What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Day in the Life of A Junker

Yesterday proved to be an interesting garage sale day, more so in stories, people watching and learning lessons, rather than actual buys. As I mentioned before, there is a big craft fair in my neighboring town. This is the small town that I go to each and every weekend looking for and finding sales. This is the town where I find most everything vintage I buy as is is an old established town full of teeny houses with elderly people. It is vintage heaven. It is where I found my paintings for 50¢ that I sold for nearly $500.00, it is where my wealth of vintage tablecloths came from for $1.00 each, my aprons for 25¢ each and so on and so on. It is a junkers paradise. It is also home of the Super Cheap Thrift. And home to the big Spring Clean-up where I have scored so many fabulous FREE things. So, you get the idea, the junk is plentiful every weekend and at affordable prices.

But! The weekend of the Clothesline Fair (named that because back in the day, ladies displayed their quilts for sale on clotheslines) and all that changes. Oh, the junk is still plentiful. In fact, it is more plentiful than ever. There are sales at almost every house. There are tables along the highway full of junk. There are big houses with old furniture, chippy barn doors and piles of quilts stacked about. But, these are not my sort of sales. These are not digger sales or "How much?" sales. Last week's wrinkled apron at the bottom of the box for 25¢ is now neatly pressed, tied with an elegant bow and priced with a paper tag on a string reading "Old Handmade Chicken Scratch Apron $6.50". And, there are rows of these freshly pressed aprons hanging artistically on chippy old doors and on fabulous Hoosier cabinets (priced to sell at a mere $950.00!).

Despite this, I still enjoy going out this weekend to look. I am amazed that people shopping the same circuit I am are able to price a beat up old chair for $50.00 when I have one exactly like it in my backyard that I got for $1.00 in the very same town. Or, better yet, in someone's Spring Clean Up reject pile for free. I am a amazed by the prices. But, I look and I learn something new by reading the paper price tags and I watch the other shoppers. I saw a couple stroking an old door, chippy with green paint and deeming it "spectacular" as they forked out $85.00 for it. $85.00 for a door! Eh gads. It was a cool old door. But I see them by the road. A lot.

Then there's the "We're from the big city, so let's go out to country bumpkinland and buy old stuff cheap" people. I think they can go out and get a super cheap deal form someone that doesn't know any better and make a fortune on it. And, I'm sure it does happen. But, those folks set up this weekend are not foolish. They know their stuff. There is the occasional random sale with a goody mixed in, but for the most part, these are the pros selling their wares. At one such random sale, I missed an old ivory painted step stool -the kind where the steps fold up under the chair, for $5.00. I was headed to look at it when another man looked at it and bought it. It was a deal, very nice and painted in a great color. But, I already have one, so that is fine. Plus, this guy looked like he was going to actually use it and not resell it for big $. At that same sale, there was a young yuppie couple (are there still yuppies?) looking at an old table that was stacked with books and old computer printers. It was priced $75.00. They were sniggering and talking about how they could sell it for at least $200.00 and they they offered the couple $25.00 for it. I left before I heard their answer. I just didn't want to know. This was just a young couple selling baby stuff, books and a few neat old things like the stool and the table. They could have used that $75.00 - or at least $50.00. My first sale of the day. There is a travel trailer behind, the sign, so that gives you an idea of the size of the SALE sign. Here I bought an old thermos for my collection for 25¢ and a big heavy bulky item to be seen below for $5.00. Keep reading....
This sale was two doors up from the first sale. The house in between was having an Estate Jewelry Sale, but I didn't go. (Sounded pricey and not somewhere a 12 year old boy prowling.) They are putting a new highway in front of these three houses, so we were able to pull up and walk to all of them without much trouble. Except for carrying my big heavy bulky $5.00 purchase. At this sale I bought a 1989 magazine with reprints of Marilyn Monroe's nudie pics and a bunch of old pin ups, a Calvin and Hobbes book and a book from an Art Museum all for 75¢. My best find of the day was at this sale. A compliment! The lady having it, walked towards us with a "Hello ladies!" then spotted The Bean and said, "I mean Mr. and Misses!, no wait, Brother and Sister!" and I said, "Maybe Mother and Son?" and she said, "Nooooo...you look good girl!" Now, I don't look good, but I took it as a compliment. Although, to have a 12 year old, I could easily be as young as 30, so I really don't know how to take that now as I think about it! (The Bean is often mistaken for being at least 16, so that is part of the issue.)
I cannot believe you can't see any cars in this photo at this sale. There were at least 20 cars there, traffic coming from each direction and, while we were there, the fire truck, ambulance and rescue squad came screaming through trying to get through the traffic. Here I bought a Tournament Chinese Checker game (that ended up being short a few pieces) for 25¢, a tool/knife thing for The Bean to wear on his belt for $1.00 and the item below for $1.00.
I'm going to display all my beaded earrings on it so I can find them and actually wear them! Yea, me!
This is the sale that had the stepstool and old table. I didn't buy anything here. I think putting the clothes rack in front of everything else is a bad idea. But, I never go looking for clothes.
This was set up in front of the local flea market. The booth owners set up and sell things pretty cheaply. That guy unloading the truck had a bunch of vintage rickrack last spring that he sold me for 10¢ a card. I think I got 50 cards for $5.00. I didn't see any yesterday. He did have a couple bunches of lucite grapes that he told me to make an offer on, but I didn't because I was thinking 50¢ and he was probably thinking $5.00, but then again, maybe not. Here I bought two old candy tins and something else which I honestly do not remember, but I know I paid 75¢ for all three items. Thrifting senality has struck.
So, here's a photo of my house. Yea, I wish. This is one monster of a house and they are constantly adding on, adding big iron gates, a pool house, etc. It is fabulous. They sell antiques with big old prices. This is were the $85.00 door was purchased and everything was so high. Somehow, I prowled around and managed to spend $1.55 on two books on yard saling, a bushel basket and one other thing, which is almost embarrassing at a sale where the cheapest things were $20.00. But, the lady having the sale was as nice to me as if I had bought the $950.00 Hoosier Cabinet, so that was a welcome surprise. She was mainly nice because we bought an item that she had set out for $1.00 and wondered if anyone would buy. Want to see what it is?
Mmmmmm...Ramen Noodles. Permanent Ramen Noodles in a fine China bowl. Ramen Noodles, known in our house as Big Noodles, are The Bean's favorite. We all shared a nice conversation about our love of Big Noodles which lead to a conversation about names for things including Basketti (what her son called Spaghetti) and Perzert (what The Bean called Dessert). The big noodles are sitting on the coffee table and startle me every time I seem them.
At one of the sales FREE box along the way, I found this old chamis from a Ford Dealership from the 1960's. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a Santa Chamis!

Here's the thermos bottle for my "I bought a bunch of thermoses one day and decided to keep them and call it a collection" collection. (See my header!)
I bought this nice old basket with a swivel handle at a sale I didn't photograph. Three ladies were on the third day of having the sale together and none of them had ever a) seen this basket, b) remembered owning this basket or c) had any idea where this basket came from. It was full of hair ribbons and barrettes, but I took them out and asked about the basket, so maybe that is part of the remembering it issue. Everything was half price and no one knew where it came from or who to give the money to, so I think they settled on 50¢, then halved it to 25¢. Let's talk about Math a minute. Everything was half price and I bought four items marked 25¢ each. But instead of adding 25 x 4 to equal $1.00 and halving it to 50¢, they halved each 25¢ item to 10¢ making it a total of 40¢. Why do people make easy things difficult?
Here's that heavy bulky $5.00 item, my only true treasure of the day.

An old mantle. I don't have a fireplace. I don't have anywhere to use it. But, it was $5.00! It's worth that in parts alone. My plan is to sit it in the backyard by the fence, put potted plants on it, hang a window above it, plant orange flowers inside it, sit a couple old metal lawn chairs in front of it and BAM!...a faux fireplace in the truest sense of the word!

Cool, right?

Today we are actually going to the Clothesline Fair itself. I like to look at the crafts to get ideas of things I can make. There is the $5.00 Birdhouse booth where we usually buy a new birdhouse. The guy makes them out of found objects and they are pretty cool. And, there is one more sale I missed yesterday that had tables covered in vintage tablecloths and old pottery piled on it. I know I can't afford anything, but it will be interesting to look. And who knows, I might find a treasure!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tea and Toast

Given my stomach and fever issues this past week, I found it only appropriate that my thrifty finds on Friday would be representative of my main nourishment this week - Tea and Toast.

Coffee cups are 10/$1.00 at one of the thrifts. Lots of advertising/freebie cups, not usually anything stellar. But, I always look for Fire-King, Pyrex, Starbucks and stacking cups, just in case. Yesterday proved to be Stacking Cup Heaven.

There are many shelves of coffee cups, five deep on each shelf and stacked up all helter skelter, so you have to be careful moving and rearranging each cup. But, you can find some goodies.
I just kept finding more and more. Love all the orange and yellow colors. So 1960's!
Whoa. Avocado Green. Welcome to 1972. I can only imagine these all have been in someone's cupboard together all these years until they arrived at the thrift store, were priced individually and placed on the shelf. But, then I showed up and only I could think cups have emotional feelings, so I rescued them all. Together again. I am such a thrifting nerd.
These don't stack, but I think they are my favorite. They are marked JAPAN on the bottom and are from the same era. I bet there was a yellow one at one time to make a set of four. Some damn husband probably dropped it and shattered it to smithereens years ago.

I found some tacky 1980's Mallard Duck coasters stuck in this perfectly sweet Toast Rack. The coasters were marked "Set of 8" but counting the coasters and the rack, that made nine, so I took a chance and attempted to buy the rack alone. They ended up charging me 50¢ for it. Score.
So, as you can see*, I am prepared for the next bout of fever and sickness at my house.
*Every paper The Bean has brought home from school in the past five years has concluded with, "As you can see..." I am trying to teach him some creativity in his writing and not use the same closing line that the school required.
I'm off to do a little junking and enjoy the beautiful day outside. We have a couple big workdays ahead of us starting tomorrow. We wanted to have some of the colored trim on the front of our house removed and changed to white to update the look of it. Upon further inspection, under the siding, we have water damage to the wood and it all needs to be replaced on the front and back of the house to the tune of several, several thousand dollars. Oh, the fun never stops around here, does it? But, that's okay. Work begins on Tuesday. Stay tuned for photos of my porch jacked up to prevent it from caving in and a big old blue tarp covering the door and window. Oh, we will be the envy of the neighborhood! I have to move all my garden junk, plants and landscaping things to make room for the contractor.
Have a safe and fun labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wife Swap

This morning I had quite the interesting email. I was contacted by the Producers of "Wife Swap" on ABC to be a part of the show. They had found my blog and contacted me. They are looking for Garage Sale/Thrifty people to be on it. I love "Wife Swap", it's one of my favorite shows, but it is definitely something I will be not doing. Lordy, I'd have to move my piles of treasures and they'd have a heyday with the whole DH working 90-100 hours a week thing. I will admit that knowing that TV Producers were reading my blog was quite the thrill! She complimented me on my blog, so that was pretty cool, to say the least. I did promise that I would send the word out to all of my Thrifty Peeps in case anyone else wanted to be on the show. (Contact me if you seriously want the info.)

I told my Mom about "Wife Swap", who was floored and it left my Stepfather speechless- and that's a big deal. He's a talker! But, when I asked my Dad, the non TV watcher, if he had ever heard of "Wife Swap", he said, "That's a sex show, right?" Yes, Dad. It's a sex show and your daughter is going to be on it. I couldn't hardly even tell him they wanted me to be on it after he said that. Patooey.

Because I don't like photo-less posts...
Some of the decor from my Birthday Party - courtesy of The Bean.

My stomach issues seem to be gone, but now I have all over flu like symptoms. Today I commented that my hands felt like ice, but in reality they were really hot. I took my temperature and had 101.4. It was about 98 degrees outside today, but I spent the day on the couch wrapped up in two huge heavy polar fleece blankets shivering. I feel better tonight, and think I will feel even better after a good nights sleep - I only slept about three hours last night. I watched a ton of Infommercials. Man, they sell some crap in the middle of the night. And, for anyone that read the E. Coli comments - I do live fairly close to where that happened, but I've never been there. Just the flu/bug/virus crap. But, I do appreciate the news.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thrifting No Matter WHAT

Sometimes I check on a blog and they haven't posted for awhile and I think, "Gee, I hope they are okay!". Well, Miss Chatty here hasn't posted in a few days, so I thought I would check in. I seem to have a nasty bout of the stomach flu or stomach eew or something like that. I hope someone will leave a comment that says, "Oh, we've had that too" or "That stuff is everywhere!". Because, frankly, when you are bowing to the throne for the fifth time, you start thinking that maybe you are dying. We don't get out much, so I've lost that person to person contact where I hear about illnesses and bugs making the rounds. So, please, somebody - it's not just me, right?

Despite the stomach issues, life goes on and I even managed to squeeze in a bit of thrifting today. I told DH and The Bean that there was a picnic basket somewhere waiting for me. And, there was!

I found this nice older oak picnic basket at the Salvation Army - I never find anything old and cool there. And, it was only $3.00, so that made me happy. The Apron was from a different thrift. It is my first crocheted apron. The hanky was free and the neat old basket on top looks like a Longaberger. It feels like a Longaberger and it is signed like a Longaberger, but it doesn't have the Longaberger name burned into it. It is dated 1989, so I will research it a bit. Either way, it's a nice basket for $1.00.

Here's the apron. See that pocket up there? It wasn't there when I bought it.

It had this big old hole in it, but I just loved it so I had to grab it. I found this crocheted potholder in my linen stash, tacked it on and wah-lah, a matching pocket. The colors are a perfect match.

I found this old Scrabble Game dated 1949. The tiles aren't wooden, they are sort of a hard rubbery material. Not plastic like the ones today either. I just wanted it for the letters, so I asked how much. My Thrift friend found the price on the bottom - $10.00. She rolled her eyes, said, "Puhlease, how about $3.00." And, even though I was hoping it was $1.00, I paid it, but as usual, she threw some things in and knocked some more prices down, so I ended up paying about $1.50 for it. She's the director of the Thrift, but different people work there every day and price things very differently. One person will price a baggie of old rick rack 25¢, the next person writes OLD VINTAGE RICK RACK $5.00 on the same sort of baggie. If you take the 25¢ bag up to to pay the $5.00 pricers, they will argue it should be more and if you take the $5.00 bag to the 25¢ pricers, they knock the price down. I go on the 25¢ pricer day, of course.

I found this sweet little baby book for 50¢. It has the sweetest graphics and is entirely unused. What is even more interesting to me, are letters from different prominent businesses in Northwest Arkansas in the 1950's offering free gifts to the newborn. The letters are signed by prominent names in our area. There are defunct companies like Ward Ice Cream, Quaker Drugstores and a big lumberyard that once set on the edge of Historic Dickson Street. I bought this to sell, but as usual, I will probably keep it or sell it locally since it's a piece of history.

This weekend is huge in the junking world in my area. There's a big craft fair in the next town over, so there will be a ton of garage sales along the highway and in my town and the town with the craft fair. There is one plae where this guy sets up a huge tent full of crap and prices it high. BUT! Out in the back, he throws up tables and tarps and everything is 25¢ or 50¢. I have found some gems back there, including my Steiff Turket last year for 25¢ that I sold for $127.00. I love it when you find a hidden treasure at a sale where thery "really know their stuff". I better feel good by this weekend, darn it! Junk calls!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Few Friday Finds

I've been reading on a lot of blogs lately about the sad state of thrifting and saling. I find that to be true lately too. I go and nothing speaks to me. Or not much anyway. I am being a lot more selective about what I bring home - it either has to have a home immediately, a purpose or to be listed on ebay SOON. But, I haven't had to talk myself out of a purchase because I haven't found that much that is calling to me. Yesterday I went to seven sales and only bought a few things. Which is a good thing. But, I really could have found more things for resale that would have made me happy.

I dug this old Kodak camera out of a box where everything was 25¢. I seriously do NOT need any more collections, but I find myself picking up old cameras when I find them for 50¢ or less. I think a shelf full of old cameras and some framed photos of my Great Grandparents would look great in the bedroom.
I used to win these Beagles at the Fair every year. He is stuffed with straw or something rough - not soft Poly-fil, that's for sure. I saw one of these at a sale not long ago and reminisced about it, but left it there. I later saw one on ebay and found that it had sold for $85.00! So, when I spotted this one in a grab bag for $1.00 today, I grabbed it. It probably won't sell for that much, but at least I have one to try!
I loved the graphics on this old Sunlamp Box. Especially for only 50¢. On the back it shows the whole family sitting under the sunlamp getting a glowing tan. Do you remember staying at Motels and they had a Sunlamp in the bathroom? And a box for quarters to make the bed vibrate. I always thought that was fun as a kid. Now, I "get it" and "Eeeew".
These three old powder boxes were in a grab bag for 50¢. I use Coty Powder and think it's funny that this 1942 box looks exactly like the one I use every day. The powder is still in them. The powder in the blue box says it is Natural, but it is pinker than any blush I have seen. These will go in my RX Cabinet in the bathroom.

This cabinet, in fact. What? It's full? Oh, no, no. Lots more room for things. I promise. I've picked up nearly everything in there for less than 50¢ each. Lots of the old bottles were dug up out of DH's Grandma's dump. Bars of soap, pill boxes, band aid tins, lots of little packages. The little pink plastic lipstick on the second shelf was The Bean's when he was little. He would sit in his carseat in the backseat and apply his lipstick over and over complete with the "Smack, Smack" sound. He just loves it when I tell that story. (At least I'm not telling you about the fact that he actually had an entire purse stocked full of lipstick, hairbrushes and a wallet. Now, that would be an embarrassing story). I got some Pyrex. I got some Pyrex. (Sing it with me). I don't collect Pyrex and I don't want to start collecting Pyrex, but I do appreciate the collections of it I see on other blogs. However, I do covet the sets of nesting bowls in the primary colors. This is the first one I have ever seen. It's a sweet yellow 1 1/2 pint bowl in great condition. I paid $1.00 for it.
Mold-A-rama's. I had never heard of them until recently. Apparently they are along the lines of pressed pennies at Amusement Parks and Zoo's. The wax pours into a mold and you get a random color and random shape as a Souvenir. There are crazy collectors that love these things and want every color and every shape from every location. I got all five of these in a grab bag for $1.00. And, guess what? THEY ARE ON EBAY. I actually listed them. Back on the wagon.
I got this old metal topped table at a yard sale for $2.00. Long ago it had two smaller metal table leaves under the big one that pulled out and extended the length. It is pretty rusty and old, but the top is in perfect shape. The 80 year old lady having the sale said she had had it in her kitchen since the 1940's and had it covered with a tablecloth all the time. It is white with red trim. It looked like a project.
So, when I got it home, I took the top off and saved it. If nothing else, it will make a huge magnetic board. Or a tabletop or a ??????. For now it is in the kitchen behind my aprons as sort of a backdrop. The base of the table is sitting by the road waiting for a scrap metal collector to spy with his little eye.
I'm trying to resist any Saturday Sales that might be out there. They're just full of junk right? Oh wait, I (Heart) Junk.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two, Four, Six Eight, Isn't My Family Great?

Last Christmas I mentioned my blog in my annual Christmas letter to family. Since then, many of my family in Kansas has been reading it and seeing my thrifty finds. Earlier this Spring my Aunt emailed to say that she along with my cousin had pulled some items out of their garage sale thinking I might like them. I was going to pick up the goodies at a Family Reunion this summer, but I couldn't attend due to DH's schedule. Long story short, (TOO LATE!), the box arrived on my doorstep today.

I had to chuckle at the address label. I haven't seen that name in 17 years!
Some handmade items that my Aunts and family members had made.
Oooooooo.....a pile of wonderful vintage hankies from every holiday and some lovely old doilies. And, a box of vintage birthday candles!
Shiny Brite ornaments both big and small, bells, a celluloid reindeer and Santa. Love that pink Shiny Brite in the back with the duckie on it.
A Gurley candle. A huge Gurley candle. Perfect for my Santa collection!
And, oh my heavens, I love this guy. He goes with my big Rubber faced Santa that I covet. LOVE HIM!
The Bean was the recipient of an army of Pez and a slew of keychains.

The Bean says thank you and I do too!

Here's my one and only thrifty find of the week. And, I really don't even know what it is or what I will do with it. It's an old wooden painted box with a cool patina, with 109 hand cut wooden blocks in it. Each block measures 1"x1". It looked like Folk Art to me and I thought it was neat. It was priced $4.00, so I was second thinking it, but my lady friend at the thrift said $2.00, but then she ended up only wanting $3.00 for the box, an old blank autograph book, four books for Schoolin' and a nice heavy Denim Jacket for The Bean. So, it was a Deal. A Deal I have no idea what to do with - but it's mine!And, I made an ebay purchase. I do not buy on ebay, because I simply do not need anything enough to warrant buying it and having it shipped to me. If I see it in person and it's affordable, then I buy it. Otherwise, I just don't need it. A few weeks ago I was at a yard sale and I saw a child's Tom Thumb Typewriter. The man wanted $20.00 for it and I didn't want to shell out that much money, so I didn't buy it. But, I kept thinking about it and wishing I had bought it. It was so darn cute! I also wondered if I had lost a goldmine by leaving it, so I looked it up on ebay.
I found this Tom Thumb for - are you ready? $5.00! And, it had the cover, which the one I saw at the garage sale did not. Some of them sell for quit a bit more, but this auction was in the wrong category and not a very visible auction. I was still surprised I got it for the minimum bid!

I did have to pay shipping, but it was a total of $15.00 for the typewriter and the shipping, which is still less than the original $20.00 one and this one is in a lot better condition. It's a cutie! Now, what to do with it?

We went to the County Fair today and looked at the quilts, baskets, chickens, bunnies, goats, cows, jellies, pickles, pies and cakes. I was walking along when I spotted an old green tin picnic basket (with what I think might have been bakelite handles) sitting on a window ledge. My main WANT when thrifting. Well, the thrifter in me got excited and bolted over to look at it. But, alas, it was being used by the Fair Staff to hold their paperwork. "We've been using that forever" they told me. Uh,yea. So close........

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Have Three Incredibly Fat Cats

You guys are so kind. Thanks for your kind words. I've always felt better after I put things on paper so my post yesterday was more for my own welfare more than anything. It's just that we went through all the motions to get him back into school and they were happy to have him and then he decides that he would rather home school. Yesterday I felt like a baffoon for doing all that for nothing, but today I realize that last year they said GO HOME and homeschool. This year they said WELCOME BACK and I said I think we will GO HOME. So, the choice is ours and I can let my bad feelings about the school go. Sort of. If it all wouldn't have happened last year, this would be happening this year. I am willing and able to do the homeschool thing, I was just surprised he wanted to keep doing it. But, he does, so we will.
I found an online Virtual Academy today that is part of the Arkansas Public school Sysytem. It is all done online and is completely FREE. They even have loaner computers and free internet if you need it. They are full right now as of today, but taking applications and adding people throughout the year as space permits. I think it would be an ideal fit four our family. But, I don't know if or when we will get accepted or not. I applied so we will wait and see. They do all the assignments online, you print it all out, follow the planner for the day and submit it back the next day. So, you cn do it 8-12 am or 8-12 pm if that fits your families schedule. They mail you a monthly box of books, papers and items needed for science like dirt and rocks. Oh, man it just sound perfect. Please, please, please, have an opening. There's a picnic and meet and greet for interested candidates, so if it sounds like he has a chance, we will get dressed up and put on a big goofy grin and be all charming. ;o)
My kid is pretty much my life, so this is consuming my thoughts and time right now. We now return to our junking and adventures.
I got a fancy new camera for my birthday and it takes gorgeous photos that I am dying to share with everyone. Expect I have no idea how to use it or download it or anything. It has bells and whistles and gears and lots of stuff. I did take some photos yesterday of the purple flowers on clover and it looks about as big as a tire. I also got a Photo Printer that I am excited to use and actually have real PRINTS in my hands instead of seeing everything digitally. I also got an MP3 player and a docking station. Welcome to the 21st Century, Shara! (On a side note, I bought an old cassette player at a yard sale this wekeend so I can listen to my old Whitesnake and Footloose cassettes. I'm not willing to go into the new century willingly!)
*I asked The Bean to title my post. This is what he came up with. Language Lesson complete. Kidding!

Monday, August 18, 2008

So, Here's the Thing.

I have a story to tell today. One I never thought I would be telling. If you would have asked me six months ago if I would be saying this, I would have said, "No, Hell No." But, here goes. We have decided to Homeschool another year. Even though we had him registered to start today. Even though we went to Open House and met his teachers. Even though we bought him all new clothes. And shoes. And school supplies out the ying-yang. Of course, he still needs clothes and shoes and school supplies, so that is not wasted.
Reasons? Well, there are many. Apparently, he still does lingering trepidations about school. I don't know what all happened to him last year on the days he went to school when he was loopy on the Claritin D. I do know he was told that he could not go to the Nurse, he could not go to the Counselor, he just had to do what he had to do to get through the day. And, it was the Nurse and the Counselor that told him that, not me. So, that didn't leave him feeling very reassured about school. Also, he tried to go every single day and never made it in the door. Then, we thought we had him feeling good, so we tried to get him back in school. That's when the administration said no and he wasn't welcomed back. So, he never got the opportunity to go back to school and be welcomed and feel at home. He still thinks bad things are in there waiting for him. And, I don't think they are, but who knows at this point. We really feel like outsiders at this point.
Also, there isn't any one on one attention at this level. We went to Open House on Thursday night and the teachers only spoke of rules and detention and fines and "they'll learn the days not to push me", etc. One teacher sent home a type written page front and back of rules for his class and his class alone. How about "We are going to have fun and learn this and this and go here and see this and let's get excited about it!" For instance, one rule was, if you don't sharpen your pencil before class and it breaks, you are screwed. You do NOT get out of your chair to sharpen it. Now, The Bean would have an an arsenal of sharpened pencils and an arsenal of mechanical always-sharpened pencils, but the very idea of this rule is so stressful to him that that is all he can think about in class. We had problems with his Art Teacher in Elementary School - Pre-Blog. He referred to himself in the third person and yelled at the kids and threatened them for silly things. And, even though The Bean is an ideal student and rule follower, the fact that the teacher would call himself Mr. XXX and then scream at them about not putting the yellow paintbrush in the blue paint would cause him to stress out to levels that I have never witnessed.
I digress. I have stated before that The Bean is a good kid. He's a sensitive kid. He's a one of a kind kid. He's not a cry baby or a wimp or anything. He is just unique. And, I think that is a good thing. If going to a school that can't see that he is an individual or that he has certain needs (not to be yelled at for things he isn't even going to do), then I will take his education into my own hands and do it right. We did Homeschool last year, but I took it personally that they told me that I HAD to do it. So, we did do it, but I was lax in certain areas and didn't push him as hard as maybe I should have. Well, not as hard as maybe I should have to have kept him entirely in line with the kids at school. But, isn't that half the idea of homeschooling? To do it at your pace and in a way your family enjoys it? I don't think most homescholers are of the mindset that they are in their second semester of fourth grade or whatever. I think they just do their studies and progress when they are ready. Maybe they are High School readers and 6th Grade Math. Whatever they need to do - they do. And, so will we.
So, today I have a new attitude towards homeschooling. We will earn and explore and see new things. He's only a kid once, and I need to help him become the adult he needs to be. Maybe he'll go back to school next year. Maybe not. Millions of kids are homeschooled and they flourish. There are a lot of things that I already know that I can teach him and thousands more that I am completely clueless about, but I can learn with him. I wouldn't change the way that kid is for anything. No one else should try to change him either. We will try to get him the confidence he needs to know he is welcome and accepted at school. He needs to understand that he has these emotions and why he has them. I know someone could just give him a pill to make him chill and go, but I just do not feel that is the thing for him, or for us for that matter. He is completely fine 99% of the time and has felt better since we started homeschooling than he ever did at school. But, as our week progressed last week, I could see it in his eyes. Just like last year. Nothing is worth going throught that again.
I'll try not to blog about it, and accept this as our choice and not something we were forced into doing. Of course, I will blog about our adventures because those will continue, I promise. And, there will be junking. Sorry, I can't give up everything! ;o) I tell this story on here because I feel like everyone that comments on here is a friend and understands me. More, perhaps than anyone in this stupid tiny town. And, this blog is where I get things off my chest. So, there it is. Off my chest. Thanks.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy Day, Happy Mail

Thank you for all the kind birthday wishes. I had a wonderful day with countless gifts bestowed upon me. I really don't know what I did for everyone to be so incredibly generous to me this year.

The Bean was in charge of ordering my cake this year. He wanted a monkey cake for me - a cute monkey like Curious George. Despite my chatter of wanting a corner piece, we always order cupcake cakes since they are easily served and you get a good icing to cake ratio per ice. Yes, we did the Cake Math. He wanted something cute like this:

Or maybe this:
Or even these:

But, when we picked up the cake, this is what we saw:

Holy Guacamole. That's not a monkey! It looks a lot more like this man:

Looks a lot like this young man with Werewolf Syndrome* more than it does Curious George. I mean, it almost looks like they used a picture of this man to make my cake. He doesn't look like a monkey. Neither does my cake.

***I saw an hour long special about this man one time. He is a really sweet regular guy with a new baby and a family and a job and a regular life. I mean no disrespect to him whatsoever, it's just that the cake really looks like him, don't you think?????***

The Bean said, "Oh well, it still tastes good no matter what it looks like!" So, the festivities continued.

The gifts were plentiful this birthday. They began arriving on August 1st! The first batch of goodies was from Sue. She sent me a plethora of pink goodies including a fabulous pink tablecloth, vintage pink paper goods, a wee seagrass basket, matte white pottery (one of her beloved Haeger pieces!) and some Vanilla Tootsie Rolls. How well does this lady know me????

Pink Pyrex creamer! Pink Bias tape! Pink Scarf! Oh Me, Oh My!

The pink sand and shells is for decorating, but she said, "Bath Salts for Shara" when she remembered DH thinking I was buying bath slats when it was actually sanding sugar for cookies. Thank you, my friend, Sue!

Although this was not a birthday gift, it seemed like one! I won a giveaway at Jen's and this was my prize. A magazine, sweet vintage apron, vintage French postcards and a vintage salt shaker filled with old German glass glitter. What a fabulous package! Thanks, my friend, Jen!

What's this? Another box. Oh my. This birthday box was from Carol. She knows me too well too! Tons of wonderful goodies chosen just for me! Check out those fabulous vintage cupcake toppers. Too stinking cute for words. And that Santa in the center? He's a painted Coke Bottle. LOVE!!!
Hmmmm.more Vanilla Tootsie Rolls. Am, I detecting a theme here? A cookbook, a Friendship book, vintage Birthday Napkin, painted coffeepot, and much, much more. Thank you, my friend, Carol!
Still with me?
Okay. This surprise envie arrived on the morning of my birthday from Rebecca. She had spotted the Spooky Math game and thought of The ban. It's a math Game that involves Dice (We're a gambling family, if I havne't mentioned that) and SKULLS. The Bean is Skull crazy, Not sure how Skulls got to be "The Thing", but they are with all the Tweens. She also made a watermelon potholder JUST FOR ME This is the pride of the watermelon potholder collection for sure. It is lovely and I am the first owner of it, not the rescuer of it! She has another one in her Shop - go buy it! ;o) Thanks, my friend, Rebecca!

This box of goodies arrived on my birthday from Heidi. My dad was leaving when it was delivered. He has never used a computer, has no idea what a "blog" is and has no concept of what it could be. I explained that this was a birthday gift from one of my blog friends. "You've never even met?" he asked. "No" "You don't even see each other?" he asked. "No." He just doesn't understand. My Mom arrived as he was leaving. She spotted the package from Heidi. Now, she uses the computer and she reads blogs and she reads Heidi's blog, so she started squawking, "A box from Heidi! This is like seeing a movie star!" As I pulled out each item, my Mom recognized a few things like a gorgeous handmade rickrack flower pin like Heidi had shown a few posts back. "OH SHE MADE THAT! she exclaimed.

Heidi is a Master Packager. I mean her packages are almost too lovely to open and unwrap. But, I did! Goodies included a book for card making, cards, accordion cards, Japanese Candy that smells yummy, a sweet beaded garland of cupcakes, presents and party hats, a certificate for 365 Happy Days, sweet ceramic buttons, puzzles of two vintage kitchens, the flower rickrack pin and a Garage Sale Mystery Book. There were even Flash Cards with MY words on it including JUNK, VINTAGE, GLITTER, PATINA and...drumroll...JUNKRATE! Thank you, my friend, Heidi!

I really am blessed to have so many fabulous friends. And, yes they are my friends even though we have never "met" or "seen" them. THANK YOU!!!!

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