Dear Sara: My daughter has grown like a weed over the last year — from a tiny size 8 to a size 14/16 in one year. I now have a ton of used clothing that doesn’t fit her. We don’t know anyone here because we’re so new to the area. There really isn’t a decent thrift store here that sells children’s clothing. Some of these items are very nice and have value. I tried a multi-day garage sale, including advertising on Craigslist and online forums (with pictures), and I didn’t have a single customer! The only children’s consignment store is 100 miles away. By the time I pay for gas, selling there would cost me money. I want this stuff gone. What can I do? — C.L., Mississippi
Dear C.L.: I would ask friends and family if they want any of it, and maybe they can cover shipping if they live far away. Consider donating to a charity, church or shelter, too. You could give them away on Freecycle or place box-lots on eBay. Or try www.thredup.com: You can put a bag/box on your doorstep, then they pick it up and decide what they can sell. Once an item sells, you can claim your money or use it as a credit on like-new kids’ clothing items from the site. A lot of schools do fundraisers and have mom-to-mom type sales where parents bring in their gently used items to resell. See if your daughter’s school is planning anything like this.
Dear Sara: I have to take pasta for my son’s cross-country running dinner — enough to feed 10 to 12 teenage boys. I’m estimating three pounds of dry pasta, plus the other ingredients. I am trying to decide if I should make it myself or just buy pre-made Stouffer’s lasagna. When I price it out, it looks like it would cost about the same either way. Which would you do?
I was thinking I could make a Mexican-style pasta dish, but I have never made that before and would be winging it. Do you have any ideas? They have these dinners every week and usually it’s just lasagna and macaroni and cheese (mostly Stouffer’s), so I was trying to think of something different. Last time I had to bring drinks, I brought orange juice instead of the lemonade or Gatorade they normally get, and my son said it was a big hit. — Jennifer, Ohio
Dear Jennifer: While frozen meals would be quick and easy, I would make it myself if I had the time. It will taste better and you can control the ingredients, meaning it can be made healthier, you can stretch the ingredients and it will be different, which it seems the kids appreciate.
Here’s a reader-submitted recipe for a taco-style casserole that you can double or triple:
Taco Twist Casserole
2 pounds ground beef
1⁄2 green pepper, chopped
2 packages taco seasoning
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
3⁄4 cups salsa
16 ounces corkscrew macaroni, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup sour cream
Cook beef and pepper until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add taco seasoning, tomato sauce and salsa and simmer on low for 5 minutes. In the large pot you cooked the pasta in, mix pasta and sauce together, add 1 cup of cheese and all of the sour cream. Spray a 13-by-9-by-2-inch or larger pan and pour mixture in. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until bubbly.