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A Grocery Store Gadgets Tour

grocery store gadgets

The other day I was a woman on a mission! I was on a mission to find plastic straws at my grocery store. Not just ANY plastic straws…but these very SPECIAL straws I had purchased there a long time ago and have never been able to find since! I can’t really explain WHY they are so special…except to say they are extra large, extra strength straws that are great for milkshakes (which we drink a lot of around here!) and they just happen to be great for cutting out Homemade Altoids! (see previous post HERE.)

Every time I go to the grocery store I look for these darn straws, but have never been able to find them since the first (and only) time I spotted them hanging on some random aisle. So a few days ago I decided to start at one end of the store and methodically go down each aisle until I found them, or at least settled in my mind once and for all that they just weren’t there anymore.

To amuse myself as I went about my task, I decided to photograph all the kooky, crazy, useful, ridiculous, funny, bizarre, kitschy, gimmicky STUFF that I found along the way.  You know all those “impulse buy items” that are hanging at eye level along the shelves throughout the supermarket? Yeah…you know…all that stuff you try to ignore but sometimes catches your eye and you just can’t help yourself! That’s exactly what happened with the straws! I got sucked in and now I find myself on this desperate search! :-)

So here is what I found (in no particular order):

grocery store gadgets

These little salad dressing cups are actually really handy! I have used them for taking salads to work! See My Top Ten Repurposed Household Containers.

grocery store gadgets

Another surprisingly useful “gadget” I found right off the bat…these little mini party cups. I have used them before to make little frozen juice pops! See my Mini Orange Yogurt Pops.

grocery store gadgets

A mini burger press!  Now these could come in handy when grilling season rolls around again. “Molds perfectly round, thick sliders every time.”  The hubster would like these. :-)

grocery store gadgets

This one is kind of fascinating. It’s a portion control lid for your store-bought, bottled salad dressing. Just screw it on, tip and pour your dressing and it doles out what it deems to be a “sensible portion”. Hmmm….sensible according to whom? ;-)

grocery store gadgets

Paper loaf pans. Not really sure about these. I’m thinking they are a more decorative than practical gadget? Come complete with little cellophane bags and “gold” twist ties! Fancy!

grocery store gadgets

Here’s something clever! You can cut the crusts off your kids sandwiches and transform them into the shape of a butterfly at the same time!   No doubt little girls would love this! Little boys would probably rather have theirs in the pre-butterfly CATERPILLAR form. :-)

grocery store gadgets

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I actually succumbed to the impulse buy pressure of this one. I actually have this very pan rattling around in my cupboards. It’s actually handy for making No. 3 son’s egg sandwich in the morning. But then so are just about any other pan I own.

grocery store gadgets

And here is the companion to the small fry pan…the yolky egg separator! Because separating with a molded piece of plastic that looks like a little chick is ridiculous, but fun. :-)

grocery store gadgets

Two silicone pinch bowls (nope, not PUNCH bowls, I double-checked!).  Someone might have to explain the benefit of these to me.

grocery store gadgets

Little treat boxes with “windows”. I actually like these. A cute variation on the paper plate for giving cookies to a friend or neighbor. Great for bake sales!

grocery store gadgets

Because Pop-Tarts NEED their own containers?????  *scratching head*

grocery store gadgets

Another useful one….the Sacsoc (Designer Series no less!) A plastic grocery bag holder that hangs on the inside of your pantry door (or wherever) for convenient dispensing. Course my empty kleenex box works pretty good for this as well…and it didn’t cost $4.00! :-)

grocery store gadgets

Once again, I must admit I have purchased this one as well. It actually is a great little gadget to have for a few very specific purposes. It makes little ice cubes that will fit in the opening of water bottles, and it makes Creamy Frozen Yogurt Chips! Check them out! I’m craving them now that I’ve looked at the picture again! :-)

grocery store gadgets

Yikes!  I’m beginning to realize I am a SUCKER for these grocery store gadgets! I have actually purchased this crazy thing in the past as well. But again, I love it! It’s one of those micro fiber thingies and it’s great for cleaning your keyboard and computer screen!

grocery store gadgets

OK good. This is one I have NOT purchased before!  BUT, I have made my own Homemade version of Boogie Wipes! lol!  I really didn’t intend for this post to be a showcase for PAST posts….it just seems to be turning out that way. I guess I need to stop spending so much time in the grocery store!  It’s obviously having WAY too much of an effect on me! ;-)

grocery store gadgets

I guess I can see the usefulness in this one…a Utensil Pot Clip.  For when you just really don’t want to use your spoon rest. :-)

grocery store gadgets

The Chopstick Helper. Because everyone can use a little help with their CHOPSTICKS sometimes! Right?

grocery store gadgets

Soda Fizz Keeper. LOOKS like an idea with some merit…however, for some reason I have my doubts whether it really makes fizz last longer. Anyone care to comment and risk the wrath of the soda drinker haters from yesterday’s post?? ;-)

grocery store gadgets

A dolphin faucet fountain! Turns any home faucet into a drinking fountain.  I love this idea. :-)  Never tried it….but love it!

grocery store gadgets

Slow cooker liners. Another legitimately useful gadget! I use these on occasion…but $4.59 for 6 liners??  Umm…I don’t think so.

grocery store gadgets

Well….what’s not useful or practical about Drink Bling!??? :-)

grocery store gadgets

The Gripstic. Slides on bags to keep the contents fresh after it’s been opened. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have a hard time convincing me the give up my wooden clothespins that have been serving this purpose for pretty much my whole life! :-)

grocery store gadgets

When I spotted these near the end of my grocery store tour….I got very excited! But then I realized they were not the SPECIAL straws I was looking for!  I was literally ready to give up and head home in defeat when I decided to take a stroll through the pharmacy section….just in case.

And wouldn’t you know it!?!?  Right there, in the VERY LAST PLACE I looked….hanging next to the energy drinks (duh! why didn’t *I* think to look there!) were my SPECIAL straws! (Which I now know are called “Party Straws” or “Milkshake Straws”. No wonder we liked them so much!)

grocery store gadgets

I might have bought every last package in the store. I just couldn’t risk going through this whole ordeal again. :-)

grocery store gadgets

Point of this post?  I’m really not sure. I just knew I didn’t feel much like posting ANYTHING today after yesterday’s avalanche of comments from the soda-drinker bashers.  So I settled on this…and now I feel much better. :-)

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  • If you take the spring out of a clothespin it makes a good chopstick training tool.

    I just found this blog tonight and it’s definitely getting favorited. :)

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  • […] I used this inexpensive little gadget I got at the supermarket for a couple of bucks. (Remember my Grocery Store Gadget Tour?) It worked perfectly for […]

  • Quick & Easy Sombrero Cookies For Cinco de Mayo {Or Graduation} Parties!One Good Thing by Jillee | One Good Thing by Jillee says:

    […] handy-dandy contraption I found hanging along one of the aisles of my grocery store. (Remember my Grocery Store Gadget Tour?)  It worked PERFECTLY for […]

  • Just had to comment on the Dolphin faucet fountain “thingy”. I succumbed to the urge, thinking my grandkids would like it. I attacked it to my bathroom faucet (simple enough!). Tried it myself (there is a flap on the bottom that sort of snaps up to the bottom of the whale (yes, I bought the whale). Worked pretty well – as long as you don’t turn the water on too fast. When I did, the water shot over the edge of the sink and I got soaked, as well as the floor! SHOCKING since the water was very cold!!!. You also have to remember to drop that little flap back down after use – it got me again in the middle of the night when I forgot it was on there and tried to fill a glass of water! Needless to say, it is no longer on any of the faucets in my house. Just remember, friends: it seems to work but you just have to program yourself to use it!!!

  • Hi. I used your entire straw rampage as a photo challenge with my daughter and girlfriend. They failed miserably. Today in Big Lots on the end caps what do I see- your very special,straws.i didn’t even though about see very special straws – I bought a pack in honor of you. Lol. Thanks for the lol moment.

  • I always seem to stumble upon your site! I read this article a while ago, and while I was at Bed Bath and Beyond I noticed the big straws! So just in case you need more in the future BB&B carries them!

  • I have seen a lot of these in stores, and I am a sucker for gadgets; however, I do have to resist. There is a store in Canada called Kitchen Stuff, which carry a lot of these types of items and I can spend a long time just looking at all the items. You have some new ones too. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • as for the chop sticks. you can use a rubber band on the end that you do not use close to hand. this will give resistants to the sticks and help keep them together while u get use to it. my gh has been eating with chopstick since she was 7. now she is 14yrs. she love eating with them u can buy metal ones the square shaped are better by her recommondations. HTH

  • Hi– not sure where you’re at as I happen to stumble upon your blog through pinterest but wanted to mention about where you might also be able to find those ‘party straws’ of yours. :) I’m in Arizona and there’s an asian market here that carries them in a big 50pk for like 89c a pack. They are sold in the dessert isle by the boba pearls (or tapioca pearls) since you need them big straws to suck the ‘pearls’ from the tea drinks. If you have an asian market/store in your area, might want to go check it out and ask if they sell straws for boba drinks. Might save you some $ too. :)

  • Those look like bubble tea straws. They are also sometimes called fat straws and are wider than normal so the tapioca bubbles can be sucked up through the straw. I bet you can get them from a bubble tea shop or an Asian market too.

  • I’ve used the faucet thing and it worked great, plus no paper cups missing the trashcan when the kids brushed their teeth. They loved it when they were little and couldn’t wait to brush their teeth and always seemed to need a drink when near the bathroom.

  • So glad I re-visited this post today, our 5 yr old grandson stayed overnight and loves a “smoothie” for a treat (a cup of toasted coconut Greek yogurt, strawberries and a splash of almond milk) and uses those big straws and he used the last one today-so now hopefully I can find them at the store :)

  • I love those salad dressing cups! However they make better containers for portioning out our dogs pills and herbs for when he goes to the kennel. And those party cups are awesome for when we go hiking with the dogs, we like to take shots of schnapps along the way.

  • loved your shopping trip! it’s nice to see what Australia might be missing out on.. We use your super straws for helping out with our sewing.. you know .. for turning out those tight, fiddly doll legs etc.
    except we just use the straws that we get with our milkshake from Wendys or Hungry Jacks. No packets of super straws here. although I haven’t checked the energy drink section. Wish me luck! :)

  • I read one of your articles that mentioned your sister has a website about essential oils. I have been interested in them for quite sometime; however, I am not well versed in them at all. I would like to incorporate a few into my product line, but I have read some scary things about them so I have held up on it for quite sometime.

    I am sure there are a lot of benefits, but the expense of making them, and not selling the products in risky, especially in this economy. At any rate, please let me know how to contact her or read about how to understand more about them. Thanks.

    P.S. I love your website and have used many of the products and I am thrilled every time you send me an email about something new to make.

    Christy Robinson
    d/b/a Willowick Designs

  • Pinch bowls ~ I can’t resist a comment. I actually have a stack of these and use them every time I bake. So much easier to pre-measure ingredients for just about any baked good then begin your recipe. I do a lot of specialty breads though so you may not have a purpose for them. Wouldn’t give mine up! :)

    And for the record, I don’t drink soda either. (Just had to add that, nothing against those that do.)

  • I have that tiny pan (plain handle), and a tiny spatula sized for the pan, complete with a wee pink piggy handle. I use it all the time! Mostly for eggs (it holds 2 comfortably), and more recently for my gluten free pancakes. I tried them in a similar but larger pan so I could do more than one at a time but I think those pancakes must like having predefined boundaries or something, because they turned out terrible in the larger pan! I would figure out something else if I were making them for more than just me though or nobody would ever get to eat them warm. That tiny cube ice tray looks like it would make a nice earring organizer for someone who wears smaller earrings most of the time. Those dressing cups…I get them in a ten or twelve pack at my local Dollar Tree store. Handy for all sorts of things, both food and non food related.

  • Thanks for the amusing tour through your grocery store. I’ll bet all of these things were made in China. Frankly, while some are handy and most are cute or funny, the aggregate cost to Americans in terms of jobs lost when we purchase this garbage is part of the reason we’re all looking for cheap solutions to maintain our lives. We can’t say we are so concerned about taking care of our families while ignoring the bigger picture of what corporations have done by poisoning our food with GMOs and persuading us to mortgage the farm to buy stuff we “need”.

    That said, I truly appreciate the tips and ideas you share for avoiding that nonsense. Keep up the good work – and keep your chin up. ;)

  • Pinch Bowls can be used by cooks (Chefs) to pre-measure ingredients for a recipe. When all items in a recipe are accounted for then you can just take them, in sequence, and dump them into the recipe. It is a help to forgetful cooks who (halfway through the recipe) say “did I remember to put in the …?” They can also be used as individual salts or spices at table. There are probably many other uses for them; I just can’t think on them at the moment. I do so enjoy your daily blogs and pin quite a few of them for future reference. Please know that we who follow you really do appreciate all you do.

  • Here is a tip for the crockpot liners. I dont’ use them every time I crock, BUT if I am transporting something soupy like well..SOUP or chili? Before you go, lift the lid, twist the top of the liner and secure it with a twist tie. Then replace the lid. No more soupy mess all over your car! Be careful when you untwist the tie. The liner will be messy..but NOT your car!

  • We have those straws everywhere because we have “pearl” shakes over here! Love these for my smoothies!!! Thanks for the “eyes” into the US grocery store aisles. Brings a little bit of home to me. :)

  • Yes, pop tarts do need their own container. Take it from a mom who has sent her kids to school with that rare recess treat…on my good mother day, or bad mother if you count all the sugar. Pop Tarts are quite fragile and if I still had kids taking lunch I would probably buy that! My hubby bought that spoon holder thingy you attach to a pot, I never did use it, a spoon rest is easier!!

  • My most favorite gadget in the world has to be EGGSACT EGGTIMER. Its by hammerhead products and its AWESOME !! Its in the shape of an egg with a flat bottom and bright red with white wording. You place it in the salted water with your eggs and when it darkens (almost black in color) to the stage (soft, medium or hard boiled), you remove it from heat and cool them down. The eggs are perfect EVERY TIME without the green tinge and dried out yolks. Try it and become a believer too !!!

    As for the other gadgets listed above, some are good; others not so much. Have enjoyed your blogs VERY MUCH. Keep up the terrific job !!!

  • Why don’t you wash the straws when you are finished using them? I get mine for free every time I go to a Chick Fil A. They have nice large strong straws and I just re use them at home. Better than paying $1.99 for a bag.

  • I can vouch for the soda fizz thing. I don’t have this specific one, mine is called the ‘fizz keepers’ which I found at one of those fancier-they-have-everything kitchen stores. It works great. And saves you a lot of money since the price of 2-liters is a lot better! (However, I no longer drink soda, so don’t hate on me you soda haters!)

    Also, the whale faucet thing, I had one of those as a kid and it really does work great. I had a Tweety one! It turns the faucet into a bubbler! :)

  • Gripstix are wonderful. Found them with a different name on QVC and they really seal a bag and keep contents from getting stale. A sad day when my dogs demolished two of them. I found a cheaply made knock-off and they did not work near as well.

  • Hi Jilly,

    No matter what people say, know that you are LOOOOOVED! I know that, cause I LOOOOVE your blog.
    I had a particularily bad day today… haven’t had one like that for years literally, and a huge migrane on top of that…. well I was a big pile of “feeling sorry for myself” with a lot of pain, when I saw your post and decided to take a minute to enjoy it! You may laugh, but it worked like a charm! I am actually smiling now… so THANKS! Feeling better now!

    Re: the Cola haters – I think people are just really concerned about the effects of GMOs on our general health – and as good as they taste – most of the pop companies support Monsanto and the use of GMOs in a big way… and I think that’s an ethical, moral, etc, etc issue, which is sweeping out world by covert storm. They are not hating on you, they are just really scared and concerned about what is happening to what used to be our safe world. And by the way, most people are still in the dark about it.

    And … one last thing – I have a “one good thing!” Like you I was never into the “way too expensive” bag clips, but I use a much smaller/less cumbersome item than the clothes pin, and sorry to say, but also way cuter version of your idea. I use colorful crockodile paper clips. I think the ones I get are from Staples. A tiny box of, I think, about 30 of them is about $3, fits nicely into your cutlery drawer, and they have little silicone handle covers both for comfort and appeal … anyway, I use them on anything from open flour bags to frozen peas to chips (you have to fold the bag a specific way to make it come to a point and then roll down, and clip).

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents – stay well, and know that even if we disagree sometimes, we do Love you! Thanks Jilly

  • LOL… I’m so glad I’m not the only person who has been lured by and succumbed to the impulse buy of grocery store gadgets! Great minds think alike! As you went down the aisle and surveyed each, we both have bought the same ones (well, except for that small egg pan)! :) I too bought those milkshake straws and wondered where I could find more. For others who are wondering the same, I found mines at Safeway, if that helps.

    Thanks for “keeping it real” Jillee! BTW, if I see those mini burger presses, I may give in to that one for a cheaper price at our military Commissary.

    Keep on blogging!

  • Jillee, Try the Gribster. It’s the same concept for sealing waterproof bags for camping and canoeing. I just tried them withing the last few months. The kids fold the bag once and clip it with the clothspin. Lot of good that does! This one works, no fail.

  • What a delightful blog/column you write every day. You are my drop of sunshine each morning. Don’t fret over “pinch bowls” just keep writing. Thank you.

  • As for the soda comments…

    “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
    – Plato

    Jill, Thanks for having something to say that I feel is WISE!

    • Appreciate the sentiment, but boycotting the big cola companies who support Monsanto and fill our foods with dangerous GMOs is no fool’s comment.

      Read a little on the subject, and you may jump on the wagon yourself.
      Try Responsibletechnology.org, and read up a little on the reality of “splicing” genes, or watch Genetic Roulette Movie – narrated by Dr. OZ’s wife! No laughing matter!

  • LOL I have actually bought the chopsticks! On a recent vacation we dined at a sushi restaurant and the server gave my husband a pair of chopsticks that had a rubber band on the end to make them more like pinchers. He is not the most adapt with chipsticks. He loved it. Saw these and had to pick up a pair for him as a joke!

  • My kiddos LOVE milkshake straws. I agree that the standard straw is too narrow for thick drinks. I’ve never found the straws at the grocery store or places like Walmart, Kmart, or Target but I did find them at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Also I’ve been using my egg separator for years. I think I bought it at Lilian Vernon.

  • great article. I do have to defend the slow cooker liners, though. My 91 yo father uses them. He did not cook anything more than heating a cup of water for coffee or tea in the microwave before Mom went home 5 yrs ago. Now, he is using his George Forman, toaster oven, microwave and the slow cooker. The liners are a major boon for clean up. as you might imagine at 91 his strength has diminished and this part of his meal preparations is quite a task. Gotta give him all the assist. we can and a pat on the back too.

  • This post brought a smile to my face! These gadgets are usually the ones that trigger a “Can we get that mom?” from my kids. And there are time I’ve given in. So I have a couple of weird, overly priced gadgets floating around my house. :)

    On another note, I had to read your post and some of the comments from yesterday to see what you were referring to. The timing is perfect because I JUST read a post today over on The Coupon Project talking about negative feedback and the frustrations that come from it. Basically as bloggers we put our heart and souls into our sites/content and having a blog is a LOT of work. She talked about working on a long post late into the night and waking up early to finish and once it gets posted, the first comment is correcting a typo! Talk about discouraging! My blog is still a “baby”, just a couple of years old and I don’t get a lot of comments from readers. It seems that when I do, it’s to ask a question because something I wrote doesn’t make sense. Usually from a typo. I guess the reason I’m telling you this is because I truly enjoy your blog and while there is always that discouraging comment, know that there are 100 other people who enjoy every post you write. :)

    Thanks Jillee!

  • I will never cook in my crock pot again without the liner bags!!! I always hated cleaning the darn crock out! I don’t remember how much they cost, but my Wal Mart sells the Hefty Brand.

  • The faucet fountain works really well, we have a killer whale version. Great for when the little ones are brushing thier teeth because they just hold it closed, trun on the water (ALWAYS close FIRST or it will spray your whole sink area!!!) and boom clean water without the need for a cup to get grimey or paper wasteful cups.

    With the griptastic, I’d add in particularly since they seem to be one use only. That price for something thats going to get tossed with the empty bag? Forgeddabout it.

    Next time you have problems finding the straws, if you have a Rite Aid handy try there. Thats where I’ve found them the most.

    Also, use pipe cleaners to clean them. Then you can reuse them. The pipe cleaners (also known as fuzzy straws or something like that) work just like a bottle brush or glass brush does. Twist them together and then scrub the insides.

    • They had whale that you put on the bath tub faucet when my kids were little. That way if they slipped, they wouldn’t hurt themselves on the faucet. That was 25 years ago.

  • Just had to say I loved this post. Our local grocery store has half an aisle that’s devoted to $1 items. Everything from toys to cleaning supplies… they’ve got it covered. And I have to admit – I LOVE it!! I’m such a sucker for silly little gadgets, but I also find some fantastic deals. Microfiber cloths for $1, an excellent grease cutting spray for $1, a toy called a “Splat Ball” )was so much fun that, after buying one for my granddaughter one day, I went back and bought two more for the grown-ups to play with) for $1!! There’s some great stuff in there!! Oh, and I truly enjoy all your posts!! Great, practical (and sometimes just plain fun) ideas!! Thanks so very much!!!

  • I was wondering if they still made those “water fountain” sink faucet gadgets…we had a whale one as kids. Now I’m “All growed up” with kids of my own and was just thinking how they’d love one if they still existed. :o)

  • What a fun post! I tend to not fall for the gadgets, but I have to admit that the Pop Tart holder got me. I bought one for my daughter when she was in grad school and she loved it. She had a hectic schedule and always carried energy bars that would get mangled at the bottom of her bag. The Pop Tart holder was the perfect size to store and protect the energy bars from the computer, books and everything else that she carried in her bag.

  • My husband can find his way out of the deepest woods anywhere, but can’t find the spice he needs when he starts cooking even though they are organized on the shelves. So if it’s a reciepe that requires 4 or 5 spices I usually use little pinch bowls to measure out what he is going to need before he gets started in the kitchen. He likes to cook and does a really great job, but has little patience with small jars or can openers that don’t work perfectly. We both love pinch bowls, and it makes for happy prep time for both of us.

  • I love all of your posts. This one cracked me up. Going to the store takes me forever, even with a list, because I get so distracted by all these little gadgets at every turn.

  • LoL..you made me laugh today! You are a woman after my own heart. Right down to the Milkshake Straws..of which I found at bed bath & beyond. Before I found replacements I reused the same straw for about 3 months…don’t judge…I used a little bitty brush to clean it out and rinsed it in hot water after every use. =) My gram grew up in the depression and use it up or wear it out is very much ingrained in my dna I think. My crust cutter isn’t as fancy as a butterfly though..Its shaped like a Wonder Bread slice. =)

  • One of my life’s biggest pet peeves is displayed in those Drink Bling stickers. Flags and stems on notes can’t just go any old way. Flags always go on the right of the stem and stems go on the right of the note when they go up and on the left when they go down. They can’t be interchanged! Phew. Glad I got that off my chest!

    Love your posts!

  • PS Oh, yes, how could I forget the Gripstick! Like you, I’ve been using clothespins FOREVER to reclose bags securely, and they work wonderfully. No need to change at this late date.

    And plastic bags fit very nicely in a much smaller container that I don’t need to find a place to hang. :)

    Thanks for reading.

  • I love kitchen gadgets! Can’t get enuff of them, and love to hear about what works and what doesn’t, from someone else spending their money on them! ;) Your post inspired those comments! Thanks :)

    My turn. I also thought the “pinch” bowls would be for a pinch of this or pinch of that, but totally makes sense they mean the “pinch” action instead of measurement. As for the pot clips, they are a good idea, and especially if you want to pretend you’re Rachel Ray in the kitchen! (Yes, I have noticed hers on her pots. It is a handy thing.) The chopstick helpers, my daughter bought, but those were for kids, designed to help kids learn to use chopsticks. And they worked. Maybe these are to help adults get the hang. I also like “wider circumference” straws than those tiny little around things they normally sell in stores, but I got mine for free from McDonalds and Sonic. I take them home and wash them out and reuse them many times. I don’t put them in the dishwasher, but they do have to be replaced from time to time. Anytime I find a good size straw, I save it for awhile. The same with other utensils (the long teaspoons from DQ) and containers (the plastic cookie containers from stores that the mini cookies come in make GREAT large ice blobs for my cold water in the thermos in the summer. The plastic frozen juice containers, not so much. It’s too hard to get the ice blob out.).

    Now, I, too am curious about yesterday’s comments, having missed yesterday’s post. So, I’m off to read some more.

    Jillee, Love Your Site!!

  • I love your TOUR! There was one item that I did not see… Our local hardware store has a bargin dollar bin that I frequent. My favorite treasure from there is an ONION SAVER, I know what you are thinking because I had the same thought… Why would anyone want this plastic thing? As it turns out it really work! I wish I could find some more of them. This unassuming domed plastic container keeps every bit of onion smell from escaping into the refridgerator! My husband laughed at it the first time he saw it in the fridge. But when he finally used his nose he realized what a wonder it really is. There is something about the plastic that it is made out of that really contains odors. It works on smelly cheese, too. I have had Limburger in one! So watch for these marvelous little treasures.

  • I had the pop-tart container for my girls when the were in elementary school.. kept the pop-tart whole until they ate it.. Had the chopstick helpers.. Got those from the Chinese restaurant when my girls were little with their dinner, I didn’t have to buy them. My mom, as a stocking stuffer one year for Christmas, gave me the pot clip… LOVE IT!! it works and it is very useful not just for on the stove.. I mostly use it when I am mixing for baking. No messy spoons flipping over, the little hook holds whatever spoon I’m using, big or small right there.
    LOVE those gadgets!!! :)

  • Ok I don’t have the patience to go through all 163 comments but wanted to touch on the soda fizz topper. I’ve never had one and honestly wouldn’t bother. When I open a new bottle of soda, right before I put the lid back on, I squeeze it to get the air out. I’ve done this for years and it really works! I know because my husband thought I was a weirdo for doing it and would refuse to do it to his. We each opened a bottle of soda on the same day….days later, mine was still fizzy and guess what….his wasn’t! Problem is, I do it without thinking and I’ve gone to friends houses before, poured myself some soda, done it and put it back in the fridge. Later they come out with the bottle all confused as to why it’s squished. lol Now they know when I’ve gotten into their soda. Hey, but when it’s squished it also forms a nice indent for your hand! Easier to grab one handed and pour! :)

  • My son had one of the faucet fountains when he was small, and it worked great, and eliminated cups in the bathroom.
    As for the Pop Tart holder…I had seen them, but too pricey! I did buy one recently though on Clearance when our local store was closing. My son has the will power of a Saint, and actually only eats one Pop Tart, which is a serving even though they wickedly put 2 in the pack. This works great for when he eats one on the way to school and has a safe place to put the second one, and have it handy for the next day. No more crushed ones all over my car! Best 50 cents I’ve spent! lol

  • HArd to find wooden toothpicks–in both flat and round—can be found at WallyWorld in the HOUSEWARES section–like–near the Tupperware knock offs?

    I too have a hard time finding them and I like the round ones! LOL!!!

    These are also with the BOX MATCHES in case some kid doesn’t know what a tooth pick IS!!!!

    Love gadgets and have my share–the little silver dealie that helps you scoop out and push and drop a dollop of cookie dough—a nifty little spatula that FITS in the small food processor and gets the stuff OFF the sides and out of the “corners”–this was at Babies R Us!!!—–bench scrapers to get dough and etc off the counter or a rolling board—these are MUCH cheaper and a better size with a HANDLE in the PLASTER DEPARTMENT of Lowes—they are for small spackle jobs! They even have a hole in the handle! I have had one for YEARS and it has held up longer than some actual bench scrapers!

    And to hold gadgets–the magnet bars from IKEA are AMAZING!!!!

    Swiss Army Knife–have had several over the years and have WORN OUT several!!!! Never without one in my pockets!

    Surley there are many more—time to take an inventory!

    Theres a new blog topic for ya Jillee–who has WHAT gadget–and which ones we LOVE the best!!!!

  • Love the faucet fountain gadget…we’ve had those for years and years…first plastic ones like the one you showed above–tasmanian devil then a tweety bird–but those wore out so now we have this much sturdier gadget, Kwip Sip, & love it, especially in the bathroom…no more paper cups to buy:

    http://www.amazon.com/Faucet-Drinking-Fountain-Large-Items/dp/B0088FLGNY/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1360105924&sr=8-6&keywords=faucet+fountain

    Got the fuzzy fingers for Christmas stockings this last time and they work great for cleaning things like computer keyboards

    I’d also like to know which store you went to as I’d like to get the mini party cups, the party straws and the salad dressing cups. I live in Utah, also.

  • The Dollar General Stores carry the milkshake straws in their dollar section.I buy them there all the time.I loved the ideas in yesterdays post and I’m drinking a Pepsi Next right now.

  • I had the faucet fountain(ours was a whale) when my kids were small. They LOVED it! Also, if you are in need of the milkshake straws in the future, Bed Bath & Beyond has them hung in a few spots throughout their store :)

  • Pinch used to mean pinch with thumb and finger dipped in a small bowl to get just a little. Older recipes called for “pinch of salt”, for example.

  • I use the chopsticks nearly every day in my kindergarten classroom and they helped my two daughters learn to use chopsticks. But they are in my local 99 cent stores here in California.

    • I’m in Vegas and found the chopstick helpers at the 99c store too. I regularly use chopsticks (although I don’t quite hold them correctly) when I eat Asian food and my son has wanted to use them since he was around 3 (he’s now 14). The only problem with my son is that he is autistic and has fine motor skill issues so regular chopsticks just don’t work for him. When I found the chopstick helpers I was idiotically happy. I even stopped right there in the store and called my mom to tell her the awesome things I found! Now my son uses those anytime we go out to our favorite Chinese or Thai place. I was cleaning out one of the backpacks that I usually carry and found 4 of the little clips floating around.

  • The chopstick helpers can be used to take hot toast from the toaster. I got a set
    at a garage sale in a pretty Asian print holder. Use it often.
    My husband likes the regular toothpicks, not the fancy round ones. Have looked
    everywhere and have not been able to find them. Even finding the round ones
    can be a challenge in most stores.
    I go to the mall food court pizza shop occasionally and get a bottle of cran/grape and the
    straws they have do not stick up over the top of the bottle. I have teased the owner
    to get longer straws, but no luck. Once I kept a heavy duty straw I got at some
    restaurant in my car, but felt a little odd carrying it around.
    Plus, what would people think, was I using the straw for illegal purposes? :)

  • Pinch bowls are great for prep bowls when making a recipe. Measure everything out in advance and then dump it in when directed. Also great for a dip bowl for the kiddos.

  • The soda fizz keeper would probably help a little, but, as mentioned earlier, capping the top tightly with the original cap is almost as good. The idea behind most fizz keepers is that keeping the content under pressure by filling the air space with extra air will keep the carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the soda from coming out of solution and filling the space (because the air space is already full).

    I haven’t tested the idea of keeping the soda at room temp or in the refrigerator–I like to keep mine in the refrigerator because then it’s already cold when I want to drink it. The standard science would say that keeping it cold would keep it fizzy longer, but temperature would make less difference than keeping it tightly closed.

    Here’s a terrible idea I see people do: Squeeze a bunch of air out of the half-empty bottles before capping them. That’s pretty much begging the carbon dioxide to come out and fill the space in the top of the bottle, making the soda flatter faster.

  • Thanks for your post! I LOVE gadgets… anything to make a chore easier. I also love those milkshake straws and found them a couple of years ago. We drink lots of smoothies here too so I just wash my straws when I’m done and reuse them again and again. I have had the same bag for over 2 years now!

  • can’t say i read yesterdays post,i’ll go back and do that.
    As for this post… LOVE IT!! and the comments are just as funny as the post is. people crack me up!!

  • We have that drinking fountain thing only it is a killer whale. It really works and keeps the kids from using a community cup in the bathroom which is just a cold waiting to spread.

  • I just want to say that I am not a “soda-drinker basher” just for knowing that diet soda is bad for you. Occasionally, once a month or so, I have a soda (I like Pepsi). Just because I choose not to drink that disgusting and unhealthy “diet” junk or have six regular sodas a day, doesn’t mean I bash people who do. We are all welcome to state our opinions or there wouldn’t be a comments section.

  • haha! I only thought the ‘big’ straws were from the fast food places, never thought to look for them in any stores, but had sure wished a couple of times that we had some! THEN to discover that they are not only available, but in glass and stainless steel, too!! WooHoo! Thanks y’all, and Jillee. I don’t always read the comments under the postings, but sure glad I did today! Also – years ago in a sewing class, the instructor would ‘take’ a couple extra of the big straws from whatever the fast food place was that she got them from, and cut them to use on her sewing machine to prevent ‘something’ with her thread or thread spool, but I cannot remember what that in the world that was. Maybe if there are some sewers reading, they will either know what that ‘something’ is and post it, or a lightbulb moment will occur for someone else. Thanks Jillee, you have the BEST blog ever!! I SO look forward to reading each and every one!

  • You can get the chopstick helpers for free if you order a child’s dish at Nothing But Noodles, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your area. My 7yo daughter got one when we went there for lunch. We were so impressed that I kept it. She uses it every time we go anywhere where we use chopsticks. She has several pairs of training chopsticks that she uses at home, but since these are so portable and work on almost all disposable restaurant chopsticks, they have been great. It also keeps me from having to roll up the paper wrapper and make my own set of training chopsticks at restaurants, usually with a ponytail holder since I never seem to have a rubber band in my purse.

    We also have the little egg pan. Our local chef’s store has the entire line of products in their “Kids Cook” section. We like the pan. The only complaint I have is the nonstick coating seems to scratch pretty easily. But then, I don’t have the special spatula, so maybe it’s my fault. :-)

    • I must have been a really tough Mom. When my boys were young I just gave them regular chop sticks, showed them how to hold them and told them to dig in. The first time they struggled but after that they were pros. That was about 20 yrs ago–not sure they made them back then. Our family joke whenever we ate Chinese: How do Chinese people diet? They use just one chopstick.

  • I sure love gadgets, especially ones that change my LIFE! Lol But seriously, the GripStics you showed are my favorite invention recently! They are amazing…and tightly close the entire bag, not just the point a clip “clips”. There is no spring to break. Also, if the bag falls or whatever, the bag will NOT open, nor can contents spill. I couldn’t say that about the clothes pins I used! So trust me, and try them! My friends I’ve shown them to LOVE ’em!!

  • The paper loaf pan liners are good for baking and wrapping banana bread or lemon loaves and gifting them. I’d buy them for giving out loaves for sure, much easier than making your own paper “tins” out of parchment paper that I’d seen on another post.

  • I love those straws too! My four year old ‘drinks’ his regular yogurt with them, and it’s much less sloppy than when he uses a spoon. And, I admit, I have the chick shaped egg separated and two whisks with him as the handle. they’re pretty cute!

  • Love your blog! I can feel your pain, I myself have searched high and low for milkshake straws only after I searched my house high and low because I swore I bought 2 packs the last time !! I have the pop tart container and found that i can only get 1 pop tart inside without smooshing them. I would really love the chop sticks helper. We go to the Japanese restaraunt for our birthdays and my daughter just can’t seem to get the hang of them. Me neither for that matter, but I woudn’t them in public…LOL

  • Hey there. . love your blog.. ran on to it accidentally some time ago. I use many of your cleaning ideas.. have made a few recipes of things.. Today’s.. not so much. The grocery store gadget blog is not my style.. the main things that tipped me to comment. I KNOW you are not a politically bent blog.. sorry to bring this up!! LOL But. .I am going to check some of these things out at a couple of stores. I just know they are mostly from China! And very low quallity. These things will go to the landfill or .. who knows. Sorry. but this really hit a place with us. .Being male I just don’t usually acknowledge being here! LOL. but. .my husband an myself are just not cleaning guys.. (secretly have housekeepers to get the major grunge) .. we just don ‘t see it…. ya gotta look up and down!! .. we don’t.. hence help.. LOL. but. .. the kitchen gadgets are just refuse waiting to happen. Please buy quality things from the USA that LAST.. not grocery store junk that .. when you buy it.. it is heading for the trash bin .. just a matter of time.. Thanks. sorry for the jolt.. I saw the remark about “soda-drinkergate”.. and Thank YOU for all your time and energy to provide us with so many useable ideas.. tricks.. etc. .Appreciate it!

    • Jimbo! Thank you for disagreeing with me! :-) Seriously, I actually enjoyed reading this because not only did you state your feelings in a courteous manner…but injected some humor at the same time. Bravo my friend! I’m so glad you acknowledged being here! lol.

  • I love kitchen gadgets but confess that mostly they just turn my utensil drawer into a mess. I notice that professional chefs always use the pinch bowls when they are giving a cooking demonstration on tv. They have all the ingredients ready in advance that way. I saw some sets that were very cute at TJ Maxx one Christmas and got them for my daughters who no longer live at home. They simply loved them, I think, because suddenly they looked like professional cooks, lol. I would get some for myself but my husband unloads the dishwasher and they would never been found again!

    I, too, enjoyed this article and think a similar one could be done on gardening gadgets.

  • I haven’t read through all the comments to see if someone else mentioned this, but I buy those larger sized straws (in bulk!) at my local Cash & Carry, which I think is called Smart & Final in other locations.

  • Way too lazy to read all the comments, but I use pinch bowls for spices, etc. Most often when I’m making my lentil tacos. One step requires dumping in a good little pile of seasonings all at the same time so I measure them all out into the tiny little pinch bowls first and then they are all set to go when it is time. My kids love them for dipping sauces, you know, so the ranch doesn’t run into the strips or the ketchup into the fries until you are good and ready for them to meet up. :). Hope today is an awesome day. :)

  • I totally love the milkshake/smoothie straws. I have found them at a couple of places (just in case). Bed, Bath and Beyond has them at the same price and so does Albertson’s ( athough Albe’s is a thinner material, and they were by the frozen fruit…I guess for us smoothie peeps). They fit perfectly in the lid of the acrylic tumblers I have for on-the-go convenience. Thanks Jillee for the fun post.

  • I found oven cooking bags at the 99 Cent Store around Thanksgiving – 4 large ones in a box – and bought several packages – they work great for crockpot liners and are cheaper than name brand ones.

  • Many of these types of items I have gotten for free from community events. Currently I have chip clips that say–Walgreens, Allstate, & RWJ hospital; a grease splatter shield, potholder, & spoon rest from our local fire department (on pot methods are a fire hazard), along with an emergency whistle & yard stick to test the smoke detector without a ladder; a car wash mitt from the Auto Zone; a jar opener that says–“don’t lose you grip” & advertises NJ Gamblers Anonymous Hotline; pest control flyswatter, numerous stress balls, a freezer gel-pac — ice pack–form the dentist–ouch!; soda fizz guardians from a law firm, sack holder from Earthday, Cheerios holder (they sell them now), frisbees from Met Life & SPCA, egg timer from our bank; tons of gadgets from political campaigns– including a Bob Dole beer can insulator (yep, it was handed out with a cold open can of beer at a BBQ in the county park with a No Alcohol Policy); pens, pencils, rulers, key chains and reuseable sacks & tote bags galore. Colleges give out post-its, tote bags, beach towels (we have several–they are great dog towels), dorm shower caddies and shower shoes. We even had a plunger from the local plumbers union. A tire gauge & car freshener from our mechanic. I’m sure if I looked around the house I’d find even more.

    • You must live in Colorado. LOL. That’s the only place I’ve ever seen that hands out freebies EVERYWHERE from EVERYBODY. It’s great though, the rest of the world has to buy that stuff. :)

  • Hahaha! I loved this post! Just FYI , we used to have one of those dolphin water fountain thingies. It worked pretty good! Kept from having a gross cup by the sink. I also have a couple of different versions of the butterfly sandwich cutter thing. We have the dinosaur and the heart. They work ok, but I find we use our Pampered chef press a lot more. My kids like that I can make homemade uncrustables! As for the giant straws… Burger King gives those out for their milkshakes. I admit…we saved the straws! They’re not as strong probably as the ones from the market, but they’ll do in a pinch!
    As far as the whole soda episode…haters gonna hate! What soapy people were forgetting was that you were just trying to pass on some interesting information. Itself will be testing the applesauce and avocado substitutions!
    I love your blog and check everyday for new ideas! I am happy to say that I have used more baking soda, peroxide, vinegar and oranges in the last year or so, than in my whole life prior!! Thank you!! Lol =)

  • I am excited to know that someone else has been on the perfect straw hunt. I too have been looking for the larger ones for my smoothies. I had almost given up and now I know they are out there! I will keep searching.Love this blog

  • Ok, I have to admit someone GAVE us the Poptart case…and well it is WONDERFUL. After reading that one serving is ONE poptart, I started only allowing the kids to have 1 poptart every few days. With 3 kids, 3 flavors of poptarts bought etc…the case had come in handy. We just put in in there and then the next kid is allowed to see if one is in there or not before opening a new pack.

    Not necessarily something I would have bought, but something that has come in handy. We always know what is in it! And it fits right back in the box!

  • I have the little eggy pan. My grandson loves it..i have him on fridays and we chop up a little meat (last week we used left over smoked keilbasa) and green pepper, put that on the bottom of the pan, then an egg on top of it..flip it after a minute, and you have a perfect little egg for a sandwich or in my grandsons mind, a mini omelet! (he is almost 3)
    I love gadgets, don’t buy them all, but some are useful and some, not so much!
    my favorites: strawberry slicer, which i use for hard boiled eggs, and mushrooms.
    Clip on timer..which i use not only for cooking, but to remind me to get the clothes out of the washer and into the dryer, and for timing the lawn sprinkler!
    The little plastic drainer, that fits in the tuna can to drain out the water..
    Thanks for the wonderful read today! fun!

  • I have the best, most convenient, and cheapest solution to the soda fizz problem. It’s the cap that comes on the bottle. Seriously, if you don’t believe me, you’ll just have to try it.

    If you want your drinks to stay fizzy without going flat before you finish them you simply close the lid tightly each time they are opened & store them at room temperature. I don’t know why this works but it does. It will turn any brand into a Maxwell House coffee commercial – it’s good to the last drop!

  • At first I thought this post was a tour of the dollar store! haha. You can actually find a lot of the stuff you showed there. I love shopping at the dollar store for three reasons. One, they have a lot of cool stuff similar to what you showed, two, it’s all really cheap, and three, if it doesn’t end up working out I’m not too sad because it was only a dollar :)

  • I don’t get out much, so this was great fun shopping with you.
    Something I do with empty mini applesauce or pudding containers:
    I fill them 2/3rd to 3/4th the way full with water and freeze them.
    I reuse them over and over again. They’re great for large glasses
    or mugs to chill down too hot coffee or for quick ice tea. Once
    they’re frozen, you can stack them on top of each other to make
    space in the freezer for more. Definitely are large ice cubes
    Blessings

  • I used the Dolphin Water Fountain in my daughters bathroom when she was little. It does work. But if you turn the water up high his “mouth opens and allows the water to glow normally, the you have to click it closed when you are finished.
    I love your blog! So many great ideas : ) darlene

  • The dolphin drinking fountain has been around for years. I had one for my little one when she was brushing her teeth or just wanted water in the middle of the night. She had a fascination with drinking fountains so it worked for us! She is 20 now so it had to be 17-18 years ago. Think of all the cups you would save for those that spend the money on them. We use kitchen cups now and it would be nice to have one so I don’t have to “hunt” for them when it’s time to wash them!

  • First, that Utensil Put Clip would melt either on your metal pot or from the heat from the burner – not for me. The Yolky Egg Separator – not for me either – I use my open hand. Catches that yolk while the white slides neatly into the bowl. The Paper Loaf pans I have used since King Arthur’s catalog started carrying them about 4 years ago. They have Christmas Tree shape along with loaf pans and others that I buy for neighbor gift giving.
    And the very best gadget in my kitchen is my collection of Wooden Clothes Pins! Like you, I have used these for years and years! Why would I spend $2.99 for a plastic thing that looses it’s spring after 6 months when I can buy 100 clothes pins for the same amount? Doesn’t make sense to me!
    This was a good column. I am a gadget hound but have lately been purging my collecition.

  • The little dolphin water fountain thing is cute for youngsters in the bathroom where they are brushing their teeth. We had one and my daughter thought it was the bomb. But…………..beware, if you turn the water on too high, and then push closed the little flap on the bottom to make it a fountain, the water proceeds to spray right over the edge of the sink and onto the floor………..don’t ask me how I know. LOL.

  • Dear Jill the sacsoc that you have photographed above made me think of one day I was at our rubbish dump and a lady threw one on the junk. I then grabbed it and stuffed it into my pocket. She looked at me and laughing she asked me what will I do with that “Fabric hose with elastics at the ends” I then told her what I had in mind and that my young wife (We were only married for two years) was planning to make one for the [plastic shopping bags. She blushed and said that a man must now come and show her stupidity to her new husband She said that it was among her wedding gifts and she was too shy to ask the giver what it was for!

  • I have the Pop Tart containers. My sons used to take one to school for a snack in their younger days. The Pop Tart would break in a sandwich bag, so the container was perfect to keep it intact and the boys were happy!!

    • To be honest, I’ve never even thought about using metal or glass straws. The things I learn from you people! I definitely will look into them because I’m pretty sure I would LOVE them! :-)

  • The whale fountain is a cute idea and the grandkids loved it but you will have to remove it often and sanitize it as the water left behind allows mold to grow and that is gross.

  • I just found primary-colored milkshake straws (red, orange, yellow, blue – very bright and kid-friendly) at Bed, Bath and Beyond. They also have regular-sized straws in the same colors.

  • Hi! Not sure if anyone has said this or not…
    I found straws similar to those at an Asian supermarket. They are used for Bubble Tea, but for some reason they make drinking just about anything more fun!

  • LOVED this post! Very amusing and informative to read :0) Glad you found your special straws, I hate when I love a product, use it up and then have to scour the earth to find it again. I wanted to let you know that I found great straws at the Dollar Tree. I am a shunner of excessive plastic waste so I am a hard sell on straws, however I find that I drink more water when I am using one so I do use them. The ones I found are bright colored clear, hard plastic, REUSABLE straws!!! They work great and I wash them in hot soapy water, so far they have not broken and are clean after a little soak and rinse.

    • If you are looking for a plastic straw alternative, I bought both glass (which remarkably haven’t broken in the 3+ years we owned them–did I just jynx it?) and also bought stainless steel straws. They both came with min brushes to clean them with. Of course a pipe cleaner would also work, although it may rust over time. Search them on Amazon. Stainless run from $2-5 ea; glass $5-8 ea. We’ve had ours at least 3 yrs.

    • I first found Jillee when I decided in December to start shunning plastic. It is a very hard task because it has infiltrated our homes like crazy! I am glad to find out I am not the only one doing this.

  • LOL! What a fun post! I too find myself drawn to the impulse items in the aisles of my grocery store. For the most part I am able to resist… but every now and then something makes it home with me. Glad I’m not the only one. ;-)

  • Just thought of something else. We make our own bread most of the time. Any plastic bags out there to fit a loaf w/o having to cut it up some first?????????? I was at a pizza place and they had little cups with lids for your what ever because it was a buffet. Well I asked manager if I could buy a sleeve of the cups and their lids. He sold them for cheap. Great for that salad dressing problem, condiments on the side at home and crafting, works for lots of stuff.

  • The paper baking pans are awesome for making pumpkin bread and giving it away at holiday time and I would love the poptart container because what if you only want to eat one? Saves the plastic baggie.

  • What is it they say – haters gonna hate! (I am soo not with it; this may be very 2010!) Yes, the relative anonymity of the Internet seems to have given people license to spew all kinds of rudeness they would never dream of speaking in person. Interesting phenomenon! We should all take a lesson from Thumper’s mother: If you ain’t got somethun nice to say, don’t say nuthun at all! (From the Disney movie Bambi, for those who haven’t watched it endlessly with their children.) Cheers!

  • I’m going to have to look for one of those “portion control” dressing lids. The new trend seems to be getting rid of the dressing inserts that lets you squirt a little stream, and I always end up with WAY too much dressing on my salad or plate.

    • So glad you fixed that, I was a little disappointed when I clicked & was sent to Target instead. They seem great. Why didn’t I think of that? Seriously, why didn’t I? I used to make from bath wash cloths “pockets” for yogurts or juice boxes or water bottles that were frozen & then packed into lunches to avoid condensation that would make things wet in the lunchbox. I would pack little mason jars too that always got knocked around–these, never even thought to slip one of these into the “pockets”.

  • Your articles take me back (many) years to when I was a military newspaper editor. It was always fun for me to send my junior writers out on stories that had absolutely nothing to do with military related stuff. Whenever one would come to me with the complaint of “I have nothing to write about,” I would pull out a notebook where I kept what I called brain awakener story ideas. It was so much fun reading what they picked, then wrote a feature story about it.

    This article you just posted reminds me of what writers do when the brain cache of ideas for stories kind of runs on the empty side. When it does it’s time to write something that is fun, doesn’t fit as well as you would like in any particular area, then put it in print as a happy, funny, imaginative story.

    Congrats on stirring up your creative mind for this one.

    Terry – an old retired Air Force editor.

    P.S. My favorite saying still kept on my desk: Writing is easy. Just stare at a blank piece of paper and sweat blood until words appear.

  • I buy similar mini-cups with lids at the dollar stores – 10/$1. I make lots of seasoning “packets” for things like taco filling in bulk, and I ‘ve also given them, filled, as gifts. For portable salads, though, I pack it all in a Mason jar (regular size mouth – not wide – and put an empty container from Del Monte fruit in a cup on the top that will hold my dressing. It will sit right on the edge of the jar without falling in. Then you just screw on the lid and ring, and you’re good to go. There are really cute totes made especially to hold Mason jars, too! http://www.target.com/p/duralex-chefs-8-pc-glass-condiment-prep-bowl-set-clear/-/A-12406447#prodSlot=medium_1_8

    I’m going to try to find your post where soda haters were nasty, and tell them about my new SodaStream! I LOVE home-made soda! No more big bottles to lug home, no more bottles to throw away, (no more plastic garbage to the landfill or the oceans) no more storage space except for a pint bottle of concentrate I keep in the fridge. As they say, if you love bubbles, set them free!

    • I love my soda-stream too. I can have any flavor soda I want, any time I want it without buying a whole package of the same kind of soda. I have purchased lots of the syrup flavors for just this reason, and frankly, I don’t care if someone approves of my soda drinking or not. People need to learn to control their bitchiness and keep their misery all bottled up inside until it eats them up from the inside out. Just my humble opinion :)

      Thanks for the ideas about the dollar store containers too. I bought several tubes of those for something I was going to do at Christmas time and then never got around too so I have about 30 of those little containers now…………story of my life. Haha

  • I love those straws too! FYI: Instead of saying ‘the other day’ maybe say ‘the other month’ at the start of your post because clearly from the milk in your cart it was back in October!

  • Gosh, it seems there are a few gadgety items I’ve managed to miss in my quest to become the Kitchen Gadget Queen of North America. LOL Thanks, Jill!

    I do have several sizes of the paper loaf pans; I use them for baking gifts. They look nice and are disposable so you’re not giving a pan you might want to get back or trying to remove a loaf from the pan before wrapping it up. The sets that come with cellophane bags and ties give you everything you need to present a nice and professional-looking gift.

    The pinch bowls are so named because you pinch them to form a spout for ease of pouring the contents out. The little ones are really nice for holding small quantities of herbs, spices and such. You can prep everything ahead of time and have it all standing by when you need it. Very handy!

  • This made my day! I obviously fall prey to grocery-store gadgets way too often, so I had to giggle. I love, love, love, the little egg ‘Jo!e’ items, but don’t have these. Thanks for such a fun post!!

  • Ummmm….I know that soda, especially diet is bad for you/me but I’m sure at some point every thing is and I have an addiction to Diet Coke. I will drink coffee if I have creamer (which I’m sure has it’s own negatives). Just keep on doing what you’re doing Jillee. My girls have been saying “turn that frown upside down.” Thanks for all you do for us in the blog world.

  • Look forward to your post everyday. It has been really helpful. I am now making many of my own products. Thank you for all of the great ideas. As for the soda haters, some people have nothing better to do than say something negative about what someone else is doing. Keep doing what you’re doing. People can take away what is useful to them and leave the stuff that isn’t for people like me who are currently downing a soda (diet no less…GASP!). I’ll get off of them one day but for now at least I have begun limiting my intake. Have a great day.

  • I’ve also been hunting for special straws that are the regular thin type but are firmer, not easily bendable. I use them to keep my student’s violin bows to go straight!!!

  • Question For Kelly: How do you steam your eggs in a Mason Jar lid? Sounds like a great size for making a copycat egg McMuffin.
    Thanks so much for your Blog Jillee. Love, love, love it!

  • The chop stick helpers are great for teaching kids how to use them. I have the soda saver and it works a bit but I can never find it and it makes the bottles too talk to fit in my fridge door. So I don’t use it anymore. The paper bread pans are awesome! I don’t have them (yet) but how cool and nicer than aluminum for giving a gift! I have the pot spoon clip and it is awesome. My tea kettle sits on my stove 99% of the time a d I clip it there so I don’t lose it. You could also attach it to the fridge or stove with a magnet. The trick to these items is keeping them handy and not forgetting to use them!

    I don’t personally pre measure but pinch bowls are for setting ingredients out ahead of time. For instance, if you have to add vanilla to a recipe near the end (like making caramel) and you want to pre measure but then need your measuring spoon again or it doesn’t sit flat on the counter, this comes in handy. I ‘Rachel Ray’ my seasonings so I don’t use them but if I was to measure exactly, these would be great. And as others mentioned, being silicone, they allow you to pinch them to add ingredients while pouring slowly and accurately. I could see them being very good for drizzling chocolate as someone mentioned. My chocolate always seems to thicken too much when the cold spoon hits it. And I don’t like to waste plastic bags and snip the corner like some people do. Great idea but wasteful!

    I use bag clips ALL THE TIME and I like them because they don’t stick up as far a a clothespin does and they lock so don’t get knocked off. They are easier to clean and go in the freezer fine. No rusting either. I don’t use this type tho. I use ones from IKEA. Cheap and easy to use. I highly recommend them!

  • All I know is that I must be buying the cheap bread – since every sammie cutter I have bought – heart, dino – is too BIG for the bread so cuts………nothing! lol

    • Heidi ~
      I had that same problem so I use cookie cutters instead. I bought a big box of them and our boys get to pick which shape they want when we eat sandwiches. HTH!!

  • Hope your “a few days ago”, when you were going down the grocery aisles was actually a few months ago — the expiration date on the milk in your cart is October 30! LOL

  • I have these straws. I found them originally at Bed, Bath Nad Beyond. I found some at the end of summer at my Meijer store in cut little plastic dispenser. They were marked down to fifty cents so I bought all of them. I use them to drink my protein shakes. They are too thick to just drink and regular straws just don’t work.

  • Pinch bowls are generally used to hold the variety of spices that you might use for a recipe. In the cooking world the use of pinch bowls are common. The rule “mis en place” – everything in place, makes pinch bowls vital. So you get your 21 different diced veggies and spices in your 21 different pinch bowls and you are ready to get cooking! Just kidding about the number of ingredients, but I do use my pinch bowls when I want to mise en place and I am following a recipe with a number of ingredients/spices.

  • If you have a Smart & Final near you they stock those milkshake straws. I recently bought a box of 400? For $10 I believe.
    They’re great for smoothies, milkshakes, etc!

  • I have bought the boxes with the windows. I too thought they were cute and used to give cookies at Christmas. The problem is they all broke on the bottom but two. The glue was in weird places and they would not hold together. I was very sad. Will not buy again.

      • I thought the same thing. Even the ultra pasteurized kind wouldn’t last that long. I’m guessing this post has been ‘brewing’ for a long time. :)

      • haha! The readers of this blog totally blow my mind! You people don’t miss a thing! :-) Yes, this post was written and put in my “go to” file quite awhile ago. My “go to” file being the posts I have written that aren’t “time sensitive” and I can throw in when I’m in a pinch. Now you know! Busted! ;-)

      • LOL Jillee – it never hurts to be prepared! I didn’t notice your milk expiration date, just to let you know that there is at least ONE unobservant reader on your blog. LOL. It drives my husband crazy that I don’t catch details. Oh well, I’ll leave that to him to keep me safe :)

      • I noticed the date on the milk too, but I just thought you froze your milk and thawed it out when you needed it like we do. LOVE you blog, it has helped my family and me to save so much money while my husband was employment challenged this year. Thank you so much!

  • LOVE the post!! I have some of those straws that I want to say I got at Dollar Tree. The kiddos love them because they’re bigger than the regular bendy straws that we have.

    Anyway, isn’t it amazing that MOST of the things you find at the grocery store like that are also found at Dollar Tree, Walmart, etc. for WAY cheaper? 99.9% of the time my kids ask for something while we’re at Kroger, I tell them that we can find it a lot cheaper elsewhere. Only when something is in the clearance section could it possibly be a good enough deal for me to purchase at the grocery store.

  • Hi Jillee

    I love your blog, you have a great view on life and wonderful ideas, thank you! Ignore the soda haters…

    I don’t think I have any of those gadgets, but have to say I made a sacsoc a long time ago. I use Kleenex boxes now – much nicer, and a good excuse to buy the pretty ones!

  • I love seeing all these gadgets. Maybe you could do more like this?
    Just out of curiosity I searched for “milkshake straws” and Amazon has them and many other sizes and shapes!

  • This was a cute, fun post! I rarely shop the center aisles so now I may have a reason to go ‘there’ again! I think the paper loaf pan is a great idea for bake sales or food gifts. Love the treat boxes too. Will def. be looking for the chopstick helpers! My son would looove to be able to use chopsticks but just can’t get the hang of it ::( I had no idea they made a gadget like that.

  • This is too funny!

    I can’t believe they sell all this!

    And, a little tip on big straws. I love to buy mine at an Asian grocery store.
    They selling these giant thick straws used for Asian boba drinks, and a huge pack is only like 99 cents and they come in lots of colors! I love them for our morning smoothies, they are perfect! And, perhaps just a tad bit wider mouthed than the ones you found! Let me know if you ever try them! They are a lot of fun!

  • Boogie Wipes are fantastic. You can buy them in a normal size wipes package. The grape ones smell awesome and my kids will actually sit still and let me wipe their faces with them! Priceless.

    As for the sandwich cutter, we have a heart shaped one similar to the butterfly…we just got some cutters called FunBites. They’re seriously amazing and I highly recommend them (and no I don’t know them, just love the product!)

  • I need the paper loaf pans to give away bread or to just store it until eaten. And those straws, I get some from an Asian store to use on homemade bubble tea. Yum.
    Pinch bowls are great for measuring out ingredients for cooking or baking. Then just dump as recipe calls for adding.
    Great blog. Love it. So many of my friends, and quilting buddies, listen to all the ideas I read and recipes I concoct.

  • I think I might know what a pinch bowl is and what it is for.
    If you have, say, excess gravy that you want to pour out you put it in this bowl and, as it is silicone it is very sturdy yet flexible, pinch the bowl for a smaller area as a pour spout to pour it in a smaller lidded item. (My mom likes to put every little food item that will smell after a time into an old milk jug. She puts the stuff in it, whatever it is, in the jug and puts the cover back on until the next time. That way her garbage does not get stinky as she does not empty her garbage but maybe once a week.)
    I do that using an old milk jug but mainly with grease and other liquid-y things. I have a silicone measuring cup I use but I would think you could use those for the same thing. My garbage gets emptied almost daily so not a big deal for most things. Liquids just run a high risk of nasty mess if the bag breaks open.

  • The Pop-Tart holder resides in the back of our drawer collecting dust, but when I bought Pop-Tarts, my daughter would only eat one from the package. I would toss the other one in there because she liked to carry it around, just not eat it. It also helped prevent the inevitable squashed Pop-Tart when my hubby would eat the first one, then toss the other one on the front seat of his truck, then forget it was there and toss something else on top of it a few minutes later…

    • I have a daughter who only eats one at a time too, that’s why we got the Pop-Tart keeper. The “extra” one would always get too dried out or smashed if we put it back in the box.

  • I love your blog. I enjoy all the good and useful ideas that you share. I must admit that I am totally addicted. The first thing I do in the morning is go online to see what your next post is about. You start my day off with some laughter and good tips. I’m glad you are feeling better today. Thank You!!

  • Walmart has a sandwich crust cutter/edge sealer that you can use to diy uncrustables. It’s 1.97 and it’s hanging in the bread aisle (at least at my store) and it says “Wonder” on it. It works great!

  • I LOVE the fizz keepers…they work great. For a long time, we couldn’t find them anywhere, but Bed, Bath and Beyond carries them, too. Slow cookers liners are my other favorite, but yes, those look overpriced. I actually will take an evening and make several slow cooker meals and freeze them right in the liners, then when I know we’re going to have a busy day I just grab one out and pop it in the slow cooker frozen on low and by the time we get home from work the food is perfectly done…not overcooked and dry. :)

  • i must admit I have most of these things too, but most of them work and make things easier! Also I have those straws and love them too, I found mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

  • The paper loaf pan I think is designed for giving loaves of bread as gifts. You can bake the bread in the pan and then give it away, no having to dirty up your own pans or worry about transferring from your pan to prettier packaging. The pinch bowls I believe are designed for easy cooking. Have you ever watched a cooking program on the food network (like Ina, for example) and the cook has these handy bowls sitting out on the counter so they can pinch or scoop their salt and pepper quickly? I wouldn’t want to leave them sitting out like that, but I think it’s designed for convenience of cooking. I really want that ice tray. That’s one gadget I could really use.

  • I used to own the little eggy frying pan, and I used it exactly once. What I didn’t notice about the pan was that the neat hole on the handle (so you can hang it up) is metal and can get very hot because it’s connected all the way around the little eggy guy and becomes part of the handle. I burned my hand pretty badly for the sake of cuteness in egg preparation.

    Thanks to Jillee, I just use a mason jar lid and steam my eggs now. Same shape, no burned hand.

  • The straws seem and look like the ones you get at McDonald’s. My kids loved the fountain. Other than that i don’t use many gadgets. Thanks for the post it was fun reading.

  • Fun gadget post and clever of you to mention yesterday’s comments!

    (I often skip comments as it seems many people feel their opinion is more important than the ideas presented in the post.)

    Curiosity got the best of me so I went back to read each of the comments. In doing so I confirmed that I follow blogs of the authors that I can identify with, and not for the comments of those that need a platform.

    Thank you for posting so frequently about all sorts of topics and in such an upbeat fashion!

  • LOL!!! While I don’t drink soda’s that often myself, I couldn’t help but laugh at several comments yesterday. I’ll never understand why people can’t just read your blog ( or any other for that fact ) and take away from it what is useful to them without a negative comment. Yes, some were tastefully written, but some needed a little editing and could have been a tad bit less condescending….I’m just saying!! HA!

    • BTW – I do agree – I hate artificial anything and do not put it into my body either, but for some people just starting to make changes, this might be a “baby step” towards a change.

      • I 100% agree. There are often posts that that I don’t agree with and that’s fine. I just wait for the next post. I don’t understand why people can’t move on with leaving terribly condescending posts about how this and that will kill us.

      • Because the point of the comment section on a blog is for opinions. Not only for supporting opinions of those in agreement with the post. How boring would it be if everyone agreed on everything? And, while comments shouldn’t be down-right rude, if people can’t handle some disagreement and some varying opinions…that seems like a personal problem. :)

      • Chrystin, I visited your blog, and I see you value Scripture. Remember, even when speaking what we feel is the truth, that we are to speak it in love…not in a snarky or antagonistic sort of way. We are to speak with grace. If the way you say something, although intended to be good, pushes the recipient away, you have accomplished nothing good. Opinions delivered in a non-combative way are one thing, but word-jabbing with condescending overtones are another. Look at the “Love” chapter for a reminder. People don’t care what we know until they know that we care.

      • Most of the opinions that I”ve read on this blog are simply one person stating their opinion. I have read very little that is rude. What I have noticed is that some people get upset when ever someone posts anything that is contrary of offers a different opinion. In yesterday’s post, I read many posts that offered a different opinion that the one Jillee presented, but none were snarky. They simply differed from Jillee’s opinion and it seems that some of Jillee’s readers were uncomfortable having to read a dissenting opinion.

      • It is possible to express a differing opinion while still being polite and courteous. If a person cannot extend the simple courtesies we teach our children, then they should refrain from commenting.

      • Thank you, Mary Alice. I don’t believe I read anything or posted anything that was rude either. I simply expressed, like many did, an opinion that was different than Jillee’s. It seems that there are many people here who do not like anyone to disagree with Jillee in any way.

      • although I DO value scripture, I am confused and don’t think you actually visited my blog, because I don’t believe that I have one scripture on my blog!

      • Crystin, From your blog, this is what I read under your “Super-You” post that you wrote, which is what I was referring to when I mentioned Scripture:
        “My Current Personal Priorities:
        1. Consistently improve my relationship with the Lord.
        Currently, for me, this involves finding and implementing an effective schedule for prayer and Bible-reading so that I can quit being a slacker in this area. It also involves listening to more Christian music than any other kind so that I can stay up-lifted and positive.”

        I have nothing left to say. Have a great day.

      • Ohhhh okay. That makes sense. I was confused because most of my posts are about deals and coupons….I didn’t remember that one. :)

  • The grocery stores have a dinosair sandwich cutter like the butterfly that the boys might like better. There are hundreds of other options if you look on line.

    • When I saw the butterfly sandwich cutter I thought my boys would love these. My boys always thought everything should fly–why not a peanut butter & jelly sandwich too? I’m sure their dinosaur sandwiches would probably eat some little girls butterfly. And then there’s Rock ’em. Sock ’em Dinosaurs. I’m sure they would end up in the principals office.

    • We have the butterfly, puzzle, dolphins, and plain triangles. Figures my kids rarely take sandwiches anymore. Friends convinced them that ham and turkey rolls are best. Sigh

  • Oh my gosh I’ve literally been looking for those same straws and get disappointed every time I go to the store!!!! Yeeeeah! I’ll check the pharmacy next time!!!

  • I would die without a set (or two) of pinch bowls! They are not necessary, but I often cook in large quantities or make multiple recipes at once. These help me prep all the ingredients and have them ready to dump and go when I need them.
    I’m also a HUGE fan of the crockpot liners. However, I get a box of four for about $2 at WalMart. Frivilous, yes. But in my house totally justifiable!
    Thank you for this fun post!

    • I have used that brand of crock pot liners before with poor results. Not only is the price high, but the quality is not there. They seem to be flimsy and tear easily, and the size is a tad too small (wide and deep) for my slow cooker. I buy the Reynolds brand of Slow Cooker Liners which hold up great and when you use the coupons, that flood my mailbox, then they are a good bargain.

      Also have bought the salad dressing holders with lids and use them for my odd ball sewing and craft notions. Great for snaps, buttons, beads, and fiddly little things that get lost easily. Mine have colored lids so are easy to find in my maze of notions.

  • i have several mini icecube trays, i use them to freeze fruit and veggie purees and babyfoods to give to my teething 8 month old, in you know those feeder things with a handle. its been a life saver the past few days with mister grouchy refusing to eat. and i can sneak in green things he doesnt like to eat from a spoon.

    and my 6 year old loves the faucet fountain. great for teeth brushing

  • The fiz top for the top of a soda (pop) bottle totally works. A cousin of mine had one and we played with it all the time. It sounded stupid, but it worked.I should mention I was 19 when she had this contraption. The drink bling is perfect for kid parties. Kids drink out of any cup or go back and get more cups wasting them because they couldn’t find their original cup. The bling helps them remember whose cup is whose. We did this with different stickers when we were little. Worked like a charm!

  • If I remember correctly, they are called pinch bowls because if you pinch them in the middle, because they’re soft silicone, they form like a spout that makes it easier to pour part of whatever is in them onto your plate, or another container.

    That utensil pot clip seems like a wonderful idea for when you have a tiny kitchen and need to keep as much of your working area clear as possible.

    • Anna I think you are correct with the pinch being the action you can do with the bowls. I have a set of small pyrex bowls that hold 2 Tablespoons as well a set of the silicone bowls of the same size. Surprisingly I use ALL of them ALL the time. For dips and sauce with dinner to making my own spice rubs or glaze. The silicone ones work perfect for melting just a few chocolate bits to drizzle on top of some cookies or a cake when I just want a finishing touch. Definalely a useful multitasker in my kitchen.

    • Long, LONG before there were things made of silicone, there were glass pinch bowls and you can still buy them (even at Target – http://www.target.com/p/duralex-chefs-8-pc-glass-condiment-prep-bowl-set-clear/-/A-12406447#prodSlot=medium_1_8 ). You put all your ingredients for a recipe in them so that you have all your measuring and counting done before you begin making a recipe. Some sets come in graduated sizes, too.

      I’d sure like to know what your grocery store is! I’d like some of these gadgets, too!

      • No, the point of the silicone PINCH bowls is that you can pinch them so you can easily pour whatever they are holding into containers with small openings or pinch them to help get viscous materials out of them. They are very useful. Glass PREP bowls are also useful but you can’t pinch them, so they are little less helpful for some applications.

      • Those pinch bowls are great when you want to play chef and measure out everything before you start cooking. Good for teens learning to cook

    • I have both silicone pinch bowls and the pot clip. You are right about the purpose of pinch bowls – it’s not the size pinch, but the action pinch. As for the clips, it’s great because you don’t have to wash a spoon rest out afterward – whatever is on the stirring utensil just drips back into the pot.

    • You’re right! I would think that the pinch bowls are designed for pouring liquid of some kind, since they are silicone. And, if you look in the picture, I believe it was taken near the olive oil? It would probably be handy for drizzling oil for homemade salad dressings or pesto.

  • lol ok, first off, pinch bowls, if they are anything like the shot glasses i got, they are squishy, great for travel, camping most likely, i got my shot glasses cause they were cool.

    secondly…i have to admit im an eggy addict…lol the lil fry pan i own but i got a lil eggy flipper with it. an eggy timer, eggy pinchers ( those things that you supposedly should be able to grab things outta hot water an such), a eggy omelet pan ( this is one of those flip pans it is basicly 2 pans with a hinge), an eggy whisk, an eggy sauce pan, an eggy microwave boiled egg cooker, a pair of eggy doggy tongues ( lol ok, not sure what these are called for real but i always called them doggy tongues, they are bowl scrapers) and a cooked eggy cutter, its that thingy with the wires so you can slice your boiled eggs easier. i might have missed an item or two that i already own, but im always on the look out for new eggy items..lol

    thirdly, the sandwich cutters, i own 2 kinds, maybe a third, i cant find it right now, a heart shape from nutella, an a dinasour one..i hate crusts on my sandwiches..lol

    oh an the last thing, yes pop tarts need a container…lol not specifically the one you found but it seems that kids like to take them in their school lunches an eat them “raw”, lol

    • i have thrown a package of pop tarts in my purse and when I wanted to eat them they were tiny crumbs. The pop tart container keeps them intact for a quick snack on the go.

  • I’m not sure on the size of THOSE pinch bowls, but I have a set of four pinch bowls that hold about 2 Tablespoons each that are perfect for dip for my kid’s veggies. It’s just more fun with a colorful bowl and I think they can get more on their veggies too.
    Glad you were able to find your straws!