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Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at Swistle.com.

Life-improving products, part 1

Categories: Electronics, House & Home, Kitchen, Managing stress, Time savers, organization

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My parents’ ultimate praise for a new item or system is “It has IMPROVED the QUALITY of our LIVES.” Since this has been a shopping/product blog, I thought I’d devote my final four posts here at Milk and Cookies to products that have improved the quality of our lives.

Wireless freezer alarm (photo from Amazon.com). We bought a freestanding freezer around the time the twins were born. I kept coming downstairs to find the door slightly open, popsicles dripping from the top shelf to the bottom. This set of two alarms (it’s supposed to be one for the fridge and one for the freezer, but we have one in the upstairs freezer and one in the downstairs freezer) lets us know if the temperature is rising, BEFORE we lose the ten packages of meat bought on a good sale.

Taco rack (photo from Amazon.com). When it was just Paul and me, it wasn’t a big deal to balance the shells on a tray in that interlocking way that keeps them from cooking themselves closed. Now that we heat more than an entire package of shells at a meal, this thing saves us a great deal of frustration. It took me a long time to buy it because it seems really overpriced—but it’s been well worth it. AND, the four pieces of metal come apart, so it hardly takes up any storage space at all (I slide ours under the boxes of crackers in the cupboard).

Speaking of tacos: taco holders (photo from Amazon.com). These make tons of silly product claims (”Unlike OTHER taco racks, THESE can go ON YOUR PLATE!!”—yes, but that’s because the ones that can’t go on your plate are made for the OVEN), and they even have a 2-minute product video. But ignoring all that silliness, these are just perfect for what we need them for: holding up a taco on a plate. I still fill tacos for the younger children, so I particularly like these holders for dishing up. I put a row of holders on a plate, put the shells in, and load them up assembly-line-style.

Remote finder (photo from Amazon.com), remote finder, REMOTE FINDER. I only slightly apologize if you are tired of me mentioning it, because REMOTE FINDER. It comes with four sensors and we only needed sensors for two things (the remote and the MP3 player Paul takes in the car for his commute), but then when one of the sensors finally gave out (it was after the hundredth time a child dropped the remote onto the hardwood floor, landing RIGHT ON the sensor) we had another sensor all set to go. This product has seriously saved us from DAILY unpleasantness and frustration.

ThermoWorks probe thermometer (photo from Amazon.com). My parents have been very into cooking shows such as America’s Test Kitchen, and Paul has recently been very keen on cooking too, so there have been a lot of cooking books and magazines and products around here lately. My parents gave Paul this thermometer for Christmas (my dad chose it based on reviews from Cook’s Illustrated and Meathead), and it has been SO SO GREAT. We even HAD a probe thermometer and a thermometer that could be left in the meat while it was cooking, but now we use ONLY this one. It’s easy to use (Paul, teaching me how to use it: “You turn it on. Then you stick it into the thing you want to know the temperature of. Then you take it out”), and has saved me from overcooking chicken and Paul from undercooking hamburgers. My dad notes that many of the complaints on Amazon.com are because the old version of the thermometer didn’t shut off automatically; the new version does. (Hm, I see the one I linked to when I wrote this has gone out of stock on Amazon. There’s this one, which looks like a newer version of the one I have.)

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To be continued next week! Feel free to mention your own life-improving products as well!



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