Friday, June 15, 2012

It's made where???

Do you read the label on the items you want to purchase? Do you check to and see where, before you buy? Does the “Made in…” weigh in on your choice to make the transaction?

I feel like I’ve been shopping for a pair of jeans for years. It seems to be one of the harder things to find. Let me clarify. A good fitting, flattering, pair of jeans, within a reasonable price range, seems to be a hard thing to find.

Every now and then, when I’m feeling up to the challenge or the mood strikes me just right, I muster up the courage to try on several pairs of jeans, in the hopes that I might come close to something that fits me…flatters my shape and is somewhat affordable.

Several months ago, I wandered into a store that sells only jeans. “This should make my task easier” I thought. I selected 4 or 5 pairs and went off to the fitting room. The first two were a “no go” with out a second thought. The third pair, shockingly, fit great! Unfortunately, I waited until this moment to check the price tag. What was I thinking!!!???!!!

Once I managed to leave (running, screaming from) the store, empty handed, I decided to put jeans shopping on a shelf for awhile. So about two weeks ago I was kid-free for a few short, fleeting hours and thought it would be a good time to try on some jeans.

So I went to the women’s section of a well known superstore (not the one where scary people in their pajamas are found… the other one).

I pulled 3 pair of jeans from the shelf and sauntered off to the dressing room. Low and behold… One of them fit!!! And not just fit, but it hid what I needed it to hide, flattered in just the right way and I was sure that it would suit my budget.

Then I noticed a tag that suggested reading the washing instructions because of the dark nature of the dye. That is when I noticed     “Made in …”

Now, I know we are building relationships with other countries and when relationships are new a certain amount of trust is needed up front. I also feel like some trust needs to be earned. This particular country gives me uneasy feelings. I do not trust.

So should I not buy things made from there in a stand to not support a country that I do not trust? I feel they are not forthcoming with their knowledge of some evil people that may have been sheltered within their boarders. Will it matter at all that I don’t buy these jeans? What of all the other women who will, in all the other towns across this country.

About eight years ago I had a really bad experience at a large department store. Despite repeated efforts to get a resolve with their customer service I was left feeling very dissatisfied. I stopped shopping there for at least 6 years. Yep, six years. Even now I rarely go there or buy anything from that store. They never called to beg me to come back and I’m pretty sure they didn’t really miss my business. So does it matter?

Back to these jeans. Does it matter that I’m not going to give my money for a product that came from another country. I’m sure in whatever trade agreement we have with them that they have been paid for these goods. And the worker has most likely been given their $0.12 cents pay. The store is not going to notice that I have not purchased these jeans. I like the store. I shop there regularly and will continue to shop there.

So, does it matter where something was made? Do you care, who down the line, might benefit from your hard-earned dollar? Do you check to see where something is made and what bearing does that have on you choice to purchase?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Camping 101

I survived!!!!!

Some of you may remember that I have NEVER gone camping. Not even in the back yard with hubby and the kids.

We were invited to go on a camping trip over Memorial Day weekend with a group. I said yes right away and figured that I would worry about the rest later. I want my kids to get as many fun experiences as possible and I don’t want to stand in the way of them building great childhood memories.

I knew my husband had been camping and would be able to guide me through what I needed to do to survive. One of my closest friends had been on this trip the past 2 years and I knew she would hold my hand as well.

Between her and my husband, I had a few shopping lists to go from and a good idea of what supplies to gather.

The kids got home from school just before 1:00 on Friday (early dismissal). Hubby took a half day off from work and was home before the kids and I was well on my way to ready. By 2:30/3:00 we were all loaded up and pulling out of the neighborhood.

I was a little nervous about the whole event…

Things I worried about…

Kid’s safety

Too many icky bugs

Meeting so many new people at once (overwhelming)

Being the new girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing

Being a downer for others

Not having enough to do (I need to ALWAYS be busy)

Less than 2 hours after leaving our house, we were pulling into our campgrounds.

The group had reserved three group sites. The first two sites were side by side and made a big open area. This is where the majority of the families were and the “kitchen” was set up. The organizer of the group did the shopping, meal planning and most of the cooking for breakfast and dinner. Each person (family) was on their own for lunch.

I know this is not typical for most people when they go camping. It was part of what made this trip a good first camping experience for me.

About 30 feet of woods and then there was the third camp site. A smaller site with room for about 4 tents. Here is where we were along with two other families. One of which we are very close friends with and the other family lives in our neighborhood. We have met them a few times so this all helped ease me into the experience.

The kids were off and running, Mama still a little nervous.

We walked over to the main site and started mingling. We enjoyed dinner and I started to relax.

The first few hurdles to over come…

1. Setting up systems or routines for the kids (and me). Getting them to understand taking shoes off outside of the tent, no dirt into the tent, and how to open the tent-get in–and close the door to keep bugs out.

2. Not having the comforts of home. The camp facilities were quite a distance away. Not something you want to have to travel to in the dark and not a trip you could make urgently. (I’ll spare you the details but some things don’t function well when traveling. This can make a person cranky.) Thankfully hubby didn’t listen to me when I protested the idea of a portable potty for inside the tent. I thought the idea was gross but it proved to be a godsend.

Our first night was upon us. I got the kids ready for and tucked into bed. I lay down still unable to be far from them, I was not comfortable with going back to the main site for socializing. Hubby went to sit by the fire and chat.

After dozing off I was awakened by my middle child. All three kids had been struggling with a stomach virus the week prior to the trip and this was her night. Again I’ll spare you the details but lets say there was some serious clean up needed.

A familiar family whistle and I managed to get hubby’s attention from the next camp site over. He grabbed a flashlight and came to our rescue. The running inside the tent with his shoes on threw me off for a second. Then I had to realize that going home that instant was not the best plan. Ok, regroup. Clean up, find some new blankets, get my girl into clean PJs and get my yellow haired butterfly settled back into bed.

We all made it through the night and she slept well into the next morning. Our friends also had a mini “kitchen” set up in our small camp site so we woke to coffee and a quiet small group of people we knew.

We had breakfast at the main camp site where I repeatedly reassuring those folks that I was ok and not plotting my escape.

My little goldie locks seemed to be bouncing back rather quickly so we continued with the plan fort the day. Rafting down a nearby river.

We survived a 2 hour adventure and came back to swim at the camp ground pool. Night two was far less eventful (whew!!!). The next day we showered the kids, had a very nice church service and then got ourselves bathed while our friends watched the kids. Then we all headed out for a trip to Laurel Caverns.

On the way back to the campgrounds, we stopped at a local winery. We did some tasting and then purchased several bottles. (Woo Hoo) One we grabbed was chilled so we could enjoy it once we got back to the camp.

Another peaceful evening and night.

Things I could have done without…

Stomach virus (but it was manageable)

Bathroom facilities not like home (nothing you can do about that when camping…I lived)

Bugs (I looked like I was performing an African tribal dance at time in an effort to get them off me!) (Again, I lived)

Things that made it great…

Someone doing the meal planning and cooking

Hubby helping me enjoy the trip

A great friend at my side

Fun activities to do during the day

Coffee in the morning and wine all day ;-)

All said and done… It was a fun trip and my kids made some wonderful memories!!! They had a blast and I can’t ever ask for more than that!!!