CROWN POINT | Kara Graper had heard of women swapping designer purses and jeans, but with the economy tightening everyone's purse strings and her kid's excitement for new toys unceasing, she decided to give it a shot with toys.
About three months ago, Graper, 30, of Crown Point, started a group for mothers called Mommy's Time to Wine that meets on the first Thursday of the month at various restaurants in Northwest Indiana. At 10:30 a.m. July 19, the group will host a Toddler Toy Swap at Carriage Court Pizza and the Crown Brewery, 211 S. East St.
"Our goal is to help save parents money on new toys for our children, and it is a creative way for us to beat the economy," Graper wrote on the group's Facebook page.
The swap has a few simple rules. Toys must be in the $15 to $25 range; be in clean, working order; and have all the original parts. One toy should be brought per child. A ticket will be issued for each toy, and tickets will be randomly drawn at 11:30 a.m. to determine the order for selecting toys. Admission to the swap is free.
Graper said she discovered since having her children, now 1 and 2 years old, that she had to schedule time with her girlfriends, and she came up with the concept of Mommy's Time to Wine.
It appears Graper isn't alone. The group's attendance has doubled each month, and its Facebook group has 62 members.
"It's funny how desperate mothers are to get out of the house and spend time with adults," she said. "It's nice to eat a meal without a toddler."
But while the toy swap is limited to toddlers, Graper said the mothers' group is open to moms of any age. For example, a recent meeting included the mother of a 20-year-old.
"We're getting out of the house and finding a common ground," Graper said.