10 Things from our Trip Back to Pennsylvania

by - Thursday, May 19, 2016

1. Watching Two Gents Graduate- Graduations have a bad reputation, mostly because they are long and boring. But I like them, and I really like showing up and making a big deal when something good happens to someone I love. It's a victory lap to a lot of hard work and thought, not to mention maybe one of the most dramatic turns of page in a person's life. There is a big difference between life in college and life after, and I know that can be a rough year, so I feel like it is good to be excited about the good parts. Excited for two really smart and thoughtful people, and I can't wait to see where the future takes them!

2. Surviving my First Flight Just Baby and Me- I know people are feeling especially negative and despondent lately, but I have to say, kind people are everywhere. And they are totally willing to hold your baby while you fight with a well-meaning but tough stroller. And they are mostly positive and supportive and kind. I know some of that is that the tiny person I have with me is cute and excessively friendly, but I think mostly he is just opening the door so someone can

3. Team Effort-ing those Graduations- My Dad is an angel and drove with us in tow all the way to State College and back in one day. Then, he took turns with me walking around with the Bub in the Bryce Jordan Center (my only regret is that we didn't buy a soft pretzel). It's nice to have people who also know and love your kid, and are super aware of the challenges a long graduation ceremony might raise. Thanks PAG!

4.This Strawberry Moth Sweatshirt- Printed on an American Apparel shirt (woot!), this sweatshirt has quickly become one of my favorite things in The Bub's wardrobe. A little steep in price (no more than lots of things from Carter's), but everything else he is wearing is used, and probably cost less than twenty dollars in all. This is my secret to dressing little kids- get almost everything used (especially shoes) and when you splurge, get it on Etsy (because they have an endless supply of cute and original stuff).

5. Polly's- I should hate it, because it was definitely one of the crappier jobs I had in my life, but this ice cream- schlepping parrot will always have a special place in my heart. Plus, they have the best cookie dough for their cookie dough swirls ANYWHERE. Dairy Queen can't touch their cookie dough. The Bub liked it quite a bit.

6. The Farmer's Daughter- Three minutes from Walmart in Seneca, you can buy all of your dry goods in bulk, local food products and meat, and even Rada Cutlery (made in the USA!). There was so much good stuff there; I couldn't believe it!

This place is a gem, and places like Venango County need it to support local jobs, local businesses (who are making this stuff), and to keep money in the county where it was made. I get that you might not be able to buy everything there, but if you just switch your flour and one sandwich a week over, you are making a crazy big difference in the immediate world around you! I wanted to give them all the moneys, because I am so tickled that this place even exists. Your neighborhood might have one too- look around!

7. Gingly's Dream House- My Mother in law has this playhouse that my 20-something Sister in law played with as a kid. It now has served that household for 25 years, because my son now loves it more than anything. Specifically, sticking the pantsless family member in the car or trying to stick the car on the roof. It's a shame this company has moved all their manufacturing out of the States, but it makes me appreciate Grandma toys, which can be used over so much time by so many kids. If you can make it last, you should!

8. Western PA Yard Sale Culture- One of my girlfriends told me about the traffic backup and crazy huge popularity of yard sales in Western PA. How cool is that? It just goes to show that buying things used is losing its stigma, and people everywhere are finding different ways to save money and save the Earth by using used! It's nice to see how much value people still see in objects even if it isn't brand new. So happy to hear stories like these.

9. May Mart- Just another little cheesy town event in our small town, right? Wrong! Events like this are hugely important for fostering community and supporting small businesses and local artists. I loved it. I have at least 2 lawn ornaments on my wishlist just from walking around it.

10. Made in America and Recycled at Walmart- In general, this blog doesn't have much nice to say about Walmart. I do appreciate that they mark their US-made products so that a shopper who cares could ptentially identify them. Also, if a rural Pennsylvania Walmart can  have eco-friendly, made in America spoons, what are you doing accepting fresh plastic and made in China? No more! Gerber, why do you even exist? You are the worst.

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