Hurricane Sandy: A Tale of Caution

So many people on the East Coast have been affected by Hurricane Sandy in one way or another. We personally lost power for an evening and our town held a rescheduled trick-or-treat day on November 3rd due to so many being without power for many days.

But I wanted to share my brother’s story with you. He lives in the Pocono Mountains of PA. Power outages in any storm are not uncommon around there. So it was no surprise when the long arms of Sandy knocked his power our pretty early in the storm.

Sitting at home, alone, in the dark for hours, my brother decided to take a break and charge up his cell phone and listen to the news for a little bit in his truck.

And here’s what he posted on Facebook a little while later:

He told me, “I went out and sat in the truck to charge my phone and listen to the news. I was out there maybe 5 minutes and the tree fell on me.”

Later he commented that, “A little boy in this area died last night when he was hit by a falling branch. I count myself extremely lucky.”

The pictures below show just how close he came to meeting his maker.

So what did we learn from this? DO NOT GO OUTSIDE DURING A HURRICANE, even if it’s just to your car!

And I’ll be gifting my brother a solar and hand-cranked powered emergency radio and cell phone charger. It’s an all-in-one gadget that would have kept him indoors, for sure!

Sesame Place during the Fall

Sesame Place in October is awesome.

The park is all decked out for The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular.

Children are encouraged to come in costume and trick-or-treat. The treats are good and include juice boxes, toothbrushes, chips, and candy.

The water rides are closed but the rest of the park is open.

Including the swings! Here X is riding them for the first time ever.

And there are plenty of specially-themed and not-too-spooky shows throughout the day.

If you can, book a Dine-with-Me experience. You’ll get to meet and dance with most of the characters.

And blow their little minds out of the water.

Consignment Sale Shopping

This week I had the pleasure of attending the Western Mainline Just Between Friends Consignment Sale in Oaks, PA,

Just Between Friends is a franchise of mega consignment sales that you can find happening twice a year across the country. Check the Just Between Friends site to see if there is a sale running near you.

I have only been to one consignment sale before. It was a couple of years ago and I made the mistake of going the last day and not even early in the day. Do NOT do that if you really *need* to stock up on clothes or are looking for something in particular. All the great deals will be gone. The only good thing about going at the end of the sale is that many things will likely be half off. Consigners have the option of offering their items half-off if their item didn’t sell earlier in the sale. What doesn’t sell is either returned to the consigner or donated to charity.

This year my kid was in dire need of Fall and Winter clothes so I sprung at the chance to preview the Main Line Just Between Friends sale.

I went with my mental list of wants and needs: Jeans, pants, long-sleeve shirts, boots, a coat, Lego Duplos, Thomas trains and/or Chugginton Trains, and maybe some games.

Between the crowds and the sheer amount of stuff, when you first walk into one of these mega sales it can be a little overwhelming so you really need a list.

Having a budget in mind even is a good thing too, even if it might be hard to keep. I spent almost twice my budget. Oops!

Big bags and maybe a shopping cart, or a big basket to lug around your finds is a good idea too, if allowed. I didn’t think of this ahead of time but noticed a number of power shoppers who did. Luckily the JBF sale had holding area were I was able to drop off bigger items as I continued to shop.

What kind of deals can you expect? This will vary from sale-to-sale and from region-to-region. The sale I went to was in a somewhat affluent area.

But I’ll let you be the judge on how well I did. Here’s what I scored and for how much:

Coat with detachable and reversible hood. Outer jacket with removable and reversible inner jacket. So 2 jackets with 3 looks. The consigner helpfully put the original tag back on so I was able to see all the features at a glance. $8.
Three pairs of trendy GAP Jeans. $5 each.
2 Piece NIKE athlete outfit and 3 piece Thomas outfit. $5 for each outfit.
3 long sleeve shirts and a pair of athletic pants. Brands = Carters, Jumping Bean, & Garanimals. $2.50 each.
Circo pants = $2.50, Sonoma brown jeans = $4, Osh Kosh jeans = $4, Jumping Beans pants = $2.50
3 Garanimals turtle necks, $1 each.

Calvin Klein long sleeve shirt = $3.
Button down plaid shirt with vest and corduroy jacket by Good Lad of Philadelphia. $5 for the 3 piece set.
Wasn’t sure about this one, but thought it might make for cute holiday pics.
Dinosaur costume = $10
(Saw this at Target for $30+)
Thomas & Friends Rescue from Misty Island take n play set. Came complete with a bag of bonus trains: Talking Henry (minus tender), Bertie the Bus, Percy’s Sweet Special, and 2 random cargo cars. $20 for everything
Box of extra tracks = $2.
Big box of Mega Bloks. Consigner had a note saying there were less than 250 pieces but definitely more than 200. $5
Lego Duplo Race Action set. The box was taped shut but at $3.50 I took the gamble. The set turned out to be missing one guy and the paper number track. No big deal!
(Mega Bloks and Duplo sized Legos are compatible!)

And here are a bunch of pics of things I DID NOT bring home to give you an idea of what else is available:

[blaze cats=1]

disclosure: I was not financially compensated to write this post. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations. I was provided a small shop credit to facilitate my experience.

Blogger Beach Bash in Avalon, NJ

I was super thrilled to be invited to the first Blogger Beach Bash hosted at the Golden Inn in Avalon, NJ.

And the reason was purely selfish. My son is 3 and I hadn’t taken him to the beach ever before. What better way to do it than with a bunch of bloggin’ friends!

Unfortunately, the X-man ended up being terrified of the ocean and after the first ankle-deep wave he would have nothing to do with it. He wouldn’t even go near the wet sand. And it was H-O-T. And we traveled 2.5 hrs to get there. And I bought a swimsuit (on clearance for $50), a swim suit cover, beach towels, toys, etc. Ugh!

Then he had to go potty and we had to trudge all the way back to the hotel. That’s when I started to overheat, get cranky, and was about to pack it up wondering why I wasted my time and money. Tried to call the Other Half for moral support and basically ended up yelling at him for [being a douche and] not coming. You’ve been there, right? I’m not the only one, right? Some days this mommy stuff really gets the better of me.

Regrouped and cooled off in Luigi’s Pasta restaurant which is attached to the Golden Inn and served the breakfast we mostly missed earlier due to traffic.

Headed back out just in time to see Sandman Matt from the Travel Channel’s hit show, Sand Masters, start his sand castle building lesson and demo. We also received The Can You Dig It Sand Tool Super Deluxe Sand Sculpting Kit. Can You Dig It Sand Tools - deluxe kitThis kit has everything you need to build awesome sand castles like the masters, including an instructional DVD.The DVD might be the best part of the kit if you are sand-castle-building-clueless like I was. We’ve watched it twice. It’s cheesy but full of tips and super helpful.

I can’t wait until the X-man is older and not afraid of the ocean. I’m imagining lots of kickass sand castle building in our future!

After learning the art of sand castle making we headed back to the Golden Inn for a beach side lunch. Next was the Golden Inn’s pool area.

It was X’s first time in a big pool (I know I’ve totally been depriving the poor boy). I was prepared for a big freak out and thought we’d be leaving soon because I took him to the Y a few months ago thinking we’d try swim lessons. He was terrified of the pool then. I mean shaking and grabbing on to me for dear life even though we were just taking a tour.

Well, guess that’s all gone because he had NO fear and we stayed in the pool for HOURS! Seriously. I was shocked. And as a nice bonus I could actually chat with other moms for a few minutes here and there as we moved about the big pool or sat in the kiddie pool. The pool ended up being the best part of the day.

Worth all the earlier stress and trouble?

As we were heading back to the car: “Mommy, I’m going to miss the beach.


Except next time remind me to treat myself and stay over a night or 2. In fact, I think I need to head back to the Golden Inn for one of the Girlfriend Getaway weekends and REALLY treat myself!

First time with his toes in the sand!
Sand Master Matt Long at work.

Learning from the expert! Sandman Matt teaches us the art of sand sculpting.

Shout out to the other event and goody bag sponsors:

The Painted Home
Jordan Schneider Financial
Suddenly Safe & Secure Systems
Visit AC
Honest Tea
Pop Chips
Truly Custom Cakery
Bai Drinks
Boogie Wipes