A Few of My Favorite Things {December 2016}

posted by Andrea | 12/1/2016
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favorite things december

Last week I was telling Dave how I couldn’t believe I have been doing these Favorite Things posts for almost 4 years now — and I don’t think I’ve repeated anything (at least not to my knowledge!)

I have a few more goodies to share this month… 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.

Empty Shoe Boxes

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I know this is an extremely odd thing to put on my Favorite Things list… but I honestly use empty shoe boxes to keep things neat and organized in almost every room of our home.

I use shoe boxes the same way I’d use more expensive drawer organizers and get the exact same results without the extra expense.

My favorite shoe boxes are kid’s shoe boxes because they are so small. I also love women’s sandal boxes because they are usually long and narrow. I rarely save large shoe or boot boxes, but it’s always amazing to me how many uses I can come up with for a small shoe box.

I currently use shoe boxes to organize hair bows and clips in our bathroom, over-the-counter meds and First Aid items in our medicine cabinet, pencils and pens in the office, kid’s snack items in the pantry, cleaning rags in the laundry room, socks and underwear in my dresser, extra wrapping supplies and tissue paper, craft supplies in our craft cabinet, and even extra baking items in the freezer (stacks of chocolate chips, Hershey’s Kisses, etc.)

There is a seemingly unending list of amazing ways to repurpose an empty shoe box — just search Pinterest for “ways to repurpose a shoe box” and you’ll be amazed!

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O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Cream

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It’s that time of year again… time when dry, chapped skin makes it’s appearance around our house.

Dave and I both tend to have more issue with dry skin than we do with oily, but both of our hands get REALLY dry in the winter months. The tips of Dave’s thumbs will actually split because his hands get so dry — and O’Keeffe’s Working Hands cream is what he likes to use during these cold, dry winter months.

It’s relatively inexpensive (around $5 or $6 for one container) and it lasts a long time.

He just requested a new container last week (which is what made me think of adding it to my Favorite Things list) and I’ll probably get him 2 so he can keep one at school!

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Owlegories Videos for Kids

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Since we don’t have cable, I’m always looking for new shows for my kids to watch via Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime. The show gets bonus points if it’s something all of them are interested in (almost impossible, but I keep trying).

A couple months ago, I came across Owlegories on Amazon Prime, and it truly has something for all 3 kids! James loves the fun music and colorful animation, Simon loves owls, and Nora definitely follows along with the story plots and lessons of each episode.

Plus, the pink owl is named NORA!

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Owlegories is a Christian program that teaches about God through the amazing things found in nature and revealed in God’s word — the owls are really cute and the theme song is VERY catchy 🙂

owelgories

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch all the episodes here. Otherwise, you can also visit the website directly to purchase the DVDs (we got the set for our church library) or purchase individual episodes to watch on their free App.

They have a really cute Christmas video that just came out — and it even has a guest character named Simon (seriously, how crazy is that!)

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Digital Photo Books

I know I’ve talked about my digital photos books many MANY times over the past few years — but as I scrolled through my LOOOONG list of Favorite Things, I realized I’ve never officially added my digital photo books to my Favorite Things list.

Everyone in our family loves these digital albums — even James will sit for several minutes and page through his book saying, “bebe” as he points to himself in each picture.

These books are fun for our kids to look back on and great conversation topics when out-of-town relatives visit or we spend time with friends we haven’t seen in a long time. We can quickly grab the family albums or our kids’ albums and page through what has happened over the past few years.

I have always used Blurb… but I have several friends who use Shutterfly, Snapfish, or any other number of programs — all with great results. For me, the most important thing is that the books are digital — meaning, I can make them on my computer and have them printed when I’m finished.

Digital books take up considerably less space than traditional photo albums and I never need to worry about pictures falling out of the albums.

Also, with Blurb, I really don’t even need to worry about the kids ruining the albums because I can always just have them reprinted again if something happens.

I have a really good system in place to create and update my digital albums each month, so they require very little time or effort on my part (usually around 30-45 minutes per month).

I put the finishing touches on Nora’s latest photo album over Thanksgiving weekend (and ordered it with a fabulous 50% off coupon code!) She is already anxiously awaiting it’s arrival so she can page through the pictures!

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Right Height Adjustable Kid’s Chairs

kid's chairs

Soon after Nora turned 2, we realized she was getting a little too big for her highchair, so we decided it was time to switch her into a booster seat, especially since Simon was ready to take over the highchair.

We borrowed and tested out several different booster seats and hated all of them. She was so squirmy, she spilled all the time, and she was constantly trying to get down.

Then I remembered a friend telling me about her (CRAZY EXPENSIVE) kids booster chairs, so I decided to look it up on Amazon. I found the Keekaroo chairs and the Stokke chairs — both listed around $250 without any accessories!

Instead of spending an insane amount of money on a new chair, I headed to Craigslist — and wouldn’t you know I found the Keekaroo chair listed at $65 and only about 20 minutes away.

I picked it up that night, and I think it will go down in history as one of my best Craigslist purchases ever.

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Nora has used and enjoyed her Keekaroo chair many times each day for the past 2.5 years, and we’ve simply adjusted the seat and footrest height as she grows.

We tried moving her up to an adult chair with a small booster seat about a year ago (when Simon was ready to move out of the highchair) but her behavior at the table took a sudden turn for the worse almost immediately. She was constantly getting out of her chair, standing up, spilling food all over the place, and just very fidgety.

So I went back to Craigslist and found a Stokke brand chair in the same dark wood stain as Nora’s Keekaroo chair. I purchased it for Simon, moved Nora back to her favorite Keekaroo chair, and our mealtimes have been so much  more pleasant.

I’m already on the lookout for a 3rd chair for whenever James outgrows the highchair.

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If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would own TWO $250 children’s chairs, I would have laughed in your face. And honestly, I still don’t think I’d be willing to drop $250 on one child’s chair (I’m just too frugal, I guess).

However, knowing what I know now about these amazing chairs, and witnessing the drastic change in behavior at the dinner table when using a chair that “fits” our kids size, I can definitely say these chairs are one of our most favorite things (and I’m SOOOOOOO glad I found amazing deals on them).

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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. Amy

    12/09/2016

    I’ll add to the chorus…thank you for the Owlegories recommendation! We’ll be trying that out later today when I need some quiet time 🙂

    [Reply]

  2. Jennifer

    12/02/2016

    I never thought of using shoe boxes for organizing in the freezer. I bought some plastic baskets that break too easily! Thanks for the tip! We are about to put that exact high chair on Craig’s List, but I don’t think shipping from south Tx would very reasonable.

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  3. Diana

    12/02/2016

    Those chairs would be perfect for our kids too! Our table has a skirt on it though–a vertical piece of wood that comes down below the surface of the table. It looks like yours does too–does it get in the way of your kids scooting all the way up to the table? Or would you just lower the top seat a little bit?

    I saw one about two hours away from us for $99: not sure I can stomach the drive and $100 right this minute, but I will definitely be stalking Craigslist! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I probably wouldn’t drive 2 hours away for that. Just keep looking!

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    Andrea Reply:

    sorry, I just realized that I never answered your question about the “skirt” on the table. It doesn’t not get in the way of their legs at all — and if it did, you could easily just lower the seat one or 2 notches (we don’t have to do this though)

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  4. Amy

    12/01/2016

    My last pediped order came in bags, not boxes. And I already had plans for my new organizing boxes! Oh well

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh weird. I’ve only ever gotten them in boxes (and they really are the perfect size box!)

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  5. shelly pettigrew

    12/01/2016

    I never heard of the Owlegories before. I’m going to get for my Grandlittles. Love your list!

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  6. Leah

    12/01/2016

    Hi Andrea,

    Do you know where I can buy the hand cream locally? It sounds perfect for winter. Thanks!

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    Angela Reply:

    I just saw the hand cream at our Walmart (in Minnesota) this week, if that helps! : )

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m not sure — I always just order from Amazon. I’m guessing Home Depot and Lowe’s would sell it!

    [Reply]

  7. Shelly Smith

    12/01/2016

    It looks liken you have “crossed out” the Blurb link in your post… is that intentional? When I clicked on it I did not get to their website. Just curious if you have stopped using Blurb?! I was planning to “check it out” on my next photo book purchase (I have previously used MyPublisher, which makes beautiful books BUT I have been saying for years that there has to be an easier way to “upload” my pictures for making the book, like from Flickr directly.) Then I read your tutorials and you DO upload from Flickr to Blurb, so that sounded like a great option to try on my next book. Thanks for any updates.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sorry about that — the link was just entered wrong. It should be working now!

    [Reply]

  8. Debbie

    12/01/2016

    Shoe boxes! I’ve used some to organize our kitchen drawers but I never thought about our bathroom drawers. I’d better not throw them out. Those kids chairs are new to me. My nephew never had one. What a great invention!

    [Reply]

  9. Karen Shireman

    12/01/2016

    I love a few things on your list also!!! I just heard last night that Netflix is going to work offline!!!! Wahoo!!! That means on planes, car rides, and anywhere………Yeah!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, Dave just told me this last night! That will be AWESOME!

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  10. Bonnie'sMama

    12/01/2016

    There are Keekako chairs without all the extras on Amazon for $175. That’s still plenty, but not as painful as $250. My daughter at three thinks she’s Too Big for boosters but still needs them. I wonder if one of these chairs would be special enough and un-booster-like enough to work for her.

    Andrea, I always enjoy these Favorite Things posts. I’m especially excited about the Owl stories! My children love videos, but it’s really hard to find videos that meet my personal standards. Like Lauren, I really don’t want my kids to talk like most of the kids on children’s videos. And what a good idea to purchase them for the church library! I’m going to see if our local small-town library could get some.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good point! I probably still wouldn’t pay that much for a chair, but it is a cheaper option. I’m glad I found them on Craigslist, that’s for sure!

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  11. Christine from The (mostly) Simple Life

    12/01/2016

    Love your favorite things! I bet my niece would love that kid’s show, I’ll have to find it for her.

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  12. Olga

    12/01/2016

    I love those chairs! Stokke is my fav, but it’s almost impossible to find it used in like-new conditions on Craigslist. Lucky you… 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, “almost” impossible! I had to search for a long time to find ours!

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  13. Tina

    12/01/2016

    Love the list Andrea! Will have to check out that hand cream for my husband. Wow, those chairs are still expensive even used! Glad they work for you guys. They certainly look awesome.

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  14. Mara Yager

    12/01/2016

    LOVE these posts thanks for sharing, and happy first day of December! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks — I still can’t believe it’s December already!

    [Reply]

  15. christine

    12/01/2016

    I totally love o’keefe’s working hands! I work in a nursing home and we wash our hands many times throughout the day and this cream works so well! I just finished a photo book through huggler, but I will check out blurb.

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  16. Lauren

    12/01/2016

    Thanks so much for the Owlegoriesr recommendation! I am always on the lookout for Christian shows for my kiddos. These sound great! I can’t stand sassy characters in kids shows which seems to be the norm!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    any time — our kids love the owls!

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