!! Let this Holiday season, be full of giving.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Kristina – Kristopher’s Mom

Letting Go Of The Security Blanket

 

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Security blankets can be anything that makes you feel safe, comfortable and secure. It can be people, places and or things. I lost my security blanket when my mother passed away. She was my safe place. It was the worst thing that I’ve ever encountered and it still hurts every single day. Recently I’ve let go of another security blanket, which was my job as a probation officer.

I was at my job for 6 years, which to me is a lifetime since that’s the longest that I’ve ever been at a job. All of my big life events happened while I was there. I got married, had a baby, bought a house and lost my mother. Although it was hard to leave, it was even harder to stay. I was very comfortable there. I had freedom, job security, decent pay and great relationships with my coworkers and supervisor, but I wasn’t happy. I was unfulfilled and I was becoming bitter due to the constant negative environment and the doom and gloom of my clients circumstances. It’s a bad feeling when you see so much despair and feel completely helpless.

I’ve actively looked for jobs for about four years consistently! Yes four years, LOL! I was also very particular my job search. If I was going to give up all of the perks that I had, it had to be worth it. I’ve gone on so many interviews and felt confident that I would get most of the jobs that I’ve interviewed for, LOL. That, however, wasn’t the case and for whatever reason things don’t always go according to our plans. Eventually I understood that it wasn’t my time yet but I refused to give up because I was on a mission so I still looked and applied for jobs almost daily.

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Now my time has come. I’ve started a new career and it’s been an interesting transition. I get up earlier in the morning and my commute is much longer. I don’t have the freedom or the security blanket that I once had. I’m starting from scratch with having to build my leave back up and learn a whole new job. I’ll be the first to tell you that change is scary and hard and sometimes it hurts! One of my favorite quotes is “change cannot occur until the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change “(author unknown). I wholeheartedly agree with this. Although I’m completely out of my comfort zone, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. We all have our own paths in front of us, but I encourage you to let go of whatever is no longer serving you, be it so-called friends, associates, jobs or negative situations. Also, don’t let fear hold you back from doing what you need to do for you and yours! If fear is no longer a factor then the possibilities are endless. You can choose to live in fear and let it hold you back, or you can learn to let go, take risks, and follow a better path.

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“If it doesn’t scare the Sh** out of you then don’t do it” (Author unknown)

~Kristle (a Fearless Mommy)

Motivational Monday – Growing Into You

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A wise man will hear and increase in , And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel
Proverbs 1:5

Each and everyday, we are all growing into something new. It’s an absolute inevitable fact. There is not one living thing in this world that stays the same. We all process through the growth cycle one way or the other. The big question is if we are becoming someone better? Wanting to become a better version of ourselves, doesn’t mean that we were less than or bad in our past, just that we have grown in our future. However, to grow in our future, we have to be acceptant of who we were and who we are. Our past molds us. It shapes our character through our experiences, and builds strength in us to face the trials that may occur in our future. The person we are in the present, is the person we have learned to love and proudly be daily. Who we are currently, is the person who has learned from her past and is prepared to take on her future!

Remember, that you are always on a path going somewhere new, to potentially do something amazing. You just have to believe in yourself and continue to strive towards greatness.

“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.”

N. R. Narayana Murthy

Kristina

Holiday Shopping

“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.”

Proverbs 11:24

 

I live in Maryland, and just last week it was 77 degrees outside, but I’m now walking through stores filled with wrapping paper, Christmas ornaments, and tree displays. My son has already started yelling, “Mommy, come see this toy,” every other commercial and planning out his Christmas list. I feel as if, I have missed something; like an entire month has escaped me. In November, I am usually half way through my Christmas shopping, but all that nice weather kept me standing still. Moving forward, Christmas is on the way and holiday shopping is upon us. Weather we are ready to accept it or not, let’s get it done, and do it well enough that it does not leave our wallets hurting in January.

Despite, the weather throwing me off a little, I am still excited and ready to get a Christmas shopping completed. I love Christmas shopping and I enjoy making it as painless as I possibly can. For those of you who dread holiday shopping, here are some holiday survival tips to try to hold on to what is in your purse throughout the holidays.

1. Stores vs. Online

I love going to the mall, but it’s not for everyone and there are often some great sales online. If you hate crowds, sifting through racks, or searching for parks; online shopping is best for you. Some great online sites are:

Amazon             Toys R Us               Target.com

6pm.com           Walmart.com

2. Set a Budget

Be true and honest with yourself. Before you even attempt your budget, pay all your bills; pay your current month first and average out the next month’s bills until after the holidays. Be sure to round bills up a little and add in emergency money.

3. Create a List

Make a realistic shopping list, but don’t over-do it. I used to give gifts to everyone, and their kids. I frequently gave gifts to people who never gave me or my son a gift. It quickly made Christmas very costly. Also, talk to your children and determine the things that they really want, over the things they just see and blurt out. Use those things to create yourself a more comprehensive list.

4. Use Cash

Don’t drag your holiday spending on for the next six months to a year by using credit cards. Pay cash as much as possible and get your shopping completed one time and one time only.

5. Start Now

It is never too early to start Christmas shopping. Do not wait until two weeks prior to Christmas, to start shopping. All the sales will be gone, along with all of the great toys.

6. Compare Shop

Be sure to compare store prices against one another.

I hope that this information can help someone, and make the holiday shopping just a little more bearable.

 

Kristina- Kristopher’s Mommy

Motivational Monday

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
Isaiah 12:3

As wives, mothers, and women who take on many other roles, we spend a great deal of time worried about the love ones around us; especially our children. The responsibility of raising successful adults is a great one and adds an enormous amount of stress into the lives of many women daily. There are many of us who believe that there is some secret, or pre-defined way to raise children, or even mange families, but the truth is that there is not just one. It’s actually many different ways. How is this possible? Well, because all women are different, and require different things to make them happy and that’s the one true proven way to assist at creating a future full of fulfilled and functional adults.

Happy Mother’s, wives, and women are who help to make happy households. They help build the confidence of their children, by being such great examples of strength and trust themselves. Children learn the best by imitation, and who do they learn to imitate first and see the most? Their Moms! Ladies, set the standard, and be sure to pour enough sunshine in yourselves on a daily basis to be able to give without completely depleting. You deserve to be happy too Ladies!

“Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. If you have a healthy lifestyle, your diet and nutrition are set, and you’re working out, you’re going to feel good.”

Jason Statham

– Kristina

 

 

 

Did You Say Breast Cancer?

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October is breast cancer awareness month and for those of us that have been affected by breast cancer one way or another know just how horrible and devastating this disease really is. For those who don’t know, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 Triple Negative breast cancer in June of 2015. Triple Negative breast cancer is very aggressive and more prevalent in women of color. My mother lost her battle with this horrible disease on January 5, 2016. Cancer not only takes a toll on the individual but on the family members and caregivers as well. As caregivers you often feel so helpless and want nothing more but to take the pain away from your loved one. Thankfully, my sister and I were able to take turns taking my mother to her appointments and to and from chemo. As caregivers, it’s important to take care of yourself. I’ve compiled some tips below that may be helpful  for caregivers.

1. Take care of yourself. Trust me I know how ugly this disease is and it takes an emotional and physical toll on all involved. My sister and I have spent countless hours in the hospital, but it’s important to take breaks. Even if you take a couple of hours away from the hospital to recharge.

2. Talk out your pain and frustration. It helps to have a listening ear when going through something like dealing with a loved one with cancer. Sometimes you just need to let it all out.

3. It’s ok to cry. Cancer is devastating and to watch your loved one deal with the effects of chemo and cancer is heartbreaking. Sometimes a good cry helps you feel better.

4. It’s normal to be angry. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for being angry! Anger is an emotion just like sadness. There will be times when you become so angry that this happened to your mother, father, sister, etc.

5. Just like death, cancer comes with a wave of emotions from devastation, anger, sadness, resentment, etc. It’s ok to allow yourself to feel those emotions because it’s a part of the process. If you try to numb the pain it doesn’t go away. These emotions will hit you when you least expect it.

6. Don’t let anyone steal your hope! It’s ok to have hope. Even in the most dire situations such as my mother being on life support we still had a little twinge of hope. Hope gives you a reason to get up every day and to keep fighting. Hope is a defense mechanism, if you don’t have it then you might as well give up.

7. Have faith. It’s easy to have faith until life knocks the wind out of you! People always say have faith that things will work out! Well let me tell you that regardless of your religion or spiritual beliefs it will be tested when dealing with cancer.

8. Ask plenty of questions. It’s important that you fully understand what’s happening. If you need to take notes especially at doctors appointments.

Kristle~Sheri’s Daughter

Stepping Out As Stepmom

I’ve being writing on Monumental Moms for a year and a half now, and I’ve managed to write about everything except one of the main challenges for me as a mother, wife, and woman. I’ve avoided writing about this topic, because I felt that it was unfair to other parties involved. It is one thing to write about difficulties or suggestions for my son who I birthed, or my husband who I married, because it doesn’t impact any others besides me and them. When it comes to be a stepparent, I tread very lightly, because that involves children that are not just my own and other adults. I would never want to offend or hurt anyone. I have also never wanted for either of my stepchildren to read something and feel troubled by it, so I have carefully tiptoed around it. 

This week, it has been heavy on my heart to write something though. Why? Well, because most stepmoms feel alone. We feel like we are fighting for rights to exist in  families that under-appreciate us and can often misuse us. Most mornings on my way to work, I talk to a friend who is also a wife and a stepmom, and we laugh about how we need a support group or some type of 12 step program. It’s a joke that’s loaded with so much truth. So, today; I decided to start my journey into peacefully and carefully walking into occasionally blogging about being a step mom as well as a biological Mom. I know there are those moms who believe that there is no difference between the two, and to them I say: lucky you. For most of us there is a difference. The difference is not a terrible thing, but a natural reality. A lot like Oranges and Tangerines, we enjoy the sweetness of each of them and they appear to be alike, but are nonetheless different.

I will be honest and say that I’m nervous, because I fear the judgement. Where I adore being a mom and rave about it in every post that I write, being a stepmom is a dissimilar experience for me. It’s often times full of stress and anxiety. I once believed that It was just me and my family, that all other blended families, somehow blended easier. To any mom struggling, know that they don’t. It takes both work and time, and still may never be perfect. With my introduction into this topic of step parenting today, I want to provide a few ways to cope and that I plan to discuss in further detail over time.  

  1. Remember that “You” matter too
  2. Pray ALOT
  3. Find some positive outlets for yourself
  4. Don’t take it personal all the time
  5. Confide in a trustworthy friend
  6. Cut yourself some slack

No one ever said it would be easy, but there is nothing that us Moms and/or Step-Moms can’t overcome!

Kristina – The Stepmom

 

Motivational Monday- Make it Monumental

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“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24)

Guess what today is…… it’s Monday!!!! No matter where you live, run and hide, or what you do; we all have to face the start of the week. Each and every Monday, the week is going to restart, that is just how the week works and therefore, how our lives are run. It is however, up to us to decide how we are going to deal with, each week when it arrives. I see people drag themselves into work every Monday, and dread it. They appear to hate work, and everything else that comes along with the start of a new week. I am sure that if Monday was a person, she/he would be depressed with all of the negativity that she/he receives! Monday’s aren’t that bad. Plenty of great things can happen on Monday’s, we just have to create the atmosphere for it to manifest its self. Here are a few suggestions for making Monday’s great again:

1. Pray as soon as you wake up! Prayer absolutely changes things.
2. Get a workout in. Start your week off right, by taking care of you!
3. Set a goal for the week and start working on it today!!!
4. Ban all negative thoughts!! Negative thoughts do you absolutely no good!

Monday, is like birthdays. It’s the birth of great new possibilities every week. We just have to decide if we want to take them or not. This week, I urge everyone to decide to make Monday’s great again!

“Success is to wake up each morning and consciously decide that today will be the best day of your life.”

Ken Poirot

– Kristina

Don’t Judg Me

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As parents, we all know that children can go from 0-10 in a matter of seconds. These kids have a way of pushing your patience and bringing out the worst in you by testing your limits, especially while in public! Kodie is definitely no exception to this; I think that he waits until we are in public to try me! One day I was putting him in his car seat and he was talking back, so I yelled at him. When I turned around my neighbor was standing across the street with his dog and I could feel his gaze and judgment! I waived and kept it moving, LOL.

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In my opinion, the people that are the most judgmental are the ones who are not in the same situation as you. The older people who are all judgmental haven’t raised kids in decades and maybe they have forgotten how frustrating the whole process can be. The people without children just don’t have a clue and think that their kids will either be perfect little angels or they have the misguided belief that they will be in control of the tantrums, outbursts, and the screaming. You can tell when you are in the company of other parent’s because they barely even look at you when you are disciplining your child in public. In closing, don’t let other people’s judgments and opinion’s impact you. If people are really concerned then they can offer to help you instead of judging you and your parenting tactics.
-Kristle (Kodie’s Mommy)