A Few Of My Favorite Things {August 2016}

posted by Andrea | 08/2/2016
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favorite things

I’m sharing a few more of my favorite things today — including my favorite swimsuit, food storage containers, and my fabulous web-hosting company!

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; 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.

Portable Air Conditioner

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Living in an old farmhouse has always been a dream of mine — and although there are lots of fun perks to living in an old house, there are also LOTS of inconveniences that we need to work around to make our house more practical for our family.

One of the biggest inconveniences for me is the fact that Simon’s bedroom is very cold in the winter and VERY hot in the summer. His room is on the south side of the house and the sun beats down on it all day long, and it only has 7′ ceilings so there’s no way we can get a ceiling fan in there. Plus, he absolutely insists that his door be fully shut whenever he’s sleeping — which makes it even colder in the winter and even hotter in the summer.

Over the past 2 years, we’ve looked into many options to regulate the temperature in his room.

We found an energy efficient, cool-touch space heater that we use in the fall and winter to keep his room nice and toasty warm all night long; but we never found a solution for the intense summer heat.

We finally had a company come out earlier this spring… and they basically said that unless we wanted to spend MANY thousands of dollars, our only 2 options were to have a window air conditioner sticking out the top front window of our home (Simon’s only bedroom window) or to get a portable AC unit to sit on the floor.

Since we obviously don’t want a window AC unit sitting in a window on the front of our house, we decided to look into a portable AC unit. They aren’t necessarily cheap, but we found a good deal at Meijer and bought one back in June.

We keep it tucked back in the corner of his room and then pull it out for naps and at bedtime and it’s working like a charm.

portable AC unit

It’s not ideal to have a big humidifier-looking-thing in his room all summer long, but it was faster, easier, cheaper, and better than any of our other options — and it works fabulously. His room stays right around 75 all night long (as opposed to 85 without the portable AC unit) and he sleeps soundly. Plus, I no longer have to wash his sheets ALL the time as he’s not super sweaty all night long 🙂

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High Waist Bathing Suit Bottoms

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A few months ago, I shared the new high-waist bathing suit bottoms I bought in attempts to solve my long-torso swimsuit issues. However, at the time, I wasn’t sure how well they would actually work when wet!

Now, after wearing them out and about, in the water, at the splash pad, while wrangling kids, etc. etc. I can confidently say that they are just as fabulous as I hoped they would be!

They are super comfortable, stretchy but not TOO stretchy, and they wash up wonderfully. And considering they were BOGO when I purchased them, it was definitely a good investment on my part! (Here’s the link to the Merona bottoms I purchased from Target — although I’m not sure how long the link will work).

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Agathon Group Web Hosting Service

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SO many of you have asked about the tech company behind my blog — who hosts my website, who helps me with website design and maintenance, who solves any and all issues on the back-end of my blog.

I know I’ve mentioned my amazing “tech guys” before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever really talked about them (or exactly what they do for me) in a blog post… until today.

I have worked exclusively with Agathon Group from day one. Not only do they host my blog, they also helped me design, create, and publish a 100% custom website back when I was still Simple Organized Living. They also did ALL the design work and back-end coding when I switched everything to AndreaDekker.com.

They have answered countless emails, fixed numerous errors and bugs, prevented hackers, optimized my site for SEO, and pretty much anything else I have asked them to do over the past 6+ years!

Oh, and did I mention that Dave’s cousin is one of the owners of the company?

Every staff person is so amazing — they respond personally to my requests within minutes, they are patient when I’m confused, they are super efficient with their time, and they are SO talented.

Over the past 6 years, I have referred numerous other bloggers, website owners, and companies to Agathon Group and (from what I’ve heard) everyone has been very satisfied. They might be a bit pricier than some of the big box hosting companies out there, but it is more than worth it in my opinion.

Also, how many web hosting companies send super cute baby gifts to their clients? My guess is not many 🙂

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Joseph Joseph Nesting Food Storage Containers

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A couple weeks ago, I shared a picture of our food storage drawer, and several of you asked about the colorful nesting storage containers.

I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned these containers in my previous Favorite Things post — because I absolutely LOVE these Joseph Joseph Nesting Food Storage Containers!

I purchased 2 sets from Bed Bath and Beyond (with coupons) about a year ago, and they are now my favorite food storage containers. I like that they are rectangular (not oval) and deep enough that taller things can fit in them too. I even put soups in them.

Of course, the fact that they all nest nicely inside each other (and fit almost perfectly in our drawer) is another bonus for me!

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The TV in our Minivan

I realize not everyone would be SO excited for their kids to watch TV on car trips — but the built-in TV in our minivan (and in previous vehicles) has been a sanity saver for both Dave and me over and over and over again!

The kids favorite DVD’s to watch in the car are Veggie Tales and a couple Praise Baby music videos that instantly seem to calm everyone down.

This means no fighting, no arguing, no whining and complaining, no more crying from James, etc. etc. — so yeah, it’s worth A LOT for me right now!

Also, none of our kids transfer from the car to their beds very well, so we always try our best to keep them awake until we get home. We found that if the TV is playing, they will almost always stay awake to watch… which means we can wait until we get home to put them to bed (and not completely ruin naptime or bedtime).

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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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21 comments

  1. beth engelsma

    08/29/2016

    Andrea–would you be willing to share where you bought your front door and sidelights? Thanks so much–yours are so attractive–I’m thinking they would look nice on our home, too.
    beth

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sure — they were from Zeeland Lumber!

    [Reply]

  2. Amie

    08/02/2016

    I never heard of the portable ac unit – I’m so glad you mentioned it! Last year we moved from MN to CA and our new house has one bedroom that has major issues getting cool. The master bedroom can feel like a meat locker and the front bedroom is roasting! The portable ac unit sounds like a great temporary solution until we can figure out how astronomically expensive it will be to fix the ac system to accommodate the front bedroom – we already have a zone system that works well – just the dumb front bedroom with low ceilings (no ceilings fan options) cannot get cool! Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, that’s EXACTLY the same thing with Simon’s room — low ceilings, no ceiling fan options, and on the front of the house. Hopefully the portable unit will work for you too!

    [Reply]

  3. Erica

    08/02/2016

    Hi! I live in MA and after having similar extreme cold/extreme heat problems in our home and researching all options, we qualified for an energy program through the state and were able to install energy efficient mini split units with a 0% interest loan and our new loan payment plus our new electric bill is still less than our old utility bill alone! Plus our home is comfortable now. Not sure if MI offers a similar program but it has worked out great for us.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing this — I’m not sure if MI has this or not, but it’s good for others to know about as well!

    [Reply]

  4. Denise

    08/02/2016

    Hi Andrea! Can you tell me more about your portable AC, what brand you went with etc?

    Thanks in advance

    [Reply]

  5. Julie@frugallyblonde.com

    08/02/2016

    I have been using Bluehost for the past couple years but I am now looking for a new blogging host. Thanks for the suggestion, I will check them out!

    [Reply]

  6. Denise Z

    08/02/2016

    Would LOVE to know more about the portable air conditioner you have–we need something like this at our cabin. What brand? Features that sold you on it? (And/or why you passed on others?)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I think ours is a cool wind brand — not exactly sure but it’s the only one our store sold, so that’s why we bought it. We didn’t do any research or shopping around, we just bought it and took it home 🙂

    [Reply]

    Denise Z Reply:

    No research?!? Who are you and what have you done with Andrea? LOL!

    Thanks for the info–I trust you, will ck it out!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — I know. We had looked into SO many other options (like getting 2 AC units installed in our home, putting a mini split unit it, window units, etc.) but none of them were going to work. The heating/cooling company we work with told us our best bet was to buy a portable unit and the store we wanted to buy it from only sold ONE — so it made our decision really easy 🙂

    That store has a good return policy so we weren’t too worried (and the reason we wanted to buy from a specific store is because of their discount, we saved about $100 on our unit using a coupon for that specific store).

    [Reply]

  7. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    08/02/2016

    I might try those food storage containers. It helps that they’re cute 🙂 Ours are getting pretty rough though and I’ve been looking for what to get next.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yup, they are cute!

    [Reply]

  8. Shelly

    08/02/2016

    Does James actually get to watch the videos, or just listen? I’m just curious how to help a rear-facing kiddo, unless you get his own portable DVD or something?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, he can see the TV in the mirror we have on the headrest of his seat. The mirror is so that WE can see him using the rear-view mirror, but it works out that he can see the color and movement of the DVD in his mirror — and it seems to occupy him!

    [Reply]

  9. Kelly

    08/02/2016

    Our new-to-us minivan has a DVD player, but so far our kids don’t realize it exists. Today, though, as I sat wedged into the back seat of the van between two car seats to keep our 1.5 year old awake until we were home for naptime – and as she swatted at me and whined the whole time – I was looking at the DVD player thinking maybe we should try it out… your reasoning about it helping keep them awake makes sense! She’s still rear-facing, though, so I guess we’ll have to wait a bit longer.

    What is the inflatable pool thing that you have? Did you get it off Craigslist? It looks like such fun! Though I admire you getting in – kiddie pools are always too cold for me, filled up with cold hose water! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you MUST use the DVD player — it will be SO helpful for longer drives! Also, James can actually see the TV in the mirror we have on the headrest of his seat. The mirror is so that WE can see him using the rear-view mirror, but it works out that he can see the color and movement of the DVD in his mirror — and it seems to occupy him!

    Also, our kiddie pool we a clearance purchase at Meijer (I think it was $15). It’s super cheapy and I’m sure it won’t last more than a year or 2, but it has been fun for them this year. Oh, and our pool water is like bath water! We have a heated spigot on the outside of our house so we fill it with nice warm water. Our kids our spoiled, but that’s the only way Dave and I would get in 🙂

    [Reply]

  10. Abby

    08/02/2016

    I love the DVD player in our minivan! It keeps the kids occupied on long trips and gives my husband and I the chance to talk to each other in peace! I’m not loving my current swimsuit situation, so I think high waisted bottoms will be the next thing I try.

    [Reply]

  11. Jen

    08/02/2016

    Love the storage containers! looking on Amazon they show lids stored together and then on top of bowls, but it looks like you have the lid under its bowl. Is that how you have them stored? I would consider buying them if they can be stored with the lid under its specific bowl.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, the pictures show storing the lids on top, but you can easily store them UNDER as well. They can be a bit “sticky” to get the lid out from under the container, but mine really haven’t been bad, and I can’t find anything else even close to as stackable as these (at least not anything of quality).

    [Reply]