20 April 2015

Mammas Making Moola: Use it, Gift it, Sell it

Mammas Making Moola is a new guest-blogger series about the non-traditional ways  moms can bring income into their home (outside of the 9-5 job). In this series, I will be joining forces with Swag On, Momma to feature the experiences of our guest bloggers. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please contact me for more information.
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By Jenni Martz
Visit her Website

My creative outlet both saves and makes this mom money.

Yard sales are like treasure hunts, sometimes items lay for years in the dusty, dirty crevasses of attics, garages and storage units.

Grandmother's childhood trinkets and Grandpa’s old tool box sit waiting to be rediscovered and enjoyed after years of silent stillness. Yard sales are a wonderful place for finding the lightly used and brand new. Here are my secret best bargain tips for finding your treasures.


Top 10 Best Yard Sale Tips

1. FIND YOUR SALES: You have to find out what is out there first. Here are the top three Websites I like to reference the day before: Craigslist, Facebook & Yard Sale Search, and don’t forget the local paper.

2. THE GAME PLAN: Note your sale start times and plan a good route. This is important to save gas and to hit the most important areas first. More affluent areas may be your best bet for newer & lightly used finds, the older more established areas for more of your vintage gems. Hint: Block sales are a great time saver too.

3. WANTS & NEEDS LIST: Yard sales are great places to find school clothes, home decor, sporting equipment, games, kitchen supplies etc. My youngest child has been impeccably dressed in the best designer clothing from garage sales for the past 8 years. It’s a teaching moment for kids in not only stretching dollars, but the importance of reusing, recycling and repurposing to save our planet. If my family can’t use a great find but I know Ebay or a sales Facebook site may be able to help me reap a profit from it, I snatch it up. It’s important to keep up to date on trends when doing this step. I look at window fronts when at the mall, flip through magazines. Finding the “hot” stuff will get you more money and a faster sale if you pay attention. Also educate yourself in vintage and antique items if that is your thing. You never know when that tiny trinket bobble could be worth a pretty penny.

My Website has been steadily providing a monthly income and at the same time provided a very flexible home schedule to pick up kids, run errands and conduct everyday tasks. If it’s too large or fragile to ship I search out local Facebook sale sites that allow me to sell items in an arranged location. I love this option since it does not include the fees and shipping that I deal with on Ebay. Just remember to meet in a safe public place for the transaction. I like Starbucks or, as other have recommended to me, the lobby of the local police station.

4. APPEARANCE: You want to be able to negotiate right? Then don’t show up with your designer jeans carrying a coach purse, driving up in your BMW. If your outer appearance screams, “I CAN PAY IT, ” chances are you will and even your best negotiating skills will render useless.

5. CHECKLIST: Your map and sale start times, pencil and notepad (never know when you have to take a name/number down to put up an item later), GPS, phone, money holder (suggest a small item to wrap around wrist or fanny pack), hat/sunglasses and plenty of cash in small denominations. Also make sure your car is filled with gas the day before and grab a couple of snacks and water so you do not have to stop.

6. BUYING: I always ask myself three things when I pick up an item. Can I use it, can I gift it or can I sell it? If I can say a definite yes to one of these then I go to my next step…the negotiation.

7. NEGOTIATING: Yes this does take a bit of practice, but after a few times you’ll be a pro. Especially after you get to know the going rate of certain items. My big advantage is listening to the seller with other buyers prior to my offer. This gives me the edge and lets me know if the seller is firm on prices. I also try to smile and strike up a conversation with the seller, maybe find a common ground of interest. The instant “like” factor often helps me get a much better deal. I also try to be very fair with my seller. I never low ball too much but offer a lower fair price, leaving room for a bit of haggling. If a buyer outright tells me a price before my offer I often respond, “what is the lowest offer you would accept?” 90% of the time the priced is dropped again, sometimes much lower than I would have expected!

8. KEEP A SMILE: Yes, it can get crazy out there! I have been blocked into parking spots, yelled at, pushed, insulted, and the list goes on! Keep your chin up, be polite, and don’t let anything or anyone ruin your experience.

9. BE SAFE: It's early and you’re tired. Wake up with that coffee and watch for crazy drivers. They will be out there flying through the neighborhoods trying to get the best deal before you.  Also, never ever hit your brakes hard while trying to get a glimpse of that sale across the street, You will get hit by the guy driving too close behind! Carry your phone for emergencies.

10. FUN: Have fun and remember that it’s a hit and miss. If you don’t find what you are looking today, you may find it next weekend!  Happy hunting!

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16 April 2015

Nightmare Children Video

This video had Lorin and I crying from laughing so hard. I'm sure lots of parents can relate to this in some way.


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01 April 2015

Father Forgets

Lorin introduced me to this poem a while back when I was having a particularity hard day with Miranda. I was getting on her case about every little thing. When I read this poem, I just broke down crying because I realized I was expecting her to do things as an adult when she is still just a little girl and is trying to learn the ropes of life. This poem is one that I pull out and read every once in a while as a reminder to show more love to my daughter rather than nitpick at the things I think she is doing wrong. I tear up every time I read it!

Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned

Listen Son, I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little hand crumpled under your cheek and blonde curls sticky over your wet forehead. I have broken into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guilty, I came to your bedside.

There are things which I am thinking, son; I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face a mere dab with the towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. As you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"

Then it began all over again late this afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your socks. I humiliated you before your friends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Socks were expensive, and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that son, from a father.

Do you remember later, when I was reading in the library, how you came timidly, with sort of a hurt look in your eyes? I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption; you hesitated at the door. "What is it that you want?" I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, your small arms tightened with affection that God had set blooming in your heart, which even neglect could not wither. Then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, Son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, or reprimanding; this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you: it was that I expected too much of you. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

There is so much that was good, fine and true in your character. The little heart of yours was as big as the dawn itself over the hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else mattered tonight. Son, I have come to your beside in the darkness, I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know that you would not understand these things which I have told you in the waking hours. Tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, suffer when you suffer and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy--a little boy."

I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, Son, crumpled and weary in your bed. I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much! 

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31 March 2015

Funnies

Miranda starts throwing animals off her bed and making animal sounds. First she throws a cat and says, "Meow!" Next she throws a dog and says, "Woof!" Then, she throws a turtle and says, "Brub!" Lastly, she throws her moose and says, "I'm a moose!"

We are at story time at the library. Miranda walks up to Lorin and whispers, "I farted" in his ear and walks away, leaving her stench and leaving the rest of the parents sitting by him to think that he was the culprit. Children are brutal!

Miranda smells something cooking in the kitchen and says, "Smells like chicken breakfast!" Not quite sure what chicken breakfast is, but it sure was funny.

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30 March 2015

Self-inflicted House Arrest

Here are two of Miranda's favorite play date 
friends, Kan and Harshani.
I'm going to be honest here. Having a newborn for the first time feels a little like self-inflicted house arrest for a couple months. There are no rules saying that you can't get out of the house, but all the crazy changes in life and hormones take a toll on you, and sometimes getting out of the house just seems like more trouble than it's worth.

Needless to say, I had a really hard time getting out of the house when Miranda was first born. For me, I was terrified of breastfeeding in public, and since the baby's gotta eat, many times I would just choose to stay home. However, when I started grad school, I had to get over my fears pretty quickly since Lorin and I took Miranda to school every day, and we would shuffle her back and forth between classes. Oh man. Those were stressful times. Piece of advice: never attend grad school at the same time as your spouse and take your child to school with you every day. Not a good idea. I'm getting stressed out right now just thinking about those times.

I think it was a mix between having a newborn, moving to a completely new place, and going to grad school that made me feel like a couldn't get out. If there was one thing I wish I would have done differently from the beginning, it would be to find other moms right away and make a conscious effort to have play dates.  

Play dates. I didn't even know what those words meant before I had a child, but I am a play date queen now. I NEED play dates like I need water. Yeah, play dates are tons of fun for the kids to get together and get their energy out, but moms need this time just as much. Being able to meet up with a friend or acquaintance and just have another adult to talk to can make such a positive impact on a parent's life, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent and don't have as much adult interaction during the day. I've been able to make some incredible friends through making the effort to get out and go on play dates.

I think it took me about a year after having Miranda before I started warming up to going to play dates on a regular basis. Please, please, please don't be like me and wait so long to connecting with the community of parents around you. Just say, "NO" to self-inflicted house arrest!
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27 March 2015

Friday Favorites


1. Khand Tenney's blog

I met Khand and her husband Kevin back in the college days. They are an awesome pair. Khand is an amazing photographer, and I always love looking at the beautiful pictures she takes.

2. THIS man's transformation for his driver's licence picture

3.  Pinterest, You Are Drunk

This blog kills me! If you want a good laugh, go here and see a vast collection of weird/funny things people found on Pinterest.

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26 March 2015

Sign You're Finally an Adult

Photo credit: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / Foter / CC BY
Last month, Lorin and I finally entered into adulthood. "But Sarah, don't you have a child, live in your own house, and pay your own car insurance?" Yes, yes, and yes to all those questions. But the truth is, up until this point, we didn't take that last step into adulthood because...

we were still bumming Netflix off our parents. Yes, that is right.

Well, we decided after 4 1/2 years of marriage and 4 1/2 years of blissfully mooching Netflix off our parents that the time had come to take the big step. It was time to start forking out the $7.99 a month.

I feel like a completely new person...well not really. But now, for $7.99 a month we can binge watch any TV show without the judgments of parents or other siblings who also mooch Netflix off our parents (since everyone can always see who watches what and how many episodes they have watched). "So Sarah, looks like you and Lorin had a great time these past two weeks watching ALL six seasons of Lost. You guys are still taking care of Miranda, right?"

Now, for $7.99 a month there will be no more hard feelings or resentment when we cannot access Netflix due to too many fellow sibling moochers accessing Netflix when we want to watch.

And now, for $7.99 a month , we can feel like responsible adults. Yeah, baby!

And to take this new-found responsibility to the next level, I'm going to share with you our top Netflix recommendations:

Alias
Lost
Walking Dead
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Office
Arrested Development
Luther
Sherlock
Adventure Time
My Little Pony
Fringe

If you have Netflix, what are your recommendations? Seriously, I need to know. 

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