my favorite things

My Favorite Things: Costco edition

After attempting to buck the trend for (too) long, we joined Costco a little over a year ago.

That being said, the closet one to us is about 45 minutes away, so I only find myself there about once a month, sometimes less.

When I do go, I always look for my favorite staples and leave just a little wiggle room for impulse buys.  They always seem to get me with their clothing, of all things.  I’ve gotten workout gear that I love for both N and me, pajamas for the girls, and even a pair of Hunter boots.  Around Christmas time, I found a few great deals on toys for the girls and made a mental note about their American Girl discounted gift cards.  And don’t you just love their double-sided “sister carts” as my girls call them?

These are my favorite buys, in no particular order:

-Kirkland baby wipes.  These are THE BEST baby wipes I’ve ever used.  I like them because they are so big and textured.

-While I’m over in the paper goods, I always stock up on whatever is in low supply at our house: paper towels, napkins, foil, ziplocks, etc. the Kirkland brand is great!

-Nuts.  We eat a lot of nuts in our house and they have bulk bags for great prices.  I also love their dried fruit selection and prices for a boost to make trail mix

-Chicken packs, so much cheaper than the grocery store and high quality too.  We buy all of our beef and pork from local farmers but I have had their steaks (delicious) and salmon (so good) too

-Their Gluten free flour blend is great and much cheaper than our grocery store

-Frozen blueberries, we go through this whole 3lb bag in a month.  We add blueberries to our oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, and anything else we can think of

-Cheerios (finally gluten free!) and steel cut oats.  The oats are such a good price and the container lasts us about a month, depending on how “into” oatmeal we are that month

-peanut butter, I love their natural peanut butter and we go through both jars in about a month.

-Kerrygold butter, this is my favorite butter and I love buying it in bulk here

-Tomato paste, we use this for so many things, especially homemade pasta sauce and pizza sauce. I love having a large supply on hand

-coconut oil, this is THE BEST place to buy coconut oil in bulk and it is great.  We use it for cooking, baking, and sauteing (great butter replacement for MG)

-Maple syrup, another great bulk item and I love the consistency and quality of it.

(A lot of those things mentioned above are organic too, if you’re into that sort of thing)

No sponsorship here, just passing on a few tips for a place I’ve grown to love.

We are cold and wet over here, though the blizzard they called for (in our area at least) was a big flop.  It’s supposed to be really warm again Sunday and I’ve got some new fabric and monogramming to tide me over until then.

-smk

 

2015 Favorite Things

Typing out a Favorite Things list is not something new for me, see for example: (2014, 2013, 2012)  So in the spirit of tradition, I present to you (in no particular order), my favorite things from 2015:

My Steam Mop: I put this purchase off for (too many) years, hearing negative reviews of people spending a lot of money only to end up with lemons.  Finally,  one day on a (perhaps nesting inspired) whim, I threw out my old, broken mop and ordered this one.  For what it’s worth, it does get pretty good reviews on Amazon and if my review adds any weight to your decision, I love it.  Over the years I’ve been gradually switching my family away from as many chemical cleaners as possible and so this received extra points for killing germs simply with steam.  The only thing I would change about it is the cord, which is too short, difficult to roll up, and just overall annoying.  Other than that, it won me over. The proof is in the filthy mop head I throw in the wash each week.

steam mop

(pic via Amazon)

Amazon Prime Photo: This is a free cloud storage app for all of your photos and videos for Prime members.  So far I am loving it.  It takes up little space on my phone and I’ve had a better success rate with it than iCloud.  Get yours in the app store.

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(pic via lightandmatter.org)

Unisom: I think this little OTC sleep aid has earned its rightful spot on my 2015 favorite things list.  During the first tri, my morning sickness raged the worst at night and 1/2-1 blue tab helped me to sleep it off successfuly.  Those of you who need something during the day, talk to your Dr. about Diclegis.

unisom

(pic via unisom.com)

Digize: I wouldn’t consider myself fully on the essential oils bandwagon, yet, but if there is a problem that I am reluctant to treat with medicine or something that doesn’t necessarily call for medicine, I am willing to give them a trial run.  If I could chose only one oil to have in my cabinet, this one would be it.  Stomach bugs terrify me. I used this on the girls every time they complained of any kind of stomach trouble, and each time I felt like it worked (placebo, maybe, but it gave me peace of mind that I was doing something)

digize

(pic via youngliving.com)

Sewing Machine: I would probably characterize 2015 as the year I finally learned my way around my sewing machine.  Early 2015, I replaced my first sewing machine with my current one and have been so very happy.  Right now sewing has become my creative outlet.  When the mornings are busy, stressful, or even just boring, I dream about my afternoon sewing projects and what new things I can create.  It gives me a creative purpose and a way to express myself that is extremely satisfying.  2015 was not a friend to my serger, BUT, as of just recently I think we’ve made up.  And I’m hoping it lasts.  I also added a Scan N Cut to my creative mine, but truthfully, I haven’t been as happy with it as I imagined (perhaps most of this is the fault of the user).  I hope to be re-inspired by it this year.

sewing

(pic via thegraphicfairy.com)

Clarisonic: I actually purchased this facial brush a few years ago, but found it irritated my skin and put it away after a few uses.  I was re-inspired to use it  again several months ago and brushed past my irritation to really smooth skin. Now I use it religiously, morning and night, and love the results.  I only wish I had gotten the hang of it sooner.

clarisonic

(pic via Amazon)

Kindle: I was gifted a hand-me-down Kindle late last summer and fell in love.  I don’t know why I dragged my feet on them for so long.  The best part is the instant gratification of checking out ebooks from the library, especially when they are the hard to come across tangible ones.

kindle

(pic via Amazon)

Looking back on the past two years,  I wrote my list with a heavy focus on the arts: music, literature, and theater.  I read a ton of books this year, but I decided I can’t highly, highly recommend any of them for various reasons.  However, if you need a light beach read, I’m your gal.

Our movie selection was limited, and we decided we were okay with that this year too.  I think we’ve discovered that we are more documentary/shorter shows and less 2-3 hour movie types in this stage of life.

My music selections didn’t really change, well at all, since last year.  I still listen to podcasts when I exercise, clean, and sew, but with a few exceptions, those are roughly unchanged since last year as well.

As far as favorite experiences of 2015, topping the list would be the (unexpected) magic of Disneyland and N and I’s anniversary trip to LA.  The older I get, the more I find what they say is true: you won’t remember what presents you received, but your memories of experiences will always stay with you.

More experiencing and less gifting in 2016,

-smk

My Favorite Things (2014 edition)

{you can read my 2013 edition here}

I have lots of thoughts about the end of 2014, but I will save those for a sappier post :).  In the mean time I will share some of my favorite things from this year.  Enjoy:

Music: Last year it was JM, this year it’s his female counterpart TS.  I didn’t think I would be a fan of her official move away from country, but 1989 has grown on and into me.  Her songs are my antithesis to the Disney princess music that is always threatening to take up permanent space in my brain. Notable nominations: Meredith Andrews, Black Violin, Shane and Shane, Mississippi John Hurt

Book: I made a concerted effort to read more books this year and this summer I knocked quite a few off of my list.  My absolute favorite?  Unbroken.  It captivated me from the beginning to end and I could not stop thinking about it for days.  You might have seen the movie, or even the previews for the movie, but I promise the books is still worth reading.  I saw the movie a few days ago and it (understandably) barely touches the depth of the book.  In fact, the book is probably one of my top ten favorites I’ve ever read.  Notable Nominations: Gone Girl (with a caveat: normally I wouldn’t read something so dark and graphic but I had no idea what I was getting into.  Despite the fact I felt I needed to go to confession after, I found this book brilliantly written.  I haven’t and probably won’t see the movie) Call the Midwives, Bread and Wine

Experience: The top experience of 2014 goes to Bat Therapy in California.  I still can’t believe that we spent 8.5 weeks there on a whim but I’m also equally proud of myself for doing something so counter-intuitive (including eight days of just me and the girls while my parents were in Prague).  I’m sure there were hard moments during our stay but all that has faded into a shiny, rosy memory of the girls and I bonding in sunny Cal. Notable Nominations: Rosemary Beach

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Food: Ugh….food this year has been…interesting.  MG has been completely off dairy for almost half of the year and I’ve had to re-learn our favorite dishes accordingly.  My still go to favorite is the yellow curry I made on the fly.  Notable Nominations: The “grown-ups only” meal we are having tonight…cheese fondue, goat cheese & kale salad, roasted asparagus, mushroom topped steaks, and dark chocolate fondue for dessert

Discovery: This year seems ripe with discovery so it feels hard to narrow it down to one.  Our School House definitely falls under this category along with all of the little intricacies of life in a small town and with a large stamp of land to call our own. I guess I will have to go with the discovery of how much N enjoys owning a truck.  After just a few months of life here, we realized how “necessary” it is to own a truck.  And of course every good farmwife needs a man with a truck to load up her newly purchased antique furniture, to pick up a load of wood for her open kitchen shelves, and to haul away her old washer and dryer.  N searched high and low and finally found this old gal who fit in his price range and will work as a third vehicle but is quickly becoming his go-to vehicle. (he named her Eleanor after Eleanor Roosevelt “she’s not much to look at but she gets the job done”) Notable Nominations: Costco membership (thanks to the discovery of Costco vacation packages), an indoor pool near our house for the winter blues, some great babysitters, an Internet service that ISN’T satellite (discovered this month), and my (new to me) FitBit, Fixer Upper (a show on HGTV…this is our first year with cable!)

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Project: Once again it’s hard to choose just one project.  We completed many, many projects on our schoolhouse (update to come soon), I completed many projects for my own enjoyment, and then I opened Sweet Mama Makes in August.  Notable Nominations: bDSC_0005xs bDSC_0007 (2) DSC_0010 (2) IMG_3682

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And finally one last Notable Nominations for my favorite

Podcast: This was the year of the podcast as I burned through many while working on above projects.  My favorite, of course, was Serial (I’d like to say I listened before it became bandwagon :)) but I also enjoy This American Life, Dave Ramsey, Stuff You Missed in History Class, etc. etc. Notable Nomination: all of the Serial spoiler and spin off podcasts which helped stave off my Serial appetite until each Thursday came around

 Thanks as always for following along!

-smk

The Wise Baby

In case you haven’t yet heard, I’m sharing one of my favorite homemade activities over on The Wise Baby today!

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I will be guest posting on a semi-regular basis over there, doing mostly DIY’s and a few reviews of my favorite products.  In case you haven’t ever visited, the Wise Baby is a wonderful resource for new and pregnant moms, grandparents, and caregivers. They do comprehensive reviews on all kinds of baby products and help you decide what to register for and what to skip.  Plus, they are constantly doing fabulous giveaways (of which, I’m sad I will no longer be able to justifiably enter :().

I am so excited for this new endeavor as I hope to expand my writing and learn some new things in the process.  Enjoy!