Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lying to Your Kids - Repost from Last Christmas

Are we going lie to our child about Santa Claus? Yes, we are, we are going to lie about the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as well. "But then she will question the truth about Jesus and become an athiest" (or so I have been told.) The truth is though, I have never met the person who responded in that way nor do I believe that has ever happened. If it has, then I think that person must have deeper issues and was not really a true Christian in the first place.
"But then your child will miss the real meaning of Christmas and focus on Santa instead of Jesus." Yesterday, I was told that the virgin birth should be reason enough for Claire to be excited about Christmas. Now, I don't know about you but I have never explained what a virgin is to a young child, let alone a virgin birth and expected them to see the greatness in that. If you want to try, then more power to you.

Growing up my brothers and I were lied to about Santa and I am so thankful. It made Christmas such a (and I hesitate to use this word) magical time. I have no doubt that the reason I get so excited about Christmas is because of how amazing it was as a child. My parents were pretty conservative about Santa compared to our friends. We never had images or characters of Santa and even to this day we don't buy anything that has Santa on it as the Christmas icon. For us, Jesus was of course the reason we have Christmas and Santa was an added bonus.I remember vividly the day my mom told me there was no Santa. I was 6 years old. She called me into the kitchen away from my brothers (both still believed but apparently one of my friends had told me there was no Santa and I began to ask questions). My mom quietly told me that it wasn't Santa that put gifts in our stocking. "Is it Jesus?" I asked. "No, it's me and Dad, but it is fun to pretend and you can't tell the boys because they still think there is a Santa and we don't want to take the fun away from them" I then felt extremely privileged with this classified knowledge and made sure to guard this secret carefully.

A few years later, I was helping in Bryan's Sunday school class (he was 5 at the time) and a girl in the class raised her hand with a prayer request. "I want to pray for all the kids who still believe in Santa - cause we know he is fake" she said. I remember being mortified that now poor young Bryan had his childhood stolen from him. Luckily, he must have not been paying attention because he never brought it up and was still a Santa believer for a couple more years.

I completely understand everyone who is not comfortable with telling their children there is a Santa, as it is a personal, family decision. But please, let your kids know that it is not their duty to make sure they spread their knowledge to the less fortunate children who have dishonest parents.Childhood is a short season... we want to make the most of it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stroller Bag

I hate when I go on a walk with Claire and I have to take our enormous travel system stroller. I feel like an inexperienced, yet over-prepared mom that doesn't know what to bring and needs a little bit of everything to make a short walk successful. I especially feel dumb pushing Snoopy around since he is the only one who ends up riding usually.

I recently found this stroller at a thrift store for $4 and absolutely love it. I don't care if it gets dirty or scratched, it is lightweight, easy to push, compact and easy to store. The only problem is that it didn't have a bag to store our water, my keys and phone and a few various toys that Claire decides must come along. I decided to make a custom stroller bag for it. I used a pair of pants I got at a thrift store for $1 about 2 years ago. (I knew they would come in handy one day!)
The bag holds a surprising amount of items and even has built in pockets for my phone and keys. (and b-balls)
We have certainly been enjoying these past few months. The weather is perfect for an afternoon walk to the park.

Apparently, this is how you play when you are an only child and your mom can only go down the slide with you 37 times before getting tired of it.
She found another b-ball. It was a magical time.
Claire loves to run and be chased. She says "Mamma get you?" and squeals in delight when I run after her. She is so fast too! Awana Olympics, here we come!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Random Topics

1. This is what my craft room looks like at the moment.
Christmas gifts in the making. Can you tell I have been busy?

Today I cringed as I drove by the Postnet with it's sign outside that now reads "26 Days Til Christmas". Where did the time go? It seems like I just barely got all our autumn decor out and now it's time to replace it with snowmen and Christmas trees. Why can't time go by that fast when I'm pregnant?

2. I know you all are probably sick of hearing me on this subject but I came across the most amazing finds this past month at Goodwill! I can't NOT share them!!!

This laminating machine was only $8! I have always wanted one. If I ever get tired of it, they are selling for $97 on Amazon right now so I could make some money off this deal.

This roll of home decor fabric was only $5

and all of this paper (216 pages to be exact) for $9.
3. My hair is falling out like crazy. You know how you clean out your hair brush maybe once a month and get a big gob of hair out of it? Well, I get that every day. Plus, when I wash my hair, handfuls come out. The same thing happened after I had Claire. I was hoping it was a nursing thing and wouldn't happen this time, but no. "Do not trust to hope... It has forsaken these lands." (bonus points to anyone who knows where that quote is from)

*I took a picture of my hair-laden brush but decided not to put it up. Your welcome.

4. Our turtle has still not started to hibernate! I am very concerned for her with the freezing temperatures and all. Today, Josh made her a hibernation box and put her in the garage. She already made a mess of it. We love her. Claire colored on her shell with chalk apparently...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Today, I cleaned out my purse.... (because it was saturated in raw turkey juice - but that is another story)Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with Claire, knows that she treasures these air- soft pellets.
She carries them around as though they are the most precious things on earth. They have become known as "bebe balls". She is an expert at finding them and every time we go to church and every shopping trip, we come home with a few.

Someone asked me just the other day what I do with all those balls. "Do you secretly throw them away when you get home?"

Honestly, I have no idea where they all go. You'd think our house would be overrun with them but their population seems to be controlled. We can never find one when Claire is looking for them. They just kind of dissapear.

At least I know now to look in my purse next time we are searching for some. These ones will be gone by bed time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Claire Unsupervised

Last night, I was making dinner while Josh studied for his classes and Claire was happily playing in the family room. Claire kept saying "oh, I'm thirsty, oh, I'm thirsty." So I looked up to see her with water all down her front and trying to drink out of one of her toy cups.
"Did you put water in that cup for her?" I asked Josh. He said no. We were wondering where she got it so I told her to go get another drink. She happily sauntered over to the couch, picked up my water bottle and filled her mouth with water...
then, she picked up her toy cup and spat all the water into it...and then drank it.
and here she is looking guilty.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Case for Thrift Stores

As everyone knows by now, I love to shop at thrift stores. I have been spending much time thrift storing lately mostly because let's face it... we are bored. Claire and I go out at least twice a week (sometimes three) to see what kinds of deals we can find.

When I was thinking of writing this blog, to share a some of the neat things I've found recently, I started looking around our house and noticed that literally 90% of our belongings are from thrift stores.

I would venture to say that thrift storing has become somewhat of an obsession. I absolutely love it. But how could I not? Where else can you get a train table for $20?(actual retail $120)

a paper craft cutter for $6? (which has been used more times than I can count, and the best part is that the blade is just a normal razor blade so I don't have to spend tons of money on replacement blades - also very sturdy and doesn't move out of place in middle of the cut like many cutter do) (actual retail $20)

a mug like this one for .50?(actual retail - no clue, I have never bought a new mug)

this awesome lamp that I desperately needed over my sewing machine for $3?
(actual retail $12)

a cute clock from Cost Plus World Market for $3,
(actual retail $19.95 - the original price tag was still on it)

these chairs for $4 each? (I can't wait to give them a makeover)(actual retail - maybe $20 a piece?)

or 3 camelbak drink bottles for a total of $5?(actual retail $42)

a thread rack for $3? (and most of my thread is from thrift stores too-usually
$2 for a bag full of 15 or so spools)
(actual retail $14 - not counting thread.
That would be outrageous though to add up that cost)

This cubby shelf $8 and everything on it?(actual retail - again, no clue probably $20 though)

a 24x36 Fiskars self-healing cutting mat for $3?
(actual retail $30)

a brand new scrapbook for $2?
(actual retail $20)

a Makita drill with a case, extra battery, and battery charger for $8?
(actual retail $182)

a nice fan that makes a great humming noise to block out Claire screaming because she is "scared of the dark" at 1am for $5?
(actual retail $36)

or yards and yards of amazing fabric for...?
yellow stripe canvas $2
multi -stripe canvas shower curtain $4
polka dotted print sheet $1
Blue and green stripe canvas shower curtain $4
bottom bright stripe table cloth $4

(actual retail - now this is just an estimate but I am pretty sure it would come to close to $100 if I bought all of this at Walmart or Joann (which do not even have prints this cute and different)

a Kelty self-inflating sleeping mat for $5?
(actual retail $40)

a vintage Singer box full of original Singer foot attachments and metal bobbins for $4.98? (they all fit my machine)
(actual retail $50 or more)

two Xyron machine for $3?
(actual retail about $40 - they need new cartridges, I am going to try to sell them on ebay)

an HP ink cartridge that is actually the right one for our printer for .75?

(actual retail $50)

or a vacuum cleaner filter for our vacuum for $1?

(actual retail $20)

So if you add it all up I spent $104.25 at thrift stores which seems like a TON of money! But when you compare it to the $861 (not including tax) that I could have spent at a regular store I realize that yes, I really do save money by thrift storing.

I have created a map of the thrift stores in my area and plan a route so I can get to as many as possible before we have to get home for Claire's nap.

Here is my short reviews on the stores I go to.

Goodwill: The ones by me are dirty and gross so you have to be mentally prepared. The prices seem better here in Phoenix than they do at the ones in Mesa and Gilbert. Every once in a while I will find items that are way over-priced but I can pretty much predict the prices of most items. I hate buying clothes for myself at Goodwills because they are all a set price and they just raised their prices to $4.99 for t-shirts and $5.99 for ls shirts. Dresses are $9.99 and all maternity is 5.99 (even the dresses! so that is good)

Goodwill Clearance Center: My friend Nicole and I went to the Goodwill Clearance Center on Friday for their grand opening. It is in a 10k square foot warehouse so we were surprised that just a small room was open to the public. The room was lined with large blue bins full of the items that did not sell at the regular Goodwill locations. People were EVERYWHERE going crazy over the bins, picking up items and tossing them aside trying to find something decent. The bins may have been sorted at one point, but when we were there, one bin could contain anything ranging from placemats, dresses, onesies, socks, pants, or shirts. The clothing and other fabric items are sold for $1.39 per pound and the non-fabric items are .59 per pound. I do not recommend this sort of shopping environment for the average shopper as the chances of finding something in your size, that you actually like and doesn't have a major flaw is extremely slim but if you are like me and Nicole and are looking for fabric then it is great. We don't care if we find a curtain, sheet, or size 3x dress - if it is made from a cute fabric then we want it. I also don't recommend it for people who care about personal space. Apparently, they do a 'bin rotation' every hour so there is new stuff coming out all day. We left before we got to see a bin rotation because so many people were in there we figured there would be a stampede when they brought a new bin. We did manage to find a few nice things.

Savers: I really like Savers as they are the cleanest and most organized of thrift stores. They do tend to have high higher prices though but you never know. I have found many amazing clothing items at Savers - the most recent was a pair of Banana Republic black slacks for $4.99.

Indian School Thrift: The sister store of Mesa Thrift. In a BAD area of town (right near my work!:) This store seems to attract hispanic men more than any other store I have ever seen. I don't know why this is but I think it is because the store has a lot of tools and electronics that must be priced by women who have no clue what they are worth and therefore are literally a steal. The clothing there is not sorted by size so I have never seriously looked through it all but it is very reasonably priced - 2.98 for everything except dresses which are usually $4.98. This store has the most interesting housewares but they are overpriced, really good picture frames that are way under-priced and just unique things that I usally don't see at other thrift stores. This is where I got the vintage Singer sewing box.

Value Village: New to my repetoire but definitely a must. There are only 2 locations in the valley and they are within 3 miles of each other - Dumb. Great Prices on most everything but the clothing is arranged poorly and there are no signs saying what anything is. I still haven't found the maternity section in one of them.

Thrift Shop: Couldn't they think of a better name? It's on 59th Ave and Thomas. They actually measure the fabric scraps they get and write down how many yards a piece is before rolling it in a tight roll and binding it in masking tape. I find this helpful. I don't know where they get their clothing but it is BAD, seriously. It looks like stuff that didn't sell at the Goodwill Clearance Center.

Deseret Industries: (AKA the Mormon Thrift Store) By far the best among all thrift stores. One is located in Mesa and one is in Phoenix. I have not had good luck at the Phoenix location but my mom and I go to the Mesa one every single Monday and that is where most of my finds come from. I cannot say enough good things about this store. It is clean, the clientel is better than most and everything is well organized. The stuff they get in is good shape and they have volunteers pricing and working so the prices are amazing. This is where I found the ink cartridge, self-healing mat, xyron machines, vacuum filter, fan, lamp and Makita Drill.

Wow, this is a really long post. Claire is spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house tonight so I am finding myself with an unusual amount of time on my hands and an unusually clean house:)

Sunday, October 31, 2010


This year I was really feeling under pressure to make Claire another cute costume and keep up with the standards of previous years.

2008 - The Bear2009 - The Chicken

The really hard part is just thinking of something for her to be that is out of the ordinary. The fun part was figuring out how to make it as cute as possible. I think we were successful!

2010 - The Pteradactyl

Some of you may have guessed after reading this post that she would be a dinosaur. When Claire was a baby we called her a "Claireadactyl" because she would screech just like one. We knew that's what she had to be and I was glad because Pteradactyls are skinny (unlike all other dinosaurs) and I wouldn't have to add a bunch of uncomfortable bulk to her.

This costume was by far the most challenging - because of the head. Pteradactyls have pointy long heads and that was very hard to copy. A shout out to Kris Williams for giving me the idea of using styrafoam cones. Figuring out how to keep the head in place without choking the poor girl was even more challenging. (the teeth were carefully hand-shaped baking clay, the eyes are painted purse feet)

I also was more concerned with the feet this year. Last year we made her feet out of felt. They didn't stay on very well and they attracted the loose straw and grass like a magnet. This year, I covered her old, water shoes by hot gluing fabric over them. These feet would hold up in a marathon and are comfy and functional.

and don't forget the token tail!

We headed over to our church's Harvest Carnival and Claire had a great time.

Here she is with her friend Keyara. It is pictures like this that make me think she may be a "little person". Keyara is a year older.... but still.She played a few games, and got some dino tracks painted on her face..but mostly wanted to bounce in the bounce houses.
She was such a sweet girl all night. I just wanted to eat her up.
Happy Halloween little Claireadactyl!