Viewing category ‘Food’

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.

Gift ideas for guys

Categories: Books, Clothes, Food, Fun stuff for grown-ups, Gifts, Guys, House & Home, Kitchen

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Gift ideas for guys seem to fall into the same category as gift ideas for teenagers: with so few ideas, sharing what little we have can only improve matters. So here are some of the things I’ve given Paul recently, in case they’d work for your guy too:

Cooking for Geeks (photo from Amazon.com). I was irritated but affirmed when I bought this for Paul for an upcoming holiday and then saw he’d checked the same book out of the library.

Paul kept complaining about (and breaking the handles off of) my “sucky” measuring cups, so I did a post asking for advice on a good manly set. To my surprise and dismay, the comments section filled up with suggestions for measuring cups that cost about triple the amount of money I’d had in mind. But I thought about it and got used to the idea that maybe better quality = costs more, and then there was a sale combined with a free shipping deal, and so I bought him a set of the Williams-Sonoma measuring cups and spoons (photo from Williams-Sonoma.com)—and Paul LOVES them. On the next gift occasion, he hinted that he would also like the odd-sizes set, so I got him those too. (He was slightly cheesed that the two sets of measuring cups don’t nest together, but it wasn’t a big deal.)
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Non-candy Valentine’s Day gifts for kids

Categories: Crafts and activities, Elementary school kids, Food, Gifts, Holiday, Toys, games

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I hope that this post will not give you the impression that I disapprove of candy at Valentine’s Day, or that I avoid it. FAR FROM IT. I give my own kids a candy gift, and I like that they come home with a little assortment of treats from school, too: it’s nice to have a candy holiday in between Christmas and Easter, just to keep the spirits up in the cold sad part of winter.

But I know enough from seeing/hearing OTHER people discuss it that not everyone is of the same mind. For those who are trying to avoid candy for various reasons but still would like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a gift for the kids, here are a few ideas:

Sticky Mosaics heart box (photo from Amazon.com). I have mentioned Sticky Mosaics often enough that you already know we’re fans at my house. This heart box is a fun project we’ve also given as birthday-party gifts.

Hide ‘n’ Peek Chocolates game (photo from Amazon.com). If you look at the reviews, you’ll see that a lot of people thought this was a good Valentine’s Day gift for a child, and that unfortunately there is one main problem with it: the lid doesn’t fit on right. So it kind of depends on how important that feature is for the game to be a success. If you’re going to store it in a bin anyway (if you’re like me and wouldn’t want to assemble the toy every time you put it away, for example), it won’t matter—but it might be disappointing anyway.
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Gift ideas for pretty much absolutely anyone

Categories: Books, Crafts and activities, Food, Gifts, Good causes, Holiday, House & Home, Kitchen, Office

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Every year, EVERY YEAR, I feel like it is wayyyy too early to discuss gift ideas / holiday china / holiday cards and so everyone will be annoyed because DEAR HEAVENS SWISTLE IT’S ONLY HALLOWEEN—and then every year I am sitting here with only two Wednesdays left before Christmas, thinking, “There’s no tiiiiiiiiiime! There’s no tiiiiiiiiiiime!!” Still on my post list: gifts that have to work for an unknown recipient, food gifts, holiday cards, holiday china patterns, a holiday craft a child can make as a gift and it’s something a non-related-to-the-child person might even WANT, gift-idea books for children, gift-idea books for adults, good general DVD gift sets, puzzle brand comparison, teacher gift ideas, stocking stuffers, gift ideas for 4/6/10/12-year-olds. We can pick two of those. And by “we” I mean “me,” because by the time you read the first of the two posts (this one), I’ll already be working on the second one. So. Next year don’t be surprised if I start the discussion in October.
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Easter baskets for grown-ups

Categories: Food, Holiday, Toothsome products (for grownups)

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I saw one of these fancy Easter baskets by chance, and now am dazzled by the idea that grown-ups can have Easter baskets too, with excellent fancy chocolate instead of the “chocolate-flavored candy” kind.


Godiva Enchanted Easter Basket (photo from Godiva.com), $85 with free shipping if you use code BUNNY.


See’s Deluxe Easter Basket (photo from Sees.com), $59.50 plus shipping, which they call the “Extra Large Family Basket” but I changed the name because I don’t want any lip about how many people ought to be sharing it.
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Baking for Valentine’s Day

Categories: Food, Holiday, House & Home

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Already the requests are coming in: Can you bake for the Valentine’s Day class party? For the Valentine’s Day Family Fair? For the Valentine’s Day fundraising bake sale? For the class parties of your other three school-aged children? For the bake sales of their other two schools?

Why, YES. Yes, I can. I’m not going to make roll-and-cut cookies (I would rather volunteer to be in the fundraising dunk tank, in my bathing suit in front of everyone, YES I REALLY DO HATE MAKING ROLL/CUT COOKIES THAT MUCH), but I can still bake things in heart shapes. (Or, alternately, I can go to the grocery store bakery department and purchase them, then transfer them to baggies so it looks like I made them. But I am not going to get a post out of THAT.)

Wilton heart-shaped cake pan, about $10 (photo from Amazon.com). This is the classic. You can frost the cake in any pastel color, and if you can write with frosting you can write “LUV U” or any conversation-heart message. Or don’t write on it, it’s still pretty. Or frost it white and use red sugar around the edges. If you don’t want to buy a heart-shaped pan, use a round pan and modify the easy bake-sale Christmas tree cake: put it on a red or pink or white paper plate; and instead of a tree, rough out a heart-shape in red sugar. One cake mix makes two bake sale cakes.
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Shopping with imaginary money

Categories: Babies, Food, House & Home, Music, Toys

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Do you guys play the “What if you had to spend $100 RIGHT NOW?” game at your house? We play it all the time at ours. It’s almost always Rob, the sixth-grader, who wants to fantasize about shopping, and I’m happy to play that game. Today’s answers (from me, clearly, because what he wants is video games):


John Derian nest coasters (photo from Target.com). I wish these were plates instead of coasters, since I never use coasters.
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