3 Thrifting Tips from a Goodwill Addict

January 13, 2017 at 1:57 am

I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed to admit that one of my absolute favorite places to go is to Goodwill. I think I would be more proud if I could say my favorite hobby was hiking or volunteering or something more meaningful. I do love hiking and volunteering, and I’d spend a lot of time in the woods if I could. Alas I live in a desert, and I don’t have a lot of free time, so for the past several years my go-to “me-time” destination has been Goodwill. You could probably say I have a slight addiction to getting super deals on nice stuff.

My friends often say to me, “I should go with you to Goodwill. I never find good stuff!” I would gladly have friends join me in my favorite guilty pleasure. Definitely never hesitate to call me up and say, “I’m going to Goodwill, you wanna come?” Ummm YES. Always. I wish Goodwill-shopping Coach was a real job.

Obviously it’s best to go to Goodwill on 50% off days, dollar days, or take advantage of their monthly coupons and daily colored-tag deals, but here are some other thrifting tips I’ve picked up along the way.

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DIY Upcycled Tree of Life

November 3, 2016 at 9:38 pm
hugging a eucalyptus tree

hugging a eucalyptus tree

Birth junkies are generally, from what I have observed, also tree junkies. Perhaps it’s because placentas look like trees. Perhaps it’s because our Divine Mother is associated with trees. Perhaps it’s because natural birth is what tree huggers often choose when they enter the world of childbearing. It doesn’t really matter why. I don’t love trees because it’s trendy. I love trees because I always have, always will.

Related side-note… I bought myself this piece of tree art for my birthday last month from a cool etsy artist…

treeartetsy

What I Learned from Our First Year of Homeschool

May 28, 2016 at 2:35 am

Last night I was reading John Holt’s Teach Your Own before bed, wishing it wasn’t a library book so I could highlight my favorite passages. Instead I kept ripping up a piece of paper to mark the parts I loved. It seemed there was something on every page. This might be a book I need to own. I’ll share some John Holt quotes in this post, in part because I want to have them written down somewhere to refer back to.

firstyearhomeschool

This blogpost has been writing itself in my head for several weeks now. But it never felt like the school year was complete for the same reason that it never feels like the school day is complete. Homeschooling never ends because children are always learning. We have “school” plans that extend throughout the summer. It seems sort of strange to even define grade levels now. I can see how they will all bleed together as we simply incorporate “school” into our lives year-round. But since the traditional school year has ended for the local kids, I suppose I can write this blogpost now.

Hopeschool: Stop Motion Merriment

April 15, 2016 at 5:02 am

Hopeschool Logo

While perusing Pinterest for homeschool ideas earlier this week, I stumbled on a Teachers Pay Teachers file utilizing the free app Stop Motion Studio. My kids love making movies, so I knew they would be uber-excited about this project. For the past few days, my 12-year-old has become a stop-motion-movie-making machine. Their first project was inspired by the Pinterest Pin I found. It outlines how to make a stop-motion movie showing the phases of the moon.

Six Things for Sunday: Speedy Edition

December 14, 2015 at 8:47 am

It’s super late, and I should be going to bed, but I just wanted to post a quick update. Like speed-walking, but since I’m walking  sl-ow-ly these days, it’s speed-blogging instead. ;-) Here are this week’s “Six Things for Sunday”…

Copy of six things for sunday

Tinker Crate Review

November 18, 2015 at 6:27 am

Back in September, before we had even pulled our kids out of school, I started perusing homeschool stuff on Pinterest. I think that’s where I first heard about Tinker Crate. After we officially started homeschooling, I spent even more time on Pinterest adding things to my “Homeschooling” board. Truly I don’t know how anyone did homeschool before Pinterest. There are so many amazing and free resources out there. Thank you, interwebs! I love that we can all have access to and benefit from the ingenious ideas of people all over the world. I knew that I wanted our homeschool experience to include lots of hands-on learning, so I knew Tinker Crate was something I wanted to “pin” for future reference.

tinkercrateBasically, Tinker Crate offers a monthly subscription for hands-on learning projects for kids. The company creating these projects has crates for several age groups: Koala Crate (for ages 3-4) and Kiwi Crate (for ages 5-8). Tinker Crate (science, technology, and engineering projects) and Doodle Crate (arts and crafts projects) are for ages 9-16+. These kits are great for anyone, not just homeschoolers. (p.s. They didn’t ask me to do this review. One of my FB friends did.)

I have children ranging in age from 4 to 12, but I wanted the projects to be challenging for the older kids, and I felt like my building-all-the-time 6-year-old was beyond what the Kiwi Crate offered. So, after finding a Pinterest coupon code for 30% off my first order, I went ahead and took the Tinker Crate plunge. Since then we have received two Tinker Crate projects in the mail.

DIY Patio Make-over Project

March 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I’m too excited not to share this. A few years ago, our neighbors across the street moved and gave us their patio furniture. The furniture was in great shape, sturdy, and nice, but the cushion covers were kind of thrashed and starting to shred.

We looked into buying replacement cushions, but… um… $30+ a piece! $200+ for the whole set? Yikes! Time to break out my sewing skills. Thank you, Grandma and Mom, for those skills! A few months later, I got some groovy 70’s drapes from Goodwill with the intention of using them to recover the cushions.

Gifts that Heal

December 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

A few weeks ago, a friend showed up at my door with a giant stalk of brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s… like this…

brussels

It was a healing gift for a number of reasons… 1) Because there’s something very heart-warming about having another person “get you” well enough to know exactly what would make your day, and 2) Because brussels sprouts are healing in and of themselves.

I love gifts that heal. They’re the best kind.

Here are some more healing gift ideas…

My Prescription for Happiness

October 9, 2013 at 12:32 am

About six months ago I wrote a post called “Becoming Whole Again” where I gave an update about my recovery from anxiety and depression. Yesterday I received a comment from Nicole on that post:

I am really interested in the new “prescription” to replace the drugs. What are the variety of spiritual and physical things you were encouraged to make habits in order to protect yourself from darkness and fear?

I’ve been thinking about sharing that prescription for awhile. So Nicole’s comment was the nudge I needed. I wrote this list in my journal on March 16, 2013. I feel it was a joint-effort between God and me, that we made the list together. At the time I wasn’t doing any of the things consistently and some not at all.

My daughter pretending to meditate

1) Go to bed by 10:00 p.m. and wake up early.
2) Meditate.
3) Read my scriptures.
4) Exercise.
5) Sing and play the piano.
6) Hold each child in my arms.
7) Have sex at least once a week.

Back in July I started meditating (kundalini yoga meditation) and singing every day. I haven’t missed a day since. I’m approaching 80 days. After I started this daily meditation practice, I felt so amazing that I cut my medication dose in half again. So now I’m down to 1/4 of my prescribed dose every other day. There were a few discouraging days while my body adjusted, but now that I’ve stabilized, the bad days are few and far between.

Find a Spring

September 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm

This past weekend we did something I’ve been dreaming of doing for a few years now. We went to a natural spring and collected cool, crystal clear, delicious, living water, straight from Mother Earth.

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Wrap Happy

August 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Almost exactly four years ago, I wrote a blogpost about making your own no-sew baby wrap. August of 2009. My third child had been born in April of that year, and he was the first of my children to be “worn” regularly. I had made my own ring sling while I was pregnant with him, and then when he was several months old, I made my own stretchy baby wrap.

The first time I recall seeing a baby wrap was back in 2007. An old friend who had become a midwife came to a little reunion at my dad’s house with her new baby strapped to her in a wrap. I thought it was cool, but I didn’t really see another wrap until my doula training in February of 2009. There were a lot of moms with nursing babies at the training, and a couple of women with wraps. But still… wraps were something I only really saw at gatherings of crunchy women or on crunchy websites. They weren’t trendy in the slightest.

When I started wearing my infant son in a stretchy wrap, I came to know just how unusual it was. Everywhere I went, people seemed to have never seen anything like it before. I felt like a walking advertisement for babywearing because I spent some time nearly every outing talking with one or two strangers about what it was, how to make one, that it’s easier to use than it looks, etc. I enjoyed those conversations immensely. It made me happy to spread the joy of babywearing and to imagine how those women’s lives might improve and become easier through making contact with me and my happy wrapped baby boy.

That was four years ago. My blogpost about making your own baby wrap did get a reasonable amount of traffic, but nothing to raise my eyebrows about. Then something happened in 2010-2011. Pinterest hit the web.

Pic-happy

May 31, 2013 at 8:48 pm

If you follow me on facebook, you may have noticed that I’ve become a wee bit obsessed with sharing quote-pics of late. This is partly because I discovered Pinwords, and it’s so fast and easy to make them that I’ve become a little overzealous and perhaps a bit addicted.

Another reason I’ve been so pic-happy is that I’m a little late in discovering that facebook shares status updates and photos with more people than it shares links. Pics are a way to reach more people. Plus it’s easy to read and share a pic in a few seconds, whereas it takes significantly more time to click on a link and read the post before deciding whether to “like” or “share” it. But mostly I’m just enjoying having a new creative outlet.

Here are some of my creations… please feel free to share them on your social networks. Click on the pics to read more about the various topics.

Must-(not)-haves for the first-time mom

March 5, 2013 at 1:43 am

“Most children’s shoes ought to come with a government health warning.” -Tracy Byrne (podiatrist)

When I was pregnant for the first time, I was fresh out of college and my husband was starting graduate school. We answered phones after-hours as live-in caretakers in a mortuary (seriously) for four years so we didn’t have to pay rent while my husband finished his schooling. He worked in addition to his graduate school responsibilities, but we had very little money.

Not all families start out as low on funds as we did, but I know many of them do. The marketing targeted at first-time moms is overwhelming. Magazines, television, internet ads, and sometimes friends and family can fill our heads with so many “must-haves” for our babies. After 9+ years of motherhood, I think often of all the baby paraphernalia that seem so essential when you’re pregnant for the first time but really aren’t necessary at all. It’s astounding how much stuff you can accumulate once a baby joins the family. And when we had our first baby, space was at a minimum in our tiny apartment.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your stress levels at a minimum, simplify, and cut clutter and costs as you enter parenthood, here’s my personal list of items you may want to leave off your list.

1) Changing tables. We got by just fine with a towel (for leaks) on the floor or on our bed. My goal was always to not leave my bed for night-time feedings and diaper changes… none of this going to a changing table in the middle of the night thing. They may be nice to store all the diapers and wipes, but a nightstand, closet, or cupboard works just as well for that. I’d also include the entire “baby nursery” as unnecessary, but that could be a whole other blogpost in itself. ;-)

2) Baby lotion. We got bottles and bottles of the stuff for baby shower gifts as first-time parents. Most of them got re-gifted to other new parents… you know, let’s spread the useless wealth, right? Here’s the reality… babies have lusciously soft skin as it is, and baby lotion may actually be harmful. If you’d like something to use for baby massages or skin irritations, I’d recommend coconut oil or olive oil.

3) Pacifiers and bottles. I realize that these are life-savers (or absolutely essential) for many moms, but if you’re certain you want to breastfeed, you probably won’t need them. My babies simply wouldn’t take any size or shape of pacifier (except our pinkie fingers or my own real-life nipples). And they wouldn’t take bottles either. We wasted a lot of money trying different brands and styles in search of “the one.” In the end, it was just easier to breastfeed exclusively… and the good news was that we never had to break our children of their binkie or bottle addiction.

Love is Life (free printables)

February 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm

I’m all about free/cheap home decor. Most of the furniture (and clothing) we own we obtained for free through relatives/friends, on Craigslist, at yard sales, or from Goodwill. It’s actually kind of dangerous for me to go to second-hand stores ’cause I love treasure-hunting there (a little too much!). So anyway… this past week I found a nice 5×7 frame at Goodwill. And today I decided I wanted to make some art for it.

So I grabbed this photo I took a couple of years ago (at Tres Rios Wetlands)…

Deck the walls with birth and babies

January 4, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I mentioned on my facebook page that I recently turned our bedroom into a sort-of tribute to bellies, babies, birth, and life-giving. And people wanted pics!

I’ve been taking what we already had (with the addition of a few cheap Goodwill frames) to decorate with. So that means we finally hung up lots of things I’ve been planning to hang up for ages, including many of our birth and pregnancy photos (most of them taken by my talented doula friend, Cassie). And lots of trees, green things, life, love, and growth.

I think this is the first time we’ve ever really had stuff hanging in our bedroom. I really like how everything looks!

Now for the pics…

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