A Few of My Favorite Things {April, 2017}

posted by Andrea | 04/3/2017
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It’s a new month… and I’m sharing a few new favorite things. Everything on this month’s list has a very low price-point, but they all make a huge difference in my daily life.

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

Method Dishwasher Plus Tablets:

Over the last 10+ years, I have used A LOT of different dishwasher detergent — various powder and liquid detergents, store brands, name brands, drop-in tablets, etc. etc.

I basically purchased whatever I could find for the lowest price using sales, coupons, rebates, and whatever other means I could come up with!

Then, about 4 years ago (after we renovated our kitchen, after I stopped playing the drugstore game, and after I started using Grove.co to order many of my cleaning products each month) I started using the Method Dishwasher Plus Tablets for our dishwasher.

Almost instantly, I noticed a huge difference in the cleanliness of our dishes. Nothing had leftover food on it, nothing needed to be rewashed by hand, nothing had smudges or water spots. Everything was SO clean.

I honestly didn’t really think about the fact that I was using a new detergent… until I ran out one month and went back to the store brand powder detergent. After washing the very first load of dishes, I immediately realized what a huge difference the detergent made in how clean our dishes were — because the dishes were NOT clean at all after using the powder detergent.

Since then, I’ve remained faithful to the Method Tablets and have enjoyed sparkling clean dishes ever since!

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Floss Picks:

As I mentioned earlier this year, one of the healthier habits I’ve chosen to focus on for 2017 is to floss my teeth once per day.

Believe it or not, I have never flossed on any sort of regular basis for my entire life. And when I say “regular basis” I mean, I really have almost never flossed period.

I usually broke out the floss for a day or 2 before my bi-annual dental check-ups… and that was it.

In my defense, I never lied about the fact that I didn’t floss. I told my hygienist straight-up that I didn’t like flossing and I didn’t do it. They never pressured me all that much and said I was blessed with healthy teeth and gums.

However, thanks to Dave’s good influence (he has faithfully flossed 1-2 times per day the entire time I’ve known him) I decided that THIS year is THE year I finally start flossing.

I knew there was no way I would use actual floss (I don’t like putting my hands in my mouth) so I opted for the ultra-convenient Floss Picks — and wow, they are so simple!

I usually floss and brush my teeth after dinner — so I have no excuse not to floss when I’m brushing my teeth before bed (I always made the excuse that I was “too tired”). This routine has worked very well for me, and I even kept it up throughout the first trimester of my pregnancy (when I can’t even brush my tongue or I’ll gag).

I also appreciate that the sticks are very portable and somewhat discreet if you need to get something out of your teeth in a semi-public location.

If you hate flossing but feel like you should give it a go, I would highly recommend floss picks!

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Pizza Wheel:

We eat A LOT of pizza around our house. It’s one meal all 3 kids devour — often requesting 2nds, 3rds, and even 4ths when they are really hungry.

Because of this, we use our pizza wheel A LOT as well… and up until a few months ago, I didn’t realize how much I loved our Microplane pizza wheel (with removable blade).

I had to use someone else’s pizza wheel to (try and) cut pizza, and wow was it difficult. And then it was such a pain trying to clean it.

Our pizza wheel is SO much sharper, easier to hold onto, and incredibly easy to take apart and clean. I just assumed all pizza wheels were so simple — but I guess I was wrong.

I’m glad that out of the hundreds of different brands we could have registered for, we opted for this one 10 years ago 🙂

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Travel Size Anything:

I think I might have a problem… I literally feel like I have to buy every single travel-size thing whenever we go on any sort of trip, vacation, weekend away, etc.

Just last week, in preparation for an upcoming vacation with my family, I decided to just “walk by” the travel size section at Meijer… 5 minutes later, the front basket of my cart was practically full!

I just love the tiny sizes, the cute little packages — and I justify it because “it will save me so much space in my luggage” 🙂

Truthfully, I only spent about $7 on my travel size items… and I’m just that much more excited for our upcoming vacation.

Oh, and if you’re looking for some ways to use up all those freebie sample-size products you get, here are a few ideas I shared several years ago.

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Our Homemade Gak:

Just over 2 years ago, Nora and I experimented with homemade gak for the first time — and wow was it a huge success!

It was so cheap, easy, and FUN to make, it’s NOT messy, it doesn’t stick to clothing or hands or the table, and my kids just love it.

Unlike playdough, the kids can easily play with gak by themselves (without my help to open the containers and mold certain shapes) and it doesn’t dry out and get crumbly either. It always feels gooey and slimy 🙂

Since our initial experiment, we have made several more batches of gak to give as gifts and for our own enjoyment. Honestly, I think gak is the one “crafty” thing all 3 of my kids enjoy — even at very different ages and with very different abilities.

Gak for the win! 

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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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11 comments

  1. Diana

    04/06/2017

    Wait…are you currently pregnant again? You said you just started flossing this year, and that you were able to keep it up through the first trimester…?! Just curious, and if so, congratulations!! If not, no worries 🙂 I just don’t want to scroll back through months of posts to see if I missed something 🙂

    I’ll have to try the dish soap tablets–I love method liquid dish soap (not dishwasher) so I’m not surprised the tablets work well 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes 🙂 Due in September
    http://andreadekker.com/our-best-tax-refund-tip/

    [Reply]

  2. Jenny

    04/03/2017

    Just curious- do you cut your pizza on the metal baking pan, or do you use a pizza stone, or what? I have wrecked metal pizza pans by cutting on them, and I’ve been afraid of ruining either my pizza stone or the cutter by cutting on there. So I use scissors and that is messy and hot and pretty gross. Help me out!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we just cut it right on our metal pizza pan. We do have marks on our pans from the cutting, but I guess it just doesn’t bother us. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Carrie Reply:

    Jenny,
    I don’t like the marks on my pizza pans either and won’t use a cutter on my stone. I bought those flexible cutting boards/mats from a kitchen store (Bed, Bath & Beyond has them and so does IKEA).

    Once the pizza is cooked, we slide it off the pan onto one of the cutting mats and just use the pizza wheel on that. Works like a charm and saves your baking sheets.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good idea!

    [Reply]

  3. Molly

    04/03/2017

    What recipe do you use for your gak, and how often do you remake it? I just made it for the first time a month or so ago. The recipe I use is glue, liquid starch and water. It said it would only last a week or two. After a few weeks it got really sticky, like glue. I have found adding more water brings it right back to its original state. I wonder how long I can keep it up.

    [Reply]

    Molly Reply:

    Just clicked the link. Found your recipe. Want to repeat what the lady below said. I just read an article about an 11 year old who’s made it hundreds of times, getting third degree burns from the borax gak/slime. I haven’t looked up liquid starch, but maybe it is safer?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, you found my recipe link 🙂
    We have made 3 batches of gak in about 2 years — so it definitely lasts a LONG time (we play with it almost daily).

    Also, I think the key to the “burn stories” is that they are MAJORLY over-the-top with their gak. Who makes hundreds of gak recipes in a row? I personally feel it is very safe for my kids to play with gak and I know I wouldn’t want to remake it every 2 weeks because it gets super sticky.

    [Reply]

  4. Ann

    04/03/2017

    Since I know you are a “all things in moderation” kind of gal, I know you will not have a problem with your gak. However, caution should be used when toys are made with Borax as it can burn hands if it is used too much! So, for all of the people who will now become obsessed with it now that you have recommended it, be careful!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, thanks for the tip. We’ve never had any issues — but we’ve also only made 3 batches of gak total (in a couple years time).

    [Reply]