One of the most expensive aspects of parenthood is clothing constantly growing children. Purchasing (or making) good quality clothing ensures it will last for more than one season and child but the costs can still be extravagant. At the beginning of each season I visit a couple of op shops (opportunity shops, also known as thrift shops overseas) to put together a wardrobe for my daughter. The op shops usually oblige with sturdy items that have been outgrown before they were worn out. I have an aversion to the sickly pink that tends to smother the girls section but beautiful and quirky items always turn up. Many still have the original tags attached- unwanted gifts or thoughtless purchases that were never needed. Plain basics such as leggings and singlets are often harder to come by, perhaps because they are worn out completely, and these I source from the usual channels.
Today I popped into a local St Vincent De Paul shop for a quick browse of their kids’ section. Although I only do two big shops a year I find a quick browse when I pass by an op shop often turns up great pieces one would otherwise miss. Today was just such a day.
Woollen cardigan with country scene (including sheep- my daughter loves sheep!) $8
Denim overall/pinafore dress $5
Floral corduroy dress $3
White kaftan-style top with blue embroidery (never been worn, new with tags) $4
Pink bangle with strawberries $3
I also picked up a lovely peach bangle for myself for $4. It matches a pair of earrings I already own perfectly.
A pretty good bag of bargains if I do say so myself! I’m hoping the new bangle will mean my darling daughter will stop “borrowing” mine and the new additions to her wardrobe will certainly extend its wear. Apart from the cardigan the other pieces are rather trans-seasonal. They can be warmed up with long sleeved tops and leggings/stockings in winter and in warmer weather worn on their own, or with short sleeved tops, and bare legs/shorts.
The other wonderful aspect of op shopping is the environmental benefit. It is so much better to reuse what is already out there before purchasing something new. It saves resources and energy and challenges our preoccupation with having the newest and best.
Do you frequent your local op shops? What are the best bargains you have discovered?
Baking with kids is a great way to get them interested in where food comes from, introduce measurements such as weight, volume, and temperature, and keep those little hands busy on rainy days. As the attention span of a toddler isn’t particularly long these River Cottage Ten-minute Chocolate Chip Cookies are perfect for making, baking, and devouring before they lose patience and concentration. The recipe can be found online here or in the River Cottage Everyday and Family cookbooks.
What do you think of my new recipe book stand? We have wanted one for a while now after using the one at my parents’ place but haven’t been able to agree on a design or find one appropriate for our budget. The other day I had to pick up a parcel from the Post Office and when we arrived the queue was out the door! I normally avoid the peak periods by going either side of lunch time during the week but this was a Saturday morning and I wasn’t early enough to beat the crowds. Apparently I was meant to run late that morning because whilst I was standing in that queue my eyes browsed the shelves of envelopes and knick-knacks and what do you think I spied? Why a lovely recipe book stand on the very bottom shelf of course! I picked it up to check the price and I saw the sweetest thing, a big red ‘reduced’ price tag. That’s right, the previously $39.95 recipe book stand was now $6.99. Success!
There are few pleasures as delicious as licking the bowl and spoon after baking. It’s also a great way to get little ones out of the kitchen for a couple of minutes while you restore some semblance of order! I’ve heard some people wont let their kids lick the bowl for fear of getting sick from raw egg but as long as your eggs are fresh there really isn’t anything to worry about. There are plenty of things we eat that contain raw egg- homemade mayonnaise for example. Let them enjoy this childhood treat, it will surely feature in their memories.
When this batch came out of the oven the biscuits had spread so much I couldn’t fit them in my biscuit jar and had to resort to using my Great Great Aunt’s beautiful casserole dish. Of course they didn’t last long so airtight storage wasn’t a big concern. These were so good I might just have to bake another batch right now! Do you have a favourite recipe for rainy day baking or keeping the kids entertained?