A Few Of My Favorite Things {December 2013}

posted by Andrea | 12/2/2013

favorite things december

I’m back with more of my favorite things for December… a few of which would be excellent stocking stuffers! And as always, be sure to check out some of my favorite things from past months.

DISCLOSURE: None of these products are sponsored in any way; however, some of the links below are affiliate links — which means I may get a VERY small percentage of the sale if you make a purchase through my links. However, I hope you know that I’m only promoting the products below because I use them EVERY SINGLE DAY in my own home and life! Read my full disclosure policy for more information.

Toddler Slipper Socks

slipper socks

I first got slipper socks for Nora when she was about 8 months old and already trying to walk. She was fully walking by 9 months old and these grippy slipper socks helped her navigate her way across all our semi-slippery hardwood floors.

I found the slipper socks on sale at Kohl’s (brand name is “Jumping Beans” but I can’t find the same ones anywhere on Khols.com or Amazon.com), and once I realized how much she and I both loved these slipper socks, I went back and purchased 4 more pairs (in various sizes) for the rest of last year and this year.

I was fortunate enough to find mine on clearance at Kohl’s for $0.90 a pair — but based on how much I love them, I’d be willing to pay more :)

green slipper socks

pink slipper socks

rainbow slipper socks

Artificial Christmas Trees

I ALWAYS said that once we had hardwood floors, I would get a real tree to decorate at Christmas. Then we got hardwood floors and I realized how expensive and messy real trees were — and that an artificial tree would be so much more practical.

We sold our artificial trees when we moved from our first house, but 2 Christmases ago, I found an awesome tree for our new house. It’s a 7 foot slimline tree  that fits our “Christmas tree space” perfectly. And best of all, it was only $30 from a local thrift store!!

It folds up into a pretty small box that we store in our basement — unless I’m feeling especially “lazy” and just bring the whole stinkin’ tree (with lights and ornaments) downstairs and put a tarp over it :)

We get tons of compliments on our tree each year, and although I love the nostalgic idea of getting a real tree, I just can’t seem to make the plunge.

Oh, and I’m also a HUGE fan of the tall skinny Alpine Christmas Trees. I usually put 3 of them in the corner of our dining area — all of which were purchased from various garage sales over the years.

I may be pairing down my decorations but the Alpine trees will stay… for a LONG time!

Carpet Cleaning Service

OK, so this isn’t really a tangible thing — and to be perfectly honest, I’m not usually one to pay someone else to do something for me. However, when it comes to carpet, I’m SUPER grossed out by the thought of all the junk and debris that gets trapped in carpet fibers (which is why we put hardwood in almost our entire house) so paying for our carpets to be professionally cleaned is definitely one of my favorite things.

I honestly don’t think that home carpet cleaners (or for-rent carpet cleaners) do a great job — plus they require tons of extra effort on my part (I know because I’ve tried a few before to review for companies). I can pay a professional around $150 to use their commercial cleaners and equipment (plus do all the work) and have spotlessly clean carpeting within an hour.

Keep in mind we only need to clean the carpet in our living room, the stairs, and the small play area upstairs — so if you have more carpeting, the cost would obviously be a lot more :)

And since I know I’ll get asked, we always use TLC cleaning. They are my parent’s neighbors, I’ve known them most of my life, and they have NO idea I’m mentioning them in this post.

 

Dish Washing Gloves:

gloves

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post about how I organize the area under our sink. I was so surprised by the number of questions I got about our dishwashing gloves. A lot of people wondered if we actually used them or if I just put them in the picture.

First of all, I don’t stage pictures :)

Second of all, yes, Dave and I BOTH use rubber dish washing gloves EVERY time we wash dishes.

We use the super cheapy Playtex gloves we can find at Meijer (or any other grocery store). I think they are $2.99 for 2 pairs — and they actually hold up really well.

They make it easier for me (and I’m assuming Dave too) to use super hot water, and they keep our hands from totally drying out (we both have pretty dry skin).

Carmex Healing Hand Cream:

carmex

Since we’re already talking about dry hands, I should mention that my all-time favorite hand cream is the Carmex brand healing cream (I buy mine from Menards of all places!)

It doesn’t have a super strong smell, but it really works. I put it on whenever my hands are especially dry — and almost always before bed.

This stuff is amazing!

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That’s all for me this month.

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

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25 comments

  1. Janice

    12/02/2013

    I had my carpets professionally cleaned a week before Thanksgiving company arrived. My expectations for much improvement were extremely low. My husband and I are in a low spot financially or we would change over to mostly wood floors. However, the carpets look great and thank The Lord we feel like the renewed look has bought us some time until the finances improve and we can have new wood flooring installed. I don’t think the carpets would look nearly so good if I had gone through the “do-it-yourself” routine. Also, thanks for including the Carmex hand lotion in your post today. I didn’t know about its existence and my winter dry hands are already here.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Isn’t is amazing how well a professional carpet cleaner can get the stains out? I’m always amazed every time — definitely money well spent in my mind!

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  2. Julie

    12/02/2013

    I always thought i’d be an artificial tree gal myself, but for us, the real deal works the best.

    A) The shedding needles force us to take the tree down in a timely manner (out of sheer laziness we used to leave our fake tree up until February — eEk!)

    And B) We have only the decorations to store after that (we don’t have an attic and only limited storage space in the basement).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I think we’ll definitely try a real tree at some point — I just don’t like the watering and shedding part :) I would however love the no storing part — that would probably be the #1 reason for us getting a real tree (as sad as that might be!)

    [Reply]

    Diana Reply:

    By the time you get around to trying a real tree (since it will be at least next year), Nora will be old enough to take care of the watering for you :) That was always my brother’s and my job and we loved it.

    Also, I don’t remember the shedding happening much more than when we brought it in and took it out (and the vacuum cleaner keeps the pine needle scent for a little while after vacuuming up all the needles and it is lovely!), but it’s possible my childhood brain just didn’t notice :)

    We have an artificial tree now due to allergies in our family, and the convenience is wonderful. It’s much easier to convince my hubby to set up the tree than it was to convince my parents that it was time to go buy a tree! I do prefer real for nostalgia and the scent, but artificial definitely has lots of perks :)

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  3. Stel

    12/02/2013

    I’m totally with you on the artificial trees!

    We bought ours in 2005 in Australia, while staying there, it travelled back all the way to South Africa and we still use it every year. It is a real pretty tree, also pack up in a small box and we’ll not think of replacing it for a long long time, so now wastage for now. We will go away on holiday this week, and then I plant to cat down a small ‘escapee’ in the road reserve, as there are a few plantations nearby our beach house. That can be chopped into compost afterwards, but we’ll also put it up outside, not inside the little beach house.

    [Reply]

  4. Amanda

    12/02/2013

    We inherited my parents old artificial tree when we got married (they’ve significantly down sized since we’ve grown up and have a tiny 2ft artificial tree that they sit on an end table), but when it started to look really worn out a few years back and branches were breaking (it was probably 20yrs old), we decided it was time to get another one. We went the day after Christmas that year. We got a $300+ tree for less than $75 (not as cheap as yours, but still a great deal!). It’s a pre-lit, and while we always add additional lights, it is SOOOO much easier to set up than our old school one.

    Also, I love those playtex gloves! We have to keep 2 pairs since hubby and I have very different sized hands. But I agree, it allows me to get the water super hot when I’m doing dishes. I always have a spare pair in our “cleaning” cabinet, just in case one of us gets a whole in ours.

    [Reply]

  5. Debby

    12/02/2013

    I would have never thought that I would be a artificial tree girl. Had real ones all through my single years, and would smuggle them into my apartment with the help of my now husband. :-) Fast forward to December 1997. I had a 21 month old and I was over 8 months pregnant. My husband had been bugging me for years to go artificial. So that year I said ok, buy me any tree I want in Lighthouse and it’s a deal. Our tree was $350 and it’s now in it’s 17th season in our house. It’s gorgeous and so real like that people always have to touch it to believe it. Worth every penny and it goes into a box and slides right under the basement steps.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, sounds like you really have gotten your money out of that fake tree :)
    Our’s was only $40 so I feel like after a few years, we’ll have certainly gotten our money out of it too!

    [Reply]

  6. Leigh

    12/02/2013

    I always enjoy these posts. But I love my real trees.

    [Reply]

  7. Living So Abundantly

    12/02/2013

    I was actually going to ask you what kind of gloves you use in the kitchen! I enjoy these posts, and I wonder if they have boys’ slipper socks, too. My ‘lil guy is 12 months and could use them. ;)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks :) And yes, they do make boy slipper socks… you should definitely look into them!

    [Reply]

  8. Michelle Bonk

    12/02/2013

    If you want to combine your last two favourite things … if you put hand cream on, and then dishwashing gloves, the warm water does something “magical” and your hands really, really!, absorb the hand cream (although I should caution you it does make the inside of the gloves a bit icky … good for when you’re about done with the gloves anyway!)

    [Reply]

  9. lyss

    12/03/2013

    We did a real tree last year(a 5 foot one for around $20), but I thought I’d rather not deal with buying one every year, and having to water it, etc. So when I saw a 6 foot tree at Target for only $30 (down from $67), I figured that I may as well, since a real one that tall would cost about the same, and a fake one can be used more than once! Well, I guess you get what you pay for. lol It’s not bad, but a bit scrawny, and it’s definitely not 6 foot! More like 5 foot! I elevated it a bit so it looks better now.
    I never thought about looking for one at a thrift store! I think we’ll keep this one for now since it didn’t cost any more than a real one, but if I see a bargain like yours, I think I’ll snatch it!

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  10. Cindy

    12/03/2013

    Hi Andrea! Just a thought on the ‘real’ Christmas tree. You could always just have a basket filled with the trimmings from a real tree. You get the scent without the mess!

    [Reply]

    Cindy Reply:

    & I’m guessing the yellow silicone type bracelet on the doorknob is a creative way to latch the doors closed. I did the same!

    [Reply]

  11. Audra

    12/03/2013

    I just ordered some boy slippers for my two little guys. We use TLC Cleaners as well and love the service. I know them from working with Marianne and I went to elementary school with Chip’s step-daughter! :)

    [Reply]

  12. Luba

    12/03/2013

    One of my favorite things in December is a wood stove. It keeps us warm when it’s freezing outside! Also, for dry hands, I love thick propolis creme. I used to use Carmex, but propolis creme has done wonders for my hands in a cold climate. :)

    [Reply]

  13. Kim {Pinspired Home}

    12/04/2013

    I should definitely check out those slipper socks. Our little guy is about Nora’s age and is a daredevil on our laminate floors!
    I do have a quick question for you about photo usage. I’m new to blogging and still trying to figure this whole thing out.
    Do you receive permission to use the images from amazon, etc. in these posts? I would like to make a photo collage with some images found on amazon, but I don’t want to break any copyright laws in doing so.
    I’d certainly appreciate your insight as an experienced blogger. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    honestly, I’m not 100% sure. I just figure that if I’m using a product image and linking directly to the product page, it’s fine if I use their sales image. :)

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  14. Vicki

    12/05/2013

    There is a large plastic bag you gather up and put your real tree in when you put it up. When time to take it down you simply pull the bag up over the whole tree and carry it out. No needles! So nice cause any water still in stand stays in bag. Also having tree stand and tree on plastic keeps accidents while watering on plastic. A wonderful invention!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well, I’ll definitely have to look into this bag if we ever get a real tree — thanks for the heads up!

    [Reply]

  15. Cindy

    12/05/2013

    I believe the bag is similar to a very large trash bag – - it’s big enough to be used as a tree skirt.. You can get them during the after Christmas clearance to use the following year.

    [Reply]

  16. Lydia

    12/09/2013

    I can’t find those socks at Kohls. Your link just pulled up TONS of socks. Do they still have them?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Shoot — it looks like the link has changed since I wrote the post (it did link to a whole page of Jumping Beans Slipper Socks).

    I just searched Kohl’s website and Amazon.com and don’t see any similar ones right now — so I’m not sure where to point you — sorry!

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