Sunday, May 22, 2011

Half Price Books is Worth the Trip

Have you been to Half Price Books? I discovered it a few years ago when I sold some old books. I didn't get much but it was more than I would get at a garage sale or by donating them. 

The concept is simple: Almost every book, CD, DVD,magazine, etc. is half the publisher's price or less. Note the "almost" in my last sentence. I didn't go around the store to see if everything was half off so I am not sure how many items fall into this category. But it doesn't matter--you'll save more money by shopping here than at a bookstore or even

My first stop is the clearance rack. I found several books for only $1! The other books were between $2 and $3 and they all look brand new! Some could be new, who knows.

They offer teachers and librarians a 10% Discount Card good at all Half Price Books locations. And through the Half Pint Library program, thousands of books are collected and donated to nonprofit organizations each year.

My only complaint is their logo; don't you think it's time to change 'records' to something more modern? Like CDs? I'm just sayin'.

Upcoming Events at Madison locations

Memorial Day Weekend 20% OFF Everything Sale
From Thursday, May 26 through Monday, May 30 everything in the store will be an additional 20% off!

Biggest Storytime of the Summer!
On Sunday, June 5 at 2:00pm head over to Half Price Books for the biggest storytime of the summer! The event kicks off their "FEED YOUR BRAIN Summer Reading Program" for
kids 14 years of age and under.

Research shows that children who do not continue reading through the summer can lose a month or more of progress made during the school year. Kids can earn Back-to-School Bucks by reading at least 600 minutes from Wednesday, June 1 through Sunday, July 31, 2011. Pick up a reading log at your local Half Price Books and grab a bite to read today! 

If you go:
Essex Square
4250 East Towne Blvd.
Madison, WI 53704
More info
Whitney Way
626 S. Whitney Way
Madison, WI 53711
More info

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today's Garage Sale Finds

I asked c if he wanted to go on an adventure this morning. He said "Yea" and off we went. Man, do I love garage sales. The anticipation while finding the house. The first glance to see what they have. And then you see it---the old school Fisher Price garage you loved as a kid. Do we have similar toys at home? Yes. Do I really need another big toy to hide before a showing? No. But c LOVES it and so do I. I even negotiated the price from $5 to $4!

  • Fisher Price garage
  • Guitar
  • Motorcycle
  • Tow truck (I think)
  • Hard hat
  • 8 dinosaurs 
All for the incredible price of $11!

$39 for a One-Month Membership to The Little Gym ($118 value)

This is an incredible! c loves The Little Gym in Fitchburg. We just enrolled for Fall and it was pretty pricey. If you have ever even considered signing up this is the time to act!

The fine print:
  • Expires Aug 1, 2011
  • Must visit one location (Fitchburg or Middleton)
  • New clients only (boo)
 Get the deal!

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    50% off at Oompa on Saturday!

    Did you hear the Oompa retail store is closing? 

    I haven't been there but they offer green toys, high-quality gear and sturdy furniture.

    On Saturday they are offering  50% off on everything in the store!

    If you go:
    1970 Cayuga Court, Middleton

    Go the F--- to Sleep. The title says it all.

    I really thought this book was a joke. It's not. But it's hilarious. Crude? Sure, but so true. It perfectly describes the feeling that goes through a parent's head when their child just won't go to sleep. I have experienced this several times and my child is an awesome sleeper. 

    Last summer author Adam Mansbach vented on Facebook that it took forever to get his 2-year-old daughter to go the f*uck to sleep. His friends encouraged him to write a book and he complied.

    Even though the entire book is viewable online and it isn't even available for purchase it has become the No. 1 book on 

    And as you can imagine it's already provoking a scandal. Studies have shown that a child's sleeping pattern may be a result of their parents' lifestyle. Others say this is not appropriate for children. Come on! This is obviously for parents to read, not for parents to read to their children. It seems obvious but Mansbach covered all bases by putting a disclaimer on the back cover. 

    I think this scrutiny is the perfect example of how scared parents are to complain about their kids. They feel that if they vent people will think they aren't good parents. But I believe the opposite is true. I think people are doing their kids a disservice by pretending parenthood is 100% awesome. Parents should talk about their frustrations with other parents because if we don't we will possibly blow up one day...probably at our kids!

    While I won't spend the money on it myself I think it's hilarious. I wonder if the Madison Public Library will buy a copy?

    Go the F*ck to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach's verses perfectly capture the familiar--and unspoken--tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, they open up a conversation about parenting, granting us permission to admit our frustrations, and laugh at their absurdity.
    With illustrations by Ricardo Cortes, Go the F*ck to Sleep is beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny--a book for parents new, old, and expectant. You probably should not read it to your children.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Day 3 of My Eating Experiment

    On Monday I decided to begin an experiment: to eliminate unhealthy food from my diet for one week. I love food, a lot, but realized I was eating too much of the bad stuff. This is not a new problem. I have been on diets before. But I feel I always concentrate on what I can get away with eating instead of just giving up fake food 90% of the time.

    The objective? Give my body a break from bad food.

    The goal? More energy, weight loss and more comfortable clothes.

    The plan?
    • No junk food.
    • No fried food.
    • No dessert.
    • No beef (nothing wrong with beef-it's just high in fat!)
    • No regular pop/soda.
    • Exercise when I can.
    It's only day three and I don't feel like I am missing out on eating yummy food. I had a grilled chicken sandwich (no mayo) from McDonald's (no, I didn't have fries but thanks for believing the worst in me. Hee. hee). I  had a Potbelly sub. I have enjoyed a couple lattes from Starbucks. Why? Because I don't believe in eliminating food groups from my diet. It has never works for me in the past; I would rather eat good fats and get rid of the fake foods six days a week.

    Are you interested in partaking in this experiment? Let me know your progress on our Facebook page:

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Everything But the Tutu Flea Market on Saturday!

    Saturday, May 21st
    7:00am - 4:00pm
    160 Westgate Mall

    Madison Ballet is hosting a flea market!

    We have cleaned out the closets.  Our families and friends have cleaned out the closets. You should see all the great stuff!  Join us and find that special something!

    Need to do some spring cleaning? We can use your gently used, tax deductible donations of clothing, footwear, household items, jewelry, ornaments, knickknacks and computer equipment.
    You can drop off your items or we will pick them up.  Call Robin Baldah, Office Manager, at 608-278-7990, ext. 100 or via e-mail at to set up a time and date for drop-off or pick-up.

    All proceeds will support Madison Ballet's Education and Outreach programming.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Great Deals on Circo Kids' Clothes at Target!

    I stopped by Target this morning and found some real steals on kids' clothes. After our July-like weather I realized that c needed some comfy play clothes. I found shorts and ts for only $4! If you need to bulk up your wardrobe stop by this weekend!

    Check them out!

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Hug Your Kid Already!

    Today's theme at The Little Gym was about hugging our kids. I learned

    We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth." --Virginia Satir

    I never thought about how many hugs we give c a day but I am betting it is more than 12. It's an interesting theory, isn't it? We all know kids need a lot of love and attention but I didn't think about the number of hugs being that important. I never really knew what it meant to love a child until my sister, Kim, had little K. I would stand back and look at my family dote on her and think how lucky this child was to have so many people love her. Sadly, some kids don't even have one person
    that truly loves them. So go on, hug your kid 12 times today. It will do both of you some good.

    Virginia Satir
    (26 June 1916 - 10 September 1988) was an American author and psychotherapist, known especially
    for her approach to family therapy.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Okay ladies, it's our day. Put your feet up, make your husband clean up after lunch and have an extra cup of coffee. With Bailey's. I am kidding. Kinda.

    Here's my boo boo at his Funky Monkey Photography photo shoot. More on this amazing experience later. I wonder what surprises c has in store for me today?

    Let's not forget those who have lost their mother, grandmother and/or children. My hearts go out to them today and everyday.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Restaurants + Toddlers = An Interesting Time

    If you have/had a toddler you know how challenging it can be to take the little darling to a restaurant. c used to be great but then it started: The whining. The not wanting to sit in the high chair. The wanting to get out.  The refusing to eat. But I refuse to give up. I like to eat out too much and don't like the hassle of cooking. So I am trying to get creative.

    I think the best thing to do is go to a place where "Kid's Eat Free". This way, you won't feel bad when you have to throw most of their food in the garbage. We just got back from Potbelly for lunch. They don't have a kid's menu and I usually throw away what c doesn't eat. But today I got smart. I ordered one of their "Bigs" sandwiches for c and me to share. It comes with 30% more of all the goodies. But I took it a step further. Since my child acts as if he is on Adkins when he sees a sub, I ordered extra meat and cheese. I usually cringe when I read that on a menu (I mean, really. How much does someone need?) but I decided to use it to my advantage. Another way to save money is to skip the "Kid's Meal". My child normally doesn't eat everything they give us so I just get him chicken nuggets/tenders and bring my own milk or water for him to drink.

    One advantages of eating out with kids is the Kid's Menu. You can order a bunch of selections off the kids menu and eat some of them yourself. Just hope the server doesn't notice.

    If you have other ideas on how to save money when taking the kiddos out to eat please post it on my Facebook page. I need all the help I can get!

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    Bouncy Town USA: Three-Sessions & Slushies for $10!

    Ever been to Bouncy Town USA in Windsor, WI? I haven't but I assume it's awesome.

    Today you can get three sessions plus Slushies for only $10 (regular price $7.50 per session, parents always jump free). Your kids will get tired out by bouncing around and maybe you'll enjoy some pleasant adult conversation. It's a win-win!

    If you go:
    Bouncy Town USA
    6592 Lake Road

    Windsor, WI 53598

    Tonight: Free Admission to the Madison Children's Museum

    Twilight Thursday
    Thursday, May 5, 5–8 p.m.

    Voted by Parents magazine as a 10 Best Childrens' Museums, the new Madison Children's Museum is a must-see!

    And tonight you can get in for free between 5-8:00pm! That's right, free. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style!
    Stop by the Art Studio Gallery for Twilight Art Night from 68 p.m., and enjoy art by local adult and youth artists. May’s theme in the gallery is papermaking. The Art Studio Gallery’s artist-in-residence this month is Mary Hark, a UW-Madison professor and papermaker, along with Barbara Landes (master of fine arts papermaker), and select undergraduate students.

    If you go:
    Madison Children's Museum100 N. Hamilton Street, Downtown Madison
    Parking: The museum has a two-level parking lot, with entrances on North Hamilton and East Dayton streets. $4 for 0-3 hours (weekdays)

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    How to Raise a Free-Range Kid

    Before I had c I never thought about whether or not I would let my kid go to the park or walk to the bus stop without me. I did both of these things when I was little. In fact, I rode my bike downtown (DeKalb) for cheese fries at Saucy's and gummy Cokes at The Confectionary with my twin and dear friend Carrie Stern. And my mom was very protective of us. Nowadays parents drive their kids to the bus stop and wait until the bus arrives. And we drive our children to every activity. 

    So what has changed? Why are we so scared? I am constantly panicked when c is out of my sight even for just a few minutes, worrying he will be kidnapped or hurt. But I am exposed to free-range kids all over Madison: kids play in their front yard, with no adult in sight. They play at the park and their parents are no where to be found. Could I let c do this? Of course I can't right now...he's only 21 months old...what about about an 8 year old c?

    According to writer Lenore Skenazy, crime rates today are on par with the early '60s and in 2009 New York enjoyed the lowest murder rate in fifty years. Skenazy, a New Yorker, is the author of Free-Range Kids and explains that (helicopter) parents feel they need to hover over their children every minute of the day. She was named "America's Worst Mother" when she allowed her 9-year-old ride the subway by himself. Her son had been asking to go for awhile so they gave in. And he lived to tell about it.

    She says parents are so scared to make a mistake that we are try to control our children's every move. Parents are bombarded with parenting books telling us to put locks on toilet seats, kidnappings on the nightly news and critical comments from other parents. We think that if we control everything our children do they will be safe. But in turn we haven't taught them life lessons leaving them defenseless when they are on their own. Instead of saying "Don't talk to strangers" we should say "Don't leave with a stranger" so if God forbid they are in trouble they feel comfortable asking a stranger for help.

    She encourages parents to tackle their fears by using baby steps. Not everyone will be comfortable letting their kids ride the subway alone and that's ok. But you may feel safe asking a fellow parent whom you just met to watch your child while you run to the bathroom. Perhaps you will let your child ride his/her bike three blocks to their friend's house. Or you may be adventureous enough to allow your 7 or 8 year old in the second annual Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day on Saturday, May 21!

    Not everyone agrees with this theory. Check out this NY Times article.

    If you worry about your kid's safety, and who doesn't, this is a must read. Buy the book, check it out from your local library and
    read her blog. You'll be glad you did.