Shop Smarter, Not Harder: Barbies on a Budget

McKenzie is currently on a Barbie kick. Which is completely fine…but who knew those things are so dang expensive?! It’s at least $10 for one. In order to save a little dough, I went to our local Goodwill to check out what they available. And I lucked out! Over the course of a couple weeks, I was able to find enough Barbies for great imagination play. And at only $1.99 each, they definitely didn’t break the bank. Since she’s only 4-years-old, McKenzie could care less if it’s thrifted…a new toy is a new toy!

Some of the Barbies were naked, so we went to Wal-Mart and got them some new clothes ($3.27/each)…but most of them came with an outfit. So for between $1.99-$5/each she has a new barbie clan. We even lucked out and found a Barbie car for $1.99!

Also, in order to keep them looking nice and prevent their hair from getting tangled, I always put their hair in ponytails right away. Everything pictured cost about $25 (including the new clothes), which is at least 50% off what we would’ve spent if we bought ‘em new. If you don’t have a big selection at your local thrift store, always check Craigslist and eBay! You never know what you’ll find.

Here’s another example, too: McKenzie had been asking for a guitar for weeks and I found this one at Goodwill for $1.99! And hey, you won’t feel bad if your kid(s) wrecks it, since you got such a great deal. =)

What hurts more than giving birth?

Answer: This double ear infection. Like, not even kidding. Oh. My. Goodness. The pain was so excruciating that it made me physically sick…3 times. At least labor is a fleeting pain, with an awesome payoff. What do I have to show for all my pain this Labor Day? A ruptured f*%#ing eardrum. It’s been at least 48 hours of agony at this point, and pain meds (and I’m talking 2 Vicodin, here) do nothing. Yep. Worst Labor Day Weekend ever. Jon has been a saint caring for McKenzie all day by himself, as I lie in bed with an ear infection, terrible fever, and ruptured eardrum. Laaaaaame.

And McKenzie was the sweetest little princess all day. She would crawl into bed and try to make me feel better by stroking my face and hair. She tried leading me by the hand to her bathroom to get some of her “red medicine” (liquid children’s Tylenol) to “make you feel better Momma.” She is seriously the sweetest little kid ever.

It’s funny how your worst days can make you the most thankful for all the wonderful things in your life.

I’m not cheap…I’m thrifty!

Who likes to waste money? No one, that’s who. So whenever we visit California I always stop by the local Children’s Orchard to buy McKenzie “new” clothes. It’s a resale shop with children’s clothing and toys…and I LOVE it! Kids grow so quickly that their clothes stay in awesome shape. ((Check out the store locator on the home page to see if there’s one near you.)) I always go a little crazy and buy a ton of stuff… this visit, I got her ENTIRE winter wardrobe for around $80! Crazy, right? 6 pairs of pants, 6 shirts, 3 dresses, 1 pair of brand-new kicks. Yep. Momma did well! Here are my finds (and FYI, these are photos of the actual clothes I got her):

The brands for the jeans above are (left to right): Gap 1969, Genuine Kids, and Koala Kids. She only ever has about 2 pairs of jeans at a time. It’s all you really need.

These are all corduroy pants if you can’t tell from the picture (pink ones are actually thrifted from Goodwill). I love bright colored pants on kids…and they’re even popular on adults right now…not that I could wear her pants. Haha. Any-who, the pink ones are Genuine Kids and the other two are Cherokee. Sa-weet. That means that all 6 pairs of pants were under $30. They averaged $4.80/pair…for name-brand pants! Talk about a steal. ;)

And aren’t these dresses ridiculously cute?! The brands are (left to right): Old Navy, Gymboree, and the tags on the striped one were cut off…so if you know, leave a comment. ;) I figured that the red one will be for Christmas. The other two are just great fall/winter wardrobe staples. They could be worn with boots or shoes. =)

All the shirts I bought from Children’s Orchard were $3.99. The brands above are (left to right): Oshkosh B’Gosh, Jumping Beans, and Gymboree. The brands below are: Carter’s, Gap (obviously), and Jumping Beans. I love all the fun, bright colors!

Also, I always shop for shirts to match the shoes that she already has…like these ones from Target, which I found on clearance for $2.98. That way, I always know that her shoes will match her clothes, and I can dress her quickly without putting a lot of thought into it! Makes things super-simple.

Lastly, I found these amazingly cute Adidas shoes there…they are definitely brand new and they were only $7.99! They will match perfectly with the (3) new Adidas tracksuits that she got for her birthday from our good friend, Kim, in California!I hope this gave everyone some insight into how I shop for Kenzie…can you believe all of these clothes are used? Can’t you just see all the adorable combos of outfits we can do with these pieces? If you don’t have a Children’s Orchard near you, there are tons of private resale shops around, and I shop at Goodwill all the time! I’m very picky though (I won’t get clothes if they look too worn), and I shop for the look of the clothes, not the brand. And even check Craigslist! You can get great deals on kid’s clothes. So you see, guys, I’m not cheap…I’m thrifty. ;) Oh, and thanks for all the birthday wishes already on FB! Y’all know how to make a girl feel special.

[[All photos were taken by me in my living room! Not too shabby for my first time editing photos this way, right?!]]

[…] to let me pay him back. Baby B’s gift. Sweet. 3) I got tons of adorable baby clothes from my favorite resale shop when we were in California…onesies for 99¢! I went a little crazy. Maybe I’ll share my […]

Why did the cow cross the road?

McKenzie has been incredibly shy lately when she’s introduced to strangers…which is totally fine because we’ve really been stressing “stranger danger” (the little sweetie was saying “hi!” to everyone she saw…cute, but potentially dangerous). Anyhow, it can definitely be a little embarrassing when we’re trying to introduce her to someone new, and she hides behind our legs…she’ll make the face in the bottom-right picture (below). What a little stinker.

To remedy this new-found shyness, we’ve taught her a couple cute, kid-friendly jokes…it really helps her relax a bit around new people. I found a lot of them on the Melissa & Doug blog, because we were having a hard time finding ones that would be easy enough for a preschooler/kindergartener to actually understand. Here is a list of the 10 best ones we’ve found:

  1. Why did the cow cross the road? To get to the udder side!
  2. What do you call a sweaty dog? A hot dog!
  3. What is a pirate’s favorite letter? Arghhhh! (r)
  4. What did the teddy bear say when he ate too much ice cream? I’m stuffed!
  5. Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 ate  9!
  6. What time do you go to the dentist? Tooth-hurty!
  7. What do Santa’s Helpers learn in school? The elf-abet. 
  8. Where did the hamburger go on a date? To the Meat Ball!
  9. Why did Tigger go to the bathroom? To look for Pooh!
  10. Where do cows go on dates? To the mooooovies!

Like how I began and ended with a cow joke? We are from Wisconsin, after all…haha. ;) Kids telling jokes is just pretty darn cute, and I’m glad it sets her at ease around new people. Her favorite one right now is #2 on the list (probably because it’s so easy). Sometimes she’ll just roll right into the answer, but it’s cute anyway. Do you know any good, kid-friendly jokes? Feel free to share them with me so I can add them to our repertoire!

I used the “joke technique” with McKenzie at her fun-filled birthday lunch with me last Friday, and she told jokes 2, 3, 5, and 6 to our server! Afterward, I snapped some pictures of her in front of the Cheesecake Factory. She was in particularly happy mood, so I got these adorable, personality-filled pics! She wore this on her birthday, so it had to be fabulous. Can you believe this whole outfit was less than $10? Can’t beat that.

  • Shirt: $1.99, Children’s Place (thrifted from Goodwill…I love this shirt!)
  • Jeggings: $3.98, Circo (Target clearance)
  • Shoes: $2.98, Circo (Target clearance)

There’s no place like home…

Oh man, there’s nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed. McKenzie and I had a great trip to California…but there were definitely ups and downs, and I’m pretty relieved to be home. We had a lot of fun seeing seals and dolphins on Grandpa Jeff’s boat, and she had a wonderful birthday. Boy, did she get spoiled! New Barbies, a new toy phone, dolls, some new clothes, and even a Disney princess suitcase…traveling home would’ve been impossible without it!

So a little recap of the trip is in order: Since Grandpa Jeff was working on her birthday (and had no food in his house), we went to the Cheesecake Factory in Mission Viejo, CA for lunch. The servers came and sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and she got a mini birthday sundae…she thought it was pretty cool to be the center of attention! And she loved it…so of course I did too. ;)

On her birthday evening, some local Cali friends came over. McKenzie had a blast playing with Sadie and Sophia (4 and 9-years-old, respectively). They played Barbies and had tons of fun. And I  just didn’t have time to make my famous Dirt Cake…darn it! She loves it every year and it’s so much fun for kids. I figure I’ll make it for my birthday this Saturday and we can have a combined mini-celebration together so her Daddy can watch her blow out candles too. I was so sad he wasn’t with us on her birthday this year. =(

Anyhow, while we feasted on some Domino’s Brooklyn Style Pizzas, Grandpa Jeff was the hero and ran to pick up a last-minute cake. He got the most delicious Caravel ice cream cake, and it was perfect. She got her second chorus of “Happy Birthday” for the day, and shortly after, we called it a night.birthdaycakecollagecrop

Now, Grandpa Jeff always spoils us and takes us to yummy restaurants, and this trip was no exception. We had delicious dinners every night, and we walked to watch the sun set over Dana Point Harbor. It was stunning view from up on the cliffs. I didn’t happen to snap a picture, but while we were there McKenzie was being quite a little goofball, so I was certainly able to snap a few of that…look at that attitude!nightcutiecollagecrop

Anyhow, our flights home were uneventful, and I had 3 separate people tell me that McKenzie is a “great traveler.” So I suppose that’s good for me! Haha. But seriously, it was a really long day, and it was great to come home and see Jon. We missed him oodles. And I took a looooong nap in my own bed while McKenzie showed Daddy all the new goodies from her birthday.

And her amazing Daddy had one more birthday surprise for her, too…she walked into her bedroom to find this beautiful flower arrangement. She’s been asking for “fake flowers” for months, and I think Jon did a pretty darn good job making his first flower arrangement all by himself! It’s perfect on her bookshelf…and I’m so glad to be home. ♥

Crunch Time | Life So Lovely. - February 19, 2013 - 8:36 am

[…] us out on his boat to see dolphins, seals, & whales on the weekends. We were out there for McKenzie’s birthday in August, and we always have a […]