Who the Hell designs cookware these days?

I’ve been wondering who exactly designs cookware.   I’m thinking its people who’ve never had to figure out storage solutions in small homes.  The designers must have gigantic kitchens with massive amounts of cabinet space and large sums of money.   Sadly, we poor average shmucks get to figure out how to store cookware that doesn’t nest, or has lids with freakishly large handles on them making it impossible to find a place to store the lids.   One manufacturer shows their cookware as “stacking” when, in truth, they’ve merely put the lids on upside down and set each piece on top of the lid of the piece below.   Magma has designed a truly stacking set, but the price is out of reach of most people, and I’m not sure that the grade of stainless steel is heavy enough for constant use.    Come on Farberware, TFAL, Tramontina ….. someone get your act together and give the public a reasonably priced, nesting set of cookware with lids that don’t have gigantic handles… knobs work just fine!   I’ll buy two sets if you do!!!!


easy grouting.

My husband who is a handyman of incredible skill, has a few tasks that he loathes.  Painting is one of them.   Grouting is another.    We have added tile accents to a few areas of our house, and the grouting has fallen to me.    I am a cake decorator and hit upon a fantastic solution that solved having to “work” the grout into the cracks of the tiles,  pastry bags and writing tips!   Cuts the job by more than half.   Obviously this won’t work for all tile jobs, because there has to be a large enough space in between the tiles to get the icing tip into the space, but with the tips you can make sure that your grout cracks are absolutely full of grout, no air bubbles.

Meals in Minutes… really.

When the triplets were little, my second oldest son was in high school and on the football team.   This made for some interesting evenings and meal times.   I tried to find way to cut down meal preparation without relying on junk or fast food, and to save money at the same time.

One of the things that saves money is to buy in bulk. One of the things that saves time is to prepare as much of the meal or meals in advance.  I figured out a way to do both.  

People tend to buy whatever is on sale, and usually a little extra,but you still have to thaw it out to prepare it.  I figured out I could prepare it ahead of time and save myself a boatload of time when it came to actually getting the meal to the table.  

I started buying ground beef in bulk whenever it went on sale.  Then instead of freezing it raw, I browned it all.  Then I did several things with it.  I froze some of it in dinner sized portions for spaghetti, tacos, sloppy joes, etc.  Some of it I flash froze spread out on cookie sheets and put into a storage container.  At meal times, simply pull out the frozen dinner portion and add to sauce, gravies, whatever you use ground beef for.   If the meal was for a single person, hit up the container of flash frozen crumbles, and get a few spoonfuls, or quarter cup or whatever portion you need and make individual tacos or wraps (you can put a few packages of taco seasoning in a shaker , very useful!) using the microwave to heat up your pre-cooked meat.  This is great for teenagers!

Chicken breasts can be par boiled, rubbed with vegetable oil, and frozen individually or in packages of 2, 3, 4 etc.  Same thing, you have enough for a meal, or the ability to pull out a single serving, or to add a quantity to your normal dinner amount if you have company.   You can make any full dinner or utilize the single frozen portions for quick meals for one or two like chicken tacos, fajitas, chicken salad, salad with chicken portions, a quick home made soup or chicken and dumplings or noodles and gravy, the list is endless.   

Of course you will have to invest a bit more time in browning 3 or 4 lbs of ground beef instead of one, or par boiling  a bunch of chicken breasts instead of a single meal’s worth, but the payoff over the course of a few weeks is incredible!  

Sock Monster

I don’t know anyone that enjoys mating socks.    When the triplets were born, my sister gave me a giant bag full of girl socks.  They were all really cute, and I loved them.  But I didn’t enjoy trying to mate them.  Along with the husband’s socks, socks belonging to the two older boys, my own socks and the triplets, I usually had a basket of socks to mate each time I did laundry.   And they never came out even!    One afternoon, I decided to throw out every sock in the house, and purchase all new socks.  And not just new, all one kind and one color for each member of the house.  For my husband, white crew socks with gray heels and toes, for me, white crew socks with pink heels and toes.  For the older boys, ankle socks for one, and crew socks with a black “W” emblem on them , and for the triplets, just white crew socks.  All one color and all one size.

And so I killed the sock monster.   Not only did matching them up take 1/2 the time, if there was an extra… big deal.   A mate would show up sooner or later.  Hole in a sock?  No need to throw away a pair, just the sock with a hole because sooner or later another would get a hole and that person’s socks would be back to an even number.   Mate them?  I even skipped that step now and then.  If every sock in your sock drawer is the same color and same sock… any two socks made a pair.   I kept the triplets socks in a basket on top their dresser.   Grab six, and I knew I would have 3 matching pairs of socks!

Time saving, money saving, and the sock monster banished.   These days, my pre-teen daughter has her own tastes in socks, she likes the colorful ankle socks, but she’s old enough to mate them herself!   And my two oldest are grown men and buy their own socks, but for my husband, me, and the two pre-teen boys, its still….

One size, one color, one manufacturer….. and no sock monster.


Fix, Repair, Recycle, Reuse, Solutions.

As a busy mom of 5 kids, 3 of whom happen to be a set of triplets who are now 12 years old, I have, over the years, found a plethora of solutions to problems out of necessity.  Necessity usually being the unwillingness to throw away something that can be fixed, repaired, recycled or re-purposed, or just an alternative solution to a problem that arose from having a larger than average family.

I want to share some of the solutions to problems, ways to repair items that you would normally throw away, ways to recycle things that you would normally throw away that I have been utilizing over the years.

My first share….. two solutions to the tooth brush storage issue.

Anyone with more than 4 members of their family (or more than 4 toothbrushes on their bathroom sink) knows full well that it is difficult to find toothbrush holders that will accommodate more than 4 toothbrushes.   With 7 members of our family, I wanted to find a unique  and attractive solution without purchasing more than one toothbrush holder.   After all, the inexpensive plastic ones are crappy looking, and also tend to fill with goop at the bottom.  Goop that I really don’t want on my toothbrush!   Over the years I have used two different methods.

Flower pot.    Filled with flower marbles, with a removable drip catching bottom, these are attractive and easy to wash.  You can go with a basic plastic one, or a highly decorative one, although you need to make sure you are not using an unglazed terracotta pot (as unglazed terracotta is not washable due to its absorption of water)    Fill about 1/2 way with glass stones or marbles.   The marbles keep the toothbrushes standing up and you can even add plastic or silk flowers that you have shortened to just a smidge taller than the container.  Insert them in the marbles all the way to the bottom.   When you put in your toothbrushes, you don’t have to push them all the way to the bottom, just far enough to keep them standing up straight.    Easy to clean, simply dump the marbles into your dishwasher silverware basket.  If your flowerpot is plastic, glass or ceramic, remove the drip base, and wash both pieces on top rack of dishwasher.  If your pot is glazed terracotta you can use a soapy rag to wipe out the pot and drop base.

Now that two of my children are grown and moved out of the house, and most of use are using those battery operated toothbrushes, I have switched from the flower pot to a different method.

Plastic Suction cup caddies.     I use suction cup flatware caddies that are meant for the kitchen sink, afixed to the bathroom mirror.  In fact, you can use them for more than just toothbrushes.  You can get them in an array of sizes and designs, meant for the kitchen sink or the bathtub/shower and get much of the clutter off your bathroom sink.   Razors, toothpaste, nail clippers/tweezers, even prescriptions can be stored in them.    Here is a photo direct from my bathroom to you!

Solution for bathroom sink clutter.

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