Kitchen Appliances

I have really been enjoying Good Cheap Eats’ series on small kitchen appliances that are actually put to good use! Some that I love right now are my yogurt maker, crock pot and waffle iron. But after I read her post on toaster ovens, I contemplated it. Then out of the blue last night my husband mentioned one. Our toaster isn’t the greatest any more, though only five years old. And sometimes you want to reheat something without heating up the oven, especially as we approach summer.

Do you have a toaster oven? Jess recommends any old brand at Target, which I think I just might go pick up!

Woolzies Dryer Balls Review

Disclaimer: I received a set of 6 dryer balls through a giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

I haven’t used fabric softener for at least five years. The smell always bothered me, and once you look into it, it is really quite bad for the environment and for you! If you buy sheets they are not biodegradeable. The liquid literally coats your clothes. Even if you use fabric softener, you aren’t supposed to use it on towels because it cuts down on their absorbancy! The liquid softener also leaves your washing machine a mess. When we moved in to our house I disassembled the dispenser in our washer and thoroughly cleaned it. It was quite difficult to get all the residue off. And especially because we cloth diaper, I didn’t want that getting on any of our laundry.

Without softener, you still need something to help out the dryer – in come dryer balls. I’ve always used plastic ones, and recently bought a new set at Target. They are quiet and supposedly help drying time. Then this past month I won a giveaway for a set of Woolzies Dryer Balls. They are billed as being able to cut out dryer time and end static, plus be quiet – some people use tennis balls in the dryer and these are supposedly quieter than tennis balls.

My thoughts? They cut down on drying time a bit. My cloth diapers generally take 70 minutes on high but this took maybe 10-15 minutes off. However, they were MUCH louder than my usual plastic balls. It was really distracting to be watching TV in the next room over, as husband and I could hear them beating the inside of the dryer. However, I will say I now have ZERO static. I was constantly being shocked when emptying a load of towels from the dryer. But now I have a pleasant, shock-free experience. So that is really the best part of these, as my plastic dryer balls didn’t cut down on any static.

So in the end, now that I have used these, I certainly wouldn’t pay $35 for them. When they die out (supposedly after 1,000 loads) I’ll go back to my plastic ones.

Food Allergies

Wish us luck! Off to the allergist’s office on Wednesday. Not sure how it will go, my son did fine with the skin testing/pricks on his back at 12 months and 18 months. Now at 30 months he is of course more willful and more aware and I’m not sure how still he will sit, seeing as it is three sets of pricks to sit still for. And then I can’t hug him since we have to make sure not to touch his back while we wait. I’ll have him bring his favorite stuffed animal, but I’m not even sure how to prepare him for it!

As of right now we avoid peanuts and eggs based on the severity of the skin test. We believe there is a dairy intolerance and so avoid that even though it had no results on the last test. And finally, he had a skin reaction to cinnammon so we have been avoiding that as well! I now think something else is up, based on his frequent red cheeks, dark under eye circles and some yucky diapers.

Closet Cleaning!

One blog I enjoy reading is Simple Mom and she suggested cleaning out a closet you have let get out of control! Our basement closet holds mainly toys – those that are in a ‘time out,’ or are between kids. Too old for one but too young for the other! Also holds some large kitchen items like a cake taker and some art supplies. I kept putting it off because I want to get rid of my china so that I can store art supplies in the dining room. That will still be a while longer so I bit the bullet and neatened things up:

Before:

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After:

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Much better! Now we can get in there without moving things. The other side doesn’t have shelves and holds suits and dresses on a clothing rod.

I also neatened up my son’s closet. However it is super narrow and I can’t get a good photo. Straightened out the containers and packages of diapers & wipes we have stockpiled so nothing falls out when we open the door!

Diaper Rewards

I mostly cloth diaper my daughter, because being exclusively breast-fed the diapers aren’t too ‘gross.’ Plus you need to change them every 2-3 hours while awake. That’s a LOT of diapers. When we brought her home from the hospital we went through three packs of NB size diapers in about 5 days, that’s 150 diapers added to the landfill! Yikes. Can’t afford that, either in my wallet or the land. So as soon as she fit into cloth I used them. I was so lucky to borrow an entire stash of newborn/small size cloth from a friend until she starts fitting my own one-size diapers.

We do still use disposable for traveling, or if we will be at MOPS – it’s about 3.5 hours total, and the assurance that she won’t leak if really great, plus if we are out all day it’s sometimes hard to cart around all those stinky wet diapers.

We use cloth wipes as well, but my toddler is in disposables because I find his diapers gross and just can’t stand emptying them into the toilet. So that means we still need disposable wipes. Both Huggies and Pampers offer rewards on their products, and Pampers just started something new. If you enter a code from wipes or diapers every month for a year, you rack up extra free prizes every quarter. Target has a great deal this week so I stocked up on Pampers wipes. Pampers also offers free point codes if you watch their social media accounts. In the 2.5 years I’ve been using diapers I’ve received toys, books, a potty seat and bibs. Definitely worth it!

Do you use cloth, disposable or a mix? Do you participate in reward programs?

Yogurt Making

I have fallen in love with making yogurt! I make ‘regular’ yogurt out of 2% cow’s milk for my husband and myself. With my son’s dairy allergies, I was buying coconut milk yogurt but it’s $1 for a 6 oz cup! No way! I ended up buying a large bag of shredded coconut, and I make coconut milk in my Blendtec and then turn it into yogurt. I love my Yolife Yogurt Maker (YL-210)and think it was worth every penny. You can use a cooler or a heating pad or even your oven if it goes low enough, but I wanted something that was a ‘sure thing’ and this was it because I can use my own pint jars in it.

IMG_2303At this point I was waiting for the milk to cool from 180 to 110, and then mixing in my starter, which is 2T from a storebought cup. I then left them in the yogurt maker for 7 hours, before refrigerating them overnight to find:

IMG_2306I tried something new this time – placing dairy-free chocolate chips in the bottom of each jar before incubating. You can see the cream goes to the top and because the recipe uses gelatin, the lighter portion is really  just like jello! You then blend it up and let me tell you it was delicious and tastes just as good as the store brand but MUCH cheaper.

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Housecleaning Challenge Day #11

It was back to cleaning bathrooms over at Money Saving Mom! Perfect, because they needed it! It takes me no time at all to wipe down our two bathrooms. I didn’t do the floors because DH vacuums them on the weekends.

Main/my bath:IMG_2305 Basement/DH – so tiny and oddly shaped you can’t see it all, he does have a shower ;)

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So nice to get this done on a rainy afternoon!

New Lysol Touch of Foam Soap

I’ve never really bought foaming soap because I always figured it was a waste of money. Turns out you use a LOT less, which will be helpful when my son can reach the sink on his own! I received a full-size sample of this new soap from BzzAgent. They provide the product so I can try it and tell my friends – and give them exclusive coupons! Check it out:

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And here it is in use in my not-so-clean kitchen! IMG_2284

I loved using this and shared a lot with my friends – I also plan to refill the bottle once it is gone

I received a free bottle of Lysol Touch of Foam – all opininos expressed are my own and no other compensation was received.

Bill Paying

Who handles finances in your house? While my husband does have a Finance & Economics degree, I actually handle it all! At least in our house there is some truth to the stereotype that women simply pay more attention to detail. I like knowing it it all done on time. If I left it up to him, I’d still wonder if everything was paid on time and how much money is left in the checkbook, so it is just better if I handle it all.