I don’t know about you, but at my house, stuffed animals seem to appear out of nowhere. I have no idea where they come from. They’re a bit like wire coat hangers. The kids are always happy to have more even though it’s rare when I see one being played with. Today, I have a couple of suggestions about where to get rid of them (assuming you’re kids will part with them).
To be honest, the best method to get rid of a stuffed animal I have ever seen, was when I was in the Army and watched a stuffed Barney the Dinosaur get blown up by a Claymore mine. If you’re short on explosives or just prefer a more humane way to get rid or those dust collectors, there are other options. You can always try selling them if you’re having a garage sale, but from what I’ve heard they don’t usually sell very well. I recommend just donating them or, if they are in bad shape, just throw them away.
While not every charity will accept used stuffed animals, The Salvation Army in Southeast Michigan does. I don’t think they all do though, so you may need to check the one near you. Some local thrift stores will accept them as well.
One of my favorite places to send stuffed animals though is a non-profit called Stuffed Animals For Emergencies (SAFE). SAFE is a nationwide charity run by volunteers who will accept donations of stuffed animals among other things like books, crayons, blankets, clothes, and baby items. Their website states that “All stuffed animals must be ‘like new’, clean, free from stains and tears, and need to be appropriate to be given to a child in an emergency”.
The volunteers are spread throughout the country so take a look at their website to see if there is a contact near you. Also, chapters can choose what they will accept so pay attention to their list of acceptable donations.
We have one for Southeast Michigan that accepts books and blankets as well as stuffed animals. Unfortunately she’s not very close to my house. When I emailed her about donating some stuffed animals a few years ago though she was very responsive. I actually mailed her a large box of stuffed animals but you would never guess by looking at how many we still have.
The SAFE website has contact information for all of their chapters and information if you would like to start your own. They even have a stuffed animal cleaning guide that you can download. I think SAFE is by far the most worthwhile method to donate your stuffed animals that are in good condition. It did cost me some money to mail them but it was definitely worth it and I plan to do it again soon.
I think that applies to stuffed animals too.
Do you have a first aid kit at home?
How about in your car? If you have one, when was the last time you looked at the contents? You might be surprised at what you find if you haven’t looked at your first aid kit in a while, especially if it’s been sitting in your car for a long time.
The bandages in a first aid kit will degrade over time no matter the environment but the temperature fluctuation in your car will accelerate the process. The paper that seals the bandages and keeps them clean will separate exposing the bandage. When you need it, you may not be putting a clean bandage on that cut. That can lead to infection. Also, if you use any of the items from your first aid kit, you need to make sure you replace them.
What do you really need?
What do you really need in a first aid kit anyway? Well, it depends on the activities you are doing and the kit’s intended purpose. It would be great to have a separate kit for home, hiking, bicycling, hunting, etc. but that’s not always practical. I did a little research to see what some of the experts recommend. To compile one big list, I pulled together three different lists I found on the internet. I combined them and eliminated duplicates. Then I attempted to group them for convenience. There are no quantities because it will depend on how many people you are preparing the kit for. In full disclosure, I don’t know what everything in this list is for.
WebMD mentioned that contact lens solution can be handy for flushing eye injuries and can be used on other wounds too. You can get small bottles for portability. They also noted that the best place to store a first-aid kit in the house is in the kitchen. That makes sense since many injuries happen there anyway and it tends to be sort of the center of the home. The humidity in the bathroom can shorten the shelf-life of your first aid supplies.
One item on the list that I had never heard of was the tooth preservation kit suggested by Kidshealth.org. Here’s a link (yes, an affiliate link) to one on Amazon. It has some sort of salt solution to store the tooth in until you can get to a dentist to have it re-implanted. This one has a 2 year shelf life.
Of course, you should modify this list if you are packing a first-aid kit for a specific activity but this should give you a good foundation. Also, you can always purchase a ready made one. You can find them all over, but a good place to get one is right from the Red Cross website. There are also a few affiliate links to kits on Amazon below. Thanks and stay safe.
Outdoor first aid - Outdoor Life
If someone asked you to name one of the biggest household chores you hate doing, what would it be? For a lot of people the answer is laundry. It’s a pain in the neck and it never seems to end. If you have kids, you’re constantly turning socks right-side out and extracting underwear from jeans just so you can sort it all. Then, after washing, drying, and carefully folding it all, you hand your teenage son his neatly stacked clean clothes just to see him:
a. Throw it all together in an overcrowded drawer,
The whole thing is an exercise in frustration. We’ve been working to resolve this through desperate attempts to get the kids to help with the laundry. It’s sort of working, so I thought I’d share my suggestions here. I came up with 10 Steps to work your way to laundry freedom.
Step 1: Get them to help gather laundry
Step 2: Have them put away their own laundry
Step 3: Ask them to move laundry from the washer to the dryer
Step 4: Fold towels and put them away
Step 5: Teach them to fold their own clothes
Step 6: Teach them to use the washing machine
Step 7: Teach them to sort the laundry
Step 8: Have them do the entire process by themselves
Step 9: Make corrections
Step 10: Bonus - Teach them to iron
This went on longer than planned so if you actually read this far then I thank you. If you are looking for some laundry tips, I found some good ones at TheSpruce.com.
I’ve been extremely busy lately with all the kids’ end of the school year stuff coupled with some projects around the house. Not to mention running to softball games, t-ball games, Church events, etc. I’ll keep this short and remind everyone that this Sunday is Father’s Day in case you forgot.
Like many holidays, people often buy gifts for Father’s Day so my job is to remind you to be thoughtful about your gift and not buy “stuff” that he may not want. If he has requested something specific, that’s different. In that case it will be something he uses and hopefully won’t become clutter. But please don’t run to the mall or jump on Amazon and pick the first thing that grabs your eye.
Out of curiosity, I looked at Amazon’s list of “What dad really wants” and apparently dad wants a new shirt, watch, or wallet. The shirt probably won’t fit. The watch will be the wrong color or style. And the wallet he has is just fine. I also found it interesting that Amazon’s list defaulted to “under $50”. Maybe that’s based on my shopping history.
OK. It was actually the Amazon Fashion list of Father’s Day gifts, hence the clothes and accessories, but you get the point.
Anyway, if you have no idea what to get dad this Father’s Day, I recommend consumables or experiences as always. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
Just remember that the most valuable gift you can give anyone is your time.
Happy Father’s Day to all my fellow dads out there and especially to my own dad.
I’ll try to write this without complaining.
A week before Easter our six-month old dishwasher broke. Typically when an appliance breaks in my house I attempt to fix it myself but since this was so new I called in for warranty repair. Unfortunately it took a couple days before someone could look at it and then another week and a half to get the part. I know there are people with a lot bigger problems but not having a dishwasher for our family of five was kind of a pain in the neck.
Our evenings are busy enough without spending time washing dishes by hand. My wife and I each pack a lunch for work everyday and the kids usually pack a lunch about once a week. The kids added to the problem by continuing to use dishes as if they didn’t care that we were hand washing everything. That’s probably because they really didn’t care.
The whole traumatic ordeal has forced us to think more about how many dishes we use on a regular basis. It’s a lot. I’m not sure the kids learned much since we didn’t make them help out with the dishes as much as we probably should have. It seemed like by the time we finished with all the craziness of each evening, they were going to bed late. Then my wife and I would end up doing the dishes later.
After two weeks of hand-washing, our dishwasher is repaired and we appreciate the convenience more. We used to get lazy sometimes and leave anything that couldn’t go in the dishwasher until we felt like washing by hand. Sometimes things would sit there for a couple days before we got around to hand washing.
I’m trying not to do that anymore by accepting the fact that the hand-wash items are just part of the evening clean-up routine. After I take care of anything that can go into the dishwasher, I just quickly wash anything that’s left. I love being able to go to bed without dirty dishes sitting around.
Now if I could just figure out what to do with all the papers and stuff my kids put on our kitchen island.
My family uses Cozi for our calendar, shopping, and to-do lists. The best part is that it's free.
Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2020
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