Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday:
"I didn't want normal until I didn't have it anymore."

"I didn't want normal until I didn't have it anymore."
― Maggie StiefvaterLament: The Faerie Queen's Deception

I am not typically one for branding or advertising, but I read a good list last week of ten things one family uses all the time and realized I might have a few helpful hints that I have picked up as I have grown up in the past ten years.  So, for Top Ten Tuesday this week, here are ten things we cannot live without in our house:


1. Electric Tea Kettle:  My in-laws gave us this tea kettle for Christmas this year and I don't know how we lived at all without one.  We use this on a daily basis for coffee in the morning and tea later in the day.  This one is very simple and it works great.

2. Mrs. Meyer's Laundry Detergent: This is the only laundry detergent we have found that will really get out the smell of urine the first time through the wash (if you have potty trained, you will know this is a must).  I have only ever used the geranium smell, and while it seems overwhelming when the clothes first come out of the wash/dryer, it is barely lingering when I pull them from the closet to wear.  They just smell clean.  I have read that some of the other scents will stick around for a long time and smell horrible, but I can attest this is not the case with this one. 

3. Greenling:  This is the local farm-to-consumer delivery service, and if you live anywhere in Texas, please check them out to see if they are delivering to your area.  They deliver local produce, meats, eggs and other goodies weekly, and their prices are comparable to those you would find at Whole Foods or Central Market.  For me, the nearest Whole Foods is almost an hour away, so having my "green box" delivered to my doorstep has been a huge gas-saving blessing.  They also give information about each of the farms/ranches that provides them with products so you can make an informed choice. You can shop by a pre-selected "local box" that changes weekly, or you can create your own box by choosing items individually.  They even offer "meal kits" for those short on time, complete with recipes.
Check out Greenling here.



*If you are not in Texas and/or Greenling does not deliver to your area, I urge you to seek out local farm co-ops and meat producers and give them a try.

4. French Press: We make coffee most mornings, but neither AC nor I drink it all day long.  This means that the typical 10-cup or 12-cup coffee maker is just too much for us.  We tried a Keurig machine for a while, but it was so much mess because we never really liked the coffee (or teas) that came already in a pod, so we had to use the pods where you pack it in yourself.  Eventually we just gave up.  We discovered a French press and are immensely happy now.  It is very simple to use, makes the perfect amount for a cup or two of coffee in the morning, is easy to transport the grounds out to the composter, and cleans up in the dishwasher.

5. Netflix: Before SC was born, and before streaming movies over the internet was a "thing," AC and I have had a Netflix account.  However, we no longer have the DVD account, and what I really love most about it now is that it will open into a split adults/kids section.  I can choose the kids version, SC could navigate it by the time she was 3 because it has a scrollbar at the top that is just pictures of recognizable characters, and it includes many of the PBS shows we like to watch (at the most convenient time for us).  We can also stream it on a phone or iPad anywhere we have WiFi, which has been great for eating up time in airports or other non-productive places that SC needs to sit still.  It has also been nice to catch up on shows AC and I like to watch, but not be glued to a set TV schedule every week.
Check out Netflix here.



6. Apple TV: We have had an Apple TV since they were first introduced, and it is an item we could not live without in order to stream music from the computers to the stereo speakers.  It has also been great, since SC was born, to be able to stream photos onto our large-screen television for viewing by family instead of having to all huddle around a 13" laptop screen.
Find Apple TV at Amazon's Apple Store Here

7. Canus Orange & Clary Sage Goat's Milk Soap: I will admit, I have always been a fairly stinky person.  I am pretty sure I got my dad's sweat/stink genes and it has been a long time coming where I feel comfortable when the 100 degree temps arrive in Texas.  However, about two years ago, I was doing research into essential oils, soap making, and deodorant making as a last-ditch effort to find products that really worked at getting me clean and controlling my body odor without using a ton of chemicals that would just cause other problems, I came across this soap at Whole Foods.  It has changed my life.  It is the only soap I have ever used (since I was a teenager at least) that I get out of the shower not already smelling myself.  I may have an oversensitive sense of smell (especially when it comes to my own body odor), but for as long as I can remember, I have always bathed, washed certain areas three or four separate times while in the shower, and stepped out only to rush to the deodorant and slather it on because I still could smell myself.  This soup is superb, does not dry out my skin, and the essential oils get rid of the body odor in a major way.



8. iPad Mini: We gave in around Christmas and bought a "family" iPad Mini and it has been a great purchase for the whole family.  SC gets to play a ton of cheap, educational games, AC gets to use it for some grown-up games, tracking travel and sports scores, and I have my recipe app on it that I use while cooking.  We do not have 4G on it, so we can only use the internet when we have WiFi and that has not been a problem at all.  Also, the size of the iPad Mini is perfect of SC to hold.  I think the larger one would be ungainly and would end up being dropped quite often.



9. Charcoal Grill & Smoker:  A few years ago for Fathers' Day AC got to pick out a new grill/smoker.  We had a gas grill but he really wanted to try his hand at smoking, specifically brisket.  After a few uses of the smoker and its subsequent grill attachment, we gave the gas grill away to a family member.  Though it seems like it may take longer to get a charcoal grill going for dinner, it really doesn't, and the exquisite flavor of a charcoal grill (and the mesquite wood we throw in) makes any extra work (the steps to start the fire) worth it.


10. PlayStation 3:  Last, but definitely not the least on this list, is our PS3, which has grown and changed in usefulness as media forms have grown and changed.  It is a gaming device (which both SC and AC use equally, if not often), but it is also a BluRay player and our Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming player.  Though we initially only purchased it so AC could play video games (pre-SC) and watch movies once in a while (before everything came out in BluRay), it has changed and grown as our family has.  At this point we have no plans to buy the soon-to-be-released PS4 and will probably hold off until the PS3 no longer works.


Obviously we are technology bugs over here, which I suppose is appropriate considering AC's job in the technology field.  What are some of the items that your family cannot live without?  Leave a comment and then check out some other Top Ten Tuesday posts here


Many Little Blessings


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