Let's be honest here: in this day and age, 25 cents isn't going to get you much. You can't even buy a candy bar for that anymore. (unless you happen to find a clearance sale) About the only way you are going to find anything that cheap that's worth buying is in a thrift store. You see where this is going!
I haven't been doing as much thrift store shopping recently for a number of reasons. I need nothing, I've been busy and being sick made it difficult. A couple of weeks ago I was really itching to go, so I checked out my favorite Pittsburgh haunts. I found some doll stuff and a few personal/household items: a tie for hubby, a summery shirt for me and a coffee mug to replace the one I broke a couple of weeks earlier. Nothing very exciting though.
Last week I decided to go again, this time sticking a little closer to home. About 20 minutes away we have a placed called "Easter Seals Yard Sale". It's all donated items and the proceeds go to the Easter Seals organization (they work with a variety of special needs folks). They have a space in an abandoned mall storefront which is only opened several times a month. I hadn't been there for a while, so I decided that it sounded like a good place to start.
I found a few cute doll sized things which I was excited about. The last thing I picked up was something I've been curious about for quite some time. I'd never bought one because quite frankly, I never needed one before and I was skeptical about how well it would work. The crazy part is I almost missed it because it was brand new, still in the box, and I picked up the box to read what was in it. So glad I decided to do that! Are you curious as to what it is? A brown sugar disc. I know some of you are saying "what?!" Maybe you've never heard of one, so here is what they look like:
Basically it's a formed piece of terra cotta that is placed in a container of brown sugar to keep it from getting too hard to use. I'd never had an issue with my brown sugar doing this because I generally kept it in a bag, but the last time I bought a bag, I decided to place it in a storage container I had to make it easier to get to. BIG mistake. I don't use a lot of it, so it takes a while to use up a bag of it, and my bag had progressively gone from being a nice, soft sugar to a solid lump that resembled a brick. The last time I needed to use it, I literally had to chisel it out of the container. When I saw this disc for 25 cents, I figured it was worth a try.
After I got it home, I took it out of the box. No instructions, but something told me that you didn't just go and plop it in and hope for the best. I was right, and after poking around on the trusty internet, I found instructions. All you needed to do was place it in a bowl with water for 15 minutes, then pat the outside dry and place it in the container. At this point I was still skeptical, but what did I have to lose. It didn't help that I asked a friend if she had ever used one, to which she replied "I had one, but I don't anymore. I don't remember, but I assume because I don't have it now, it wasn't impressive." Hmmm...
That was on Thursday. Yesterday (2 days later) I decided to check and see if anything happened. I was not at all prepared for what I was going to experience. I opened the container and looked inside. The sugar appeared to be softer, so I got a fork and poked it. WOW!!! It really worked!!! I now have a container of brown sugar that looks like brown sugar again. No using it for construction purposes! I was impressed. :)
The online instructions I found said that it lasts for about 3 months per soaking, so sometime in late summer I will need to get it out and do the process over again. So worth it in my opinion. And I'm so glad I decided to take a chance with my quarter. Probably a better payoff than if I'd put it in a slot machine!