Category Archives: Thrifty Thursday

Thifty Thursday…continued

This picture was taken back in October when the Mark family, a.k.a. “Team Awesome” was carving pumpkins…the rose cowboy shirt (sweet!) was a $1 thrift store find. Yes, it’s a dorky picture.

"FANtast Thrift is faaaantastic."

"FANtast Thrift is faaaantastic."

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Thrifty Thursday: Play kitchen.

Children are natural mimics — they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.

I’d been wanting to buy Owen a play kitchen once he started taking a real interest in helping out in the kitchen and playing pretend. My first choice had been a baby blue, retro Kid Kraft kitchen I’d seen in Wondertime magazine. As luck would have it they were selling it for much less at Costco — in red! Even better! Our concerns were space and the sale price was still more than we wanted to pay.

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I found this little kid kitchen, (about 16×11 inches) with an oven on one side and a fridge on the other, at Goodwill near Parham around Christmas time. It’s so cute! AND it only set us back $10. We found the metal pots and pans at Ikea. There’s a ton of felt food on Etsy and wooden play food at World of Mirth. But we picked up a huge set of plastic playfood at the dollar store for around $5 for now. I’d like to make some felt food (I have a couple of patterns) but I might have to enlist my mother-in-law’s help. I could probably handle some felt bowtie pasta.

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A couple of days ago I pulled his little kitchen into the grown up kitchen and we made some play dough food. Here Owen is whipping up some of his famous spagetti and meatballs (He’s saying “Cheeeese.”). I also found a grab bag of cool play dough “tools” for a couple bucks at the fan thrift store that help make the noodls.

img_4689 Playdough eggs were easy to make. I’m not sure how Owen knew to flip them with a spatual. Kids are incredible!

img_46781 I helped Owen make some letter “cookies.” This cute little rolling pin was a gift from my  mom and is perfect for little hands. I found a playdough alphabet and numbers  set at Big Lots.

img_4707 Here are the play dough tools. There is also a power drill and screw driver.

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Thrifty Thursday.

Great website for fellow thrift store enthusiasts: http://www.thethriftshopper.com/
They even have a forum dedicated to the color orange!

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Thrifty Thursday: the dress-up box

Owen pretending to be a chicken.

Owen pretending to be a chicken.

Unplugged-play is back by popular demand. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a parenting trend) to know that allowing kids to play creatively and freely is a good thing. Yes, my two-year-old watches television. I’m not a Nazi about it. If it wasn’t for that thirty minute block of Blues Clues in the morning I probably wouldn’t shower for months at a time. Besides, Owen loves it. (Okay, throw in a Disney Pixar movie once or twice a month too.) Other than that, if we’re inside, the TV stays off during the day. And we prefer toys that don’t require batteries, just brain power.

“Electronic games are pre programmed with finite possible responses, they limit the imagination. A child who draws, paints, builds and invents experiences a creativity that has no boundaries.”
–Bobbi Conner, author of Unplugged Play: No batteries. No plugs. Pure fun.

I’ve been putting together a Dress-up Box for Owen over the last year. It would be silly to buy any of that kind of stuff new. Thrift stores are perfect for this. I found some great stuff around Halloween at Fantastic Thrift, Diversity Thrift and Goodwill. Ikea had some cute, cheap masks around that time as well (see photo above).

Dress-up was one of my favorite activities as a kid, and one I hope Owen will like as well. It’s fun watching him enter into the “make-believe” phase: pretending to eat fake food or feeding it to a stuffed animal, wearing Mom and Dad’s shoes. Lately Owen has decided that he is a big league baseball player.

the dress-up box

the dress-up box

Here’s what we have so far:
Fire fighters hat
Construction work hat (complete with anti-scab stickers)
Velvet magicians cape
Bumble-bee costume
Lion and Hippo costume
clip on ties
various hats (straw, and derby hats)
scarves and boas
tool box and tools
stethoscope
feather Mardi Gras masks

hats.

hats.

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Thrifty Thursday: Global Economic Crisis Edition

You may have already heard — the Saturn bit the dust. Transmission. Needless to say, the timing wasn’t ideal. Nor is my car worthy of a new (or used) transmission. After much debate we’ve decided to try the one-car-family thing. First off, we live in the city. We are eight blocks from Don’s office. In fact our entire neighborhood is very walkable. According to walkscore.com it gets a 74 out of 100. Not shabby. With my part-time work schedule sharing the car isn’t a problem. And there’s always Budget Rental car in a pinch.

Attempting to make such a drastic cut (by American standards) got us thinking about other ways to save money (we are in an economic crisis don’t cha’ know?). Aside from not having a car payment because we are not replacing the Saturn, we wouldn’t have to pay for insurance or VA property tax on a second car. We’ll probably use less gas. I tend to walk a lot, but with only one car we’ll probably be walking a whole lot more. So who needs a gym membership? YMCA also got the ax.

Next on the list of things to go? Cable. No, you aren’t seeing things. We cancelled the cable. I still can’t believe that Don agreed to it. Don and I don’t watch TV during the day and the shows we enjoy are on regular TV, with the exception of The Daily Show (which is online). He’s going to miss ESPN and I am really going to miss the DVR box (I don’t remember the last time I had to sit through a commercial) but I’m sure we’ll live… in fact we’ll probably be better people for it. We have cell phones so the land line is getting the boot. High speed internet stays…no matter how bad the economy gets!

The grand total in savings from all this sacrifice? A whopping $3,000 a year!! I guess we aren’t doing are part to stimulate the economy. However, being able to put that extra money away feels pretty good.

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Thrifty Thursday

I hate shopping. Let me qualify that. I hate malls. I hate the florescent lights, smell, and the crowds of major department stores. I don’t go out on Black Friday. I don’t do “retail therapy” (that’s what wine and friends are for). My closet isn’t full of 40 pairs of shoes I don’t wear. I think people who buy things on the shopping network need help. Serious Help. 

On the flip side, I adore thrift stores, used books stores, used books at thrift stores, antique shops, yard sales and I’ll add craigslist to the mix (it’s like going to a garage sale from home).

However, I don’t consider this shopping. It’s more like sport. There’s the adrenaline rush of success. When you find something super cool, fantastic and in your size, kitch, or a funky orange (i love orange) thing before anyone else did.  And the agony of defeat. When, no matter how long you stare at them, those camel colored, Ralph Lauren sling back heals for $5 (!!!!) they will never fit on your feet. 

It’s smart on so many levels. First, the environmentalist in me smiles because raw materials were not used to produce my new find. Second, the economical side of me cheers because it makes more since to pay $.25 for that children’s book vs. $15 for the new version. And lastly, it’s just good karma. Those things you no longer need or want or like become useful, loved or destroyed by someone else.

Disclaimer: Folks, clean out there closets BEFORE the stuff that you weren’t using anyway goes out of style. Nobody should be wearing your old polyester pant suits with the larger than life shoulder pads. I don’t care if you ARE giving it away! That’s just wrong!

So I would like to take a moment every Thursday to brag about my second hand finds of past and present. I’ll start this blog segment with my favorite find to date: 
lamp 
This lamp was found at an antique store in Forest Hill. I was actually there looking for a Christmas present for Don (old vintage cameras) about this time last year. It need a good home. And I got it for a song. 

shoes

These little kitten heel shoes (The Naturalizer) were found at The Fantastic Thrift on Cary Street, in the fan. The were in mint condition and $9.95 Waaay more than I would normally spend at a thrift store, however, they were something I would’ve bought new – if i did that sort of thing. (Their stuff retails between $40-80). I also found an awesome pair of Enzo Angiolini sling backs for $3 (retail: $98). Light scuffs on the very tip of toes, but they’re leather so it gives them character.   

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Yesterday I dropped off some stuff in the fan and found a set of hardcover Paddington Bear books (colors, ABC, 123, and Opposites) for $.99. I’m not sure why, but the 1990 copyright version (which these are) of the Opposites book is being sold on Amazon.com for $65 –  $101. Um? Attention Amazon.com shoppers… I’ll gladly sell it too you for half that!

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