Wife, Chicken Mommy, eBay Seller and Walking DIY Disaster

Category Archives: Family Relationships

I’ve been hanging on to this SpareOne emergency phone trying to figure out how to review a product that I hope I never have to use. This week with all the tragedy surrounding the Oklahoma tornado damage is a great time to think about emergency preparedness. I grew up in a household that planned for emergencies. We had backpacks under our beds with clothing, non-perishable food and water and basic first aid kits. We also stored extra food and water in case of hard times (which we ended up using during a time my dad was out of work for a year) and we gardened to have healthy foods to store.

As I think about how my life and technology have changed over the years, I am happy that I have kept the habit of preparing for the future. In my own home, I store extra supplies, water, food and keep a store of first aid supplies. Now, I also keep a SpareOne emergency phone. It’s quite a neat idea – a battery operated phone whose battery lasts for 15 years. The packaging is waterproof, floats and the phone is operable through the bag. Knowing that we are covered for emergency phone calls in the event of a disaster is a great feeling. Although we all have cell phones, having a waterproof, cold temperature proof phone offers more peace of mind.

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Yesterday, I was contacted with a special offer in relation to SpareOne and the Oklahoma disaster. Right now at SpareOne.com you can buy a SpareOne emergency phone at a discount and an additional phone will be donated to people in tornado stricken areas. Anyone using the code BUYGIVE04 will receive a $20 discount on each phone purchased, a SpareOne phone will be donated and SpareOne will track buyers coming from WindyLou.com!

This is a small way to help the recent Oklahoma tornado victims and first responders, and at the same time, prepare your own family.

 

DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a SpareOne phone for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review/article and all opinions are my own and honest. This review is provided as part of my relationship with itsaglamthing.com


Meet Hugo, the latest Millionaire sob story. This little lost sweetheart showed up on our doorstep, cold and starving. I haven’t been able to locate an owner, so it looks like we have kitty number 8.

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Today is my chicken baby girl’s birthday. She decided on a room makeover. Now, I don’t know how most people go about a room makeover, but I don’t have a few grand to throw at a 14 year old’s room, so we started small. I bought a few thrifted and clearance items to get us started – wall art, an ottoman and a set of letters that spell her name. With those things out of the way, I had to start thinking bigger. It will be up to her to decide on paint, so I didn’t tackle that for her. Instead I DIYed a bedspread.

As we were talking about how she wants her room to look, I directed her to Pinterest for some eye candy. Of course she found an amazing bedspread from Urban Outfitters that was completely and utterly out of the budget. (I didn’t even spend that much on my own bedding!)

Here’s the inspiration bedding:

urban outfitters ruffle

Now, this puppy retails at over $150. Nuh-uh. No way, no how. So I set about to recreate this as best I could with thrifted materials. I knew that I would have to buy yards and yards of fabric, which wasn’t in the budget either, so I went a hunting for a blanket and sheets that I could dye. My girl asked for charcoal gray. Baby I tried my best, but apparently my fabric dying skills aren’t up to snuff.

 

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Turns out that when you want dark gray or black fabric from white fabric, you don’t actually use black dye. I got a gorgeous purple. Three times. Then I started adding other color dye to see what I could come up with. Long story short, I ended up with a slightly green tinted gray! Success! (sort of!) The blanket and one sheet were the same color, and the other sheet came out light gray. And not a nice matchy combo. So, I ditched the light gray sheet in favor of coordinating the ruffles and blanket.

I bought a gathering foot for my machine and ruffled the heck outta those ripped strips! For a bit of interest, I added a trim of grosgrain ribbon to separate the ruffles from the rest of the blanket, and with the left over sheeting, made a pillowcase with ribbon trim! She likes it!

Here’s my handiwork, with some improvisation thrown in. It’s not a copy, but I kind of like that it isn’t exactly like what we could buy in a store.

 

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We’ve got some work ahead of us, but I think we are off to a great bedroom makeover start! Stay tuned for more progress.


*HAPPY HAPPY UPDATE: The Germantown has changed their membership policies effective immediately!  All families are now included! *

 

I’m really angry this morning. I’ve been angry all night actually. A high school friend that I keep up with on facebook has been denied a GYM MEMBERSHIP because he, his partner and their children are not a “family” as defined by the membership application at Germantown Athletic Club (at least partially funded by taxpayer money.) Is this REALLY happening in 2013? I know lots of people who are not on board with gay marriage and legal status. Whatever. But a GYM MEMBERSHIP? Does. Not. Compute.

The worst of it is that the personnel informed my friend that they didn’t qualify for a family membership IN FRONT OF HIS CHILDREN. What a disgrace.

Last night Adam posted his frustration, offense and sadness on facebook. Many people have begun to cause a fuss on Germantown Athletic Club’s facebook page. Now the club wants to keep this quiet. What the WHAT?!?

Talk about a stupid move. Now I feel like shouting it from the rooftops that discrimination is alive and well in Germantown, TN. In addition, when I shared this information on my own facebook page, a different friend informed me that Bartlett Rec HAS THE SAME POLICY. What is wrong with people?

Please let the Germantown Athletic Club know how offensive and discriminatory their PRINTED policy on family is.

From the website
Family memberships are defined as husband, wife and children 18 years or younger for which they have custody. Additionally, full-time college students who are 24 years of age and younger may be added to a family or a couple membership at $25 per child. Verification of full-time college enrollment is required.

Samantha Boyd, Membership Sales Advisor at 901-757-7372 or sboyd@germantown-tn.gov.

Facebook

Twitter: @GtownAthClub 

 

 


I’ve been pining for these birdies for quite a while now. Yesterday Whitney at Love Tattoo made them a reality for me. Best present so far!

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The Millionaire and I have been cussing and discussing the idea of starting some home improvement projects for quite some time now. I, for one, am positively giddy because I hate almost everything about this place. (Marriage tip no. 483,469,921: don’t buy a house your partner hates) Our house has lots of potential, but unless we make some changes it is never going to be awesome. After living here with only minor changes in paint colors for over two years, today we took the plunge – we ripped out the carpet in our main floor living room. We pulled staples and tack strip and kicked it all to the curb. yes we did. Buh-bye ugly Berber textured carpet! Hello DIY plywood floors. (Thanks be to the Pinterest gods for the ideas and inspiration)

I give you before shots! And a perplexed KittyCat!

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Every year as a family we typically adopt a family. This year’s finances have been pretty tight, so we aren’t sure if we can swing it. Instead of giving up totally on the idea of helping someone in need, we’ve offered some help to a family friend. Still, it didn’t quite feel comparable to what we’ve been able to do in the past. Watching the news coverage of hurricane Sandy wrenched my heart. Until this past weekend I’d never been to New York City, so I only knew what it was like from stories, movies and tv. The scenes from Sandy coverage of the flooding just took my breath away. How do you watch an immense tunnel fill with water? How do you watch you car float away into a river? How do you see your warehouse full of records all but washed away?

When I read that Brooklyn based Norton Records lost their Red Hook warehouse, I immediately began to form a plan. The Millionaire has been traveling to the Philadelphia area for his work with a client over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend for the past several years. We’ve been fortunate enough that the small bonus he receives to travel over the holiday covers the expense of taking the rest of the family along. We had tossed the idea of a side trip to NYC the last 2 years, and this year decided to go come hell or high water. Then, I happened to see a call for volunteers from Billy Miller, one of the owners of Norton Records, and the details of my plan fell into place.

Anyone who knows anything about me and the Millionaire knows that we love music. We met via the Goner Records message board, no less. Our love of music has translated into a love of sharing that music, and the accompanying love of vinyl with the Millioniare’s kids. We have made a point to expose them to the music we love, the records we love and the artists we love. When possible, the kids go to shows and meet our friends and favorite bands. When I proposed helping Norton out during our side trip, the Millionaire didn’t even bat an eye. The plan was complete!

Sunday afternoon after a day of walking the streets of Manhattan, craning our necks to see the tallest buildings we’ve ever seen and grabbing a hot dog from a street vendor, we set off for Brooklyn. We fortified ourselves with what each member of the family unanimously agreed was the best pizza any of us has ever tasted: Brooklyn’s Grimaldi’s Pizza. With bellies full of pizza and excitement, we took off for Brooklyn Bowl, the bowling alley that donated the space for the wash-a-thon.

Billy and Miriam couldn’t have been more gracious and patient as they showed us what needed to be done. Rows of tables were set up with record washers provided by Discwasher of Pittsburgh, cleaning solution and rolls and rolls of paper towels. And records. Oh, the records. Stacked in tilted, soggy piles, some over waist high. One entire table was dedicated to tearing off the flood-soaked sleeves, while the rest of the tables were reserved for cleaning and drying and a final staging area full of fans to dry the labels. It made my heart hurt to see all those records, and know it was a matter of time before some were too far gone to save. Needless to say, we worked feverishly to clean and dry as many records as we could, knowing we only had a few hours before we had to leave the city.

I am so very proud of my chicken babies for their uncomplaining hard work. They could plainly see all around them the variety of folks that came out to help. Not only that, with the great DJs from WFMU that donated their time, the kids had an experience of listening to a great assortment of tunes that had us clapping, swaying and shaking right along. One of my most valuable life lessons has been the opportunity to learn how to have fun while I work. This weekend, my chicken babies had that opportunity as well. In the end the Millionaire family cleaned and dried 8 stacks of records. Each stack, a different run of a single title. Some were bigger than others, but we cleaned our hearts out. Our small reward was the visible gratitude from two of our record lovin idols, Billy Miller and Miriam Linna. That’s the best souvenir I can imagine.

 

 


Whoopie pies for breakfast, that’s why. While I wish the millionaire could go have tourist fun with us, the kids and I are still having a blast. We started our day at the Reading Terminal Market: the Flying Monkey whoopie pies and butter cake, almond croissant and breakfast club on a bagel. The boy wet with hot chocolate while the girls had yummy Italian sodas. After a quick trip to the Center for Architecture where we all drooled over cool souvenirs, we checked out the Fabric Museum gift shop (museum wasn’t open.) After a short rest we walked to the Betsy Ross house because the kids had never heard of her. *headdesk*

Of course since we were so close by, we just had to have a cheesesteak at Campo’s, a Mt. Vesuvius at Franklin Fountain, and delicious candies at Shane’s Confectionary (a treat I’ve been waiting for for an entire year! They opened a few days after I left Philly last year!)

I love traveling with the kids. As much wonder and excitement as I get out of traveling, it’s even that much more rewarding to see the same sights through their eyes. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I know it will be fun!

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For the last several years the Millionaire has traveled on company business over the Thanksgiving holiday. He has been asked to be on-site on Black Friday and Cyber Monday at a client near Philadelphia. This means that he travels on Thanksgiving Day. His company has been flexible enough to allow him to drive on the years the kids are with us so that we can spend the holiday together without having to pay for airfare for 3 extra people. Our traditions are pretty low-key in general and as long as we are all together, it’s actually fun for us to travel. We love that we can eat our Thanksgiving meal at a nice restaurant. The kids especially love that they don’t have to clean up! We ALL love seeing a bigger city and experiencing new adventures in a far away place.

While the Millionaire works on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the rest of the family gets to have a mini vacation! For some time now the Millionaire and I have had those grown-up, serious money talks about how and if we would be able to swing the trip this year. We worried and stewed, cussed and discussed, and planned how we would make it work out. Our budget is going to be a lot smaller than we are used to on vacations, but every penny we have to spend this year came from eBay sales. Money has been pretty tight this year and I am so very thankful to be able to say that my eBay sales will enable the kids and I to have spending money for our trip.

And that makes me happy cry. eBay has saved our bacon on so many occasions I have lost count. Knowing that we have a back-up funding source, sporadic though it can be at times, gives me immeasurable peace of mind. As a woman who wants to help provide for our little family but who also values being available to the kids, I feel like finding eBay as an income stream was a wonderful gift. The fact that I don’t have to choose between staying at home and working lifts an incredible burden off my shoulders. So, as silly as it might sound to some people, one of the things I’m most thankful for this year is eBay.

My Chicken Babies with artist Isaiah Zagar at his Philadelphia  Magic Gardens, Nov 2010

 

This post was written as part of my relationship with eBay, however my  gratitude is real and immense.

 eBay has been a life-saver for our family.



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