Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Favorite Things (#5) Best Airline, Cleaning Tips, Discount Jamba, etc.


1. Fotor.com--Free!

Please tell me if you've found a better (free!) web-based collage creator, because I haven't. This isn't the first one I've used, but it is by far the best. Fotor.com

2. PBS App--Free!

This free app has a library of clips from PBS's kids shows. It updates weekly. So if your little one loves Sesame Street, Curious George, or basically any kids' show on PBS, this may be the App for you.

3. Createfan.com--Free!

Love family history? Love graphic displays? Combine the two by using your Family Search login to sign on to https://createfan.com/ and instantly create a beautiful eight generation fan. The only sad part is if you have ancestors whose information is lacking or under question, it is left off of the fan entirely (aka: my German side on the right). But if anything, this should just be motivation to get on the ball and get more family history work done. Just (1) Login and (2) Create. But once you do, you won't be able to stop yourself from (3) Sharing with your parents and siblings.



4. THE BEST WAFFLE MAKER! Presto Flip Side Waffle Maker -- $30

Presto FlipSide Electric Waffle Maker
Looove this waffle maker. It takes a little experimenting to get the timing just right for your particular altitude/batter, but once you figure it out, the waffles that come off of this thing are pure perfection. It has high reviews on Amazon so I am definitely not the only person loving it. The best part is that because it flips, the waffles cook evenly, but because of the way it flips on its hinge, it stores oh-so-nicely, like so:
That's right, completely vertical. So basically it takes up a few inches on your pots and pans shelf, which rocks. If you've been thinking your waffle maker is lacking, I'd highly recommend saving up your pennies for one of these babies. Buy it HERE.

5. Southwest

Now that my time of flying free with a lap child has come to an end, I have to take a minute to say...I love Southwest. I know it is sometimes referred to as SouthWorst, but as someone who has logged a lot of miles the past couple of years, when it comes to flying with kids, there is no one better. The #1 reason for this is when you are flying with kids, open seating is your best friend. Even if a flight is completely full (which it's usually not), because people choose their own seats, the people who end up sitting next to you are likely kind, kid-loving people who will not only tolerate your kid, they'll be sweet to them and maybe even help you entertain them. After enduring icy stares on a JetBlue flight (when my toddler was quietly talking to himself and, as far as 1-year-olds go, pretty much being an angel), I resolved to go on Southwest as often as possible. Another benefit of open seating is if there is a single, solitary empty seat on the flight, if you seat in the back with your baby/toddler proudly displayed (the crankier, the better), you can guarantee that open seat next to you is going to remain unoccupied, allowing you to stow your carry-ons there and give you more leg room.
My advice to make things even better:
(1) Sit in the back--way in the back. It's part of the Flying-With-Kids code. Plus, that's where the flight attendants hang out and there's a good chance they'll spoil you back there.
(2) Maybe everyone knows this, but I didn't at first: come beverage service time, the flight attendants can give you and your little one's water/juice/soda with a top and straw to avoid spillage. Before I learned this little gem, I used to ask for one water with no ice, so I could gulp the whole glass down instantly before Little Man could get his paws on it.
(3) If a flight's looking empty, ask about bringing your infant seat. An angelic Southwest employee offered to let me do this once and it resulted in the most heavenly flight ever where my little one slept in his car seat for the entire flight while I, hands-free, chillaxed like nobody's business.
(4) Make sure you sign up for Rapid Rewards. I've earned several free flights in my day.

6. Nature's Miracle--Cost depends on type/size

Have kids that vomit/urinate? Get this stuff! I won't go into detail because vomit and urine are, well, gross. But basically this is an enzymatic cleaner marketed for animals (I bought mine at PetCo) that is golden for when kids throw up on carseats, carpets, etc. Mine was first used for a car seat cover. I sprayed, let it do its enzyme thing for a bit, threw the cover in the washer and the cover came out smelling totally fresh and clean (I won't describe what it smelled like beforehand, but fear not, that smell has been burned into my olfactory memory for life). I've since used it on clothes, carpets, etc. and am always pleased with the results.

7. Disposable Nitrile Cleaning Gloves-- ≈$10 for a pack of 100

When I got married and finally started cleaning (sorry college roommates), I tried getting a couple pairs of old school big rubber gloves, one pair for the bathroom, one for the kitchen. These had a myriad of problem, namely the fact that I am 6 feet tall and have hands to match, meaning my hands are less than petite and good ole' Rubbermaid gloves never seemed to fit. Also, they obviously got used (and consequently germy), which means after I'm done cleaning...gross. So what do the professionals do? Get disposable cleaning gloves, of course. Have you ever seen a professional clean a bathroom without them? The thought occurred to me at some point when we were working on our house and I was slipping on a pair to paint, caulk, drywall, etc. and I realized, why am I still using huge rubber gloves or worse, no gloves, like a sucker? So this way I can (1) slip on a pair of gloves (easier to clean with than big, thick gloves anyway), (2) clean the bathrooms, then (3) dispose of them and their germs rather than throw them under the sink covered in who knows what (I promise I'm not a germophone, but seriously--kitchens and bathrooms are breeding grounds for germs).

I'm all for saving the environment, but considering I live in a city where reusable grocery bags are required (hope you're washing your bags, people--every time a city forces its citizens to switch to reusable bags, bacteria related ER admissions go up 1/4th. Norovirus, anyone?)...so anyway...when it comes to germs/health, I have to draw the line somewhere.
We buy ours from Costco (Husband uses the same type of gloves to work on the car, house, etc). But you can buy these anywhere. They only cover up to your wrists, so they don't work for washing dishes, but they work for pretty much everything else.

----------Fun Stuff----------

8. Jamba Insider--Free!

Jamba Juice Logo
I already heralded the glories of being able to split any size Jamba with a lil' cup for the wee ones (no extra charge). But I must say, if you like Jamba and aren't already a "Jamba Insider," I'd suggest signing up. All of my commercial e-mails go to my junk e-mail address (that I can still check without having to be constantly annoyed), so I can't speak to that side of things, but I love the text updates. I basically refuse to pay full price for a Jamba Juice (they're so much cheaper to make at home), but Jamba Insider lets me know about the days you can get smoothies for Free/$1/$2.
Interested? Sign up here: http://www.jambajuice.com/insider

9. Divide and Conquer Anniversary/Valentine's--Free!

I Love Sun Royalty Free Stock Images - Image: 2413529

I mentioned in a past post that my husband and I divide and conquer Valentine's Day and our Anniversary every year. We rotate, so each year you're in charge of one major couple occasion and for the other, you just sit back and enjoy the day. I got a few comments on what a good idea this was, so I must admit, yes, it's brilliant. My husband and I aren't perfect (ha!), but I think this is one of those things in our marriage we've struck gold with because it works soooo nicely. It's so fun to be the one planning the activity and then it's nice to be able to relax and enjoy the other occasion. And because you're really only in charge of one big thing each year, it's much easier (and more motivating) to plan well in advance and come up with something more fun/memorable than just a last minute run to the grocery store to pick up flowers and a card. I could go into detail on all the stuff we've come up with, but it's all very couple-y, so I'll spare you. Suffice it to say we've yet to have a lame Valentine's or Anniversary.

10. You Tell Me!

Mom Tips - Okay, let's get real: what do you use to clean up nastiness (vomit/urine) on carpet?


 Cleaning - What are your tried and true cleaning tips?

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