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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Keeper of the Home has moved- click here to find my new blog site!

Last weekend, I went to my favorite place to buy my children’s clothing! I shop at a local children’s swap meet, where there are over 100 tables of other local moms, selling their used children’s and infants clothing, shoes, toys, strollers, etc. It is a phenomenal place to get everything you need for your kids for the next season, all under one roof, all on one morning. It’s a long anticipated, and carefully planned event for me, as I want to make the most of each opportunity. I try to go about 3-4 times a year, depending on my children’s needs as they outgrow their clothes.

Without further adieu, here are my finds:

Clothes from kids swap

For my almost 3 year old daughter:

4 dresses/jumpers (one Gap and one Next- very nice quality, and two others that are for everyday)

2 skirts (Children’s Place and Bum Equipment)

2 dressy shirts- one short sleeved Old Navy, one long sleeved Gymboree)

3 casual long sleeved shirts (Old Navy, Children’s Place)

1 knit sweater

2 pairs two-piece winter pajamas

1 pair Osh Kosh suede-look winter boots

1 pair Gap khaki pants

For my 5 mth old son:

1 pair corduroy Please Mum (excellent Canadian brand) overalls

3 long sleeved casual shirts (all Old Navy and Please Mum)

1 long sleeved button up shirt (Children’s Place)

1 knit sweater (Old Navy)

2 onesies

1 pair soft leather booties (ugly laces, so I’ll replace those for $1)

1 corduroy fall/winter jacket

And, I got a brand new $9 sleeper (with the tags still on it) for $0.50 that I will use as a baby shower gift. (

Grand total (drum roll, please…):

$53.00!!!

Here are my basic swap meet rules:

1) I don’t pay more than $5 for any one item, no matter how nice.

2) I always remind myself that no matter how nice those $9 baby Gap jeans are, there is another table selling something similar for half the price, and I need to leave quickly (before I loose my resolve!) and go find it!

3) I always, always, always barter. And it works best if I can find more than one item at a table, so that I can group the items together and offer a lump sum for all of it. People are more likely to accept this, as it feels like they are making more money, and they are selling several items at once that they might otherwise not sell.

4) I plan ahead (for weeks, sometimes), going through my kids current clothes, looking through the bins and bags of clothing in the next sizes up to see what they already have, determining what they truly need for each new season, and then making a detailed list. At several points during my swap meet morning, I will get out that list to check off what I have already bought, and determine what items I need to still keep an eye out for.

5) I put in my pocket the specific amount of cash that my husband and I have budgeted for the needed clothing. Nothing more. When that money runs out, I’m done. If I finish checking off items on my list before it runs out, I get to have fun!

I love to challenge myself each time, to see whether I can get even better deals and get more for my money than the last time! On a side note, although I also use garage saling and thrift stores for my clothing purchases, I prefer the swap meet because there is so much under one roof, and it’s rarely hit and miss. I can always count on a good selection of all the things that I need, and I don’t waste precious time hitting stores or garage sales that don’t have what I am looking for. That said, I’ve often found great deals in both places, so I never rule them out as options.

For more great more saving tips, check out Super Saver Saturdays at Crystal’s blog.

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Keeper of the Home has moved- click here to find my new blog site!

I often make discipline about me. My frustration, my desire for a particular behavior, my anger, my sense of justice, my convenience, my level of energy.

When life feels simple and the day is flowing smoothly, the chores being accomplished, no major crises happening, the baby’s not crying, and I feel overflowing with love and tenderness for my children, discipline is about training them up, presenting the Gospel to them, nurturing them and little else.

But when it’s 4:49 and I’m trying to thaw the chicken that I forgot to take out that morning, and the baby just spit up his entire feed (all over me), and my socks keep sticking to the honey that was spilled at breakfast that morning, and the phone is ringing off the hook, and I’m supposed to bring snack to caregroup that night (which I forgot about until 3:00 this afternoon), and my husband calls to say that he’ll be late, and then the need for discipline arises, I must confess, it often becomes about me, and not my love for my child.

In my frazzled state of being, my natural tendency is to resort to discipline as punishment. And yet the purpose of disciplining is not to punish, but it is to restore, to bring my child back under the authority and blessing of God.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” Hebrew 12:5-6 (italics mine)

Last night, I attended the third in a series of courses on parenting, hosted by our church. The series is The Case for Kids and is based on the book Shepherding Your Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp. God was so kind to remind me of these concepts, of the love that God has for his children when he disciplines them, just as my discipline is meant to stem from my love for my children. As he says in the course,

“Discipline is us delighting in our children. It’s us loving our children too much to leave them in the place of danger.” Tedd Trip, The Case for Kids

The place of danger, of course, is where they are out from under the authority and blessing of God, who instructs them to obey and honor their parents. And so it’s not about me at all, but rather it’s about me restoring my children to the rule of God in their lives, loving them enough to do the difficult work of Biblical correction so that they can be in right relationship with God.

I’m so thankful that God loves me enough not to leave me in my very human, very sinful state. He loves me enough to continually chasten and correct me, as He sanctifies me and molds me into the image of Christ. I pray that I will learn to imitate that kind of love as I raise up these precious lives that He has entrusted to me.

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