When the kids attended a charter school in early elementary school, new rules came into play halfway through the school year and the students had to start wearing uniforms. They were were supposed to be from Lands' End, which was incredibly expensive, and we were told that someone might check labels so they weren't supposed to wear knock-off brands. I love the clothes from that company, but to buy an entire wardrobe (even a skimpy one) times four wasn't in the budget. But! The school worked with the company to come up with ways for families to earn credit for Lands' End merchandise. That was right up my alley, turning my leg work and man hours into needed commodities. The program was to sell gift cards and a portion of the sales went to my credit. So I went to work. And many friends and family helped out. A lot of people bought a lot of gift cards. They'd buy cards to places where they already shopped (like for groceries) so it was a win-win-win-win. I earned a LOT of Lands' End bucks.
When I pulled the kids out of third grade during the Christmas break of 2001, we had a lot of credit left. And at home school, funny thing, I didn't require my kids to wear matching uniforms. So basically, we didn't need to use the Lands' End bucks for navy trousers and white polos anymore. But! The kids were in need of winter coats. And Lands' End had some really really nice ones. And they came in all the kids' colors! For a mom totally obsessed with and thrilled by color, it was a dream come true. And to be able to buy brand new coats that weren't hand-me-downs was incredibly exciting.
I was looking for some snow pictures since today we still have snow all over our yard. Finding these photos reminded me of those coats we bought with the Lands' End bucks, plus two other things. The first is mostly fun for me. Seeing these reminded me of the hats I made for the kids out of polar fleece to go with their new coats. Spencer's was a jester hat with bells on the four prongs. Charlie's and Pierce's were regular stocking caps and Molly's had a fold up brim all around it. When Molly opened hers, she was visibly disappointed, but I thought it was nice.
The third thing I remembered is how we used to make great snow forts. The best snow bricks ever come out of bread pans. You pack 'em hard and spray them down with water once they're placed to freeze them up and make the walls more solid. I bought some extra pans at the thrift store to try to save my nicer ones for real bread. Next snow storm, give it a try. It's pretty fun!
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