Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun Fact Friday

This week's Fun Fact Friday is a mind blower. With the help of my father, I am going to attempt to explain something known as Avogadro's Number or 6.022x 1023 (and that is 10 to the 23rd power). If you write it out, it is 602,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 which is a really big number! But, what is it? Avogadro's Number is the number of molecules in a mole of any particular substance.

If you want to know exactly how huge this number is, consider a few examples:

The State of Texas is approximately 250,000 sq. miles in area. This is approximately 6.47 x 1017 sq. millimeters (pretty close to our example of Avagadro's Number). If it is given that each grain of salt is an exact cube and that each side of the cube is exactly 1/3 mm in length, then 1 cubic mm would be occupied by exactly 27 grains of salt.

Therefore, to cover the State of Texas with salt to a depth of 1mm would require 6.47 x1017X27 or 1.75x1019 grains of salt. One mole of salt grains equals 6.02 x 1023 grains of salt. Therefore, one mole of salt grains would cover the State of Texas to a depth of 3.44x104 mm [6.02x1023/1.75x1019] or approximately 110 ft, which is about the height of a 12 story building.

To get an idea of just how small atoms and molecules really are, this same number of water molecules (6.02 x 1023) is contained in just 18 ml of water, which is just over a tablespoon (15 ml). So, the same number of salt grains that it takes to cover the State of Texas 110 feet deep is the same number of molecules contained in 18 ml of water, meaning that a molecule of water is millions of times smaller than a grain of salt.

Second Example:

The distance to the star nearest to our sun, Alpha Centauri C, is 4.22 light years away. The distance to Alpha Centauri C is the number of miles light would travel in 4.22 years. Since light travels at about 186,000 miles per second, this distance is approximately 2.48E13 miles [24,800,000,000,000 miles or 24.8 trillion miles]

Consider John, who graduates from college at age 22 and immediately begins working with a company that requires him to fly to Thailand every Monday and back to Charlotte every Friday, giving him two weeks off each year. John is a loyal employee and does this for the next 50 years, retiring at age 72. Since the distance to Thailand is approximately 12,000 miles one way, John has accumulated approximately 60 million frequent flyer miles (60,000,000 miles) by the time he retires. (24,000 miles per week X 50 weeks per year X 50 years).

Also consider that this same company employs a total of 413,000 people who do exactly the same thing as John. This is approximately the number of people it would take to fill Williams-Brice Stadium (USC Gamecocks) plus Death Valley (Clemson Tigers) plus Bryant Denny Stadium (Alabama Crimson Tide) plus Sanford Stadium (Georgia Bulldogs) plus Bank of America Stadium (Carolina Panthers).

If all of these people add their total miles together after 50 years of flying to and from Thailand each week for 50 weeks each year, that total will be enough miles to get one person to Alpha Centauri C. [Each of them would have to do it for another 50 years to get the person back!]

And that is approximately the same number of miles that is in Avogadro's number. WHEW!!! Is that enough to blow your mind this Friday? No? Well, then you may continue reading:

The most distant object so far identified in the universe is calculated to be 13 billion light years away or over 3 billion times as far away as Alpha Centauri.

What does all this really mean? In my opinion, it means that the same God who can create something as tiny as a molecule or atom is the same God who can create something as vast as the whole entire universe- and yet, He chooses to love me!!! Unbelieveable!

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tasty Treats Thursday

This week's Tasty Treats Thursday is an easy recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Now, I had an option to go for more of a traditional chocolate chip cookie, but I opted for the cake-like cookies. And let me tell you, they turned out spectacular!! Since Betty Crocker generally has a coupon during the month for a box of her cake mix, and one of the grocery stores usually have a sale on Betty's mix, I pair the two together and stock up. We've got birthdays, anniversaries, and parties through the year so those boxes of cake mix will NOT go to waste. I found out that cake mix could be used for cookies a year or so ago, found this particular recipe and LOVE it. It meets my criteria (easy and delicious) and I hope you enjoy as well! I guess the only thing that makes it "Mexican" is that there is cinnamon in the recipe. Leave it out if you like, or add a little bit more for some real spice. And remember that you can use ANY type of cake mix- so if you have white or yellow, game on!! German Chocolate? No problem (you'd simply have to rename it... ;) All's fair!

Mexican Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 package cake mix (chocolate for this specific recipe, but any will do)
2 large eggs (I only had small/medium from my aunt's farm, so I used 3)
3/4 cup butter, softened (margarine is fine)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I like the minis)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (totally optional... my husband hates nuts in sweets- weird, I know)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. You can use ungreased cookie sheets or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat half of the dry cake mix, butter, vanilla, and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until well-blended and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir in the remaining dry cake mix, chocolate chips, and nuts (if using) with a spoon, just until combined.
4. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls approximately 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.5. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes (mine took 12), or just until the edges are set but the centers are still soft.

6. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

This is a fun and easy recipe with very little cleanup... and what needed to be cleaned, the girls were happy to help with!!

**Before you get too upset, the eggs were gathered this week by yours truly, so there is just virtually no chance that she could get sick from them. :) Oh, and the baby doesn't eat solids yet, so I just gave her the cleaned one. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wellness Wednesday!

I've decided to devote Wednesdays to some sort of focus on health and well being, hence the title Wellness Wednesday. This week, my focus is on my medicine cabinet. Just a few years ago, my cabinet would have been jam-packed full of various aspirins, ibuprofens, antibiotics (my dad is a doctor), nasal sprays (Afrin was my favorite), and a variety of random other things. Well, last night I was searching through my cabinet and here's what I pulled out:
Turns out they are hard to read!! So, I'll start from the back row, left to right:

Catnip for Kids: This is an alcohol-free supplement that helps to promote calmness and rest in kids. In adults, it helps us to turn off our brains- like flipping a switch, but tastes a lot like booze to me. I was happy to find the alcohol-free for my 2 year old.

SambuGuard: An immunity booster with elderberry to help kids fight off whatever they have. It's nice and sweet so most children don't mind taking it. My child knew it was going to help her, so she refused it! :)

Just Once Prenatal: This is for me! I love Rainbow Light products. I would generally be of the assumption that prenatals are not necessary as long as one's diet is excellent. And while I have a decent diet, I do not have the budget to purchase chemical free, high quality local fresh food all the time. So, I supplement with the prenatals.

Fish Oil: After my first pregnancy, around 8 months I developed a mild case of postpartum depression. I didn't want to go anywhere, I was constantly terrified that something was going to happen to me or my baby, and I was having trouble communicating with my husband. After a few weeks, I realized that all this wasn't normal and started looking online for some helpful resources to combat the ppd. I found that the omega-3s in fish oil help postively effect seratonin levels. Two weeks after my new routine of fish oil and I was feeling like my old self again... and not my self before kids. My old, old self- before the seeds of self consciousness and self doubt and crept in. I've since stayed the course with fish oil. I stopped taking it about 4 weeks before my second daughter was born (some say the oil makes the blood slippery, perhaps increasing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage) and began immediately afterward. I can honestly say this is the clearest and most focused I have been in my adult life.

Garlic: I love garlic!! I take 500-1000 mg every day when I'm well, and many many more when I am sick. Garlic has antibiotic and antibacterial effects and is a natural healer. Even mainstream medicine is starting to see the medicinal benefits of garlic.

Vitamin C: I take Vitamin C when I am starting to get sick, too along with the garlic. I read somewhere that if the medical establishment confessed to how potent and beneficial vitamin C was, many would lose their jobs!! So, I am always stocking up on the C. It is a natural antioxidant and also helps to boost the immune system.

Vitamin D3: I take 2000IU (the "upper limit") of this vitamin every day. Recent studies have shown that we need approximately 10,000IU of this vitamin weekly. And it has been shown to have impressive benefits against diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and others. I will continue to take this vitamin!!!

Calcium/Magnesium/Potassium: I originally started taking a cal/mag supplement when I was pregnant and having some annoying Braxton Hicks contractions- very regularly and keeping me up all night. More recently, I began having some PVCs (premature ventricular complexes) - basically my heart would skip a beat and then have to overwork to get it back on track. I talked to my dad and he recommended a cal/mag supplement. After 3 weeks, I had no more PVCs and have found that not only did it make the PVCs go away, it let me sleep better (I take only 1 supplement each day at nighttime), and it improved my mood, too!!

Echinacea: I take this if I start to feel a cold coming on. I read that overuse of echinacea actually reduces its potency, so I usually use it only for 5 days.

Front Row:

Garlic Ear Drops: Because little kids normally don't swallow pills, this garlic ear drop does the same as the supplement that I take... but it is for the little ones!

Pulsatilla: I love this homeopathic. It helps to dry up runny noses and according to homeopathy resources will help weepy, clingy children. I haven't tried it for that purpose, but know it dries up a runny nose quickly! Don't take it if you are nursing, though!! It can dry up your milk, too...

Similason Earache Relief: We are big on not taking antibiotics, so when my 2 year old started complaining of an earache, we started with this. I don't know if I noticed any immediate relief, but after 2 days, the earache was resolved... but the cold continued for another 5 days.

Valerian: This is a supplement I give to my toddler when she is having trouble resting. It, like catnip, helps to promote calmness and helps her to fall asleep. We don't use it often, but I think it works really well when we do use it.

Silver: This is a great immunity booster, as well. I've used it and have also given it to my toddler during this last illness. It doesn't taste like anything, but I felt like we would greatly benefit from anything that would boost our immune systems!!

So, what do you have in YOUR medicine cabinet?? What can you not live without??

**A quick disclaimer. I am not a doctor or a naturopath or anything. I am just a mom. I have gotten many of these supplements after speaking with my father, researching on the internet, speaking with my friend and midwife, and reading in books. Before you ingest ANYTHING (or treat your children) you should do adequate research to know the benefits as well as the risks. Use common sense!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Cloth Diaper Carnival!!

I joined in on a Cloth Diaper Carnival at Dirty Diaper Laundry and the rest of you are all invited along, too!

What I Wish I Knew Then That I Know Now

I began cloth diapering shortly after I returned from my Bradley Teacher's Training in Atlanta in October of 2006. Piggy was 4 months old and one of the girls at the training told me about Bum Genius. I couldn't believe that what she had showed me (a regular looking diaper that happened to be cloth) was actually available. On our way home from Georgia, my husband and I talked about it and he had some reservations. It went down like this:

Todd: Honey, you don't really do much laundry now. And I don't want to be the one who has to wash all these diapers.

Me: TODD!!! Pleeeeeaaaaase! Pretty pleeeeease?? With sugar on top?? Think of how much money we can save!

Todd: Baby, this is how you made me get you the dog that you don't like anymore, who is now my sole responsibility.

Me: But TODD!! Diapers are for my baby! And we got the dog before the baby and my priorities have changed!!

Todd: Can laundry be part of your changed priorities??

So, we ordered 24 of the Bum Genius and I was totally lost. I'm thankful that I went ahead with a fairly low maintenance (in my opinion) diaper, even though they were a little more expensive they were easy to use and have lasted a really long time. But I had to do diaper laundry every other day, and I was not that great at keeping up. It was a little overwhelming and I always made sure to have disposables on hand in case I fell too far behind. Then I stupidly used diaper cream on my teething baby's bottom (just like the directions tell you not to do) and effectively made every single one of the diapers waterproof from the inside out! Armed with an old toothbrush and the original Dawn, I spent the next 4 hours stripping those diapers and making them usable again.

After adding several different types of diapers (BGs, Rocky Mountains, and Smartipants- over 40 in all), another baby, and a clothesline to the mix, I've finally got down my diapering routine and it has worked tremendously well for us. I only wish I had figured it out two years ago! Here it is:

Separate the inserts from the covers and place in separate containers.

When both containers are almost full, begin washing the covers.

Rinse and spin covers in cold water. Then do a full cycle on warm with a little detergent and add and extra rinse to the cycle. Hang covers out to dry.

Then start on the inserts. Rinse and spin on cold. Then add a little detergent and a splash of bleach (I know, I know, bleach is so bad!! But we only use a splash...) and run a full cycle with an extra rinse. Place in the dryer.

We have separated everything because we have a high efficiency washer and have found that washing both together takes a whole lot longer to get everything clean. I'm hoping to eliminate a few steps, but right now, it's working for us!! Clean diapers every day and no back up disposables...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Making Kid-Friendly Playdough

One of my earliest taste memories is the salty goodness of homemade playdough. When I was in 5 year old kindergarten Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Turner would sometimes surprise us with this treat. After making their rounds, giving each child a generous portion of the mold-able gooey-ness, they would stop by my station and act surprised. "Mary! Is that all the playdough you got!?!? Where did you put the rest of it?" I would ashamedly shrug my shoulders and relish the delightful saltiness in my mouth. I know I'm not supposed to be encouraging you or your little ones to eat playdough, but wow, I've always thought it was so tasty. So, when my friend, Jaclyn, had me and the girls over last week and she busted out the homemade playdough, I simply had to get my hands into it, and sneak a taste... and she shared her recipe, which is the best I've found. It's not too clay-like and not sticky at all. It's just perfect. (And it tastes just like I remember... ;)

If your child is a little on the wild side (Jaclyn called it "spirited")
then she may be a kinesthetic or tactile learner (as opposed to an auditory or visual learner). Playing with things that keep their hands busy can be helpful, especially if you need to get them occupied for more than 5 minutes. Piggy has really enjoyed playing with this playdough.

Homemade Playdough

1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil (I used vegetable oil)
1/4 cup salt
food coloring

Pour water, flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil into a pot. Mix until smooth. Add your food coloring. (Remember that the standard red, yellow, blue, and green can be mixed to create orange, purple, and brown, too.)

Put the pot on medium heat (I went a shade under medium) and stir until it all sticks together.

Dump it all out on wax paper and let it cool slightly. It may be a little sticky until it begins to cool.

Knead it together until it is smooth.

Place it in separate airtight containers or baggies.


*It took Piggy all of 30 seconds to sample the playdough. She thought it was rather delicious as well. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Dermatologist's Perspective

As promised, I have been interviewing professionals and asking the questions that I think others want to know the answers to. I have had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Holly Sanders (my sister!) who is a dermatologist, or specialist in skin, hair, and nail disorders. I hope you find the questions compelling and the answers I found interesting and helpful. Here's to a healthier YOU!!

Me: How often should I visit my dermatologist?

Dr. Sanders: If you have a 1st degree relative with melanoma (your sister, mother, father, brother) and/or have many moles ( more than 50) and/or atypical moles (more than 5 mm in size with some color variation), a baseline examination would be warranted. If you have a personal history of skin cancer, then in most cases you should see your dermatologist at least annually. Otherwise, you should seek the help of a dermatologist with any lesion concerning for skin cancer or for help with disorders affecting the skin, hair, or nails.

Me: What is the normal life cycle of a mole?

Dr. Sanders: In general, people develop new moles (nevi) into their early to mid 30’s. Moles can be flat, dome shaped, or a combination. Most people make a “signature nevus”, meaning that the moles on their skin tend to resemble one another. Sometimes moles that begin as flat and brown earlier in life will gradually become dome shaped and lose their color. Once a mole appears, it should be mostly stable with the exception that a gradual symmetric change over years is probably ok, especially if it is proportional to a change in body size. Any rapid and/or asymmetric change in a mole should prompt you to seek immediate attention.

Me: What are skin cancer warning signs?

Dr. Sanders: Most skin cancers arise on sun exposed skin. Any new lesion that is growing and develops symptoms such as persistent itching or easy bleeding should be evaluated as these are signs/symptoms of skin cancer. The “ABCDEs” are the warning signs of melanoma. Asymmetry (most normal moles are symmetric), Border irregularity (normal moles generally have well defined, smooth borders), Color variegation (melanomas may display multiple colors including brown, black, red, white, and blue), Diameter larger than 6 mm, and Evolution (possibly the most important sign is change over time).

Me: What qualifications should I search for in a dermatologist?

Dr. Sanders: For any physician, it is wise to make sure that they are board certified to practice their specialty. A dermatologist is a physician that has completed at least 3 years of residency in dermatology (the study of diseases affecting the skin, hair and nails) and then ideally is accredited by the American Board of Dermatology. Professional and personal referrals can be helpful when looking for a physician.

Me: What is the best sunscreen available and what SPF should I wear?

Dr. Sanders: You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB. Sunscreens in the past primarily worked by blocking UVB and “SPF” refers to the UVB blocking ability of a sunscreen. Many newer products are 'broad spectrum'. Ingredients to look for to ensure that your sunscreen blocks UVA are avobenzone (parsol 1789) and/or titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. For most people that are capable of getting sunburned, I recommend at least an SPF of 30. It is best to apply 20-30 minutes before going out and then reapply often. It is also important to apply liberally- most people underdose their sunscreen. The recommended amount for an average adult is 1 ounce (30 mL or 1 shot glass).

Me: I have moderate adult acne. Are over the counter and mail order products okay? Which are the best?

Dr. Sanders: Over-the-counter products are often adequate for mild forms of acne. The mail order products available without a prescription are composed of widely available over-the-counter ingredients (i.e. benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid) and tend to be expensive. Again, they are helpful for mild acne. Acne that is moderate to severe, especially if causing scarring, likely requires prescription treatment.

Me: I have heard of Mohs surgery. What is it and when should I request a dermatologist who is also a Mohs surgeon?

Dr. Sanders: Mohs surgery is a specialized type of skin cancer surgery named for its developer, Dr. Fred Mohs. Usually, a Mohs surgeon has completed an additional year of training. Mohs surgery is unique in that the physician is both the surgeon and the pathologist- they remove the skin cancer, process the specimen while you wait, and examine 100% of the margins. They can then precisely map any remaining cancer. In this way, they are able to provide the highest cure rate while sparing the most normal skin. This surgery has many indications, including large skin cancers located in functionally and/or aesthetically sensitive areas (i.e. the nose, the fingertip), and more aggressive subtypes of skin cancers. In general, your dermatologist will refer you to a Mohs surgeon when appropriate.

**I want to thank Holly for taking the time to answer all of these questions and hope that you have learned something today!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fun Facts

I'm a bit of a word geek (a wordsmith to be precise), though I am horrendous at grammar. Who knows where to put all those commas?? And I am an acknowledged abuser of the exclamation point, making Seinfeld's episode even funnier to me. But this week I'm going to speak of a rather touchy subject. The mispronunciation of the word "mischievous". (do those quotation marks go before or after the period?!?)

I know everyone loves the word "mischievous"... I hear it all the time. "My little funny baby is SOOOO..." and then they say the word... "mis-CHEE-VEE-uhs". And I want to pull out some eyelashes. See, if you break down the word and say it phonetically, it is "MIS-chee-vuhs." There are only three syllables, not four. There is no "i" or "e" after the "v"... it is not spelled "mischievIous" or "mischievEous". It is simply "mischievous".

Due to the rampant mispronunciation of this word, the dictionary is calling the incorrect pronunciation nonstandard, making it appear that though it is not the norm it is acceptable. But it isn't nonstandard and it isn't an acceptable variation ... it's just plain wrong (note that the "it's" has an apostrophe because it is a contraction. If you can't say "it is" don't put an apostrophe... I guess that will be another post.) So, the next time you are tempted to add an extra syllable, think of me... and please don't force me to pull out much needed, extremely beneficial body hair. :)

Have a great Fun Fact Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tasty Treats Thursday

Each Thursday I'll be sharing a little something for you to whip up in your kitchen. There are only a couple of rules. First, it has to be easy. Second, it has to be delicious!!! So, straight from my aunt's blueberry farm to your table:

The Blueberry Sonker

* 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed
* 1 cup all-purpose flour * 1 cup sugar * 1 egg
* 1 stick butter (use real butter for best results)

(frozen blueberries are okay, but your local farmers markets should be teeming with fresh ones this time of year!!)

In an 8x8 baking dish spread the rinsed blueberries. Add a little water, maybe 1/8 cup, and sprinkle a little sugar over the berries. If you don't have a square baking dish, go for a 9x13.

Mix together the flour and sugar. Add the egg and blend with the flour mix.

It'll take on the consistency of cornmeal and be lumpy and all the flour and sugar won't mix completely, but it's OK. Spread the flour mix over the blueberries.

Melt the stick of butter. Drizzle the melted butter over the flour mixture. Don't worry about covering every last inch of the flour/sugar mixture. It will be fine.
Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees until it's golden brown for about 45 minutes. You'll know it's almost done when it begins permeating the whole house with the sweet smell of warm blueberries!
If you want to really treat yourself, grab some yummy fresh churned vanilla ice cream to top it with while it is still warm from the oven. I don't have any today, but what a delicious dessert!!!

This recipe can also be used with any other fresh fruit- peaches, blackberries, cherries, raspberries... all would make delightful sonkers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teething Bling Giveaway

Okay folks, the time is getting near. As soon as The Rosie Layne has 50 followers, I will be able to give away my first gift. It is Teething Bling by Smart Mom Jewelry. There will be two contests. The first and most important is to get the word out about The Rosie Layne and help me get my readership up to 50 followers. You may enter this one in several ways:

1. Refer people to my blog. When you do this, you should put in the comment section that you have referred "this person" to the blog and when "this person" comments, they should write that you have sent them here. Both need to be present in order for either to be valid.

2. Become a follower of The Rosie Layne blog. If you already are, just comment that.

3. Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, and then send me the link to your tweet. You may enter this once each day.

4. Go to my store and tell me what you would want to win from there.

5. Follow @rosielayne on Twitter and let me know you are following!

Once The Rosie Layne has 50 followers, I will do a random drawing from this post and select a winner for a $20 gift certificate to anything in my store and I mean ANYTHING! Rocky Mountain Diapers, BumGenius, MotherEase, ErbaOrganics baby products, prenatals, etc. If I have it, you are welcome to it!! Afterwards, there will be another post to enter to win Teething Bling.

Let's get this party started!!!

FuzziBunz Giveaway

So, one of my friends in the blogosphere, MommaMolly, is giving away an awesome cloth diaper- called Fuzzibunz. They are snaps, so the babies can't pull them off. They are cloth, so you can save money. Head on over to MommaMolly to enter to win!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Potty Training Continues

I happened to have a free few minutes one morning last week and found that Dr. Phil was having a look back over the years of his episodes. One was about day-long potty training, which we have been having issues with. So, I planted it on the couch, set the DVR to record, and watched in disbelief as the child on TV complied with Dr. Phil and in one afternoon began peeing on the potty. One of the tips he gave was to let your child teach something that was "lower on the food chain"- ie. a doll- how to go on the potty. A light went off in my head and I immediately thought about Monkey and how Piggy loves to sleep with Monkey, eat with Monkey, and play outside with Monkey. So, it was only logical that she should use the potty with Monkey. But first I would need figure out a way for Monkey to go pee pee. See, on Dr. Phil, he had a baby doll that would go when you squeezed at little bladder on its back. We have no such babies in our house, in fact the majority of the babies are stuffed animals- so I had to improvise.

I grabbed a peri-bottle (you know the wash bottles for postpartum) and I snuck it behind Monkey and called to Piggy to come and see Monkey pee pee on the potty. Well, Piggy was quite impressed with Monkey and demanded that Monkey do it over and over and over again. Finally, both Monkey and I were worn out and I had to explain that Monkey was "all done" and now Piggy needed to try to pee pee on the potty. You would have thought I had just told her I saw elephants flying (or monkeys peeing on toilets)... she has no interest in doing anything other than sitting on the potty and begging for M&Ms. I guess it will just take more time... Thanks anyway, Dr. Phil.

Until we get there, we will continue using our various assortment of wonderful cloth diapers...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yardsaling 101

I wish I had pictures from today. Alas, I do not. However, I have gained a very complete understanding of how the yardsaling community works. In this down economy, I wasn't expecting to see people come out in droves to drop their quarters and dollars in my hand for my junk. Well, junk is a relative term as the majority of what I was selling was nice and usable and could have probably been sold for twice as much on Craigslist.

A month or so ago, I did a yardsale with my friend Sarah. After two trips to her house to drop things off, leaving my home on a Saturday morning a little before 6am with both babies in tow and my husband at the wheel, I was extremely disappointed to only sell $9.50 worth of stuff. We were definitely in the hole when you factored in gas and time. So, I consulted with my local yardsaling professional, Rachael. And I learned a few things:

1st- Many men will come out looking for work clothes. If they are priced right, they will sell. And the old adage "don't judge a book" applies too. One of our "big ticket" items priced in the double digits was the first things sold to a man who had difficulty speaking and a rather rotund belly... he turned out to be so kind and really hilarious!

2nd- Clothes should be neatly displayed on tables or on a tablecloth on the ground. If people rifle through them it is worth your time to go behind them to fold them back neatly and reorganize.

3rd- You do not have to come down on a price if you don't think it is fair. Lots of people will ask just to see and are expecting you to lower it just because they ask. If you stick to your price for the bigger ticket items, you will usually get what you are asking for. I got $10 for my counter top grill, $5 for my crockpot, and $3 for my chopper.

4th- Furniture is a hot item. Today, a glider was the biggest reason that people dropped by. It had sold first thing, but the buyer left it until she could get a vehicle to pick it up in. I learned that we could have asked for three times as much and people would have been happy to pay.

5th- A happy, positive attitude is more likely to get your stuff sold than just sitting there watching your customers shop. All morning, I greeted the folks that were stopping by, asked them how their morning searches had gone, found out what they had paid for certain items, and told them that I would be glad to help them locate specific items they were looking for.

6th- Just because you say your yardsale begins at 8am with "no early birds" does not mean you will not be bombarded with those early bird. Instead, make it a point to be ready to go by 7am and you will be surprised at how quickly your stuff sells.

7th- Resonably pricing items is the quickest way for things to sell. According to my friend, T-shirts will sell at 25cents, name brand jeans at $2, while blouses, shorts, sweaters and others will sell around $1. If you are like me, I remember approximately what I paid for those things and it is hard to let them go for that price. But remember that selling something for less than what you had anticipated is better than selling nothing at all!!

8th- If you are ready to get rid of everything, go ahead and mark everything down half price by 11am. According to Rachael, it makes things really go! I'm too cheap and would rather try again at a different time in a different location. But I bet I could have made a few more bucks today if I had...

9th- A community yardsale brings in many more prospective buyers than a single yardsale. So, talk to your neighbors and plan ahead!!

10th- You will be surprised at how many folks you run into that you know! So smile and have a great time! I found a long lost coworker, an old neighbor, and a former saleswoman that I used to do business with. It's a super small world...

After following these tips, I made a grand total of $62.50 today... a vast improvement over last time!!

Do you have any yardsaling tips?? I would love to hear them!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

So Exciting!!

This blog is a completely new experiment. It is a combination of all aspects of my life and all the different things that are important to me and my family. I've typically been a very compartmentalized person, which is why I had a "work" blog all devoted to natural childbirth and such and a "personal" blog all about the family. But I found that there was nowhere to put other things that I found interesting or beneficial. So, that is why I began this one. I want to share what I find out about so many different facets of life here, with you.


You can now follow me on Twitter @rosielayne

I'm new to this whole thing, so just be patient!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Welcome to my NEW BLOG

Hello Everyone! This is my new blog. It is going to be an amalgamation of stories, tips, information about various things, recipes, fun things to do, interviews, and various other things. I will discuss parenting tips, have product reviews and giveaways, feature other bloggers and their stories, share research that I've found, etc. It should be a fun time!! So, sign up to follow and there will be one to two new posts each week. If you like what you are seeing, refer some friends my way... really the more the merrier.

Let me know if you have any ideas of things you'd like me to research and blog about. I have a lot of prospective posts coming up, but would love your feedback!!!

Some of the upcoming posts:

Potty Training
Sibling Rivalry
Herbal Remedies
Product Reviews
Money Saving Ideas and Tips

See you back here soon!