Bigger jeans

When I purchased the jeans late last summer, they were a tad big. I remember wearing them to the Bon Iver concert at Stir with my love last September. I remember they were clearly too big, like having-to-hike-them-up-repeatedly-as-we-walked-to-the-car-afterward too big.

Memories are nice, aren’t they?

Now, those jeans are my go-to. They fit great. This is both nice and horrible – at the exact same time.

This summer has been one of reckoning when it comes to body image. I am the same weight this morning as I was any morning last summer – 125 pounds. But those pounds have apparently decided to rearrange themselves on my frame. Specifically, they’ve decided to congregate on my hips, lower tummy (I can forever blame this on my babies, right?) and back part of my upper legs (OK, my butt). My jeans fit fine over my calves. It’s just the top part that’s problematic.

After putting on another pair of jeans that last fall I thought were a little too baggy for my liking and being so uncomfortable in them earlier this week that after 10 minutes I knew I couldn’t make it through the whole day sucked up in that denim, I changed. And my body image went from worrying about whether I’d been gaining weight to actually saying, “I have a problem.”

Do I really have a (First World) problem?

Depends on your perspective, I guess.

A few years ago, my ex-husband told me after having not seen me for several months that he liked my new “curves,” despite the muffin top.

I’m still deciding whether that was a compliment or a dig, but I’m pretty sure I know.

An ex-boyfriend’s dirty old friend once said he liked his women with “a little something to hold onto.”

I can’t say I miss seeing him around.

My husband, who remains wonderfully close to perfect, could care less what size I am. I honestly believe him when he tells me I look great.

How good does that feel.

So this is what I know:

– Getting old does not come without challenges.

– Being a grown-up is harder than we ever thought it looked when we were kids.

– Sitting at a desk all day will not help your metabolism.

– Running once a week doesn’t allow you to eat ice cream as often as you’d like.

– It doesn’t get any easier. But we adjust and we grow and we get stronger and BETTER.

– Like yourself. All the time. It’s hard, but keep trying. Decide everyday that you deserve the good, the better, the beautiful. The peace.

And? Choose to enjoy getting to buy new jeans!

“Bigger jeans” from “Eat, Pray, Love”

On our way

The road to new beginnings was cloud-filled and sun-streaked and awe-striking in that sun-setting over mountains or desert or both sort of way.

We moved last weekend to our new home in the new desert, which is a temporary set-up in the backyard of some of the best friends a family could ask for.

We’ve set up shop in a trailer full of vintage with a capital V and a workshop full of everything we really need, minus a bathroom and maybe a kitchen sink. For those needs, we simply go inside. So, yes, there is electricity, which means there are lights, clocks, a microwave, a toaster and even an air conditioner. The trailer, where the rock star and I sleep, has a lofted bed, wood floors, peeling paint that’s perfect and, yes, electricity. So, no, we’re not off the grid – not to any extent. In fact, we’re in the heart of this town. Right where we want to be.

So the road from Utah’s desert to Colorado’s was cloud-filled and beautiful. It was the little girl and I in my car, and the boys in the moving truck. The 3-year-old slept and we kept the windows down and the music up.

When we arrived, we were the only ones there. Our friends were at other friends’ and the boys were about 15 minutes behind us. So my daughter and I marveled at the renovations our friend had done to the workshop and we giggled and smiled about our future. The boys arrived, we shared our happiness and we headed to the moving truck to unload our things.

I paused for a second – maybe 3 seconds – to latch the workshop’s door. And that’s when the road to new beginnings changed from beauty to minor nightmare.

I turned around and the little girl was sprawled in the grass, flat on her stomach, hands over her face. The little boy’s eyes were wide as moons.

“What happened?” I asked.

The little boy stared in disbelief, maybe shock. “I was just pushing the swing … and … ”

I lifted the little girl up, pried her hands from her face and saw the gaping hole in her forehead. It was shaped like a triangle and the blood was gushing. Our friends have a wooden octagonal swing that hangs from their willow tree. Rye had given it a push as he walked past, unaware his little sister was running after him.

It had smacked her in the forehead, above her right eye.

I screamed for the rock star, who got the car keys and a towel and we headed for the hospital in a town we didn’t yet know.

I sat in the back with my little girl who was crying, the towel pressed to her head. My son sat in the front, terrified. My husband drove, as we tried to find the hospital. Please be open late, I thought.

Finally, we found it, and the ER, even in this small community, was open all hours.

She’s going to need stitches, the nurse said. She’s not going to like it.

I know, I said.

There was much screaming and crying – but also a few smiles, some songs and a book while we waited.

All told, we were there about 3 hours. Paige got seven stitches. And she is the bravest little girl I have ever met.

For my part, I will just say this: Holding your child down while someone injects lidocaine into a hole in their head is … awful, among many other adjectives.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. When I closed my eyes, I saw the hole in her head. Around 2 a.m., she woke up crying and the rest of the night she slept on my chest.

That was how we began our first day in our new home.

I’m happy to say the days since then have been increasingly calm. We’re adjusting and happy. We’ve gone as a family to the coffee shop and the local pizza joint. We’ve heard live music (and we’ll hear more tonight when the rock star opens for Willy Tea Taylor and the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit!). Overall, we’ve been present. We’ve been open. We’ve accepted this part of our lives as this chapter. And we’re excited to see where we end up next, when the trailer and the workshop give way to a new home that maybe finally can truly feel like where we belong.

We’re on our way.

i carry your heart with me

A year ago today, I rode my bike to work.

It was part of a master plan to be healthier and greener, more sustainable and more “urban.” Five days earlier, I’d moved into my new home in what I then thought was a perfect spot to be.

Riding my bike to work was part of the package, part of the new life, part of the happier world I was creating.

That morning, before I left, I sent a text message to a new friend.

“Happy birthday!”

He replied: “Thanks!”

And then, helmet on, laptop in my backpack, I locked up the new house and set off for the office. On two wheels for the first time.

I didn’t love it. But I wanted to. And I decided the badass quotient I carried in with me while pushing my bike through the newsroom to my cubicle would help the habit continue.

That afternoon, it started to rain.

I watched the clouds grow darker and the sky grow angrier out the window near my desk.

It will stop, I told myself as the afternoon waned. The clouds will part.

I will make it home, on my bike. Dry. In one piece.

But the clouds didn’t part and the rain didn’t stop and the sky didn’t get any lighter, minus the intermittent flashes of lightning.

The time to head home came, so I thought about being brave. I donned the helmet and grabbed the bike.

As I rode down the elevator, I thought, it won’t be so bad. It’s just rain.

But it was a lot of rain, and it was cold, and it was uphill. And the rain kept pounding, soaking my hair and freezing my skin and flooding my eyes.

It was, in the moment, character-building.

And in a small, odd way, it was exhilarating.

I finally made it home, to my new house in my new neighborhood, on my way to my new life.

I walked the bike up the steep driveway, licked rain off my lips and went inside and dried off.

I thought about the new friend with the birthday, wondered how he was celebrating. Two nights later, I’d make a point to stop at the bar where he worked. I’d not want to leave.

Over the next month, we’d get to know each other better. We’d decide to begin. We’d laugh like I never have before; he’d show me music for the first time.

All the pieces fit.

Today, that new friend is my husband, the key piece I didn’t yet know I’d find a year ago in Omaha, out in the rain.

We live in the Utah desert.

We live in the land of red sand and heat and sun and lizards and ants and very few clouds. Every day, the sun shines. Every day, the heat swelters.

But today?

Here in the desert, it’s raining.

I stood in my office just now, alone, watching the wind blow rain sideways down the street.

It was impossible not to think about last year, about that Tuesday I rode my bike to work. About that thunderstorm that made me feel alive, part of it all.

About that man, that cowboy, that made my new life real, that makes me believe anything is possible, that married me, married us, back in March.

Today is my love’s birthday. That is worth celebrating.

Finally somehow

You’ve been quiet, my friend said.

Mmm-hmm. I have. Though I wasn’t sure anyone else had noticed.

I’ve noticed.

And I’m not necessarily happy about this quiet, about this period of internal reflection, about this patience that I’ve somehow cultivated, about this waiting for whatever comes next.

We’ve moved west, as you know. To a desert that is as beautiful as any landscape I’ve ever seen. I’ve had the most amazing moments with my husband, exploring this new home. Together, we’ve discovered ancient “rock art,” petroglyphs and pictographs from as long ago as 2,000 B.C., from as recent as 600 A.D. They are old and they are amazing. Spiritual in their mere existence. The best ones are found only by climbing, by setting one foot in front of the other and scaling the steep Navajo slickrock, by ignoring the burning in my calves, by following my love.

By opening our eyes and seeing it all, not searching, just finding.

In so many beautiful ways, we are happy. We are together and safe and loved and thriving. We live out in the desert’s country, the Utah sticks. The other night, out on the porch, my husband swears he saw a baby llama run across our yard. He was so intrigued he followed it around back – but it was gone.

I’m holding out hope it was a unicorn.

The baby chipmunks come in fives, most days, to eat the mulberries that have fallen from our tree out front. The rabbits play chicken, leaping high in the air as the other one runs at them.

A friend last week brought her two dogs over for dinner. They are nice. I actually like them. One is named Olive.

Music is being made. Our cat gets to go outdoors. And the way the sun shines on the golden red rock in the evening is like a desert rainbow. It’s unbelievably beautiful.

But I’ve been quiet, at least here. Because beyond the beauty and the love and the amazing new family we’ve built, it’s just easier.

You know I can’t write without being honest. You know I can’t work without being passionate. You know sometimes I say too much. And this time, I’m really trying to do everything “right,” whatever that even is.

But know also: We are OK, like the rockstar has always said. More than OK in so many beautiful ways.

And we are poised to – finally – somehow figure all the pieces out.

More soon…

In the meantime, check out Kathleen Edwards. Amazing lyrics, beautiful song.

Sitting on a thrift store couch

I’ve run this route out our front door down Spanish Valley Road about six times.

I’ve been waking with the day, around 5:45, to pull on my shorts and my shoes and head out. I sleepily slide the iPod on and earbuds in and step out onto the peeling wooden porch. This morning, I tried listening to something different, something old, something I used to love. But Ben Kweller sounded like nothing but noise today, an irritation more than a distraction. I turned it off and went back to the playlist I’ve listened to on every solo morning run since I’ve been here.

There’s something to be said for familiarity.

We are here in this desert, and it’s beautiful. The sunshine is brighter, the air is crisper and more than anything else the landscape is spectacular. I run toward the Manti La Sals to the south. I have this idea that if I could just keep going, I’d reach them. Someday, of course, I would, but I’m training for a half, not a full, and today isn’t the day.

To the west is what I think is called the Moab Rim, which reminds me of the Bookcliffs back in Grand Junction, those searing, ridged rocks that dare you to tackle their steep rise. I climbed them once, one foot in front of the other up that steep, narrow spine. I was 23 and had no idea who I was or what I wanted. My son, my grown-up, sensitive little boy, wants to climb Moab’s version. I looked at them as we drove past, on our way to school, and had no idea where we’d even begin, if there was a trail or if we’d have to make our own or if we’d be foolish to even try that hike.

“Sure, we can, babe,” I said.

And somehow, because he wants to, we’ll figure out how to try.

To the east along the road I run is a Navajo sandstone wall, bubbly with texture. I pass horses and cows and a hodgepodge of modular homes and “ranchettes” with pickup trucks and dogs tied up in front yards.

And those La Sals loom in the background.

One of my favorite things here is the time of day when the light changes, the way the light illuminates only the tops of all these geographic wonders, in the early morning as the sun rises and in the evening, as the sun sets.

We sure don’t have views like this back home.

As I ran today, I thought about that word. Both my husband and I have referred to Omaha as home. I wonder how long we’ll say that.

I’ve been wondering when home starts to feel like where you are, instead of where you were.

How does that transition happen and can we speed it along?

What is the trick to adjusting to a new space with people you don’t know, streets you don’t recognize, routines you don’t have?

I like Moab – for the unparalleled beauty, for the desert heat, for the dry air, for the blonde horse at the house next door, for how much my husband feels connected to this land.

But it doesn’t, yet, feel like home. In the quiet space of my mind, where my truth teller sings, I miss so much about “home.” Not so much the place but the people and the routine.

My son’s former teacher e-mailed a few days ago. Many of the kids have been saying how much they miss Rye, she wrote. I had to turn my attention to something else – to stop from crying right there at my desk in my big, lonely office.

Yet, when I dropped him off at school two days ago, his new school, I smiled as I drove away because he was walking in with a friend. They were talking, and my little boy was smiling.

Change has never been easy. I can be the bravest woman in the world, game face permanently on, and still not be comfortable with everything that’s new. Even if I’m comfortable, I can still be skeptical.

Even if I’m happy (I am), even if I finally have the love I’ve always wanted (I do), even if my beautiful family is always there at the end of every day (they are), I still have that space in my heart that misses home. I miss my friends and my family.

And I long for the day – hopefully not too far off – when I feel peace here. When I feel like I’m home, not just the sense of home I already feel with my husband, but the bigger sense of the word – the all-encompassing, this-is-where-you-belong peace.

Have a great weekend, friends. Check out Ben Gibbard:

“You Remind Me of Home” 

Here in this desert

Photo by Kyle Harvey

We live in the desert and it’s beautiful.

Last night, the moon shone through our bedroom window and I imagined it made us safe, that the man in the moon of our childhoods existed and watched down on us as we slept, dreaming dreams of islands and babies and loves and futures together.

It was bright and I pretended it made our skin look creamier, milky with innocence and passion and dreams, as I curled myself into the curve of my husband, his back my shield from the anxiety that sometimes comes.

We slept and tossed and rested and woke with the sun, my son, who got up when the day did.

The routine isn’t the same yet, for anyone. My babies are happy. I see it in their smiles, hear it in their laughs, know it when they skip down the hall or curl up in the reading chair with a DVD.  Yesterday was different than before. They are connected to their stepfather, who cares for them during the day, who plays with them and makes them swings and sings them songs on his guitar, who has a way with them now that I don’t.

I am grateful for this connection. I am happy they are loved and safe and content and silly and full of the life we should all feel.

I am adjusting to not being as integral a part of that web of family we have. I am getting to know my role as newspaper editor, working mom in the true sense, not the privileged sense I had for the past two years where I worked full-time but picked up my kids from school every day at 3:30. I am getting over myself, my maternal longing to always be there, to take care of everything not just for my babies but for my husband, who doesn’t need me to do those things like make the bed or cover him up because he’s not cold or take the trash out the morning before it has to be set out anyway just because he mentioned it.

I am adjusting to this new me.

We are adjusting to this new life that is miraculously beautiful, full of experiences and moments and just getting by and holy-cow-this-is-my-life and anticipation for what’s to come, the show three weeks from now, the Easter Egg hunt this Saturday, the swim lessons that start Monday, the newspaper that publishes on the 18th, the everything else.

Here in this desert where love blossoms freely.

The bends of this life

“Just around the bend there is a life like you could never imagine.”

I think I’m here, brave girls.

Around the bend.

In this life I didn’t know existed.

I married the love of my life on Sunday, March 11. It rained and we had to change some plans, but it was perfect. Lovely. Couldn’t-have-asked-for-anything-more-magical wonderful. Nicole Ferguson took amazing photos. We laughed and cried and hugged and felt happy.

And then, five days later, we loaded up all our stuff and moved.

Far away. Out of the Midwest and into a new timezone, new area code. New town. New house.

New life.

It is beautiful. Everywhere we look. At our fingertips are outdoor adventures that will probably never end. Outside our front door (and our back) are amazing natural landscapes we never could have imagined back home. Our neighbors even have horses.

Kyle and I went for a hike the other night and found ourselves in backcountry that felt reserved just for us. In the two hours we spent walking, we saw one other person, a lone mountain bike rider. We crossed streams. We looked up and ahead in a feeble attempt to somehow try to take it all in. We said, “We live here.”

It’s awesome. It’s spectacular, in many ways.

It really is.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all, to let my heart adjust to this new space, this new routine, this new way of doing things. The kids came back today – they’d spent the week with their dad. Now, finally, I feel like I can fully set about giving this new life 100 percent.

Thank goodness we get to keep the things that matter most close to us, as we navigate the bends of this life. My husband, my kids … if all is right with our little family unit, I know we can do anything.

I know now more than ever that the rock star is right: We will always be OK.


Thanks to an amazingly thoughtful, spot-on wedding gift, I’ve been listening to this on vinyl (and when I’m not listening to it, it’s in my head):

“Holocene” by Bon Iver

Thank you, everyone, who’s asked about us on Facebook or elsewhere. I’ve been trying to get my feet under me before offering an update. The new job starts Monday.


With the rainbow at the end

I dreamed about my wedding last night.

It wasn’t anything like what we have planned.

We stood holding hands, waiting for the ceremony to begin, on the steps of a church, our backs to the entrance. It was chilly outside and I stood as close as I could to the man I was about to marry. There were people all around us and we were waiting for when we were to walk ahead to whatever outdoor space we’d picked.

Despite all those people – many of whom I didn’t seem to know – I remember feeling completely focused on Kyle, and he on me. We were happy, smiling. We kissed while we waited.

Out of the crowd, my ex-mother-in-law emerged. She was dressed up and holding an umbrella. She offered a quick congratulations, handed me a gift and then disappeared. The gift was unlike anything I’ve ever seen: a beige handkerchief tied to a twig. It resembled a tiny flag. I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

That’s when I noticed my clothes.

“I’m not wearing my dress!” I said and laughed. Kyle smiled and said he didn’t care.

Still, we went inside, up the church steps and into a hotel room (I didn’t say this dream made logical sense). There, I tried on a pink chiffon dress I can still picture. It wasn’t unlike the dress Rachel McAdams wears in “The Vow.” It was beautiful, but I didn’t like it.

There were other people in this room with us, too, including my high school boyfriend. It seemed everyone was focused on us, but all I could see was Kyle. It was as if we were in the center of a kaleidoscope, all the pieces around us moving, spinning, but we were still, completely grounded, in the middle of it all.

I remembered finally that I had a dress for the wedding – the one I actually do have – and I put that on.

And we kissed again and we were married.

Just like that. Happily ever after, without any worries at all.

It was such a good dream.

Today is Feb. 28. Our wedding date is April 7 (though if I get this far-away job I’m still waiting to hear about, we’ll get married sooner). Either way, five weeks from this Saturday, we’ll be on our way to the next chapter.

I can’t wait.

There was a time during and following my divorce when I couldn’t understand why anyone would get married. My parents are divorced, and so many people I knew then didn’t seem happy with their lives.

But then something changed.

I met this man.

And when I did, it was like the clouds just cleared. The path was straight ahead. I could instantly see what marriage could be, what true love meant, what a family could be like, the value in taking care of someone because you want to, because you love him so much.

This is the path with the rainbow at the end, the trail with the hope just around the bend.

This road is the one I get to travel with him, hand in hand.

Forever never felt this happy, this full of hope.


One night, early on, Kyle asked if I liked Ryan Adams.

I hadn’t ever really listened to him, I admitted.

“What?” he said. “Oh, babe, you’re gonna love him.”

And I did. I do.

This song is one of the first we listened to, on my computer, thanks to YouTube. It will always remind me of the simple beauty of those early days, and of the promise of everything ahead.

“In My Time of Need” – Ryan Adams

Being enough

Last November, I had a message in my Facebook inbox from a name I didn’t recognize.

Christina Olcott Mundell had lost her job the previous week, too, and she wanted to let me know I wasn’t alone. She wanted to let me know there was another person out there trying to hold it together, too. She wanted to let me know she’d loved the work I did.

I appreciated her note and told her so.

A couple months later, she messaged me again. This time, she wanted to tell me I’d inspired her. She’d started her own blog.

I checked it out.

It’s really good.

Honest and real and just the way I like it. Christina, who lives in Cozad with her husband and kids, writes about her life at Good at Beginnings.

Today, she wrote a guest post for Single Mom with Love. I hope there will be more where this came from, in the months ahead.

Christina Mundell, Good at Beginnings 

Counseling. A pill regime that would rival that of any senior citizen. Blogging for therapy. Reading assignments for counseling, along with homework. Taking time for me. Riding my bike. Going for walks. Reaching out to others when I need help.

It’s got to come together eventually.

I struggle daily to juggle all my roles. I feel like I always have too many balls in the air, and I realize part of that is that I overextend myself. I try to take on the world, by myself, and I think things are my responsibility alone. I’m working on that.

But I hate asking for help.

The days I feel like I’ve been an awesome mom, I’ll later realize I was a below-par wife. Or a less-than-enough friend. Then on the days I feel like I’m rockin’ the friend thing, I realize I’ve dropped the ball in the mommyhood department.

It is exhausting to feel like I’m doing any of these roles justice.

Even when I have a great day and feel like I’ve done the very best I can, doubt creeps in and the positivity of that entire day is gone. In a flash. Snap. It’s gone. I’m back to doubting my abilities and myself, being anxious about the next day before it’s even here and wondering how I’m going to do it all again tomorrow.

My days begin with that anxious feeling. I pop a pill when I wake up and think, “Why can’t I just be happy and not depend on a pill to make it through the day?” Fast forward to that evening, and I’m popping two more pills thinking, “Seriously? Pills to sleep at night? How hard is it to just sleep? I’m not trying hard enough!”

Some days, the anxiety and depression are overwhelming. And when those days run into each other, I struggle even more. I don’t ask for help. I distance myself from my friends and family. I feel the quicksand pouring over me and don’t know how to stop it.

I found myself in that quicksand this winter. I was suffocating. I couldn’t catch my breath, and I couldn’t even whisper for help, let alone scream for it.

I put my beautiful boys to bed and decided I’d check out. I took my time going through the medicine cabinet, wondering what would be the quickest and most likely to work. I poured myself a glass of water and swallowed them. Three handfuls of pills. I laid down on the couch, pulled the covers over my head and waited.

I fell asleep crying.

I woke up the next morning.

I heard the kids getting ready for school, and for a minute, I laid there wondering what was going on. I moved the covers. I was still here. I pulled the covers back over my head and cried. I had never been more disappointed to wake up in my life.

I spent the next couple days in a haze. I felt even worse about myself. Who screws up their suicide attempt? Who could I even talk to about it?

No one is going to understand. No one gets what it’s like to feel this way.

Why can’t I just be enough?

It’s a daily battle to be enough. Some days my voice is strong and I convince myself I am. Other days, it’s all I can do to make it through the day.

But now, on those days, I promise myself I will try again tomorrow.

I know I have to learn to be louder than that voice in my head. That voice that some days screams at me.

I’m trying to learn to scream back: I am enough.

Christina Olcott Mundell blogs at

Mom Saves Money: Giveaway parties

I went to a clothing swap once.

The host let us bring our old stuff, plop it down in her dining room and then spend the morning there sorting through everyone else’s old stuff – to see what we wanted to make our new stuff.

Today, Nicole McDonald gives us some tips on pulling off a successful giveaway party. (Any of you ever done one?)

Nicole McDonald,

Want to refresh your wardrobe, find new toys for your kids, get new reading material without spending any money or just get rid of items you aren’t using?

Host a giveaway party!

How does it work? Invite friends to bring their gently used items to your house and let the shopping begin! Everyone will be able to get rid of items they aren’t using and take home ‘new’ items they can use. Pick a theme, so you aren’t overwhelmed with items in your home and make it easier for guests to go through those items.

Some theme ideas:

  1. Kid clothing – Those of us with children know how fast they grow out of clothes and how expensive they are. A clothing swap is a great idea to refresh their wardrobes on a budget.
  2. Kid toys and games – Kid toys seem to multiply in my house and there are so many they don’t even play with anymore. Why not give those toys to someone else and pick some new ones for your kids to enjoy?
  3. Books, magazines and DVDS – I did this party a few weeks ago and it was fabulous! We had a huge assortment of DVDs, kid and adult books and everyone went home with at least one large bag of new reading material and DVDs. After the party, I donated the remaining books (three huge boxes) to the local library.
  4. Kitchen gadgets – Remember that rice cooker you got for your wedding that’s still sitting unopened three years later? This is a perfect theme party for foodies. A gadget that is useless to you may be the perfect addition to someone else’s kitchen.
  5. Adult clothing and accessories– Let’s face it: Most of us have a huge chunk of clothes in our closet that never see the sunlight. Swap with other people to refresh your wardrobe. Add purses, shoes, jewelry and scarves to the party to get more variety.

Tips to a Successful Party

  1. Invite everyone. The more people, the better.
  2. Co-host with a friend or two. They will invite their guest list of attendees, so you will double or triple the turnout.
  3. Ask guests to bring friends. Encourage your friends to invite their friends and family to the party.
  4. Send a reminder. A few days before your party, email or call. People are busy and sometimes forget. A reminder is always appreciated, plus it gives you a good idea of how many people to expect.
  5. Keep refreshments light. It’s a giveaway party, not an eating party. Serve a few beverages and if you want, a few small snacks. Don’t go overboard with the food. (This is hard for me because I really like to feed people.)

After the party, you will probably have many items that still need a home. Instead of asking your guests to take their stuff back home, offer to donate it to a local shelter, thrift store, library or kids’ organization. Your guests will appreciate that you take care of the leftovers and they don’t have to lug their stuff back home. You can simply call one of the thrift stores that does pick up, so it won’t take much effort for you to donate the items.

Giveaway parties are fun and the ultimate in frugality and recycling.

Nicole McDonald writes about freebies, coupons, deals and product reviews and hosts giveaways at