Friday, May 29, 2009

Garage Sale Tips and Help

This is for you Marisa. :)

Holding a Garage Sale:
If you don't have tables: Build a box table - stack cardboard or plastic boxes 3 deep and 2 or 3 wide, then put flat boxes on top -tape these together - then put one of those $1 tablecloths over the whole thing - voila - a table. Don't have stuff (especially clothes) on the ground, people don't look through that stuff. Don't have it in boxes either, as if people will spend time looking through boxes.
Show baby stuff prominently - people often drive by craning their necks to see what you have, and kid and baby stuff usually gets them to stop.
You could probably tie a clothesline from the tree to the garage.
Get some garment racks for clothes (borrow them, or target has a great cheap one for $10).
Put the times you are open on the signs you put up around the neighborhood. Take the signs down when the sale is over. There's nothing I hate worse than going through a neighborhood looking for a garage sale that is already closed. Waste of gas and time. Makes me want to come back and paper their yard. lol.

Good timeline:
7-11 - Full price
11-2 - half price or "deals"
2-4 - Stuff a grocery bag for a $1.
4-5 - Give it away for free. The people coming by are usually just as needy as the people who shop Goodwill. :)

Don't overprice. Most people who shop garage sales have a budget. They have a certain amount of money set aside, and if the item is too pricey, that means less money for a "find" at another sale. It doesn't matter that you spent a hundred bucks on it, you can't charge 50. 15 or 20 to start out with might be reasonable, but don't be surprised to still see it there at the end of the day if you don't keep marking down the price. Baby stuff you can start off with at a good price, especially cribs, high chairs and other necessities. If you can't get the price you want, you might want to try selling it on Craig's List for such big ticket items.

Shopping Garage Sales:

Spring is the THE season for garage sales. Spring cleaning and all that. After you paid off Christmas, start saving money for garage sale season. I know people who have special savings accounts specifically for garage sales.
The best garage sales are held by communities and subdivisions. Church and Apartment garage sales aren't bad either, but you will have more luck hitting the jackpot at a community garage sale. Look especially for those that state in their ads *more than 50 homes*, etc. If you are a regular garage sale shopper, you know that often you might not find anything at a garage sale, which makes going from house to house in a community so much easier than going to individual garage sales that you find in the paper.
Established richer neighborhoods rarely have baby stuff, more older children and antiques.
Bring a list of things that you particularly are looking for.
Bring a list of people that you usually buy presents for on birthdays and holidays. Keep thinking of those people as you look over tables.

Carrying money - I've tried coin purses, ziploc bags, fanny packs, wallets, etc, and yet I still find the easiest way to keep money together without losing any is to go to the bank on Friday, and go through the teller window, and on the withdrawal slip, ask for $5 bills for however much you are withdrawing (serious garage salers usually draw 80 to 100 bucks each weekend, you can always put a deposit on something and go find a bank if you discover an expensive item, and of course, you can always put money back in the bank at the end of the day, or keep it until the next weekend) and the envelope that they give you really is the best money holder.
Make sure you wear shorts with pockets in order to keep the money envelope on your person. Or if you want to forego sunscreen on your legs, wear capris or kulots.

Keep your purse in your trunk. You won't need it.

Bring sunscreen. Apply often. Especially on your face, neck and arms. Legs too if you are wearing shorts (especially back of knees).

Bring an umbrella. It can easily start to rain or sprinkle mid-morning, especially in Texas.

Bring at least 3 water bottles. Stop off at 7-11 before you start, and buy your drink of choice - gatorade or slurpees. ;)

If you are taking kids with you, make certain that you have plenty of water and snacks, as well as items that will keep their interest. Serious garage salers usually find a babysitter, or leave the kids with the husband. Kids will definitely slow you down. Only take kids with you if you have absolute control over them. There's nothing worse than some kid running around a sale with a negligent mom looking over the merchandise.

If you are pregnant, you are getting in and out of your car often, so make sure you practice the safe ways of getting in and out of the car, otherwise you can get really sore. Best way to get out of a car is to bring both legs together, push with your arm against the steering wheel and put both legs together on the ground. Best way to get into a car is to sit first and bring both legs together onto the car floor.

Leave Early. Serious garage salers leave the house before 7.

Most garage sales (especially community ones) are pretty much over by noon. Individual ones tend to stay open later, maybe even till five. The closer it gets to June, the earlier they close up, because its gets really hot. If you are having an individual garage sale, if you do stay open till at least 3pm, you can get a lot more traffic - you are not in direct competition with other garage sales.

Plan out your attack before you go. You might be able to hit 3 community sales (over 100 garage sales) in a day if you are diligent. Look through the newspaper, the newspaper online, and craigs list. Then map the areas you want to go. Mapsco are great, but if you don't have one, just look everything up online, and either write out or print out directions.

Make sure that you have your own garage sale either at the end of March or middle of June to make space for all the new stuff you bought. This is a great time because it doesn't interfere with community sales - most of which are in April, May and beginning of June.

Have a plastic bucket in a closet to put all presents in. If you are really organized, you will wrap up the presents when you get home and tape an index card describing the present and who it is for.

The biggest tip is to know your merchandise. I often can find 2 or 3 items in a season for really cheap (like $10) and then turn around and sell them on Craig's list or Ebay for a $100 or more. This will help pay for the entire garage sale season, and if you are really lucky, you won't be out any money at all!

If you are pregnant, I probably don't have to tell you that garage sales are the absolute best place to find baby supplies. Often, I will find an item that a regular person doesn't know what it is or what it does, and so it is still there, even at the end of the day. Examples of recent finds: Brest Friend brand new in package, a Bumbo, a baby sun canopy, Infantino slings, etc.
After your baby shower, go out to garage sales, and buy all the things that you didn't receive. :)

Baby clothes are usually priced at 50 cents an outfit. When you get home, wash and sort the clothes into age groups, and place in large ziploc bags until needed. If you find a stain that you hadn't noticed, Rinse the outfit in lemon water (1 part lemon juice to 5 parts water usually, or squirt the lemon directly on the stain if its small), and place on your outside clothes line (or outside on some bushes or a garment rack). The stain will usually be out in 2 or 3 days of sunshine.
If you find vintage baby clothes (i love these) that are yellowed with age, soak them in lemon water for a few minutes, and then put them outside for a couple of days.

If you are getting big items like couches or furniture, and you don't have a truck, find some movers on craig's list or the yellow pages ahead of time, and tell them you'll be calling them with an address on Saturday for a moving job. You could also hire a couple of teenagers if you know any and tell them you'll pick them up at around 3 pm in the Uhaul truck and then go to all the homes where your new furniture sits with a big Sold sign on it.

That's all I can think of for now. If you want to go Garage sale shopping with me, let me know by the Friday before.

And yes, I have helped people in the past find specific items for a fee.
I would need:
1) List of things to purchase with a price in mind for each item. ie. Toaster Oven $15 max.
2) Feed money to purchase, plus basic fee, in advance.
3) You will receive your items, a detailed receipt, and your change.
4) You pay for the cost of the item, Plus the Basic Fee: $10 for the service, plus $1 per item found. If it is a group of items ie. baby clothes or shirts etc., then that fee is usually $5 per garage sale. ie. I find 10 baby outfits at one garage sale, you would only pay $5 service fee for the group, not a $1 per item ($10).
5) If it is something large, like a piece of furniture or a bike, I will take a picture with my cell phone, text it to you, and if you reply in the affirmative, I will purchase the item and have them hold it for you with a sold sign. Then you would make your own arrangements to pick it up.
5) If you are interested, click on the Contact Me button.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The importance of Jaw development in reducing Ear infections

If your child suffers from ear infections, here's one practitioner you normally wouldn't think of that could really help: your dentist!

Breastfeeding, Bottles and Pacifiers: The Importance of Jaw Development on Reducing Ear Infections
by Brenda Barnetson, C.M.T.

In my eleven years of teaching 3-6 year old children in a Waldorf Kindergarten, ear “infections” were by far the most common cause of illness, antibiotic medication, and absence. “…acute otitis media is the most common disease for which pediatricians prescribe antibiotics.” (Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection, 2001) This inflammation of the inner ear is commonly thought to result from bacterial or viral infections, but studies show that this is usually not so! In a report published in the April 1996 issue of Clinical Otolaryngology, “Global studies show that up to 75% of ears that seem infected are not. As few as 25% of seemingly infected ears actually have disease-causing bacteria or viruses in them.”

How have we gotten to such a high rate of ear inflammations in our infants and children? Multiple causes may include diet, vaccinations, suppressing every fever, etc., but two current practices in child-rearing stand out: Bottle Feeding and Pacifiers! Numerous reports in scientific journals point to the benefits of breastfeeding in helping the jaw and airway to develop properly. The Handbook of Facial Orthopedics, 1982, states: “During breast suckling, the undulating rhythmic elevation and lowering of the jaw stimulates lower jaw growth, during the most rapid period of jaw growth.”

And what do bottle-feeding and pacifier use do? The opposite. Both put exactly the wrong backward forces on the jaws during this main formative period of jaw development! A 1991 article in The Journal of the Canadian Dental Association describes the strong association between exclusive bottle-feeding and malocclusion. The strong sucking forces on a bottle or pacifier constrict the palatal bone that holds the teeth. The restricted, small upper jaw then prevents the lower jaw from growing and moving forward.

Pediatricians could take note of what veterinarians have long known: anatomy plays a huge role in rates of ear infection. Different breeds of dogs have differing rates of ear infections. We humans vary greatly in jaw and ear anatomy—though we’re not as visibly different as a basset hound and a boxer!

Jaws form the gateway to the airway, and jaws and airways are getting smaller. Most people have jaws averaging 1/4 inch too small to fit the wisdom teeth. It’s thought that diet, infant feeding practices and common orthodontic extraction techniques are to blame. And there is a direct relationship between small upper airway size and asthma, respiratory disorders, obstructive sleep disorders, hypertension and heart disease. Breast-feeding, or suckling, helps both upper and lower jaws to develop and grow in the way nature intended.

Functional Jaw Orthopedics (FJO), a new and progressive form of orthodontics, involves, according to David C. Page, DDS in Your Jaws, Your Life, “…changing the relationships of teeth, bone, muscles and tissues of the upper and lower jaws, jaw joints and skull…. The FJO approach treats teeth and jaws starting at birth—to manage growth, development and deformation.”

Dr. Bruce Johnson, DDS, leads an interdisciplinary Dental Cranial Orthopedic Study Group in the Los Angeles area (of which the author of this article is a member). He states, “Dentists that practice Functional Jaw Orthopedics have long known about the relationship between jaw function and ear problems. Otitis media, the problem seen most frequently in young children, is much like a juvenile TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problem. Relieving children of this problem is one of the simplest tasks we do. Despite the simplicity of treatment, and the rapid response to treatment (usually overnight), the medical community continues to be unaware of, or refuses to acknowledge, the dentist’s role in treating it.”

A great deal of research shows the broad potential health applications of FJO. In the Spring 1998 Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry, a case report was published titled Minimizing otitis media by manipulating the primary dental occlusion. Papers have been published showing FJO maxillary expansion’s effect on chronic bedwetting, and research shows that palatal expansion helps approximately 80 percent of mouth breathers to breathe through their nose. Research published in pulmonary medical journals shows that FJO oral devices can treat sleep apnea and reduce the need for throat surgeries and positive airway pressure devices.

CranioSacral Therapy, a light-touch manual therapy developed by osteopathic physician Dr. John Upledger, is also successfully used in treating otitis media. It helps remove restrictions and tension in the membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The CranioSacral Therapy practitioner uses gentle manipulation of the bones of the skull, including jaws and teeth, to relieve pressure, correct alignment, and improve eustachian tube function. This treatment often helps the tubes to assume a position from which they can drain on their own.

CranioSacral Therapy practitioners, working together with FJO dentists, orthodontists, chiropractors, osteopathic and medical doctors, can, we believe, evaluate and correct airway and jaw development problems before they become lifetime burdens.

Brenda Barnetson, C.M.T., is a CranioSacral Therapy practitioner in the Los Angeles, CA area. She can be contacted at Bruce Johnson, DDS, can be contacted at To obtain a copy of “Your Jaws, Your Life,” visit Dr. Page’s website at

Holistic Family Websites

Here are some websites that I think are interesting that deal with the holistic way of looking at things. - groups of parents with similar thinking - healthcare resource - World patient association for Natural Health - Family Wellness - Pathways magazine - groups and articles on families - holistic moms network - living green - Holistic pediatric association

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My take on the Fall 2008 TV season *updated*

Mentalist to me just seems to be a rehashed Profiler. But as I was a big fan of Profiler/Pretender, this works for me. But they need to hurry up and introduce the scary serial killer taunting Jane thing.
Also, what's the deal lately with every show having a strip joint scene? Especially shows like Bones and Numbers which high school teachers are suppose to recommend to their students. It just seems awkward to recommend shows that then has gratuitous sexual connotations.
Update 2009 - boy, I'm not kidding - so many strip joint scenes in so many different shows! Its absolutely ridiculous! Its like they are trying to advertise that strip joints are perfectly acceptable places to go, and everybody should want to go to one. Ugh.

I really liked both Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone. I'm sad that these great shows are being cancelled. But I just didn't know where the romantic storyline was headed...would there ever be a "cure" for Chuck? Maybe they'll address this in the comic books.

Smallville has gotten so much better. I think this is the best season since the first season. I love all the Superman references, and am relieved that they are finally following the legend storylines. Does anyone else notice that when Tom Welling plays a deliberate superman reference, he always gives a Tom Welling grin at the end, not his Clark Kent one? I think that's funny.

Shows I love/can't miss this year: Chuck, Terminator, Prison Break, Fringe (but it needs a bit more romantic innuendo), Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Life on Mars (favorite new show for both hubby and me - also if he falls in love with Annie, will he not want to ever wake up? 2009 - loved the ending! watch this on netflix dvd!), Smallville (loads better than sorry last season), The Office (Go Jim and Pam!), Life, Top Chef.

Shows I'm disappointed in this season and hope will get better soon: Ugly Betty (where's the love angle? and Mark cheating was just pitiful), Criminal Minds*, Bones (breaking up Hodgins and Angela sucked), Ghost Whisperer (jim dying then coming back as other actor -seriously? can someone say General Hospital here?)

*Ok, I will admit that I'm beginning to really like the Ghost Whisperer set-up - it allows for some very romantic angst-ridden episodes - and those are my favorite type of episodes. So go writers! Keep creating all that romantic mushiness! *1/29 I think these last few episodes are the best ever - Who knew it could be so delicious putting a ghost inside someone else? May 2009 - what's the deal though with the 8 weeks pregnant - Jim only died 6 weeks ago? A lot of stuff happened in just 6 weeks! I think that's a bit unbelievable. And if they get married in two weeks, people in town are suppose to believe that Melinda marries this stranger eight weeks after Jim dies? Who does that? Talk about town gossip! It would be way more believable if she was 12 weeks pregnant.

*Hey, I actually know the episode names of my favorite Criminal Minds episodes - they are rerunning two of them this week, which reminded me of it. Lucky, Penelope, Lo-Fi and Mayhem. Great stuff! See, this is a team-oriented show like Bones - this is what Eleventh Hour needs. Speaking of Bones, what's the deal moving it all over the place? Its like they are trying to kill it deliberately - no! this is a good show! I really like how they are amping up Bones and Boothe's relationship - finally, about time! We don't want a forever Who's the Boss situation here.

Show I'm cautiously optimistic about: Crusoe - love the set, and the flashbacks. Am wondering what they are going to do though for a few seasons stuck on that island. I want to see what is happening with his wife and children while he is on the island. I wish they would run a concurrent storyline or something. That would be more interesting/satisfying. * I've heard they have canceled this show. Its a shame, because really, this was a clean show. Its the type of show that you could safely allow your pre-teens to watch - it was just a really fun ride. I still think if they had done a concurrent storyline of the wife/kids it would have been more successful.

*1/29 I'm so glad that they continued Crusoe on Saturday nights, and that they are now running a concurrent storyline with the wife. I know that this show is canceled which is a shame because its one of those true 80's style adventure shows that you can safely watch with your family.

Shows that need a great deal of improvement: Eleventh Hour - a show about science as Numbers is about numbers - but where's the cast? This show needs way more people. *1/29 I'm finding this show more and more boring. I feel like I make myself watch it. I can't believe this show is in the top 20 - it needs more characters. I'm tired of just Hood and Rachel. Boring!

I actually wrote part of the above on my favorite TV watcher site - Maureen Ryan, who writes for the Chicago Tribune. And she published one of my comments on her blog. :)

Check it out: Maureen Ryan's Blog

Conversations I've had lately about TV:

I love Chuck! Its such a great new-fashioned 80s kind of show. It reminds me of Scarecrow and Mrs. King quite a lot. And I loved/love that show so I think this one is great!
I think I watched 3 seasons of 7th heaven and then got really tired of all the gossip and tattle-tailing. Don't they know that gossip is a sin? ;) I would be busting those little behinds so much on the sarcasm and tattle-tailing alone! ;)
I've got 2 House episodes on my Dvr too right now! People everywhere are complaining of how its become a 13 show, more than a House show. I think these last 2 episodes are suppose to be even more 13ish.
I watched all 6 seasons of 24 two summers ago. I don't know how I'm going to watch it where you have to wait week by week. I don't know if I can do it!
Ah, the angst that is Jack. I think they should just call some syndrome Jack angst. We all know what they would be talking about. I just want to take that man and put him in a rocking chair up in a cabin in the mountains with hummingbird feeders, a glass of lemonade, and the book of Psalms in his cozy blanket-covered lap. He so needs a mental retreat.
I watched the first season of Heroes, but then got bogged down on episode 3 last year. I think I'll just wait till they have all the seasons, and then watch them all in a short time frame on dvd.
Smallville is so much better this season. The creators finally left, so they have more lee-way to do more superman stuff. This is the season that die-hard fans who actually watched/got through the last 2 seasons have been waiting for! Lang is out - Lane is in - Kansas is out - Metropolis is in - farm boy clark is out - newspaper superman is in! so so so much better! *Argh! Not Lana again! She is too dark-natured for Clark - she has too many secrets - and she doesn't always do the right thing. How they portary Lois on this series is that she is true-blue - always has your back, always loyal, always caring, always wanting to find out the truth and help others. That is a good companion for Clark - two peas in a pod are they philosophically. Which is why I've always liked the Lois and Clark dynamic in all the series. Lana is poison, go away.

for the comment on Channel 13: Sorry Dawn. I've already seen all the British comedies they still air years ago, and I'm not one for Masterpiece Theater. I wouldn't mind seeing the British version of Life on Mars though.... and I am a big (new) Dr. Who fan though I'm too nervous still to watch the last five episodes of last season. I'm working up to it. And I was a big BBC Robin Hood fan until the end of the second season - they really jumped the shark/made it completely ridiculous on that one. I don't see how that series is suppose to go on, its like Prison Break without Sarah, completely dismal.

Now, if you are talking about Kids shows on Channel 13 - I'm all for that! I like most of the ones that have phonics built in, like Word Girl and Between the Lions. I also like Curious George. I don't like Caillou or Arthur because I think those kids teach bad habits and are too smart-alecky. I like how they reran Wishbone for awhile. Here's a link where you can buy Wishbone. I like ioffer - I find all kinds of great kids shows on that website. I wish PBS would rerun Bill Nye - I would show that show to the fifth graders in my library, and their science test scores would go up. Out of all the science shows out there (see links for purchase) - Crash Bang Splat, Beakman's World, Magic School Bus - Bill Nye is the best. But Disney owns it now, so their version on DVD is $3000 and who on earth can afford that? So of course, PBS doesn't air Bill Nye anymore. Which is a real shame considering how much they all say they want America to be more science education oriented.......

My comment on Prison Break:

August 16th, 2008: I just watched for the first time all 3 seasons on Dvd these past two weeks. I just knew Sara couldn't be dead. Season 3 really suffered without her in it because it was more of a guy's show - more gruesome, more violent, more gritty and despairing, less heart. I am so glad she'll be back - I think she'll really improve the show and the ratings. Sorry to all you commenters that are guys out there who don't care about personal relationships as long as something gets blown up, but us girls like our happy endings and a good developed relationship. This show was beginning to look like 24, and I really didn't want Michael turning into the tortured angst that is Jack. Give him at least some relief - and I think that can be accomplished with Sara's return. Thank you producers for bringing her back, I look forward to being a new primetime viewer fan for this fall, and will continue to be so as long as nothing happens to Michael and Sara.

My comment on Dollhouse:

May 5, 2009 - Joss is always great with Scooby Gang camaraderie, but I get tired of him always making relationships fall apart - which is what he always does - either violently or gradually eroding - which is always disappointing to me. To me that is what is always a bit off in all his series - there is no real love between any of his characters, and you definitely see that in the Dollhouse. The Dollhouse is his ultimate fantasy where no one truly cares about anybody else. He's said several times in interviews that he doesn't believe in true love or lasting monogamous relationships, and boy does it ever show in his series. I really think that this philosophy of his really hurts his shows and why they can only find a cult following that tends to like to watch love angst. Most of us get wrung out by watching all these relationships eventually blowing up. The only episode where he allows love to truly shine is when Zander saves Willow from blowing up the world. But he deliberately made that love impossible several seasons earlier - he just likes blowing up any type of love connection, and it just gets a bit draining/frustrating.*
Terminator is also a great show, but it also needs a non-blowing up love connection. Which it could accomplish in its new future twist. Joss Whedon should stick with movies, and Fox should bring back the Terminator instead.

*my 3 favorite Buffy episodes are ones with more of a love angle - the snow falling on Angel and Buffy, Zander saving Willow, and the Musical one.

My comment on Glee:

Several problems:
One, too much happened in the pilot - it was on a helium fast plot with not enough characterization - it would have been better if this first episode had been more drawn out in two hours so that the characters weren't so two dimensional.
Second, I thought this was going to be a summer show. If I had known it wasn't going to air until the fall, I would have waited to watch the pilot in the fall. I think this is a dumb move on Fox's part - to give the pimp spot after American Idol to a show that isn't going to air again for 3 months. People have notoriously short attention spans, and only those who truly love high school based shows, and/or musicals will tune in next fall. However, if they would continue to air it this summer and into the fall, they might have truly had a good chance at a summer sensational hit. I hope that waiting till the fall won't kill the show. I personally love musicals, and hope this one won't disappoint.
Three, the satirical and preachy part of it was actually really annoying. I wish they would play it more real and less Office/Scrubs- like. Not quite as saccharin as High School Musical, but at least more upbeat and likable. Its like they tried to put together the entire moral lesson of High School Musical in the last 15 minutes of the show. That made it superficial and stereotypical. I hope the show will improve when they finally do decide to air it again.

Comment about American Idol Finale Performance:

What I absolutely hated was how Idol set them up to fail with that last song - completely the wrong song for both of them - they both had major trouble with it - it was in the wrong key and way too fast - they couldn't even catch their breath. What should have happened was that they both should have been allowed to make their own arrangement of the song to fit their voices - which the judges have been praising them for all season. But because Kara wrote it, they weren't allowed to rearrange it. I wouldn't be surprised if Kara doesn't become a laughingstock because of those lame lyrics and even lamer arrangement. The whole thing was just really sad, and definitely wasn't a blow-out, ear-popping wow performance that the last song should have been. Sigh. I think the only decent "last" song that Idol ever made was Kelly's Moment like This - and even that song is only special because of the way Kelly sang it. Next time, the performers should write their own songs and perform them - then we'd really see what kind of artist they really are.