best of: kitchen gadgets

In my efforts to cook more, I have found that like exercise, it’s fun to have new things that excite me. Whether it’s a new top for the gym or a gadget for the kitchen I guess I am pretty predictable that way! I asked my favorite cook friends to share their favorites, too so I was sure to have a stellar line-up!best kitchen gadgets

Herb Saver — Sonja of @acouplecooks: Fill it with water, seal it and stick the fridge. No more wasted herbs or asparagus!

Hour and Minute Glass — This was one of the items at my girlfriends’ favorite things party this Christmas. So beautiful to sit out on the counter, but also helpful! So good for kids too,  as it helps quantify time passing in a less abstract way.

Flatware — Another gift at Favorite Things picked by my friend @collectedblog who has flawless taste! This flatware comes in several finishes – I love the gold and black!

Cruet — This Cruet creates the most fine consistent stream of oil I’ve ever used! I love that I have such precise control over it! Perfect for finishing touches, too!

Citrus Juicer — @cleaneats_cleantreats: No need to buy the fancy overpriced electric version. This hand held gadget will do the trick and at the same time give you so much gratification. It seriously gets every last drop out of your lemon and limes. Sweet victory! (Make her Summer Grilled Lemon Chicken and Vegetable Soup if you need an excuse to use it!)

Collapsible Colander — @jennaskitchen: Jenna and I are on the same page for storing things flat. This colander expands and collapses with ease!

Dough Whisk — @yummytoddlerfood: Amy uses this whisk when cooking with kids because there’s less drag so its easier for small hands!

Short Tongs (half the length of regular tongs and so much easier to manage!) — my sis @charityadams

Pizza Peel — @acouplecooks: Not only gets your pizza out of the oven but is great for charcuterie or as a cheeseboard too! Check out their Pizza archives, they will blow your mind! This Peccorino + Egg pizza?!A Couple Cooks

Pizza Stone with cutter! — @acouplecooks: If you don’t have a pizza stone it’s time! It makes even a frozen pizza taste like it’s from restaurant and perfectly crisps up the crust!

Hero Glove — This company was founded by a 2nd grader at the time, so now a 4th grader. SO cool! Its a glove that kids (or adults) an where to ensure they don’t cut themselves while cooking. My kids ALWAYS want to help but I am usually too scattered to feel confident in letting them. No more! Support this 4th grade chica and grab a Hero Glove!!

Bread Maker — My mom bought me this several Christmases ago and I JUST started using it. I am ashamed. But also I didn’t even realize just how nice it was, so many belated thank yous, mom! (My friend uses this $100 Cuisinart one and it works great, too! So don’t be scared off!) You all know I was on a bread making kick for 2018 resolutions but its so dang easy and delicious I might have to stop. Its canceling out my other goal of try not to be chubby. Another one to add to cooking with kids because they just throw the ingredients in, no stirring necessary!

Hand Blender — @emilysbrady: This was recommended by a few others, too! For cooking with kids, for making an aioli, as a food processor but not as expensive as one!

The Pizza Stone above comes with a rolling cutter, but you can also buy it solo here. I use it for quesadillas, cutting french toasts, crusts of sandwiches, and so much more!

Pre-Cut Parchment Sheets — @rashellejohansson: I love this idea! Everything is ready to go for a cookie sheet or wrapping up leftovers. Rashelle keeps hers in a stack to grab easily from so you don’t even need to get the whole container out.

Silicon Flat Pot and Pan Lids — I showed this for maybe 3 seconds of an Insta Story and was flooded. I swear by these lids! They lay flat in your cupboard, work just as well as a pot or pan lid and the best part is you don’t need to store those annoying glass and metal lids anymore!

Garlic Zoom — This is so cool. Maybe I am late to the game by my garlic press is so annoying to clean out. This cleans out with a rinse or toss it in the dishwasher too!

Veggiespize — @jennaskitchen: This is another one that a few recommended! For spiraling vegetables (spaghetti squash with marinara is seriously delicious) and comes with several attachments for different shapes and sizes like a mandolin too!

Rocker Blade Knife — Another way to cut pizza or quesadillas, but also everything else. If you need to chop a lot quick, this is rad!

Bench Scraper — I use this everyday for the most random assortment of reasons. Mostly I love it for scraping crap off the floor or countertop. Not sure that is what its made for, but I digress.

Vidalia Chopper  @jennaskitchen — I added so many gadgets to my cart writing this, and this is no exception! Cut a whole onion in one swoop? YES please.

 

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wallsburg III

I cannot believe the last house update was in September! So much has happened in that amount of time and also it feels like very little has. Ha! We started sheet rock yesterday and I’ve been told drywall means your halfway, so if that’s the case, we’ve got a-while. The thing that truly blows my mind is that the sketch we gave our architect who in turn rendered it and then Russ built it… looks exactly like the drawing. So crazy! We have had to make a few changes but I’ll tell you all about it!

So, since our last update (here) we’ve:

  1. Added the plywood roof + laid the roofing paper. Russ had only two things he wasn’t willing to budge on and that was the metal roof and a glass garage. He’s pretty cheap so I was surprised he was not only willing, but insistent about these expenses! He already had to drop one of those, but the metal is still a go. It delivers this week, but we won’t be putting it on until after the exterior walls are done. 
  2. We also have the garage door ordered – this is where Russ ended up backing off. You’ll see in the rendering we had always planned on a glass garage.Frame Build But you might also know the the street leading up and the cul-de-sac we will be living on aren’t paved. Getting it paved would not only be at the homeowners’ expense, but also probably $20,000. For sure not in a place to do that right now and also we don’t know our neighbors well enough to field that kind of talk either. (Hi we’re the Frames, got $5k lying around?) So instead of having dusty glass panes for the next however many years we swapped for this door from Vidor. We went with all black, but this gray is super pretty! I feel so much better about it (my boys would for sure bust at least one pane a Summer) but also, it’s half the price. Vidor Garage Door
  3. Electrical. Russ wired the entire house with the help of his dad. Loads of can lights and a few spots for chandelier/pendant fixtures. Also, it’s cool to design a house after you’ve been housekeeping for so many years because both Russ and I are very familiar with my “piles.” I sweep the floor and leave the pile. Not sure why? Is it because I know I’ll have to sweep another area of the floor in 3 minutes? Is in the bending over? Either way, we are doing Central Vac with the Kick Pan in the kitchen so my “piles” will hopefully be gone forever. The suction gets turned on and off by kicking over that lever and then you sweep it right into the system! The rest of the house is just a hose attachment for a hard floor vacuum. Central Vac Kickplate
  4. Plumbing. Russ got the well and the well pump hooked up so we’re officially on our own water system! Between the propane, solar panels, back-up generator and well water we are very nearly “off the grid” — which was a long shot dream that looks like it might actually come to be!
  5. Windows. We used Andersen Windows and Doors (we have a super exciting collaboration with them once we’re finished!) and the quality is so amazing. I’m still pinching myself that they wanted to work with us. The windows absolutely make this room and maybe the whole house.
    Andersen Windows
  6. 4-Way Inspection. This was the last inspection before the very final walk through so I know Russ was so nervous about it. They had a few random nit-picky things for him to fix but one of those things was to put small two-inch wedges of wood in EVERY SINGLE two-by-four where the walls meet the rooflines. Across the whole house. Needless to say it was a huge weight off his shoulders once that finally passed!
  7. Insulation. Right when we were ready to start we learned there was a Utah-wide shortage on insulation. What are the odds? Literally no one could get any and so for two weeks we were at a standstill. Super discouraging, but they wrapped blowing everything in last week so we’re back on track!                                                              
  8. Since Russ is doing the sheetrock he hired a guy to start on the exterior simultaneously so we don’t lose too much time. So that guy is finishing all the concrete window wells and doing the stone and stucco. Then Russ will install the cladding and roof.
  9. Appliances arrived (thank you Black Friday), installed fireplaces, a few interior doors are installed, too! This fireplace was always my inspiration, but we sort of modified it and have the firewood shelves on the wall with the TV (seen a few photos above.)Wallsburg III
  10. We won’t be using it for a bit, but ALL our tile is ready to go. I can’t fully explain how much I loathe carpet and we wanted something super durable so we went with wood look tile. EVERYWHERE. In the basement. In every room. This wood look tile has the perfect amount of texture so you don’t slide around at all! There is carpet in the loft and we have other tile options in the mudroom and bathrooms and then tile on our master fireplace and mudroom walls. Tile will be covering 5000 sq. feet of our house. We sourced every last item through Marazzi and we have so many exciting things to look forward to with them. It’s a huge partnership that I feel so grateful for! Russ might be dreading laying it all but I cannot wait to see it!! Here’s the sneakiest peek of our line-up. I’ll share more about what goes where once we get closer!Marazzi Tile

So much changes in the next few months, I hope you guys enjoy these updates because I there will be lots more coming soon!

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15 rainy day DIYs

Now that Christmas is over, we’re in the long haul until Spring. Winter is so hard with kids, you don’t want them to have free reign over the iPad but you also need to maintain sanity. With the tiniest amount of prep you can have a crafternoon you will ALL enjoy!

Face Coloring Pages // Bi Planes // DIY Dominoes // DIY Tea Set // Yoga for Kids10 Rainy Day Ideas

 

10 Rainy Day Ideas

10 Rainy Day Ideas

Superhero Training! Set up simple games and tasks to get them moving. 

Puppets + Masks! Creating a puppet, writing a play with friends, and performing it for parents is sure to keep them occupied all afternoon! Pirate + Mermaid // Monsters // Clothespins Puppets // Animal Masks10 Rainy Day Ideas10 Rainy Day Ideas

Toilet Roll DIYs there are SO many of these across the web. Save yours up for your next rainy day and you can make ALL of these. Fire Breathing Dragon // Superhero Cuffs // Binoculars // Flower Bouquet // Cereal Box Jet Pack //10 Rainy Day Ideas10 Rainy Day Ideas10 Rainy Day Ideas10 Rainy Day IdeasI hope this helps you! I know I got lots of ideas for my own kids. Happy Winter!!

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FRYday

It has been AHWHILLLE since I did a Fryday! It’s high time and I’m covering a bunch of questions from my DMs lately and if there’s anything I missed let me know. Happy weekend!!

READING: My reviews for December are below this post, but I already started my bookclub’s pick Goodbye For Now which is a story of a computer programmer who finds a code that creates an email response allowing people to hear from their dead loved ones, one last time. So far it’s cute, not blowing my mind but I’ll update once I finish!

I also have queued up A Fine Balance — which has 1000+ 4.5 star ratings. About India in 1975. I can’t wait to start, from what I hear the author is a beautiful writer which earn major points with me.

WATCHING: Good Girls Revolt! (Amazon) I just started this show but its amazing and SO up my alley. Set in the 1960’s-70’s this story is based on a true one of how women researchersat a magazine sued the company for discrimination. They weren’t allowed to be reporters but they worked along side them, same hours, at times writing pieces for them but getting no credit. Music, fashion, and Nora Ephron. I always said I was born in the wrong era and would’ve loved to live during that time, but when I see the BS they dealt with. I am glad to be where I am at. Even more so after Iceland mandated same pay for the same job for women there.

WEARING: Just picking up a few things here and there, doing my best not to shop too much. Clear glasses // Loving gingham for Spring and starting early collecting items like these $16 loafers and these slides. If you follow along on Instagram you already know a few of my 2018 resolutions.

Raleigh is getting into my makeup like mad. Ruining stuff, dropping and shattering it left and right! I got him this play set to try and keep him occupied but replacing my favorite highlighter and trying out Laura Geller’s. It is SO pretty! Also in love with this DryBar dry conditioner. It makes your hair smell so amazing I am getting stopped in the street.

I tell you what though after he opened his Christmas presents he is hardly getting into things anymore. He just plays! Here’s what we got him that he loves if you have a toddler who is also driving you crazy. Push Car // Shopping Cart // Cleaning Kit // Globber Scooter (they sent this to us but I am under no obligation to post, it really is awesome! Just like Micro and nearly half the price. The foot bed has a different shape than the Micro — almost like arch support, but my boys don’t seem to mind.) // Vacuum.

FEELING: Amazing about resolutions this week! First, which caused quite a ruckus and I wrote about last week was No Yelling. Going to go a little deeper on this since it was highly requested. The first step in stopping the hollering was to find my triggers that cause me to yell.

  1. When my kids don’t listen after several times of polite asking.
  2. Trying to squeeze to much into a small amount of time.
  3. Food messes.
  4. When they boys fight or hurt each other.
  5. Fall out from stressful work or social situations.

Some of these things I can control: I stopped letting my kids eat anywhere but the table to eliminate stumbling on a mess that would set me off. // I consciously tell myself I don’t have enough time for something and skip it or wait and do it later instead of plowing through and then trying to rush three kids out the door. Not their fault we’re late so why am I screaming at them to get their shoes on? // I started noticing that feeling arise when I get a text or email or have an interaction that puts me in a fiery mood. Instead of carrying my irritation around I just have to let it go right then. It not only hurts me but I take out those feelings in the way I speak to my family. Usually this only works if I literally say out loud usually TO my kids so they don’t think I am nuts: “That text made me so irritated. But I don’t want to be irritated right now, so I am letting it go.” When it comes to the boys not listening or hurting each other I am still disciplining. Instead of yelling I take them by the arm to time-out. Or tell them they will get soap in their mouth. Or give them a scenario where if whatever it is continues they lose their favorite privilege.

You know what I found? Talking quietly works just as well. As long as I am near them, or even touching them or kneeling at their level. Its been nearly a week and I have only raised my voice once to say their name and then quiet back down. I am surprised at myself, I didn’t think I could manage it. But I also knew deep down I could do better than I was. Our house is already so much more peaceful. I go to bed feeling exhausted and even tension in my shoulders from all the trying not to yell (ha!) but I don’t feel guilt and shame. What a freaking gift.

Other resolutions:

You all know we’re budgeting like crazy, saving all extra funds for the house, etc. etc. So I am confusing on cutting any and all expenses that I can.

Eat at Home More. We live to go out to eat, I love to go with friends or on dates, or with the kids. But I making the choice to eat at home whenever possible. We went from 5+ times a week out to 2. Stoked.

Make Bread. I got this Zojirushi bread maker and it literally does everything include stir the ingredients yet I feel smug as can be that I made bread. It tastes amazing too.

Make Smoothies. Smoothies are a food that everyone in my fam will eat and allows me to add protein, magnesium (both my boys are anxious in different ways), probiotics, and of course fresh fruits and vegetables (Cal avoids fresh veggies and most fruits like the plague.) Its something I used to do everyday but stopped, so I am re-implementing! I also had them tricked into eating ACF popsicles which they will no longer do, but that stuff is magic so mix it into grape juice and see if your kids will take it! My kids NEVER got sick when I used it! They love their chewy vitamins and we do this Elderberry one for their immune system and this Vitamin D one which I’ve been told we are all crazy depleted in and it helps with depression and energy levels.

I already talked about switching out the Dirty Dozen for organic produce. That is still in effect and things like making bread and smoothies and cooking more will allow those swaps without costing extra money out of pocket. Shifting funds if you will.

Did I cover it all? I hope so!! Have a great weekend. See you all Monday. xo

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