Spring is the season of new beginnings, so this month’s Favorite Things is meant to freshen things up with everyday products and tips that add ease and interest to our days.
👩🏼🍳Cooking & Baking
We know that using parchment paper makes for an easier clean-up and protects against wear and tear on baking sheets, but sometimes tearing the paper to fit perfectly (and making it lay flat) can be a challenge. Now we can stop ripping, cutting, and folding over because these King Arthur Half-Sheet Parchment Paper packs make baking that much easier. They are pre-cut to fit most cookie sheets and can often be reused once or twice. Available in rolls of 50 ($19.95) or 100 ($24.95).
🍱 This Neko Kao Onigiri set from Bento&Co adds fun to lunch. For $14, the set includes various molds and ideas to turn white rice into adorable cat faces, paws, and fish. An easy way to engage kids in the kitchen and to inject creativity into the daily lunch box routine!
🥩 Ann loves her Thermapen One thermometer because of its quick and accurate readings. She uses this gadget regularly to ensure proper cooking temperatures for meat and baked goods. (Cakes will never be dry and meats will forever be tender and juicy!) Available in a variety of fun colors and retails for $99. The smaller model, ThermoPop, is reliable too and retails for $35.
🧽 Spring Cleaning
When put to the test, Carbona ProCare Laundry Stain Scrubber gets out the worst of stains. Most importantly it’s safe on skin. Carbona works on both whites and colors and is highly effective against blood, grass, mud, food it is still safe on skin. Works best on new stains followed by a rinse or washing machine.
Emily relies on this regularly to get out pasta sauce stains on white school uniform shirts! It’s priced at $27 for a 3-pack on Amazon and also comes with a mini scrubber on the top!
👔 A friend recommended the HiLife Steamer, pictured below, to Ann over the holidays, claiming it worked like a charm – and it does! Small enough for travel, but substantial enough for daily use at home, this steamer works on all of the materials she has tried so far. Priced at $29.99 on Amazon, it’s a good deal, especially for those who travel frequently for work or are packing for a fancy event.
🍳 Need a tip for removing the grime from the bottom of a pot or the surface of a cooktop? Ann’s best tip is to cover with a thin paste made of baking soda and water and let soak for a few hours. The grime should come right off!
📖 Empowering Reads
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (2022) follows a female chemist in the 1950’s and 60’s who becomes a TV host on a cooking show while also making life work as a single mother. After two friends who are voracious readers recommended the book to Ann on the same day, she figured it was a must-read. Funny and entertaining, while also empowering, this novel is one to add to your list!
📚 An instant New York Times #1 Bestseller, everyone is talking about Dr. Becky – as she is fondly called – and her insight into parenting. In her book Good Inside (2022), Dr Becky Kennedy embraces a model that prioritizes connecting with our kids over correcting them.
Leaving reward charts, time outs, and “go to your room!” behind, Dr. Becky provides a perspective shift, along with helpful, real-life examples and verbiage, to help parents feel confident in the trickiest (if you know, you know) of situations.
♻️Reuse and Recycle
For those who are conscious of reusing bags, check out the Reisenthel Carrybag which is a staple when Ann goes to market, teaches cooking classes, and delivers meals to friends. With a sturdy aluminum frame and collapsible soft rubber handle, it’s perfect for shopping, picnics, and any of your carrying needs.
Also comes with a small interior pocket to stash cash or keys while you shop. Reisenthel is a British company, and so the bags are priced in Euros (52) or about $56.
Thinking about a kitchen renovation? Looking for inspiration? On Friday mornings, Ann posts a kitchen space on Facebook and Instagram (@fountainavenuekitchen) and asks followers their opinions. The Facebook chatter is especially lively and offers insight into kitchen trends and classic designs – and may provide inspiration for your own kitchen. Below is a recent reader favorite. What do you think?
A perpetual calendar offers a great way to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and other holidays that tend to slip our minds. Check out this adorable calendar from Etsy printed on sturdy card stock with original illustrations of jungle animals including leopards, panthers, lemurs, sloths and pandas. Ann was given a similar calendar years ago, and it serves as a better reminder than the many electronic options – and it looks pretty hanging beside her desk too!
💛 As always, we love hearing from readers. So, tell us, how do you plan to freshen up this spring?