Monday, September 17, 2012

A ThredUP Trial

Bubba is growing up fast.  I often feel like I'm constantly on the hunt for a new wardrobe for him.  And just when I think he has enough chino shorts or warm sweaters for the season, he'll hand me another article of clothing that doesn't fit.  In fact, just last week we discovered ALL of his jeans are too tight.  And I thought his wardrobe was in good shape for school.  UGH!

Most of the clothes I buy for him are new, and because he's not too rough and tumble, they're usually still in fantastic shape by the time they're ready for the "too small" pile.  So then I have tons of perfectly nice clothes taking up space in ginormous bins.  I've tried consigning, but it is ridiculously difficult to get an appointment at our local children's resale store.  And the last time I took bins there, they lost over half my items.  Not cool.  Ebay is okay, but a bit of a hassle finding the right size box, weighing it, figuring out postage, yada, yada, yada.  And the last garage sale I had was entirely too much work for the return on investment.

What's a mom to do?

Enter  Formerly a children's clothing swap site, ThredUP is now an online resale shop.  I'm not exactly sure where I first heard of the company, but I thought I'd check it out.  This is how it worked:

1.  I ordered a bag online.  Normally there is a $4.95 deposit fee for the bag (which is like a giant FedEx plastic bag), but currently the deposit is being waived.

 2.  The bag arrived in the mail.  The instructions for how to return your items are included inside, along with a copy of the guidelines for what they will accept.  Items not accepted are recycled, so I only sent them items I was confident could be resold, because I knew I wouldn't get them back.

3.  I loaded up the bag with Bubba's clean (yet too small) clothes and dropped the bag at the local UPS Store.  ThredUP is located in California, and the bag ships ground, so it took several days for it to reach its destination.  UPS provided a tracking number so I could make sure the bag was headed in the right direction.

4.  I received an e-mail from ThredUP informing me that my bag had been received and the items were being processed.  A few days after that, I received another e-mail letting me know my bag had been processed and how much money was deposited in my ThredUP account.

5.  I followed the e-mail link and could see all my accepted items available for sale and the price for each item.  I could even see which items had already sold.

6.  As you can see, I made an okay amount of money, probably similar to what I would have made from my local consignment store (the upside being, thredUP didn't lose my items!).  Now I can either use that credit to find new-to-us gently used items for Bubba, or I can cash out and have the money deposited in my PayPal account.  I really like that option!

7.  Would I use thredUP again?  Maybe.  I'm in the process of selling aforementioned too-small jeans on eBay, so we'll see how much I make off that auction.  The jury is out on thredUP, but it is a nice alternative choice for reselling children's clothes!  Hats off for internet commerce!

Let me know...what do you do with clothing your family has outgrown?

Disclaimer:  This review is my entirely impartial, unsolicited opinion.  No compensation or other consideration was provided by thredUP.  And I'm sure my friend Michelle at The Thrifty Homemaker won't like me too much for this post, since she runs a consignment store in Oregon.  If only she were nearby, I'm sure I could weasel an appointment at her shop! :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pizza With A Twist...Or A Fold

It's the weekend, and once again time for our traditional meal of homemade pizza.  But Mike, our resident pizza maker, is away for work, so assembly of any pie would fall on my shoulders.  Sadly, this is not my forte (I'm the dough maker), so I decided it would be a good time to try making calzones instead.  Shockingly, in all our years of pizza making we've never (purposely) made calzones.  And while the calzones didn't necessarily look pretty (calzone assembly appears not to be a strength of mine either), they were chewy and cheesy and basically excellent, which was really the point!

Four-Cheese Calzones

6 1/2 ounces warm (110* to 115*) water
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 tsp. vital wheat gluten
2 1/3 cup all-purpose or bread flour (I prefer King Arthur brand)

1/2 c. pasta sauce (I prefer Classico Tomato & Basil, which has 50 c./serving)
4 oz. shredded Italian-blend cheese
2 Sargento Provolone-Mozzarella cheese snacks, cut into pieces

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in the warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let stand 10 minutes or until foamy.  Add the salt, olive oil, vital wheat gluten, and flour and mix until a dough forms.  Knead the dough until smooth or, if using a stand mixer, allow the machine to knead the dough on medium-low for about 5 minutes.  Cover the dough with a tea cloth and allow to sit in a warm, draft-free location for about 90 minutes.

When the dough has finished rising, preheat the oven to 450*.  Sprinkle corn meal on a pizza stone and place the stone on the center rack of the oven.  Divide the dough into four equal portions.

Stretch each portion into a small circle, about the size of a pie plate.

Evenly distribute the pasta sauce on each dough portion.  Repeat with the cheeses.

Fold each dough portion in half and pinch the seams together, forming a sealed taco shape.

 Gently place each calzone on the hot pizza stone.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the dough is golden and the cheese inside has melted.

Serves 4

Calories:  Approximately 428, depending upon variety and brands of pasta sauce and cheese