Friday, February 01, 2013
I know I have already shared this cute snowman couple this month, but I think this photo is very "January"! Can you believe that it is February already? It seems like we were just celebrating Christmas in December - at least it does to me. Maybe it is a good idea to review January before racing into February! I always, always dread January and think it is my very worst month of the year, but after reviewing all the fun things that we did and how the month went - it really wasn't so bad. I need to readjust my thinking! Each month is what we make of it, I guess!
We had friends over for New Year's Eve and watched the city fireworks.
My son had off from school until Jan 7th. I love having this extra time with him. A little extra sleep, crafts, board games, no pressure from homework... just enjoying ourselves. Still - we were both ready for him to go back to school once it started up again!
We had coffee at friends 2X and also I went out for coffee 3X with friends (much cheaper than going out to eat, but still a nice change of venue when the weather is cold). At one coffee shop I found 10 Euros on the floor and when I tried to give it to the person who ran the shop in case the person who lost it came back - she told me to keep it! We also went out for lunch 1X as a family (we took advantage of a nice lunch special!).
We had our snowman party!
We tried some new recipes.
Happily, this year the free ice skating rink stayed open almost to the end of January and the kids had many happy hours skating. Here is my son with his friends. We don't always have snow so ice skating is a nice option.
And snow! Last year we had no snow. Snow has to be the very best, FREE fun I can think of for kids. They love the sledding hill. This year my son has a sled that he really likes - you can steer it. One of our neighbors rescued it from the trash over the summer and gave it to him the first day of snow! How fun. Lots of exercise, red cheeks, and "hot chocolate parties" at the park (we always bring a Thermos and snacks). The thing to remember about city living - parents can not just send their kids out to play. We must bring them to the park or ice skating, or... Which means that the parents have time to socialize too. Some days we stayed outside up to 3 hours - as long as we could still feel our feet, we stayed!
We use our candles in January because it gets dark early. We also used our wood stove some and always draw the big, heavy outdoor shades over our windows once it gets dark - that helps keep the cold out! All in all, we stayed toasty warm even though there were days on end with no sun. For this I am very thankful - I do struggle accepting apartment living, but it is maintenance free for my DH and since we have other apartments surrounding us, we tend to stay warm- even our floors.
My son had his train set up - he builds all his own models that we buy for just a few dollars on E-bay. Look at all the houses he has built so far! The train was safely taken down for the snowman party!
One day in mid-January we went out to the mall to get some ski gloves, scarf, hat, and socks on sale (my son always seems to be growing and he has an upcoming class ski trip). We got all of that for the price of the gloves alone if they weren't on sale. We also had to get him some new gym sneakers (ouch!). He has flat feet (as do many of the men in my family) which can be a bit of a problem and I always have him try on several pairs of sneakers without letting him see the price (he is only 9 but he does understand about how much things cost) and get whatever pair is most comfortable. He really likes Fila's. I really try hard to buy things on sale and stuff, but when it comes to comfortable shoes - I feel it is important to get what is most comfortable whether it is on sale or not. We always stop to admire the beautiful koy fish at the mall (my son's hair is not blue - they have weird lights overhead!). The fish are very used to people and will let you pet them (there is a sign not to feed them so they are not begging for food).
One day it was just beautiful - like spring! So my son and I hiked up the hill over looking the city. It was so pretty up there! PLUS - my son found 12 Euros in the dirt next to the wall. He was so excited!
During a warm snap, we also went swimming, using our discounted family passes. One of his friends came and the 2 of them played and played in the water.
I knit a pair of knee socks for my son (started in Dec), finished a pair of baby booties and almost finished a pair of fingerless mitts (still have to blog about that!), plus crocheted the snowflakes for the snowman party. My son has music lessons (the accordion) 1X a week and I always bring my knitting or crocheting when I am waiting for him.
I read several book on my laptop that I downloaded from Amazon for free! If you don't have a Kindle, you still can take advantage of the free Kindle offers on your laptop.
School started back up for me - I am taking 2 more classes on-line again this semester - Algebra and World History. The Algebra professor said that she assigns 12 hours of homework a week, but it takes me much longer than that - I am so slow! But so far, I am getting everything correct and I figure that slow and correct is better than fast and wrong. I have always struggled with math - but this class is really great because there are videos to watch and if I don't "get" something I can re-watch the video.
My son has had friends over every Friday and Saturday night this month, had a nice play date with a new friend, and 2 play dates with another friend. The kids are all very busy so it takes a bit of time to co-ordinate everyone's schedules! Plus - the kids meet up with each other for ice skating and snow sledding. Combined with his homework, music practice and the stuff that we do on our own (which also includes a bit of cleaning and organizing!) - I would say he has a pretty busy social life!
Budget wise - well we were doing pretty good until the very end of the month! I generally expect some clothing/shoe purchases throughout the winter, plus replenishing school supplies. This month brought some sickness (my son and husband both - I swear, I have no time to be sick) which cost extra money for medicines (I think we are up to 68 Euros this month, but I would have to check and my son needs more cough syrup if he doesn't stop this awful cough by tomorrow). And then my son's school sent home a notice (out of the blue) that we had to send in another 39 Euros for school supplies and expenses. This is a lot of money! We pay money at the beginning of each semester for school supplies and expenses and I expect that - they do such a great job with the kids with that money, but I was not expecting 39 more. And then we also replaced our toilet seat. I know this is probably not exciting to most people, but our seat has been broken since last spring and we have been waiting and waiting for them to go on sale - finally they were on sale for 17 Euros and we went to the store the very first day of the sale to be sure to get a nice one. No more perching precariously on the edge of the seat! No matter how carefully you budget - you always have to allow a little extra room for things that pop-up like this!
All things considered - it HAS been a good month, afterall (other than the sicknesses)! But I am still happy that it is over because that means it will start to gradually get warmer!