Mommy Review Monday: Member’s Mark 14 Inch Non-Stick Fry Pan

I love my Member’s Mark 14 Inch Non-Stick Fry Pan. I bought my first one about 10 years ago from Sam’s Club. In the last year or two it hasn’t been sitting evenly on my stove-top. I believe, between Garen and I, one of us probably washed it before it was completely cool, causing it to warp. Easy mistake and it wasn’t a huge deal but I planned to replace it and just kept forgetting every time I went to Sam’s.

Member’s Mark 14 Inch Non-Stick Fry Pan

My birthday came along and Garen gave me a new one. Yea! I kept the old one in case I need a second one to cook two things at once. We even named the new one.

Peter. Peter Pan.

Garen gets the credit for that little piece of humor.

Likes:

  • Price. At $26.98, if it only lasts a couple of years that’s still awesome.
  • Non-stick. It is super easy to clean. That’s a must in our house.
  • Dishwasher safe. It barely fits into the bottom rack but it does. Most times we just wash it by hand though because it’s so easy to clean. It’s always nice to have the option to be a little on the lazy side though.
  • Size. At 14″, it’s big enough to cook a nice one-pot dish or about 3-4 pancakes at a time. That’s important when you’ve got lots of mouths to feed.
  • Cooks well. I should start by saying that I’m not a chef. However, for the dishes I make it seems to cook pretty well. Especially for the price.  If you’re a chef, this may not be the quality you want but it works great for me, as an amateur on a budget.
  • Long life. Despite us warping it, it has held up well. I am pretty good about not using metal utensils with it so that does help. I would imagine it’ll last another 10+ years if we take care of it.

What I would change:

  • An Additional Handle.  I’d add another handle. It’s pretty heavy to handle if you need to move it when it’s fully loaded.  Imagine draining meat.  I can do it with one hand but it’s a job.  Thankfully I’m always lugging around one (or more) toddlers and have forearms of steel!
  • Ovenproof. I wish it could be put in the oven. It is what it is. You can’t have you’re non-stick skillet and bake it too….or at least not in this price point.
  • Add a Lid. I wish it had a lid. Again, I could probably pay more and purchase one that came with a lid or potentially find one that would fit right. When I need one now, using foil works pretty well for a poor man’s lid.

Member_s Mark 14 Inch Non-Stick Fry Pan

This may be one of my next kitchen purchases: Tramontina 3-Piece Deep Sauté Pan Set (Assorted Colors).  It seems to do everything that I listed as “likes” above and then all of the things I wish it also had.  Plus, it comes in red, which is awesome!!!

In the meantime, I still love my big commercial kitchen frying pan and my sweet hubby for giving me Peter Pan!  What’s your favorite stove-top pan?  I’d love for you to share!

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Photo Friday: A girl and her doll

We got Anna her first American Doll for her birthday. She loves it. Garen got this photo of us “doing hair.”

I love it. So real. So special.

Here’s another great one that Garen took.

Happy Photo Friday!

Getting Started with My New Toy, the Instant Pot

On Friday I turned 35 and one of the awesome gifts I got was an Instant Pot.  Garen got it for me.  He also got me a new diamond bracelet so he’s officially the best husband EVER.  He knew that I’d never buy one of these myself.  Plus, he also knew that I’d never get it out of the box and going on my own.  Technology and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love it but hate how intimidating it is to me.

We got it going yesterday afternoon with the water test and I cooked my first frozen chicken last night.  It worked like a charm.  And just like that, I was hooked…. just like everyone else that has one and has tried it.

Getting Started with my Instant PotToday I took advantage of the day at home and cooked up a round of food to get us started including:

Click on the links above to check out the recipes, all of which turned out great!  I’m just getting started so stay tuned to check out my experiments with my newest toy.

Happy Instant Potting!

Mommy Review Monday: Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandal

Are your kids hard on play shoes? Mine are. That was really a stupid question. What kid isn’t hard on shoes???

We go through a lot in our house. Fast.

I had been watching Facebook ads for Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandal for a while but, being the semi-tightwad that I am, I wasn’t wanting to spend that much on a pair of shoes that looked like a glorified mixture of Keens and Crocs.

Finally, I was in Kid to Kid, my favorite local resale shop, when I spotted a pair of pink ones in Anna’s size that looked barely worn. They were still asking $15 for them, which is more than I really wanted to spend for a pair of gently used shoes…. even if they were Stride Rite. I went ahead and did it so I could try them out though.

stride rite made2play® phibian sneaker sandalAnd I’m so glad I did. Here’s why I love the Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandals:

  • They held up beautifully! That used pair…I actually packed it away to save for the littles- even after Anna wore them for a year and who knows who wore them before that! I have since bought Will a pair. We bought them in the spring last year and they still look pretty good, which is amazing because he’s the hardest on shoes of all of my kiddos.
  • They clean easily. They’re kind of plasticish (I know that’s not a word but you get what I mean) so they wash off easily with just plane water and soap. I’ve never tried washing them in the washer because I haven’t ever needed to, although they say their machine washable so it must be ok!
  • Parents who hate tying shoes over and over again for kids that should be able to tie their own darned shoes- rejoice.  No laces!  Easy-on-and-off is a wonderful feature.
  • They come in pretty cool colors that aren’t all that crazy… or with cheesy characters on them- which is a little rare for easy-on/off shoes.
  • They can wear them with or without socks comfortably.
  • They seem super comfy because my kids wear them all the time….or they can’t find their other shoes.  One of the two is correct.
  • They dry out quickly.  If your kids like to stomp in water or you’re going somewhere wet (think the beach or an amusement park), these are perfect.  Or…if your kids have sweaty, stinky feet like mine do, they’re pretty good for that too.  They smell less than any other pair of tennis shoes we’ve ever bought the kids even though they are being worn more.
  • The price is right.  $35 may seem high but it really isn’t for a pair that lasts an entire year to constant activity and wear, stays comfy, looks good, and can be worn in wet conditions.  Oh, yeah- and can still be handed down to the next lucky kiddo in line.  If they wear them for only 130 days, that’s just over $.26 a day.

Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker SandalsYou got it “rite” this time, Stride Rite.  Yes, I know…. cheesy.  Will would be embarrassed of that cheesy mom joke!

But seriously, I the Stride Rite made2play® Phibian Sneaker Sandals will be the next pair of shoes I buy for Clara and Kate- in the new metallic purple and pink since those are “their colors.”

For the record- I bought these shoes and am receiving no payment, etc. for this review.  The rambling review is mine, all mine.

Sweet Sunday: Anna’s Got Cookies

Anna has her cookies and has been selling them all weekend.

I’m a little partial but I think she’s the cutest Daisy ever. I mean, really how could you say no to this face?!?

We’ve really had such a fun time and got to enjoy a girls night together on Friday night since the boys and littles went to Hamilton to work on Will’s Pinewood Derby car.

Here’s her sales pitch:

This is her first year to sell cookies and I’m impressed that they have online sales available. If you’d like to buy from Anna, you can click here to have cookies shipped directly to you. How great is that?!?So now I’ve got Girl Scouts cookies in my house. Soooo tempting. Thank goodness I saved a few of my WW weekly points so I could eat quite a few this weekend. Totally worth it!

Photo Friday: New Lens, New Year

One of Garen’s new toys was is a new artistic lens.  So, I’m really just the lady behind the man with the camera so all I can do is be supportive… and buy him cool stuff.

He got some great shots playing with it.  Here’s a few to share for Photo Friday.

Enjoy your weekend!

Mommy Review Monday: Garanimals Play Clothes

For years my kiddos wore mostly Children’s Place and Gymboree clothes. And they still wear a lot of it because we can occasionally get really good deals. Oh, and because Mammy buys them a ton of beautiful clothes from there.  I’m always thankful for whatever we’re given.  Gifted clothes are the best clothes.

But there are times when we do buy our own kids clothes.  And, in the past couple of years, I’ve been drawn to Garanimals, the brand carried by Walmart. I’m actually a big fan. Here’s the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Quality. You may be questioning me at this point but I’m telling the truth. We’re hard on our clothes. Really hard. Clara and Kate (the twins) go to day care so we’ve got lots of assorted stains every day and they play pretty rough on the playground. They give the pavement and wood chips a run for their money.  Plus, laundry sorting isn’t our strongest attribute so they get thrown in with other stuff that that might not be the best- think clothes with velcro, etc.  Yet, the Garanimals clothes still hold up really well through it all without fading or piling like the Gymboree and Children’s Place clothes tend to do faster.
  • Cuteness. The clothes are pretty darn cute. Don’t get me wrong. There are some graphic tee designs that I’m not crazy about. But that’s true for all brands. Clara is pretty picky about her clothes and she still likes a lot of them.  Yes, I realize two (tomorrow) is a little early to be picky about clothing but that girl has a mind of her own.

Garanimal Kitty ShirtPrice. When you have to buy as many clothes as I do, price is a factor. The price is right. They’re always priced well. You don’t have to worry about coupons or sales to get a good deal.  Plus, the kitty shirt pictured above is only $3.88. Pair them with this adorable set of French Terry Jogging pants, also Garanimals brand, for $4.88, and you’ve got a pretty cute play outfit for less than $10.

  • Convenience. A lot of time my only time to shop is early morning or late at night. That’s why shopping at Walmart is convenient for me. Plus, now you can shop online with free 2-day shipping. You can’t beat that.  Ok, Ok.  So you can if you find free one-day shipping with Amazon Prime but I bet you’ll have a harder time finding this for cheaper than Walmart.com.
  • Mix and MatchableMatchable may or may not be a real word but regardless, you parents know exactly what I mean.  Most of their stuff you can mix and match, as an added bonus, which is helpful when you want to just grab something quickly (or if they’ve decided they’re going to dress themselves).  They even have solid colors that can sometimes be really hard to find (which work great for embroidery and screen-printing if you’re crafty like that- I recommend washing them first though).

Cons:

  • Walmart. Yes, I realize that I just said above that going to Walmart is convenient but sometimes it’s not. If you go at the wrong time, you’ll find it totally crowded and unorganized.  Some folks don’t like Walmart because their merchandise comes from other countries, etc. but…. I’m not going there since that’s a politically fueled can of worms that I don’t choose to open tonight.
  • Cheesy prints. I also said above that the clothes are cute. And most are but there are a few I think aren’t so cute and some that are just downright tacky. This is really just a personal preference though. What I might think is adorable, you may think is an abomination.  This is play clothes, so does it really matter?!?

Bottom-line:  For our family, Garanimals baby and toddler clothes have been a great value.  I’ll continue to buy them.  In fact, I’m about to buy a few more sets of tights tonight for the girls because they got some adorable shirts for their birthday on Saturday that I need to pair something with.

Here’s a few of the outfits we’ve already got:

Happy shopping!