How a Candle and a Pair of Tweezers Saved the Day

Anti-Theft Device

You can buy this anti-theft device at RetailResource.com

“Pinned merchandise helps deter shoplifting”

“Clothing security tags trigger alarms to prevent theft”

“Unique spring gate prevents tampering”

And your twelve-year-old daughter cannot go to the party with one attached to her pant leg!

I actually take issue with claim number 2 because the security tag on the junior pants I bought at Kohl’s for my kid did not set off their alarm. Otherwise I would have taken the pants back into the store and had this %0$^ *!()# thing removed. So my hindsight compels me to tell you to make sure when you check out that all your items are “checked out” for these pesky anti-theft devices. I thought she’d gotten them all. I’m sure she thought she’d gotten them all. I wish she had gotten them all!

My choices? A–drive back to the store, in the snow, in the freezing night air, crumpled receipt in hand and have the customer service person remove said device. Or B–figure out how to get the device off myself without ruining the pants.

I chose Option B and spent about 60 minutes watching “How To” YouTube videos. First I tried the low impact actions like winding a rubber band around the pin to slowly pressure pull the device apart. And, finding the strongest magnets I own and placing them on the back of the device to disengage the device. And, using two adjustable locking pliers on either side of the device and trying to pull apart until I screamed and gave up.


What I ended up doing is as follows:

Device dismantled

This is what the device looks like when you’re done. The button/pin (left side of pic above) was on the front of the device and this is the backside view of the device (right side of pic above).

Step 1: pull back fabric from the device as much as possible.

Step 2: light a taper candle in a holder and place the candle in the sink just in case things get out of hand.

Step 3: hold the raised back of the device over the flame (not the button side) being careful not to burn the fabric.

Step 4: continue to hold until the device over the flame until the plastic gets warm and melty. It may smoke and it may smell.

Step 5: remove the device from the flame and before it cools down, poke around in the melted plastic and pry the little spring out with a pair of tweezers.

Step 6: Once the spring is out the whole device separates into two pieces that you can easily remove from the fabric.


So, let’s be clear I am not advocating for you to start a shoplifting ring nor am I suggesting you burn your house down because you’ve put an item of clothing next to a lit candle. I just offer up my experience and a grateful daughter who got to wear her new pants to a party.

What’s to Like About Rockford: Free Electronic Recycling

So there I was getting gas one day and I saw this . . .

Live near Rockford? Got electronic junk? Take it here.

Live near Rockford? Got electronic junk? Take it here.

AND THEN, I saw this . . .

Big pile of big TVs

Big pile of big TVs

All you have to do is drive your electronic junk out to Kelley’s Market, on S. Main and Hwy 20 and drop it off in their big blue bin (or off to the side of their big blue bin, like in the photograph above). Old TVs, computers, VHS players, radios, and so on, they take it all.

Kelley Williamson Mobile teamed up with United Recycling Technologies (URT) and the partnership has been going strong since 2013. There’s a second bin at East State Street and Lyford Road. Between the two bins, millions of pounds have been collected. URT handles all kinds of e-waste to make sure it doesn’t wind up in a landfill where the corrosion of electronics can leak lead and hazardous chemicals into the water table.

So go ahead and clear out the basement. You’ve got a place to take that ginormous TV that blew up while you were watching American Ninja Warrior.

How to Sunblock Your Kids Without Poisoning Them with Sunblock

Sure, getting your kid to wear a hat is the first line of defense, but unless they’re wearing a sombrero, from their shoulders down will still be exposed. Like most people I see at the beach, I sprayed my kids down with waterproof sunblock from a can or slathered on some name brand SPF 1000–the higher the number the better right? Nope, the experts recommend no lower than SPF 30 and no higher than SPF 50.

Then I happened to read about the toxicity of the chemicals found in common sunscreens. BreastCancerFund.org tells me “octyl-methoxycinnamate, which is estrogenic and has thyroid hormone-disrupting effects, is found in over 800 sunscreens.” Great. Since my kids were babies I’ve been diligently disrupting their hormones…

Well, when I know better I try to do better, thank you Maya Angelou.

http://www.sunprecautions.com/product/84300

http://www.sunprecautions.com/ product/84300

But what would be an effective replacement? I could cover them in protective clothing, but then I’d never get them out of the house. Long sleeves at the beach? Maybe in fall and winter. But July?

“You want me to wear what? No thanks Mom, I’ll just stay in the air conditioning and play video games all day.”

So this summer I decided to get the kids involved in a little research test. We would try out a few of the “healthier alternative” sunblocks that we could actually afford and see which one(s) we liked.

Our criteria included: EWG rating, SPF, packaging, price, ease of application, feel of product on skin, color of skin after application, time before reapplication, water and sweat resistance, smell, and finally, did it prevent sunburn?

Our three test products:

Three sunblocks chosen for a summer-long comparison

Three sunblocks chosen for a summer-long comparison

When and Where we tried them out? Summer Camps, Sports, Swimming, Beach, Gardening, and Outdoor Fairs all summer long…

Our family gives Burnout 4.5 out of 5 stars

Our family gives Burnout 4.5 out of 5 stars

Our first Sunblock is BURNOUT OCEAN TESTED PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN

  1. EWG rating: 1 (the lower the better)
  2. SPF: 30
  3. Packaging: Easy to get the product out of the tube, fits in a purse, beach bag, back pocket
  4. Price: $13.99 for 3.4 OZ on Amazon
  5. Ease of application: Easy to put on and rub in
  6. Feel of product on skin: Doesn’t feel tacky or sticky, light, non-oily
  7. Color of skin after application: Pale gray at first, slight sheen later
  8. Time before reapplication: one hour
  9. Water and sweat resistance: water beaded up, sunblock ran into eyes when daughter played tennis, rubbed off on clothing very easily, washes off hands with soap and water
  10. Smell: no unpleasant smell, neutral
  11. Did it prevent sunburn: Yes!
  12. OVERALL RATING 4.5 out of 5 stars

Our second Sunblock is BARE BELLY ORGANICS MINERAL SUNSCREEN

Our family gives Bare Belly a 2.5 out of 5 stars

Our family gives Bare Belly a 2.5 out of 5 stars

  1. EWG rating: 1 (the lower the better)
  2. SPF: 30
  3. Packaging: Easy to get the product out of the tub, fits in a purse, beach bag, but not a back pocket
  4. Price: $17.95 for 4 OZ from Bare Belly Website
  5. Ease of application: Difficult to put on and rub in
  6. Feel of product on skin: Gritty, thick
  7. Color of skin after application: Chalky White, strong sheen later
  8. Time before reapplication: one hour
  9. Water and sweat resistance: water beaded up, sweat resistant, rubbed off on clothing, washes off hands with soap and water
  10. Smell: smells like lard
  11. Did it prevent sunburn: Yes! but my kids and I could not get past the consistency and smell of this stuff.
  12. OVERALL RATING 2.5 out of 5 stars
Our family gives Badger Kids a 3 out of 5 stars

Our family gives Badger Kids a 3 out of 5 stars

And finally BADGER KIDS SUNSCREEN CREAM

  1. EWG rating: 1 (the lower the better)
  2. SPF: 30
  3. Packaging: Easy to get the product out of the tube, fits in a purse, beach bag, and a back pocket
  4. Price: $13.50 for 2.9 OZ from Amazon
  5. Ease of application: Easy to put on and rub in
  6. Feel of product on skin: Doesn’t feel tacky or sticky, light, non-oily
  7. Color of skin after application: White at first, slight sheen later
  8. Time before reapplication: half hour
  9. Water and sweat resistance: water beaded up, sweated off after 30 minutes, rubbed off on clothing, washes off hands with soap and water
  10. Smell: Dreamsicles, you know the orange and vanilla popsicles? Smells just like them. I loved the smell, but so did every bug within a 30 ft radius.
  11. Did it prevent sunburn: Yes! but if your the type of person that naturally attracts bugs this will only enhance your attractiveness, so you better wear bug repellant too.
  12. OVERALL RATING 3 out of 5 stars

So this little non-scientific study was how I got my kids to wear sunblock all summer! Hands down BurnOut was the winner. Keep in mind these three sunblocks are all “barrier” types, so it’s best to compare them against each other and not against the chemical- based sunblocks most of us are used to. Also, these descriptions and ratings are from my family based on our own unique experience. We were not compensated in any way and I purchased the products myself.

Have you used a barrier sunblock before? Which ones do you like?