Tag Archives: christmas tree

Ebates…A Way to Make Money While Doing Your Holiday Shopping

Thanksgiving just came and left.  There were so many things to be grateful for, especially my wonderful family. 

Even my sister from San Diego (www.sandwichemporium.com) and my cousin from the Philippines were able to celebrate the festivities with us.

During the visit my cousin told me about a wonderful site called Ebates.com.  It is a shopping portal that gives you cash back for shopping at major retailers like Toys R Us, Macys, Dell Computer, Target to name a few.

Since this is now the gift giving season of Christmas and Hanukkah, discovering this site was such a blessing.  I am planning to buy gifts for those I love, so why not make and save a few extra bucks while buying the items I was already going to purchase?

So far I have made $41 cash back from items that I bought in the last couple of days.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 There are still a few people on my Christmas list so I know I will be going back to Ebates again!

Soon there will be presents under our Christmas tree from Santa Claus and the family!

Happy Holidays!

(Note: Ebates did not ask me to mention them in my blog.  I added them on because I think it’s great to get cash back!)

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back




The Count Down for Christmas Now Has Begun and A Child’s Perfect Christmas Gifts

It is December 1, and our count down for Christmas has begun in our household!

Our whole family is so excited for Christmas and the kids have been asking if Christmas is tomorrow every single day.

We decided to buy our tree from the Home Depot this year instead of the farm, because they truly have amazing trees for a great price.


We have taken out the decorations that Michael has grown up with, some his father had as a kid, and others we have collected together through the years.  Each ornament is a reminder of past Christmas’.

When Massimo was a baby I started to take his old toys and make them into Christmas decorations. It is amazing how he recognizes them and is so delighted that he played with them at one time.


A yearly tradition, which Michael started doing as a child, but we have now incorporated in our family, is making our very own decorations.  The kids are now old enough to enjoy this project.  Homemade ornaments are such great keepsake and the activity is something we look forward to yearly. (Thank you to The Lucky Mom who inspired these clay projects.)



Here is a before picture of the tree that Massimo has called, “Tree-o”.  It is named after the tree we had last year who he believes died and went to “tree heaven”.


Here is the grand reveal of “Tree-o 2011”.


A Filipino tradition that I have brought to Connecticut is the “Parol”, a Christmas tree lantern which is said to signify the star that the 3 Wise men followed during Jesus’s birth.  During Christmas season in the Philippines you will see these lanterns everywhere.  


Of course, the Christmas count down would not be complete without the discussion of gifts.

When I was a kid I was pretty spoiled by my parents.  My sister and I had over flowing toys.  Many of the toys were instantly left at the wayside and never played with again.

I mention in one post how I visited Toys R Us and I had a major tantrum because I wanted more toys and my Mom finally put her foot down and said no.

When  I had my own kids I was determined not to make them have my excessive toy habit.   From the start I gave them the bare necessity of toys like building blocks, books, puzzles, bubble wrap, empty boxes and so on


Since they do not have many toys they appreciate the toys that they do get as gifts.  Suddenly the toys they receive are treasures to be cherished rather than just a number in a pile.

They may think I am mean sometimes when I don’t give in to their toy wants, but I think they will be happier kids in the long run.  I am hoping that they look back at this time of not having much toys and thank me in the future (or maybe I have scarred them for life?!) 

I know that when they are older and they have their own money to spend, I will not be able to control their spending habits and their wants.  Since they are still young and living under my roof I am glad they have to follow my rules.  (Yes, I am now officially sounding like a parent).

My husband thinks I am a bit extreme about not buying them more toys, but I always tell Michael that Massimo’s favorite gifts are a red flashlight that he got from Santa Claus when he was 2 years old and a hand vacuum that he got from me last year.


The kids keep on brining me the Christmas toy catalog, but I think it will be a crock pot for Massimo and a snow shovel for Rocco this year.  Don’t tell them!

My husband, of course, is balancing this with the toys that he is getting them and the ones from Santa Claus.

So Merry Christmas to you all!  Tis the season to be jolly! 

What are you planning to give your kids, spouse, friend, etc?

Have a great day!

Cyber Monday is Family Day in a Restaurant Owner’s Household and Time to Find Our Christmas Tree

As many people sit in front of their computers busily looking for bargains on line, we are spending our time together as a family.

I mentioned in a previous posting that Mondays are golden in our house! We love Mondays! If you are a restaurant owner’s family you typically live for Mondays since that tends to be when Skappo is closed and the start of the “weekend”. Our weekend is just one day, Monday, but we are happy about it.

This Monday is a beautiful, crisp and clear winter’s day. It is too awesome a day to just spend indoors so we are looking for a Christmas tree.

christmas tree

We will be making some new decorations out of self drying clay that will be painted and varnished.  They will join the many ornaments that came from Michael’s days as a young boy.


Mondays are very important for us to bond and spend time together.  The biggest advertised sale day of the year is not going to stop us.

Cyber Monday is great, but we noticed from past years experience that the “deals” can be found more throughout the year rather than just one day.

For instance, the computer I am using now was purchased for almost $100 cheaper than the advertised “door buster” Cyber Monday price.

Also, some retailers, like Staples or Best Buy, have their Cyber Monday deals from Black Friday onward so you don’t have to just shop on one day.

Still, I am happy for my many family and friends who are shopping today.  They will be helping many retailers and our economy as a whole.

And who knows, maybe when the kids go to bed tonight I might find myself in front of my computer taking part in the last minute Cyber Monday frenzy.

Happy Cyber Monday to you all!  May you buy and save a lot!