5 & 10 Love

We are lucky creatures to have, within a few blocks' walking distance, our very own 5 & 10. When we first moved here, we were charmed simply by its existence {how quaint! I didn't know they still had these ma & pop stores!} but now it is simply essential to our existence. Need an extra posterboard for your homework project? Walk to the 5 & 10. Spray paint for an old lighting fixture? Materials for a primary project in the morning? Just feel like exercising your 11-year-old independence and walking over with friends for some penny candy? Check, check, and check. And that's just today.

Part hardware store, part general store, part anachronistic time capsule, the 5 & 10 reveals many treasures: bins and bins of rubber balls and rubber duckies, yarn, office supplies, plumbing thingies and electrical doohickies, dishes, salt and pepper shakers, games, rubber reptiles, cowboy hats...it's difficult to think of anything that isn't there.

My parents came with a great idea when they visited a few years ago: a penny auction. They gave each family member $5 to spend at the 5 & 10. Then we took our loot home, put it in a big box and started the bidding (everyone had 25 pennies). It was a tremendous hit, leading to several command performances over the years. (You don't need a 5 & 10 either...any drugstore or dollar store will work just as well.) Be prepared for the frenzied bidding on the most unexpected items (flying monkeys, chicken chucker, and a harmonica among them). One of the unexpectedly enjoyable parts for us has been the auctioneers' (we take turns) off-the-cuff, QVC-style descriptions of the items. If you're looking for a fun activity--for all ages--this is it.

p.s. My thanks to Maddy for putting up with my shutter-happy ways. She was a bit embarrassed that I was taking pictures in the store and was sure we were going to get in trouble for something. We didn't but I'm sure she'll be frisking me for my camera before heading out on any errands in the near future.