The Orange Chair Adventure

Three generations of women.

One grandma. Four aunts. A slew of cousins.

One day of adventure.

One amazing niece who hosted and made the arrangements.

Many miles traveled to enjoy a day of memory making.

EmporiumA flea market. Antique stores.  Curiosity Shops. The Emporium.

Giggles. Laughs. Secret purchases.

Crazy driving.

El BashasA Mediterranean lunch.

Discovering gyros, schwarma, and garlic sauce.

orange chair paradeFinding the perfect orange chair and recruiting cousins to help carry it out of the store, across the busy street, and down two blocks.

Then watching two amazing aunts figure out how to get it in the back of the mini van already packed with bodies and purchases.

cousin photo shootSeizing photo ops to remember the day.

A snapshot in time.

Precious people.

Precious memories.

mom and her girlsAnd of the course – the big orange chair.


Extreme Thrifting

Warning: The following adventure is extreme in nature and not for the faint of heart.

It was all Martha’s idea.

It was brilliant – I wish I could take credit – but it was Martha’s brainchild. After spending an afternoon thrifting together in the fall, she suggested we make a day of it next time.

If we started early enough we could possibly get to two more towns. TWO! Think of the bargains we could find!

It would require lots of miles on the road – but if she was game for it – so was I. I mean really – a whole day with a good friend in thrift stores?! Sign me up!

Besides – she was driving! 🙂

It took us awhile to find a day that would work, but Angel Girl and I finally met Martha and her daughter Bethany on Monday morning for adventure.

Martha had a map and a plan. We were ready for a day of Extreme Thrifting.

Big SaleJust look at those girls – already three stores in and still looking fresh!  Nothing like a big sale at your favorite thrift store to put a smile on your face!

Early on in the adventure the girls decided to find something matching at each store we went to. Believe it or not – they almost did!WendysWith two towns down, we stopped to refuel at Wendy’s. French fries dipped in chocolate frosty’s was just the high octane we needed!

We were on to new territory! Good thing Martha had a list and a GPS. Gypsy did us proud.

The weather was perfect – we had highs in the 60’s and sunshine all afternoon!


Still smiling in our fourth and final town. Yes – it’s after dark and yes – they are now wearing coats. The temperatures were starting to fall.

Note the stuffed duckies – they were still on the hunt for matching things this late in the day!

ChickenWe did it! Time for stop at Chick-fil-a before heading back down the highway home.

The stats on our day of Extreme Thrifting are impressive!

We traveled to 4 different towns.

Stopped at 11 different thrift stores.

And drove over 173 miles.

But we’re not saying how much we spent!

Will our husbands ever let us do it again? I hope so – ’cause boy did we have fun! 🙂

PS – Hey Martha – I’m free next Thursday! <wink!>

Oh Yeah – Like Awesome Dude!

My zany college roommate  Kimmer is here!

And anywhere that Kimmer is – there is laughter – lots of laughter!

We were browsing through the racks at the local thrift store when Kimmer quickly picked up on the fact that my kids thought our taste in clothes was a little dated – so she started pulling out ridiculous pieces to show them.

She was gushing and embarrassing them royally when – out of the craziness – Dagmar finds a nice pair of jeans of Pedro.

I look at them and say “awesome”.

Kimmer looks at them and says, “Precious!”

Dagmar almost chokes. “Awesome and precious?! Oh really! These are beastly sick pants!”

Kimmer and I look at each other blankly, “Beastly sick?”

Dagmar just shakes her head and moves on.

Okay – so maybe it’s more than our taste in clothes that’s a little dated. 😉

At home later on that afternoon –  I asked Pedro to try on the clothes that his sister found for him.

As he come out wearing his new pants, we looked at each other and tried very hard to remember the words Laura used to describe them.

Now – I should insert here that the night before we had stayed up much later than any two 40-something mothers of nine kids should – so we were pretty much brain dead.

As we were frantically trying to remember the correct terminology – Kimmer blurts out, “I know – the word starts with an F – I know it – they’re fruity!”

The room erupts with laughter.

There’s never a dull moment with Kimmer around! 🙂

Annie and the Thrift Store

SandLast weekend at our family reunion – I was able to slip away with my 3 sisters-in-law and Jan’s mom to hit a couple garage sales and my favorite thrift store.

We left our very brave husbands home with all the kids – except one – Annie.

Annie to go because there was just one seat left in the van – and she was the only little one who wasn’ t muddy yet.

I’m not sure how excited she was to go an adventure with her aunts – but she was a good sport and soon learned that Auntie Melinda’s thrift stores are quite a bit different then the ones in the big city where she lives!

As soon as we walked into the Mission Possible Thrift Store Annie spotted the row of baby dolls perched right at her level on the shelves. She made a beeline for them exclaiming, “BABIES!”

Every lady in the shop stopped what they doing and said “Ohhh…how precious!”

From that moment on she had the run of the store.

She hugged baby dolls for awhile, then moved on to scarves. After she found a silky pink one and wrapped it around her neck, she moved on with Nana to the other side of the store where she discovered shoes.

Annie loves shoes. Really loves shoes.  Especially shoes that are too big.

She was in her element!

She would try on a pair of shoes and parade around the clothes rack carrying a dolly and wearing her pretty pink scarf.

The other shoppers smiled.

Her favorite pairs were a pair of fuzzy red slippers and a metallic silver heel.

At one point I overheard her say to Nana,” I think you should buy these pretty shoes Nana.”

Nana replied, “Oh my, those are very pretty Annie, but I just don’t have any metallic silver dresses to wear them with.” 🙂

Nana did however buy the fuzzy red slippers and Auntie Melinda bought her the pretty pink scarf.

So she left the store with a few treasures of her own and several new admirers.

She and I sat on the courthouse steps across the street eating pretzels while the other gals finished up.

When they joined us in a few minutes they were exclaiming about the great prices and their sweet finds.

I just smiled and said, “You just can’t beat a small town thrift store for great deals.”

And I’m sure Annie would add, “And lots of fun!” 🙂

Puzzling Thoughts

Puzzle Angel Girl is our puzzle princess.

She can take a 1000 piece puzzle and whip it into shape in no time.

Her favorite way to relax is to work on a puzzle while listening to Adventures in Odyssey or Jonathon Parks.

So while we were thrifting with Aunt Julie last week – she grew bored quickly while looking at clothes and went in search of puzzles. She found 2 of her favorite kinds  – The Hometown Collection – and bought them.

When she sat down on Monday to start the first one – she had an interesting surprise.

The puzzle pieces in the box did not match the picture on the cover.

Oops! The perils of thrift store shopping!

Now she has a puzzle to put together – but she has no idea what it should like.

I’ve noticed that it’s taken her a lot longer to work on this one – a lot more trial and error as she studies each piece for clues.

She doesn’t have the big picture.

How much easier it would be if she could just study the box lid!

It struck me that often in life I live like that – not seeing the bigger picture. I spend lots of extra time trying to fit the pieces of life together by trial and error.

It’s silly really – because I have the “box lid”  available to study – the one made by the manufacturer.

It’s called the Bible.

In it, God has given me everything I need to make the daily decisions of life. He knows how all the details should fit into place – how the finished product should look.

But I’m much too  busy trying to fit things together myself to take the time to see what the Master Designer has in mind for me.

I’m missing the big picture.

Spending  some time in the word today – and everyday – will help all those little details in life to fit together so much better!

The Celebration Continues!

Christmas may be over – but the celebration continues here!

My sister -in – law Julie and her 2 boys are spending the week with us. It’s a week we all look forward to because they are so fun to have around.

The boys will keep themselves busy building Legos, playing the Wii and out sledding in the snow.

Meanwhile we girls will be hanging out with Aunt Julie.

Just saying that makes me smile – because Aunt Julie is really fun to hang out with.

We’ll be watching a movie when she will suddenly sit up and say, “Do you what would taste really good right now?” And the next thing we know we’re eating strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar – or eating a brownie covered with ice cream and hot fudge.

Yeah – she’s pretty fun to have around!

Do you remember the week that we had my three special nieces? Julie was here the whole week to help. She even brought meals.

Do you remember the epic one day Vacation Bible School we hosted last summer? Julie was here the entire week before to help us set up. She even taught a lesson, made the curtains for the puppet theater and created a dolphin puppet.

But we have no big projects this week. Oh no. The next few days will be spent relaxing and enjoying.

We’ll watch movies, drink hot chocolate, eat lots of goodies, and check out our favorite thrift stores.

We’ll play games, work out, go cross country skiing, and laugh – a lot.

But most importantly – we’ll make some memories!

So the celebration continues…




The Hunt for the Perfect Dress

I had to find the perfect dress.

You might remember that my niece is getting married – and since we haven’t had a wedding in the family since my little sister’s (which was about 17 years ago) – this is big stuff!

Normally – I’m a cotton skirt and blouse kind of gal – but I like to have a nice dress for those few occasions – like weddings – that call for them.

The only problem is – the last time I needed to dress up I was several sizes bigger than I am right now.

So it was time for a new dress. 🙂

Easier said than done.

I started my hunt at my favorite thrift stores because I am basically cheap and can’t imagine spending full price for a dress that I will wear just a few times. I could feed my family of seven for a week on what some of those dresses cost!

But I found there wasn’t much selection in my size – or any size.

One looked like something my Grandma would wear.

My niece said another looked like an Easter basket.

One was such a slinky material that my behind jiggled when I walked. I know this for a fact because my sister said so! I love you B! 🙂

I tried 2 dresses on at the Nifty Thrifty. Silly me. I’m not really sure what I was thinking – they were sheath-like dresses that really tall and skinny people wear. (I am neither – I have lots of curves – especially where I sit!). I got one over my head and it got stuck. Really stuck.

I’m claustrophobic and went into a near panic because I couldn’t get it to move. I debated on whether to call out to my husband to rescue me – which would have caused quite a scene! Or just get the scissors out of my purse and cut myself out – then I would buy the dress and try to explain to my husband on the way home.

I did neither. I took a deep breath and with a little more wiggling I got the dress off. No. more. sheaths. No. more.

I figured my best bet was The 17th Street Consignment Store. But after looking through the dress racks t least 5 times, I had come up short. I tried 3 dresses on. Although I didn’t get stuck, they still didn’t work.

One showed too much cleavage.

The print of another was just way too loud.

And the third one was to tight in all the wrong places. It screamed “Hello – this woman loves mashed potatoes with butter!”

I was on my way out the door empty-handed when I saw it.

It was on display in the front of the store in plain sight. How had I missed it before?!

I fingered the material and checked the size.

My husband – who was trying to hurry me out the door – saw me and said, “Go ahead and try it on – I’ll wait.”

Seriously. He said that.

So I tried it on.

It fit.

I turned around in front of the mirrors – not bad. The color was nice – not to muted and not to bold. It was fitted, but not too tight.

I stepped out of the dressing room to see what Jan thought. He smiled. The lady behind the counter smiled and said it looked good. She also added that it was a very expensive dress – from Coldwater Creek no less!

And the price was just $10.


But wait – there’s more!

Since this was a consignment store and the last time we visited I had left several boxes of things to consign – we had $15 of credit waiting for us.

I not only got the dress for free – they actually paid me $5 to buy it!:)

It was a happy day people, a happy day!

The Princess & The Tomboy

It’s quite a dichotomy.

Within a 48 hour period in 2 different Goodwill stores in 2 different states – my daughter bought these 2 very different shoes.

One is a pretty and quite feminine pair of black heels.

The other is a clunky pair of insulated army boots.

And she loves them both!

I’m glad that she is comfortable as a pretty princess in pumps and as a tomboy keeping up with her brothers on the snowy trails.

I hope she never outgrows either one!

But I’m even more glad that she is comfortable – and even excited – to go shopping at a thrift store.

She’s not only a pretty princess and a tomboy – but she’s also a treasure hunter! 🙂

A Thrifty Adventure

I had quite a thrifty adventure yesterday – 6 hours, 150 miles round trip and 5 thrift stores.

Boy – did I make a haul of good buys!

All of the stores had great sales as they were trying to move the winter items and make room for spring and summer.

I try to do a big “thrift run” like this twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The change in seasons makes for some great bargains.

I had to think ahead – but was able to get a lot of nice clothes for both the kids and myself.

I found a Rothschild’s winter coat for Angel girl – it was in great shape, will fit perfectly next fall and was even one of her favorite colors – purple!

I had seen 3 sweaters like I really liked the last time I was at one of the stores, but thought they were too pricey. I picked up them on the clearance rack yesterday!

Dagmar scored several new pairs of pants on the dollar rack at one store and several nice tops at another. She needed some basic skirts for Teen Pact in a few weeks – and ended up with three nice khaki – colored ones.

I was exhausted by the time I got back home – but it was a happy tired, knowing that my children would be well-clothed in the days in to come! And it cost me so little!

Proverbs 31: 21 “She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”

Bag Day at the Thrift Store

I love bag day! Our little local thrift Shop has “Fill a Bag for a Buck” every Wednesday. I don’t make it every week, but when I do, I’m amazed at what I can find.

I’ve shopped at Salvation Army, DAV and Goodwill in the cities before, but none compares to the bargains I can find in our tiny little Neighborhood Center. It’s so small that in about 20 minutes I can usually touch everything in the store.

Today I just had about fifteen minutes so I moved fast! On bag day I never stop to try clothes on because they are so cheap and I ususally don’t have time. I just move from rack to rack in a systematic fashion and pull off everything that I think we could use and stuff them in a bag.

In fifteen minutes I had filled 2 bags which included:

  • one pair of khaki pants, 2 shirts, and some jammies for me
  • 2 pairs of capris, a skirt, a pair of shorts, for one daughter
  • 2 pair of jammies, a skirt, 2 shirts, and dress for another daughter
  • 3 shirts for one son
  • 1 very nice, thick Eddie Bauer shirt for my hubby.

Not bad! I paid $2 for everything (I would have paid that for the Eddie Bauer shirt alone!)

The Thrifty Idea for today is to check out your local bag day, it’s a very good thing!