I was happy to be offered the opportunity to review a creation from Aloha Island Lei – and frankly, I had no idea what I was getting into when I was asked.
A few days later, a box showed up on my porch marked “Perishable” and “Plant Products from Hawaii”!
It was carefully packaged, including an ice pack, and sent with fast delivery. Inside was…
Nothing like I ever imagined a lei looking like! This was a … floral sculpture that was just beautiful!
The timing worked out well (quite unintentionally!), since this week we are celebrating Miss J’s birthday, as well as her (annual) ballet recital. She was more than happy to have this lovely fashion accessory to wear to some of our various celebrations.
The lei we received is the Kalihi.
I was very surprised how long it has lasted. With the care tips they provide (there’s even a short video on the website), we’ve had the lei over a week and it still looks beautiful!
They offer everything from a basic lei (surprisingly inexpensive), to these gorgeous artwork pieces. If you don’t happen to live in Hawaii, shipping is the worst part, since they are fresh flowers and have to get there fast.
What an amazing gift, though, to make a special occasion memorable!
Over time, I have had a number of issues with WalMart prices seeming to be confused, shelf tags misleading, and so on. But this one… This takes the cake.
Typically things like this don’t make the blog, but this one really needs to be shared as a Public Service Announcement.
This incident took place at the Super WalMart store in Gulfport, MS. (The similar incidents referenced were at other stores).
The shopping trip was intended to purchase a keyboard – the one that came with our new desktop was just SO cheap and non-ergonomic that it was not usable.
Right across the aisle from the keyboards were monitor stands – something else I needed to fix my posture. I’ve been making due with 2 reams of copy paper, but for $18 it seemed a reasonable investment to also gain the storage space underneath (not to mention getting the paper back!).
There was only one type there – and the shelf tag listed it for $18.00; I grabbed one. It was this one, The Allsop “Metal Art Jr. Monitor Stand,” Model # 27021. (See scan of actual package)
After picking up a few other items, I went up to the register. Unfortunately, they told me that it cost $19.96. (See receipt)
When I questioned this, the checker agreed to send someone back to do a price check. This took quite some time, and several calls on the in-house phone, since she could not locate them. Finally, the answer I got was that the $18 was “the one next to it.”
Hm. That’s just what they said about some speakers we didn’t buy there a few months ago. Seems a bit much to be a coincidence.
Jewel’s ballet lesson was due to finish within a few minutes, so I needed to leave. I told her to go ahead and ring up the purchase, fully intending to investigate further, and document the situation, at another time (and return the item).
When I arrived home, my first step was to check WalMart.com.
Imagine my surprise when I could find the very same monitor stand listed online for $15.78 – with free Site to Store shipping. (See screen capture of digital receipt)
I ordered it, and the next week during ballet class I went back to the store.
First stop, returning the one I’d purchased at Customer Service. No problem getting a refund for $19.96 plus tax.
Next stop, the computer accessory department.
Sure enough, something totally different was shelved to the left of it. Nothing at all was in the slot to the right of it (and a shelf tag was there with a only a few random characters on it, not an item tag, and not for $19.96).
So, WalMart, why is this happening?
- Why does the item not simply ring up at the correct price (as shown on the shelf tag)?
- Why do your employees give false information about the correct price? Incompetence, or corporate malice, or ??
- Why can I purchase the very same item online for over $2.00 less than the shelf price ($4.00 less than what you’re charging!)… ?
- … and why does is say “available RIGHT NOW for pickup!” when I select “Ship to Store”? So you KNOW that you are selling me your store inventory, cheaper than you are willing to sell it to a walk-in customer. Hm.
I guess I’ll go back to Amazon. I can almost always find what I want, typically cheapest anyway, and usually with a free shipping option.
Wanting to test-drive a keyboard is one thing. I’m not going to fall for the impulse buys anymore, though.
They both “graduated” to a pedal bike. “From what?” you ask?
Their prior bikes were modified by Papa (removing the pedals and chain) to create what is commonly called a Strider Bike or Balance Bike. The commercial version comes in a range of designs, but here are a couple of examples:
Although Jewel was 5 (and R.T. 2), neither of them had had a lot of exposure to cycling, and both were struggling. After reading about the balance bikes, we decided to ditch the training wheels approach for good.
With the balance bike, the child learns to balance on the seat, steer the bike, lean into turns, and so on. Many things that they actually learn to do incorrectly with training wheels! Since they didn’t get much chance to ride until recently, our kids had their balance bikes for about two years.
With a little instruction about getting started, Jewel literally got on her bike and took off! Wow!!
R.T. took a few more laps of “hand-holding”, since he was more unsure of himself. For two days (short periods each day) he fumbled along, but after that he was whizzing along with no worries.
Quite a different story from the drama I remember when I had to learn to ride without my training wheels!
I can now recommend without hesitation the balance bike method of teaching a child to ride a bicycle. And with a free or cheap second-hand bike and a few simple modifications, you don’t even have to spend the money on a fancy commercial version.
P.S. Jewel now owns a couple of split skirts for bike riding, to allow her more freedom of movement (and safety) while staying modestly covered even if the wind comes up! More that just culottes, these are more inspired by the women of the Wild West. But these deserve a post of their own, so stay tuned!
We love our Dole Whip! (See my previous post here)
Now John over at Magical Recipes just added my kids’ funny photos to his Dole Whip recipe page.
If you miss a yummy treat you had at Disney, stop by his page and see if he has a recipe for you to make it at home.
We’re going to try his take on the Dole Whip. Obviously.
You may or may not be “into” Valentines. My personal sentiment is somewhat middle-of-the-road, with a slant towards non-observance.
But you know what? When the photo sites offer a great deal on a “Valentine’s” card, or even a “Mother’s Day” card or “Birthday” card, you can typically find a card that you can create for another use of your choice – and still get it at a great price!
So I present today’s “Valentine’s Day” sale offer from Snappily, which offers a really fun “animated” photo card:
(The coupon is single-use, and they are reserving the right limit quantities, so order quickly!)
I know that most of you probably read the title, then checked the date to see if somehow a post from August or September had been somehow bumped to the top of the blog. Or perhaps it’s a typo in a post that is simply about “The New Year”.
Nope, it’s true.
January marks the beginning of this school year for us. The one that should have started last September.
We began Jewel’s First Grade year on schedule in September 2011… and things skidded rapidly off-course. That Fall I had bronchitis. In the Winter, both Littles, Nick, and I all struggled with antibiotic-resistant strep, and were too ill to do much schooling for weeks and weeks and weeks. We fought against our toxic house the whole year, and moved on short notice in July.
But above and beyond all that, what held us up most was the Jewel simply wasn’t “getting” reading. We considered her in First Grade, but her Language Arts / Reading program was Kindergarten level. And it was a seemingly impossible struggle for a full year. (At no point did we feel that the curriculum was a bad fit – still adore our Sonlight!)
Philosophically, we firmly believe that a child will read when he or she is ready, and that’s okay. Not reading at age six and seven is still within the realm of “normal.” I confess that I did begin to wonder if there was something more I could do to help her, beginning around the time we should have been starting Second Grade, and even started down the path of having her tested. Nick had learned to read entirely without my assistance, and before he entered Kindergarten – I was just somewhat at a loss with this radically different experience, and I was afraid I was missing something.
I didn’t push it very hard, though, and of course by going through the public schools I had inadvertently assured that things would not move quickly.
Before we got as far as any meaningful testing, Jewel suddenly began to have flashes of insight. Some things finally just “clicked,” and we finally polished off the school year in December. (Full disclosure: We had done everything but one read-aloud and a few activities before our Disney and Christmas break, and checked off those last couple of items this first week of January).
Does she read, really? No. Not in any meaningful way… Yet! But things are moving forward now, and I can confidently say “yet” and believe that the fulfillment is coming.
Once more, I learn to slow down and trust.
Trust in God’s plan.
Trust in Mama’s intuition.
Trust in my children.
Have you ever had that feeling of flavor filled nostalgia?
We recently took a trip to Disney World and had a wonderful time. During all of our planning we each thought about what things we really wanted to do that would make us feel satisfied after the vacation was over. One thing on the list was to go have pineapple Dole Whip at the Tiki Room.
Well, we did have some Dole Whip at the Magic Kingdom and to our extreme satisfaction, we were able to have it 3 times. We found that the Polynesian Resort had self serve Dole Whip at one of its eateries. There we created MOUNT DOLE WHIP.
Now it’s in our brain … and taste buds. We are looking for Mr. Dole Whip.
I tried a recipe tonight that left us wanting. It tasted more like pineapple ice cream. It wasn’t tangy enough and was too creamy and too sweet.
The recipe used:
1 quart of pineapple juice
3 cups of whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 cups of sugar
and top it off with milk
The family all agreed that it was really good pineapple ice cream, but not the elusive Dole Whip.
So, the search continues. Perhaps we need to start with a sherbet or sorbet recipe?
If you don’t believe in insurance…
Or, these days, if you don’t like the morality that the insurance system is supporting…
You might look into something like Medi-Share: Christian Care Medical Sharing. It works similarly to insurance, but it’s truly a co-operative of like-minded people working together to help one another.
And as an added bonus, if you sign up through my link (Medi-Share), you’ll get a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card! Nice!
As I’ve posted previously, last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.
It’s set up to be a Christmas ornament each day, but we decided to modify things a little and make each project into one page of an Advent Book. I’ve had several people ask me about it, so I wanted to do this follow-up post and show you what I mean.
Shown are Day #2 – Kingdom (by Jewel), and Day #3 – Zacharias (by R.T., with writing by Mama).
I had some heavier-weight paper/cardstock that we had purchased to print greeting cards. It came in four colors, and the kids decided to do multi-colored books. I think having the heavier weight (rather than just paper) is a good call, since some of the projects do have a bit of mass to them. Color is entirely a matter of preference, of course.
A gracious friend gave us some “pocket” 3-ring binders, so that they could do a piece of artwork on plain paper and just slip it in. Obviously, the options for decorating your covers are endless.
We didn’t get all the way through with our Advent projects, and (as you can see) the covers need to be done as well. This year December will be VERY full, so I think finishing up the boos we started last year is a realistic plan.
This year, in addition to the eBook itself, you can purchase a set of printable ornaments from Truth in the Tinsel.
This would speed up the process, be more portable (to work on while travelling, etc.), and also help with the “flattening” if you want to do a book like we did.
However you choose to celebrate the season, I pray that you will remember to keep your focus on “the Reason for the season.”