Friday, May 7, 2010


I love ALL of my children with ALL of my heart (I'm sure that I don't REALLY have to tell you that;) and even though I love all of them equally, I am VERY well aware that when I talk about my children; Nicky and Lyndzi almost always come off sounding like angels and Kelsie like the perpetual thorn in my side.   Oh, Kelsie is my very strong willed child.   The one who is always pushing the envelope  and pushing me to my limits.  Kelsie keeps me on my toes and doesn't miss a trick; and because she is so prone to mischief and frquently makes comical remarks, my posts tend to accentuate her escapades while those about  Nicky and Lyndzi are usually more about their academic, artistic, athletic and altruistic achievements.  But what can you do; they are who they are.
Kelsie is just 6 years old, but if you talk to her you would think that you are talking to a much older child.  Her vocabulary is vast for a child of her age and her thought process is uncommon (in both good and bad ways.)  Kelsie often gets the short end of the stick because in addition to acting older; she looks a lot older.  She is particularly tall for her age and her face has a more mature appearance than that of most 6 year olds; which makes it quite easy to forget that she herself is only a tender 6; and therefore, everyone seems to expect much MORE from her.
I was reminded of Kelsie's actual age just a couple of weeks ago.  I was cooking dinner and Kelsie came over to me crying HYSTERICALLY.  Now Kelsie, (future Oscar winner that she is,) cries A LOT; but this cry was different ~ it was a HEAVING cry that caused her to gasp for air as she tried to get out the words "I'm so sorry," and "I didn't mean to."  Kelsie was trying to explain that she had flooded my bathroom.  I calmly told her "That's OK, accidents happen," but she continued to cry and said "I tired to clean it up, but there's water everywhere."  I quizzically asked "There's water everywhere?"  And then decided that I better go upstairs and see what catastrophe she thought she had caused.  Well, she was right; it was BAD.  I waded through my bathroom as the water continued to cascade off of my vanity.  The garbage pail was full of water and the entire bathroom was about half an inch under water.   I asked her how it had happened and she told me that she had been playing in the sink, and she didn't realize that the plunger was down.  She said that she went to lay down on my bed and play, and  she didn't know that the water was still running.  Nicky and Lyndzi helped me to find every towel in the house.  We used everything from bath sheets to bath mats, beach towels to wash cloths, and between it all, AND a mop; I got it cleaned up.  Now just on a side note; I have to tell you that once the water was cleaned up, Lyndzi said, "Mom, I hate to tell you this, but my Quesadilla is missing."  I said "It's missing?"  And asked, "Do you think that Hershey ate it?"  Lyndzi replied  "Well, I didn't get down and smell her breath, but yes, I think she ate it."  Ahh, just the comic relief that I needed after Kelsie's latest calamity.
As a parent, there are few things that are more rewarding than when you observe a positive transformation in your child and although I don't want to jump the gun; Kelsie has done some things lately that are absolutely blogworthy and make me SO extraordinarily  proud.  Nicky has known how to ride a bike for a couple of years; but even though both of the girls had bikes, neither had shown any interest in learning how to ride without training wheels and truth be told, they didn't take the bikes out very often.  Well, just before Spring Break, we discovered that we had some wonderful children living just a couple houses a way from us and the outdoor play abounded.  All of the kids knew how to ride bikes and rode regularly, so Lyndzi decided that it was time for her to spread her wings.  In no time at all, Lyndzi was riding Nicky's bike and was ready for a new bike of her own.  
Then last Friday, Lyndzi told Kelsie that it was time for her to learn how to ride and within literally 5 minutes; Kelsie was riding.  On Saturday we made a trip to Walmart and found a new bike for Nicky.  We had planned to give Nicky's bike to Lyndzi and Lyndzi's to Kelsie and we also needed helmets for the girls.  Both girls picked out new helmets but something seemed to be bothering Lyndzi.  After much prodding she finally told me that she didn't want Nicky's bike.  I apologized to her and clarified that Nicky needed a bigger bike and since his was in fine condition we had to pass it down to her.  We continued looking at helmets and were astonished by the prices ($20-$50 each.)   And then Kelsie said, "I don't need a new helmet; I can just use the one that Nicky had."   I was incredibly surprised and  extremely impressed.
I asked Kels if she was sure and she said yes.  I encouraged her to use Nicky's helmet and said  "It's red, so it doesn't necessarily look like a boy helmet and if you like, we can decorate it with some stickers;" and she was pleased.  Lyndzi's attitude continued to be sour UNTIL she and Kelsie came to me and Kelsie said, "We've been thinking...  Would it be OK if I took Nicky's bike and Lyndzi kept her bike?"  "OK?"  I couldn't believe my ears.  I asked Luis if Lyndzi's bike was still big enough for her and he said yes; so I told the girls that it would be fine and they were delighted.  I was SO moved by Kelsie's gesture that I gave her a great big hug and I told her that I didn't think that I had ever been more proud of her.  We talked about what a kind and thoughtful  proposal she had made and I told her that I was going to get her a little thank you treat.  Later that night, while shopping in Michael' s with Michelle (not too much longer) K  and Kelsie told her that she was going to get a treat.  Michelle asked if she had done something good and Kelsie nonchalantly said  "no."  She then told Michelle that it was because she had asked to have Nicky's bike so that we didn't need to spend more money and buy another bike.  (See, what did I tell you - unusual thought processes for a 6 year old. )
Now in all fairness I have to say that Kelsie has been unusually well behaved this week. Nothing has been destroyed (that I'm aware of.) She hasn't cut her hair or shaved her eyebrow, or aggravated me in any way.  In fact, she gave me quite the laugh the other night, when I asked her if she thought that I needed a haircut and she said "no."  Followed by "Your hair looks like a shrub."   I laughed so hard at that and then asked "So you think my hair looks like a shrub and I DON'T need it cut?"  She then said "Um yeah, get it cut," and I did; last night at 5 o'clock.  After my haircut the kids and I went to Big 5 sports because I had seen swimsuits in their ad that looked similar to what the swim team was going to be usin; but for at least $10 less per suit.  I explained to the kids that these suits might not be identical to the ones that the team was getting, but that it would be a great savings.  When we went in, they only had a suit in Kelsie's size.  She tried it on and it looked great.  Kelsie asked if she could get it and so I pointed out that if she did, Lyndzi might not have the same one and it might be different from what the other girls on the team had; and then Kelsie looked up at me with her big, brown eyes, and the sweetest voice and said "I don't care if my suit isn't the same as Lyndzi's or the team, as long as I have a suit;"  and I almost burst into tears.  For the second time in less than a week Kelsie had REALLY amazed me.   I said "OK then," and asked the sales girl to check for Lyndzi's size at another location.  Thankfully another store had it and so after purchasing Kelsie's swimsuit we got back in the car to head to the other store.  Kelsie asked where the other store was and I told her that it was near Freddy's Custard. Kelsie then asked if they could get custard and I said yes.  Lyndzi then went on to give Kelsie a pep talk.  She said "See Kelsie, when you're a good girl and helpful then Mommy can give you rewards like custard; doesn't that feel better than getting in trouble?"  (Enter the BIG SMILE on my face.)   I did add on to what Lyndzi was saying by letting them know that what Kelsie had done was beyond GOOD, it was considerate and caring and so VERY appreciated.
We got to big 5 and Lyndzi and Nicky both tried on suits that fit them perfectly.  A big weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I had purchased their swim team suits before leaving for vacatio, and saved at least $30 as well.  The kids and I discussed that it was OK to have something that was slightly different than the rest of the team because it would set them apart; but I can PROUDLY say that it's not ONLY the swim suits that set my kids apart from others.  I am so truly thankful to have ALL 3 children thatI HAVE; warts and all.  And I am going to count my blessings that Kelsie is EXACTLY who she is!!!
Till next time...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bountiful Baskets And Some other Real STEALS

I LOVE having garage sales.  Even though I don't personally shop at garage sales on a regular basis, I manage to have one of my own a couple times of year.  I love the thrill of the sale; I don't care if it's just the 50 cents I make on selling a bottle of cold water.  (Yes, I put out a cooler and I sell bottled water for 50 cents a piece and I double my money on what I paid for the case.)  I love clearing out my stuff and OK, of course I love the money but I also enjoy (for the most part,) the people that I meet at garage sales.  I don't like the people who want you to give away your stuff for free because IT'S A GARAGE SALE.  My stuff is priced to sell so that I can avoid haggling over every item; but if  you are  bold enough  to endeavor to offer me less, I welcome the challenge and depending on the kind of day it's been, sometimes I even give in.  But then there are those who try to take advantage and those are the people who give garage sales a bad name.
This past fall I had a garage sale and I decided to sell some of my scrapbooking stash.  I planned to sell patterned paper and cardstock 8 sheets for $1.00 because the best deal I've ever seen in a store is 5 for $1.00 and I even commented to a (pre-garage sale,) that this was such a good deal that if someone wanted 10 for $1 I was going to say no.  Well, the morning of the sale Nicky had pulled out this little I don't even know what to call it.  It was something with the Sun's (basketball team) Gorilla and I think it had a spring like he was trying to shoot a basketball.  Believe me my poor description is not taking ANYTHING away from what this was.  Anyway, Nicky had won it at some assembly and had no use for it, so off to the garage sale it went.  A lady was interested in buying it and she asked me how much.  I said "I honestly don't know.  What do you think?"  She didn't know either, so I said "Well, since you don't know and I don't know, why don't we just say $1.00?"  She was surprised by this and said "Well I  think it's worth more, so I'll give you 2."  WOW!  This was not your typical garage sale conversation for sure.  A while later another lady came.  She started looking at my scrapbooking stuff and said that she'd never scrapbooked before, but she had just lost her job, so maybe it would be a good way to spend her time.  We talked about scrapbooking a bit and I explained some of the basics.  She started gathering items and when I told her that the paper was 8 sheets for $1, she asked "could  I have 10 for a dollar?"  in the spirit of the lady who paid me 2 when I asked for 1, I said "OK."  She then asked how you adhere the pictures to the paper.  As I knew that she was going to be low on money, I advised that she use a glue stick as opposed to buying an adhesive runner.  I then remembered that I had an unused scotch tape adhesive in my house and since I didn't really care for it myself, I thought  I would give it to her.  I told her that I was going to go inside and look for it, but I couldn't find it.  I came out and told her that I couldn't find it but if she wanted to wait a few more minutes I would look again and she agreed.  I  came back a second time still empty handed.  She then asked "If I give you my phone number, will you call me if you find it?"  I was speechless for a moment (yes, ME!)  But then I said "OK."  She then started to show me her items so that we could figure out how much she owed.  I charged her less on EVERYTHING and she was aware of it; and when it was time to count up the paper she said "You said it was 8 for a dollar, but I could have 10 so I took 11."  WHAT??  OMG, I couldn't believe this woman's nerve;  but it reminded me of Truvy's line in "Steel Magnolias" when she says " In a good shoe, I wear a size six, but a seven feels so good, I buy a size eight;"  only what this lady was doing wasn't quite as charming.  Did I agree to it, of course because I was stunned by this woman's audacity.    And after I gave her the total amount of her purchase, she didn't quite have enough and she wasn't even apologetic about it, she just expected me to take what she was giving me and I did.  Now while I was looking for the tape runner I came across an album that my Aunt had given me, and that I wasn't going to use; so I brought it outside to sell.  She wanted the album and I wouldn't bend on the $3 price, so she went to her car to see if she had more money.  YES, you read that right.  She made no effort to go to the car to see if she had more money for the amount that she was shorting me on the first purchase; but NOW she was going to go to the car for more money to buy something else; found the $3 but never made any attempt to reimburse me for what she was shorting me in the first place.  Can you say Chutzpah? 
I set up again on Sunday, and who do you think came back?  That's right!!   She bought a couple more items and asked if I had found the adhesive that I had said I would give her (yes she did;) so  I went back inside to take another stab at looking for it and luckily for her I found it.   She expressed her gratitude but then tried to pay me 17 cents for something that I was asking 25 for and I said no; so she went to her car and got the extra 8 cents and she has been my running garage sale story ever since.

So last Saturday my friend / neighbor Jen and I had a garage sale.  Jen left around 8am to go pick up our Bountiful Baskets (which I'll get to after this segment) and so I was left in charge of her treasures.    A few people showed up at once and one of them was a woman who drove a SUV and was wearing nice work out clothes.  She picked up a number of Jen's items along with one item of mine that I had priced at .50 and then she came over and asked me if she could pay $2 for everything.  $2 was  just not enough considering the reasonable prices that Jen was asking, so I told her $3 and she agreed.  She took the items  to her car and stayed there for a while.  She then rushed up my driveway and told me that she only had $2.40,  so she put back my .50 item and handed me the money (all in change by the way)and then rushed back down the driveway and sped away in her car.  As I  stood there counting her money, I found that she had only paid me $1.85 and I was flabbergasted.  What in the world is wrong with people?   I guess I shouldn't be surprised though because I actually had someone STEAL a perfume that I was selling.  Yup, a $40 perfume and I asked $5 (it had been used once only) and the woman STOLE it.  Do I still LOVE having garage sales?  I sure do.  I made $139 in a couple of hours, selling mostly things that we had come by for free,due to the hotel lost and found and Luis'  gift for finding things.  I also sold 17 of  the flower hair clips that I've been making, so I was satisfied; AND I walked away with a blog to boot.

Now,what would a "Bumpy Ride" be without a suggestion for THE GREATER GOOD?  A couple of weeks ago I purchased my very first BOUNTIFUL BASKET  and I can't say enough good things about it.   Bountiful Baskets is a produce co-op and it is offered in several states.  They Use collective purchasing to get high quality food at prices usually reserved for grocery stores and restaurants, which helps the participants to save money while working together co-operatively within our community.  So here's how it works, the cost to participate is $15 per basket, plus $1.50 processing fee, (and there is a $3 fee the FIRST time that you order.)  You have to place your order on Tues or Wed between 9AM and 9PM for the upcoming Saturday and you choose your location.  You're pretty much ordering blindly because you never know what you're going to get in your basket, BUT you will always get one basket of fruit and one basket of vegetables.  You report to your pick up place at the designated time and they have the fruits and vegetables separated into laundry baskets and then you transfer them into your own laundry basket or recyclable bags.  
This week I got:  A cantaloupe, a honeydew, 3 - 6 oz. containers of blackberries, 8 kiwis, 9 bananas, 10 apples,
4 LARGE artichokes, 4 Roma tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, 2 - 6 oz bags of radishes, 1 large head of romaine lettuce and spinach.  Now, will my family eat it all - NO!  But I can tell you that the things that we will eat, totally make it worth the purchase price; we have definitely been expanding our fruit and vegetable horizons, we're trying new things and new recipes, and we are eating a lot more fruits and vegetables.  The fruits and vegetables have been lasting longer than those that I typically buy in the grocery store and the quality has been terrific.   There are also add-ons that vary from week to week.  I've tried their Easter cookies, which were excellent!!  We got 20 large cookies in the shapes of Easter eggs and rabbits as well as 4 different colored frostings, all for $10.  The cookies were delicious and tasted homemade.  I've also bought their tortillas.  For $10 you got 4 packages of LARGE flour tortillas, 2 packages of small flour tortillas and 2 packages of corn tortillas, and they were terrific.  I actually split the order with Jen because even for a tortilla eating family like mine, one order was too much for us.  The tortillas freeze well and surpass any that I've bought in the store.  I should also mention that you can choose to order an organic basket for $25 instead of the regular basket for $15.  Bountiful baskets is run by volunteers, and you're told that on days that you volunteer, you get to take home extra fruits and vegetables.  They also tell you that if you don't pick up your basket, it will be donated to a local fire department; which I really like.  For me, one of the nicest features is that there is no commitment on how often you order. Of course being the Queen of  SECOND GUESSING MYSELF, my fear is that I won't order one week and then I'll miss out on something great.  And, I have to say that the one week that I didn't order, (because I still had a good amount leftover,) I spent just about as much at the store buying the couple of things that I did need to replace like lettuce, tomatoes, bananas and grapes.  So, if I've peaked your curiosity, check out and see if there's one near you.  If you do, please let me know, because I'm always interested in everyone's feedback and I just love trying to make your lives a little bit better.
Till next time...