Author Archives: Brooke

Life Imitates Art


Nope, that’s not just Sadie watching a little TV. That’s Sadie reenacting the beginning of Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t grab my phone quickly enough to catch the start of her performance. Ah, well.

Her Arkeysaw



I took off a bit early today and picked up some bakery cookies on my way to get Sadie. She’s really become enamored with the Arkansas state capital building, and we drive to see and go through the tunnel two or three times a week. So we finally went while it was still open and had our cookies on the front steps. We went inside, but there wasn’t much going on, with it being a Friday afternoon. Sadie liked climbing the marble staircases and thought it was all very big and pretty. Maybe she’ll be an architect… Or governor.

Best of Intentions

Want to know what not to get your kid to celebrate no more diapers (!) and being 2 and a half (not two and ever, as Sadie would tell you)?


A fish in a tank.

Sadie loved the idea of the fish, who she named “Daddy Fishey.” But she pretty much flipped her shit yesterday when I tried to explain she could not, under any circumstance, hold Daddy Fishey. Not even just a wittle bit moore.

So now Trevor and I are keeping Daddy Fishey safe, way up high on the wardrobe in our bedroom. I guess until Sadie can understand that Daddy Fishey will be asleep forever if we take him out of his water house. And can agree not to bang on the tank when told such news (guess a larger, heavier tank would have been the better choice after all).


Duck Duck Goose Fall 2011

Disclosure: I received 20 Duck Bucks to use while creating this blog post. However, the statements and opinions contained within the post are mine.

I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore children’s clothing consignment shopper. But it has become the primary way I shop for clothes for Sadie. Aside from a few one-off purchases at retail stores, I mostly just wait for consignment sales, like Duck Duck Goose (Arkansas’s original consignment sale, apparently).

There are several Duck Duck Goose sales each season around the state: Little Rock, Jacksonville, Conway, Pine Bluff and Hot Springs. The sale in Little Rock is the BIG sale, and it’s held at the Hall of Industry at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds.

I went to Friday night’s half-off sale, where every item WITHOUT a dot is half off. You miss the best selection this way, but for someone like me who’s alright with that, you can really make out like a bandit shopping the half-off sales (this time, Friday from 7-9pm and all day Saturday). I tried to find someone to go with me this trip and couldn’t, but it was just as well, because unless it was someone who was going to help me carry, it wasn’t really a social event for me. I took pictures with my phone, so they’re pretty bad, but they do give you a sense of what it’s like if you’ve never been.



I've never been a fan of mascot suits, so I'm glad I'm a blogger and not a journalist.

After shopping big consignment sales a handful of times, I’ve really kind of honed my shopping style. Here are some tips/ways to shop I find useful:

  • Bring a laundry basket, empty stroller or at least SOMETHING to help you keep up with your load. This is where I fail miserably every time (I like to blame the forgetfulness on sleep deprivation). It’s exhausting to be filling up one arm while using the other hand to flick through items on racks. Some consignment sales are located in closed down big-box stores, so they have shopping carts available. The Hall of Industry, obviously, does not.
  • If you’ve got a list of items you’re looking for for someone else, do that first. I was on the hunt for cowboy boots size 11 for a nephew (no luck), a particular bouncer for a yet-to-be-born niece (no luck) and an activity mat for the same upcoming niece (score!). Once I got those out of the way with, I could focus on Sadie.
  • I like to start with gear first. I was looking for a jogging stroller on the cheap, but the only ones available were two-seaters. This is where shopping early might have worked best.
  • Then I move on to furniture/decor. I usually find a couple of things I like, but then I remember it’s best not to buy such things impulsively. I get really annoyed at myself when I buy something I intend to paint or hang or something, only to let it pile up in my closet (Trevor’s got some sort of nickname for my closet… the pit, perhaps.).
  • Next up is toys. We try to keep Sadie’s toy selection pretty moderate and well curated, so I don’t let myself go crazy here. I’ve been planning to add more furniture sets to her dollhouse, and I lucked into finding some for a good price.
  • The bulk of my shopping is in clothes. There are rounders set up, marked with sizes by age. It’s  important to know the distinctions in the sizes for infants and toddlers. Last time I went to Duck Duck Goose, I spent a bunch of time looking through the 24-month racks, only to remember that Sadie’s more of a 2T (there is, indeed, a difference).
  • I’m pretty fast at getting through the racks, and I attribute this to my pickiness. I can fly through items, mostly passing them by because they’re too cheesy, too flowery, too fru-fru, or have licensed characters, large logos or annoying sayings on them. I pile up on my “free” arm what I like. Save the sorting for later.

  • Once I’ve made it through all of the racks, I find a place to sort. I look for reasons to eliminate something from the pile, like an embellishment I missed the first time around, or having a trim that looks like it would require ironing to stay straight (you can believe I’m not about to iron Sadie’s clothes at this age).
  • With my pile whittled, I add up the cost of getting everything. If it’s more than I want to spend, I go back to eliminating things. This trip, I really didn’t have to do that.
  • I’m kind of weird about secondhand socks and shoes. I sometimes breeze through, though, to look for a hidden gem or some legwarmers (last time I scored four pair for $2).
I did really well this year, I think. My favorite find was a hand-knit, zip-up, hooded sweater from Peru. I was just there and didn’t get Sadie one, as I heard they’re usually pretty pricey. This one? $3. Booyah. I didn’t find as many pants as I’d like Sadie to have for this fall and winter, so once I reassess what she’s already got, I might wait for another sale to come up and go again (this is where you can get into trouble–must remember what bases you’ve already covered, lest your kid have an outrageously huge wardrobe).
Oh, and what I haven’t mentioned is that Duck Duck Goose also has adult clothing and other items. I passed those over, though, because I was wiped out by the time I finished shopping for Sadie.

I have a good handful of friends who actually sell clothes at consignment sales. Sadie’s pretty hard on her clothes (and I’m not the best at removing stains), so I don’t know if we’ll end up with much worth selling when the time comes. We’re still planning on Sadie having a sibling, so I’m holding on to everything for now, in case we have another girl. Who knows, though, maybe I can earn back a dollar or two.

So, I went to South America.

I guess I forgot to mention it. I went to Peru and Ecuador for work, and I blogged a lot about it on the Heifer blog. I’ve actually still got more posts coming, but below are the posts I’ve done so far.

My last day in Ecuador I had the opportunity to take a horseback riding day trip into one of the few (maybe only one of two, I can’t quite remember) inhabited volcanic craters. It was completely amazing.

Sadie, by the way, did just great. She and Trevor fared well without me, but we were all glad to be reunited at last.

Greetings from Lima

Policy Conflicts in Rural Peru

Motivated Farmer in Peru’s Highlands

Allin Kausay

Fun in Peru: Day 1

Lucio of Peru: 1 of 2

Fun in Peru: Day 2

Lucio of Peru: 2 of 2

Pierre Ferrari in the Andes


Agroecological Fair in Loja

Eating in South America

Growing for Market

Ecuador: Banana Republic








Maybe they Should Work on Getting This Crap Out of Child Care Centers » Weekly Standard: Kid Tested, Not FDA Approved.

I’m sitting in the Atlanta airport, and I remembered this link I’d emailed to myself. It’s really great and all that the Obama administration is trying to establish guidelines so crap cereal won’t have cartoon characters on their boxes. I’d just like to point out, though, that these cereals are an allowable food item in child care centers that are reimbursed for such purchases by the government. Maybe that’s something the administration should be working on as well… Just saying.

A short, but long-overdue update.


We had a day of several firsts today, and I thought I’d share them here.

Sadie made her first prank call this morning. It was pretty funny, actually. We have a land line for the purpose of having our alarm system monitored (you catch that, stalkers?), and nobody calls us on it except sales people, pollsters and wrong numbers. So…I might let her answer it when it rings. Sometimes she picks it up and pushes buttons. Usually I get to her before she actually calls someone. Oops on today. I could hear somebody saying hello and then asking for her mommy. She kept saying her mama was right here, and then she said some nonsense and goodbye, and she hung up. Bah!

The second first was running two errands with Sadie in undies instead of a diaper. After a successful pee in the potty.

Finally, after a stressful bath/shower (Sadie hates, hates having her hair washed), Sadie requested that I apologize to her. Sweet girl.