Monthly Archives: September 2011

My favorite place to shop for kids’ stuff…

This is part of the Show Us Your Life series at Kelly’s Corner.  This week’s topic is:  Favorite places to shop for kids’ stuff.

Well, first things first.  I’m cheap.  I do not like paying full price for anything- especially not clothes for Mabel that she’ll outgrow rapidly.  So, where do I shop to avoid breaking the bank?

Once Upon a Child– which sells gently used kids clothes (from infant to teen), gear, and toys.  It’s a national chain, so chances are there’s one near you (you can find locations here).

I routinely find Tea Collection, Zutano, Janie and Jack, Baby Gap, Children’s Place, Stride Rite, and other name brand items for a tiny fraction of the original price.  I do particularly well during clearance time when clothing items are 10 for $10!

Take this haul for instance:

So what’s there- 8 dresses (Old Navy, Children’s Place, etc), 5 pairs of pants (Zutano, etc.), 3 tops, 1 Baby Gap Sweater, a music table, and a tricycle.

All for a grand total of….. $45!  Yup.

To see a similarly spectacular haul from a more recent trip, see this post.

I try to go to Once Upon a Child first whenever I need something.  Since Mabel was born, we’ve gotten our Britax umbrella stroller, her Farm set, her rocking horse, the music table, her tricycle, and lots and lots of clothes and shoes there.  They have pretty much any baby/kid related item you could think of from bikes to Bjorns.

The other plus- you can sell the items you no longer need to them for cash!  Last year when I wanted to get a bed rail for our bed (so I could nurse Mabel without worrying about her rolling out!) I sold some clothes we didn’t want and was able to get the bed rail for next to nothing!

I tell every new mom about Once Upon a Child.  It is a major money saver.

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Wordless Wednesday

Two dozen roses, delivered to work, to celebrate our anniversary.

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Happy Anniversary

Today is my third wedding anniversary.  Three years ago today, this was Mac and I.

Today, Mac ran errands and entertained Mabel.  I was at work, wishing I was home (although the 2 dozen red roses that came for me certainly took the edge off!).  My car wouldn’t start,  Mabel’s swim class was canceled, etc.   There was other craziness/worry that just made me appreciate my husband and our marriage even more.  Dinner was late and consisted of microwaved leftovers.

It wasn’t necessarily romantic, but there’s not much I would change.  I am a lucky lady.

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Steals and Deals: Rainbow Steps Mary Janes on Totsy

Mabel has been outgrowing shoes like it’s her job.  I’ve complained about it before.

Well, thanks to a Living Social voucher where I could get $30 to spend on Totsy for only $15, Mabel got some new shoes.  Specifically, Mary Janes.

Back in Auguest, Totsy was having a sale on Rainbow Steps shoes.

I’m a fan of vibrant colors, so these are the ones I chose:

Description: Rainbow Steps Mary Jane with Velcro

I also purchased these Pipsqueaks:

Description: Pipsqueaks Mary Jane with Daisies

I got the first pair in in a Little Kid 6, and the second in a Little Kid 7.  I had to scour the internet for a size chart since Totsy’s didn’t make any sense.  The sizes listed in the chart (1,2,…,1,2- yup there were more than one of several sizes with different measurements), didn’t match the pull down menu to pick a shoe size (little kid 4 v. big kid 1v. toddler 1).  So, I was practically ordering blind.  Of course there’s no 24 hour toll free number to call for help and they have a Draconian return policy- so it’s buyer beware.

Anyway- I hadn’t purchased Rainbow Steps before, so I wasn’t sure about the quality of the brand.  Now that they are here, they seem a little bit cheap.  I can already foresee the velco closure ripping away from the shoe- it doesn’t seem securely attached.  Also, there are some areas around the sole of the shoe where the glue has oozed out and discolored the upper.  If Mabel keeps growing at this pace, the quality may not be an issue- she might grow out of them before they wear out.  For what I paid, with the Totsy discount and all, I’m OK with them and really love the colors.

The Pipsqueaks seem to be better quality, but since they are still too big for Mabel, we’ll have to wait and see how they hold up.

Overall, I’m not a big fan of Totsy.  In addition to the inexplicable size chart, their ordering system is a wreck.  Every time you revisit your shopping cart, the visible countdown showing you how much more time you have the item reserved for (before it becomes available to another shopper) resets.  So, you really have no idea if the item will still be in your cart when you check out.  I learned this the hard way when I had a pair of shoes in my cart, then through the whole checkout process, hit submit and found the item had disappeared at that final moment.  Their customer service was unapologetic and unhelpful.  Despite reporting this to them, they still haven’t fixed it.  I think it’s a big sham to get you to pay for shipping and handling on separate orders because something went missing.  So, if you’re thinking of ordering from them- beware.

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Grange Fair

A couple of weekends ago, we went to the local Grange Fair.  It was basically like a small county fair with farm animals and carnival rides and such.

It was pretty small as fairs go, and we had to pay admission just to get in, with all the rides and games being extra, however, for a 20 month old, it was the perfect size.

We were able to experience what the fair had to offer and still be home in time for a nap!

We started off the day with The Marvelous Mutts!  All the dogs are shelter rescues and their abilities are amazing!  Mabel was mesmerized and really enjoyed being able to meet the dogs after the show.

After the dog show, we checked out all the animals at the fair and got to meet some of the kids (as in human children, not baby sheep) that raised them.  Mabel even got to pet a blue chicken.  Yes, an actual chicken whose handler had died her fuzzy feathers blue.  There was also a pink chicken, but we didn’t get to pet that one.

After touching lots of animals, we washed hands and had some lunch.  There were cheese fries, gyros, pulled pork sandwiches, quesadillas, sausage and pepper sandwiches and the like.  We were too busy eating to take pictures, but it was good!

While we dined, we listened to a Southern Rock band performing and the music was too hard for Mabel to resist, so she cut loose and danced.  See videos here.

Since Mabel was too small for any of the carnival rides, after lunch we paid $3 and went on a hayride.  By this point in the day, she was pretty pooped, so you can see in the one picture below that she seems about to fall asleep on me.  But after all the walking around, it was nice to sit and relax and take in the sites for a few minutes.

Last up were the carnival games.  Mac really wanted to play a game with Mabel, and his choice was a sure-winner:  The Lucky Duck.  Basically you pick 3 ducks from the water and depending on the numbers on them, you get a prize.  Not surprisingly, Mabel’s added up to an amount that only entitled her to the small toys.  She chose a duck.

This fair was just the right size for a toddler.  Plenty to do, but not overwhelmingly large.  We’ll definitely be back next year- and perhaps Mabel will be tall enough to ride some rides!

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Wordless Wednesday

Apple picking.

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Lamebook: For scientists

If there was a Lamebook for scientists, I would submit this.  (And yes, I do routinely query my Facebook friends for help with science-related topics.  My friends from undergrad, grad school, and post-doc are helpful!)

When my husband saw this, he asked, “Doesn’t your aunt know you’re a scientist?”  I’m not certain if she was joking.

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