Friday, April 30, 2010

Its About Time

This is my 95th post.  That's hard to believe. 

So in 5 more posts it will be my 100th (yeah, I know you can do simple math like that).

I have a nice big giveaway in the works for #100, so keep reading, invite all your friends and get ready to win!
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Well, for today's post, I just have one thing to say:  Good things come to those who wait.

These little babies have been teasing me for 3 years.  I transplanted them from a friend's garden 3 years ago and they have been without a bloom for that long.  I thought maybe they were defective.

But....after being patient and waiting, this is what I was rewarded with yesterday.
There is a second one next to it that will also bloom any day now.  They are just so pretty!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Yellow River game ranch

Day 2 of our Spring Break trip started out a little chilly.  We decided to be lazy and make a slow start to the day.  At lunch it had warmed up a little so we (meaning me and my friend in Atlanta that we were staying with) packed a lunch and had a picnic in the park.
Notice the coats - yes, Hotlanta was actually a bit cold!  I was very surprised.  Poor David.  I didn't bring a coat for him (thought it was going to be hot).  So he is wearing one of his friend there in the middle's coats.  It's not TOO girly, just a few ruffles. 

Then we went on to the game ranch to "feed the animals."  What we didn't realize was that the animals had already been fed all day and all day the day before and those animals really weren't hungry by 1 PM.  So only a few of them ate.
The deer and chickens just roamed around freely, so we were always trying to feed them.  But usually the squirrels came and got the peanuts instead.
There were beautiful peacocks just laying around - literally.  Look how long those feathers are.  We could never get him to put them up.  They were some lazy animals there!
Big 'ole turkeys who are lucky that they are in a cage and not out being made into Thanksgiving dinner.  They were huge!!
Yay!!  Finally an animal who will eat something.  The donkey likes carrots and Julie was brave enough to feed it.  David?  Not so much.
Don't let the picture fool you.  As soon as that goat got close David jumped back.  He really didn't want it to eat out of his hand.
Who knew that pigs like graham crackers?
Finally, an animal that David would actually feed.  It's shorter than him so he was less intimidated by it.  And being a pig and all, I think it would have eaten anything.  But it did like those graham crackers.
So this close, brave and maybe overly so, deer?  We got close enough to pet it!  I petted a real deer - like the kind that come into my yard in the morning and eat my flowers but run away when the kids run down the hall.  One of those.  It was pretty cool.  Julie petted it too, but David was too scared.

Over all a fun day, but I think it would have been better if we had gotten there earlier in the day when the animals were a little hungrier.  Julie gets to go on a field trip in May to a game ranch around here.  We'll have to see how it compares for her.

Hope you are having a great week.  If you know of any fun places in the southeast to visit (GA, NC, SC, TN, VA), let me know.  We're always looking for fun day trips to take.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The American Girl Experience

Spring Break has come and gone now, but Julie still talks about visiting the American Girl store in Atlanta.  (I haven't told her how much cooler the Chicago store is :)

So here it is - the American Girl Experience (although unless you are a 5-8 year old girl, you probably can't TRULY experience it).

This is the "before" picture - that would be before I paid $20 for a hairdo that I could do for free.  Smack (that's me smacking my hand for being snippy).  I apologize, I really paid $20 for the experience.  I just have to keep reminding myself of that.
Natalie (the doll) getting cleaned before her styling.  The cleaning was only $5 and THAT really was worth the money!  She looked great afterwards.
Luckily, there was an extra chair for David's hippo webkin to rest in.  He got a kick out of that.
There's the hair minus the bows.
Ah, just look at the smile on that face.  That made the $20 worth it!  Just like a proud mama.
Now, time for lunch.  Nevermind that it was 2 in the afternoon because that was the only time they had reservations available.  Each doll (or webkin) got its own little seat and a mini-muffin to "eat."  Luckily they let me order off of the kids menu for Julie (it's supposed to be for kids 4 and under).  The kids menu had dessert included and that chocolate ice cream was the best part for her.
I knew it was going to be a costly day and it was, but I had prepared and saved up money from my consignment sale.  But I am also very glad that I got to give my daughter this experience.  She got to spend the day with the doll she loves.

Oh and the mommy and brother she loves too - I'm sure that was key to her happiness as well :).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's been a while

Hello invisible readers out there.

Guess what?  We've been busy, but I guess that's the story of most everyone's lives.  For us, here are a few of the things we've been doing:

Kids choir performance at church - Julie had a solo and David had a speaking part.  If I figure out how to put video on here, I'll show it to you.  They did awesome!

Painted my bathroom purple on Sat night - just cleaned it all up tonight.  Pictures will follow.

Preparing for dance recital - regular dance practice and Daddy/daughter practice (that's a lot more involved that we expected).

Preparing for piano recital where I have to play the teacher duet part with Julie.  Oh am I rusty!  Luckily, the part is not that hard, but keeping new little fingers to a steady rhythm can be trying on one's patience.

Taking a 2-hour 13-week Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class every Sunday night.

Working at the Book Fair at Julie's school.

Helping my mother start up a new business and do prelim advertising (more about that later).

Field trips with David, teaching 5th and 6th grade girls at church, landscaping the yard, taking kids to T-ball twice a week, .....

Need I go on? :)

I cannot promise to blog everyday, but I can promise to try to blog more.  That's a promise for me as much as for you.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I hope I have time to schedule some posts for you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Powerful Links

I haven't talked too much about my faith on this blog - not because I'm not passionate about it, but mainly because I don't feel I can write eloquently enough about it.  And because I prefer to write light-heartedly about daily events in my life, as a kind of journal for my kids.

But just because I can't write that well, doesn't mean that others can't.

In fact, Missy at It's Almost Naptime is an excellent writer and puts things so eloquently, in ways I could never do.  In catching up on my blog reading, I ran across these two posts which touched me.

Read this Call to Action and sign the petition for all orphans overseas and the parents over here adopting them.

Then prepare to be challenged by Designer Babies, Designer God.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Note to all mothers:

When your 4-year old son says his shoes are in the car (while getting ready to go to church), don't blindly believe him.  Because when you get to church, you just might discover that his shoes are really NOT in the car.  Then he just may have to wear his cousin's pink princess tennis shoes while at church.  And he just might get made fun of and could possibly be scarred for life.

So, hypothetically, if that ever happens, make sure you check to see if his shoes are really in the car.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sleep Well

Betcha thought this post was about sleeping or how to get a good night's sleep or something like that.

Nope.

It about this:
MY NEW HEADBOARD!!!!

I just love it.  We bought it 3 weeks ago at an unfinished furniture store and were waiting for it to get finished for us.  (For the record, I've never stained something myself and I didn't want to start with a headboard that I had paid good money for and is the focal point of my room.  So I paid someone to do it.)

Anyway, they just finished it on Tues and my hubby and I picked it up yesterday.  Next on our furniture list is to replace those cheap, Walmart, unmatching-to-my-new-headboard side tables.

We also have to figure out what to put on the wall above our new headboard.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Julie & Julia review

One of the luxuries Tim and I give to ourselves is the Blockbuster movie pass.  With it, we can see all those movies we miss in the theaters.  Last night we watched Julie & Julia, the story about the blogger who cooked her way through Julia Child's French cooking cookbook. 

I was so excited to see this one since it was about a blogger and all.  And I wasn't disappointed.  It was a wonderful movie.  There was tons of yummy looking food on there (I was really hungry when it was done), but the best part was the enjoyment that both Julie (the blogger) and Julia Child found in their marriages.

The story jumps back and forth from Julia's life in Paris in the 1950's and Julie's life in Queens in 2002.  It is intelligently written and keeps your interest from the first minute.  It intrigued me so much that I had to look up Julia Child on Wikepedia to see how accurate the movie was.  And it was incredibly accurate.

I also enjoy watching the extras on the DVD or Blu-Ray.  One of the things that "Making of" extra mentioned was that Julia is portrayed in this movie from Julie's perception of her.  In other words, Julie had this view of Julia Child in her mind as the perfect woman and she is portrayed by Meryl Streep as that perfect woman in Julie's mind.  But even if that view of her is somewhat biased, the historical facts are all accurate.

The acting is wonderful, the storyline is smart and the movie is very entertaining.  I would highly recommend it to anyone.

No one asked me to write this review or compensated me.  I just really liked the movie and wanted to pass on the recommendation.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Couponchief.com review

If you have known me for very long, you know that I LOVE saving money.  My new hobby since December has been using coupons in stores and spending less on my family's grocery and personal care expenses.  So, when I find a new website to help me save money online as well, I jump all over it. 

That is exactly what CouponChief.com does.  

Recently CouponChief invited me to peruse their vast supply of coupons.  After checking out their website, I was impressed that CouponChief is so user-focused.

Here's how it works:
  • Shop online and find exactly what you want to buy.  Add it to your online shopping cart.  
  • STOP - before you click that "Purchase" button, visit couponchief.com .  Search by store and CouponChief will bring up every coupon code it has for that website.  You can see if that coupon has worked for others or not.  You can also see when the coupon expires.
  • Click on the "Use it" button and see the savings add up!
After your purchase, go back to CouponChief and put your own feedback in about the coupon.  Tell others if it worked for you or leave a comment on the particular coupon you used to let others know specific information about it.

Got a coupon code to share with others?  It pays 2 share on CouponChief.  Once you sign up with the Pays-2-Share program, and start entering coupon codes, you can earn real live money just for sharing your coupon good fortune with others.  Every time someone uses a code you submitted, you get 2% of the sales in cold hard cash (really it's a check or paypal, but it translates to cash).

So what did I think of the website?  Well, I did a little experiment.  I went to a competitor's site and looked for Victoria's Secret coupon codes.  Then I did the same for CouponChief.  The competitor found 30 coupon codes, divided into 5 active codes and 25 unreliable codes.  Out of those 30, I only found one code that CouponChief didn't have.  CouponChief found 43 codes.  Of those, 5 had users comment that they didn't work.  I can't guarantee that all the other codes work, but that seems like better odds to me.  Out of those 43, there were a bunch that the competitor didn't have. 

I also like the Pays-2-Share feature of CouponChief.  As of right now, I haven't signed up for an account, but I probably will.  It makes sense to me that if I find a coupon code, I could at least try to share it with others.  And why not make some money off of it while I'm at it.  To be fair, the competitor has a place to share coupon codes as well.  However, as far as I can tell, they will not pay you for others using the code like CouponChief does.

I will definitely be adding CouponChief to my online shopping regimen.  In truth, I will probably check several different sites for coupon codes, including CouponChief.  But if I find a code to share, I'm going to share it at CouponChief, then tell everyone to go there and use my code and get some money :).

Other CouponChief features:
  • Set up email alerts for coupons from your favorite retailers.
  • Track your browsing history.
  • Add CouponChief widget to your blog or website to earn money
(All above features are available after signing up for a free account.)

So what are you waiting for?  Go see How It Works and start saving money NOW with CouponChief.com.

Please see my "Compensation Policy" section for more information.  These opinions are entirely mine and yours may differ.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Compensation Policy

This policy is valid from 11 April 2010

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog.

The owner of this blog is compensated to provide opinions on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for posts or advertisements, the owner always gives honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Resurrection Day

Around here, we love Easter.

We love new Star Wars shirts...
And new zhu-zhu pets...

in our Easter baskets...

We love pretty new Easter clothes...
Pretty new Easter hair...
And finding Easter eggs...


But what we love most about Easter is...HIM.
And the fact that this cross is empty because he is risen!
Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to consign clothes - Part 2

Packaging your items

Well, um, so did I say "tomorrow" in my last post.  Let's just pretend that this is tomorrow in Blogland, OK?

So, now back to the consignment sale info.

(If you don't have consignment sales in your area, by all means, start one!!!  I wish I had had this idea in our area.  The organizers make a killing off those sales!  So, get all your mommy friends together and start one up and see how quickly you get new consignors.)

Now you have found your sale, you have read all the instructions about the sale and have gathered all your items together (All that could take a while).  How do you package things so that they won't get separated, stolen or lost?  Use lots of safety pins and packaging tape.


1) First of all, I have found that wire hangers are the best for clothes of all sizes.  You can sometimes get these free from a local dry cleaners, which makes it even nicer.  I rarely ever use pants hangers for pants because they fall off of those too easily, especially when they are crammed on a rack with a lot of other items.  How do you get pants to stay on wire hangers?  Pin them on.  Invest in some big safety pins and pin everything with the potential to fall off - tank tops, bathing suits, pants, etc - to the hanger.  You want your items to stay on the hanger no matter what.

2)  If you are creating an outfit to sell (i.e. shirt and pants that match), use 2 hangers, rubber-banded together and pin them together.  I have had too many rubber bands that have broken to trust only in them.  So, use those big pins and put it through all pieces of your outfit.  This will help prevent items from getting lost.  Before I discovered this tip, I had lots of shirts returned at the end of the sale without the corresponding pants.  This will also discourage shoplifters (yes, there are those at these sales, sadly).  If they have to unpin things from a hanger, and unpin them from their mate, they are less likely to try to take your stuff.  I also try to put the front of the item towards the outside.  So whether you are looking at the shirt on the front or turn it around to the pants on the back, the front is always showing.

3)  Put all small books, or toys into gallon ziploc bags and seal the bags with packaging tape.  This keeps small items together, but keep little hands from playing with them and misplacing them.  Make sure the items can be seen clearly through the bag.  Sell items in a set together.  Not only would I prefer to buy a whole set together as a customer, but also as a seller.  That way if a customer wants at least one part of the set, they have to buy them all.  It gets more items out of your house.

Set of 11 Dora books, all together in one bag with one price.


 Hats tend to get lost on sale tables, so I put them in a bag to keep them visible.

4)  Have bigger items or puzzles that don't fit into the bag?  Use saran wrap to secure these together.  This works great on wooden puzzles with the big pieces.  It also works on large books, or bigger toys.  After you have put LOTS of saran wrap on it, wrap around it with packing tape.  That will keep the ends of the plastic wrap from coming up.
 2 "Cars" Sounds books saran wrapped together.

5)  Lastly, get creative.  I had a few items this time that I had to be very creative with.
I wanted to sell this Cabbage Patch kid and her clothes all together.  I didn't have any original boxes.  So I put the clothes in 2 gallon bags, sealed with tape, then taped them to her with packing tape.  I just wrapped that tape right around her body several times to secure it.


These were a set of Discovery Toys trucks that I wanted to sell together.  Once again, I didn't have the original box and it wouldn't fit in a gallon bag, so I just taped them together on the sides and from front to back - one big long piece.  I continued taping around until I felt they were secure.  So, be creative, but package it well.  It's better to annoy the buyer when they get home by making them take off lots of tape, then to loose pieces and make it not sell.

The bottom line

You want to get unused things out of your house and you want to make money.  Every item I posted pictures of sold.  I put 148 items into our local sale and I sold 140 of them!!  Regardless of how much money I made, I got 140 clothes, toys, books, CDs and DVDs out of my house!  That's almost priceless to me (almost :).
But, since it was a sale, I'm sure you are wondering how much I earned from those 140 items.  I earned $304!  I was incredibly thrilled with that amount.  Most of the clothes that I sold were bought used from previous sales.  I would estimate that I got back about 75% of what I paid for them.  About half of the toys I sold were gifts given to my kids by someone other than me.  That means the amount I made on those toys were pure profit. Not that I advocate just going out and selling your kids presents, but the things that they have had for a while and were never played with or are no longer played with, I feel fine selling.

I hope these tips help you and that you can discover the money-making potential of consignment sales.

This week is Spring Break for our family, so that will mean less blogging time for me.  Oh and that $304...I'm using that to take my kids on a Spring Break trip - look for pictures! 
 
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