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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 3

Categories: Crafts and activities, Electronics, Fashion, Good causes, House & Home, Kitchen, Life balance, Office, Time savers

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(Continued from part 1 and part 2.)

CMS NeoPin Magents (photo from Amazon.com). These are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea: some people hate stuff on the fridge, and some people have non-magnetic fridges, and some people have kids little enough to eat magnets. But if you DO like having stuff on your fridge, AND your fridge cooperates with that, AND your kids are old enough to eat things from the inside of the fridge and not the outside, then these are GREAT: really strong, and also pretty. They claim to be able to hold 16 pages, and I wouldn’t be surprised: Paul recently used one to pin the remains of a pad of paper to the fridge. Because they’re kind of expensive for fridge magnets, they’d make a good gift for someone hard to buy for.

ZenniOptical.com (image from Zenni Optical). This site has revolutionized the way I think of my glasses. Instead of spending $200 at the eye doctor for a single pair of glasses boring enough to go with everything, I spend the same amount and get a dozen pairs of FACE DECORATION. Because the glasses can’t be tried on, I do allow for a number of failures—but if I get two good pairs for $100, I’m still way ahead of what I was spending before. And now that two of my kids are wearing glasses, I love Zenni even more: when a child breaks yet another pair, I just get out another pair from the stash. I also recommend their sunglasses: I waited until I’d found which frames I liked best from my first order, and then I ordered the same frames with prescription sunglasses lenses.

Presto PowerPop Microwave Popcorn Popper (photo from Amazon.com). This is my favorite popcorn popper. It felt a little complicated at first (”Wait, this little paper thing goes first, and then the whole bowl fits into this little black thing, and…”) but now it’s simple and fast and we can make popcorn in the microwave without having to buy microwave popcorn.

Scanner (photo from Amazon.com). I had no idea before I bought a scanner how much I would USE a scanner. I originally considered it a very silly purchase: I wanted it mostly to scan in Postcrossing postcards, which is fun but not exactly necessary. Since then, I’ve used that silly purchase SO MUCH, and it has saved me SO MUCH trouble. When our insurance sent me a letter denying a claim unless I could prove we had a referral, I could scan the referral and print out a copy and have it in an envelope within 5 minutes. When the school sent out an email saying, “Oh, by the way, we need a copy of his birth certificate before school starts in 2 days,” I scanned it and printed it out. When I realized the photo I wanted to show everyone was from before we had a digital camera (imagine: we used to BUY FILM), I could scan it in and post it to Facebook right then. When I emailed my mom about picking up Henry at camp, I could scan in a quick sketch of the tricky route and include it with the email. I love it.

Shout stain spray (photo from Amazon.com). I’m linking to it on Amazon so I can use their photo, but no way do I pay nearly $10 a bottle for it: I get it at Target or at the grocery store for about $3. I haven’t researched stain sprays since my firstborn was an infant, so it could be that things have changed—but when I was comparison shopping back then, many stain treatments couldn’t be left on the clothes for long. The instructions would say, for example, that the garment should be washed after 10 minutes, and there would be a warning about not letting the product dry on the clothing. Shout stain spray, in contrast, could be spritzed on, and then you could toss the clothes in the laundry basket and not think about it anymore even though you weren’t doing laundry until Saturday, and I value that feature highly.



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