There are so many items I use in my life that benefit me as a mother, wife, friend, and neighbor. It is almost too hard to narrow them down, but I will do it because Tessa asked me in a very polite manner and also because I want to share with all of our readers these things that could be life-altering (or just make for a better day).
This small, circular device has saved my sanity on more than one occasion, whether we are using it in a hotel when we travel or in every bedroom for sleepy time, it is amazing. Who knew that a constant static shush sound could be so soothing? I have always been one to appreciate white noise. Even if my house is freezing, I need a fan to fall asleep. I have passed this dependency on to my husband and children. However, now this white noise maker has replaced every little fan in our house. It works great at nap time for my toddler who is exhausted, but anxious to stay awake and play with his big sister. He can’t resist falling asleep once I turn the machine on in his room. I also get a lot of housework done right after my kids are put to bed in the evening, because the white noise maker is drowning out all of the sounds from the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and sometimes even the vacuum.
If you have a newborn, buy a dozen of these and thank me later. Before purchasing this product, my husband and I would stand in front of our microwave with the vent fan blaring in order to get our newborns to snooze. This noisemaker is small, so it is not a complete eyesore. It fits perfectly in a suitcase, and can easily travel with you to provide white noise bliss when staying in a hotel room that is adjacent to rowdy spring breakers.
I am only kind of piggy backing off Tessa’s post from earlier in the week regarding her love of Picasso Tiles. Magformers are similar to those toy tiles in that they are flat building blocks with magnetic power, however Magformers are outlines rather than the whole shape. Young kids can easily grip Magformers and there are endless building possibilities. I love the staying power of these toys. They rival Legos. We have had them in our house for over five years and every age group-toddlers to adults-enjoy them. You can just keep buying more and more to add to your collection. My daughters make princess crowns, horse pens for their My Little Ponies, jewelry, and 3-D spheres out of our Magformers. Meanwhile my two-year-old son specializes in towers that can be repeatedly knocked down and stomped on without causing any damage to himself or the blocks. They come in different colors and the bigger packages have more shapes to choose from in the box. As kids grow older, there are also Magformer sets with gears and motion pieces. Specialty sets are available if you want to build something specific, like a dinosaur, automobile, or even a robot. I don’t do a good enough job of getting down on the floor with my kids and playing; however, even I am drawn to the Magformers when they are out on our living room rug. I can make a killer skyscraper!
Okay, so every summer my family goes a bit Little House on the Prairie and decides to pick apples at my aunt’s house and make home-made apple sauce. Don’t judge, because it is delicious, and if the zombie apocalypse ever happens we can survive for years on this canned good in my pantry. Enter the Apple Peeler, Slicer, Corer which makes for a much easier way to make apple sauce. You just pop the apple on it, and spin the handle to get an accordion cut sphere with no seeds, no core, and skin optional. Apples seem to cook better in this form and it is a lot less work than cutting and slicing with a knife. Besides applesauce, the Apple Peeler, Slicer, Corer is great for when I want my kids to eat an apple for a snack. The device is sharp in areas, but with parental help little ones can have fun making (and eating) an accordion apple. All three of my kids eat this stringy creation with no mess and no complaints. It also works great on potatoes. I use it whenever I am adding spuds to a crock pot roast or pork loin dish. Peeling potatoes by hand is depressing to me, so I never did it and therefore it was like the Irish Potato Famine still existed in our household. But now that is not the case because I have this gadget which makes peeling taters simpler and there is less food waste. I can set it up on the end of my counter so that the unwanted skins fall directly into the garbage pail. This is also my go-to gift for housewarmings, or for a friend or relative that cooks a lot at home. It seems many people don’t know about this device or just don’t think they will use one, but as a gift, it is fun and practical.
If I don’t mention a technology product, then I feel like I am being unfair and dishonest because in parenthood there is always a time and place for screens. I try very hard to limit screen time, however in winter and other occasions when getting outside is not possible (and we have exhausted every board game and coloring book in sight), I will break out the Google Chromecast. We have it on our upstairs and downstairs televisions.
It allows you to project anything off of your phone or tablet onto a television screen. I love it because while I am very TV remote challenged, I can handle Chromecast. My husband insists that it is easy to install (I let him take care of that part), and after it is hooked up, it is very user-friendly. It typically only takes two button pushes on my phone to get my screen onto the T.V. I can “cast” family-friendly YouTube videos for my youngsters, as well as programs from PBS Kids, and other youth related websites. Many popular apps also have a casting function to them, so there are a lot of possibilities that I haven’t even been able to fully explore yet.
Chromecast gives me the ability to cast photographs that are saved on my smart phone. It is the new age way for watching home videos. Casting has replaced VCRs, old-school projectors, and even DVDs. Lots of people capture memories on their phones, but are not great about downloading them to other devices; therefore, Google Chromecast makes seeing these images on the big screen really simple. I feel nostalgic when we use Chromecast to show our own photos (and videos) to my kids, because I can remember my folks making popcorn and setting up our old film projector in order to look at vintage baby pictures of my brothers and me. We are doing the exact same thing-popcorn and all-just in a more modern way.
Finally, I am being very indulgent on this last one. However, moms need things too! I am one of those people that is always cold. The Sof Sole Fireside Crew Socks are crazy cozy and warm. It is like you are getting a heavenly toe massage just by following footwear protocol and wearing the silly things. Plus they are fashionably adorable. My super awesome three-year-old nephew got them for me for Christmas this year. His main reasoning for the purchase was that they were “pink and pretty”. I completely agree with his assessment, and the pair I received was easily one of my favorite holiday gifts.
Sof Sole Fireside Crew Socks are sold at a lot of sporting goods stores, and also can be purchased on-line. Aloe is infused directly into them which makes them soothing and toasty. My feet feel smoother, even in the middle of winter, just for wearing these socks. I currently only have one pair (hint, hint to my husband), but have already requested that my brother’s family only buy me these from now on at Christmas time. It does not take much to please me in the gift department. The fun patterns and seriously comfy feel just put me in a good mood, which makes everyone in my household happy.
So there you have it, five things that can make my day go a little smoother. All five of these products have the power to make me feel content and satisfied. And that feeling (along with my kids smiling because I am able to Chromecast the latest Adele video) is priceless.