A Few of My Favorite Things {December 2015}

posted by Andrea | 12/1/2015
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favorite things december 15

I’m excited to share a few more of my favorite things this month… lots of great holiday gift ideas too! And 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.

Betty Crocker Hi-Temp Spoons

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When we first got married, I found a really cute bright red mixing spoon at a garage sale. It looked just like a wooden spoon, but it was a very hard plastic — so they were super easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

Since my favorite color is red (and my kitchen has lots of red accents) this spoon has always been my favorite big mixing spoon… and after almost 10 years of use, it’s getting somewhat faded.

I’ve wanted to include it in my Favorite Things posts for years now, but I never knew what it was called and (although I’ve been searching regularly) I have never found anything like it in stores anywhere.

However, a couple weeks ago, I was ordering things from Bed Bath and Beyond and I saw a tiny picture of 2 red spoons that looked exactly like my spoons. I clicked on the link, and sure enough, they were the same thing… and ONLY $4.99 for TWO spoons!

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Apparently, they are called “Hi-Temp Spoons” and are made out of high-grade nylon so they can resist temperatures up to 430*F.

I’m so happy to have 3 of my favorite red mixing spoons now — especially since I use them almost daily and would regularly wash it by hand just so I could have it ready again for the next mixing project.

If you love using wooden spoons but wish you could put them in the dishwasher, I would highly recommend trying a couple of my favorite red spoons. Also, for some reason, they are insanely expensive on Amazon.com — so definitely go through the Bed Bath and Beyond website to buy them (they aren’t available in many stores).

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Victoria’s Secret ‘Heavenly’ Perfume

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I feel kind of weird putting something from Victoria’s Secret on my list… but since it’s just a perfume, I’ll let it fly 🙂

I rarely ever wear any type of perfume (I’m like Nora and don’t like strong smells). However, if I were going to wear perfume, my favorite would be Heavenly from Victoria’s Secret.

This has been one of my favorite scents since high school — and I just feel like it works for all seasons and isn’t totally overpowering like some other scents can be. I have a hand roll-on applicator for traveling, and then a smaller bottle that I keep with my toiletries.

I’ve gotten all my perfume for free (years ago) when I used to get $10 off any purchase coupons to VS. I would use them to buy the $10 travel size perfumes and roll-on perfumes. I’m currently on my very last tiny bottle — but since I don’t wear it very often, it will last me a long time!

Speaking of lasting for a long time… I’m not sure if perfume goes bad or not, but I’ve had this perfume for YEARS (probably 8-10) and it seemed completely fine when I used it last week!

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Curbside Grocery Service

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While I usually don’t add anything to my Favorite Things list until I’ve had many months (often years) to use and experience it… I just couldn’t help but add our local Meijer Grocery store’s brand new Curbside Service to my list this month.

I’ve had the pleasure of using this service for 4 weeks now (it’s completely free through the end of the year) and I know, without a doubt, that it will be one of my favorite things for many months and years to come.

I have joked many times that I hate shopping so much that I buy everything but groceries online — well now, I can happily buy groceries online too!

From my 4 weeks of experience, this service is absolutely fabulous. I just log into my Meijer shopping account, choose the exact quantity, brand, size, etc. of groceries I want, add everything to my online shopping cart, choose the date and time I’d like to pick them up, and then check out.

I usually do this on Sunday nights and choose Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon as my pickup day. Then, Dave swings by on his way home from school to pick everything up. All he has to do is pull up to the drive-through location, tell them his name, and they bring everything out. Then he swipes his credit card and is on his way.

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The only downside to using this service is that they cannot take paper coupons — however, I’m hardly using any paper coupons anyway. I use MPerks (which is Meijer’s online coupons) and those are really easy to pair with the products. In fact, when you’re shopping online, it will tell you what products go with MPerks so I don’t ever have to worry about buying the wrong item.

Not only does this service save me about 2 hours of time every week, it also has the potential to save money if you’re the type of person who regularly gets sucked into impulse purchases 🙂

After the new year, the service will cost $4.95 per pick- up — and I’m thinking of doing 2 larger orders every month via the curbside pickup, and then 2 smaller grocery trips on the off weeks — just to get produce, dairy, etc. That way, I’ll be spending about $10 on the curbside service per month and doing 2 small grocery trips with the kids. If that doesn’t go well, then I’ll probably just pay the $4.95 every week since it really is worth the amount of time, energy, and stress I save (especially during the cold winter months!)

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Little People Toys

In general, I’m not a huge fan of toys with little parts… we try to stick to dress-up clothes, baby dolls, stuff for our play kitchen, musical instruments, blocks, stuffed animals, and a handful of trucks and cars.

However, over the past couple of years, we have started to amass various sets of Little People toys — and my kids LOVE them!

We have the house, the barn, Noah’s Ark, and the Nativity right now… and there are more for Christmas! I found a minivan, a school bus, a construction vehicle, and a dump truck at a second hand sale this fall and I’ve been saving them for Christmas. I’ve also been scouting out some sets on Craigslist that I might buy… we’ll see!

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Culver’s

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How is it possible that I’ve been sharing my Favorite Things posts for almost 3 years now and I have yet to include Culver’s on my list??? Seriously, this is our family’s #1 favorite place to eat — lunch, dinner, or dessert!

If you have never eaten at a Culver’s restaurant, you are missing out. It’s essentially a semi-fast-food restaurant where they make your burgers after you order them, and make them exactly to your specifications. In my opinion, their food is far superior to other fast food options (such as Burger King or McDonalds) and the prices are fairly competitive (between $6 and $8 for a Double Butter Burger + fries + drink). Also… their frozen custard is AMAZING!!

I will say that their burgers run on the greasy side — and it took my digestive system several months to get used to their food after Dave and I got married (he’s the one who got me hooked on Culver’s) but now it is easily our favorite spot to go if we have a chance to go out. Thankfully, there is one only a couple miles from our house!

Also, if you have a Culver’s restaurant near you, December is a fabulous month to visit because they usually have all sorts of deals and specials for the holidays. Our favorite is the free value basket coupon with the purchase of $25 in gift cards. We usually buy $100 in gift cards to use in the following year, and get 4 free value baskets (approximately $25 value — or about 25%).

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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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44 comments

  1. Nancy

    12/16/2015

    My Santa is giving me the Betty Crocker spoons and ‘Heavenly’ in my stocking 🙂
    His elf (me) helped him. Can’t wait to make use of both items. Thanks for sharing your favorites.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — sounds like your Santa has a good Elf! Enjoy!

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  2. Deborah

    12/13/2015

    LOVE Little People! My kiddos played with them a lot. The Nativity is one of my favorites and we still get it out every year, though I now have teens.

    My daughter loved little things. She also spent hours with Pollys. And I will totally give a shout out to Playmobil. Their sets are awesome!

    We love Culver’s too, but we don’t live close to one. We like their food and they support farmers! Woo-hoo!

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  3. Laurie Lee Campbell

    12/10/2015

    Just wanted to let you know, I work at the Bed Bath & Beyond call center in Massachusetts and had a customer call to order the Betty Crocker spoons because she’d read about them here ! She was then able to share all about your blog with me. Thank you for steering business our way! I was blessed by her call as much as I hope she is blessed with her new spoons!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much for letting me know Laurie! That’s so cool!

    I’m happy so many of my readers are able to enjoy some of my “favorite things”!

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  4. Lori

    12/07/2015

    A few days after reading this post I visited my local “Dollar” store. The first thing I saw was racks of the red spoons and other Betty Crocker kitchen gadgets! Look forward to trying them out. I love your site and find the info and recipes really helpful.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — enjoy your spoons!! (and thanks for your kind words!)

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  5. Kristen

    12/07/2015

    We don’t have Meijer here in MD, but Harris Teeter near us also offers curbside pickup. It’s $4.95 per pickup OR $99 for a year, unlimited pick-ups! I haven’t signed up yet … grocery shopping is still manageable with one baby, but I imagine if we have more kids and I continue working full-time it will be my best friend in a couple years 😉 They also allow you to give use coupons and although they don’t come off that order, they’re applied as a “credit” to your account for your next purchase. Maybe you can suggest those improvements to Meijer, haha!

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  6. Rachel

    12/05/2015

    I wish my Meijer had curbside! Maybe soon…

    If you stick with your plan of 2 Meijer trips per month, you should try Aldi for the “off-Meijer” weeks. It’s such a quick stop, even with kids in tow. And if you just need dairy and basic produce, it will have everything you need, with many basics like milk being much cheaper.

    I’ve actually cut my Meijer trips back to one per month, shop Aldi-only on the other weeks and fill in the gaps with Amazon subscribe and save. It saves a lot of time and cuts back on temptations at Meijer. 🙂

    Thanks for all your shopping tips. I love your ideas for time and money saving! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Rachel — it might be worth a drive to Jenison for the curbside!! It’s free though the end of the year so you could always just test the waters 🙂

    I should probably check out Aldi again. I’ve just had so many bad experiences at the Aldi closest to us — horrible produce, crazy long lines, and unstocked shelves. One of these days I’ll get there again!

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  7. Jenny C.

    12/02/2015

    Andrea, I picked up the red spoons today at my Bed, Bath & Beyond store. Thank you so much! I always love reading your favorites post. I wish we had a Culver’s, but unfortunately they aren’t in VA. God bless your day!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — you will LOVE the spoon! It’s been my favorite mixing spoon for almost 10 years now and has been washed hundreds of times. I’m so glad to finally have more than one now!

    [Reply]

  8. chris K in Wisconsin

    12/01/2015

    Andrea, had to tell you that we live in the community where Culver’s was “founded”. They are such nice people, and contribute so much to our community. My husband taught music for many years and taught all 3 of their kids in school. They recently built their corporate headquarters here. Just beautiful!! We love the gift cards and free baskets, too. I just asked my husband if he knew if that program had started for the season yet so we can make our purchases.
    They also have a “pilot” restaurant here called Blue Spoon. It is a bit more upscale with lots of wonderful things on the menu. In their breakfast menu, it includes pancakes…. and they are made WITH THEIR CUSTARD. So so so good!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    so cool Chris! Dave’s mom is from Wisconsin so her extended family is “responsible” for our love of Culvers! We’ll have to check out the Blue Spoon the next time we go visit them. Even if it’s a long drive, it’s probably still worth it for custard pancakes 🙂

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  9. Shelly Smith

    12/01/2015

    That is good info to know about Culvers (specials in December!) We are only there 1 or 2 times a year, so I would likely have missed the specials! Thanks for sharing!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well, clearly you should be going more than once or twice a year so you don’t miss the specials 🙂

    [Reply]

    Shelly Smith Reply:

    Ah, if only we had one down the street, like you do!! I do love their custard!! 😉

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — we love the custard too! I would honestly prefer it to any ice cream place around. And with the BOGO coupons for their mixers, it’s considerably cheaper than any ice cream place too!

    [Reply]

  10. Michelle

    12/01/2015

    I’ll second your love of Culver’s. The food is so fresh and their fries are the perfect mix of crispy outside with soft inside. And their pumpkin flavored concrete mixers are amazing! One of my co-workers and I make it a point to take an extra long lunch and hit Culver’s at least once, if not twice a week. Yum!

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  11. Suz

    12/01/2015

    The Team Scoopy meal at Culver’s is a great deal too! It’s the kids meal which they let you order as an adult. The burgers are the same size as an adult’s or pretty close. You get fries and a drink plus a free scoop of custard! It’s plenty for me at $5 a meal. AND if you save 10 Scoopy meal tokens from the meal bags, you get a free Team Scoopy meal for next time!

    [Reply]

  12. Elizabeth

    12/01/2015

    You just made my afternoon! Last night I was trying to decide my 16 month old daughters main Christmas gift. I had it narrowed it down to 4 different little people play sets and finally decided on the exact one you listed on this blog post. Glad to know I made the right choice 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well good — glad to know my opinion means so much to you! Our kids LOVE all our Little People toys and I’m sure your daughter will love hers too. Nora was about that age when she got her first little people toy!

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  13. Julie V.

    12/01/2015

    Andrea,
    I took your advice on Black Friday and shopped all the deals at our Meijer, ordered them online, and then just went and picked them up. It was the best Black Friday shopping experience ever!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well good — glad I recruited another “non-shopper” and that you got to enjoy being home a little longer!

    [Reply]

  14. Alicia G

    12/01/2015

    Do you mind if I ask how the produce is for curbside? That is one of the things holding me back from trying it at the HyVee. Our little town doesn’t offer anything but I go to Big Town at least a few times a week and would be great just to swing by & and have groceries brought to my car!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    The produce was the one thing I was worried about too, but it’s amazing! I’m fairly confident they get everything from the back, before it’s out on the shelves, so everything is super fresh. It’s honestly some of the best produce I’ve gotten from Meijer!

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  15. Kaitlin

    12/01/2015

    I LOVE those red mixing spoons! They are going on my Christmas wish list. So cute! I also love red and have it in every room of my home. Thanks for sharing. I love your Favorite Things posts!

    [Reply]

  16. Nancy

    12/01/2015

    Love Little People toys! They really have staying power. There’s also a set of Short Little People movies that my kids loved. The DVDs were included with purchase several years ago; maybe they’re available online now?

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    That is, short Little People movies. Not “Short Little People” movies. 😀

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — got it! I’ll have to search for them on Netflix or YouTube!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Nancy, we just checked out the little people movies tonight and the kids LOVED them! There are a ton of them on YouTube and I have a feeling we’ll be watching them more regularly! Thanks for the tip!

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    Nancy Reply:

    Glad to know they’re online! It makes me want to watch them with my teenager. And now I have an ear worm, that catchy Little People theme song.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha, I know. The song has been in my head all day too 🙂

    [Reply]

  17. Chris

    12/01/2015

    Ha! Nora has a “Simon” smile!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes… and that was back when she was almost the same age as what Simon is now 🙂

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    I thought she looked a little younger. 🙂 Your blog makes me miss my son’s little days.:(

    [Reply]

  18. JoAnn C.

    12/01/2015

    I would love it so much if Meijer would offer the curb side service here in southeastern Michigan. It would make things so much easier. Happy Tuesday, Andrea. Thanks for another good post.

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  19. Katie

    12/01/2015

    I tried Meijer Curbside pick up last week and LOVED it! It was so simple and since I’m one of those who struggles with impulse buying (food is my favorite), paying $5 can often be cheaper than going into the store AND it saves the hassle of bringing my boys in. I think it will be especially helpful once snowy weather sets in. I might try every other week for big trips after they start charging for pick up and see how our family adjusts.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, exactly what I was thinking! I’m not a big impulse shopper, but I know that $5 for pickup would be far less than several impulse purchases!

    [Reply]

  20. Paulette

    12/01/2015

    I LOVE Meijers and shopped there when we lived in Indiana. Unfortunately, there are no MeijersShoppedMeijers stores in TN. 🙁 I’ll check out VS’s Heavenly the next time I’m at the mall. 😉

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    Paulette, Do you have a Food City near you? I live just across the border in Virginia and my local Food City started offering curb-side service. It’s $5 also and saves me immensely in patience and time!

    [Reply]

    Paulette Reply:

    Amy, yes I do have a Food City nearby. Thank you so much! I’ll check it out right away. Merry Christmas!

    [Reply]

  21. Stephanie

    12/01/2015

    Question about curbside pick up. I wanted to use it on Daturfay, but it asked for my credit card information. I buy my groceries using SCRIP gift cards so that a small percentage goes toward the cost of my children’s tuition. I ended up not ordering because I didn’t want to use my credit card. But you stated that Dave swiped his card. How does the checkout process go online? Can I still use a gift card to check out via curbside? Maybe I should ask Meijer but since you have used this a number of times, I thought I would ask you. Do my questions even make sense?
    Also, how have they done picking out your produce? Your non meijer shoppers might not like a post about online grocery shopping but I have a feeling your Meijer shoppers would love a “tutorial” on curbside pick up. 😉

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Stephanie… you just need to add your credit card information to hold your order (so that you don’t order a whole bunch and never show up). You still have to pay when you actually pick it up (and you can pay with whatever method you choose) — I believe it details all that information on the Meijer website too if you have more specific questions.

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