A Few of My Favorite Things {July 2019}

posted by Andrea | 07/1/2019
 

I feel like the summer is flying by at warp speed — faster than any other summer before! We’re already a full month in and we still have SO many things we want to do! 

We’ve had a ton of fun so far, and we’ve crossed off several to-dos, but I’m certain we will not run out of things to do before school starts up again in another 7-8 weeks! 

In the past, I’ve always taken some sort of blogging break during the summer — my plan for this year is to take the next week “off”. 

This will be my only post for the week. 

I might take another week off at some point, or maybe a long weekend — we’ll see. I surprisingly do NOT have a “plan”! Either way, a little time away from work is definitely one of my favorite things (especially when Dave is also home during the summer months). 

I’m sharing a few more of my favorite things in today’s post! 

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.

Wüstoff Knives

I am not a professional chef, nor do I aspire to be one — but having GOOD knives to use in my kitchen has made a huge difference for me over the years. 

I’ve slowly switched almost all my knives over to Wüstoff knives and I can honestly say I’ve never once been disappointed. They are super sharp, they feel amazing in my hand, and they cut, slice, and chop better than any other knife I’ve ever used (including 2 Cutco knives I inherited over the years).

My Wüsthof bread knife is absolutely phenomenal — I’m constantly asked if I have an electric bread knife or a professional bread slicer as my slices are so uniform. People are usually shocked when I mention I do it all by hand! 

These knives are not inexpensive, but since I rarely ever buy full sets of anything, I’ve been able to SLOWLY grow my collection of Wüsthof knives over the years — one-by-one! 

Here’s a short list of 3 knives I would recommend to start your collection:

  1. Micro-Serrated 4.5-inch Utility Knife 
  2. 6-inch Serrated Utility Chopper Knife
  3. 10-inch Classic Bread Knife

I use these 3 knives EVERY single day — usually washing them in between meals as I use them SO regularly! 

Of course, I still have a handful of small pairing knives and a couple smaller knives I let Nora use, but the rest of the knives I use for chopping, dicing, slicing, etc. are all the Wüstoff brand. 

And I suppose I can’t share my favorite knives without sharing (once again) my most favorite in-the-drawer knife block! This thing is AMAZING and saves so much counter space! 

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Deck Railing Planters

Right after Christmas, I came across 2 deck railing planters from a thrift store. The brand is Bloem Living (which is actually a West Michigan company — I went to school with the owner) and they looked brand new. 

Although I would probably have preferred black or red, I decided the maroon color was “good enough” and I snatched them up. 

I am so THRILLED with how they look on our back deck — I have a feeling they will continue to look better and better as the summer progresses and the plants get larger. 

These planters were a solid thrift-store buy on my part and I look forward to using them again and again in years to come! 

I should mention that we do NOT have them “secured” to the railing in any way — they just sit on top. We haven’t had any issues with them shifting, tipping, or moving at all (even with several wind/rain storms over the past couple months). 

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Kid’s Beach Towels

A couple years ago, Dave’s parents gave all the grandkids their own personalized beach towel as a gift. 

They purchased these Tie-Dye pattern from Land’s End and had them all embroidered with each child’s name (the girls have pink and green, the boys have blue and green). 

So far, these towels have held up marvelously after much use and many washes — they don’t even seem faded to me yet! 

Also, if you’re looking for beach towels, I think Land’s End is having a sale on swim wear right now (including towels). It was 40-70% off (making the towels $13) when I checked last week! 

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New Grill Grates and Heat Shields

We purchased a brand new grill a few years ago (clearanced out at the end of the year). So far, we’ve been very happy with the grill, but Dave had mentioned several times now that he felt the heat wasn’t very “even”. 

This year, he splurged and purchased all new heat shields and grill grates to replace the old, somewhat rusted and worn out grates and shields that originally came with the grill… WOW what a difference they have made! 

The grill gets hotter and cooks much more evenly. The food also cooks faster and doesn’t seem to dry out at all!

I’m not sure if all of these benefits are directly related to the new heat shields and grill grates (we might just be getting better and grilling) but Dave and I both noticed a definite improvement in our grill’s performance immediately after putting the new grates and shields on. 

So, if you’re grill is under-performing, you might consider investing in new grill grates and/or heat shields before trashing the entire grill! 

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Dave! 

In lieu of our anniversary yesterday (13 years) I thought it was fitting to include Dave on my list of Favorite Things! 

Honestly, this guy makes being married easy and fun!

He is SO patient, easy-going, friendly, and just an all-around nice guy. Ask anyone who knows Dave… they WILL agree with me, I’m certain of it!

I’m also certain of the fact that I would not be able to raise 4 LOUD crazy kids, renovate and maintain our home, or run my business without an enormous amount of help and encouragement from him. 

He is the “glass-half-full” personality who always tries to look on the bright side of things and figure a way to “make it work” even when I’m certain it’s not possible. 

He is a passionate teacher, a willing volunteer, a fun-loving friend, an amazing dad, and a kind and helpful spouse (who happily ate a ridiculous amount of not-so-great bread without a word of complaint this past year!)

I honestly couldn’t dream up a better list of adjectives to describe the person I get to spend all my days with — if only I could share an Amazon link for Dave (I’d make a killing on affiliate bonuses!)

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That’s all for me this month.

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

Also, as I mentioned above, I’ll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging. Enjoy your holiday week/weekend (U.S. readers) and I’ll see you back here again next week! 

 

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26 comments

  1. Tonya

    07/09/2019

    I have loved all the things I buy from Lands End including school uniforms. I buy 5 complete uniforms, I washed them weekly. I can usually get 2 school years out of these. They have awesome adjustable waists and other growing kids features. I probably invested $250.00 in uniforms and I plan to get at a minimum $100.00 back from the used sale our school does. There is still plenty of good life in the items. I buy our swimsuits here. We have a pool and as long as you rinse them out, they also hold up with minimal fading. They are a bit pricey but you can find online coupons and Ebates. I get emailed many coupon codes. Winter coats, gloves (squall) and snow pants I can usually get 2 years out of them and everything holds up great! In Wisconsin we get harsh winters and my child is always warm when they have outside recess. If you do have something you are not happy with (even months down the line) they will usually replace or refund if you keep receipts. The resale of their items are also very good. This is not an ad! When a company stands behind a quality product I will tell everyone I can about it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve heard they have a really great return policy! I’ve gotten several Land’s End items at thrift stores and really like them. Nora’s snow pants are from there (and yes, they have lots of cool features that allowed them to fit for 2 full winters!)

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  2. Nancy

    07/02/2019

    Happy Anniversary! And enjoy your time off.

    I purchased the same brand of knife in June (utility w/out serrated edge) and absolutely love it! Thinking I could easily use a 2nd one.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Nancy! Glad to know you are liking the knives too!

    [Reply]

  3. JJ

    07/01/2019

    Happy Anniversary!!! Such a sweet post about your man!!! Enjoy your time off!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much 🙂

    [Reply]

  4. Chris Buckles

    07/01/2019

    Just to make you feel better, summer only started a week ago Friday, not the first of June, although the weather seems to reflect that. At least where I am. But it does seem the days are flying by. And Happy Anniversary!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, technically summer started on June 21 — but if we’re going by Dave’s summer break schedule, we’re almost half we done with summer!

    [Reply]

  5. Tammy

    07/01/2019

    that’s so funny you posted about these planters, we were just looking at something like this at our local store last night and wondering if we could get away without securing them 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh cool — glad I could help you out on this. Our planters have been SUPER sturdy and secure — even with tons of wind this spring!

    [Reply]

  6. Mary

    07/01/2019

    You more than deserve a week off, Andrea. Ever thought about taking days off and turning this into a forum for the readers? Throw out a question and let the comments take over. Like what are your readers favorite things this month or what is one thing you’d like to change about your kitchen. Just a thought.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Mary! And good idea for the forum. I mentioned it to Dave and he thinks we should try it out — we’ll see — maybe something to implement in the fall. I’ll have to look into this!

    [Reply]

  7. Ann

    07/01/2019

    Great post, as usual!! Just a thought…have you considered spray painting your deck-railing planters?
    I’ve been amazed at how quickly paint changes things- for the better!
    Enjoy your week with family!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you know, I honestly never thought about painting the planters! Crazy, I paint so many things!
    I’ll have to consider this for next year — I’d just be worried the paint would eventually chip off — maybe if I just did a brighter read it wouldn’t be so obvious with the darker red underneath.
    Thanks for the idea Ann!

    [Reply]

    Margaret Reply:

    Sherry, at Young House Love, has quite a few posts on painting plastic items. Using the correct paint–that bonds to plastic–seems to be the key.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh I love Sherry — I should look up their blog again!

    [Reply]

  8. Annette Silveira

    07/01/2019

    Happy anniversary! What a sweet tribute to your wonderful partner.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Annette! 🙂

    [Reply]

  9. Stel

    07/01/2019

    Took ONE look at that knife block – THAT’s what I need i my drawer!! (Knives currently living in vintage bread tin)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yeah, the knife block is AMAZING! Everyone who opens that drawer always asks about it!

    [Reply]

  10. Rhonda

    07/01/2019

    Those Wusthoff knives ARE the best. I used a gift certificate from our wedding 11 years ago to purchase a paring knife. I use it EVERY day.

    Enjoy your week!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Rhonda — I’ve been using the same bread knife since we got married (which is what sold me on the Wusthoff knives in the first place. I cut A LOT of bread, and it’s still SO sharp!

    [Reply]

  11. Chris

    07/01/2019

    Happy Anniversary! – and LOL on the affiiate bonus comment. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — you know people would by Dave clones if they were available on Amazon!! LOL!!

    [Reply]

    ShellyL Reply:

    Andrea, I was just going to comment that we can’t all order us a Dave. It’s too bad because he seems pretty great. LOL

    [Reply]

    JoDi Reply:

    LOL I was going to comment that we would all order Dave clones if you provided a link!

    Happy Anniversary to both of you! Your family and blog are 2 of my favorite things every month! Enjoy your well-deserved time off!

    [Reply]