Thursday, August 10, 2006

Novelty Items the Wuertleys Can't Live Without

Thursday night - my last official vacation night before school starts on Monday. On a previous post, I talked about not being sure how I would spend my last vacation day. This is how it is shaping up - Anna's teacher called yesterday, and we scheduled an 8:30 get acquainted conference for tomorrow morning - there goes two theories of how I would spend the day (sleeping late and staying in my pajamas.) Then Caislyn, my niece, is coming over to spend part of the day. The afternoon looks pretty open at this point, and then tomorrow evening, I think the plan is to head over to the Van Buren Popcorn Festival for some fattening fair food - just what I need the eve of our biggest training day! All in all, I think it will shape up to be a great last day of vacation. Enough intro, onto the post...

The other day I used an amazing little product for the first time - the Clorox Bleach Pen. I have had this cool tool since Christmas (got it in my stocking - can't wait until Christmas time to post about the unbelievable stockings we receive each year) but put it in the cabinet and left it until this particular day. What prodded me to dig my pen out was that I witnessed my mom use it on a shirt when we stayed with her last week, and the shirt came out of the wash with no stains. I have a big container of bleach, but it is such a pain to lug it out, grab something to apply it with (I usually use a toothbrush,) dilute it, and risk spilling it (my mom has a "great" story about this, and if she had a blog I'm sure she would have posted on it.) This pen eliminates all of the above inconveniences of the regular big container of bleach - I highly recommend it!

The Bleach Pen wins the award for favorite item on this list, but I am going to share about 9 other "honorable mentions."

1. Bag Balm. Yes, the container says it is for sore udders. But someone gave me a container for my baby shower for Elizabeth, and it works wonders on diaper rash (even the kind all ages can get.) I still have the original container that I received almost 7 years ago - I guess it doesn't expire since it still works. I can first hand tell you that this stuff works (I know, too much information.)

2. Paint tray liners. I am a cheapskate, but even I will spend 40 cents to not have to wash out my paint tray. In fact, last time I painted, I only used the liner because I had loaned out my tray, and it was sturdy enough. My paint tray cleaning days are over. I wish I was so frivolous with roller covers because I really hate cleaning those.

3. Wings. I "ALWAYS" make sure I have them. I remember the days before wings. I wonder if my daughters will look at the pre-wings days like we look at the belts our moms wore.

4. The Cutco vegetable peeler. I've tried generic peelers. I've used electric peelers. I have not tried the Pampered Chef peeler, if there is such a thing, so maybe it is as good. But if you are going to peel some vegetables, you want to be using the Cutco vegetable peeler. My mom as of two months ago was using a vegetable peeler that I am pretty sure she received as a wedding shower gift. I know I grew up with it, and it was stinky to work with back then. I had two peelers (doubled up wedding shower gift, but I'm not going to complain about receiving too much Cutco,) so one night after trying to peel carrots at her house, I had enough. The next time I saw my mom I gave her my extra peeler, and she is just as happy with it as I am. Need a nice wedding present suggestion? I suggest the Cutco vegetable peeler - and as a bonus, a paring knife comes with it in the set.

5. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Do you have unsightly stains on your countertop or walls? The Magic Eraser is another amazing product we keep in our house. I had stains on my countertop that were there when we bought the house, and when I scrubbed it down with the Magic Eraser, it looked like new. I can't say it has been 100% effective - it only dulled a marker streak on the wall (it was a dry erase marker.) But it will definitely pick up more than $1.99 worth of stains.

6. Starter logs for camping. The most stressful time of camping for me is the evening meal on the first night. We usually aren't pulling into the campgrounds until close to dinner time, and we need a fire going to cook the meal. Jason is more concerned about getting the camper set up; I am more concerned about preparing the meal. For various reasons we have had trouble starting a fire while camping - rain the night before that left the fire pit wet, green wood, lack of sticks/paper. Before family camp Jason found a couple of starter logs that my mom had put in his stocking a couple of years ago (did I mention I can't wait until Christmastime to post about the stockings?) He threw them in the camper, and one night at Family Camp when it had rained, he pulled the starter log out. We had no trouble starting the fire, and from now on, I am willing to pay 33 cents for a guaranteed quick fire. My mom has a problem with moderation sometimes. We asked her to bring us another starter log for the last night of camp, and she bought us a 24 pack. Guess we won't have to purchase starter logs for next season, either.

7. Lysol Wipes. Another must have for camping. Forget the inconvenience of a soapy rag. I just grab a couple of wipes, and the picnic tables are good as new. When we are packing up to go home, I take some wipes and "clean" the bathroom. I keep wipes in the car for when we go to restaurants with playplaces. I think the workers forget there are tables back there to clean, either that or there is such a turnover that there isn't time to clean, but we rarely can find a clean table at a playplace. Use some wipes, and the table is clean and sanitized. I haven't used the wipes at home as much since a soapy rag usually resides in the sink, but for out of home experiences, they come in handy.

8. The Tupperware (or Pampered Chef) Chopper. Forget crying while cutting up onions. Put your half an onion under the chopper, pound pound pound, and you have perfectly minced onions. The fun doesn't stop with onions - I've used it for garlic, tomatoes, green peppers, pecans, and I'm sure many other ingredients. Again, another nice wedding shower present, and it is all dishwasher safe, which is a must in my book.

9. Blue Coral Upholstery Cleaner found at Auto Zone. A big thanks to S.W. for suggesting this one. We had a little incident in the camper that involved non washable markers and a couple of three year olds, and club soda, Fantastik, and Lysol Wipes weren't doing the trick. Shannon suggested this product and it took care of pretty much all the marker stain. A couple weeks later we had an incident at home that involved white board paint (I do not recommend this product for any age - Elizabeth was even being careful and it still made a mess) and once again the Blue Coral came through for us and took care of a rather large blue stain on the carpet.

Just thought I'd share a few of these products with you - maybe you will find one of them useful. I would love to hear of any products you swear by that aren't listed above.

Triathlon Training Update - Today's agenda was to just run 30 minutes. I had to say "just" because it is amazing how this training plan is increasing my exercise stamina. When we first started this program almost 4 weeks ago, the thought of running 30 minutes straight was overwhelming - I'd never run more than a mile in a row, and that was back in college. I was still pretty tired after the run, but it is encouraging how my body is getting used to the distances. As for the destination of the run - I had forgotten that I needed to bring 2 rolls of paper towel and a package of paper plates to Anna's conference tomorrow morning. I thought, "Why not kill two birds with one stone?" So I put a literal meaning to the phrase "run to the store" and headed to Lances. Lances isn't that far away, but it's not across the street, either. I figured 10-15 minutes there, 10-15 minutes back, and if I had any extra time I would run around the block. It only took me 4 minutes to get there! I couldn't believe it - I was running at the pace we normally run. It takes me 4 minutes to drive there if I don't hit the light. So I'm thinking about running everywhere now since I can do it in about the same time. I figure with the rising gas prices, I am going to save a lot of money, and my car is still at General Tire. I haven't figured out yet what to do when the kids are with me.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

.....and who gave you that bag balm and told you of its usefulness.....someone who is very smart and knows all about how to raise children. :) are you telling me that YOUR mom has a problem with moderation.....who would've guessed?......she seems so "in-control" during comp class.

....another useful product, flushable wipes, can't live without 'em.

August 10, 2006 11:22 PM  
Blogger Marcia said...

Amway SA8 laundry pre-treating spray. (I know — Amway!) But it got dried on, soaked in enamel paint out of brand new nylon shorts! (Without damaging the shorts!) How can I argue with results like that?!

August 10, 2006 11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it looks like Deb's going to have to request some of that Amway stuff for her Christmas stocking. Cool!

August 11, 2006 7:30 AM  
Blogger Stephen & Michelle said...

As for what to do when running with kids - we got a jogging stroller for a gift when Titus was born and LOVE it. It also hooks to our bikes, has super nice bearings so pushes really easy, folds down flat, and the wheels come off so you can fit it almost anywhere to take it with you. It even has a pretty decent-sized back section to hold groceries or whatever else you need to put in. It has big tires so goes through almost anything, a bug/rock shield and even a rain shield to keep everything off the kids. It holds two children, so someday (hopefully) when #2 comes, we can put them both in there. Probably on my list of items I can't do without.

Another thing I couldn't live without - a baby sling. I received an "Over the Shoulder Baby Holder" as a gift and Titus was SUPER fussy as a baby and this was a way to get stuff done around the house and still let him sleep or calm down. I have a few stories where he was screaming, I didn't know what to do, and I put him in the sling. Before I even had my hand out he was already asleep! There were other times he just flat out quit crying and was "magically" calm and content. It came in super handy when we were in and out of stores or big groups because I didn't have to mess with a stroller in crowds. I don't think we would have survived without it...

August 11, 2006 8:32 AM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

The idea of your running everywhere made me LOL (again). We have a jogging stroller you can borrow if you are indeed considering the idea.

I agree with the Cutco veggie peeler - never seen another that works as well or is as comfortable to hold.

We now can't live without our Sleep Number bed. I was having numbness in my hip and leg a couple of years ago, and we thought it might be our 20-year old mattress. After shopping around, we decided on a Sleep Number bed and now cannot imagine sleeping on anything else...especially since Jim and I set our sides to different settings.

August 11, 2006 11:32 AM  
Blogger Bekah said...

Hey Deb!! The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is one of the few things I'll spring for when I'm buying cleaning stuff. Usually I'm too cheap and buy generic. But when I saw how it could clean the bottom of my shower (not a smooth surface and no matter how hard I scrubbed, I couldn't get it clean!) - I was sold!!! No generic shower cleaner anymore. :) And I'm convinced the only reason I cook any dish that has the word "chop" in the recipe is because I, too, own the chopper. Best invention EVER!!

August 11, 2006 11:50 AM  

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