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This Saturday my sister in law and I are doing a garage sale together. We do them about twice a year. Along the way I’ve learned a few tricks that help in the selling process.
Some I think are just common sense, like CLEAN everything first! Pet peeve of mine is when people just throw their stuff out in the yard and then complain that nothing sold. Hello?! Who wants to buy a set of glasses that have water spots or a stroller that still has crumbs and grime plastered all over it? Please everyone, a little time spent dusting and wiping down surfaces goes along way in getting more junk out of your house and bigger bucks in your wallet.
One trick that I’ve learned recently has to do with sheets. Before your garage sale, run your sale sheets one last time through your washer. Then, instead of throwing them in the dryer, hang them up to line dry. You don’t have to hang them outside. (As I type this, I have three sets hanging all around my house, drying) The “line” drying leaves the sheets with a more crisp feel than the dryer. While softer is what you might want on your bed, to a prospective buyer, a crisper feel means that the sheets feel newer and less used.
You can also apply the same concept to clothes.
For more tips and ideas, go to We Are THAT Family.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed from your recent trips to Target, Walmart, Kmart… who am I kidding?! If you’ve been in ANY kind of store recently, you’ll have noticed that Spring, and therefore PEEPS are in the air.
Peeps are cute, colorful, and cheap. However, and I realize I may offend some of you with this opinion but, well, they are a little lacking in tasty-goodness. I’m sorry! I’m just stating the facts, folks. With just a dash of opinion thrown in.
But I have a solution to your Peep woes. It’s become a family favorite and this year, I’m even planning on stocking up on Peeps during the post-Peeps Spring/Easter sales. One word:
That’s what our family lovingly calls those cute little Peeps, whether they are chicks or bunnies or any other kind of brightly colored marshmallow critter you happen to find in the Peep family, after they have been brutally stabbed, roasted over a roaring fire and then cruelly smashed between two pieces of graham crackers and a chunk of chocolate. (Get it? S’meeps instead of S’mores?!) The result?
A glorious conglomerate of crystallized sugar, gooey melted marshmallow, warm chocolate and crunchy graham crackers. Sad for the Peep… delightful for my taste buds.
So next time you find yourself staring at the pile of Peeps left all alone in the Spring Baskets of your home, all the other popular and actually tasty candy loonnngggg gone and already forming cavities in your children’s teeth… Get a campfire roaring, sharpen those roasting tongs and get to work putting those Peeps out of their misery.
It’s what works for me.
For more tips and advice, go visit We Are THAT Family.
We love to eat fish here at the Runningamuck household. Unfortunately, we don’t live very close to any good fishing spots. That, and our fishermen skills need some serious work. So we resort to buying our fish. At Sam’s Club. From the freezer section. Great ain’t it?!
Well, it actually is. See, Sam’s Club carries several different types of fish that come with each fillet sealed individually within the bag. So you can keep it in your freezer for years months without having to worry about any freezer burn.
And my source for the length of time the fish will last in a freezer will remain confidential for eternity. Because I’m such a dedicated journalist…
So go ahead! Go buy the family some fish tomorrow! It’s healthy, it’s yummy, it can be fixed in hundreds of different ways, and NOW it’ll last forever in the freezer!
For tips and advice, go to Rocks In My Dryer.
I don’t know about you, but Spiderman, tho he has yet to be watched on tv or in a movie at our house, reigns supreme in the world of our boys’ super heros. Monkey picked him as his 5th birthday party theme this year. What works for me? Simple, simple, simple parties. So I thought I’d share my Spiderman party tips because I have a sneaky feeling that I’m not alone when it comes to him being a desired kids’ party theme…
*** Give away at the end of this post ***
Decorations: I bought some black curling ribbon, the kind that comes on a really big “spool” for 99 cents and made webs out of it. A bit difficult to write out the how-to but if you’d like the details, let me know and I’ll post it or send you and email with directions. Then I used black pipe cleaners to make nice big spiders to put on the webs. In hindsight, I wish I’d bought red and blue pipe cleaners instead since the black spiders disappeared in the black webs. Plus, the spider that bite Peter Parker was red and blue not black. Oh well! I stuck these up all around the house and that was it. Simple, cheap and easy!
Games. Most of my kids were born during hot months. So I don’t get to rent a bouncy house and call it a day. Nope. All activities, unless they involve water, must be done inside. And 10 kids running wild in a house is a bit much for adults to take. So games, no matter how simple the party, are a necessity. Not extravagant games remember… simple
Web Walk: like a cake walk except not. lol. I took black, red and blue construction paper, drew spider webs on them with crayon and a number. Since we were going to have 10 kids altogether, I did 1 through 5 twice. Play music as the kids walk around from web to web. When the music stops, a grown-up picked a number out of a hat and whoever was on that number (there would be two kids since that each number was done twice) would get to pick a candy or a coloring book. (I bought 10 coloring books from the dollar store… a little pricey since there were 10 to buy but as a parent, I just have a hard time handing nothing but candy out…party pooper aren’t I?!) Repeat the music playing and number picking enough times so that everyone gets to pick a goodie a couple times.
Pin the Spider on the Web: Bought a red poster board for $1 and drew a black web on it. Drew 10 red and blue spiders (like the one that bit Peter Parker), one for each child with their name written on it and looped scotch tape on the back. Blindfold each child and let them try to get the spider on the web. The spider closest to the center wins.
Craft: Again, because the party was all indoors I added a very simple craft for the kids to do. I bought a pack of black pipe cleaners and a bag of assorted colored fuzzy balls and let the kids make spiders out of them. I put all the parts to the spider in a brown paper lunch bag and labeled one for each child. I wanted to eliminate any arguing over body colors. What they had in their bag is what they got. I also had some googly eyes on hand that I threw in there. I precut each pipe cleaner in half and each bag got four (1/2) pipe cleaners to make 8 legs. Grown-ups had to help twist the pipe cleaners together but then each child could bend the legs into knees and feet. A little glue for the body to the center of the leg twist and a couple dots of glue for the eyes and Voila! Spiders for everyone to take home. I flattened each personalized paper bag and set the cooresponding spider on top of each one to dry. That way there was no confusion as to who’s spider was who’s at the end of the party.
Food: I’m not going to tell you what to fix, only to be sure and keep it simple. Monkey wanted pizza so I bought a few grocery store pizzas (much cheaper and we found a store chain that actually makes pretty good pizzas). We also had two Spiderman buckets (bought after halloween on clearance) that I lined with paper towels and filled with chips. We also had baby carrots, watermelon and cantelope. I made up some cherry flavored Cool Aid (made with half Splenda and half regular sugar) and labeled the pitcher “Spider Venom”. That was it. And it was plenty.
Cake: Again, simple folks! I made up a couple boxes of cake mix and baked them (they always end up being pretty thin after leveling off the tops. I made two rounds with one mix and a thicker round with a second mix). Whipped up some icing. This one is a favorite of mine, minus the nuts and the sheet cake this time. Stick the layers together with some of the icing (or you can use any flavor of jam/jelly) and then ice the rest of the cake. I made some simple powdered sugar icing (powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of milk), made nice and thick. I put it in a ziplock baggie and snipped off a corner to make a piping bag. I used this icing to “draw” a spider web on the cake. Hubby had bought a small spiderman figure and a few Iron Man bad guy figures (we couldn’t get ahold of any Spiderman bad guys. But since my kids haven’t ever watched Spiderman, they didn’t know the difference). I used some white thread to tie up the bad guys and attach them to Spiderman’s hand. Here’s the finished cake:
It was a hit. At the end of the party, we put the coloring books, craft spiders and goody bags (Spiderman stickers, web shooters and candy) all in the paper lunch bags to go home with the kids.
*** GIVEAWAY*** I’m giving away the 6 black spiders and 6 webs of various sizes that I used for decorating the walls/ceilings with. If you are interested in them, just leave a comment below and you’ll be entered into the drawing. The winner will be randomly drawn Friday evening (July 11th). Please be sure to leave a way to get in touch with you; either your blog name or an email address. If I don’t hear from you within 3 days of the drawing, a new winner will be drawn.
In the meantime, be sure to check out Rocks In My Dryer for great tips, advice and ideas.
I have to give the credit for this week’s Works For Me Wednesday to Hubby. This was all his idea. Can’t claim one iota of it as my own.
A couple weeks ago we moved Lil Blue out of his crib and into a big bed. Nothing unusual there (other than the fact that this was the last time for us to have to make this transition, sniff, sniff), we have moved all four of our munchkins right around 20 months of age. I know some parents prefer to wait longer but we’ve learned with our kids that at this age, they don’t realize that they could easily get to all the toys in the closet and have a grand ol time behind the closed door. Nope. Now, they DO play with any toys left out so we clean up really well before any nap or bedtime.
What was different this time around was that we were trying to fit a third twin bed into a pretty small room (8′x10′ approx). I’d looked into toddler beds but the cheapest I could find was still $60 and this was our last munchkin, that bed would get used for a few months and then be promptly tossed on to the garage sale pile. Plus, I’m cheap. We already had a twin trundle under the bottom bunk so I figured we’d just pull it out and leave it on the floor for Lil Blue to sleep. But the problem with that was Tiger would have to step over Lil Blue every time he wanted in or out of his bed.
In stepped Hubby with his brilliant plan… Turn the trundle bed so that half of the bed was under one end of the bottom bunk with the second half sticking out, perpendicular to the bunk bed. Slap a bed rail up on the open side and Voila, Toddler bed!
It’s just the right size for him. He didn’t need the whole length of the twin by any means. Plus, it leaves a lot more of the room open for playing and wrestling. AND Tiger can get in and out of bed without falling all over Lil Blue.
And I realized, yet again, why I will never let Hubby escape my clutches.
Need tips on keeping toddlers in bed? Well, the Runningamuck way is to sit outside the bedroom door (for the love of pete, bring a book because some nights you are there for the long haul!) and every. single. time. that once sweet, innocent, little chubby-cheeked baby turned sweet, ornery, little chubby-cheeked bugger sticks his/her head out, you jump up, give a quick swat on the diapered fanny and place back in bed. Usually this only takes a few nights for them to learn. Lil Blue however, is trying to give us a real run for our money, you know, since he’s the last one and all, so he’s taking a lot longer to cooperate. Some days he’s great and other days I have to grab my book again and camp outside his door for 30 minutes or so.
Be sure and check out Rocks In My Dryer for more fabulous ideas and tricks of the MommyTrade.
So this week at Works For Me Wednesday, we’re sharing our Summer Big Guns (as I like to call them). You know, the summer stash of things we bust out only in moments of pure desperation, when we’ve had it up to “here” and can take nothing more.
So what do I have in my secret stash? Well, aside from the leftover candy that’s in there for mommy “time outs” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and the general assortment of construction paper, crayons, play doh and cheap new toys like bubbles, sidewalk chalk and squirt guns, I also have packs of:
Water Balloons. I know doesn’t seem like that great of a secret does it? But I’ve discovered I love water balloons for my young munchkins (the four of them will all be under 7 this summer). They are cheap. It also takes a while to fill the balloons up with water and tie them. For some reason, this is still very entertaining and prolongs the process. That’s good because it helps to use up more of those slow summer minutes.
Also, my kids often have a difficult time with the coordination squirt gun triggers require. Water balloons? No coordination required! And they never care if they manage to hit anyone or not. It’s just fun to throw them, watch them splat on the ground and get splashed by the exploding spray.
And remember those slow summer minutes? Well, cleaning up the balloon pieces also uses up more of them! A word of advice though? Have them pick them up right after they pop the final balloon. If you wait at all, then the fun is gone and no one wants to pick up. But if done immediately, they are still on a fun “high” and will usually do it willingly. Especially if you make it a race or contest of some sort.
Another Summer Big Gun idea are:
free movies that some theaters offer on a weekly basis. You just can’t beat free air conditioning AND getting out of the house for a couple hours. We usually buy a popcorn and split it among the kids to make it an even bigger treat but does add $4 or $5 to the originally free event.
A hint for those of us with more than one child - bring along a friend who has kids also. It’s always more fun for you that way but it’s also easier to have two sets of mom hands. Then, if anyone has to go potty (and it always happens no matter how much you ration the liquids), one mom can take the potty-er while the other stays with the rest of the kids. That way there’s no need to uproot all the kids and march them all to the bathroom mid-movie, spilling popcorn, tripping over laps and trying to locate lost flip flops in the dark. It’s a win-win. Especially when you have four munchkins like I do. My friend Tess and I go together often and let me tell you, between her four and my four (all under 9), we’re a roving circus. But we have a blast (oops! Did I just date myself by using that word?!) and we leave in our wake, people with jaws hanging open, eyes bugging out of their heads and huge question and exclaimation marks above their heads. They just can’t figure out how we do it. Little do they know, it’s a tiny thing called “the buddy system for moms” and it works marvelously and helps to keep our sanity intact.
My final Summer Big Gun is this:
Yep, you read that right. It’s amazing how entertaining ice cubes can be. First of all, kids love to suck on them and they are sugar and dye-free. If you are worried about the drip factor, send ‘em outside. You need the momentary noise break anyway.
Ice cubes also make great water “crayons”. Kids can use them to paint sidewalk water pictures instead of the standard paint brush. I think it goes without saying - but I’ll say it anyway – that they also make great sibling ammo.
A sneakily place ice cube down a shirt is hilarious to the kids and makes great video. Just be prepared to be attacked too. And frankly, when it’s 100+ degrees out, I say, ”Attack away kids!” The “icing on the cake” is ice cubes are practically free… as long as you have the cube trays already and can be made over and over to the munchkins content.
For more ideas to add to your stash of Summer Big Guns, head over to Rocks In My Dryer.