Just a list of my favorite things at any given time. No samples or freebies were given in exchange for reviews, just a simple nod to good products.
Smitten Kitchen Blog
This is one of the most amazing cooking blogs I have found. It is such a fun and real blend of personal and culinary and her recipes really are managable. No long ingredient lists, no fussy preparations (she is working in a Manhattan apartment kitchen after all). My favorite feature for when I have some spare time is the link on the lefthand side that says "Surprise Me!". It pulls up a random recipe from the site for you to try. This is seriously a blog that I could lose some time on so go check it out!
SO amazing! It's a giant caribeaner hook that latches onto any bag, stroller or backpack to hold more bags or backpacks. I use it while shopping all the time and we use it consistently while travelling by both plane and automobile. Just a brillant remake of a rock-climbing essential! Ooh, and now they have colors!
Just like the nuks most hospitals use, these cute little items attach the nuk to a small animal. I avoided many a trip to the nursery at night because the weight is just enough for newborns to keep it on their chest and older kiddos can find it more easily in the dark. NOTE: Clara did not care for the hospital nuks so I just took a beanie baby and sewed it around the ring of her other nuk. Same awesome result!
Cloth Diapers (but not for diapering)
As I working and reluctant mama with an equally reluctant hubby, we could never do the cloth diaper thing. We still found a great use for the 3-ply versions though! They are the BEST burp cloths ever! I've actually taken to putting a pretty cloth fabric along the bottom and giving them as gifts. They are that good. Don't worry, if they aren't online, you can get them instore in the baby section and both Walmart and Target (10-12 for $10-12).
No more Bisquick in this house! With a family that seemingly lives on pancakes, I have found the most lovely and versatile recipe for pancakes. I just use real milk instead of soy, but it is nice to have the alternative. Consider things like orange or rum extract, cinnamon, bananas, peanut butter and our favorite, chocolate chips!
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
This has become my mantra book (after the Bible of course). I don't live on a farm in the Appalachians, but I have found this book very easy to subscribe to and apply in my own setting. It has been so wonderful and given me such confidence in my Suzy Homemaker tendencies. LOVE IT! Will be trying the tomato sauce recipe this year!
Vera Bradley Bag
FYI, they're a little pricey. However, as a bit of a bag fiend, I find that one Vera lasts me (phsycologically and physically) as long as 3-4 bags from other places. They are timeless and seasonless. If you're a mama the pockets and zippers are great for staying organized. My favorite is the Weekender bag. I take it travelling and presenting as it makes a perfect multi-purpose bag.
The Shallows Resort, Door County
Went up there for a mama's weekend hoping for a quiet place with nice views and found the perfect family getaway! Boats, bikes docks, firepits, placesets, pool, and a small continental breakfast make it a wonderful family option. You wouldn't even have to plan activities beyond the resort, just make plans for dinner! There are lots of accomodation options from private homes to private suites to hotel rooms with fridge and microwave. Seriously...
Reusable Cold Drink Cup
I love this even more than my Camelbak bottle. It showed up in my stocking from Santa last year and has been the longest running beverage container I've used. It's insulated, cleans up well and really indulges my love for a straw! Beware, everyone will be asking you where you got yours! (Although, since mine came from Starbucks people get a very wrong impression of my daily drinking habits...)
Crystal - Crystal Stick Body Deodorant, 4.25 oz sticks
I add this because it has been a huge blessing to me. The deodorant that I had been using for going on 10 years was starting to make me itch and that freaked me out. So I went looking and got this recommendation from a fellow parishioner. It is amazing. Basically it is just a combination of mineral salts. Not only is it natural, but since it is only salts, you still sweat! The sweat has helped me stay cool, the salts have killed the bacteria that make my sweat stink, and best of all, no problems with deodorant streaks or pitting out shirts. Costs around $6, but lasts 1.5-2 years!
Mountain Rose Herbs
Fair Trade, mostly organic, herbs, oils, and ingredients! Love me their philosophy and business model. Good stuff!