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How to Do a Yard Sale Right

It’s a pretty big week for my neighborhood. We’ve been planning for our annual neighborhood Yard Sale Extravaganza, an event that, with more than forty household participating, requires all hands on deck in the preparation stage. Yard Sale

This year, I’m in charge of getting the custom yard signs printed up. We do things right in my neighborhood. We actually have a planning committee, and a promotion budget. Everyone kicks in $20 dollars for signs and advertising, and starting a couple weeks before the big day we bombard the county with news of our sale. We don’t go as far as some community yard sales I’ve heard of, with a mailing list featuring custom postcards and email blasts, but still, I was impressed when I moved in with how things are done around here.

All the advertising and planning really works. By 7am on the big day, our street is flooded with people in cars looking for that super bargain. By nine, traffic is insane, and parking becomes an issue. Many of us are sold out by then.

One side effect of the good advertising, and the high foot traffic, is that we always get better prices for our junk then we would if we were operating alone. The average garage sale draws a few dozen people, who pick over the tables looking for that 25¢ steal. We found out pretty quickly that if you have two thousand people tramp through your lawn on a Saturday morning, you’ll generally find someone willing to pay ten dollars for your used toaster.

So, that’s my advice, gang up with all your neighbors, do a little planning, and have a community yard sale all at once. You’ll draw more people, and get more money with a little extra work.

Planning for the Prom

Yes, I know, it’s still only August and my friend Jenny’s daughter Kristi is only barely into 11th grade, but Jenny has already begun to think about what her child wear to the junior prom, in fact, I would say that she’s obsessed by it, every day sending me pictures of various possible dresses from sites like DressFirst.

This is all an indirect result of Jenny being passed over for homecoming queen her senior year. That mild trauma of being named just a princess, instead of the grand, big-deal queen, herself, seemed not to bother Jenny too much in 1989. She graciously took her defeat and went about her business, rarely ever mentioning it again.

But, flash forward to 2013, and something about her daughter being in high school, and being engaged in the great popularity contest that swirls around pretty girls, has awakened a Tiger mother-like response in Jenny. The woman is relentless in planning out Kristi’s eventual triumph as homecoming queen, or prom queen. She’s even picked out a couple of possible homecoming dresses for her girl, which is why we’re on to the junior prom, because much of the shopping for the homecoming outfit has already been completed.

It’s strange how these old things come back around, how what happened to us nearly 25 years ago, can influence our children through us.

SCS Advertisement Joy

Farrah Sofa from SCS

A Leather Sofa from SCS.

Surprisingly, today, I’m not going to gripe, grumble or brag about my own children, but after reading this heart-warming story, as a mother myself I thought I’d share it with you.

A young 10-year-old girl, Amelia Howarth wrote to the ScS head office to inform them how much she liked their adverts and that she acts them out in front of friends and family, so cute! Her mum must have been so proud when her daughter received a behind the scenes tour and a chance to meet the star of the ads, Victoria, from ScS as a thank you.

Lindsey Duncton, ScS marketing manager who noticed the enthusiasm from this excitable youngster, said: “We were delighted to read Amelia’s e-mail and to hear how much she loved our ads.” She is a real fan of ScS sofa ads and decided to write to the company’s Sunderland head office to let them know just how much she liked them, and how she practices acting them out at home for family and friends.

After experiencing all the behind the scenes feature at the branch on Portrack Lane, Stockton, Amelia was ecstatic! She went on to say: “I was really excited to visit the ScS store and meet Victoria from the ads. The whole day was really fantastic and I enjoyed meeting the nice people from ScS. I have shown all my friends the signed script I was given by Victoria and told them all about it. It really is the best day of my holidays and I can’t wait to see the new ads on the TV.” Bless her!

It just makes me think of all those moments my children have filled me up with joy and pride, and for all the other mothers out there I hope this story does too.

Head over to, www.scs.co.uk to discover more about ScS today.

Puddle Jumping

I know, it’s still the middle of winter, much of the country is covered in a blanket of snow, and it’s 50 below in Minneapolis, but I can’t help it, I’ve been thinking about springtime rain boots for kids. In a month or two, the weather will warm up, the snow will be gone, and there will be more puddles than you can shake a soggy stick at. So, you’ll need rain boots, right? And since everything is done online, shopping for children’s clothes is no longer a chore.

In fact, a quick trip to Macy’s kid shoes department website shows that I’m behind the times. Simple rainboots have been replaced by thematic rain ensembles, which to my mind, means more fun in the outdoors.

Fairy Rain Set from Kidorable

For example, I especially love this Fairy Collection set, with rain boots, umbrella, and slicker from Kidorable . In green, it is too cute for words, and is exactly the sort of thing that most little girls will love to death. Look at it! Even the clothes hanger is super cute!

Dragon and Knight Rain Set
For the boys, also from Kidorable, here’s everything needed for a dragon-slaying knight, rain boots, rain coat, backpack/shield and umbrella (check out the handle on that
brolly!)

And if that doesn’t do the trick, there’s also a fireman, and a butterfly, and a ballerina. Puddle jumping just got a whole lot more fun.

Why Board Games are Still the Best

As a child, I can scarcely remember an occasion when a meal at my grandparents was not followed by a round of Clue or Connect 4.

It is a crying shame that traditional board games such as these are being replaced in our children’s lives by computer-based activities. I find it hard to imagine my children sitting down with grandma for a few games of Need for Speed or FIFA. This is why it is important to keep the games of our childhood alive through our own kids.

How many happy memories do you have of family games of Scrabble as a child? Arguing with your sister over how you spell queue or keeping an eye on granddad to make sure he isn’t cheating again creates real closeness between family members, and it seems a shame that this is being replaced by the largely-solitary pursuit of computer gaming in our children’s lives.

This may all just be me thinking with my nostalgia-tinged glasses on again, but I have always enjoyed the tactile quality of board games too. There is something quite satisfying about the elaborate setting up games like Mouse Trap needed before you could get down to the serious task of playing them.

Despite this, without doubt my favourite board game ever has to be Cluedo. I think I loved it originally because my sister hated it and I just wanted to be contrary, but after a while it took top spot on its own merit. Whereas in many board games your success is as much down to chance as it is to skill, Cluedo required cunning and strategy, and a Cluedo victory always tasted somehow sweeter than any other.

I know my children are both asking for computer games this Christmas, but I am going to make sure I get them a classic board game each too. Then, when the turkey is bare and the crackers have been pulled, I will make sure we all stay around the table and have a huge family game of Monopoly.

It is childhood moments such as this which you recall fondly as an adult pulling a dusty game out from the back of a cupboard, and I hope by creating the situation for my children they may repeat this process when they are older.