Tool: Immersion Blender

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I suppose it’s not technically an essential tool, but it is one I use all the time: my immersion blender. I put off buying one for years, though my friends mentioned using theirs regularly. After I bought one, I knew I would never be without one again. How do I use my immersion blender? Let me count the ways To puree some soups, like roasted root vegetable, butternut squash, and pea soup. To thicken up some other soups, like bean … Read More

Review: Misto Oil Spritzer

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When I was scrutinizing my master grocery list, eyeing just how many items I could eliminate, I noticed “cooking spray.” “Cooking spray should be an easy thing to eliminate,” I thought. Turns out I use it a lot. Sometimes you don’t know these things until you do without. In our early years of marriage I didn’t buy cooking spray; I thought of it as a luxury item. But back then I also kept Crisco on hand and used that to … Read More

Review: Managers of Their Homes by Terri Maxwell

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This 175-page spiral-bound book by Steven and Teri Maxwell has been around for over ten years now. I’ve seen ladies (online only) mention their “MOTH schedule,” looked at a few online, and shrugged. I saw that the format was that you schedule out in columns what each member of the family is doing — including babies — and thought, “Ah, well, I could do that on my own if I wanted to make up a schedule.” And, when I have … Read More

Essential Tools: Kitchen Shears

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One of the most handy tools to have in the kitchen, beyond the essentials, is a good set of kitchen shears. From slitting open a pack of bacon, to cutting those strips of bacon in half, to snipping herbs and trimming fat off of meat. Use scissors instead of a pizza wheel to cut pizza. I don’t own a pizza wheel. Instead, I use scissors to quickly and cleanly cut pizza slices. Fewer tools, but multi-purpose tools, makes for a … Read More

Essential Kitchen Tools

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While we all have our own little favorite kitchen gadgets, there are only a few real kitchen essentials necessary for a smooth-running, productive kitchen. A pared-down kitchen tool drawer is easier to keep organized, clean, and useful. The fewer tools you own means your reliable stand-bys are at hand, not buried in a quagmire of random doodads. At least half the knives on the market, as well as a good percentage of the rest of the kitchen equipment sold for … Read More

Essential Kitchen Tools: Pastry Scraper

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One of my favorite lesser-known kitchen tools is a pastry scraper. I bought mine only a year or two ago and don’t know how I lived without it. It’s the sort of tool you’d find in any professional bread-making or pastry-making operation, but only rarely find in home kitchens, even though Target and Amazon have them cheap. This handy-dandy little tool cleanly divides bread dough on the counter (it’s not sharp, so it’s ok to use straight on the counter); … Read More

Digital Home Management “Binder”: Daily Docket

posted in: homemaker, productivity | 3

Home Management Binder, Control Journal, Household Notebook: It doesn’t matter what you call it, having it helps keep all the tasks involved in homemaking in front of your face when you need them to be, but off your mind when you don’t. It’s usually done with paper, but can it be adapted for the technologically savvy? Or at least the technology-owner? Can it be done with an iPad, Netbook, smartphone, iPod Touch? It certainly can. Series to Date Introduction Calendar … Read More

Making a Convivial Home: Lighten Up

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I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but it has to me often. A parent relates a disobedient or otherwise disciplinable antic of their child, and comments, “I had to leave the room because I couldn’t help laughing.” Nine times out of ten I simply can’t relate; I find myself giving a blank stare or a forced “Heh, heh, yeah.” I almost never have that problem. With a small toddler who is cute but testing defiance, perhaps … Read More

Essential Kitchen Tool: Whisks

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I have a thing for whisks. I love them. I collect all kinds and all sizes. Did you know there are multiple kinds? Balloon Of course there is the traditional balloon whisk. Everyone should have a couple sizes of this essential. Sauce But have you ever seen this kind of whisk? It is a sauce whisk. It is best for incorporating something into a liquid — concentrates into water, chocolate into cream, cornstarch into melted butter, jello into water. Flat … Read More

Convivial Home: Now & Later

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Hitting a decade birthday is a good time to pause and reflect, and though mine is still a few months away, I am pausing and reflecting. While I am in the midst of raising children, my parents, in-laws, and their peers are reaching milestones of their own: caring for their parents. It is now not an uncommon conversation to overhear at church functions: the 50’s crowd swapping stories and encouragement about helping their particular parents’ situations. So many different ailments, … Read More

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