Friday, June 28, 2013

Everyone Loves a Bargain.

I have a few friends who are magnets for thrift store finds. Others are magnets for crazy on sale/clearance items. And a select few are magnets for winning stuff.

I am none of these.

At least, my deals and scores are fewer and farther between. So maybe that's why when I find a good bargain I'm elated and feel the need to call people and be all "Hey, just calling to say I bought this great thing for basically nothing." And this post is my call to you to say "Hey.... look what I just bought for an offensively low price!" Anyhoo... I am a huge  -  HUGE  - fan of the Volunteers of America thrift store a few cities over from us.  Now, remember that thrift stores are always hit or miss - sometimes you walk out with a jewel of an item, other times you spend an hour and walk out empty handed. But 4 out of the 5 times I've visited VoA, I've come out with the feeling that I just won the lottery. 

My first big find was a beautiful cherry wood antique side table with gorgeous curves and spindly legs for a room I was commissioned to decorate. It was $25 - a total steal. About a month later, when I needed a new pair of jeans, I found two pairs that looked and felt great for a grand total of .... $3. Three dollars for two pairs of jeans. That's crazy. 

One day when I went in just to kill time between appointments, I found a great satchel that will work perfectly as a second carry on for our flight to England - something bigger than a purse that will fit a book and some snacks on top of the essentials. It's funny when you're at a thrift store because suddenly your idea of a bargain becomes a bit narrower. For example, the great satchel's price tag said $4.99. And I stood there for a few minutes wondering if that seemed a bit pricey. Let's not forget that the original price was probably at least $30... but because it's at a thrift store... and maybe because my jeans were $0.99, I was trying to be shrewd. I decided to buy it since I really did need something for traveling and discovered at the cash register that it had been marked down to $1.99. BAM.

Today Tim mentioned that he needed a suit for the wedding we're attending in England. Oh you need a suit? VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA, BABY! I knew it was a long shot, to try and find a classy suit in such a short period of time and at a limited inventory thrift store, but it was worth investigating. Both of us were hoping he'd find a grey three-piece suit - again decreasing our odds of success. I knew we couldn't afford for him to buy anything new even by Burlington Coat Factory standards (which isn't all that affordable anyways, I feel) but Tim did need something to wear to the wedding. So I said a prayer, asking God to help us find something we could afford at VoA. So let me review: Tim needs a suit for as close to $0 as possible, preferably a grey three-piece. And the Good Lord, because He is kind and generous, chose to bless us with exactly what we were looking for the amazing price of..........


On top of that, he found a powder blue dress shirt to match (on sale for $2) and an additional suit coat from Gap. Of course, I couldn't help browsing the racks myself while he shopped. I was in the market for one last pair of jeans (skinny jeans, specifically) and also happened upon a great top originally from The Limited that will be perfect for the cooler British weather. You can also see my great satchel here:

For all these gems (3-piece suit, Gap suit coat, dress shirt, skinny jeans, satchel, Limited shirt) we paid less than $30. That's crazy! Shop second hand folks - as much as possible. You can save a bunch and feel like you won the lottery. Win win.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sometimes I actually accomplish things....

Summer feels like it's just getting going for me. The temperatures are super hot - which I never like - but it also means that July + August are almost here and lots of exciting things are happening! We leave for our glorious 10-day British getaway next Friday afternoon and I am itching to get started on packing! I love packing for a vacation, but always procrastinate unpacking once we get home. The opposite is true when moving - I don't enjoy packing up a home, but love the process of unpacking and setting up. I have been keeping an ongoing list of things to bring so as not to forget when it comes time to put everything into a suitcase; sure I'll remember my toothbrush and passport but I might forget to pack a spare pair of contacts or my jacket if I don't write it down.

Something that I really wanted to get before we left was a new DSLR camera. My Canon Rebel was fine, but sometimes the quality wasn't what I had hoped for in such an expensive camera. As it turns out, Dodd Camera was having a "buy your old equipment" event at the same time a really nice Nikon camera I now own went on crazy sale. I still have to learn how to make the most of it's capabilities. But I'm hopeful it'll live up to my expectations.

I tested it out for the first time last week after I'd had an unusually productive day in the "being creative" department. These days are few and far between, so it was worth documenting. First, I finally got around to making a pom pom garland for our front window. It cost me all of $2 to make in about 40 mins. I found the pom poms at the dollar store (2 bags of various colors) and then strung them together using a needle and some white thread. Simple!

This isn't exactly a huge achievement, but I also figured out a way to get some vegetables in my kids! They used to love them as babies but now I can't seem to persuade them to eat anything except maybe potatoes. It's the oldest trick in the book, but I decided to blend a ton of spinach into some homemade pasta sauce. At first the color was a bit brown so they probably would have passed on it based on presentation alone, but after adding a tin of tomato paste I was back to some basic who-knew-it's-full-of-green-veg spaghetti sauce. And they ate it all! Woo! I even got a smile out of Jack.

Today was spent less productively killing a ton of flies which I suspect are coming up from our basement. SO stressful. Although I guess I was successful if you count that I'm 20 for 20 in terms of flies and their squished little bodies.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Word of the Day.

I've only posted on this once before, but every now and then I get a random word stuck in my head. More often than not, I'm not quite sure of it's definition. Last time it was spanakopita. The way it works is that I'll just be going about my day and every now and then the word will pop in my head for no reason. Example: As I was changing Moses' diaper.

Today's Word
(time stuck in head: since this morning)

haberdashery| ˈhabərˌda sh ərē|

noun  ( pl. -eries)
the goods and wares sold by a haberdasher.
This definition is not helpful at all considering I don't know what a haberdasher is. Thus: 

haberdasher|ˈhabərˌda sh ər|

1 a dealer in men's clothing.
2 Brit. a dealer in goods for dressmaking and sewing (such as buttons and ribbons).

 ORIGIN Middle English : probably based on Anglo-Norman French hapertas, perhaps the name of a fabric, of unknown origin. In early use the term denoted a dealer in a variety of household goods, later also specifically a hatter. Current senses date from the early 17th cent. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Things to Note.

Lessons + Observations:

- Never again order shoes online that don't offer free return shipping. Otherwise you end up paying half the price of the shoes in shipping.

- Don't self-diagnose a health concern via the internet, buy supplements and then decide you have a different issue altogether and buy more supplements on top of the ones you now don't need but already opened.

- On the brighter side, you can return almost anything - including nail polish that chips right away (something about neon colors....) Thank you Sally Beauty Supply for letting me exchange one that chips for one that doesn't.

- Being on a Paleo diet (another facet of my self-diagnosis) makes me appreciate things I shouldn't have (like coffee and the taste of chocolate) all the more. It also makes me crave it like an addict.

- Unlike watching t.v., I never feel like I'm wasting time when reading a good book.  Just finished A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison. Can't recommend enough.

- I like watching "Lady and the Tramp" as much now at 29 years of age as I did at 9. And I still wish I lived in the little town they show in the opening credits.

- Cell phones + cell phone plans will eat your bank account alive.

- Chip Ingram is so on the money when it comes to preaching the Word. Heard part of this sermon and can't wait to listen to the rest.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Three Years.

Dear Jack,

On Sunday you turned three. Three! We celebrated you all weekend because you're that special. My favorite part of your birthday was taking you out for ice cream, just the two of us. You chose Chocolate Chip Ice Cream w/ Dinosaur Sprinkles.

I also love that for months you've been requesting a carrot cake for your birthday. I had fears you'd change your mind day of, but you I think you loved every bite. You were such a good host at your party - making sure to play with all the kids, and (my favorite) changing where you sat to eat your cake so that you could "mingle." Daddy and I were so proud of the way you were quick to say thank you to the giver of each gift you received. In fact, you have become so quick to say thank you for lots of things these days - you recognize when someone does something nice or considerate and you make note of that. I really admire that about you.

You and your best bud Rylan at your party

I like that you are such a lover of people and companionship. You just love to be around others. So much so that you hate having to go to bed, in case you might miss out on something. You also love to use your intelligent brain as much as possible by asking lots of questions (lots and lots and lots), playing board games, reading books and doing puzzles. However, you recently developed a real interest in super hero action figures. It's fun watching your interests expand and grow.

You are also a creature of habit - you like toast every morning while watching a movie. Sometimes cereal if you're in the mood. At nap/bed time you always need your blanket ("bee"), your stuffed Peter Rabbit ("bunny"), a cup of cold water, some books, one of your action figures, and a tissue. You love being outside most of all - especially if it involves running in the sprinkler, playing water guns with Daddy, blowing bubbles or watering the plants. You would go to your Nan's every day if you could and you really love your friends and family - especially Ben, Luke, Brianna, Reese and Rylan. And Moses of course - but you guys fight a lot. I hope you both grow out of that!

Other things you've really enjoyed this past year are: wearing your rain boots, going to the Nature Center, eating popcorn for a treat, going to the library, pushing the kiddie cart at Trader Joe's or riding in the "speed racer" cart at Heinen's, watching "The Sandlot" or "Fantastic Mr. Fox", going to any and every playground, riding in your wagon, helping with the laundry and cleaning the toilet!

Your vocabulary and speech is pretty incredible and I'm not just biased! Everybody says it, and it is quite remarkable the way you are able to communicate. It's also crazy how many things (memories, facts, etc) you are able to recall. Below are some little quotes I shared on Facebook and I wanted to compile them here. But before that, I just want to say how much I LOVE YOU even if I get frustrated a lot or seem mean like a "bad guy" in Spiderman's world, as you compared it :P - I treasure you and who you are. Oh, and you're "I love you Mom"s in the midst of my stress really does change my perspective.

You are an incredible little boy, and I'm so blessed that you're mine!!

Love Mom

Jack Says:

Jack - "Mommy do you like those sandals?"
Me - "Yes, I'd like to them get them"
Jack - "You can't they're too expensive."
Me - "Is that right?"
Jack - "Yeah, and they'll hurt your back."

Jack and I were doing a puzzle today of a cartoon marching band. I asked him if anyone in the picture looked like me and he pointed out the long blond haired prom queen who was riding in a car behind the band and waving. Inaccurate, but flattering none the less. Then I asked him if anyone in the picture looked like Tim. I thought maybe he'd point out the prom king, since he was seated next to the prom queen. Instead he pointed to a Latino boy playing the trumpet and said "That looks like Daddy." Interesting.

Every time (every.time) we have a dance party, the first song Jack always requests is Beyonce's "Single Ladies: Put a Ring on It." He says, and I quote, "It cheers me up." Bless his heart.

When he makes a mistake or has to restart a statement he often does this little laugh and says, "Oh, sorry sorry..." and then begins again.

According to Jack, Tim is good at: driving, pooping, opening doors and knocking on them. Sounds about right.

I spent the morning writing out invites to a little party we're having for his birthday next month. He later thanked me for doing so, completely of his own accord.

Jack says "I have to go potty. I can't poop my pants. That's how I roll."

Jack opened his Bible today and asked if he could pray for me. Um, yes please. His prayer was as follows... and I quote: "Please protect Mommy....from Moses pulling her hair and from touching the heater, so that she doesn't freak out." Jack, you know me too well. I should have you pray for me more often.  

Love you buddy!
May the Lord bless you, keep you, and protect you all the days of your life!

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