How Secondhand Items Can Be Repurposed and Recycled

Over the years, people have made purchases from Ava’s garage sales with some very interesting reasons why they bought and how they were going to recycle those purchases. People have bought old sporting equipment to be hung up on children’s walls as decorations, such as old shortie skis, ski poles, old baseball mitts, etc. Old broken tools and metal debris have been purchased by artists and sculptors looking to make objects made out of the items. Old electrical wires, pipes, and other old electrical items were bought by a science teacher for his class. Stained or ripped bedding can be used for animals either for birthing or for stuffing into other items to make an animal bed. Animals don’t care if the items are not pristine.

Stray pieces of interesting fabrics or pieces of wallpaper truly look fantastic when cut and framed as inexpensive art. Beautiful old picture frames can be used to put a mirror in. Ava has even seen plastic dolls repurposed into lamps for a little girl’s room. You just string up through the bottom, and the lamp shade is like their hat. You can use old interesting architectural pieces, such as sinks, outdoors as coolers. Ava has taken old frames from barbecue grills and spray painted them to use as outdoor planters. She has also seen old glass from an antique door panel used as glass top for a roll top desk. The best use of broken down old doors is to put them on sawhorses and make a table top. You just cover with a tablecloth and voila- you have a great outdoor table and perfect tabletop for a garage sale.

Ava’s Golden Rules for Garage Sale Success

  1. Have clear, simple signs. They should be double-sided, have arrows, and clearly state the date and time.
  2. Put out an ad in your local paper.
  3. You have to write everything down (just like dieting). Do this before, during, and after the sale. Ava’s Guide to Garage Sale Gold has an organizer that helps you do this.
  4. Everything must be tagged, unless they are grouped with other like things that are all at one set price. You want to be a cashier during your sale, you don’t want to be worrying about haggling the prices the whole time.
  5. Put everything on tables, and then put covers on the tables.
  6. Categorize like items together.
  7. Feel empowered when you negotiate- don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t feel intimidated and back down immediately if the price is too low.

About the Author

Ava Seavey, a “self-taught master of garagesaleology,” has combined her passion for garage sales with her twenty-five years of advertising experience to produce a foolproof guide to successful garage sales.

Growing up, Ava loved selling things and being involved in various transactions, whether it was money, trade, or service. She organized things around her neighborhood- a newspaper, a neighborhood amusement park, clubs, sales, and more. From this she began to develop a fascination with what grabs people’s attention, what persuades them, and what makes them buy.

Ava became interested in flea markets and garage sales as a young person who needed a supplemental income while she built up her advertising career. She participated in many different rummage sales and flea markets for practical reasons, but at the same time she became increasingly fascinated with all the different angles of buying and selling: the psychological, merchandizing, financial, and sociological.

She was simultaneously developing her career in Direct Response Advertising, which means she was selling products and services on television directly to the consumer (i.e. infomercials). Here too, she was interested in the psychological, merchandizing, financial and sociological aspects of ads, and why some products bomb while others are an overnight success.

One day Ava had an epiphany when she realized that there was a correlation between Direct Response advertising and garage sales. For years she had been studying and learning firsthand why people buy and what motivates them to buy, and she realized that the knowledge she had from advertising could be directly applied to her garage sale experience. She incorporated various techniques and theories from advertising into garage sales, and figured out what worked and what didn’t. She became more and more interested in this connection between advertising and garage sales, and it became a passion of hers to increase the satisfaction of herself and others through these sales. She went to hundreds of garage sales to observe and analyze what people were doing right and what they were doing wrong. She held her own garage sales and helped others out using her techniques, and people were amazed at how successful, efficient, and fun their sales ended up being.

As the economy got worse and worse, Ava saw how beneficial her knowledge could be to other people who were in need of money. She decided that writing a book was the best way to share what she had learned from years as a garage sale aficionado and professional direct marketer and advertiser.

This recipe is as easy as slice and dip! Tuck the on-the-go snack packs into school lunches, field trip bags, gym bags – we lead busy lifestyles!

SunButter + Organic Apple Slices


1 favorite organic apple, sliced (or try a medley!)

1 SunButter on-the-go snack pack or 1.5 ounce cup


Slice and dip! Yes – it is that simple!

*Recipe and image courtesy of SunButter.*

Celebrate the Earth with a little planet-friendly FUN with the entire family! The following educational books and green games make for a wonderful evening of home spun entertainment while learning about Mother Earth at the same time.

Woodsy Words

Remember pick-up sticks? Taking the original game and making it both eco-friendly and educational, Woodsy Words builds reading skills with simple game play. To play, simply hold all the sticks in one hand and let them fall onto a flat surface. Then, select one stick – if you can extract it without moving any of the others, read the word printed on it and select another stick. Continue play until you bump another stick or get stuck on a word. The player with the most sticks at the end of the game wins! This new game features 30 Earth-friendly vocabulary words. The sticks are printed with vegetable ink on recycled paper. For ages 5+.

Smens® Pens

Can pens that are made from recycled newspapers smell fruity and delicious? Yes! Check out Smens, the latest release from the best-selling manufacturers of Smencils. Perfect for drawing, writing, and keeping score, Smens are available in gourmet scents including, Red Licorice, Creamsicle, Aloha, Mystery Scent, Banana fo Fana, Mocha, Passion Fruit, Ninja Berry, Pink Lemonade, and Black Licorice. Each Smen is individually wrapped in a stay-fresh biodegradable plastic tube and is guaranteed to keep its scent for two years. For ages 6+.

World Repair Kit by Serena & Lily

“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing…in Perfect Harmony…” Inspire kids to make the world a better place this Earth Day with the unique World Repair Kit by Serena & Lily! The kit contains a 205 page guidebook that is chock full of earth-friendly ideas that you and your family can do together to make a difference. Big or small, every action counts, and kids can stamp their passport once each activity is completed. Ages 8+.

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals; illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Compost Stew is a delightful alphabetical recipe that teaches youngsters how to create and use their very own home compost bin. With bouncy verses featuring items that will nourish Mother Earth and gorgeous illustrations that use recycled and found materials, this picture book furthers a timely message—to nurture and give back to the Earth.

Apple cores

Bananas, bruised

Coffee grounds with filters, used

Just add to the pot

and let it all rot

into Compost Stew!

Through Earth Day you can enter to win your very own copy of Compost Stew! Visit

Karaoke Fun with B. Okideoke

Sing along with the whole family while recording your voice with the B. Okideoke from B. Toys! Little ones can record a message or song, or sing along to 8 pre-recorded tunes. As B. Toys says, “Anything Worth Saying is Worth Saying Louder!” B eco-friendly too – the cool packaging is made from recycled paper and soy-based inks, and it wraps itself for an instant present, which Moms’ love!

*Companies generously provided images and samples for this article.*

5 Ways to Create Family Tradition and 5 Reasons Why We Should

By Abigail Brenner, M.D.

Life today is so fast-paced and demanding, it’s important that we find ways to reconnect with each other on a daily basis. Establishing family traditions helps us do just that. Traditions are those special times that bring families together, allowing us to express unity as a family and to create bonds that last a lifetime. Since every family unit is unique unto itself, the traditions created by each family are sure to be unique and special to the whole family unit as well as to each of its members individually.

Focus traditions around daily activities

You can utilize every day rituals, the activities and routine of daily living, to establish family traditions. These might include rituals surrounding bedtime. Talking, reading, snuggling up together, and saying a prayer are things to look forward to on a regular basis.

Spending time alone with each child, such as having dinner with individual children or doing a hobby or project together personalizes experiences and affords parents the opportunity to recognize and encourage each child’s special qualities. Weekly family meetings (perhaps with a favorite dinner) allows for discussion of upcoming schedules and activities for each family member and provides a forum to air differences, raise important issues, and plan ahead for the family.

Create a yearly family tradition

These outings can include camping, hiking, or going fishing at the first sign of spring. The first ballgame of the season is often an event anticipated weeks ahead of time. A picnic to a favorite place or a backyard BBQ for friends and neighbors can create an atmosphere of cooperation in the planning and preparation for the event. The entire family can participate in a “spring cleaning” day around the house, or perhaps a day annually or monthly to lend a hand within the community.

Take an annual family vacation

Family trips can include traveling to reunions to visit with extended family. An annual vacation may be purely for rest, relaxation, and fun, or may have an educational bent, such as a visit to a cultural/historical site or one that reflects a specific place or event that is being studied in school.

What’s important is that each family member has an opportunity to weigh in on choosing where the family should go. Family trips can also have themes, such as ecology, learning about the environment, working on a farm or ranch, or “service trips” such as helping a community at home or abroad.

Use your family history

These traditions provide a sense of continuity and cultural identity and allow us to explore the similarities, the things that resonate within each of us individually, with our ancestors. Visiting the cemetery to the gravesites of family members is common to many cultures and affords the family a time to honor and remember those who have gone before us.

Beyond hearing stories about one’s ancestors, making a trip of “discovery” to the mother country, the home of one’s ancestors, puts families up close and personal with the land and landmarks of one’s relatives.

Family objects and artifacts, things inherited from family members (Bibles, wine cups, candlesticks, baptismal outfits, Christmas ornaments, etc.) can be incorporated into family rituals and ceremonies.

Start a holiday tradition

Birthdays, anniversaries, and other personal family events are occasions to establish any number of traditions, such as a favorite cake or meal, or visiting a place closely associated with the event.

Annual religious and national rituals and ceremonies provide unity in community, celebrating with those who share ideas and beliefs. Beyond what we have in common, though, families can learn together about other spiritual traditions by visiting local houses of worship and participating in holidays and celebrations of other traditions. This practice encourages tolerance, acceptance, and diversity.

There’s no doubt that the benefits of establishing family traditions go well beyond spending time together. These are five reasons why we should create family traditions.

  1. Traditions establish and strengthen family bonds by providing a solid structure, a sense of continuity, and a feeling of belonging.
  2. Family teaches values. Traditions support and communicate a family’s belief system. They instill faith and convey the family’s perspective on life experiences.
  3. The immediate family serves as your witnesses through life’s transitions, sharing and committing to each other in times of joy and celebrations and lending support and comfort through crises, disappointments, and losses.
  4. A healthy family unit is a vital force in the nurturing and molding of a child’s identity.
  5. Family traditions are a sound way to foster a sense of stability and security and this contributes to the emotional health, self-esteem, and self-respect of family members.

The family serves as the model for all interpersonal relationships. The way an individual is cared for, supported, encouraged, allowed to express and be themselves in the family, or not, enormously influences the choices and decisions an individual makes moving into the future.

Family traditions are part of the “language” of a family, a short-hand, symbolic way of relating that everyone understands. As life moves forward and people grow and change, family traditions keep us connected. For sure, they create memories for everyone to share for a lifetime, and even beyond.

Copyright © 2011 Abigail Brenner, M.D., co-author of The Essential Guide to Baby’s First Year.

About the Author

Abigail Brenner, M.D., co-author of The Essential Guide To Baby’s First Year, is a board certified psychiatrist currently in private practice as well as an ordained interfaith minister who helps people design, create, and perform personally meaningful rituals. She is also author of SHIFT: How to Deal When Life Changes, and the author of Transitions: How Women Embrace Change and Celebrate Life.

Fresh and colorful, this quinoa salad is protein-packed and rich in vitamins – plus, it is filling, so it makes an excellent lunch or dinner choice!

Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Dressing


Zest and juice of 3 lemons

1 tablespoon minced shallots

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 cups basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup extra virgin olive oil


Whisk lemon zest/juice and next 7 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside until ready to toss salad.

Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad


2 cups quinoa

4 cups water

3 small zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

3 ears fresh corn kernels, cooked

2 large tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

5 ounces baby arugula, sliced into a chiffonade

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


Heat water to boil. Add quinoa, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes until done. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl to cool. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium high. Brush both sides of zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes per side and transfer to a cutting board. Cut grilled zucchini into 1/2-inch slices and add to bowl with cooled quinoa. Add remaining salad ingredients to bowl and toss with salad dressing.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Debi Shawcross, Chef/Instructor/Author. Visit or follow @DebiShawcro.*

Foster a love of reading right from the start with colorful, creative board books and soft books from Lamaze! With bright, engaging pages filled with eye-catching illustrations and some that crinkle for tiny hands to grasp and tug, these sturdy books stand up to the drool, gnawing, and other baby-isms! Your little one can sail along with Captain Calamari as he learns his colors under the sea, and snuggle with their very own plush doll while being read to by Mom or Dad.

With age-appropriate content developed by noted child development expert Dorothy Singer, Ed. D., this line of first books by Lamaze is sure to be the family’s favorite. Each book is small enough to tuck in a diaper bag or purse for entertainment and stimulation in a pinch. From Farm Sounds to the Counting Zoo, learning becomes fun and enjoyable, and the back cover of each book includes play ideas, ways to use the book, the benefits of reading to your child, and developmental stages for that specific age.

Your budding reader will love to play peek-a-boo with the lovable characters in the Peek-A-Boo Forest , and learn about knights and steeds in The Story of Sir Prance-a-lot! Funny voices and lots of extra tickles will have little ones bringing the books over to Mom or Dad to read again and again. The books make wonderful baby shower and birthday gifts, as well!

For more information about Learning Curve’s new Lamaze book line, or to locate a store near you, please visit

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Another fabulous 4-ingredient recipe that is family-friendly and cooks up in minutes! You can always substitute any of the vegetable combinations, as well, from zucchini and carrots to tomato and avocado. Make it fun!

Roasted Red Pepper & Red Onion Quesadilla


2 French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Tortillas OR Sprouted Grain Tortillas

¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Red onion slices

Roasted red pepper slices


Heat sprayed pan over medium heat. Put one tortilla on pan and layer with cheese, red pepper and onion. Top with other tortilla. When cheese has melted, about 3 minutes, flip quesadilla and cook for a few more minutes. Cut into four pieces and serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

*Recipe and image courtesy of French Meadow Bakery.*

The Best Foods to Fuel Your Cardio Workout

As a busy mom with a busy schedule, it may be difficult to muster up the energy to pound out a grueling cardio workout. Still, exercising regularly is the key to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your energy levels boosted all day long.

Fortunately, there are a few tips that you can use to boost your energy and maximize your next cardio workout:

  • Eat Carbohydrates and Fats: Regular cardio activity, like running, biking, and walking, requires carbohydrates and fat to burn energy. If you change up the intensity of your exercise, like running intervals, or hiking uphill, your body will use both fats and carbs to maintain your energy levels.

It is best to eat healthy carbs like fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and dairy paired with healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, eggs, and salmon.

  • Pre-Workout Snack: It helps to have a pre-workout snack consisting of healthy carbohydrates. However, since many carbs contain large amounts of fiber that may take a while to digest, you don’t want to eat too heavily before exercising.

3 to 4 hours before working out, have a regular meal, like a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread, grilled salmon and brown rice, or whole-grain pasta. Roughly an hour before working out, have a low-fat, low protein, and high carb snack, like a piece of fruit, pretzels, or a granola bar.

  • Post-Workout Snack: Your post-work out time is the opportunity to replenish your energy and provide nutrients to worn-out muscle groups. This is the time to eat healthy carbs and protein.

If it has been over four hours since you have eaten, it’s time to have another balanced meal, like a protein bar, half a whole-grain turkey sandwich, or peanut butter and whole-grain crackers.

By choosing the right foods to eat before and after your workout, as well as choosing the right times to eat, you will finally be able to have the energy to workout harder and stronger.

As an added tip, research has also shown that drinking a cup of coffee prior to a workout boosts stamina and increases endurance by up to 15%. Eating healthy, balanced snacks prior to a workout and grabbing a cup of Joe may give you the kick you need to complete your regular workouts and maintain a healthy weight… even with the busiest of schedules.

About the Author

Bethany Ramos is a beauty and health writer that co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bunn Coffee Maker, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!

Feeling Bloated? Here Are a Few Quick Tips to Slim Down Fast!

If it’s that time of the month, or if you’ve just overindulged, you may feel bloated, puffy, and cranky. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there, but luckily, there are a few quick tips that you can use to reduce bloating and water weight and feel your best right away:

  1. Hydrate by drinking more water. Drinking extra fluids will help to flush sodium out of your system and ease water retention that causes bloating associated with PMS.
  2. Cut sodium out of your diet. By avoiding fast food, canned soups, and deli meats, you will be able to reduce your sodium intake and eliminate fluid retention as a result.
  3. Stay away from refined carbohydrates. Stop eating white pasta, white bread, and chips, which are easily broken down into glucose and stored in your body for energy. As these carbohydrates are stored, water molecules will attach to the glucose to make you feel bloated and heavy.
  4. Focus on your fiber intake. Eat natural and fresh high-fiber foods like vegetables and fruit that will quickly pass through your digestive tract and flush your system of water.
  5. Get moving! Exercising regularly boosts your metabolism and flushes excess water from your system. As you exercise, you will stimulate muscles that push water and food through your digestive system. Breaking a sweat will ease fluid retention and bloating, and moderate exercise can also reduce headaches, cramps, and lower back pain associated with PMS.
  6. Be cautious in your use of diuretics. Although a diuretic may temporarily ease bloating, when you stop taking it, your body will retain more water. This can cause bloating side effects for one to two weeks afterward, and it can also lead to a dependency on diuretics.
  7. Consider using a natural diuretic. Drinking dandelion or chamomile tea, or enjoying noncarbonated water with lime or lemon, will help to naturally detoxify and flush your body. This is a natural and gentle alternative to over-the-counter diuretics to help minimize bloating around your period.
  8. Stop drinking soft drinks. Sodas contain caffeine that can dehydrate you, and they also contain phosphorus, which can cause inflammation in your intestines to make you feel even more bloated.
  9. Cut back on eating dairy products. Dairy products that contain the milk sugar lactose can often worsen symptoms of bloating. Try cutting back on dairy temporarily to see if it helps reduce water weight gain, and minimize dairy accordingly around your period.

By making a few simple changes in your diet, you can greatly minimize some of the most uncomfortable symptoms associated with PMS – bloating and water weight gain. Finally!

About the Author

Bethany Ramos is a beauty and health writer that co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bodum French Press, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!

Simple and extremely kid-friendly, these make a delicious afternoon snack or cooking activity with Mom or Dad! Serve with diced fresh fruit, for dipping, or organic vanilla yogurt – YUM!

Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps


4 French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Tortillas OR Sprouted Grain Tortillas

Cooking spray

Cinnamon and sugar


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Slice each tortilla into 8 wedges. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Place sugar side down on pan. Spray other side with cooking spray and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip chips over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve with fruit, salsa or yogurt.

*Recipe and image courtesy of French Meadow Bakery.*