Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A sweet deal

For the last week and a half, I have spent hours every day chewing away at my exceedingly boring legal translation. I have figured out that I am NOT translating from English into German. I am translating from legal gibberish that kind of sounds like English into legal gibberish that kind of sounds German. Well, maybe it's not that bad, but Legalese is definitely not my favorite.

So to air my brain and allow myself a little fun time, we stopped by the thrift store on our errands yesterday afternoon. I didn't spot any exceptional finds, although there were several really cute and new-looking dresses in Miriam's size, as well as a couple of shoes for Becky, who has been needing more because she keeps losing one shoe from each of her pairs. Nothing noteworthy. On the way to the registers I happened to stroll by the furniture, which I never do. I prefer to buy furniture on craigslist because the selection and prices are usually much better.

There, I spotted something that I have been wanting for years. Something that normally retails for $200, more than I would be able to spend on something like that.

It is called "The Learning Tower", and it's basically a glorified step-stool that helps little ones be right where most of the daily action in the house takes place - at the kitchen counter.

I have been trying to find a safe way for Becky to be close to us all at the counter while we do school work, have a snack, or cook something together. I spend hours in the kitchen every day, and Becky has had to sit in her high chair for the last year if she wanted to be close to me, watching while I was busy. But lately, she has become bored with that, even if I try to put toys on her tray or remove the tray and pull her close to the counter. We do have a pretty sturdy step stool, but it was not safe at all for Becky, and she is still much too little to sit by herself on a bar-height stool by the counter.

My cost? $7.99, and it's in perfect, like-new condition!!!

On the website, I also discovered that the company sells an awesome "Playhouse Kit", that basically transforms the tower into all sorts of neat little play spaces.

They also sell an easel that snaps onto the back of the tower, which would be nice to have to make it even harder for little ones to accidentally tumble out, but it's very pricey.

Our kitchen is on the small side considering our somewhat large family, and this tower is big - but it is so worth it! The floor board adjusts to various heights within seconds, without having to unscrew or loosen anything - it simply slides down to a lower pair of notches. The design is very sturdy - no chance of it tipping over. Miriam and Becky have spent most of their waking hours in there since we brought it home yesterday afternoon.

I have to say I am glad I have never tried one of these before yesterday, because if I had, I would have bought it in spite of the steep price tag. It's great! And the fact that I got it so cheap makes it so much better! The people at the thrift store told me that they were wondering what it was when they were pricing it. I explained it to them, and also told them the suggested retail price after I had already paid and they couldn't change their minds about it - their jaws literally dropped. They could have done a little more research - the website of the manufacturer is printed onto the tower. Or maybe they were just wondering why anyone would spend $200 on a step stool.

Breaking into the kettle corn while I am unloading groceries. It's one of the very few indulgences that our otherwise all-organic lifestyle still allows...

I almost can't stand how cute these girls are, they look sweet enough to eat.

I just love the look of greed on Becky's little face in this one.


  1. LOVE finding deals like that!! I have never seen those before, that is really neat, Bailey and Daniel ALWAYS want to pull up a chair (to the counter) and they have fallen off many times, or pushed the other off, trying to get closer for their turn to "stir"!
    Looks like a neat thing to have! I just found a bike for Bailey, perfect size with training wheels already on it and practically brand new a couple weeks ago, $3.99, the woman at the register couldn't believe they put $3.99 on it!
    Hope the translating is going well! Glad you got to get out! :)

  2. Nicole,

    if this is in your budget, I would definitely recommend this tower for your family. I was thinking about you when I was putting the post together, because our kids' ages are so similar. It's been great. I am definitely planning on buying the playhouse kit - hopefully one of the stores in my town that carries the tower also has that, or can order it so I don't have to pay for shipping.

  3. I have wanted one of theses for ages, but we could never afford to pay $200 for one. My kids are 2 1/2, 19 months, and 7 months, so we'd be using it for a while.

    I need a triple stroller too, one of the side by side ones, but don't see that happening. It means I can't run errands with the kids at all though during the day because I can't carry all three.

  4. Mrs. W,

    do your kids' grandparents give them gifts for Christmas? Maybe they would like to get this tower as a joint gift from all of them for all the kids?

    Some double strollers are big enough to attach one of those boards for standing in the back - would that be an option for you?

  5. I have never seen anything like that before. That would come in very very handy at my house, I might have to ask for one for Christmas and/or birthday... The girls look adorable up there too :)

  6. Oh, and ADORE the great stepstool!

  7. I know I'm commenting on an older post here :-) I was looking to see if I could find a natural cleaner recipe.

    Anyway, I read this portion of this post: "It's one of the very few indulgences that our otherwise all-organic lifestyle still allows..."

    We have a mostly organic diet around my home, but some things are not. I have a few questions, if you don't mind offering some advice.
    1) What is, roughly estimated, your grocery budget? (I know that's personal, but I'm amazed that you can afford feed your growing family a high-quality diet, if that makes sense.
    2) What corners do you cut to help bring down the cost of groceries? (i.e. coupons, homemade, etc)
    3) Where do you typically grocery shop?

    Yes, I know that's a lot to ask. My kids are 7, 5, 3, and 9 months and we already spend about $125 a week on groceries. As our family grows in number, and looking ahead to a teenage sized appetite, I wonder how on earth we're going to be able to afford to buy quality food.

    Thanks for any help. :-D

  8. Elizabeth,

    great questions. I have a blog post in the works entitled "Affording organic". Hopefully it will be up soon!


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