Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kitchen or no Kitchen?

I have been busy keeping myself busy these days designing our new home. I designed the one we live in now and still love it 23 years later so I am hoping that I will have that much success this time.

Where the house we live in now has been great for raising our four daughters I'm thinking that the new one needs to fit our needs and life style now.

This is where my dilemma comes into play. The kitchen I am looking at is about 14x14. That is almost 200 square feet. The cost to build a kitchen these days is area $200 a square foot.If my math is right that means this one room costs 40,000 (more than my first or second home). Now this price of course does not include appliances..another $10,000 for that and we now have $50,000 in a room that we never use.

Sooooo I am thinking....What if I just hired someone to cook our dinners for us.Surly there is someone out there that loves to cook and would like to make a little extra cash. All I would need is a drive thru window with a warming drawer.

Between what I would save on money that I throw out because I never get around to making it and not eating out all the time because I don't feel like cooking...truth is I never feel like cooking but sometimes I feel guilt....I could pay someone a nice sum of money.

I would have a lower energy bills and probably eat healthier. Not to mention my mortgage would be less.Hmmm no more pamper chef parties ....look at the money I would save there.

....What if I count out the dinning room and just admit to the world that we eat in front of the tv?

I think I have something....Think I could justify getting rid of the laundry room too?

Friday, April 23, 2010

My computer

I hate my computer! In fact I'm wondering why I ever invited this thing to live in my house....

It yells error at me every time I do something wrong. I have a teenager that already does that.

It's memory is full and can't hold mother's memory is the same way.

If I buy anything for my computer it cost a small fortune...just like my kids.

But it knows to much about me so I can't get rid of ...just like my best friend.

Guess I should just name it and realize this is just the way life is, now maybe I should think about who I am going to will this thing to. Heehhee revenge is great.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring and Garage sales, what could be better

I am not a fast walker but show me a garage sale sign and I'm off and running. I hate to get there just as someone is buying the one thing I have always needed, so I jump out of my car as it's still rolling, hopefully when someone else is driving, and take off as fast as I can.

As I make the approach I scan the whole area. What large items do I see that I might be interested in? You can't assume anything. I have gotten things for a lot less than I ever imagined that they would be. I have also seen things that I thought was just there to hold their stuff and came to find out it was for sale too. I bought my kids a really cute table and chairs this way. No one saw it but me and I asked and sure enough they wanted it gone. I think I paid $10 for that set 28 years ago. Four kids later it still looks great and is waiting for grandchildren.

You also can't assume that it cost to much. The other day I saw a beautiful ceramic pot. It was very large and they wanted $75 for it. I really liked it but I knew my husband would kill me if I paid $75 for something to hold a bunch of dirt and a few dead plants....I don't have a green thumb, even though I love flowers. I asked the man if he would take $30 and he jumped at it and even loaded it in my car.

I have lately been buying kitchen gadgets. I am not much of a cook so therefore I don't tend to spend money on all the latest and greatest things out there. The other day I came across a bread machine in the box for $20. I have never even thought about having one of these but I decided why not. Wow, what a great thing to have. I love fresh baked bread and when I was a young bride I use to work hard at kneading and baking fresh bread and rolls. This is great...all the calories and none of the calorie burn....hmmm on second thought...

Today I got a rocket blender ....never been used for $4.

I'm thinking a nice smoothie would go well with a loaf of bread.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Ever have one of those moments when you are home all alone and you can almost see and hear the ghosts of days gone by?

I'm having one of those moments right now. I am thinking back to those days not to long ago when our house would be very busy on the day before Easter.

All our friends and their children would come every year and celebrate with a large potluck. Each child would bring their baskets and we would line the children up with the smallest in front . Soon we would send them off. they would run in all directions laughing and giggling as they looked for eggs. We parents just tried to stay out of the way as we tried to capture the moment on film.

The whole day would be full of relay races for both the young and old. Those were fun times. Now all those children are all grown up, many with children of their own. And I sit in my home, by myself wondering how come life has to fly by so fast.

So if I could go back in time this is one of those moments I would go toBut I can't so for today I will just be glad that the ghost of days gone past came to visit me to put a smile on my face.

Happy Easter

Friday, April 2, 2010


Today is good Friday ...the beginning of Easter weekend.

Easter has always been an important time in my family. I can remember as a little girl my parents would take me to the capital grounds in Iowa and my brother and I would run around, along with every other child in town, to find Easter eggs. Such a time of joy.

The next day would be Easter morning. My mom would get up early to make sure my brother and I looked perfect on this day. Out would come the pink spongy rollers that mom had put in my hair the night before. On went the Easter bonnet with the elastic under the chin making a red mark that I thought would never go away.

The very last thing mom would let me put on was my beautiful white shoes. I loved those shoes. This was the first time all year that white shoes could be worn so mom would buy me new ones and they were to last me all summer.

I was advised to be careful how I walked because if the shoes rubbed against each other they would make a big black marks. There was no way I could make it all the way through service with out making alot of scuff marks but next week mom would get the Vaseline out and clean them up like new. Today I just had to keep them nice through pictures and hopefully to Sunday school, where I would show them off to all my friends.

People don't tend to make a big deal about Easter anymore. Many people may just wear their jeans to service, if they go at all. And I guess that is ok, it's just .....

When we would walk into the church....My dad looking so handsome, my mom in her beautiful dress and hat, my brother in his bow tie and me hanging onto my little white Bible with my gloved hands. I felt like we were coming before the King of Kings.

And when my little church would sing out "Up from the Grave He Arose" my heart would jump with pride knowing that my savior did that for me. So this Easter who knows, maybe I just might pull out an Easter bonnet or at least some gloves and hum "Up from the Grave" as I walk into church.

Happy Easter

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shouldn't have said that

I have a very good friend. We have been best friends for 30 years. She is one of those people you can tell anything to.

She has been on a new diet and when I saw her the other day for the first time in a week I commented on how I thought she looked like she lost weight. "Really?" she asked with a smile. "yes" I replied. "Your boobs now stick out farther than your stomach".

Now I meant that as a compliment but she looked at me and with a very straight face said, " Can we pretend that we aren't such good friends?"

It made me realize that sometimes with our family and our bestfriends, there are some things that we shouldn't share. Maybe we need to go back and treat these people with alittle more respect. Thank them like we might a stranger...send them a thank you card. Dress up to spend time with these people. And maybe to remember to think sometimes before we speak.

So next time I will tell my friend that she looks great and leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Life Lessons

I'm not smarter, I'm just older. That is one of my husbands favorite says these days. Life has a way of teaching all of us things that we could never imagine when we were younger.

One of these things is that even though your parents want to be your friend, now that you are an adult, that friendship comes with some restrictions.

Here are a few of them.....if you got all the way through school with your mother believing you never tried pot believe me she doesn't want to be told different now.

If you must tell some one your story about last nights bedroom activities, look at your mother and ask yourself, do you really want her to share this information with you?

If your mother is in a nursing home and about out of money, don't share this information with her, just fix it. What do you want her to do about it? I guess she could take nude shots, put them in a calender and try to sell them but do you really want her to?

We all have a right to leave this world thinking that we did a pretty good job while we were here and someone is going to miss us when we are gone. So even if your mother was crappy suck it up and lie. God will forgive you and maybe just maybe someone will do the same for you some day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why did I say that?

I was talking to my daughter the other day and I used the term "Everybody and their brother" she looked at me strangly and asked just what did that mean. I started to respond and realized I didn't have a clue.

If everyone is already there then wouldn't the brothers be there too?

Some other strange things that our family says are...

"Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite"

"Love you little, love you big, love you like a big fat pig"

"Go get the stink blown off you"

"He's rough and tough and full of flea's and never been washed above the knees"

Are there some strange things that come out of your mouth that you have know idea where they came from? Please share them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mother's birthday and even though her gentle touch and sweet smile are the same, her mind is slowly drifting to another place.

Why would I so often cringe when people would tell me through the years that I was like her?

Why is it that I now want to know all those things that she tried to tell me and I didn't listen?

Why won't she tell me how she made it through those tough times in life with such grace?

I hang my head and a tear drops....please mom, I need to know.

Just then I hear a sweet sweet sound coming from my mother..She is singing praises to her Lord. It is then I realize that not only is she giving me her secret to a happy life but she has shared it with me everyday that I can remember.

I leave my mother today singing to my Lord.

Thanks mom.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bad News....

After cleaning out my closet and finding almost nothing fit, I found myself very depressed. There was a part of me that still didn't want to admit that I could have gained this much weight. I was thinking that maybe the humidity had gotten really high in my closet and had shrunk all my clothes.

You may laugh but I bet you came up with your own excuses...Maybe yours was "it's that time of the month" or "I had a big dinner last night". Excuses like those got me to where I am now....needing a bigger excuse.

I went shopping yesterday and either the humidity thing has been going on all over the state or it's true.....I've gained a lot of weight. It did cross my mind that maybe just maybe the factories had gotten their pattern sizes messed up but I figure what was the chances of that happening at the very same time as my humidity problem?

So now what? I'm starting with water... I know that every diet you read says to drink a lot of water so maybe that is really the key. I am going to but a bottle of water in my car and beside my chair. If I keep water with me at all times I may tend to drink it more often instead of jumping up and feeding my face....another one of my problems is I'm lazy so I figure I might as well use it for my benefit.

Please share with me some of your ways that you have added water to your life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tackling the Closet

I wouldn't...I couldn't ....I shouldn't...

Those are the words that kept going through my mind as I tried EVERYTHING in my closet on today. I am now putting everything that I pulled out into a very large Rubbermaid bin. I figure when I lose 10 pounds...or as I like to say...drop into another decade...I will allow myself to try them on.

Hopefully no one will die anytime soon because I found out that I don't have one thing that I could wear to a funeral.

I have gained a lot of weight in the past year and I just hadn't come to grip with the fact that nothing fits until today. On most days I would not even try to put some things on because I didn't want to face the fact that there was no way I could wear it, even if I wanted to.

If you would like to start on this journey with me then here is what you must do.

Try everything on in your closet. It doesn't matter if you just wore it or you just bought it. These do not mean you "should" wear it or that it still fits.Time has a way of going by and weight has away of slipping on. Don't forget to look at the back of you. Some of the things I tried on looked "ok" but when I looked at the back I knew I shouldn't. Also try to sit and bend over in the item. When we are over weight we tend to think that if we can get the button buttoned then it fits...this is not true.

If you truly want to save money then lose the weight. Instead of going shopping, go for a walk . If I lose ten pounds, or should I say "when", then I will allow myself to go back into the Rubbermaid bin and go "shopping".

Do you think all that trying on counts as exercise for today?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Sister

My sister is coming to visit this weekend. I find sister time to be more and more special the older I get. I'm sure there will be times of laughter and tears, like there usually is.

My mother in her old age often talks about her sisters and mother and yet she can't remember her own children. It reminds me just how important sister times are.

If my sister and I were to go on a friendship website we would probably never get hooked up with each other. Our likes and dislikes are very different and yet I think if we were in the same room I'd want to be her friend. Why? Because she has a wonderful laugh. Without laughter life would be a very sad place.

My sister and I have laughed together through many of life's trials. We got lost on a road trip and giggled ourselves silly. We laughed together at our grandfathers funeral recalling old times. We laughed as we watched Alzheimer's slowly take each of our parents. We even laughed as we stood beside our father's death bed. If we didn't the pain would just be to deep to bare.

A big sister is not just there to share life with, but to remind you that you come from good stock and you can get this thing called long as you take the time to laugh.

Bless the hands

When I was a child my grandfather use to pray at every family gathering. Thinking back to those prayers still brings comfort to my soul.

When ever we were about to eat, my grandfather would ask the Lord to bless the hands that had prepared the food. I never really understood why he did it yet I never asked him either.

This morning I got thinking about those hands. The hands that had worked so hard to make me a fine meal. The hands that took time to comfort me when I needed it and time to point a finger at me when I needed that. These hands that were both soft and yet firm. These hands that were raised both praising the Lord and sending requests in my behalf.

I am thankful for those hands and for a Grandfather that knew just how important they were.

Monday, February 22, 2010


To all of you thrift store shoppers out there...have I got great news for you!

Goodwill now has coupons!

I can't believe this. When I was a kid they use to have bag day and everything you could get in a bag was a dollar (my mom could get a lot of stuff in one of those little bags).

Every once in a while, Goodwill will have 1/2 price day. When these come around they are good for the whole county, so you can go to more than one store for bargains. I usually go late at night, the night before and scope out the deals.....if I really want it, I might even try to hide it...Did I just admit that to the world?

The day of the sale, get there as soon as the store opens. Be prepared for a crowd. These days can resemble the mall on Black Friday. After finding all of the bargains, go home and relax because you might want to head back at the end of the day to see what else is there. They are bringing things out continuely during the day, so once the crowds have let down there just might be more amazing deals waiting for you.

Now back to the reason for this post. If you go to you will find all kinds of information and coupons about the Goodwills in Sarasota and the surrounding counties. For those of you that don't live near me, ask around and see if there is something like this out there for you too. Let me know what you find.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Furniture Shopping

I have been thrift shopping my whole life. When I was a little girl, my mother used to sit me in the middle of a large table of clothes as the ladies all dug for bargins. When I got older, my brother and I used to go in the basement of the Salvation Army in Des Moines and have wheelchair races while mom shopped upstairs. Wheelchairs like those are now in musuems.

The first thing my mother always said was that you had to get your housework done before you could go junking. I have to admit I rarely do that. I tend to go when I'm stressed. Nothing like a good treasure hunt to lift the spirits and I usually see someone that has things worse than me so it makes me reevaluate things.
When I go in the door I always grab a cart if one is available. This is only because I almost always find more than I can hold. The first place I head is the furniture, lamps and housewear.

The only reason for this is I hate it when I see someone walk by with something I want.

At both Goodwill and Salvation Army, if you wish to buy a piece of furniture you tear the bottom part of the tag off and take it up to the check out. They usually give you 24 hours to pick it up. They will not come down on price and they will not hold it for you and you can not return it so make sure it is something you want. Camera phones are great for this. I have often taken a picture of an item and sent it to someone I thought might like it.

If it is upholstered furniture, make sure it doesn't smell. Stick your nose right down in it. If you are going to change the fabric it doesn't matter as much. Realize that even wood furniture can hold smoke smell.

If it is wood and you think you might be refinishing it, make sure it is solid wood. Veneer is alot harder to repair.

This is a cute little table I got at Goodwill for $10. This needed nothing except a good polish.

If you are looking at a couch or chair make sure the springs are still good. People have tried to fix this many different ways and I have yet to find one that really works.

Be careful of those tables that "just need a piece of glass". Glass cost alot more than you can imagine. That is probably the reason why someone gave it away.
Great furniture finds are out there you just have to be patient.

Did you ever buying a used piece of furniture that ended up being a bigger project than you imagined?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Over or Under

I have been married to Mr. Amazing for over 31 years. Even though he is amazing....and of course I'm perfect, we have still found things to disagree about over the years. One of the reasons he is Mr. Amazing is because even if he doesn't agree, most of the time, he will let me have my way.

My daughter is in her first year of marriage and it reminds me of the adjustments that all of us make that first year. Some of these adjustments are harder than others. Someone once told me that before you fight about something, think about whether it's worth getting a divorce over. Arguments have a way of growing out of proportion.

Take the old age dispute of which way the toilet paper should go...over or under? Wouldn't you be embarrassed to tell people that you were getting a divorce over toilet paper?

Don't get me wrong...there was a time when I thought this was an important thing to agree on, but now my toilet paper holder looks like this most of the time.

See, I have four daughters and we tend to go through A LOT of toilet paper. Time has taught me that it doesn't matter which way it goes on the roll as long as it ends up close to the toilet.

There have been times that I was just happy it was close to the bathroom. The fact that we had some in the house felt like a blessing.

Don't sweat the small stuff....and most of it is small stuff. That is how to be married for a very long time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Garage Sale time!

The weekend is fast approaching and if you want to become a true garage sale guru then you must start now.

Check out your local paper for any garage sales that might be advertised. If you don't get the paper, then ask someone that does if you can have their's when they are done. My kids use to tell their teachers that they got used newspapers so they never knew the headlines until a day later.

If you have a Craigslist that is for your area, this is a great source.

Circle any garage sales that look interesting to you, and then get your map out and plan your attack. Once again, better neighborhoods have better stuff. The main problem here is that a lot of these people have never been to a garage sale, so they have no idea how it works. They will sometimes say...I marked it down 25% off what I paid for it. This is no can get that in the store.

Neighborhood garage sales are the best. This is where the whole neighborhood decides to have their garage sales on the same day. If you are doing one of these make sure you are wearing good walking shoes because sometimes you have to do a lot of walking.

"Cause" garage sales are fun too. This is where people have donated items to be sold for a cause. They are often in a community center. Sometimes you can get in a day early to these if you pay a fee. If you believe in the cause, then what do you have to lose? If you are going on the regular advertised day, get there very early. My daughter and I went to a sale for cancer a few weeks ago and waited in line about an hour and a half just to get in. The fire marshal would only let so many in at a time. This is when you will be glad you went with someone. Time with a daughter is always time well spent.

Estate sales are good if you like antique or vintage things. This is where someone has died and they are selling everything. Sometimes I find these a little depressing, especially when I can't find anything I would want if they gave it to me. I then wonder what my own estate sale would look like. These days I usually end up going home and cleaning out my junk.

If you are going to go garage sale shopping, take a friend. It is always safer to have someone else looking for signs while you are driving.

Get started at sunrise. You want to be the first one out there to find the best deals.

Take a tape measure with you, and any measurements you may need....window sizes etc.

Always take small bills. People do not want to take a twenty dollar bill for a dollar item.

Take your phone....chances are you will find something that is prefect for someone else.

Clean out your car before you go. I have a girlfriend that always forgets to do that and there we are trying to stuff something big into the car around two car seats and a stroller.

Bring a good attitude. This is supposed to be fun. Besides, you can talk people down on their price if they like you. Chances are they like the item that you want and they want it to have a happy home.

Good luck, be safe, and let me know what you find.

My Addiction

It's time for me to confess my addiction to you. No, I don't drink too much....I don't drink anything stronger than chocolate milk...which, by the way, is one of my addictions - just not the one I was going to talk to you about today.

I am addicted to beautiful napkins. At last count, I have over 73 white napkins. Now that might seem like a bit much to you, but I can't not buy them when I pay a dollar or less for each one. Each one is a thing of beauty. Everyone feels special when you give them a cloth napkin.

Now this fetish is probably from my childhood. We use to go to a cafeteria type restaurant when I was a kid. You could either get a paper napkin or cloth, but I never got to choose the cloth ones because they charged for those.

Having this many napkins has come in handy. We used them for my daughter's bridal shower and others have borrowed them for parties. I also have a lot of tablecloths but not near as many. These are items that I just can't afford to buy new if I could even find these beautiful , delicate linens. Most of these napkins need to be ironed but I learned to iron on napkins and dad's handkerchiefs so even something about that can bring a smile to my face.

I was reading a article about being green the other day and they were saying to put a cloth napkin in your childs lunch box.....once again ...if we were just a bit more like our mothers our planet would be a bit better.

Do you have napkins you never use? Get them out and throw one in the lunch box...what are you saving it for?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Flowers Everywhere

My daughter got married this past year and for all of you out there involved in the planning of a wedding right now I have a piece of advice for you.

Much thought, planning and money goes into the wedding flowers. I love flowers so I wanted a lot of them at my daughters wedding but they add up fast. We ended up buying all the vases that we could find at places like TJ Maxx, which if I didn't have four daughters I would now be selling on ebay, and then ordered the flowers from a wholesaler.

I picked up the flowers three days before the wedding and took them to a dear friend's house where her and others gathered to assemble the flowers, we asked that this be done instead of a gift. We had made a mock one up so they knew what we wanted. The arrangements turned out beautiful for a fraction of the price a florist would charge. Here is a picture of one of the centerpieces:

But that was not the advice I wanted to give. After the wedding my girlfriend took all the flowers out of the large expensive vases and made small arrangements in jars and vases and delivered them to Hospice, nursing homes, the hospital and shut ins. Knowing that all the money spent on flowers went on to bring joy to so many others made me really happy.

Do you have any wedding recylcing advice?

Friday, February 12, 2010


Do you have something that if you could have one last thing to eat you would choose? Mine; without a doubt, would be Wacky Cake. My mother use to make this for me and I just love it. For my birthday my girls get out my moms old cake pan and bake me a wacky cake.

This recipe comes from the depression when eggs were rationed. Housewives had to come up with ways to make things without eggs and they did a great job with this one. It brings back such happy memories that my moms recipe card (in her own handwriting) is framed in my kitchen.

Now that I have your mouth watering I will share the recipe.

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

6 Tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking soda

sift these items together 3 times...don't ask me why but do it or it won't turn out


1 and a half sticks of butter...melted

2 Tablespoons white vineger

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups cold water

mix together and pour into a pan that has been wiped down with Crisco and sprinkled with flour....we have tried using Pam but it does something funny to the cake.

bake for 40 to 50 min. at 350

cool and frost with chocolate frosting . Serve with a tall glass of milk and enjoy.

Do you have an old recipe that transports you back in time? If you do please share it.

My Valentine

Since it is Valentines Day, I thought I would tell you about my Valentine. I have been married to "Mr Amazing" for 31 years. I first spotted him when I was in the 7th grade. It took until the 8th grade to get him to notice me and he has been mine ever since.

My guy can do anything.... I often wonder if he had a different woman, would he be near as amazing? Because of me he has learned how to refinish all kinds of things, rewire lamps, and even reupholster. You name it, he can do it. When you have a wife that is always coming home and putting things in your garage you have to do something to get them out.

My husband is also in great shape. He is always moving furniture for me all over the place so his muscles get a regular work out. He moved the dining room table three times last week.

He is patient....lets just say he is very patient.

Most of all he knows how to laugh with me about everything but not at me.
Some of the things I have brought home were not always such a good idea.

You will probably hear a lot about Mr Amazing in future blogs. He is the love of my life.

Does your valentine appreciate your junking?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Giving when there is nothing Left to Give

Many of us are going through hard times right now financially and it makes it hard to figure out how we can help others when there is nothing left at the end of the month.

It's easy to give when you have an abundance but when you are barely making ends meet, what do you do?

You get clever. So many of us have gotten use to throwing money at a problem and we relieve our guilt without much effort. Now we have no money and we don't know what to do.

I have listed below some ideas that I have come across. Please share any that you know of.

Offer to babysit, many people might not want to impose, so say...I'm not doing anything this Saturday night, how about if I babysit for you so you can just have some "you" time.

When you get a "buy one get one free" item throw the extra in a box. When the box is full take it to someone that is going through a rough time.

Get other people on the band wagon.

By including others I was able to collect over 2500 jars of peanut butter for Haiti. The picture shows "Mr. Amazing" loading them.

Last I knew the Lions Club collects old eye glasses for the needy.

Help out at the soup kitchen....they say that a lot of people will do this during the holidays but people are hungry all year.

Throw your extra change in a jar and give that money to a charity.

Instead of throwing out that one serving of dinner that was left over (and your family will never eat), take it to the widow lady down the street.

Whenever war broke out, my mom would tell us to rip our old sheets in strips so the soldiers could use them for bandages. I don't think they want our rags anymore but they would like a letter. An encouraging word only cost some time and a stamp.

I met a man at a garage sale that buys cd's and takes them to the VA hospital for the wounded soldiers.

There was a lady on the news that buys used Barbie dolls all year and fixes them up to give away at Christmas. Last year she gave over 600 Barbies to needy little girls.

My aunt, who is in her eighties, makes quilts out of old jeans to send to the soldiers. She now has people sending her their old jeans.

I heard about someone that collects used prom dresses and gives them to girls that can't afford one.

Lets all remember....From the day you are born, tell the day you ride in a hearse, there is never a day so bad but what it couldn't be worse....wisdom from my Grandpa.

So, no matter how bad you have it, someone out there has it a lot worse.

Lack of funds is no excuse. There are many ways that each of us can help.

I would love to hear what you have done to help someone else without braking the bank.

What do I say? have now not only found the store but you have now walked in. You have come along way towards becoming a thrift shopper.

Maybe you bought something on your first trip to the store, but now you have the dilemma of how to answer when someone asks you where you got it. Most people take a while before they are quite ready to give that information. For some reason we are ashamed of the good deal that we got. That will change in time, in fact I now find myself having to fight the sin of pride in my good deals.

But in the mean time your tongue is twisted up in your mouth and you can't answer. Here you go without coming right out and telling a lie....which I never think is a good idea. You can say you got it at a cute little boutique that you came can even come up with a name for the shop. My mother use to call the Salvation Army "Sally's". I don't think my mother was ever ashamed of where she shopped, I think it was just a shorter name for her. But when I was a teen and was embarrassed of where my clothes came from I would often use this name just to throw my friends off.

On that thought you might want to keep it from your teens for a while. I remember my daughter complaining that everything she owned was used when she got it. I told her I didn't want her to be embarrassed and I then took her to the closet and started to take out everything she owned that once was someone else's. She quickly stopped me...realizing she would have nothing to wear the next day and never complained again.

Pride is a funny thing. Try to refocus that pride on the money you have saved and the good deals you have found.

I got two of these chairs for $10 dollars each at a local thrift shop. I had to do nothing to them but buy a yard of fabric and put it on the cushions. I love these chairs and would never own them if I had to pay the hundreds of dollars that they go for in the furniture stores.

Do you have a find that you want to brag about?

Step Right In

If you are my age and you haven't been to a Goodwill or Salvation Army in years, then you may have the wrong idea of what these stores are like. I remember going to Salvation Army when I was a kid and it was bad. I was always looking for rats...don't worry...the stores are not like that anymore. Many of these stores take great care in merchandising their items. I was at a Goodwill in Boca Raton recently and it looked like a little boutique. So, if you haven't ever been or it's been awhile, give it a try.

You may have the idea that these stores are for the very poor. This is not true, if you take a look at the cars in most of these parking lots you will normally find very expensive brands. Why? Because if you save money on one thing you then have more to spend on something else.

So you have learned in my last blog how to find the right store, but you still aren't sure you are cut out for all of this. That's okay; we will take it slowly. Here is how to get started....Go in looking for just one thing. This will help you from getting overwhelmed by it all. Belts are a great place to start. Most people don't get freaked out by wearing someone's belt like you might shoes or PJ's . Yet belts can cost a lot in the department store and it's always fun to have a wide selection to choose from to change up an outfit. Belts are usually hanging on the end of a aisle.

When you are buying used, it's important to remember that there is a reason that the person got rid of it. Maybe it didn't fit...try it on to make sure it fits you...does the buckle work? Look it it well made? Do you have something to wear it with? It isn't a good deal if you are going to run to Macy's to buy an outfit to go with it.

If belts don't do it for you, ties are another great place to start. My mother use to tell me to watch the news anchors and see what they are wearing to keep track on what's in style. Look on the back and check out the name, I have gotten very expensive ties that would go for $40 in the department store for just $1.99. Again think of why people get rid of ties...out of style...stain on it...hard to find something to go with it. If it doesn't fall into one of these categories then you may have found a treasure.

While you are in the store gaze around. Most likely there are dressing rooms and things are arranged much like Target would have them arranged. The toys are together, as are women's clothes, with household items in another area. Maybe you aren't ready yet to go in those areas that's okay, one step at a time. There might not be a belt or a tie you wanted, but don't let that stop you. Unlike most department stores, new things are being brought out daily. Every day is a new day at a thrift shop so just try another day who knows what treasures will be waiting for you.

Please let me know what treasures you have found!


I was checking out at Goodwill the other day and the woman there commented about all the nice things that I had found. I replied that I had been taught by the best. It was at this moment that I realized that I had been given great knowledge that many people don't have. I'm going to try my best to explain what my mother taught me about junking from the time I was a little girl. There is to much to learn in one posting so this will become a regular weekly post taking you step by step on becoming an expert thrift shop shopper...

First rule...never call it junking in a store...I made the mistake of doing this once and almost got thrown out by the owner. I quickly explained that this was a term that my mother had used meaning that what other people thought of as junk we saw as treasures...maybe treasure hunting would be a better term to use.

Where to go....if you want to find good junk, oops..I mean treasures, then you have to go to good neighborhoods. Rich people throw out perfectly good things where the poorer sections tend to use things more before getting rid of them. This can be tricky because really good neighborhoods don't want a Goodwill or Salvation Army on their block, so you have to go to the neighborhoods that border them.

Consignment shops are more expensive than thrift shops. At these shops the owners remember how much they paid for the item and they want some of that money back. They are also paying the store owner to sell it for them. Good deals can be found at these stores but you are best to go to the middle class neighborhoods. This way you can get nice things without spending a ton of money. I love to go to consignment shops when I'm on vacation. You can find some real treasures this way.

So your assignment for this week is to go hunting to see what kind of stores are out there in your area. Don't venture into neighborhoods that you don't feel safe. Go with a friend ....treasure hunts are always more fun when you can share the experience...but a word of caution...these stores only have one of each item usually...nothing out there is worth breaking up a friendship for. Just be happy for your friends find and move on.


Birthdays are a funny thing. I have never understood why someone should get gifts on their birthday. What did I do on the day of my birth other than just show up. My mother was the one that did all the work so if anyone should get a gift it should be her.

Maybe the gift is for making it through another year. If this is the case then the gifts should get bigger the older you get. Most 75 year olds get a tie or a bottle of perfume for making it through the year and yet for a lot of these people they have never worked so hard in their life to show up for another birthday.

When I was a kid I attended a very small church that my grandfather was the pastor of . When it was your birthday, no matter how old you were, my aunt Margaret would call you up front where she would say...

"Many happy returns of the day of thy birth. Let sunshine and gladness be given. May God in His mercy prepare us on Earth for a beautiful birthday in Heaven."

Then aunt Margaret would hold up a little bank that looked like a church where we would then put a penny in for each year we had lived. This money was later sent to help missionaries around the world. I know what you are thinking right 10 whole penny' that was some happy missionaries...but everyone did this, even the really old old ladies of the church.

It's funny how when you are doing something that everyone is doing you often don't think about why it is being done but it just occurred to me what was taking place. Aunt Margaret was taking a day that is usually all about us and reminding us that we weren't put here on this earth to just enjoy ourselves. We were put here to help others.

So from now on instead of having birthday parties at Build a Bear I'm thinking we should all head to the soup kitchen to help out ....hmmm...wonder for how long my kids are going to hate me for this one?