A Few of My Favorite Things July 2015

July FavoritesOne of my favorite posts to read on other blogs and favorite videos to watch on YouTube are Monthly Favorites. This is where people usually share their favorite products, usually related to the type of blog/channel they have, such as beauty products if it’s a beauty channel, etc. I borrowed the idea from one of my favorite blogs, andreadekker.com, where she also shares her monthly favorites.

I’ll be sharing all kinds of things – cooking tools, household items, baby things and anything else that makes life easier and I really enjoy. Some of my monthly favorites aren’t things at all. I hope some of these reviews will help you find products that are helpful to you, as well as saving you money on trying multiple other products, like I did. If anything, you can just read my thoughts and see if it’s something you would be interested in. I would also love to hear about your favorite things, so please share. 

1. Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop

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Amazon stock photo

I’ve been looking for a good mop my entire married life. I’ve tried many different kinds of mops and I just didn’t like any of them. I just resigned myself to washing floors with a rag on my hands and knees. It was fine when we lived in apartments, where most of the floor space was carpeted except for my tiny kitchen and bathrooms. When we moved into our house last summer, the entire 1700 square feet is bamboo flooring. Even though we love our floors, it’s not my idea of fun, crawling on my hands an knees cleaning.

This mop does such a thorough job, with minimal effort. I love that there is a spray bottle attached to it, so I don’t have to keep dunking the mop in a bucket of water.  Another great thing is that you can just detach the mop pad and just throw it in the laundry.

2. Microplane Zester/Grater

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Amazon stock photo

This nifty tool doesn’t take up a lot of space, and I use it all the time. Most often I use it to zest lemons, limes and oranges and it does such  beautiful job of finely shredding Parmesan cheese too. It’s really sharp and you can use it for so many other things, like grating onions or garlic into meatballs, grating chocolate into tiny, magical chocolate dust, grating ginger, etc. I’ve had mine for years and it’s still just as sturdy and sharp as when I first bought it.

3. Women’s Mad Love Lydia Loafer

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Target stock photo

I accidentally stumbled onto these shoes in Target. I’ve worn them all month. They are one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve owned. They are so easy to throw on, are very light, but not flimsy at all. I really like this gray color, since it goes with almost any outfit. The price is great and I think they’re really cute.

They are perfect for grocery trips, library outings, walks around the neighborhood, getting together with friends and any other casual excursions. I actually just bought myself a second pair. When I wear them out, I highly doubt Target will still carry them. I want to have a new pair stashed in my closet. They are still in stock on their website right now, so I thought some of you might want to pick up a pair.

4. Amco Enameled Aluminum Lemon Squeezer

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Amazon stock photo

Since I use lemons all the time, this tool has also been a favorite for many years. I use it almost every day. It squeezes out every last drop of the lemon and keeps the seeds in. There are juicers specifically made for limes and oranges too, but since I don’t like unitaskers, I just use the same one for all three, I just cut the orange into smaller pieces.

5. Chicco Next Fit Convertible Carseat

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Amazon stock photo

I can’t believe we already switched Nathaniel from his infant car seat into this convertible car seat.

When he was a newborn, he did great in the car and was such a happy baby. When he grew a little bigger, I didn’t know what to do with him anymore. He would cry almost every time that we would drive anywhere. No matter what we tried, nothing helped. It didn’t even cross my mind that it could be something to do with his infant car seat, since it can be used up until the time he is 30 pounds. I have to take him with me on all my errands, and my Mama heart would just cry along with him, as he would scream for 20-30 minutes straight. I had to pull over several times just to comfort him, but as soon as I would start driving again, he would start screaming again. Finally, I did some research online to see if any other parents had any ideas. The #1 thing that kept popping up everywhere was that the infant car seats were the source of the trouble. Parents from many different sources said that as soon as they changed the car seat, the baby was content again. Well, I was skeptical, but I was ready to try anything at this point. I figured that we wouldn’t actually lose anything, even if he kept screaming, since eventually he would need to be switched to a bigger car seat anyway.

I did a lot more research, wrote down some possibilities and we took Nathaniel to a baby store to test out the different options. We actually strapped him into the car seats to see how it would fit. In the end, we decided to get this Chicco Next Fit Convertible Car Seat. I really like that the straps are nice and soft and don’t cut into his neck, chest and legs. The material seems really comfortable and doesn’t get too hot, which is a really big deal here in Florida. One of the parents reviewing this car seat described it as a La-Z-boy for babies and I completely agree.

The big test came when we drove to Orlando (which is a few hours away) and then to NY, more than 20 hours away. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. Nathaniel was actually playing with his toys, cooing and babbling in the backseat, and took long naps too. It was a night and day difference.

This car seat also reclines, which is great when Nathaniel is napping, and it is SO easy to install. This car seat is for both forward facing and rear facing, and can fit a baby as small as 5 lbs, all the way up to 65 lbs. (A great tip I have, is to try to get a coupon. If you sign up for Buy Buy Baby emails, they will send you coupons. We got ours on sale and used a 20% off coupon.)

6. Norpro Stainless Steel Skewers

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Amazon stock photo

We’ve been grilling a ton this month. Our old skewers were becoming bent out of shape and the coating was flaking off. I found these stainless steel skewers and couldn’t be happier with them. They are much more sturdier that my previous ones, it’s easy to thread food onto them, and they don’t have any coating, so I don’t have to worry about it flaking off. I bought the 12 inches size, but they also have 14 inches available.

7. Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden 

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Amazon stock photo

When I first read this book, I couldn’t put it down. I read it just two days. I also read it a loud to my husband too. It’s full of mystery and drama and isn’t sappy, so I knew he would enjoy it. Every time we would drive anywhere together, this book came with us. We probably finished reading it in a week, and he enjoyed it just as much as I did. I’ve reread it several times already.

It keeps you in suspense, the characters are very real and relatable. I love reading fiction, especially historical fiction, so this was a perfect fit. However, one of my pet peeves in reading fiction novels that is so many of them are shallow and fake, and I feel my brain cells dying while I’m reading it. I don’t even waste my time finishing them. This one was very well written, the story line was very interesting and thought provoking.

The story takes place in Boston, where the main character, Lydia, works as a translator in the US Navy, which is very unusual for a young lady of that time. She is very smart and gets involved in the underground work of abolishing the opium trade. I’m don’t want to give too much away, but this book was definitely worth my time. If you’re looking for something new to read, I highly recommend it.

Now for my most important favorites – the intangible ones.

Getting my PICC line out

August 2015 Favorites-1-9If you’re not aware, I had a PICC line in my arm since September 19, 2014. I had a really difficult pregnancy and recovery, so I was receiving IV infusions this whole time. Finally, on the day that Nathaniel turned 5 months, I had the most normal labs since before I got pregnant. The next day, on July 24th, the home health nurse finally took out this foreign object out of my arm.

I was so happy and still am amazed that I finally feel much more like myself. I know it will take my body a little bit more time to completely recuperate, but I am thankful to God for his healing and for blessing me with wonderful doctors and that I was able to be get medical care at home. If I spent all day, from sunup to sundown, on my knees thanking God, it wouldn’t be enough to express my gratitude.

Maximus born

maximus copyOn July 4, 2015, my new nephew, Maximus, was born. We are thrilled to welcome another little boy into our family. He is so loved by all of us and especially his two big sisters.

Family visiting

August 2015 Favorites-1-8My aunt and uncle came to visit us from Ohio, and we had a wonderful week with them. My brothers and sister visited with their families as well, so we had some great times all together. We love spending time with our families.

Favorite Bible Verse

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This is a chalkboard that we have in our dining room. I like to write different Bible verses and other inspiring quotes on it to be reminded daily of God’s goodness.

A Bible verse that has been significantly meaningful to me this month and throughout my pregnancy, was this one:

“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

God is always faithful. It’s not always easy to trust Him, but when I do, He gives me such a perfect peace, that I can’t explain it. It’s so comforting to know that he has everything in His control.

I’d love to hear about your favorite things too. Have you ever tried any of the products that I talked about? Are there any cooking, household, baby items that you think I would enjoy?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. This simply means sometimes I recommend a product or service and if you choose to purchase that product or service from my recommendation, I will get a small referral commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you but it does help to pay a tiny bit for the work I put in to creating recipes and sharing tips with you. I really appreciate your support. Thank you. The main intent of this post is to simply share my experience with you, so if you happen to find a great deal on a product I recommend at a garage sale, anywhere else online, or at a store, by all means, take advantage of it:). I won’t be mad, I promise. 

25 Comments

  • Natashenka_k

    Hi Olga, thanks so much for recommending the lemon squeeze, I just purchased one from Amazon via you’re provided link! Excited to use it!
    I’m so happy that you’re feeling better!
    You are a big inspiration to me! May God Bless you and your Family!

  • Valya @ Valya' s Taste of Home

    Love this post Olga. Last Saturday we traveled to see some of our friends and family which was 2 hrs away from. I could not understand why my 6 week old son was so cranky most of the time we were driving, being such a quiet and good baby. On the way back I actually had to take him out of the car seat and hold him while driving. By reading your post about cars eat it clicked to me why he was very uncomfortable. You would think that all car seats should be comfortable for babies. I will get this car seat, it looks like a good product. No matter how experienced mom you could be, you always find so much new and useful information even from a new mom’s like you Olga. Thank you for this post. 🙂

    • olgak7

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Valya.
      I think we mommies and homemakers can always learn from each other.
      I hope you enjoy the car seat as much as we do.

  • Diana

    My 4 months baby is always crying in the car seat, our road trips are like nightmearars. Thank you so much for your post. We are going to Canada this week, and I didn’t know how we will be on the road with the crying baby all the time. And now I’m gonna try the convertible car seat for sure. Do you use yours rear facing or front?

    • olgak7

      My baby is only 5 months, so he’ll be rear facing for a while. I hope the new car seat works for you too, Diana.
      It’s so frustrating and sad to have a crying baby in the car.

  • Nata b

    I had the same question about rear facing or forward facing. My baby is 23 lbs I wonder if I could use it forward facing because he gets so cranky on drives. Some times I take him out and he is so happy to look out the front windshield.

    • olgak7

      It is recommended to keep the baby rear facing until they are 2 years old or exceed the height or weight limit for the car seat that you are using. The car seat the we have is 40 lbs rear facing and up to 65 lbs forward facing.

  • Marina

    Great post! I loved reading all about your favorites. I am planning a trip to the library tomorrow and will see about checking out the book you mentioned, knowing what a big reader you are, I just know it will be great!
    Also, thank you for recommending a mop. I have about 1000 sq ft of tile and wood floors and I STILL wash them crawling around on my hands and knees! I just haven’t found a mop yet that I really like. Will be trying this one out for sure (does that put just a little bit of pressure on you? Haha)!
    I’ll be looking forward to more posts like this!
    Blessing to you, dear!

    • olgak7

      Thank you, Marina. I’m glad you enjoyed hearing some of my thoughts. I hope you enjoy some of the things that I recommend, although you’ll have to form your own opinions:).

  • Tanya

    Hi Olga, we have the same car seat for our daughter and we love it too! Last year when she had just turned 1 we drove from Chicago to St Petersburg FL and she drove the entire way in her car seat just fine. And it’s really safe too. Unfortunately we were also rear ended and then hit the car in front of us (different trip) with my daughter in her car seat and although she got scared (she was sleeping at the time), she was perfectly fine. It’s a great car seat, I’m so glad you like it too!

  • Nata

    Olga, have you tried electric mops? It’s amazing! I was struggling with same thing- had bunch of mops that I’m not using any more because I filound a gem – electric steamer -mop for wooden (except for laminate floors I think), tile floors. Plus it uses water only no chemicals – with superior results. Plus it’s head triangular shaped so super easy to reach every corner in your house. Had to share as I love your blog and think you’re amazing, very strong in God young girl. Thank you for sharing great recipes, your struggles and victories. You’re such an inspiration to many ladies (especially to me).

    • olgak7

      No, I’ve never tried them. It sounds awesome:). Especially with all my floors. I’ll have to try it in the future. Thank you so much for sharing.
      I really appreciate your kind words. Comments like yours really make my day.

  • Kel

    I am so happy to hear your line is out! 5 months postpartum is a long time. I was praying for you and glad to read the good news.

  • Veronika

    Thank you Olga for good recommendations, I loved your monthly favorites post and got lemon squeezer and skewers off the amazon! Now on to grilling salmon kebabs -inspired by your grilling video !Thank you for sharing your favorites

  • Julia

    Thank you for recommendations. Did you know you could use coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond at Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby.

    • olgak7

      Yep! Isn’t that awesome?
      Although the last time I went to Buy Buy Baby with a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon, the sales clerk would not accept it. I guess it depends on the clerk, since I’ve used it in the past.

  • Natasha

    Love to hear about your favorites! Great post Olga. Wanna share my favorite with you. I was too on a hunt for a good mop, I hated to wash floor on my knees and all those mops only had like one attachable cloth so I feel like you just spread the dirt even more all over the floor unless your rinsing it every time while washing, so I came across Mopnado mop, and it get your floor shiny and clean, I love that it has the wash/rinse/spin option, so no more just moving the dirt around your floor. Its a bucket on a wheels and has a retractable handle to move the bucket around. Now I love washing my floors! L

  • Dina

    Thanks for sharing your favorites with us. I love that you included a book. If you can do a post on your favorite books/authors that would be so awesome.

    • olgak7

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this post, Dina. I love to share good books that I read, so I’ll be glad to pass that info along.
      Doing a post about my favorite books is a great idea, but I would have a really hard time, since I love SO MANY of them:).

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