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I love a good bargain. And kids stuff is expensive! Toys are especially ridiculously expensive, and there is no way to tell ahead of time which toys your kids will love and which they will never play with. That’s why I try to buy as many toys and books as I can at garage sales. 

Last Friday and Saturday, I went to a community garage sale with my daughter. We got some great bargains. (A Little People farm for $3, with all the animals!) After we stopped at a few sales, she began say “out, out” as we drove past sales. She wanted out of her car seat. She has never said this before. She is a bargain hunter like her mama! 

Here are a few garage sale tips:

  • Start early for the best selection, most sales start at 8 or 9 in the morning. However, at the end of the day sellers may be willing to give you a better bargain.
  • Community sales rock! Community sales are great because there is less driving involved. You can find multiple sales in one development.
  • Take cash in small bills. 
  • Start with an empty car – take the stroller out of the car and put some bungee cords in the trunk. (I fit a play kitchen in my car’s trunk, but the trunk wouldn’t shut. Luckily, I had bungee cords in the car! )
  • Check craigslist.org for upcoming sales. Look under the “For Sale” section.
  • Scope out the sales as you drive past. Look for bright colors. In my experience, there are two type of garage sales – ones with only old people stuff and ones with kids stuff (bright colors). There is very little in between. Skip the old people garage sales! 
  • If you see something you want but aren’t sure, pick it up and walk around with it. In the time you are deciding, someone else could walk up and grab it. 
  • Keep a reusable grocery bag with you so if you see lots of little items you want you can stick them in the bag as you gather them up. This is especially useful if you are shopping with a little one in tow.
  • Take some batteries with you so you can test toys that need batteries. You don’t want to get the new toy home only find out it doesn’t work. Also, check the battery compartment to make sure the old batteries haven’t corroded. 
  • Flip through books to see if there are missing pages or if it has been colored in. 
  • If you are buying a CD or DVD, open the case to make sure the right CD or DVD is in the case.
  • Make sure you inspect and all clean all your bargains before you let you child play with them. Check for loose parts that could be swallowed. 
What are your garage sale shopping tips? What is the best bargain you’ve ever found? Happy bargain hunting! 
[Photo credit: Garage sale sign]
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Summer has finally arrived in Columbus! One way to cool the kid down is at the Ballantrae Park in Dublin. The park has a wonderful water area, which is perfect for younger kids. My 18 month old daughter loves the park.

She likes playing in the fountains and having the freedom to run around. The fountains are choreographed so that the water pattern is constantly changing, which is endlessly fascinating to a toddler.

She is too timid to walk under the waterfalls, however, she loves to get as close as she dares and stick one hand under them. We always spend at least two hours at the park before she begins to lose interest.

The fountain area is much larger than the water area at Easton. The park has a parking area and bathrooms. There are only a few picnic tables and large rocks to sit on. So, its a good idea to take a large blanket you can spread on the ground. 

What to take: Swim suits, water shoes (they aren’t necessary but help give the little ones some traction when walking or running in the water), hats, sunscreen, small water toys such as buckets or cups, cold drinks, snacks, blankets, beach towels. 

Location: Ballantrae Park, 6350 Woerner Temple Rd., Dublin

Price: Free

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