Category: Everyday Life

The Token in My Pocket

Summer vacation for us means that we’ll most likely find more of these little things lying around.


Our kids are drawn to those penny-smashing machines like a bee is to a flower. The gears. The pictures to choose from. The huge hard-to-turn crank. The penny-in, penny-out magic never gets old. The kids will carry these smushed down pennies with them wherever they go- in the car, on their bikes, and sometimes even wrapped in their little hands as they fall asleep.

By the time fall comes, these pennies will be forgotten. Sometime in late August, I will gather them all up from under the couch cushions and behind beds, and put them in their memory boxes, small tokens of the fun we had together.

As 3 of the 4 kids bound off to school, however, their pockets will not be empty. With the new school year comes a need for a different kind of token. A reminder of home. A reminder that someone loves them. A reminder that they aren’t alone, even when they’re on the playground and may not know who to play with or what to do. In the morning, if they need it, I’ll slip a penny or a note or a small picture into their pocket or backpack, telling them that if they get sad or lonely, they can feel for it and think of me.

I carry a different kind of token. It’s not physical and it isn’t in my pocket. Instead, I carry it around in my heart, and I touch it to ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of my purpose and my calling, especially when I feel bored or forgotten or insignificant in the mundane, day-to-day routine. While Scripture is not something to take out of context and use to make us feel good, sometimes choosing one verse of Scripture to hold onto (while knowing and understanding its place within the chapter, book, and whole story of Scripture) is incredibly powerful.

This month over at the Graham Blanchard blog, the Mom Mentors and I are sharing some of those tokens that we hold onto during our current season of life. We live in very different spaces and places, but we all have found that holding onto certain passages of Scripture helps us to persevere, find joy, be reminded of our calling, or simply keep our head above the crashing waves. Here’s what I shared, but please feel free to go on over and read more of the others’ if you want. 🙂

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  – 1 Corinthians 10:31.

I’ve been a stay at home or work from home mom for nearly 8 years (with a 1 year exception), and sometimes I feel, well, tired of being at home all the time! On occasion I am tempted to believe that my work caring for kiddos at home is not as Kingdom-building as some other things I could be doing if I was working outside the home. It’s during these seasons that I hold on to this verse, which reminds me that God asks me to glorify Him in WHATEVER I’m doing, even in those tasks that feel quite mundane. This verse also brings my attention back to the overarching call on my life to be a whole-life worshipper, and reminds me that I can do that ANYWHERE, especially in my own home.  So, when that feeling of restlessness begins to saturate my mind, this verse and ones like it helps me to regain perspective and patience.

What’s the passage or verse of Scripture in your pocket this season? 

A Day in the Life {June 17th}

This summer schedule is wee bit more than I bargained for.

The first day was a bit hectic, but by day 3, we’re grooving.


Today was my day to sleep in (yay!) so I (slowly) rolled out of bed around 7:30. I was up WAAAAY too late finishing up the last book of the Harry Potter series, and even at 7:30, it was still absolutely worth it.

Jake went out to work around the building, and I ate breakfast and got all of us dressed and backpacks packed for the various camps.

Ada was the first one to drop off at camp, and we spent a few minutes at the park before I met a woman at 10:00a to sell her some of our cloth diapers (we’re done, we’re done!). Asante and I played a couple games of tetherball, which was awesome and brought me back to my elementary playground days (expect in those days I was awful at tetherball, mostly because I was so short, but do you know who was REALLY good? A guy named Marcus Barringer. Tetherball champion).

After the diaper exchange (where we laughed together about “meeting up in the grocery store parking lot, making sales”, ha!), we headed to a different park where we played and hung out for an hour or so, and then swung by the library on our way home. I intended to just pick up a few books on hold, but the kids wanted to go in so we came out with WAY too many books (I didnt even bring a canvas bag to carry them all in! doh!), but with very happy kids.



With hungry tummies, we headed home, I made a quick picnic lunch and then we all walked to the pool to pick up Ada, and then had our picnic lunch. I accidentally started an awesome routine of reading them Bible stories on our picnic, and today was The Persistent Widow. The kids were surprised that they could “pester” God with their prayers. Ada commented that if they did that to me and Jake, we would not be very happy. “You guys don’t let us have something if we pester you.” True story. Parents, think about that one 🙂




After the picnic, we walked to Asante’s camp, dropped him off, and then headed back home. I put Anaya down for a nap while Jake took a break from reading and set the girls up with listening to stories with their new headphones (seriously love these- my house is QUIETER). I  was able to finish up a blog post and answer some emails before Anaya woke up after a short hour nap. This could have been because the girls decided to make a laboratory in the bathroom and kept on shutting and opening the door to get more “ingredients”. 🙂

So, Anaya and I played a bit and then walked to pick up Asante from camp, leaving the girls in their upstairs laboratory. When we got home, Jake took the kids over and I was able to spend some time doing internet errands, as I like to call them, as well as a little bit of reading.


Around 4:45, I packed a quick picnic dinner and we headed to Asante’s flag football camp. The school where it’s located has an AWESOME playground, so we decided to take the whole family. Everyone had a great time!


Finally, when we got home, we showered the kiddos and got them to bed. It was Jake’s turn to put Anaya to bed, so I showered and came down to my desk to do some more blogging, answer more emails, and request some books from the library (Aly is getting into bird and wanted me to find some field guides for kids).

Whew! After a bit more time online, I’ll read before bed. I started Siblings Without Rivalry today and its really good so far. I think exactly what I need right now with the summer stretching indefinitely in front of us :).

What’d you do today?!

What We’re Up to This Summer {Parent’s Edition}

On Tuesday I shared about what the family is up to this summer— mostly the kids.

But, behind the scenes, Jake and I got all kinds of business going on.


While finished with classes, Jake will be “independently studying” all summer and into next semester. Basically this means he’ll be reading at least 8 hours a day, getting ready for the exams that doctoral students take after they are finished with their coursework and ready to start their dissertation research. He’ll also be working on his dissertation proposal and then IRB approval, in hopes that he’ll be ready to start in the field researching come January 2016. I’m really proud of him. He’s pushing the pace and everyone is quite amazed that he’s been able to be a TA (50%), take 9-12 hours of doctoral classes each semester, and still be involved in our day-to-day family life.

IMG_4544As for me, other than running this summer ship, I have some fun projects I hope to work on:

  1. Learn the countries of the world with Asante. We tried it last summer, and got a good chunk of them. We need to revisit those and also learn the ones we haven’t done yet.
  2. Finish up Ada’s 0-1 year scrapbook, which is a physical scrapbook. After this, I’ll be caught up with all the kids’ scrapbooks. This is a big deal for me. Once upon a time, I considered this may not actually be a doable goal. 🙂
  3. Create our family’s 10 Year scrapbook, which will be digital. We’re thinking a coffee table type scrapbook with highlights from our first decade as a family. I have it generally mapped out, but the hard part will be digging and finding those digital photos from the first 5 years.
  4. Catch up on Journey through Scripture reading plan. I was doing so well, and then May came, and well, it all fell apart. It’s never too late to catch up. If I can read a 700 page Harry Potter book in a weekend, I can catch up on some Bible reading, yes?
  5. Running. Last year I was well into my half marathon training by now. I loved it. It was so good for me. I haven’t run since that half marathon, and I’ve been feeling the effects of it. I’d love to start running a few mornings a week, as would Jake. We have a plan ready, but we’ve been pushing back the start date. Next week.
  6. Summer Reading Programs. Here in Madison they do a couple summer reading programs for adults too, and I’m ALL INTO THIS. Last year I won a gift certificate to a chocolate store and Jake won an amazon gift card! I totally geek out on this.
  7. Finish up the Harry Potter series. I have 2 more books to go!
  8. Simplifying Around the House. I’ve been prayerfully simplifying our house. We have so much stuff. I keep on simplifying and it all still seems like too much. I’ve gone through my wardrobe quite a bit. When I realized I could wear a different outfit everyday for a month, I just felt like it was time to trim back. I’ll keep on it this summer, hitting other parts of the house.


What are you up to this summer? Any summer goals or projects you’re excited about? 

What We’re Up to This Summer {Kids Edition}

While summer hasn’t actually yet started for us, I’m ready. The kids have 7 more days of school, which means I have 7 more days to finish getting things ready.


While I hear the recommendations of having a “70’s summer”, filled with Kool-Aid, playing outside all day, and a general lack of parental involvement (what will you mommas do with your time?! I am a bit jealous….), we live squarely in 2015 up here.

Day and Sports Camps

For June and July, Asante and Ada will each be doing a couple hours of camp each day right here in the neighborhood. Lots of kids, running around outside, playing games, a little swimming, maybe a field trip here and there. Aly decided to forego the camp (she highly dislikes activities that include competition and if she suspects any amount of competition, she is so out of there) and instead will be doing a couple summer school enrichment classes in subjects she LOVES: art and science. A couple evenings a week, Asante will be doing a basketball camp and a flag football camp. We aren’t able to manage a busy sports schedule during the school year (he only does soccer in both the fall and spring), so we’re using this summer to let him try out some other sports.


The schedules are all different, but everyone is within walking distance, so Anaya and I will spend a lot of time walking to and fro, eating picnic lunches, and playing on playgrounds.


When the older kids aren’t in their camps/classes, we’ll have a general schedule that we create together each weekend. I asked the kids if they wanted me to schedule blocks of time to do various things, or if they just wanted to fill their days how they wanted, and everyone, hands-down, wanted the schedule.


So, everyday we’ll have a devotional time in the mornings, and then when the kids aren’t in their daily camp, they will have some reading time, some artsy/crafty time for the girls (I think Asante will probably do chess during this time), a patch of screen time, a chunk of free time, and, a few times a week, some type of special project. The kids each have some things they’ve been wanting to learn or work on, so hopefully I can manage to learn some of those things along with them or at least get them the resources they need to teach themselves.


Summer Reading Programs

We’re doing a ton of different reading programs this summer. The kids are huge readers, and are typically finished with one reading program after a couple weeks :). So, this year we’ll be doing 3 different library’s reading programs, the Barnes and Nobles summer reading program, and also the one at Half Price Books. Two we’ll be doing simultaneously, but most will just be back to back. Really, the kids will read no matter what; they need no incentive, but they think it’s super fun to earn free books and tickets to baseball games, butterfly gardens, local farms and stuff like that. Of course Jake and I like them to do that too– because going anywhere with a family of 6 gets expensive fast!

Family Field Trips

Each week I have a family field trip planned. They are all places that we’ve wanted to go, but just don’t have the margin to do during the school year (do you see a theme? basically we’re really lame during the school year. The zoo is about as crazy as we get). Hopefully we’ll be headed to a small kid-oriented amusement park, a local cave, the butterfly gardens, a few splash pads, a pool, some beaches, the movies and a few outdoor hiking areas. Because the kids will be passing each other during the day, it’ll be fun to have some family time too.



August will feel more like summer vacation for us. We’ll go see the grandparents, have a week of vacation Bible school (3 of the 4 get to go this year!), a trip to the Dells, and a week to get our self organized for everyone to start the school year!

IMG_4344 IMG_4392

This summer really is going to fly by. I think we’re all looking forward to these 3 months off, and while we still have things going on, it’ll be so nice to have the kids around more often. Sure, they fight a lot more and that’s stressful to me, but really, I know these summers are numbered. When the kids are all in school (which will be in just a few short years), I’ll probably be going back to work outside the home and won’t have summers like this with them. I’m excited to spend it having fun and making memories!


May Loves

The kids only have a couple weeks left of school, and I’m getting totally antsy. It’s this weird stage of summer/but not yet summer. Jake’s finished with his semester, but the older kids are still in theirs. Is it summer? Is it not?

Anyway, onto May Loves. I love writing these posts! Not only do I get to share what I’m into with all of you all, but I think it also keeps me looking for the bright parts of my days and weeks.

Around the Webs


My friend and some of his friends just started a kewl new podcast- The Bible Bites Podcast. For 20 minutes, they talk all things Bible. They are a super great group of people and I like this because I CAN DO 20 minutes. Folding laundry, running, doing errands, laying in bed before falling asleep. 20 minutes.

Motherhood, Transformation by Interruption (featured on Her.Meneutics). Sarah Bessey shares how interruption, specifically as it relates to motherhood, has transformed her. Interruption happens– but the question is, how do we let it move us? Towards grace? Or towards bitterness? Sarah chooses grace again and again. I don’t always, so this was encouraging to me.

The Moral Bucket List (NY Times) — what if our bucket list focused less on our external ambitions and more on our internal character? Whew, a good one.

On my Bookshelf



I’m all up in a Harry Potter craze, bordering on slightly irresponsible. I may or may not have left household cleaning gone completely undone in exchange for a few more pages or chapters of reading through the Harry Potter series. I just finished book 5, and while book 6 is staring at me from my bookshelf, I MUST NOT START until I’m caught up on some other books and projects I was in the middle of before this madness began. It’s been a fun shared experience for Asante and I. He is going to read book 5, but stop there for a year or so (you can only imagine that he thinks that’s an awesome idea), because the content is just a little too mature for him at this point.



Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church is the other book I’m working on. Rachel Held Evans shares her story of drifting away from the church (but not from Jesus), and how she’s found her way back. It’s a beautiful, honest story. Her writing has matured greatly since her other books. I mean, I’ve liked her other books a lot, but this one takes a step forward. I should have a full review up by the end of next week.

Family Life



Jakey and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. Well, by celebrated I mean we did nothing fancy on the day of our anniversary. I’m pretty sure he was busy writing a paper for finals week and I feel asleep super early. BUT, a couple weeks later, our friends and neighbors offered to watch the kiddos while Jake and I went out to dinner. We went to a chinese buffet– we didn’t realize until we got there how perfect going there was! When we were dating “friends” for 3.5 years in college, we frequently went to this great Chinese Buffet in Columbia, MO called The Great Wall. This little date brought us back and made us laugh. 🙂 In a couple weeks we’ll be headed to Chi town for our REAL anniversary celebration- so excited!

We are SO close to being done with diapers. We’ve been diapering sweet baby bottoms for the past 7.5 years and I am happy, delighted, exuberant knowing that we’re on the homestretch. I even took Anaya out to Target in her undies- that’s how “almost done” we are. We’re good on daytime dryness, good on overnight and nap, but just got that, you know, other thing, to work on. After potty-training 4 kids, I’m convinced more than ever that potty-training is 95% child and 5% method.  


Finally, our Life Group had a great going away party for our dear friends and neighbors, the Gonzalez’s. We cooked brats, ate Wisconsin cheese and did a lot of laughing, talking, and I may or may not have cried at the end. While them moving away is NOT something I love about this month, I do love that we have a really great Life Group who really loves one another. 🙂

Happy May! Here’s to a great summer for all!  

Linking up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into party

When God meets you while reading your child a book about monsters

We read hundreds of picture books in a month. I pay attention the first 20 or 30 times that I read, but then after that, I tend to zone out and think about other things (please tell me I’m not the only one!). When I reach the end of the book, I have the same feeling that I get when I drive home on autopilot, surprised to see that I’m puling into our parking spot.

book cover

So, a few days ago Ada and I snuggled up on the couch, and I began to read a book called Marilyn’s Monster. I began reading, knowing nothing about the book and wasn’t really expecting much.

Some of at the kids in Marilyn’s class had monsters. It was the latest thing. Marilyn didn’t have a monster. Not yet. You couldn’t just go out and get one. Your monster had to find you. That’s just the way it worked.


Some of the kids woke up to have their monsters beside them, others on the playground or in the middle of class. One by one, her classmates got their monsters.

finding monsters

Marilyn began to get a bit restless and kinda-sorta began looking for hers, while trying to act as if she absolutely was not looking. Her friends were having so much fun with their monsters, and she wanted to experience that same thing.

Her parents tried to assure her that the monster would come, just to give it time.

Marilyn wondered if the monster got lost. Or saw her from afar and decided he didn’t want to be her monster after all. That was definitely it, she thought, so she began to do and be exactly what she thought a monster would want in a playmate. Neat, proper, kind… perfect.

After waiting and waiting and waiting, one day she got angry and decided she didn’t want to be  perfect and she wouldnt wait a second longer! Instead, she would just go look for him, even though that’s not how it was supposed to be. She looked for him at the library, under the bridge in the park, and in the woods, but no sign of her monster. She finally ended up in a big field and screamed at the top of her lungs:

where are you

And then, very softly, she heard a voice say,


She followed that small, quiet, but awfully clear, voice and she found her monster, up in a tree.

As I was reading, I was overcome with emotion, because I thought to myself- I can relate to her. Off and on over the past several years, I’ve felt that way about God. I see the happy clappy, I love Jesus, He gives me big wet kisses Christians, and I feel myself waiting. Waiting to feel that way again. Waiting to hear His voice clearly. Waiting to have the warm snuggly easy relationship with him, free of cares and full of presence. Waiting for my monster.

I keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Then I try to make myself better and more “presentable” to Him, thinking if I can do more good things, then maybe I’ll get those fuzzies back. More Bible studies. more worship songs, more giving, more serving.

Then I get angry and say, forget it. You can take me as me or don’t take me at all! I try and go find Him underneath new prayer techniques, refreshed journaling resolve, in the pages of my Bible reading plan, or on a jog through a scenic path. And then, still with that ache in my heart, I go to that huge, empty field, look up at the sky and yell,


And then, very softly, I sometimes hear a small quiet, and oddly clear voice say,


The journey of the soul is much messier than I ever imagined it would be.

April Loves

This month has absolutely flown by. Between birthdays, out-of-town visitors, and lots of schoolwork for Jake, we’ve had our days full to the brim.

April Loves

Two of my absolute favorite people had birthdays this month.


Aly turned 6.


Anaya turned 2.

IMG_7099We had a super fun party for Aly, invited some of her friends over for a woodland creatures party, and got her ears pierced. She rocked it; didn’t even flinch.

Anaya had no party, just a Curious George cake (above). Must be sad being the youngest and not getting crazy fun celebrations. When she’s older :). We got a slide for her room (consignment sale find!) and it’s the best gift ever. She (and Ada) have used it everyday. I like that it’s just one more way to be active when we have to be cooped up inside.

Three of my favorite PEOPLE came to visit this month.


Denise and Calvin. They came up to help celebrate the birthdays as well as enjoy our Spring Break with us. We did a lot of outside walking, exploring, biking, basketballing (a word, right?!) and a little ice cream eating :).

My momma. She came up also to celebrate birthdays as well as help me wrangle the kids while Jake was gone to an education conference in Chicago. She made the time go by so quickly. We also did a lot of outside stuff- zoo, park hopping, picnic-eating. We were busy having so much fun that I didn’t take any pictures.


Have I already written about these? I don’t even know, but if I did they are worth a repeat. These brussels sprouts have changed my life. Delicious. Healthy. Delicious. Aly and I eat them warm or cold (we prefer warm) and we will eat them anytime, anywhere. Aly asked for brussels sprouts for breakfast the other day. I mean, how could I say no?!

PicMonkey Collage

I do not shop for myself very often. If I have a few extra dollars in the clothes budget, it’s going to go to some clothes for the kids or for Jake. But, I realized that I really do need a few more pieces of clothes to replace some of my worn out clothes from my early college days (I’m not even joking; I keep clothes forever. If you see me on a regular basis, this won’t surprise you. Whatever. I’m a loyalist- I hang on to those I love UNTIL THE VERY END). All that said, I bought a shirt and dress online that I LOVE and FIT PERFECT. Dresses that fit me are kinda like unicorns- very rare. So, this dress in the picture looks like a super short dress. Well, lucky for me, because now I have a dress that hits just above my knee (I’m not even kidding).


I found this adorable book garland decorating idea for a party, but I think I’m going to use it for my house  in the kids’ room or above our bookshelves. How cute is this?!


Daring to Love Your Neighbor: A great challenging article. Daring to love our neighbors may be one of the keys to the world we wish for.

Sometimes, Kids Don’t Need to Share: I think this is an interesting article. More than just the sharing issue, I think this brings into light the fact that we sometimes really rush for our kids be nice and generous and selfless and all of those fantastic qualities… at the ages of 2 and 3 and 4 and 7, without really taking into consideration that they are still learning and growing and their brains are still very much developing. Ease up, momma. The training is long- we’re in for a marathon, let’s not make it a sprint.

Love and Merit: On loving our kids unconditionally- really, and allowing their successes and failures to be completely untied to our deep, affectionate, obvious love for them.

I, as a white mom of two black children, do not share Baltimore’s pain. Instead, I grieve with you: Jen Hatmaker takes on a slightly different kind of writing, and really brings truth to an incredibly difficult, complex situation. I must admit that when I read my first book by Jen, I liked it, but I told my book ladies that I’d probably not actually be her friend in real life. My love for her has only grown since that time, and I feel like she’s been so courageous in using her platform of influence to not back down on the hard issues.

Today I’m linked up with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into

March Loves

March is a fantastic month. Perhaps the best month of the year…. because it’s my birth month! I’m now THIRTY-TWO, but it’s totally fine and I’m coping with all the emotions that being in your 30s brings (What have I accomplished? I still have so much left to do! How in the world am I still renting? How in the world did I end up with 4 beautiful children who are going to all be in elementary school in only a few short years?!). No biggie.


My most favorite thing this month was my ultimate birthday date night. If you missed it, you can read about my epic 11 hour date here. It was so much fun and included all the things I love to do OR had been really wanting to do.


photo credit
photo credit

Over at SheLoves Magazine, they’re in this huge Dangerous Women series, and it has been my obsession this month. I love it…every single post… and I love what it does inside of me and also, I know, inside of hundreds of other women who think that the good life is the safe life. Heck no, techno! If you haven’t yet, I double dog dare you to read these posts (which are my favorites):



Last week Jake and I were finally able to watch The Theory of Everything, which is the story of the relationship between Stephen Hawking and his wife. I laughed, I cried, and cried some more. It is the best romantic comedy I’ve watched in a long time, and it was a perfect date movie- romance and science and geekiness. It’s in the RedBox.




On Spotify I found a music compilation that is perfect for my afternoon work/play time: You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music. Ada has been spending half of her “quiet times” downstairs, and she has a few favorites on here herself.


Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.22.26 PM

Finally, my Aly and I have spent some time on Pinterest together and it has been SO MUCH FUN. I can only see this leading to some really fun projects together. We’re brainstorming about her upcoming Woodland Creatures birthday party, and we’ve created this really fun board. Of course we’ll end up just using a couple ideas, but we’ve had fun discussing what we like and what we don’t like along the way.


 So that’s my March! What are some things YOU’VE been loving this month?! 

 Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into this month.

Rocking the Consignment Sale: Seller Edition


Perhaps you’ve shopped the sales…. but have you ever sold at them?

I used to think that selling at the sales was laborious and a waste of time… because would I really make that much money? Wouldn’t it take a super long time to price all my items? And I don’t even know where to start!

(Please note: This has been my consigning experience. Since all consignment sales are different, please be sure to carefully read your own consignment sale restrictions and guidelines. Some people only allow certain kind of hangers or certain kind of tags, etc.)


So okay, it does take some time to price everything, but I’ve found a few tricks that have really helped me streamline the process.

1. Collect items over time.

Over the course of several months, set aside clothes, toys, etc. that you no longer need/want. When you change the kids’ clothes from summer to winter or winter to summer, put the outgrown clothes in a box. When kids outgrow their shoes, pop those in the box too. Kids are always outgrowing toys– after your youngest kiddo moves on from soft blocks to duplos, put the soft blocks in the box. Hair accessories, swings, high chairs, cloth diapers, craft supplies, outdoor equipment, puzzles, games, etc.– you can sell it!

If you’re constantly adding to your box, then when the time for consigning comes around, you already have your stuff ready! Taking the “figure out what I’m going to sell” step out of the immediate process is HUGE and saves a ton of time.

My advice is to keep the box accessible enough that you can easily put things in it here and there, but also not in such a trafficked place that you get tired of seeing it and just give it to goodwill because YOU CAN’T STAND SEEING IT ANYMORE!

2. Sign up for the sale.

What sales are in your area? Get on their email list so that you know when it’s time for consigners to sign up! Take note of any consigner fees– factor that into whether or not you want to sell. I tend to only sign up for sales that are free, especially at first when I was trying to get a feel for how much money I’d make (it’s gotta be worth my time!).

3. Gather your supplies

You’ll want:
  • a TON of plastic hangers (if your consignment sale doesn’t provide these, you can visit kid stores for their plastic hangers. Or, if all else, Dollar Store sells kid hangers, 10 for $1). You can also ask friends and family! Most people have some plastic hangers they are looking to get rid of.
  • a box of gallon-size ziplock bags.
  • a roll of clear packing tape
  • a package of colored cardstock paper
  • a pack or two of safety pins

4. Organize your stuff and get it all ready.

Bring all of your stuff (boxed) out into a well-trafficked area. This is key, because you want to get so annoyed by it at this point that you just get it priced already! Ideally, this process should be contained to a weekYou’ll want it contained in boxes for a few reasons: 1.) So your kids don’t see things they “really love” and can’t possibly get rid of. “Wow mom, this is my favorite thing ever! Why are you selling it?!” and 2.) You’ll do this next part one box at a time.

Organizing means:
  1. Placing all of your clothes on plastic hangers.
  2. Placing all of your shoes into plastic ziplock bags.
  3. Organizing books into small sets that “make sense”. Place in ziplock bags or with strong rubber bands.
  4. Wrap any board puzzles in plastic wrap or ziplock bags.
  5. Make sure everything has working batteries. It will help your items to sell better if the buyer can know for sure that it works.


5. Start Pricing!

I’ve done this several different ways, and found that this way was the fastest:

  • Go through each item in ONE BOX and enter it online into whatever database your sale uses. Print out the tag on colored cardstock (colors catch people’s eyes! cardstock holds up really well!).
  • Cut the tags out and then attach them onto the items. For the clothes, you’ll want to pin the tags with safety pins, and other items, packing tape on top and bottom works out well. (but be sure to check your sale for any requirements– a couple are weird about what you can use).
  • Put everything back in the box and then put it out of sight!
  • Repeat with each box.

You may be thinking– wouldn’t it be easiest just to do alllll the entering, then alllll of the printing, then allllll of the attaching? It wasn’t for me. I found that searching for the “brown pants” is much easier when I have 40 items I’m searching through then when I have 120 items I’m searching through. This simple strategy cut my time almost in half!

As for pricing strategies, I’ve found that people go wrong when they get a little greedy. For consignment sales, think of a glorified yard sale. For clothes especially, don’t overcharge. For clothes 0-3T, I would suggest very little should be above $3.00 or $4.00 (for an outfit). 4T+ you can begin to price higher because there will be fewer items at the sale to choose from. ESPECIALLY for nice boys clothes, people will pay a lot more (up to 50% of the original price). I happen to have a boy that isn’t very hard on his clothes, which works out great for us!

Many of my items range from $1-$4 each, and I’ve made well over $100 (sometimes $200-$300) each sale with just a bunch of small items. I have really normal kid clothes- not a lot of name brands– many of them I’ve bought at kid consignment sales– so I pretty much get my money back when I sell them!

Typically I’m able to buy the kids’ next seasons’ clothes with the money I’ve made at each sale. For that, it makes it all worth it!

Next up- how to be a smart consignment sale buyer! 

photo credit:

My Epic Birthday Date

On Friday, Jake surprised me with an EPIC 11 hour date and it was FANTASTIC. I told him at one point that if we weren’t already married, I would have expected a marriage proposal by the end :).

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Because I turned 32, Jake planned 5 dates for just the two of us (us being math geeks, 2^5=32).

Date One

Jake took the little kids to the library as he normally does on Friday mornings (giving me the morning “off” to do whatever I want: writing, reading, crafting, etc.). At 11:00a I got a text from him, telling me that he was almost home and could I run up and get a paper by his bed. It was  an invitation to a date.

Put on your comfy clothes and join me for a party of two lunch at the official birthday place, followed by a fun board game.

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We ate at Nitty Gritty which is THE birthday restaurant here in Madison (balloons, free drink, free desert) and then played a board game at I’m Board (our favorite board game store where you can hang out in their back room and test out board games). We played Villagers and Villains, which was pretty fun– we tied!


Date Two

Get your work clothes on, get hydrated, and create at a Walk in, Make art studio with me.

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Afterwards, I found ANOTHER birthday invitation, this time inviting me to Sonic (yesssssss) and then to Fired Up Pottery, a make your own art store. We designed a glass piece (a swoop bowl) to be fused, and I just picked it up today. It turned out SO WELL, don’t you think?!



Date Three

Bundle up for the cold and put on your hiking boots. Let’s walk on water together and view the 1753 sunset from Lake Mendota.

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I’ve been wanting to walk on the lake all winter, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Jake made it happen! We had so much fun hiking out from picnic point so we could sit on a sleeping bag and watch the sunset from the middle of the lake. So romantic and fun!


Date Four

Time to get fancy. We’ll explore narrative in the Storybook exhibition.


We headed to the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown, and it was a great time. My favorite part was viewing a collection of art work done by art teachers of the Madison School District. Their work was INCREDIBLE. I’ve decided that my current favorite kind of artwork is mixed media.


Date Five

Dinner for two downtown, then home for the afterparty.


We ended up going to an Indian and Nepali restaurant. We ate the most delicious garlic naan with our main courses (I can’t even remember what I ordered but it was really good too). By the time we got home it was nearly 10:00p and we were EXHAUSTED. Jake had arranged for the kids to be at various houses for the day/night, so we had a kid-free house (which, by the way, was incredibly weird and fantastically relaxing). The next morning we woke to an alarm so that we could pick up all the kiddos by 9:00a, also unusual and I must admit I prefer being awoken by a child :).

By the way, how generous are those families who watched our kiddos and kept them overnight? I feel SO LOVED that people would say yes to that! They made our day/evening so wonderful!!! It takes a village, people, especially when family is a day’s drive away!

Thanks to my love for planning a great day and night!!