raised by culture

raised by culture: February 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ballin' on a Budget.

My husband Chris and I are bargain hunters. Most of the kids clothes were bought on sale, thrifted or found gently used on eBay. We splurge on the good stuff too, don't get me wrong.

A couple weeks ago I got a good look at Duke's Vans that we bought at the beginning of the school year and noticed they were so beat up. We asked him if he wanted a new pair of Vans but of course, he wanted a pair of Jordans just like his Daddy. Chris was all for it but I wondered if he would really allow our 6 year old to go to school in a pair of $65 sneakers. It was also in the back of my head that these Jordans were $65! It was hard to swallow but Duke deserved 'em and the Vans had put in a lot of work during the past 5 months.

Here are some of our tips for ballin' on a budget:
  • Shop eBay or Amazon - most items have FREE Shipping and NO Tax. This is our go-to places when shopping for items we can't find in our area or for items that are hard to find.
  • Check out your local Thrift Stores once or twice a week! Good thrift stores replenish their stock daily and most people believe in recycling, reusing and repurposing so there are some amazing things to be found!
  • Discount Department Stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Ross are great for finding brands names at up to 50% off!
What Duke wore:
Hoodie is Paul Frank - $3.95 at a local thrift store.
Chicago Bulls t-shirt is Old Navy - $3.50 on eBay.
Jeans are Levi's - $12.99 new at Marshalls.
Sneakers are Jordan 3 Retro (Black Cement) - $65 new on eBay. (We went to a local sneaker shop and these were priced at $69 before tax. $65 with free shipping and no tax was a steal!)

There is no reason for your kids to look crappy and for you to break the bank! Hope these tips bring out the smart shopper in you!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Strangers in Our Lives.

On days Chris has work, I take Duke to school on the city bus. There's a school bus available in our area but we tried that in the 2nd week of school and Duke didn't like it. Duke's school is a little over a mile from our home but being pregnant, there's no way I could make this trip 4x in one day - especially on days that I work too.

As strange as it sounds, I enjoy our little trek. We wake up at 6:15am, get ready and have breakfast before we head out at 7am. Our bus arrives anytime between 7:11am-7:15am. During our wait, we laugh about stuff, snuggle with eachother and Duke yells for no reason. We share the bus stop with a sweet, old lady we call, "Our Old Lady Friend". She only speaks Spanish and makes a cute attempt to play with Duke... he plays shy but lately she'll stick her hand out and he'll shake it. It's a step!

"Bus Driver #1" is our regular morning bus driver, I don't know his name but he's nice. At the first stop, a lady gets off in the back and he leaves the front door open till she walks by and they tell eachother, "Have a good day!". The other morning, he pulled over about 2 blocks before we get off because one of his regulars was running late. Also on our bus is "Man with 3 Kids". We usually just nod at eachother but last week, he started a conversation with me. It was his daughter's 10th Birthday and we talked about our kids. "The Crossing Guard" is another character in our little journey to school, Duke feels comfortable with her and makes sure to tell her, "Good Morning" and "Thank You".

MorningBecause we take the bus and have a short walk, we usually arrive at school at 7:24am, I text Chris and let him know "Weez here" and wait near the Kindergarten classrooms till 7:30am when the kids are moved from the wall to the playground. Duke is always impatient and can't wait for his friends to show up. From 7:30-7:45am, the kids play till the bell rings and I just observe the action. Around 7:50am, when all the kids are safely in their classrooms, I head back to the bus stop and this is where I come across more strangers in my life. If I'm lucky, I run into "The Blind Man" who I help cross the street. Blind man. He usually has to cross another street to catch his bus but "The Crossing Guard" helps him. While I'm waiting the 20 minutes or so to catch my bus I see all kinds of people including, "The Guy on his way to work on his bike", "The Asian kid with a football" and "The 12 year old who's always late". I waste my time on Twitter and "Bus Driver #2" usually pulls up right on time. Inside are "The 2 guys on the way to work" who are always deep in serious conversation with "Bus Driver #2". The other day "Bus Driver #2" asked "The 2 guys on the way to work" what happened to "The Indian Couple" - I actually wondered the same thing, it has been a few weeks since we last saw them.

Good days are when I see our local homeless, John & Rudy. We know their names because we put together care packages over the Holidays and gave it to them. John used to push around 2 Shopping Carts but has upgraded to 4, most mornings he's standing in front of a little plaza. Rudy pushes a stroller with his stuff in it and he's always near the gas station.

I get home around 8:24am and text Chris that I'm home. I work on things at home, take a nap and head out again at 1pm. The buses usually run late so I end up waiting longer than I have to. Some days "The Girl with the Marriott Uniform" is at the bus stop and her hair smells good but it's so strong. She always asks me for change. "My favorite Bus Driver" which is #3 is always so happy. I really enjoy the ride with her and I almost missed my stop once. I'm usually 30 minutes early so I sit under a tree in the park next to Duke's school. The Preschoolers are always in the playground. They are so funny to watch. Duke gets out anywhere from 2:05-2:10pm and we almost always have to race to catch the 2:14pm bus. "Bus Driver #4" doesn't say much and looks mean but everytime we exit the bus, Duke yells to her, "THANK YOU" and she laughs and says, "YOU'RE WELCOME".

At the end of the day, I enjoy spending quality time with Duke on our little expedition from crossing paths with the same faces going to different places. I know this is a good learning experience for Duke to see how people interact, it helps enhance his social skills (manners, patience) and shows him a piece of our little World. The only way you experience life is being around life.

Stuff we've seen on the walk home:
Soda bottle stuffed in a bush. Duke asked me why people leave trash everywhere and I told him because people are foul and don't care!
Abandoned fish tank. In the morning, both fish were dead. In the afternoon, the orange fish was alive!
Stuff I've seen while waiting for Duke:
Tree in the park turning colors, can't wait for the pink blossoms!
In bloom
Shadows that look like a character

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