Tag Archives: shopping

The End of Hand-Me-Downs

We have been extraordinarily blessed with hand-me-downs from friends to clothe our children. They pass us almost the entire wardrobe for our children including winter coats and jackets. We have bought some shoes and boots, underwear, and some socks. Other than that, much of our clothes have been free or close to it. My daughter, however, has hit that part of life when she has stopped growing quite as fast and has caught up with our clothes donors in size. My wife and I took advantage of my mother’s visit to hop over to a thrift store and do a quick shopping. We are lucky to have a fully stocked kids section in our local store, so getting some variety was fairly easy. The discussions when my daughter was trying on her new clothes re-revealed the differences that my wife and I have about clothing. We have both shifted a lot on this topic, but there are still areas that are difficult. It is a process that has its ups and downs, and our shopping and trying on experience contained both of those.

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More, Please

Harrod’s toy store made it to CNN. Read more.

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That Rug Really Tied the Room Together


But in the end, the rug was what I did not get. Instead I rented a van early in the morning on Saturday and rushed off to Ikea to take advantage of the tax free weekend. The plan was to furnish our new playroom and get a desk for me as my wife and I combine offices. I had a long list of items to pick up, and I got them all except the rug.

Because of my early arrival, I had a parking spot only two spaces from the loading area. When I departed the store several hours later, not only was the entire lot full, but cars snaked back along the road for over a mile. Those poor folks. Even when they arrived, many of the shelves were already bare where they had held pallets of furniture only that morning.

Now there are piles of boxes around our house, and somehow in the next few weeks these boxes will become unpacked, the furniture put together, the contents of at least three rooms will tango through the house, and rooms will be transformed. And, yes, we will get a rug.

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Epic Shopping Fail

On Sunday, my wife took off to work on a recording around 3:00. This left me with two cranky kids for the evening. In this situation, I usually try to get outside so at least their whining is not bouncing off the walls and amplifying in a small space. The fresh air and exercise, also, do wonders for crankypants.

I decided to put my son in the stroller and walk with my daughter down to the local grocery store. I needed parsley for the meal I was about to cook, and I had some coupons to use before they expired. The walk was fine, but when we hit the store, my daughter’s incessant babbling started to erode what little sanity I had left. I got the wrong items, tracked back and forth across the store, and was in a fine sate when I got to the checkout.

I settled for the self-checkout as I had less than 15 items in the cart and the other lines were packed. The cart in front of me was packed to the top with well more than 15 items, so I allowed myself a moment of feeling superior in that I could read the signs. And the world laughed at me.

It really started to go downhill when my daughter dropped a package of blueberries which dispersed as widely as possible in the area. Everyone was stepping on blueberries, and I was not cancelling my order to walk yet again across the store to get another package to take advantage of the buy-one-get-one-free sale.

Then I got out my coupons. I saw this train wreck coming. Coupons and the self-checkout lane do not mix well. I plunged on vainly scanning my coupons and having the screen either not acknowledge them, freeze up, or demand a cashier come to assist. Any last neurons were left amidst the squished blueberries on the floor. At least the berries were being swept up by a kindly clerk. My brief moment of feeling superior, also evaporated as this shopping trip now became overly expensive as coupon after coupon did not work.

Next time, I take the regular checkout lane and put the berries on the belt myself. This time, I slunk away with my tail between my legs. Humph.

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A Day Well Spent

Saturday, the family went out to do some errands. We braved Target mid afternoon. Luckily it was raining, and that made it only hard to find parking and somewhat packed inside. On a nice day, that store is crawling with people on the weekend. With shoes returned and some other things taken care of, we headed to a much more fun location.

Artist & Craftsman Supply is one of my favorite stores. Unlike most art supply stores, the people there not only really know their stuff, they are not snobby about me not knowing my stuff. They work with all levels of artistic ability/knowledge, the store is amazingly well stocked, and they are even friendly there. Imagine, an unpretentious art supply store where all feel welcome and really helped. I love it! I could spend hours, maybe days, there. We even had a yummy dinner at Life Alive.

The two stores do have a connecting thread. A few days ago, I went to Target with my two kids on a mission to get new shoes for both and some socks for my four year-old daughter. Boy’s socks are dark, covered with sports or other “male” themes. Even more irritating are the girl’s socks. We already get my daughter her underwear from Hanna Anderson, not because we are too wealthy and have nowhere to throw our money, but because it is nearly impossible to find girl’s underwear that is not violently pink and sparkly or covered with Disney or other branding or both conditions simultaneously. While one might take pleasure in placing iconic gender-typing images in the line of fire for a potty training child, only the parents would take joy in the metaphorical results. The real results would be more media saturation for my daughter, Disney as intimate as can be. No thanks.

Back to socks. Can’t find any that I like, so I turned to the Internet. Not there either. Then I looked at Etsy and found some socks dyed in cool shades and patterns, and it dawned on me that I can do that, too. I can do it a heck of a lot less expensively than the $10 per pair listed online, as well. Even better, it can be an art project that we do together, and then my daughter will have a real connection to her clothes.

White, cotton socks at Target. Dyes and related materials at the art store. Hopefully we’ll get this project done on Sunday.

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Divide and Conquer

 Today, with all members of the family fighting off the same cold, we decided to divide and conquer. I took my daughter on an all afternoon errands and shopping trip, and my wife kept our son home. He is probably the worst off of any of us right now. He is running a fever and is also teething.

One of the major goals of this shopping trip was to find gloves or mittens that actually fit our 3.5 year old daughter. It is exceedingly hard to find well-fitting gloves and mittens that small. Most of her winter hand wear engulf her hands and any thumbs or fingers are completely useless. The little mittens with no thumbs have been the only things that have ever stayed on and fit when she was younger. Her brother now wears them, and they stay on his hands, too.

We first stopped at Target where everyone else decided that this nice Saturday would be best spent. My daughter requested the extra big shopping cart with the two seats facing forward. Wow, are those things long and hard to steer around the kids’ clothing section. Unfortunately, the clothing has now moved fully into spring mode, and the poofy, pink girl’s clothing kept getting knocked off the rack by our extra big cart. I beat a hasty retread from the overly branded and Pepto Bismol section hoping to find some remnants of winter wear in the boy’s area. No luck there either. You would think even with this mild winter, New England stores would still have a rack of gloves for little kids.

After picking up other supplies, we headed over to Trader Joe’s for milk and bananas and then home to drop off supplies, take a potty break, and then head out again on our quest to find gloves. My daughter and wife had seen a rack of winter wear at the local grocery store, so after stopping at the hardware store to get other items on the list, we ducked in the grocery store. Most of the gloves were much too large for my daughter, but just as we were about to turn away, I spied a hat with a pair of gloves and mittens attached. They were exactly the right size. It is interesting that the two pairs of thumbless mittens that have served both kids well also came as sets with hats. Perhaps hat makers attach undersized gloves and mittens to their apparel to save money on the bundle, but they end up being just right for our needs.

We arrived home after a long walk during which my daughter proudly showed off her new gloves to anyone who would listen. 


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