A Few Of My Favorite Things {August 2018}

posted by Andrea | 08/1/2018

The past week has been much cooler and less humid — both things I am thankful for in late July!

We’ve enjoyed having the windows open most days, AND the cooler temps at night — which means we can actually sleep with the covers on! Such little things, but they are some of my favorites (especially since we were running the air conditioning most of the month).

Today I’m sharing a few more of my favorite things!

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.

Also, check out my Amazon Market for all my favorite things.

Bunch O Balloons Water Balloons

If your kids love water balloons but you absolutely HATE the chore of filling them up and tying them off, you MUST buy Bunch O Balloons for your next water fight!

They come in bunches of 33 balloons on a convenient spout that connects to most standard garden hoses. Once you hook the balloons up to your hose and turn the water on, you’ll have 33 water balloons, tied and ready to throw in roughly 60 seconds.

It’s SO fabulous!


Rubbermaid Take-Along Containers

I have four 9″ x 13″ Rubbermaid Take-Alongs brand containers for years and years — and even though they are supposedly disposable, I’ve been washing and reusing them on a weekly basis.

Yes, I have other 9″ x 13″ containers I use for cooking and baking, but these plastic containers are SO LIGHT WEIGHT, they stack amazingly well, and the lids fit extremely tight so I never worry about anything spilling.

Plus, they are very deep so I can fit a huge amount of food inside.

I use one for the variety of chopped up veggies we always have in the fridge, I use another one whenever I make my big layered lettuce salad (all my other 9″ x 13″ containers are too shallow), and I use the other 2 to store baked goods, freezer meals, or even for craft supplies

Basically, I’m always using these containers! 

Unfortunately, I can’t find the exact ones I have on Amazon anymore, but here’s a link to their other Take-Alongs brand containers (all of which are super light weight and stack so well.


Printable Kid’s Worksheets

I’ll be honest, I had ZERO intentions of doing any type of school work with any of my children over the summer. I figured that as long as we read regularly and played outside a lot, that would be good enough for our 6, 4, and 3 year olds!

However, soon into the summer, Nora and Simon started requesting “homework” — or basically any type of worksheet they could do at home! 🙂

Of course, James wants to do whatever they do, so I searched the internet for free printables, and found the most amazing website!

Education.com has thousands and thousands of free QUALITY resources for every age child. It’s extremely easy to search for exactly what you’re looking for (tailored specifically to the child’s age, ability, interests, etc.) and then you can simply print off whatever you want.

The kids have enjoyed doing “homework” over the summer, and I have enjoyed them sitting relatively quietly at the table for a few minutes!


Double Needle for Sewing Machine

I am far from an expert seamstress, and while I don’t make many items from scratch anymore, I am pretty good at altering clothing to make something new out of something old.

I regularly alter items I find at thrift stores to work for our family members, and I’m always shortening or lengthening pants for people!

I don’t buy too many sewing gadgets, simply because I can easily get by with what I have in the house — however, last year, after being very frustrated with my attempts to shorten Nora’s leggings into capris, I purchased a double needle from our local sewing supply store.

The double needle is thread exactly the same way as a single needle… you just use 2 spools of thread. The main benefit is that it allows the finished product to be somewhat stretchy — which is perfect for sewing Nora’s leggings and other kid items that need to be stretchy.

It’s very easy to put on and take off (you’ll just need a tiny Phillips screwdriver) and it only cost me around $5 — so very affordable as well.

I’ve used my double needle so many times over the past year — it’s such a fun and useful sewing tool to have around.


Family Meals at the Table

This is sort of a silly one, but after talking with a couple friends last week, I realized that our family eats EVERY SINGLE MEAL together all summer long!

Even though our family meal times are often very loud, very messy, and sometimes very frustrating (when kids refuse to eat or when large amounts of food spill), I am positive I will look back on the hundreds and thousands of meals we ate together with nothing but happy memories.

Even though it takes a huge amount of time and effort to plan, purchase, prepare, serve, and clean up all the food our family eats each day, it’s worth all my efforts to have us all together around the table.

Obviously, once school start we’ll be back to eating in shifts for breakfast and lunch, but dinner will still be something we enjoy as a family (even if it is at 4:30 in the afternoon!)

I hope that as our kids’ schedules get busier, we’ll still be able to find time to eat together several times a week — because it’s definitely one of my most favorite things!


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!


Filed under: LifeMy Favorite Things

Leave a comment


  1. Babs


    Hi there,
    Have so enjoyed watching the virtual grandkids over the summer! What has happened to Nora?! How can she be so tall and pretty and poised? Seems she was just a baby and you had no sleep !
    Now that our GrandOne is 2 I found this post very interesting and shared it with my d-i-l. She is a first time Mom who is trying to be Best Mom of the World 24/7! She will enjoy using the simple work sheets for Brody to scribble on. He can count to 12 and say and identify the ABC’s. Everything has to be by the book! I don’t think he’ll EVER get dirty!
    Write a post for Moms of 2 year olds- trying to get her to read your blog….I don’t have time for that, I’m too busy chasing after him every minute, she says! Somehow she has to stop feeling that every minute is his and find a balance and a little time for herself.
    Try Lock n Lock containers. BPA free, microwave safe. QVC has them. Used for years!


  2. Mary


    One of my favorites for my 5 year old daughter has been this sticker book. The stickers are numbered up to 100 depending on the picture. The books cost about $9. I am going to buy one of each of the different books (birds, bugs, etc.) and be set for birthday party presents for the year.


    Andrea Reply:

    wow — those books look awesome Mary! I just added them to my gift list for Nora and Simon. They will LOVE these!


  3. Laura Kennedy


    I was just thinking last night that I can’t remember the last time the 4 of us sat down for a meal together this summer. My son has been working and is often gone at mealtime. I’m at work during the day so I miss breakfast and lunch at home. My daughter has had activities that sometimes conflict with meal times and my husband is working 3rd shift which puts him in a separate orbit from the rest of us. My son leaves for college in 2 weeks so I hope we can fit something in before then! Missing the days when the kids were small and had few activities and responsibilities.


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it’s definitley trickier when the kids get older! It is sort of nice that we have full control over our children’s schedules right now 🙂


  4. Liz


    When I was a kid every summer my mum would buy one of those maths exercise books. I loved them. I am a bit of a nerd, but I have fond memories of getting to work on exercises that I enjoyed over the summer rather than doing what my teacher told me to do. The addition colour with number would have been right up my alley!


    Andrea Reply:

    i had books like that too — they were usually finished by the middle of June because I was so excited to do them 🙂


  5. Bonnie'sMama


    Thank you for that perspective on family meals. There are many things I prefer to do rather than cooking, especially with three hungry young children around. Now my husband is working from home full time, and the stream of meals and snacks feels endless. I made a sign for my kitchen that says, “Nurture & Nourish,” to remind me what all those meals are about.

    It’s not just bodies we’re feeding–it’s souls and spirits.


    Andrea Reply:

    Love your sign!


  6. Jen T


    Definitely enjoy those meals…being recently divorced with two teens who are home for the summer (but rarely home bc of work, summer classes, and social lives), I treasure the 1-2 meals we have together each week!


  7. Leanne


    I love family dinners, too! Now that our kids are older and in so many activities I find the best way to preserve that time is to either plan ahead with a crockpot meal or simplify and doing something like sandwiches… I remind myself that the time we spend together is more important than the actual food we have….and sometimes, we just eat a later dinner and get pizza….
    I’ve had my 9×13 Take-a-longs forever! I think Meijer almost always has them!
    The worksheets made me laugh…. when I homeschooled, Education.com was definitely NOT my boys’ favorite website 😉
    These posts are my favorite!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes… I’m sure if the worksheets were required, they wouldn’t be fun anymore. But they definitely like doing one a week or so (when I pick the fun ones)!


  8. Connie Ritsema


    I also love the Rubbermaid containers. I have about 5 of them and use them to store cookies that I freeze for church coffee..They are awesome.


    Liane Reply:

    Me too! I have three food saving strategies. I bought a food saver and I vac seal everything that will not get squished. For home I try to use glass snaploks because they can microwave food and I don’t have to dirty another bowl etc, but the Rubbermaid stuff RULES in my motorhome. And in places where we have no water to spare I actually wipe them with paper towels, put the lid back on and put them in the fridge where they keep stuff from sliding around. California roads were last paved when Reagan was governor I think. Some potholes could eat a Prius. My food takes a beating on the road so padding it really helps. And the best part is when we get home they wash so easily. If you never cook in them or put really red stuff in them they last forever. I have some that are over 5 years old.