If you're a mom who wants to save money, mark your calendar for the Just Between Friends annual children's consignment sale March 5-7 at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Mo.
Yes, I know it's a bit of a drive and a midweek event, but from what I can tell from talking to young moms I know, it's worth the trip. Pack up a couple girlfriends and spend the day.
Hours are 2-8 p.m. March 5; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 6 (25 percent off day); and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 7 (50 percent off day). Admission is free.
You'll find children's clothing, baby gear, books, outdoor playground equipment and more.
If you're a fan of Wild Birds Unlimited in Swansea, stop by today to say good-bye to Kathy and Pat O'Neill, who are turning over the reins of the store to Mardi and Jim Mauch. Mardi has worked with the O'Neills for several years and calls herself a "birdwatcher practically since birth."
Grab the kids and celebrate Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss's birthday Friday and March 2 at St. Clair Square's Food Court.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days, children can take part in all kinds of fun activities, including story time every half-hour with "local media personalities." (I'm reading at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, so come by and say "hi.") On Friday, the first 50 kids who donate a new book will receive a Dr. Seuss hat. And on March 2, meet Bearemy from Build-a-Bear, Newbie from New Balance St. Louis and the Chick-fil-A Cow.
Mark your calendar: Hop in to see the Easter Bunny from noon to 4 p.m. March 2 at The Children's Place at the mall.
Guys, if you have a high school or college graduation coming up, or a job interview, you will need some dress shirts and ties. Through today at JCPenney at the mall, Van Heusen regular or fitted dress shirts and silk ties are $20. You'll find solids and stripes in both.
If you own a Keurig coffeemaker, and you've been trying to find a way to store your K-cups, Old Time Pottery in Fairview Heights has stylish chrome racks ($9.99) that hold 18, which is typically the amount you get when you buy a box of the coffee pods.
While I was there, I remembered that the retailer always carrying a great supply of Lodge cast-iron cookware. I was particularly taken with the Lodge Grill Press ($19.99) with its spiral "keep cool" handle. Make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, sear a steak or flatten boneless chicken in the pan with this press.
Fun item of the week: Barnes & Noble in Fairview Heights has a kit that teaches you how to play the ukelele ($34.95). You get an 80-page instruction book, an all-wood ukelele, extra strings and a tuning screwdriver.
Think spring: It's less than a month away and Big Lots in Fairview Heights has a variety of portable "greenhouses" for the home gardener. They are tiered shelves that come with heavy-duty PVC clear plastic cover you can roll up. The three-tier version is $20, the four-tier is $30 and the walk-in has two sets of four-tiers for $50.
Need a bit of alone time today? The Kids Club at Michaels Crafts in Shiloh will give you 30 minutes for $2. That's how much it will cost to let the club adults work with your child on a creative activity while you shop. Runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30, starting every half-hour. Or, from 1 to 3 p.m., learn how to personalize your next party with chalkboard paint.
Munchkin Snack Catchers are cool containers that will keep little ones from dumping Cheerios in the car -- or anywhere else. The BPA-free cup-size containers have nice grip handles, but the lid is the secret: It has a soft swirl flap, so tiny hands can reach in and grab a snack without spilling. You'll find them at Babies R Us in Fairview Heights. A two-pack is $7.99 and colors may vary.