Posted by: allisonwonder | March 13, 2010

Thrift Stores: The Good, The Bad, The Messy

I used to work at a thrift store- a big for-profit chain. I worked in 2 different locations as a cashier and as a supervisor.  I could tell you sooooo many stories about the nutty customers… but that’s not what we’re here for today. Trent at The Simple Dollar did a post recently about shopping at thrift stores and why it works for him.  A lively discussion followed in the comments, as it usually does over there. Some people love thrift-store shopping, other people consider it a hopeless waste of time and have never found something they like in all the three times they’ve gone. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts, tips and ideas on the topic, stuff I picked up in the few years I worked in the industry. Bottom line: thrift-store shopping can save you a ton of money on great clothes (especially for kids!), as long as you approach it properly.

Thrift Stores 101 (general info- skip this if you just want the tips)

Second-hand clothing stores fall into 3 categories, as far as I can tell: consignment stores, not-for-profit stores, and for-profit thrift stores. They can all be great sources, depending on your needs.

Consignment stores are generally  smaller stores where (correct me if I’m wrong) people bring nice clothes in and get a share of the profit when their items sell. They’re great spots to look if you want really nice stuff and don’t have time to searh through a ton of racks. Their items are going to be more expensive, as the store shares profits with the people who brought the clothes in, but the store can also afford to be picky about what gets on the shelves, and what you find will be clean and in good condition. If I needed a formal dress, a consignment store would be my first stop. T-shirts? No way. I’m just not that picky.

At the other end of things, we have charity-run thrift stores. Clothes are donated by people or organizations, stuff is priced (usually very reasonably) and put out on the racks. You can find great deals in these stores if you’re willing to do some digging: in my experience, they tend to be disorganized because they just don’t have the staff available to sort everything by type, size and colour and keep it organized after it’s been to the fitting rooms a bunch of times. There are, I’m sure, exceptions to this, stores that are neat as a pin and organized like they’re using the Dewey Decimal system, but I haven’t found one yet. Profits from these stores go directly to supporting the charities that run them (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc).

For-profit stores/chains (like the stores I worked in) work in a few different ways: they might get their stock from private sources, or they might buy them off of charities. If you’re in Canada and you’re donating clothes to a charity that doesn’t have its own stores, that’s probably where they’re going. The stores pay the charity a fixed amount for clothes and household items by volume or weight, and then price items individually. Prices here are usually higher than at charity-run stores, as these stores have to pay huge numbers of staff (on the floor and in the pricing area, managers and area managers), plus make a profit for head office.  Because more people are getting paid to take care of things, these stores are usually better-organized than cheaper stores- my stores organized by department, item type (short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts, blouses, sweaters, cardigans, skirts, long pants, capris, shorts…) and colour- ideally, everything would look like a pretty rainbow in each little section.  I find these stores slightly less frustrating than the stores mentioned above, but nothing guarantees a great haul at the end of the day. Everything depends on what gets donated, and you’ll find better stuff in wealthier areas of the country. Sad, but true.

So what’s so great about thrift stores? The prices tend to be way better than “new” stores, and if you have a bit of time to look around (and especially if you can stop in and do a quick scan of the racks frequently) you can find some great stuff- good condition, often with the tags still on, good quality and/or expensive brands. You’ll find stuff you won’t see in other stores, and if you’re looking for anything vintage or retro, these stores are a great starting point. Oh, and if you’re one of those shoppers who just lives for the thrill of the hunt? HEAVEN.

Nothing’s perfect, of course. I can only speak about the for-profit store I worked at and the few other stores I’ve shopped at, but there are problems you’ll run into. You won’t find the same selection at different stores, and you won’t find the same item in multiple sizes. It does take longer to browse these racks than it takes to look at displays in Wal-Mart, Reitman’s, or the Bay- or to scan catalogue pages. If you go in looking for one specific item, you might be out of luck. Oh, and it CAN be time-consuming; dont’s expect to be in and out in 5 minutes with something you really wanted.

With all of that said, I’ve discovered a few things about thrift store shopping that might help you out a bit, whether you’re a seasoned second-hand pro or just getting your feet wet:

Shop frequently: Thrift stores get new stock almost every day; if you’re only shopping once a year, you’re probably missing “your” items. If you can stop in every few weeks or once a month and go through the stuff you’re looking for (ie what you need and in your size), you’re far more likely to see that amazing sweater that’s sofreakingperfect. I find it’s less frustrating to do this if you can find well-organized stores, so you’re not wasting time on stuff that’s not even your size- remember which stores you see that are easy to scan quickly. If you have time to work there a shift or two a week, you’re in the best position of all!

Know your local stores: Thrift and consignment stores in any area will vary greatly in selection, cleanliness and organization. Know where you like to shop, and unless you’re up for a challenge, forget about the rest of them. Also, try new stores when you’re traveling: I can tell you that selection and quality are far better in some parts of the country (Ontario) than others (Newfoundland, I’m looking at you). People in some areas are able to buy better-quality new items more frequently, meaning their almost-new castoffs end up in thrift stores. Other places you might find slightly-worn Wal-Mart stuff on most racks. You can still find gems in those areas, but the hunt’s a lot more challenging.

Keep your mind open: Like I said before, if you walk in with a short list of specific items, you’ll probably walk out disappointed. If, on the other hand, you keep a running list of items you’ll need in the near future and are willing to be a bit flexible, you might find stuff that’s better than you expected.  Need something to wear to a friend’s wedding this summer? Rather than going in looking for A Purple Dress, Knee-Length, Low-Cut, just browse the dress racks- you might find a green strapless number that looks fabulous on you and that you like better than the purple number you were looking for. But conversely…

Stay within limits: you need to find your balance between being open-minded and buying everything that catches your eye. Ten $5 items still equals $50 out of your pocket. That’s why I like to keep a broad list of what I need, plus a budget. I have room to get that nice pair of jeans AND the t-shirt that looks so good on me, but not to spend $30 on a dress that’s a great deal but that I’ll never wear.

Expand your size range: Maybe you always buy your shirts in “Medium” when you shop for new clothes. That’s a good place to start at a thrift store, but it can pay to expand your horizons. If items are sorted by what’s on the tag, you might miss out on an amazing sweater that says “large” on the tag, but that someone shrunk in the wash. Bear in mind, too, that there’s a huge range of brands in a thrift store, and they all size differently- you might be an 8 in brand A’s pants, a 10 in another and a 6 in a third. Hold stuff up to you, see if it might work. Then…

Try it on: Thrift stores will generally not take returns, so you’d better be pretty sure about hat you’re buying (though exchanges are usually an option, “store credit” isn’t always).  A good thrift store will have fitting rooms, and if they’re not understaffed (or overrun with inconsiderate customers- don’t even get me started!), you’ll have a good spot to try items on. Another bonus with thrift stores is that people who work there don’t get paid on commission, and there’s no high-pressure selling. I once (when asked for my opinion) told a woman some jeans made her butt look kind of flat, and she could do better. She was incredibly grateful, and she DID find something better. When you’re shopping a lot of brands, sizes and styles, you really want to know if an item’s right for you.

Know the store’s return/exchange policy: see above. You might not get a refund, you might have to bring it back within 7 or 14 days. If you can’t come back for three weeks, tell them. Cashiers or supervisors will probably be able to make a note on your receipt that will extend your exchange privileges.

If you’re into haggling over everything…: Don’t try it at the chain stores- they’re probably not allowed to do it. Pricers get training, and unless there’s a glaring flaw in the item that they obviously missed, the price is going to stand (admittedly, some managers or supervisors may be more flexible than others).  Some customers will try haggle over every missing button, and it’s a waste of time. I don’t know how other stores are with changing prices; I’m not a haggler, myself. Where I worked, trying to haggle over prices was about as productive as trying it at Wal-Mart. We just couldn’t change prices outside of extreme circumstances. If something seems WAY off, ask; just remember that you’re at a retail store, not a garage sale.

Know your prices: You can find amazing deals at thrift stores, far cheaper than buying new. You will, however, sometimes find oddly-priced stuff. Dollar-store items for $1.50., for example. Boots in great condition for $9.99 that were $11.99 new (we used to wonder, once in a while, what the pricers were smoking). Know what you’re willing to pay. Be prepared to pay more for good-quality items, though. There are still stores out there where you might find a $300 jacket for 50 cents, but they’re becoming extremely rare. At the store I worked at, an item with the tags still on could cost up to 50% of its original price, so that $300 jacket would still cost you $150. A great deal if you wanted that jacket anyway, but not a great impulse buy.

Go for the baby clothes!: That one deserves an exclamation point. You can find incredible baby stuff second-hand; that plus gifts is how both of our kids were clothed the first few years of their lives, and we still don’t buy much new. Three reasons for this: First, people get ridiculous amounts of new clothing as baby gifts. Second, babies grow very quickly. Third, because of the first two points, babies often only wear an outfit once or twice (or not at all) before they outgrow it. And really, how does a baby who doesn’t even crawl yet wear out his or her clothes? They don’t. Stains you want to watch for… wear and tear not so much an issue. The brands you find will depend on what’s donated, but the condition is frequently near-perfect.

Kids, too: As kids get older, they wear their clothes out more. There are still deals to be had, though. Your kid doesn’t need new clothes to play in- save the good stuff for school and outings, and let them wear $1 sweat pants to play in the mud. Also, dress clothes don’t tend to get worn much before they’re outgrown. Then there’s the regular surprises: stuff someone got brand-new as a gift and it didn’t fit or wasn’t their taste, or stuff donated by parents who buy their kids new clothes every few weeks. Take advantage of those deals!

Other Items

You can find lots of household items at thrift stores, often at incredible prices. A few things to remember:

– Watch for items that go with your collections: this is best place to find them cheap*, especially if they’re not in great demand. Seriously. If you collect souvenir shot glasses, look for 69-cent deals that somebody else didn’t want.

– Think before buying electronics: I can’t speak for all stores, but this stuff’s often not tested beyond seeing whether the power light comes on when it’s plugged in. Use the outlets provided for testing, but in the case of DVD players and other things that require other equipment to test properly, you might be buying blind. You might notice either a sign on the wall or a sticker on the product saying that all sales are final- even if the thing won’t turn on when you get it home. I won’t buy a camera at a thrift store- if it’s there, there’s probably something wrong with it. With stuff that requires batteries, either bring a few of your own along for testing or ask at the cash desk- they might have some spares you can borrow for a few minutes. Screwdrivers, too!

-Know prices for bulk-priced items: Books might all be $1, or they might be priced according to the publisher’s price. This will probably be posted on the wall or shelf. Also note that bulk pricing usually applies unless otherwise marked– if there’s a price tag on your item that’s higher than the bulk price, that’s the price. People often complain and say, “but the sign says…” You might disagree, but they’ve priced it that way for a reason.

The most important thing to remember with thrift store shopping is to try to have fun. Slogging through a thousand items can be boring as hell if you treat it like a job, but if you take a friend and laugh at the tacky sweaters and help each other look for what you need, it can be a thrilling hunt and a fun way to pass some time. Try not to get too disappointed if you don’t find exactly what you want- it might be there next time. Oh, and leave the kids at home if at all possible- I’m currently finding it almost impossible to do serious browsing with the kids around.

Please add any tips you’re discovered in the comments!

*This and garage sales if it’s garage sale season

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Posted by: allisonwonder | March 12, 2010

This Stinks… I Think.

Simon brought this little cut-and-paste project home from play school yesterday. I’m going to go ahead and assume that they were supposed to put “GOOD SMELLS on one side and BAD SMELLS on the other (since that’s what the paper says. Clever, no?)

So, according to Simon, we have the following list. He didn’t so too bad on the BAD SMELL side of things, but GOOD SMELLS? Either there’s something wrong with my kid’s nose, or he’s got some weird ideas about what “good” means. incidentally, are 4-year olds REALLY supposed to know what ammonia smells like?!

BAD SMELLS:

ammonia

smoke

raw fish

loaf of bread*

litter box

trash can

hot dog

sour milk

GOOD SMELLS**:

mouthwash

popcorn

goat

exhaust fumes

strawberries

pizza

burnt food***

flowers

pepper

cupcakes

wet puppy

I am SO serving burnt goat cupcakes for Simon’s next birthday party. He’ll be happy about that, I think.

*I’d just like to tell you that when I bake bread, the smell is amazing. AMAZING.

** “Smell” is totally one of those words that loses all meaning after you type or read it too many times. Is that even a word? Smell. Smelly. Sssmmmmell.

*** Also, this being in the GOOD SMELL column is not a reflection of my cooking smells. Burnt food doesn’t scream, “EAT ME, I’M COMFORT FOOD LIKE MAMA MAKES!” to my children. So far.

Posted by: allisonwonder | March 11, 2010

Simon’s Plants and a Very Intellectual Movie Review

Simon and I are going to try growing some vegetables this year. Ike’s certainly welcome to help, though I strongly suspect that his idea of “helping” will be to pull up every green thing that dares poke its head out of the dirt.

We can’t really start yet. I have a little plastic greenhouse thing so we can start the seeds indoors, but it’s still too early- they’d outgrow that thing before we could plant them outside. Simon was pretty excited when I bought the seeds, though, so we planted a couple of beans in a cup, just to see what would happen.

A week later…

Bean plants this morning

And here’s one of the things I love about a nice, sunny day: this is the same plants less than 2 hours later

lookin' up!

Is it just me, or is that amazing? I love how plants turn and stretch toward sunlight, just like I want to after a winter with too little sun and too much cold. I’m not crazy enough to think that winter’s actually OVER, but I sure am enjoying these mild days when we get them.

* * * *

AJ and I kind of got a date night last night. I say “kind of” because we went along with three people he works with, none of them a couple, so it wasn’t a group date or a double date. Whatever, we had fun, we had a meal, we saw a movie.  That plus babysitter for 7 hours (the movie theatre’s an hour away, and the movie started later than we expected) cost us a ridiculous $120. THIS is why we never go out! It would have been cheaper it we’d had time to eat early and just had appetizers at the restaurant, but this was really last-minute. Also, Boston Pizza is way too expensive. The food’s good, but it’s not THAT good.

But let me set my wounded bank-book aside for a moment and tell you about the movie. We saw “Brooklyn’s Finest”. It was… well, it was OK, some of the characters were interesting, but not worth $17 for 2 tickets and the time we spent watching it. The acting was good, and Ethan Hawke is very believable as a dirty, scuzzy, down-on-his-luck, frustrated policeman, but Richard Gere just isn’t believable as an old, worn-out anything. I’m sorry, he still looks like a wealthy businessman even when he’s doing a coked-out whore. Well, I don’t doubt that there are businessmen who DO that, but that’s not what he was supposed to be. Don Cheadle is pretty much great in anything… and I can’t watch Wesley Snipes in anything without seeing and hearing Noxema Jackson. Sad, but true. Blade? Noxema Jackson killing vampires. This? Noxema Jackson getting out of jail and selling drugs.

Ethan Hawke’s character (and this isn’t a spoiler so much as an early plot-point) has a crappy house, no money, and baby #6 (at least) on the way. Not to stereotype, but judging by all of the Catholic imagery in the movie, I’m thinking this is why they have so many kids. I felt for the guy- we know how bad it is having that problem with two kids- I can’t imagine with 6. But in spite of that, all I could think about was this:

Posted by: allisonwonder | March 9, 2010

Ouch!

So on Sunday night the Boys (capital ‘B’- AJ, Simon and Ike) were all playing in Simon’s room. Simon tends to be a bit possessive of his Daddy when he gets him in there, so I was pleasantly surprised when he was so good about having Ike in there with them. Apparently that’s as far as he was willing to go with the whole sharing deal, though.

AJ called me in to see Ike being all cute and lying down in Simon’s “big boy bed” like he was going to sleep (and probably just to get a bit of a break- he likes hanging out with his boys, but their bedrooms aren’t the most interesting places for him to be). I was in there for about 20 seconds before Simon ran in and told me to get out.

“Why? I asked.

“Dis is MY place, Mommy. You get out of my place. I don’t want you here, just Daddy and Ike.”

Ouch… but fair enough, If the boys want privacy in their bedrooms, I can give them that. And I try not to get too hurt by a 4-year old’s whims- I can be a grown-up about that).

Then he says, “Dis is MY place. Your place,” and he points to my bedroom across the hall, “is over dere. You go dere now, Mommy.”

So now I’m not only kicked out, I’ve actually been assigned a place I should go. I was actually half-expecting him to tell me that my place was in the kitchen, and take my damn socks off while I’m at it, so I guess my bedroom wasn’t so bad. But still… nobody likes to be excluded!

Simon came over to my room (yes, I went there) and I told him my feelings were hurt. He looked surprised. “Why, what happened?!” So we talked about how it hurts people’s feelings when you say you don’t want them around, when you won’t let them play (even though I hadn’t wanted to- he didn’t need to know that), etc. He said, “Oh,” and left. Didn’t invite me back in- just went back to his “place” and shut the door. I could hear AJ calling, “Kitty? Come baaack! Save meeee!”  He’s a big boy, though, and he can take care of himself. I went and read my book. He managed to escape a few minutes later, and Simon discovered that if you want to exclude some people, others who you really want around just might not want to join you.

I know that almost all kids get into purposeful exclusion at some point as they get older, often forming “clubs” where the point is basically to get a feeling of being special by excluding other people. I don’t want Simon to be one of those kids. I don’t think Sunday night is a sign of things to come, but I’d like for him to learn that it’s not OK to do that, to hurt other people. Then again, I don’t want him to feel guilted into letting me (or anyone) into his private space… so where’s the balance, there?

Posted by: allisonwonder | March 8, 2010

Nice Weather- At Last!

We had amazing weather here this weekend. Not as warm as, say, Hamilton, ON (my mom says it was up to 12 degrees- can you imagine?), but it was sunny, and yesterday the wind wasn’t too bad. That’s what gets you here- it can be fairly warm and sunny, but that wind coming off the water can freeze your fingers anyway.

The boys and I spent some time outside yesterday morning. This was Sunday, and no, we weren’t at church. Again. We’d like to go more often than we do, but AJ’s shifts make it difficult: if he’s working Saturday night, he’s asleep Sunday morning; if he’s working Sunday during the day, he obviously can’t go; and if he’s working Sunday night, he has to sleep in that morning so he’s not exhausted at work. If I take the boys by myself they just get bored and distract me and everyone else, so we can’t stay, anyway. This being the case, we haven’t been since before Christmas.

Only one small fight over the ball. Amazing!

BUT- we found ourselves with a nice day yesterday, so while AJ was sleeping I took the boys out to the back yard. It was good. Simon didn’t stay out too long- it wasn’t the cold or wind this time, so I think he just got bored. He went in, and Ike and I stayed outside for a while longer. Ike chased one of the cats around for a while and found all sorts of interesting toys that we forgot to pick up last fall, and we got some sunshine and fresh air.

In the afternoon, after AJ was up and dressed and ready for his day off (Woohoo!), we all went for a walk down to the canal. It’s just a 5-minute walk even when you’re walking with a dawdling 4-year old- we’re so lucky. There’s a little beach down there (Simon has claimed it as “my beach”) that’s mostly rocks with a bit of very coarse sand, but it’s a nice spot to look for sea glass and for the boys to chuck rocks into the water.

AJ and Ike hunt for sea glass

We spent about an hour down there just walking around, picking up interesting stuff, and enjoying the first warm-ish day we’ve had since the start of winter.

So that was our day. Days when AJ’s off work are the best- no worries about what time we need to get home, and the boys are a little less clingy with him when they know he’ll be home all day.

The best part of all of this (for me, anyway), was that the fresh air and exercise wore the boys out enough that they went right to sleep at bed time, so I got some time with their dad with no interruptions. Life is good. 🙂

Ike enjoys throwing rocks into the water

I don't know what Simon was doing, but it looked VERY important!

The Canal

Posted by: allisonwonder | March 6, 2010

Gene’s Guitar

Speaking of activities and projects, here’s one of my past favourites: a recent attempt to build a toy “Axe” bass out of cardboard, duct tape and paint.

Why? Because Simon, like his Dad, thinks KISS pretty much the greatest band ever. He saw the Gene Simmons Axe controller for Guitar Hero (or whichever of those games it’s for) at Wal-Mart and decided it just might be the coolest thing ever. We didn’t buy it for 3 reasons: 1) It costs $70   2) it’s not Simon’s birthday, and even if it was, we don’t spend that much on anyone’s birthday   3) even if it cost $10, we’re trying to get away from buying too many “just because” treats.  Oh, and there’s the fact that we don’t even have whatever game this thing goes with. That, too.

At home, Simon just kept talking about how much he liked this guitar. “I wike Gene’s guitar.” “Gene’s guitar is COOL!” We explained that it costs a lot of money… so Simon brought out his little piggy bank (which is not a pig. It’s a snail). “I have lots of money!” Yep, he had $7 saved up in there. After we talked about the difference between $7 and $70, Simon decided he’d rather try making an axe. So we did. OK, mostly I did, because I knew he wouldn’t be happy if it didn’t look exactly like Gene’s, but Simon helped paint.

Yes, we have entered the "goofy camera smile" phase

I think it turned out pretty good. Simon has his Axe to play with (that sounds so weird…), and I hope he learned that spending a lot of money’s not the only way to get something you want. It’s a lesson I probably need to remember more often than I do. I think he likes it:

Rock on, little buddy. Rock on.

Posted by: allisonwonder | March 5, 2010

Hairball Elephants

I’m trying to do activities with the kids- “activities” being pretty much anything that’s not watching TV*, with bonus points for anything educational and/or involving physical activity and/or getting us out of the house. I’d like to avoid anything expensive and things that require special equipment- any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! This kind of thing is a lot easier in the summer when we can walk down to the “little beach” or drive to the big beach- the weather’s kind of gross right now. It could be worse, but Simon’s a big wimp when it comes to the cold.

So here we are today- it’s not raining, but it’s cloudy. It’s not cold, but it’s windy. I want to go for a walk, but Simon will whine the entire time we’re gone- not so much fun for me. We’ll try to get out later (maybe walk down to return that overdue movie), but this morning was Time to Make Something!  WHEEEEE! I saw this recipe for modeling dough made from dryer lint a while ago; we certainly have enough dryer lint, so hey, why not?

Simon liked putting the ingredients (dryer lint, water, flour and vegetable oil) into the pot. He likes mixing it. He didn’t like the waiting part, but it’s something I’d REALLY like for him to learn to deal with. Really.

In goes the flour...

The recipe doesn’t say how long the lint soup is supposed to cook for- I let it go for almost 1/2 an hour, and it still didn’t seem to be congealing properly. I would have turned the heat up to “medium”, but I didn’t want to risk having dryer lint (with bonus cat hair!) burned onto the bottom of the pot. I’m selfish like that. So we ended up with a big, grey hairball, which I then wrapped in a J-Cloth and squeezed to get the extra water out. We’re not aiming for perfection here, folks, just something to keep Simon occupied.

Lint Soup

Good enough, right? So we let that cool for a while, then got ready to make wonderful things. Well, I was ready. Simon doesn’t like getting his hands dirty or “yucky” (or wet, actually), so he wasn’t too sure about this stuff. And it WAS pretty gross- I’ve seen too many hairballs come out of the cats for this to be anything but icky. BUT- this was our project for today, our great experiment, and we were going to see it through. I eventually got Simon smooshing the stuff around with his fingertips (and frequently wiping them off on a towel) and asking me to make stuff- this was actually more than I expected him to do.

I made some very squishy animals…

mouse-hairball and elephant-hairball

…Simon made a very realistic-looking pile of hairy cat vomit.

Simon and his... creations

I’m going to call this one a success. The recipe might not have worked out like it was supposed to, but we made something that we got to play with after we made it and we spent some time doing something fun that did not involve the TV or even any TV or movie characters. Also, I learned that our dryer lint contains a ridiculous amount of cat hair.  Hey, I could make fake hairballs to sell for April Fool’s Day! SCORE!

*Simon’s a bit of a TV-holic- we don’t have cable, but he LOVES movies and wants one on at all times. It’s bad. We’re working on it.

Posted by: allisonwonder | March 5, 2010

A Fresh Start

Well here we are, another year, another blog.  I’ve written on livejournal and blogger; I’ve got a few blogs registered here on wordpress, as well.  I just can’t seem to stop jumping around! Since I’ve been having trouble logging in to write at http://c-sectionlobotomy.blogger.com, we’re just going to move the whole she-bang over here to wordpress. And hey, who DOESN’T like a fresh start? I’m one of those people who buys a new planner book half-way through the year because I like having all those blank pages spread out before me, ready to be filled (or not, as the case may be) with all of my oh-so exciting activities and grocery lists. I’m also constantly on the lookout for the PERFECT planner, one with plenty of room for every day, space for lists and notes and phone numbers, something that looks pretty.

So, what are we doing here? I hope I’ll be writing fairly frequently; I’ve challenged myself to do some kind of writing for an hour every day; it won’t always be here, but when I’ve got something relevant to write about, I’ll try to remember to post it here. I have no plans to make big bucks with my blog- this is just for fun (unless you want to give me big bucks, in which case I won’t say no!). Since my days tend to revolve around the kids and household stuff, those will probably be the subject of most posts- activities, photos, product reviews, stories about our days, thoughts and ramblings on parenting and endless bitching about housework. Doesn’t that sound like FUN?! I promise I’ll make this as entertaining as I can for you, whoever you are. There will be other things to post about as time goes on.  We’ll just see what happens as we go along, shall we?

(see also “About Me” button in the header above… right there, in the picture under the title? That one.)

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