July 30, 2009

Jon &/OR Kate Plus 8: Power of Prayer

I have wanted to blog about Jon & Kate Gosselin for several months now, as their recent marital struggles just break my heart. Just before the airing of their "announcement" episode, I stumbled upon a blog called "Jon & Kate Prayers" written by Rick Garner. This heartfelt blog spoke exactly the words I had been trying to find myself, calling us to pray for the Gosselin 10 rather than spew words of hatred, bitterness, jealousy or slander against them. I honestly don't understand why so many people hate them with such a vendetta as if Kate had personally slapped them herself. I am so incredibly far from perfect myself that if people were to watch my life 24/7, I wonder if they would hate me too? It's a scary thought. Judge not lest ye be judged...

I will say that I met Kate in person in late April 2009 at a local book signing and was disheartened to see the sadness in her eyes. Little did I know what she was going through at home during that month (this being just a few weeks before the "announcement" episode aired). She seemed a combination of very stressed and very sad. She was not the chipper & happy individual that we had all watched in earlier seasons. I could very much tell that she would rather not be there that day, but felt the commitment to her contractual obligation. On the spur of the moment I tried to think of something to say to her when I walked up to get my book signed during the Meet & Greet. I asked, "Are you having a good day?" to which she looked up at me surprised that someone had broken the silence of the room. She hesitated for a split second and then gave a forced cheerful answer, "Um yes!" (What other answer can anyone expect from a question like that in such a situation?) Five weeks later, as I learned more about all of their ongoing family trials, I kicked myself pretty hard for not saying something more significant such as, "I'm praying for you and your family" (which I already was).

Jon & Kate have professed in the past that they are Christians. The show featured them going to church on one episode and their old house was decorated with scripture verses on handwritten index cards posted around the kitchen. According to their own testament, just about the only time they left the house when the sextuplets were infants was once a week to drive an hour to church. Jon's odd behavior as of late is really not that different from many other Christians I know... I can tell you about the sins of a lot of people I know. I can't explain them or justify or condone them, but I can pray for those people. And that's where the Jon & Kate Prayers: Power of Prayer blog entry comes in... I urge you to click on the link below to read exactly what I wanted to say myself. In fact I wished I could just copy this guy's content and cite it here, but I'll avoid the plagiarism and let you read it on his site.

Jon and Kate Prayers: Power of Prayer

The prayer blog has also garnered international attention as well... a writer for the Vancouver Sun wrote an article about Rick Garner's site entitled, "Jon & Kate should go on a date. With God."

July 18, 2009

2009 Raleigh-area Consignment Sale Roundup (Fall/Winter Sales)

It's that time of year again... back to school shopping will start all too soon and parents will be sorting through clothing & toys to decide what still fits and what needs to be replaced. Almost a year and a half ago I discovered a new favorite hobby in bargain shopping called Children's Consignment Sales. I posted a blog last summer about my initial experiences with consignment shopping. Since then I can easily say that I've been to more than a dozen sales total, which are kind of like giant cooperative yard sales. I'm still by no means an expert, but do eagerly look forward to the chance to get nearly-brand-new clothing and toys for my child for about 25% of the original retail cost. Even toys or "play clothes" that look a little worn work fine for a toddler... she doesn't care or know the difference!

For new moms or parents who haven't shopped a consignment sale before, here are a few tips of my own followed by some local news videos explaining the sales and then a list of the upcoming Raleigh, NC-area Fall/Winter sales.

1.) Take a list! Start making a list now of every item you can think of that you need for your child. It can be specific or generic, but just write it down, sort it by category type and even prioritize it by importance. I would never remember everything I want without having it on paper while shopping a sale. Don't think, "Oh that's too specific - I'd never find that at a sale." I've been blown away by very specific items I've found at sales before... such as One Step Ahead's "Walking Wings" (normally $24.95, but I found them practically new for $10). Last year I bought an $85 Kozy Carrier for only $20! The amount of new-with-tag clothing items for sale is often quite surprising too.

2.) Since the sales don't provide shopping carts, take something to carry your items in; I recommend a device with wheels! I use our SnugGlider stroller frame (without the infant car seat) and attach a rectangular laundry basket with a bungee cord. It works fabulously! I also have seen shoppers using carts such as this one, but I've never made the investment to get one of those. A wagon or an empty stroller could work well too.

3.) If possible, sign up for a time slot to work a few volunteer hours so that you can shop early. The best items always go first and once you shop a sale early, you'll realize this. Consignors (people who sell their items) also usually get to shop earlier than the public as well. The only thing to remember about consigning is that there is usually a consignors fee ($5-15) which you pay whether or not any of your items sell. If you do sell your items, depending on the sale you'll typically get about 2/3 of your selling price and the sale owners keep the other 1/3.

The Raleigh area is very fortunate to have quite a few consignment sales nearby and those numbers seem to be growing! I've compiled a list of 10 upcoming Fall/Winter sales with their dates and locations below. There are 4 more area sales that I'm aware of, but have not yet confirmed their upcoming dates/location. First though, here is some local news coverage from two of the area's largest sales, KidsExchange and Kids Everywear. Note that these videos are from last winter's "Spring/Summer" sales and are not specifically referring to the upcoming sales.





If the crowds in those videos overwhelm you, take heart... all sales aren't as chaotic as those two! In fact, many of the smaller sales are great because since they aren't as crowded, you can find better bargains! Feel free to leave a comment below inquiring about a specific sale and I'll be happy to let you know any details I know about it. (Although there are a few on this list that I haven't been to before.)

Here is the list, sorted by upcoming sale dates:

Kids Exchange
July 20 - 28, 2009 (Mon-the following Tue)
NC State Fairgrounds
Jim Graham Building
Note: This is the biggest sale in the entire area… it’s MASSIVE!

The Friendship Closet Consignment Sale
August 7 - 8, 2009 (Fri-Sat)
Apex United Methodist Church
100 S. Hughes Street / Apex, NC 27502

Upscale Resale
August 13 - 15, 2009 (Thu-Sat)
Cary Masonic Lodge
1142 SE Maynard Road / Cary, NC
Note: Trunk Show, Boutique & higher-end consignment sale clothes

TMOTT Sale (Triangle Mothers of Twins & Triplets)
August 15, 2009 (Sat)
N.C. State Fairgrounds
Kerr Scott Building

Twice as Nice
August 20 - 22, 2009 (Thu-Sat)
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams Street / Apex, NC 27502
Note: One of my very favorite sales, and not just because I designed their website! :-)

August 26 - 30, 2009 (Wed-Sun)
Cleveland Gymnasium
8994 Cleveland Road / Clayton NC 27520

Divine Consign Show - Raleigh DCS Fall Show
August 31 - September 4, 2009 (Mon-Fri)
Stonehenge Shopping Center
7432 Creedmoor Road / Raleigh, NC
Notes: Exclusive Trunk Show & Boutique Overstock and Consignment Sales; Also has a Grandparent Preview Show & New Mom Shopping (must pre-register)

Kids Everywear
August 29th - September 15th
Morrisville Outlet Mall
1001 Airport Blvd / Morrisville, NC 27560-8935
Notes: Probably 2nd largest sale in the area & growing each year! ; Also has early shopping days for Pregnant & New Moms (must pre-register)

Kidaround Kidsale
Two Sale Dates & Locations!
#1 - Sept. 11 - 13, 2009 (Fri-Sun) @ The Factory in Wake Forest (MVP Factory Sports indoor basketball court)
1839 US 1-A /South Main St. Wake Forest NC
#2 - Oct. 9 - 11, 2009 (Fri-Sun) @ The Lighthouse Center in South Raleigh
326 Tryon Rd / Raleigh, NC (the Garner side of Raleigh)

Nearly New Clothing Exchange
September 16-20, 2009 (Wed-Sun)
Pleasant Valley Shopping Center
6270 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27612
Next door to Kirklands

Chatham Kids Consignment
September 18, 19, 20, 2009 (Fri-Sun)
11312 US Highway 15 501 N
Chathams Crossings
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

First UMC Cary Fall Sale
September 19, 2009 (Sat)
First United Methodist Church, Cary
117 S. Academy Street / Cary, NC 27511
Note: Planning Ahead? Spring Sale will be Saturday, February 20, 2010

Church Kidz Stuff
October 1 -3, 2009
Hayes Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh

Just 4 Kids Consignment Sale
October 4 - 10, 2009 (Sun-Sat)
Life Spring Community Church
501 Wake Chapel Road
Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

Second Blessings Consignment Sale
Spring 2010
Greenwood Forest Baptist, Cary

July 16, 2009

Evian's Rollerskating Babies

My 19-month old daughter insisted that we watch this video no less than 13 times, after which she finally got enough of it. (After 8 times though, we had to go find her baby doll so it could watch too.)

Kudos to Evian for pulling off a creative concept involving so many babies! :-) Check out the "Making Of" videos to see how they did it.

Uh oh, my daughter's asking to watch it again now...

July 1, 2009

Black & White and Envious All Over

Well apparently someone from the Thailand Zoo has been visiting Zoo Atlanta and bought the following t-shirt:

It seems that zoo officials took matters into their own hands when the general population of Thailand was recently hit with "pandemonium" after Thailand's first successful captive panda birth. The country's national symbol is the elephant, but the Thai people have focused their attention on the country's most famous little black & white mammal and apparently the zookeepers are not happy about it. So in turn to draw attention back to their charges, the elephant keepers doused their giants in watercolor-based paint! View more photos of this incredible sight here and here. HT to Damon for letting me know about this!

June 17, 2009

Ikea to take over GM

Just announced -- Ikea will be taking over GM and manufacturing cars. This is what we can expect to find in the box:

January 4, 2009

Gov't Wants to Outlaw the Reselling of Kids' Clothing!! What?! (CPSIA)

I am just floored by this.

Last Friday (January 2nd), a LA Times article reported the following: "Barring a reprieve, regulations set to take effect next month could force thousands of clothing retailers and thrift stores to throw away trunkloads of children's clothing." On February 10, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will go into effect which mandates that all products sold for children age 12 and under be tested for lead and phthalates (chemicals used to make plastics more pliable). This includes clothing! Perhaps the best article I read to explain all of this is at The Simple Dollar. There is also good discussion over at BabyCheapskate and TheSmartMama.com.

New clothing manufactured after February 10th will be tested and have some sort of approval rating seal or certificate. BUT... what about used clothing and products? I am a huge advocate of consignment sales as well as stores like Kid to Kid or Once Upon a Child. I participate on Freepeats regularly too. But the owners of these sales and stores do not have the resources to spend on expensive tests. Nor is that even a reasonable feat for local consignment sales - which have hundreds or thousands (or even hundreds of thousands!) of items dropped off in a short period of time right before the sale opens to the public. A law forbidding the sale of used items & clothing would put these sales out of business! An unverified source I read online said that the penalties are stiff: $100,000 per violation and up to 5 years in jail! The enforcers are going to be State Attorney Generals and the CPSC.

When a consumer buys an article of clothing or a toy for their child, part of the item's purchase cost is justified by the item's resale value. I know that my child will wear that clothing or use that toy for less than a year, but I expect to get some return on the item's value by reselling it at a later date. Essentially this law will eliminate this possibility for everything I already own, which causes an immediate permanent reduction in my wealth. Because of that, I will buy fewer products which helps to slow the economy. This action is contridictory to the objectives which Congress is trying to pursue to stimulate the economy during our current recession.

And this comes at a time of "economic hardship"... that's all we hear about on the news these days. I want to know - is the Congress considering the families who can't afford to buy their children brand new clothes every few months when the seasons change and their kids have grown an inch? If the economic crisis is hitting America so hard, wouldn't the number of families in this category be increased right now already?

This feels almost like a destruction of property rights or a devaluing of the currency. My goods are worth something on February 9th, but come 12:01 am that night, they suddenly lose their value. I believe that the CPSIA will cost many American families much more money than any economic stimulus check has ever benefited them.

What about the environmental impact? According to the LA Times, "Those [products] that haven't been tested will be considered hazardous, regardless of whether they actually contain lead." So whether or not they are actually hazardous, millions upon millions of brand new toys and clothing will be tossed into landfills. Might I add that all of the "non-earth-friendly" plastic toys will surely sit there in the landfills for many years to come, whether or not they are even dangerous. Too bad they couldn't have been used and played with in the meantime! This law doesn't allow enough time for current used products to be properly tested.

Now in general, I think it's a great thing to mandate the levels of lead in children's products. In fact I have often wondered why it wasn't mandated before with all of the crazy Chinese product and toy recalls in the past couple of years. HOWEVER, today is January 4th, and even though preliminary research shows that this issue has been around for at least 3-4 months, this is the first I've heard about this law which is to take effect in only 36 days!

What happened to "being green" and recycling and not wasting products unnecessarily? Freepeats, Freecycle, eBay, and Craigslist have become an integral part of my life, along with millions of other Americans, and I take pride in knowing that I am helping to avoid excessive waste by buying and selling items instead of tossing them out when I no longer need them or always buying them brand new.

My heart goes out to the owners of local consignment sales like Twice as Nice. Stores like Goodwill probably will not go out of business, mainly because they do not specialize only in clothing for under age 12, but have adult inventory as well. Yet I can't imagine not having local resources like Kid to Kid to help me save money on used clothing and toys. I think the law needs to be amended before being passed, so that only products manufactured AFTER Feb. 10th are subject to screening. Used products should receive a longer "shelf life" for at least another year, to allow adequate time for testing and screening to be performed.

It's not that I want my child wearing lead-filled clothing or playing with toys full of phthalates. But I also don't want to see a bunch of perfectly good items - items which people paid hard-earned money to buy - go to waste and then be replaced with costlier versions of the same thing. I think there can be a better balance than the current proposal set forth, and I'd like to see that bill be amended to allow for the resale of used items.

If this whole issue upsets you, the best course of action is to contact your local Congressman and Senator at these links below. I know I will!



What do you think?

Posted via web from goldentwig's posterous

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