A Few Of My Favorite Things {February 2019}

posted by Andrea | 02/1/2019
 

We finally got a bunch of snow last week (and we’ve had snow days ALLLLLLLL week so far!)

Although I don’t love freezing temperatures and piles of snow, I do really love how white and pretty everything is right now — definitely nicer than the dead, brown, muddy landscape we’ve been looking at for the last 4 months!

And you know how much we love snow days around our house!

Today Iโ€™m sharing a few more of the things I’ve been loving lately…

DISCLOSURE: None of these products are sponsored; however, some of the links below are affiliate links โ€” 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.

Kid’s Medicine with Built-In Dispensers

Over the years, we have been very fortunate in the sense that we haven’t had a huge need for over-the-counter medicine… and if/when the need arises, my kids are surprisingly fairly cooperative about taking medicine for various aches, pains, fevers, etc.

My preferred “flavor” is the white grape as it’s clear (no stains) and the kids LOVE this flavor. I would normally buy any brand at any price just to get the white grape flavor.

However, last year, I came across an ingenious medicine bottle design that made it SOOOOOOO much easier to quickly dispense the exact amount of liquid medicine into a syringe… and even though it doesn’t come in white grape, it has been my new go-to brand of over-the-counter children’s medicine.

I’m honestly not sure why all children’s medicine doesn’t package it this way — it’s SO smart, so easy, mess-free, spill-free, and much more sanitary (I’ve been known to use the same syringe over the course of the day without washing it in between).

If you’ve never tried medicine with this easy-dispense top, you don’t know what you’re missing! ๐Ÿ™‚

Small things in life give me great pleasure!
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Toast Tongs

Toast tongs are another “small thing” in life that has given Dave and me great pleasure!

I purchased our very first pair of toast tongs back around Thanksgiving, and we’ve used them almost daily ever since — definitely a quality $2 investment (I found ours at the grocery store)!

Previously, Dave had a love-hate relationship with our toaster as he claimed it “ate” the toast (the toast would slide down and be hard to get out).

Of course, I never knew there was such things as “toast tongs” so we used all manner of objects to retrieve our toast — knives, forks, shish-kabob skewers, and even shaking the toaster upside down over the sink!

We keep our toast tongs right next to our toaster (on top of the microwave in the pantry) and can now calmly retrieve our toast without stress, force, anger, or choice words!

Breakfast is a happier time in our house!

NOTE: Yes, we do use both the toaster and the microwave IN the pantry — we don’t pull them out. This has worked for us for many years.

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Mesh Strainers / Colanders

Another kitchen tool I never owned until recently is a mesh strainer or colander!

I’ve always used the collapsable silicone colander or the hard plastic mini colander (both of which I’ve already shared as favorite things, and both also in the month of February — crazy!!)

However, over the summer, I used some store credit to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy a 3-pack of mesh colanders on clearance — I can’t believe how often I use them!

These fine mesh strainers have been especially useful now that I’m cooking with grains on a daily basis. My silicone strainers let the grains slip right through, but the mesh ones work fabulously!

I like that the handles rest on top of a bowl or a pan, AND the ridge along the bottom so I can set it down in the sink without the food actually touching the sink.

The 3 different sizes have all be useful for different kitchen tasks. When they are not in use (or in the dishwasher) they nest nicely and fit perfectly in my mixing bowl drawer.

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Personality Type Books

I took my first Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test in high school — ever since, I’ve been fascinated by how accurately my personality is classified and explained.

I’ll be sharing more about this topic next week Friday… but for the purpose of today’s Favorite Things post, I simply want to share how much I’ve enjoyed reading through the various personality type books that are available these days.

Many of them are free on Amazon (and certainly at the library) and they are all very short, so you can most likely read them in 30-45 minutes straight!

Here are 3 I’ve recently read.

ISTJ: Understand and Relating with the Inspector

The True ISTJ

ISTJ: The Portrait of an Inspector

My personality type is ISTJ (Inspector); however, I don’t just read books about my personality type. I’ve also enjoyed reading about other people’s personality types as it really helps to explain their various behaviors.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about or what your personality is, you may take this free test (you can also take the certified Myers Briggs test for $50.)

Here are a few of the adjectives that describe my ISTJ personality type… 

  • Systematic
  • Organized
  • Logical
  • Detailed
  • Conscientious
  • Responsible
  • Pragmatic
  • Critical
  • Decisive
  • Conservative
  • Efficient
  • Impatient

Does that sound like me… or does that sound like me!?!?!

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White Kid’s Toothpaste

Ever since my children started brushing their teeth, I’ve been on the lookout for a WHITE toothpaste they will actually use — not minty or too strongly flavored.

Unfortunately, ALL the national brand kid toothpastes are blue (at least the ones at our grocery stores). This means my sinks and bathroom counters are constantly covered with big blue spit blobs.

I wipe down the sinks every day, but with 3 of the kids brushing their teeth on their own 2 times every day, it’s basically a losing battle on my end!

However, this past fall, I came across the Hello brand of toothpaste and our whole family has been using it ever since!

Dave and I use the Sweet Mint flavor. The kids use the Watermelon flavor and love it. I love that I don’t see blue blobs all over my sink and counter every day.

If you’re looking for a colorless toothpaste that seems to clean well, I would highly recommend this brand!

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Thatโ€™s all for me this month.

Check out my previous monthsโ€™ favorite things โ€” and feel free to share some of YOUR favorite things in the comments below!

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43 comments

  1. JJ

    02/04/2019

    I will have to check out the toothpaste! We had a toaster and a toaster oven. I never used them; so we gave them away. We toast everything in our oven using “broil”–even bread and bagels! It doesn’t take long, and it’s two less kitchen gadgets. With multiple small children, it’s nice because everyone’s toast is finished at the same time. Haha!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    interesting — we use our toaster and toaster oven ALLLLLLLLLL the time (with multiple young children). ๐Ÿ™‚

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    JJ Reply:

    That is great that you have and use what works for you!!! Most people are shocked that I don’t have a toaster or coffee pot. I’d be lost without my oven and electric tea kettle!!! Someone had gifted us one, and wow!!! I use it multiple times a day(even when I make bread and need the temperature for my water to be exact). So glad we have many options and can use what works for us!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    i’ve thought about the electric kettle… maybe I “need’ one of those too!

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    Christine Meurer Reply:

    I’ve been ruminating on this one for awhile. ..
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FKN76ZS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_-QUwCbB49ZCJ2

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks for sharing — that one does look really nice!

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  2. Kerrie Wilson

    02/04/2019

    I picked up a bottle of medicine with that dispenser on holiday and couldn’t find anything like that at home when we ran out – it turns out it comes out pretty easily so I give it a good wash and added it to the new bottle. It’s made our lives so much easier for middle-of-the-night medicine distribution!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I was recently told that you could ask for the medicine “plugs” at the pharmacy, so I did this over the weekend and now have a nice supply of (free) different size bottle plugs for any other medicine bottle!!! yay!!
    Good to know the plugs are fairly removable — I will keep this in mind as well!

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  3. Sarah Clews

    02/02/2019

    I also love that toothpaste for my kids. I’ve spent years hunting down kids SLS free toothpaste and it’s hard (and expensive) but this has really been a life saver. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Margaret

    02/01/2019

    I’ve been using toast tongs for about 25 years; first encountered them when visiting a friend in Ireland, and I thought it was brilliant. She gave me hers to bring home. I don’t usually buy conventionally-shaped loaves (my BFF was an artisanal baker–she sold her bakery, but I still shop there), and pieces of baguette or slices from a cottage loaf are not usually within reach. I’m glad they’re more available here.
    I have a variation on the mesh strainer that I really like. It expands to fit across the sink, and is quite large, but only about 3 inches deep. It’s really nice for bulk-prepping veggies or rinsing berries, because I can spread them out. For anyone else who leads a dishwasher-free existence (or am I the only one?) you will rue the day you drain beans in it. They mush into the mesh and requiring scrubbing with a stiff brush and some cussing. I donated my large-hole strainer, and wound up replacing it for beans. It’s worth the cupboard space for me to have both.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    good to know about the mesh strainer!! No beans for sure!

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  5. Hannah Beth Reid

    02/01/2019

    Two of our kids dislike all toothpaste and will tolerate the Hello watermelon flavor.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, all of our kids seem to like the watermelon flavor too!

    [Reply]

  6. Ra

    02/01/2019

    I might be mistaken, but your toaster resembles mine..I got a new one last year (my 45 year old toaster needed to be replaced…still worked…just time to upgrade) But in reading the manual I learned that you can ‘lift’ the push down handle and it will ‘lift’ your toast up high enough to easily remove from the toaster with any means/method you choose…Even your fingers!..Imagine that!. All this new-fangled technology definitely boggles my regular routines ..:) I notice your push down handle doesn’t touch the top of the groove which makes me think your toaster may offer the same feature?..Maybe not?

    I like those little wooden tongs…and the price was surely ‘right’.. Plus you’re not as apt to get electrocuted as the metal tools you mentioned using to retrieve the toast out of a plugged in toaster!…(My electrician husband of 50 years has scolded me more than once about the dangers of doing that with our old toaster…)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that would be awesome if our toaster did that, but it doesn’t. We can lift it just a tiny bit, but unless our bread is really tall, we can’t reach it (especially not with my homemade bread). Also, we have issues of thinly sliced bread or reheated pancakes actually falling through he grates at the bottom, so our tongs come in handy for that too!

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  7. Jennifer Phillips

    02/01/2019

    Hi Andrea,
    I love Meyers Briggs stuff and typed you as ISTJ a long time ago. My husband is an ISTJ too. I’m an INTP and love learning how “J” people think! I’ve never met another INTP woman in person, mainly because I think we’re all in our own homes!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hahahah — I laughed out loud when I read this!
    and good for you for typing me so accurately — It IS fairly obviously though I suppose ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. Caroline

    02/01/2019

    As a heads up, the Target store brand sells the white grape with that dispenser top. I believe they have both the white grape and a berry flavors as dye-free.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    awesome — thanks for sharing!

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  9. Christine

    02/01/2019

    I love your favorite things posts! Anne Bogel, the woman behind the other marvelous blog that I read every day, “Modern Mrs. Darcy,” is the author of the book “Reading People.” I was never into personality types until I read that book. She explains Myers-Briggs and Enneagram in a very understandable way.

    Now, off to get some mesh colanders.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh I love Anne’s blog too!

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  10. Avia

    02/01/2019

    My kids use the hello brand toothpaste also and I have been using their charcoal toothpaste (my teeth defiantly look whiter!). I buy them from Grove.
    Why don’t all medicine bottle have the built in dispenser? It must be a patent – that would be only thing that makes sense! There’s is nothing more frustrating than having a sick kid and then having to use multiple devices to get the meds in the dispenser!
    Fellow ISTJ here. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on this. Not long ago I listened to a podcast (Sorta Awesome) about how different personality types organize. The thought is that I_J types much prefer to tackle a project and get it all done at once. This is SOOO true of me and explains why I struggle so much with only doing a little at a time. I actually thought – “Andrea Dekker must not be a I_J type which is why she’s so good at doing projects a little at a time.” Well I guess I was wrong about that!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, we have the charcoal toothpaste too. Do you use it every day or only once in a while? I was thinking it was supposed to be a once in a while type of thing, but maybe I should be using it daily!

    And yes, I’m definitely ISTJ, but I think I’ve just gotten good at breaking down projects out of necessity with 4 kids running around! I much prefer to just do it and be done, but I’d never accomplish anything with that mindset ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Avia Reply:

    I probably use it every other day.

    [Reply]

    Avia Reply:

    …and I drink a lot of coffee so I just might have a lot more stains that need removing!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, I don’t drink coffee or really anything that could stain my teeth. I might start using the charcoal toothpaste more though! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  11. Jen

    02/01/2019

    These are my favorite posts!! Those medicine bottles are genius! Wow! I remember putting kids in the bathtub just to get medicine in them! That way, I could hose them down when it was all over them. LOL!

    Mesh colanders are life changing, I agree! I never had any until a few years ago, and I use them regularly now, too!

    It won’t surprise you in the least to know that I am also an ISTJ! I can be an ESTJ sometimes, but as I’ve gotten older, the “I” has definitely become more prominent! Jeff is completely my opposite, ENFP, so that keeps us hopping! Have you ever taken an Enneagram test? I’m a 1, and I’d be willing to bet that you are, too!

    Happy Weekend! My sister is ready for school to start in GR again! ๐Ÿ™‚

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes — I have been anxiously awaiting your comment because I knew you’d be an ISTJ (I’m also bordering on the I/E combo — same as you!)
    And yes, I’m a 1 on the Enneagram (I’ll be talking more about this next week!)

    You’ll never believe it, but Dave is also an ISTJ!! I guess “opposites didn’t attract” in our situation! haha!

    Back to school next week (hopefully)!

    [Reply]

  12. Mary Ann

    02/01/2019

    Fellow ISTJ here! (My husband is an ENFP. Lol. Keeps life interesting!)

    Thank you for explaining how to fill the syringe with meds. We have that same type of container with the little hole. Little Miss just had tylenol for the first time last week and I was frustrated with how difficult it was to get the meds out. Haha. Next time will be easier. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Dave is also an ISTJ — so we work well together!
    Glad my photos of the meds could help — it’s crazy how complicated children’s things can be! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. Christine

    02/01/2019

    I knew it! We are complete opposites! I’m an ENFP. That’s why your blog is so intriguing to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My husband is a major INTJ – sometimes I wish he had an S in there instead of that N! We could use more organization in our lives, haha!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha!!! I was with 3 friends last weekend who were ALL ENFP — total opposites! Crazy how different personalities can mesh well together though!

    [Reply]

    Christine Meurer Reply:

    You inspired me to read an ENFP book. So interesting! I now better understand my “burnout” from last year and communicating with my INTJ husband. (It’s a good thing we’re both intuitive!!)
    I laughed out loud when I read this part and thought you might enjoy it too.
    From “The ENFP Survival Guide” by Heidi Priebe –

    “Introverted Sensing is a huge filing room full of little minions who run around and place experiences into pre-categorized shelves based on which observations Extroverted Intuition hands down to them and how Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Thinking suggest they be filed. This system works quite effectively in an ISTJโ€™s brain because the minions are granted full autonomy to organize and create structure as they see fit. In an ENFP brain, however, the filing room is chaos because just as the minions are finally starting to get things organized, Ne has the habit of bursting into the filing room, throwing piles of uncategorized papers all over the floor, laughing maniacally and then leaving. Some things simply never get sorted.

    Si is very rarely given autonomy in the ENFP brain. Even when it does chime in from time to time โ€“ suggesting a healthier diet or a consistent work schedule to the other functions – Ne is quick to shut it down.

    โ€œI HAVE A FUNNER IDEA,โ€ Ne will yell, and Fi will file the fun new idea under โ€œYes, letโ€™s!โ€ And then Introverted Sensing will retreat to its file room in shame.”

    It’s my life!!! Hahaha

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    hilarious… and true!
    So we are literally opposites, and yet you keep coming back to read more ๐Ÿ™‚

    [Reply]

  14. Paula

    02/01/2019

    I learned about the Meyers Briggs PersonalityTest when my niece was getting her master’s degree in business. Many large companies use this test when hiring individuals. I took the test, and I am an ENTJ. Yes, it fits perfectly. Only a small percentage of women are these personality. I highly recommend checking it out.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, many companies give personality tests these days. They really can be so helpful in knowing if someone will work well within your company!

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  15. LEANNE HEERN

    02/01/2019

    one other note…. I think I will try the toothpaste for myself…. I have a child with a tree nut allergy… most allergists say coconut is a tree nut (versus a fruit!), and the website says you should avoid their products if you have a tree nut allergy ๐Ÿ˜‰ just wanted to let your readers know ๐Ÿ™‚

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for sharing — I would have never thought to look at this!

    [Reply]

  16. Stacey

    02/01/2019

    I also love the kids medicine that has the syringe hole for dispensing medicine and donโ€™t understand why all meds donโ€™t come that way. However after 3 kids I discovered another amazing thing! If you ask meijer pharmacy for a medicine syringe (they are free anytime Iโ€™ve asked) in the package is a little plug like thing with a hole in it. It fits in the bottles that donโ€™t have the hole built in! (ibuprofen, Benadryl, Tylenol) Seriously my mind was blown and so excited when I figured out what that piece was for! I can take a picture if you arenโ€™t sure what Iโ€™m talking about let me know

    [Reply]

    Kari Reply:

    We got an antibiotic from the pharmacy recently and they gave us the syringe and plug. My mind was blown too! Why didn’t I know about this sooner?!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is awesome — I’m totally asking for the plugs the next time I hit up Meijer!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I got the freebie plugs from Meijer this morning — thanks SO much!!

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  17. LEANNE

    02/01/2019

    I am a true ESFJ…. and pretty much everything about my life supports that! I’m going to check out the hello toothpaste because I, too, HATE blue blobs everywhere!!!

    [Reply]