Thursday, June 23, 2011

Victorinox Bread Knives (Isn’t that an AWESOME company name? ^_^)

Victorinox 10 1/4 inch bread knife

A few years ago I decided to try and make my own bread at home, without using a bread machine or a stand mixer. (Why? Because I didn’t have either, and I’m cheap. ^_^)

I quickly discovered two things:

  1. Making bread by hand is frickin’ easy!! The first few batches weren’t great, but it really isn’t a big deal at all!
  2. A shoddy bread knife is worse than no knife at all.

If you’re at all interested in making your own bread, rest assured that you really don’t need a bread machine or stand mixer! But you absolutely should spend a little money to get a good bread knife. There’s really nothing quite like trying to slice your delicious homemade bread, only to have it squish into super-condensed-not-as-awesome bread. Sadness. :(

So, every time I made bread I’d end up squishing it when I tried to slice it, and I’d say, “Omg I need a good bread knife!” Then I’d promptly forget until the next time I made bread. *^_^*

Well this past Christmas my hubby surprised me with a WONDERFUL and inexpensive gift: a Victorinox 10 1/4 inch bread knife!

He picked it because when he searched Amazon, it was the top listed bread knife. Oh, and it’s only $27.95. ^_^

It was a total surprise to me, and it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received! This thing cuts like a dream!

Now that I think about that phrase, it sounds kinda weird. I’ve never really had sharp dreams… But I digress.

In addition to slicing bread, this is also the best damn tomato knife I’ve ever had! It slices tomatoes like they’re tissue paper. Mind you, I already had a Pampered Chef tomato knife, and it’s pretty good! (No smooshed tomatoes.) But the Victorinox bread knife just is leagues above it.

If I could change one thing I’d go back in time and ask for the 8 inch Victorinox bread knife. The 10 1/4 inch knife is a total of 15 inches long with the handle, and the blade sticks out 2 1/2 inches from my Kapoosh knife block. It’s a LONG knife, and I really think the 8 inch blade would work just fine. But that’s really my only beef with the knife I have now!

Lesson learned: A good knife is a valuable investment, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive investment!

Read more »

Sunday, June 12, 2011

World’s Best Cat Litter


Years before I got my first cat I researched what kind of litter I wanted to use. (Yes, I’m a little odd.)

At that point I decided I wanted a natural litter that was biodegradable, flushable, and dustless.

So I decided on Feline Pine. XD

After we got cats we used it for several years and it was okay. When one of our cats started avoiding the litter box due to urinary issues, we briefly tried Swheat Scoop. I know some people swear by Swheat Scoop, but when it mixed with urine, ugh…. >_< The smell made me gag! There was no way we could keep using it. (The cat is fine now, btw.)

Time went on, and I decided to check out cat litters again just to see what was new. I read up on World's Best Cat Litter and figured we’d give it a shot. It still met my requirements of being natural, biodegradable, flushable, and dustless.

And O.M.G!!!! This stuff is AMAZING!! We have no issues with smell, it clumps great, and our cats took to it right away. What surprised me the most is how long one bag lasts! With three cats a 34lb bag lasts over a month. o_O

It’s made from corn, but for some reason the multi-cat formula naturally smells like BBQ. (I’ve had other people give a fresh bag a whiff, so I know it’s not just my brain that’s smelling BBQ.)

Once it’s in the litter box the BBQ smell dissipates. But yeah, that part is weird. *^_^* Regardless, I’m a total convert. I wish we’d started using it sooner! 

If your local pet store doesn’t stock World's Best Cat Litter  (or if you just prefer delivery), you can order it from Just click the link above!

Read more »

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The SodaStream Home Soda Maker

Sodastream Soda Maker and Syrups

A few years ago I was reading a political blog (no joke) and in an off-topic thread they asked readers to share what “unusual” products they enjoyed.

One reader talked about the SodaStream and how it was totally awesome to make her own soda at home. I’d never heard of this thing, so I started looking into it myself.

After a good bit of research and number crunching, I decided that the SodaStream was indeed, awesome, and worth trying out. Well, both my hubby and I absolutely love it! ^_^ It has been a fantastic addition to our kitchen and we use it every day. 

If you’ve never even heard of SodaStream, here’s what you need to know. There are several SodaStream models, but they all work on the same principle. You essentially have four parts.

  1. A canister of CO2 to provide carbonation.
  2. Reusable bottles to hold the water.
  3. The soda maker itself, where all the fizzy magic happens.
  4. Flavorings! A bottle of syrup makes 12 liters of soda, and a pack of the MyWater flavorings is enough for 60 liters of flavored water!!

Cold water holds carbonation better than room temp water, so it’s best to keep any unused bottles in the fridge. When you’re ready to make soda, screw the bottle into the soda maker and push the button! (Or pull the lever. It depends on the model!)

The really cool thing is that you can choose how fizzy you want your drink! With the Sodastream Fountain Jet you push the button until it makes a loud BZZT!! (That’s the one I have.) The fizz is measured by the number of buzzes! “Standard” is three buzzes, but in my home we go for four.

After the water is carbonated, unscrew it from the soda maker and measure out your soda syrup or water flavoring. (The caps for the syrup serve as measuring cups.)  This is another area where you can customize it to your liking. ^_^ If you want a stronger flavor, add more syrup! Too strong? Don’t add as much syrup the next time.

Here are a few things that appealed to me.

  • No aspartame. Not even in the diet drinks!
  • No HFCS.
  • Takes very little space to store a LOT of soda.
  • The bottles are reusable for up to three years, which means less waste!
  • Has 1/3rd the carbs of regular soda. (I’m a diabetic, so carbs are important.)
  • No electricity needed!

If you drink a lot of soda then you’ll be quite impressed with the storage factor. Here’s an actual shot of the top of our lovely fridge!

soda syrup storage

The basket on the left holds five bottles. Next to it is an old CD holder, and that holds eight bottles total. (We like to stock up.)

That right there is enough syrup to make 156 liters of soda. To have the same amount of store bought soda you’d need 78 two liter bottles!!! o_O

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the room to store 78 two liter bottles. But the space on top of my fridge? I can swing that! 

And for the record, there’s a wide, WIDE range in prices for the various models. I have the cheapest one and it’s totally fine. ^_^ If you can afford swanky, go for it!


The Downsides

You can probably tell that I love my SodaStream, but it does have a few issues.

Exchanging the CO2 canisters can be a hassle. Currently we live in a  neighborhood, and we just do an exchange where they pick up the empties and drop off new ones. (We pay, of course!) But we’ve had a few times where they didn’t pick up the empty canisters and we were told to just hang on to them until the next time we did an exchange. >_<

People who live in apartments don’t usually want to leave the canisters by their door, but thankfully more stores are starting to do exchanges. Alas, the stores in my area only exchange the smaller, 60 liter canisters. (I use the 130 liter so we don’t have to switch it out as often.)

With the cost of CO2 canisters and the syrup, the soda is about the same price as name-brand 2 liter soda. If you use cans then this is a WAY better deal. But if you’re a bargain shopper who only buys 2-liters when they’re on sale and you have coupons, then you won’t save any money with a SodaStream.

But as previously mentioned, you’ll save a TON of storage space.

The syrup is increasing in price. This part really bites, IMHO. When we first got our Sodastream Fountain Jet the syrups were all $4.99 a bottle, and often we found them online at Kohls for $3.99. Right now 27 of the flavors at are listed at $6.99! Plus, they’re adding a new line of pure-sugar syrups, which is great! But the bottles are $9.99 and they make only 6 liters of soda. :(

Luckily my favorite flavor (Dr. Pete) is still $4.99, but I dread the day they bump it up. This is practically the only stuff I drink!

The root beer and ginger ale syrups are weak. This is personal preference, but we can’t stand the root beer. >_< Even at max fizzyness (10 buzzes) it still has no bite. Bleh. As for the ginger ale, we like the flavor, but it takes 1 1/2 caps to make it good. I’m not sure what the issue is there.

But despite the downsides I must say that my only regret is that we didn’t get one sooner! If you really get into it I suggest you search online for sales and buy in bulk. Usually you can at least save in shipping if you do that. has several models available, and many of the accessories. Check out the slideshow below to see my top picks! ^_^

Read more »

Friday, June 3, 2011

Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme

burts-bees-coconut-foot-creme-4-34Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme has been a true godsend for me. I’m a diabetic, and my feet are almost always tough and dry. Not fun. >_<

I tried numerous “heavy-duty” foot creme products, and had pretty much given up on finding relief. On a whim I tried the Coconut Foot Creme,  and I was amazed at how much better my feet were after just one application. HUGE improvement!

This foot creme has a vasoline feel, but there is NO petroleum in it. However, your feet will be very greasy and slippery until it soaks in, so for safety’s sake, put on socks!!

I know, I know, “Greasy feet are nasty!!” I don’t love the feeling either, but the results are unbeatable. Plus, a little bit goes a LONG way!

If you tried the Burt's Bees Peppermint Foot Lotion  or the Burt's Bees Honey & Bilberry Foot Creme and were disappointed, rest assured that the Coconut Foot Creme is totally different! To be honest, the Burt’s Bees Peppermint Foot Lotion and the Honey & Bilberry Foot Creme are the worst foot lotions that I’ve tried. They both use a very thin base, and my feet would soak up a tablespoon of the lotion within minutes, then go back to feeling super dry. They might be cheaper than the Coconut Foot Creme, but they won’t last as long and really won’t help severely damaged skin.

Go for the Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme and you won’t be disappointed. ^_^


Update 6/07/11: I had lunch with my mom today and asked her if she still liked the Coconut Foot Creme. (I recommended it to her a while back, since I know she has problems with dry feet too.) Her face absolutely lit up and she said that she LOVES it! It was really neat to hear her say that it was the best foot creme product that she’s ever tried. ^_^ I love it when people enjoy a product that I recommended!

Oh, and she mentioned something that I forgot to share with you. If your feet are severely dry you’ll probably need to apply the Coconut Foot Creme several nights in a row. But once they’re “repaired,” you can go a long while before needing to put it on again. She uses it once every other week now, and her feet are fabulous!

Read more »

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kapoosh - The only knife block you'll ever need.

a knife in a Kapoosh blockThis is no exaggeration! Kapoosh knife blocks are completely different from the typical solid knife-blocks that you're used to.
A Kapoosh block uses hundreds of flexible "freedom rods" to hold your knives in place. There are no pre-cut slots. The rods mold to the shape of your knives!
Additionally, the rods slide out as group and are dishwasher safe (top rack only!), which makes this the easiest-to-clean knife block that I’ve ever seen. o_O
my Kapoosh block and some plants When I first heard about Kapoosh knife blocks they only had two shapes available: an oval stainless-steel model, and a wood-framed block. I opted for the wood frame. It’s right there to your left. I usually don’t keep it by the plants, of course!

I've had it for almost four years and I still love it! My knife collection has fluctuated over time, but the block always looks perfect. No empty slots to guilt you into buying unneeded items! (I'm a firm believer in buying knives that you'll use instead of just getting a matching set.)

This is one of my favorite kitchen items and frankly, I think it’s a must-have for anyone with a non-standard knife collection. (Gah. That sounds kinda creepy. I’m talking to chefs here, not murderers! (I hope…))
You can find Kapoosh knife blocks  on Amazon, or you can just look at the sideshow below to see what they have. ^_^

Read more »

Cheap Web Hosting | Top Web Hosts | Great HTML Templates from