The couple that plays together, stays together…

John took Friday off to spend the last day of school with me. He does that a few times a year, takes a day off just so we can spend the day together. I think this is one of the reasons why our marriage stays strong. We make time to be together and we both know that the couple that plays together, stays together. Earlier in the week, we had brainstormed about how to spend the last day of school – my idea was a relaxing day at the Lake Lanier Islands, just having fun in the water and sun. John wanted to try out the new four wheeler that we bought at a yard sale last weekend. Well, John hurt his leg earlier this week (more on that later) so that ruled out anything to do with swimming or water. I had been wanting to try out the new four wheeler too, so we packed a picnic lunch and loaded up the four wheeler to have a fun day together.

We rode for 2 hours at Wissenhut in Dahlonega, GA, which is about 40 minutes from our house. They have 12-15 miles of trails through the woods – some of them easier than others. John drove most of the time but I got a little time behind the wheel. It was awesome! The four wheeler is quick and it is easier to turn off road than it has been on the road (I had been riding it around the ‘hood, just a big).

It was a very memorable end to the school year, just John and I spending time together.


Kite Day…

In celebration of the last week of school, my kids have had fun themed days this week. Monday was Beach Day. Tuesday was Book Muncher Day (don’t ask). Today was Kite Day. We are not big Kite flyers in our family but this was a site to behold. Imagine 50 4th graders all flying kites high in the air. Some were shaped like aviary, butterflies, rainbows and airplanes while  others had a more cultural theme, Angry Birds or Barbie. Brittany’s kite was given to her by John’s mom a few years ago and this was maybe the second time that we had used it.

The weather was perfect, just slightly windy and sunny. We got the kite up and got some wind under it but some of these kids got theirs so high in the sky we had a hard time seeing it. I couldn’t help but sing “Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height, let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring…”

What a nice way to say goodbye to the school year.

How to have a successful yard sale…

It is springtime and with it comes yard sales. Now, I am not an expert on yard sales but I spend about 10 hours a week during the spring yard sailing and I have learned a few tips to help you have a successful yard sale.

1) Your stuff is not worth as much as you think it is. I know this is hard to hear but it is the truth. Expect to get anywhere from 10-25% of retail price for most items with only a few exceptions. On clothing, I don’t typically pay more than $1 for each item or $2-3 for a pair of shoes. I know it sounds low but used clothing is so plentiful that you have to price it low to compete.

2) Whatever you price it at, expect to get offers of 1/2 that amount. Most people price their yard sale items expecting it to work like a retail store. That the buyer will come in and pay the price that is on the price tag. Doesn’t happen that way. Every yard saler wants to feel like they got a bargain and to be honest, negotiation is half the fun (the other half is getting a great deal). So, don’t get upset when the buyer offers you half of what you have on the price tag. Your best bet is to expect it to happen and price it accordingly.

3) There is A LOT of competition. I can’t go to all the yard sales that are in my area. I typically shop from 8:30-2pm on Fridays and 8:30-12:30pm on Saturdays and probably hit at least 40-50 houses a week. And that is only in the 5-10 mile radius around me. So that goes to show you how much competition you have. You need to prepare for that and set up your sale to succeed. A few easy tips:

A) Bring your stuff out of the garage
B) Don’t place anything made of cloth on garbage cans (ie. clothing or linens)
C) Move your car(s). I don’t care where, just don’t have them in the driveway
D) Talk to your buyers but not too much
E) Advertise on Craigslist and invest in a few balloons for the mailbox

4) Don’t try to sale stuff that is un-sellable. The problem with some people is that they try to sell things that are just trash. Open food that you didn’t like is not sellable. Clothing that is ripped or badly stained is not sellable. Housewares or toys that are completely broken and unusable are not sellable. Just do us all a favor and throw it away. Funny story:

I was at a yard sale this past weekend and a lady was looking through a box of used socks. She asked the price of the socks. The women having the yard sale began to point out different pairs and give her a price on each kind of sock. She then pointed to a pair with holes in them and told her that the ones with holes were only $.25. Seriously? Don’t try to sell holey socks.

5) Make your pricing simple. Don’t try to break it down too far so that it is confusing for people. Mark all clothes $1. Or all books $.50. People like simple and easy to understand.

6) Don’t get offended by people looking through your stuff. It is a yard sale, so how are people going to figure out what they want unless they pick it up and handle it? Don’t get your panties in a bunch if someone picks up great grandma’s tchotchke and takes a look at it. You’d be surprised how often I find someone who doesn’t want you to look at their things.

7) If you are a smoker, don’t smoke during the sale. Yes, it is your house and this is a free country so I am not telling you that you can’t smoke. What I am saying is that smoking turns off your buyer and reminds them that your stuff comes from a smoking home. It just doesn’t do your yard sale any favors.

8) Buyers aren’t looking for perfect items but clean would be nice. I don’t expect the things that I buy to be perfectly clean and I automatically wash almost everything that comes into the house from a yard sale but if it looks like your dog threw up on it, do us all a favor and wipe it down with a Clorox wipe.

9) Go in with other people and have your sale at the same time. You will get more traffic to your sale if you plan it when your neighbors are having theirs. The first thing I look for when planning my yard sale route is neighborhood sales. It just makes my life easier to hit 15 sales in one ‘hood than to drive to 15 different locations.

10) Keep plenty of change on hand. You will loose sales if you can’t provide change. Most banks will be happy to help their customers with lots of change for their yard sale, all you have to do is ask.

So there are 10 tips to having a successful yard sale this spring. Yard sales are a great way to bring in some extra cash from things that you no longer use and to clear some space for some new treasurers – bought at a yard sale, of course!

Timing is everything…

Timing really is everything. On one recent morning I made a comment to Brittany about staying up past lights out the night before. We had put her to bed around 8:30pm, with lights out at 9pm. At 9:30pm, she came does stairs to tell us that she was still reading her book. I told her to immediately go to bed since she was supposed to go to bed a half hour earlier. She did was she was told and the next morning I tried to speak to her about it before school. It didn’t go well. She broke down into tears and walked to the bus stop not speaking to me.

Now, my mistake that morning was not in correcting Brittany for her disobeying. My mistake was trying to talk to her about it before school. I know that she is easily exasperated before school when she has the weight of the entire day resting on her shoulders. My timing was off and I should have waited until later that day to talk to her, when she would have been more receptive. It is in times like this that I realize how fragile our children are, one unkind word or look can wound them. What I missed is the fact that she had gotten up early that morning and had come down to get the bookbags ready for school, not something she normally does. I had missed an opportunity to praise her for the good she did along side of correcting her misbehavior.

There is a quote I like that says:

“When things are good, say good things. When things are bad, say twice as many good things.”—R. Todd Michael, author

I need to take my own advice and say twice as many good things as bad ones. I also need to follow God’s example and give more grace when dealing with my kids.  It is through parenting that we see our own humanness. It reveals to us our flaws, sins and mistakes. Parenting is the hardest job that we will ever have and the most important one. God gives us the command to train up our children in the way they should go but he also tells us to extend grace and to not exasperate our children. God calls us to try to maintain a balance between training and grace and it is hard. He is the example of a perfect parent in guiding us, loving us, allowing us to make mistakes and offering grace when we return. Children are a gift from God and it is by his perfect example that we are to parent our own children. But we are human and we are far from perfect. I make mistakes everyday in my parenting but I pray that God will use those mistakes to grow me in my parenting and spiritually.