Archive for the ‘Necessities’ Category

What? This old thing?

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Cooking stuff, Necessities


I’ve had this thing for YEARS. Bought it somewhere sometime, and have NEVER USED IT. I think all of the Japanese scared me. And the directions with all of the arrows pointing to all of the parts that appear to be designed to cleanly slice off bits of fingers. But today I needed to slice up a bunch of potatoes and onions for scalloped pork chops with potatoes and onions, and it just seemed dumb to do all of that manually, even if it did mean risking my fingertips.

Holy cow…how awesome was this?! After I worked through the possible blade options and selected a thickness by turning a knobby thing (technical cooking term), I had those potatoes and onions sliced in minutes. And by using the plastic guard thing, I came through with all fingers and toes.

The box boasts “Wonderful sharpness, speed and Completion,” and that’s no lie. The Completion was all I hoped it would be.

Oh, Japanese Benriner (??), where have you been all my life. Oh, yeah…in the cupboard collecting dust.

Stupid me.


Is there such a thing as the perfect pen? Probably not, but that won’t stop me from trying to find it. In Target, I’m in the pen aisle. In Staples, I’m in the pen aisle. In Rite-Aid, I’m in the pen aisle. But true pen heaven exists online at Hoo boy…fountain pens, gel pens, pen pens, highlighters, erasers, notebooks, refills, reviews, pictures. I swoon. I order. And while I’m at it, I might as well order $25 worth to get the free and FAST shipping. They play me like a fiddle.

These beauties arrived in today’s shipment…the Pilot FriXion Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pens. (Knock? What?) I tried the 1st generation FriXion pens years ago and they were ghastly. The ink was a washed out gray instead of crisp black. All of the colors looked diluted. Not my thing. At all.

But THESE…wow…what an improvement. The colors are vibrant. The ink is smoooooth. AND it’s erasable. As I understand it, the heat generated by the friction (or friXion!) of using the pen’s “eraser,” causes the ink to disappear. Put it in the freezer and it will reappear…or so I hear. So, yeah, not good for checks or legal documents or journals you leave in a hot car, but for everything else? Super sweet.

Maybe even approaching perfection.



Posted: January 29, 2011 in Necessities, Treats

I’ll start with the bad news…you can’t get one anymore. Well, maybe on ebay, but not from Mr. Coffee.


I love hot chocolate, but let’s face it, there are issues:
1) Instant- frequently watery and sludgey. Not a fan.
2) Real stuff via prep in a saucepan- decent, but it has to be watched, and again, prone to sludginess.
3) Purchased (Panera, B&N, etc.)- good but pricey.

Enter COCOMOTION! I picked this up for ten bucks at Wal-Mart last January (clearance), and should’ve bought all they had. What a deal.

Cocomotion blends (completely!) and heats (perfectly!) your hot chocolate mix into milk so that all you have to do is drink and enjoy. So simple. So good.

Mr. Coffee, why oh why would you stop making this? Dopes.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap

Posted: November 13, 2010 in Field Trips, Necessities


For the past two summers, we’ve borrowed my cousin’s camp in the Adirondacks, and spent a handful of blissful August days hiking, walking, reading, and lounging. There is no agenda. There is no cell service. There is no cable. In these few days, the knots in my scrunched up shoulders slowly unkink, and my mind and body reset. I look forward to these days all year.

Along with borrowing Todd’s camp, we’ve also borrowed a little of his Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. (Is it still borrowing when you don’t give it back?) We bring our own mini bottles of hotel shampoo, but never use those, so drawn are we to that bottle with the blue label and all that writing. This stuff is, I warn you, oddly watery, but you only need a tiny bit to lather up its pepperminty goodness. Hair and body feel all zingy with mint when you’re done.

The label claims that this minty concoction can be used for 18 things, including teeth brushing. Castile soap? On my toothbrush? Yeah, no.

As you can see, this label has a lot to say, but since I never wear my glasses in the shower, it’s all kind of a blur. What I DO know is that it’s a Fair Trade product, it lasts FOREVER, and it’s peppermintylicious.

On our way home from camp this year, we bought our own bottle. And it’s still going strong.

Colored pencils

Posted: September 7, 2010 in Necessities

WARNING: Objects may be more numerous than they appear.


I never met a Prismacolor I didn’t like. (I have the BIG box.)


I might have a problem. A color-coded problem. Could be.

Thank you, God.

Posted: July 26, 2010 in Field Trips, Necessities

I love that, despite a day of screwed up flights, my luggage arrived in Norfolk when I did. Yay for underpants! I’ll spare you the pictures.