Sunday, February 26, 2012

I {HEART} Keen's!

If you haven't jumped on the Keen Shoe bandwagon yet, well here is your chance!

Keen shoes retail brand new at REI and other outdoor stores from $40 for toddlers up to over $100 for adults and they are worth it. These shoes are so comfortable and versatile; people love them! Since they retail for so much in the store, it makes them worth quite a bit on the used market as well.

Throughout the year, especially in the fall I can find Keen's from anywhere between $2-$10 at the local thrifts and garage sales. I actually haven't sold any adult pairs yet, all of mine have been kids pairs. When I get them home I clean them up, take photos of EVERY angle and any defects and list them as BIN for anywhere between $20-$30 per pair. You have to have a clean pair of shoes and lots of photos for people to look at.

However, theres a catch. In the late fall and winter, the sandals don't go for anything. You can easily pick up a cute pair of like new toddler Keen's for $10 or less on ebay in the winter. Starting about now (late Feb - the summer) these skyrocket and go for two to three times that amount!

Last fall I hit the Keen jackpot it seemed. I found them just about every time I went shopping and I am currently hoarding about 10 pairs of Keen's that I am just now bringing out of winter storage and starting to list. I had 12 pairs but two have sold already for $22.99 each! For some of my really nice, like new pairs, I'll still wait about another month to list them to get the best $$ out of them. The two pairs I've already sold I only paid $2.99 each for so I netted a great profit on them!

I am hoping I can find some excellent condition adult pairs this year too. I have never really sold adult shoes before but the completeds on these show them going for between $25-$45 used.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Treats! Oatmeal Raspberry Bars

Doesn't "Tuesday Treats" sound delicious? Not planning to do this every Tuesday but it does sound lovely so when I do a fun baking treat I'll try and post it on a Tuesday!

So today's treat was Oatmeal Raspberry Bars, simple and delicious, from my favorite food blogger Ree AKA The Pioneer Woman. She runs a wonderful blog where she highlights life on the ranch in Oklahoma and posts wonderful recipes (that are not always the healthiest) and awesome photography tips, tricks and inspiration. She's pretty much my idol. Anyway, Ree has a great new show on the Food Network on Saturday mornings that we all watch together as a family. I love the recipes and photography, Naomi loves the ranch animals and my husband loves all the new cooking ideas I get from her! Anywho, this recipe is from her show a few weeks ago, although technically they are called Oatmeal Strawberry Bars!

This recipe is super easy to make and is perfect to send in a lunch box as a treat, use as dessert, bring to a potluck or wrap individually for a bake sale! I guarantee there won't be any leftovers any way you go about it!

(Recipe from Ree Drummond off Food Network's Website)

1 3/4 sticks of salted butter
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of oats
1 cup packed brown sugar (pack it down hard, it will taste better!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 10-12 oz jar of preserves or jam - I used Raspberry, Ree used Strawberry, you can use whatever you like!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Butter a 9x13 baking dish
Mix together all ingredients except the jam. Press half the mixture into the prepared pan.
Spread the jam/preserves over the top of the pressed mix, I popped the jar in the microwave for a few seconds to make it more spreadable.
Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat down lightly.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes and let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Finished product! Seriously tasty, thanks Pioneer Woman, you are still my hero!

On another note! I think we may have a crawler on our hands soon! Guess its time to start baby proofing...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekend Thrifting Adventures!

Man I don't know about all of you but I am SO ready for spring. Our house has been constantly sick with some sort of bug for the last 2 months straight! Last week my daughter had a double ear infection and my husband had the worst chest cold ever. This week its my turn with the cold and my baby's turn with the ear infection and a chest cold. I have been to the pediatricians office THREE times in the last 7 days, ugh! We need some sunshine and time outside and soon! Since we needed to get out of the house today we went out to a few thrift stores to find some cool junk.

I also am really ready for garage season to start up again. I live in Seattle where pretty much no one would ever dream of having a garage sale in the middle of February! It's cold and rainy and with the exception of an indoor estate sale here and there there's nada. So alas, I've been thrifting non stop for the last few months anxiously awaiting April when things start to pick up again! That's not too bad since I have a few places I go that are reasonably priced and I can find some great items, other places (ahem... Goodwill) have prices so high it's borderline ridiculous. I mean $13 for an ok looking serving tray that originally came from JcPenny? No thanks, I'll pass.

Here is what I did manage to find this weekend: Naomi wanted to be in the shot, she is channeling 1985 and Rainbow Brite today as you can see.

The only thing I did find at Goodwill today were 3 mugs. 2 Starbucks and 1 Chaleur and they were, get ready for it, THREE dollars a piece, I mean come on! If I wasn't reasonably certain I'll turn my $9 into almost $40 I'd have gladly left them behind.

I found a 2 quart glass Pyrex measuring cup for $4, I'm not sure if I'll keep it yet or not but if I decide to sell it I'll make a profit. I'd probably list it as a BIN for $19.99. I also found an adorable vintage frame with a great pattern for $2. I am thinking I might take the glass out and make it a mini chalkboard.

The end table is my new project. I am going to do a before and after post about it when I finally finish it but I'm excited! I am going to sand it down, stain the top and then paint the bottom either black or cream and distress it. Hopefully will look something like this when its finished! My favorite little thrift was having a sale today, 50% off all furniture! They were asking $14.99 for the table so I got it for only $7.50; for that little I am excited to do the project and turn it into a table someone would pay $50 for!

Here is my favorite find of the day, week, probably month!

These chairs were at the Thrift that was having the 1/2 off furniture sale. There was a $79.99 price tag on each chair ($160 for both). I would have never shelled out that kind of money for two used chairs even if 100% of the money does go to charity, but at 2 for the price of one I was intrigued. Now sometimes this place is negotiable on their prices also, I was sure they wouldn't budge on these because they were so nice but sure enough my Dear Husband was able to knock the price down to $60 per chair! That means with the 1/2 off sale we got both of these FABULE$$ chairs for only $60!

They are solid and don't budge when you sit down, the padding is very comfy and the colors are great. I want to find a couple of very small yellow accent pillows to compiment the base of the chair. The pictures only show one of the chairs but we got two of these beauties and I'm so excited! They are headed to our new place over in Leavenworth, one for our bedroom and one for the living room!

I wish I could find the brand but alas all I got was the store they were purchased at: Gabbert's Fine Furniture. They came a long way from the mid-west to Seattle! My guess is these babies were at least $100+ a piece brand new. Score!

I'm linking up with Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Homemade Baby Food: Hey It's Easy!

When I had my daughter 4 years ago I couldn't wait to get her started on solid food, there's just something exciting about teaching a baby how to love food and how to eat. Plus, I love the messy face afterwards, it's just too fun not to photograph. Back when I had my daughter it was before the "Make Your Own" craze started. I didn't even really think it was something I could do and so I bought jar after jar of organic baby food (at $.80 to $1.00 per jar! YIKES) and had fun trying all sorts of different foods with her. I did try to make my own once with peas and it did not go well and when I tried to feed the chunky looking goop that came from my attempt she was not having it! So we stuck to the jarred foods and never looked back.

Once I started couponing and actively trying to save money for my family I did a lot of research on homemade baby foods and I was determined to make my own the second time around hoping to never have to shell out that $1.00 per jar again! I asked for a Magic Bullet for Christmas last year and never even pulled it out of the box til recently when Mason started solids, who knew how awesome that little blender is?! I love it! I also bought a little tray of 6 baby food containers that are BPA free and can be used in the microwave & freezer.

So making your own, its SO easy! I mean, seriously, SO SO SO easy... and CHEAP! How did I not do this with my daughter?! So lets make some homemade pea puree.

You'll need a bag of frozen organic peas and a steamer pan (if you don't have one just add a small layer of water into the bottom of a pot and it will work fine.) I found this awesome vintage Revere Ware steamer pot at my local Value Village for only 6 bucks! Check out the Completeds for this pot on Ebay, if I ever want to sell it, I'll be able to turn my $6 into about $25-$40! Always buy copper bottom Revere Ware when you see it for under $10, that stuff is HOT!

 Here's where it gets really tough - fill steamer pot with about 1 inch of water, pour in frozen peas, turn on stove. Whew! I really want the peas to be soft so I steam them about 7 min on high. That makes them so soft that baby can have a little finger food to play and learn with while you are pureeing.

Get those pinchers goin Buddy!
 Once your peas are steamed, its time to puree. One thing I didn't know when I got my Magic Bullet is that the plastic containers are not BPA free, boo! If you want to shell out some bucks you can get the BPA free Baby Bullet they have available (or register for one) and you can puree while your peas are hot. Me, I didn't want to buy another blender so I just wait for my peas to completely cool.

Once they are cool you can add them to your blender. I also add about 1-2 tbsp. of the water from the bottom of the steamer, since it's pea flavored. :) Then blend away. I have found that if you are making an entire bag of peas or other veggies that its easiest to blend in 2-3 batches. Once it's blended and very smooth (you can add a little more water if it's really thick or not pureeing well.) just plop them into your little baby food containers!

These are about the size of a 1st foods jar. 1 bag of peas will fill all 6 containers + a small meal for Mason!

Pop the lids on and stick them in the freezer! I love my little tray because I can just grab a little container, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir and serve!

That is one happy, messy face! He LOVES peas!

Here's my cost for 6 baby meals: $1.67!! That's $.27 per jar a whopping $.53+ savings per meal for my little guy! My Fred Meyer has frozen peas, green beans, carrots, and butternut squash. I also have done fresh sweet potatoes, one large potato cost me about $.90 and made 5 meals as well! Now thats Fabule$$ly Frugal if I ever did say! If you grow your own veggies it's an even better rate at free!

Here's another easy recipe: Fresh Avocado, I never knew about this one, it is one of the best first foods for your baby. Its loaded with nutrients and good fats that are good for baby's brain development. And they are even easier to make! Cut open avocado, scoop into a bowl, use a fork and a little bit of water and smoosh and stir. DONE! They don't need to be cooked, easy peasy and tasty too!

There are all kinds of websites out there with recipes for homemade babyfood. I just searched for baby food recipes and got a ton of hits. I can even make my own brown rice cereal and oatmeal with that cool little machine I have. It's so much fun and I feel good about feeding my baby the freshest most nutrient packed food I can! Grow Baby Grow!

What a cute little 7 month old he is!