Viewing category ‘Time savers’

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.
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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).
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Baby gift ideas for a casual acquaintance

Categories: Baby gear, Gifts, Time savers

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Recently I’ve needed to buy baby gifts for two people in the “casual acquaintance” category. This category includes anyone where (1) it seems like it would be a nice thing to buy them a baby gift, but (2) you don’t really know them well enough to know what they’d like/need, and (3) you don’t want to make things awkward by getting something too large for the relationship. In other words, you want a token that shows your general good wishes, but this is not the time for engraved silver baby cups or a $100 baby swing.

I find in these cases I fall back on the same five basic ideas:

Idea #1: A set of board books. (Photo from Amazon.com.) Books with dust jackets and paper pages make good sentimental gifts and are a fun baby shower idea, but many of them can’t be enjoyed by the baby for years; baby board books can be used almost right away, and they’re less sentimental and more practical. I read this particular set to my particular babies one million times, and they were also good for propping in front of a baby suffering enjoying tummy-time. They’re good basic “a picture per page” board books, nice and bright and durable. And they’re $10ish for four! Perfect.

Idea #2: The sleep-and-play. (Photos from Carters.com.) Many new babies wear these around the clock at first, changed not for “daytime” and “bedtime” but instead with every diaper leak and spit-up. Such changes can happen many, many times a day with some babies. I know some parents report getting way too many baby clothes as gifts, but even with handmedowns I was still buying more of these with every baby in the first two sizes (newborn and 3 months). They’re easy, comfy, cute, and no one has to try to match colors on too little sleep.
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