Today was a really great day. I started the morning with getting myself and the kids all dressed, and then I left the kids with daddy and went to pick up Courtney. I wanted to take her to Tampico to the Country Lane Market and Shady Acres Grocery. We ate lunch at R&B's (Former dutch diner) and visited with Jeff Hinton while taking the full house and barn tour. I almost died when Courtney said "I've never been in a barn before." WHY does she not tell me these things? I feel like I have been purposely depriving her. What a horrible friend I am.
The Amish run stores were even better then the last times I visited them. This time Courtney and I bought 100 lbs of rolled oats. Yep. You heard right. And we are splitting a 50 lb bag of white winter wheat, which we intend to grind into own fresh wheat flour. (raise the roof, that's right!)
I actually hugged the bag once, before Hans took it out of my van. Just in case it would be a few days till I saw it again. They have lots of soup base mixes now, so for about $7-9 you can buy a big container of dry soup mix. You then add a few fresh ingredients (if you so choose) like peas, meat, broccoli, etc. and about 1/2-1 cup of the soup mix, and have a hearty delicious soup. Can't wait to try them. There were so many things there that I just WANTED to try, but had no idea what to do with them. Like DARK Brown sugar. Besides wanting to roll around naked in it, I figured there must be something more productive that I could do with it. It just looks so pretty! Crystalline and Dark! I NNNEEeEEeD a reason to NeeeEEEd some.
The Grocery Store itself was also much expanded as far as what they are carrying. Courtney and I got stuck in the Book section for what might very well have been HOURS!!! They had an entire aisle (a large and long aisle) of books. Homeschooling books, Christian books, oh my. some really cute and nice little toys too. They even had Melissa and Doug toys. My favorite was a wooden barn that I know Marek would LOVE LOVE LOVE but It was $49 and I just could NOT do that. But then I came home and looked online and it is $65! WHAT?! So now I want to drive back over and get it for him. His birthday is next week.... *sigh*
If I had any cell phone service there I could have looked it up online and decided while I was still there. Oh well. I guess I will have to go back this week. Don't anyone rush over there and buy it and make me cry.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought of the previous Learning Curve Barn that I asked Grandma to buy, that ended up being a piece of junk, and this hesitated my purchase enough to make me think about it. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Although I have been happy with almost every Learning Curve product we have (and we have MANY) that I just didn't feel right about their product after that darn barn. So I sent the company an email that went something like this:
Hi there. I am writing regarding the plastic John Deere Big Red Barn Playset, with the barn that folds and the hayloft that attaches inside. I asked grandma to purchase this as a gift for my children, and when we received it, I was so incredibly disappointed in the quality of the barn. I thought perhaps that it was a learning curve (no pun intended) that I needed to get around in order to operate it. Both my husband and myself, and everyone at the party tried to get this barn to work properly. We are still extremely dis-satisfied with the barn. For a while we put it up thinking that our 3.5 and 2 year olds just weren't old enough for it. But when we did bring it down, they would have the whole thing falling apart and bringing the pieces to us within minutes. The doors don't stay on, the roof won't close properly, and the hayloft we are ready to throw away completely. If two 30+ year old parents can't work the barn, how can you expect a child to enjoy and not be frustrated by this toy? I also read the reviews on Amazon and quickly concluded that this was not a one-time "bad day at the factory" incident. This barn is not properly made. We have owned and spent money on a great deal of learning curve children's toys, including Thomas Wooden Railway (we have an entire train setup) and Lamaze Infant Products, including crib toys, stuffed learning animals, and the Lamaze Spin and Explore Garden Gym.
This is only the second product that we have been unhappy with (The first was the Garden Gym, which I never said much about.) Today I almost purchased the $60 Wooden Big Red Machine Shed and when I realized it was a Learning Curve Toy, I hesitated. This was the moment that I realized I should write you about the playset. Before purchasing the big red barn or machine shed (the wooden ones) I was wondering if we sent you back the original Learning Curve barn that we bought, if I could perhaps get some money off the purchase of a more expensive, more sturdy barn. I would love to have a coupon or something, because it seems silly to purchase a product that clearly has a problem, spend $35 on it, and then reinvest in a similar product from the same company. Please respond and let me know. We have a Birthday Party April 3rd and I would like to pick a new barn for my son as soon as possible so that we can have it assembled and ready for a gift at his party. Thanks!
Loyal Learning Curve/Lamaze Toy Brand Customer of 3.5 years
So. That's that. Now we wait to see what Learning Curve says. Poor Marek always wants his tractors in the barn. He loves barns. He LOVES Tractors. But we all hate that darn Big Red Barn because it is essentially just PIECES of a barn that don't function.