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Products I love…

August 19, 2011 · 20 comments

in Home & Garden

Many people have talked about how they are experiencing  ‘lifestyle creep’, which basically means that as income increases, things that used to be luxuries are now necessities.

Over the span of my life, I have seen that happen somewhat in our family.  For example, when purchasing our current home, I wanted a two car garage (at a minimum), four bedrooms, and central air.  However, when we bought our starter home, our only requirement was three bedrooms (which was mostly for resale value) and a garage.  (In my defense though, we had zero children when we bought our first home, and had 3 when we bought our current home.)

On a smaller scale, there are products that I don’t know how I would do without that didn’t really exist 30 years ago, at least not that I know of.  The following are a list of products that I do own and if they broke, I would absolutely have to buy a similar item.  In addition, I have listed some new items that I just like, but would still survive without:

Items That Are A Must-Have:

Magic Bullet.  Love this little single-serve blender.  I make so many healthy smoothies that it has been well worth the small investment. Tomorrow I will be experimenting with making a little salsa now that I have some ripe tomatoes.

Two-Oven Stove.  We do not have the right space in our kitchen to have a double oven.  So, a few years ago, I bought a stove that has two ovens.  Instead of having the bottom drawer that holds pots and pans, there is a smaller oven at the top that is great for cookies or casseroles.  Then there is the oven on the bottom that is great for turkey and other roasts that need more space.  No longer do I have to cram several pyrex dishes and such into the same oven which always screws up the timing of when each dish will be done.  I now put casseroles in the top and cook the meat or other side dish at the bottom. The temperature is controlled separately for each oven, so I don’t have to worry about cooking one thing at 425 degrees along with something else that needs to cook at 350 degrees.  The overall stove/oven unit is the same size as a standard stove/oven, it is just configured a little differently.  Click here to see a picture of my Maytag Gemini stove.

Ice Cube Maker.  For the first time in 17 years of marriage, we finally bought a new refrigerator a few years ago.  All our previous refrigerators were bare-bones models, and I was constantly filling ice cube trays because of all the sports my kids play.  When we finally bought our refrigerator, I looked around at all the models, and decided an ice-cube maker in the door would be a must.  I am so glad we went with the ice cube maker, and when this refrigerator dies, I will definitely replace it with a similar model.  Not only is it more convenient, but I find that I also drink a lot more water since dispensing ice is so easy!

Single Serve Coffee Maker.  We don’t serve coffee to many people that visit (most people seem to prefer Diet Coke), so having a single serve coffee maker makes so much sense.  I only drink one cup of coffee per day, so dealing with the big glass coffee pot would be a pain. I love the convenience of the single serve coffee maker, and it is so easy to keep clean.

Sonic Care Toothbrush.  Up until 3 years ago, I used the standard manual toothbrush when brushing my teeth.  After reading about all the great things a Sonic toothbrush can provide, I decide to give one a try.  I love this sonic toothbrush.  My teeth feel so clean after using it that I can’t stand using a normal toothbrush anymore. Part of why it seems to work so well is probably because it has a timer that beeps, so you know when your two minutes of brushing are done.  I am guessing that I didn’t manually brush my teeth for two minutes every time I brushed like I do now with my Sonic Care.  I have no idea if my teeth and gums are any healthier, but I love the way my mouth feels after using it.

Unscented Hairspray.  Since I am incredibly sensitive (or should I say ‘scentsitive’?) to any fragrance, unscented hairspray is a must for me.  However, my favorite brand no longer comes unscented, and several other brands I have tried still have fragrance or something that bothers me.  So, I am on a quest for unscented hairspray. Until I find that perfect product, my hair will continue to look unkempt.  However, that is better than me wheezing and/or having a sore throat.

Crock-Pot.  I absolutely love my crockpots.  I have a bigger one for pea soup/chili and other items that I tend to make a huge batch of.  Then I have my smaller crock pot that I use for chicken breasts and such.  I love the convenience of starting dinner early in the day, and then not worrying about it until dinner time.  Also, if people come home at different times, they can just dig in to the crockpot and serve themselves a bowl of soup or whatever is on the menu that day.  (I love the ‘keep warm’ feature on my newer crock-pot.)

Items I Really Like, But Can Survive Without:

Bread Maker:  I do love to have fresh bread when I make soup.  However, if I had to, I could also make it from scratch if my bread maker fell apart and I couldn’t afford to replace it.

Steam-In-The-Bag-Vegetables:  What a great invention.  It is so easy to just throw a bag of frozen corn in the microwave and let it cook for five minutes.  If for some reason, steam-in-the-bag-vegetables cost twice as much as regular vegetables, then I would go with the standard vegetable.  However, I love to stock up on the steamable veggies when they are on sale.  Then I never feel guilty for using them.

OK, so it appears there are more items that I ‘must have’ than would ‘like to have’…

Have you found that some of your former ‘wants’ have become ‘needs’?  As technology makes life more convenient, I find that there are more things I have a hard time living without.  I am not talking electronics, but more like appliances and such.


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Beagle August 19, 2011 at 9:39 am

I have never had an ice maker and have promised that my next fridge will have one!

We have a pot that we use for steaming vegetables. They come out great and it’s really easy. I wouldn’t want to do this with plastic anyways just because of the toxicity potential.


Kris August 20, 2011 at 9:10 am

You will love the ice maker and wonder what you did without it once you get it.

I am usually pretty darn health conscious, but I didnt even think about the plastic bags for steaming vegetables. Maybe I will have to rethink my position.


Linda August 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

I love my dishwasher. I lived most of my life without a dishwasher, but am so glad I have one now. It used to be that I would determine which dishes to cook based on how much clean up was involved, but not anymore!

Adding a dishwasher to my kitchen was one of the huge drivers behind my kitchen remodel project two years ago. I also replaced the other appliances, too, and did get a refrigerator with an ice maker. I never used much ice but find myself using more now that I have this luxury. Again, it makes a difference in cooking. Cooling foods in an ice water bath? No problem!

I looked at one of those dual oven ranges but decided that I wouldn’t use it enough. But I did splurge on the range and got a Jenn Aire convection oven. 🙂


Kris August 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

I love a dishwasher too. We didnt have one growing up either, and it does make a huge difference in clean up time.
Jenn Air is a great product, you cant go wrong with that decision.


Heather August 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I’m on board with you with the Magic Bullet and the dual-oven stove. We are vegetarian and haven’t even used the large oven yet (~6 months), but the kitchen is definitely cooler only heating the little oven! Also love the crock pot!

I agree with Money Beagle about steaming veggies though – easy to do on the stove without the plastic.

I had wanted a good-quality vacuum cleaner and we finally bought a (refurbished) Dyson when our old whatever-it-was died. What a difference! Not going back to the $100 uprights again, that’s for sure!


Kris August 20, 2011 at 9:15 am

I used the lower half of the oven to roast potatoes. I use a big roasting pan, and it doesnt fit in the top part of the oven.

I have often thought about a Dyson. I will have to look into how much refurbished ones cost, great idea!


Heather August 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

Mmmmmmmmm roasted potatoes 🙂

I got the vacuum through Overstock.com after we went to brick-and-mortar stores to check them out, push them around, ask questions, etc.

I had my old upright for seven years without issue — it just didn’t work well because it was cheap. There was no way I’d take it to a repair shop, though — not worth the cost relative to the equipment.

As for the Dyson, I can’t speak yet to its longevity as I’ve had it only for about 6 months, but so far, it has been excellent. And I like that it’s bag-free, so no bags to buy. Everyone who I know personally who has one loves it and has not had any troubles. But that, much like 101 Centavos’ repair shop, is anecdotal.


Kris August 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I wonder if so many repairs are because people like their Dysons and have it repaired instead of replacing them. I am going to check out Overstock.


101 Centavos August 20, 2011 at 11:01 am

A two-oven stove!! Now that’s cool.. I can just imagine the possibilities. Too bad I don’t have a ready excuse to replace our current oven, it’s still in good shape.

Just a side comment on the Dyson vacuums, for what it’s worth. We invested in a pricey Miele vacuum more than 8 years ago (still going), and took it in for service recently. The dealer/repair shop owner pointed out that most of his repair work is done on Dysons.


Kris August 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm

My two-oven range is one of the smartest purchases ever. Makes holidays and regular dinners so much easier! Maybe your current stove might break down soon.


Aaron Hung @ aaronhung.com August 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm

One fact I like to mention about Sonic Care toothbrush is that they dont damange your gums, unlike using regular toothbrush that if you do it incorretly, you can damage your gums


Kris August 20, 2011 at 11:34 pm

That is a good point, Sonic Care is supposed to be very good for the gums.


Suba August 20, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I love my magic bullet too. Other than that I can’t think of anything I absolutely need. Well.. may be my smart phone these days. I do a lot of stuff on that, I feel lost if I leave the house without it. We have a pot and a steamer that we use everyday to steam the veggies. I like the convenience of the steam in a bag but I don’t like that it comes in plastic. I have enough toxins in my body as it is 🙂 My husband has been asking for a vitamix blender, but that cost a little too much for our budget now.


Kris August 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Maybe the blender could be a birthday present?

I still dont have a smart phone, and I am not due for an upgrade soon. I know I will get hooked when I finally get one.


Lisa @ Cents To Save August 20, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Love the ice maker in my refrigerator too! I don’t know why I waited so long to get a fridge that had this. Okay…. yes I do know why, it was the cost. 🙂


Kris August 20, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I was the same way Lksa. As long as the fridge still worked, i wouldnt replace it. I am soooooo glad when I did finally buy a new fridge, I paid the extra for the ice maker.


Moneycone August 21, 2011 at 7:11 am

I’m usually wary of as-seen-on-tv products, but anyone who’s used Magic Bullet, swears by it! I really need to try it out!


Kris August 21, 2011 at 9:20 am

MC, you need to try it if you think you will use it!


First Gen American August 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I don’t know how anyone in my family would eat veggies if I didn’t have my stove top vegetable steamer. I use that thing all the time..and my pizza stone. Food processor is up there too. These days it would be tough to live without a dishwasher as we fill ours just about every day.

I’m also now pretty attached to my home laptop as well.


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