A Few Of My Favorite Things {January 2016}

posted by Andrea | 01/5/2016
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my-favorite-things

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had at least a few moments to relax a bit over the holiday season. I know our Christmas week was fairly busy with parties, out-of-town relatives, and all the extra stuff we try to pack in when Dave is home from school for a week, but I did get some time to relax!

I shared more about Christmas break in yesterday’s post, and today, I’m back with a few more of my favorite things. As always, be sure to check out some of my favorite things from past months and share your favorite things in the comments!

DISCLOSURE: None of these products are sponsored in any way; however, some of the links below are affiliate links — which means that at no cost to you, I may get a VERY small commission. However, I hope you know that I’m only promoting the products below because I use them daily in my own home and life. Read my full disclosure policy for more information.

Wilton Advance Bakeware

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I replaced all my baking pans a few months ago — and it was well overdue.

After 10 years of almost constant use, my baking pans had seen better days — proof that they literally “don’t make things like they used to” since both my mom and Dave’s mom still have baking pans from when they were first married.

I think the non-stick pans have a shorter “lifespan” as well — but I do like the non-stick, so I used a bunch of coupons and gift cards to replace all my baking pans from Bed Bath and Beyond. (Sort of an early Christmas gift to myself!)

I wasn’t exactly sure what pans I was going to buy — and I honestly didn’t do any research. I just went to the store and browsed around to see what they had available, what the prices were, etc. etc.

I ended up choose the “Advance” line of Wilton pans — simply because they were less expensive than some of the other brands, and I’ve had good experiences with Wilton brand products in the past.

These pans were instantly on my list of favorite things as they are honestly some of the nicest baking pans I’ve ever used — and when they say “non-stick” they mean “non-stick”

I don’t even think you could bake egg or cheese on to these pans — everything slides right out. In fact, I baked brownies the other day and cut them up to bring to a friend. When I was finished cutting them up, I put the pan back on the counter, and later that day, I almost put the pan right back in the cabinet because it was so clean that I almost forgot I had to wash it yet!

I would highly recommend the Advance line of Wilton pans to any of you who are looking to replace your current baking pans. The prices were quite reasonable (especially with the $5 Bed Bath and Beyond coupons) and they really are nice baking pans.

I couldn’t find much of a selection on Amazon, so here’s the Bed, Bath, and Beyond link

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Tiny Lamps in Every Room

I know this is SUCH a weird thing to put on my list — but truly, one of my favorite things is having tiny lamps in every room. I turn them all on every night during the winter (when it gets dark so early) and it just gives the house a lovely glow.

It’s also nice because then our kids can roam from room to room without needing to reach the light switches (or forgetting to turn the lights off again). And if we leave the house for a bit, we can come home to a little light without wasting lots of extra electricity.

I have found all my tiny lights at garage sales or thrift stores so I don’t have specific links — but here is something similar on Amazon. I usually use LED bulbs  that are equivalent to 15 or 25 watts so they don’t get hot or use much electricity.

In the nursery, I use a navy blue light bulb so it’s extra dim — just so we don’t get totally blinded if I need to turn it on in the middle of the night.

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My Finance-Tracking Workbook

 

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For the last 5 years, I’ve shared my free finance-tracking workbook here on the blog — and I’ve personally been using some form of this workbook to track my own finances for the last 12+ years!

It is most definitely one of my favorite things as it has helped me to manage my finances in such a simple way.

This workbook allows me to see where my money is coming from, where it’s going, and what our overall surplus is at the end of the year. It has been really fun to look back over the past 12+ years and see how drastically our financial picture has changed!

This is NOT a budget, but in my opinion, it’s the first step to creating a workable budget.

Check out this post for more information!

 

Celeste Home Ultra Soft Flannel Sheets

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It’s been a full 2 months of sleeping with flannel sheets — and I suppose you could say that I’m “converted” 🙂

Dave was SOOOO happy that I finally agreed to put flannel sheets on our bed, and I have to say that we were totally missing out these past 10 winters. I guess I never liked flannel sheets because they often made my restless legs feel more restless. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with our new flannel sheets.

Thanks to a Walmart gift card I got earlier this fall, I purchased a set of Celeste Home Ultra Soft Flannel Sheets (in white of course) and we’ve been enjoying them ever since.

My favorite thing about them is that we no longer need to use our heating blanket in the winter to warm up our sheets. Also, when I get up with James in the middle of the night, my side of the bed isn’t freezing cold when I come back.

I have a feeling we’ll be enjoying these flannel sheets for many winters to come — my only “problem” is that now I need to find some place to store our extra set of sheets!

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Flour Sack Towels

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Since it’s January — and there are often lots of sales on linens this month, I thought it would be a good time to share about my favorite flour sack towels that I use in the kitchen.

We got a set of these for our wedding — and I almost brought them back because they were so thin that I figured they wouldn’t be good for drying anything. However, I’m SOOOOO glad I kept them!

My flour sack towels are my most favorite towels for drying dishes (either when they are hand washed or when they are still a bit wet out of the dishwasher)… and they are also fabulous for drying produce and using in bread baskets.

We actually use 2 different towels on a daily basis — red to dry our hands, and the white ones for dishes or food.

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I buy the 28″ x 28″ towels as those are plenty big enough for me — but you can get bigger ones if you want. I have 7 — one for each day of the week — and I swap it out every day. I bleach them in hot water.

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That’s all for me this month.

Make sure you check out my previous month’s favorite things — and feel free to share some of YOUR favorite things in the comments below!

 

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27 comments

  1. Mary Lynn

    03/11/2017

    I’m reading through many of your old posts and getting such good info and inspiration! Regarding bleaching your towels in hot water – do you soak them in a tub or just wash them all together and add bleach? I haven’t used bleached a lot but like white towels and cloths. Thanks for your tips!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yay for old posts!
    I have a front-loading maching so I just pour the bleach into the “bleach compartment” and turn the washer on. I do not soak them and I honestly have no idea when it releases the bleach into the water though 🙂

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  2. Lauri E

    01/12/2016

    I LOVE the cute towel holder you have. May I ask where you got it? Thank you!

    [Reply]

  3. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    01/08/2016

    Flour sack towels are great! And I love your idea of having different colors for hands and dishes! Why have I never thought of that? Ha!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — it was actually DAVE that turn me on to using 2 different colored towels. I’m not sure if that’s what his parents did… but it was his idea!

    [Reply]

    Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving Reply:

    Leave it to husbands to come up with the simplest – and best – ideas sometimes! It’s nice to have their perspectives to see what we don’t see. Hope you are settling back into school routines well. It’s always hard to see breaks come to an end, isn’t it?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I think the change of Dave going back to school has been the hardest on Nora. Hopefully we’ll find our groove again soon!

    [Reply]

  4. Christie

    01/05/2016

    I’m so glad you are back from your vacation and had a great tome. I love your blog and you always have the best advice…about everything!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow… thanks Christie! I’m glad to be back!

    [Reply]

  5. JoDi

    01/05/2016

    I love your tiny lights. Such a smart idea, and they’re so pretty. I’ve always loved the one on your kitchen counter.

    I’m a big fan of flour sack towels too, but I use them to towel dry my curly hair after I wash it! They’re smooth so they don’t “grab” the hair and make it frizzy like regular towels do when you scrunch your curls in them.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks JoDi!
    Also, I have such curly hair and when it was longer, I would have LOVED your tip about using the flour sack towels. Genious!

    [Reply]

  6. Lauri

    01/05/2016

    I am with you on the little lamps. I have them in the bedrooms and turn them on for the same reason you do! Love these posts.

    [Reply]

  7. Jacquie

    01/05/2016

    Love the blue light bulb idea! #3 will be here next month and I can definitely use that tip. Also, I am going to have to give the towels a shot. I feel like we go through a lot of towels around here and I am always on the look out for new ones.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I didn’t change the light bulb until Simon was on his way — and it was SOOOO much nicer to have a dim bulb. Nora was always blinded by the light (and she was up ALOT at night so we used the light a lot!)

    [Reply]

  8. NancyB

    01/05/2016

    I love lamps! I have at least one in every room. Like you, I like the soft light they provide, a nice glow.

    [Reply]

  9. Chris

    01/05/2016

    Andrea,
    I am with you on the little lights and for the same reason. I love the soft glow and warm feeling they provide during the darker winter months.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yup… I love my little lights!

    [Reply]

  10. Carrie

    01/05/2016

    Thanks for this post! Where did you get the red towels? I have 3 teenage boys….white towels aren’t suitable for our house at this time…lol. Also I use flannel baby blankets for baking….they are big enough to fit over my big stainless steel bowls and are inexpensive and readily available.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    The red towels are actually cloth napkins! They were from William Sonoma online 🙂

    [Reply]

  11. Jen

    01/05/2016

    I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again but these are my favorite posts! I love hearing what works for you and what you’d recommend.

    And, yet another thing we have in common, I struggle terribly with RLS-as did my dad and grandmother and my son does now! I would strongly suggest, if it’s something that you deal with regularly, to talk to your doctor about medicine! It has changed my life. I often joke that I would give up almost anything except my Mirapex for my RLS! 🙂 Mine has gotten significantly worse as I’ve gotten older, but the medicine has done wonders. Good luck!

    Happy New Year to the Dekker clan!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen!
    My RLS actually isn’t as bad as it used to be — and most of the medicines say you can’t be pregnant or nursing (I’ve been one or both of those for the past 5 years!)

    Random fact, my grandma SWEARS by drinking 1 glass of carrot juice at night. She had super super bad RLS and tried every medicine and therapy out there with no results. Then a friend told her about carrot juice and she has had almost no RLS symptoms for 2 years! I think I’d try the carrot juice first if my symptoms get worse.

    [Reply]

    Katelin Reagh Reply:

    What a great tip. I’m pregnant with our first baby right now and I am experiencing RLS bad! I’ve never had it before, but I guess it’s just one of those things you sometimes get to experience when growing a tiny human. I honestly didn’t think there was much I could do for it, I usually just get out of bed, stretch and walk around until it goes away. I’m going to try the carrot juice. I’ll let you know how it works, I’d love to get a little relief. Thank you so much for the tip!

    [Reply]

    Emily Reply:

    Katelin, I’ve had restless leg with each one of my pregnancies (just had my fifth baby in September) and the best thing I’ve found is to take extra calcium (I do this in supplement form). Also helps with legs cramps too. Congrats on your pregnancy! How exciting!! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    congrats on your first baby! How exciting!
    I hope the carrot just helps you!

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    Grandma knows best. Carrots are a good source of magnesium. I use a supplement, DH uses epsom salt baths.

    [Reply]

    Rachel Reply:

    I suffer terribly from RLS and my mom has for years. She is on Mirapex now but advised me to try natural solutions as long as possible because once you go on the medication you are likely to always be on it. I’m very interested to try the carrot juice! I sometimes find relief by eating a banana and drinking milk before bed (magnesium and calcium). I am also anemic and that has been linked to RLS. For iron I suggest Floradix because it’s in liquid form and not as constipating. RLS is awful 🙁

    [Reply]

  12. Kylie

    01/05/2016

    Thank you for including the flour sack towels! I’ve been searching for months for a nice basic white dish towel (with a good review) to replace some of our old colorful dish towels (I want to start bleaching them) and hadn’t found anything “great” yet. If you recommend them, I’m going to give these a try!

    [Reply]