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Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at

Life-improving products, part 2

Categories: Electronics, Elementary school kids, House & Home, Kitchen, Life balance, Managing stress, School, School gear, back to school, organization

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Continuing with last week’s theme of life-improving products:

Wahl Haircut Kit (photo from This was especially life-changing when the boys were younger: I could line up the four of them and save $60 in well under an hour. The first time I cut Toddler Rob’s hair was VERY SCARY, but I thought to myself, “If I make a mess of this, I can take him to the barber and have them fix it—or I can just shave it off and start over.”

Goody Small Claw Clips (photo from I buy these from Target in a pack that has 5 of each color. I use them for buns or for other twisty styles, and they have revolutionized how I do my hair. My only complaint is that they come in mixed-color packs, when I only like the tortoiseshell ones. I’ve been thinking I should set up a local swap club, because surely there are other women who like the black ones or clear ones best.

Taylor Quad Timer with Whiteboard (photo from Most of the time, we don’t need this. But when we DO need it, it’s GREAT. We’ll have one timer set for when it’s time to put the pizza dough ingredients in the bread machine, and another for when the grass ought to be dry enough for a kid to mow the lawn, and another for when we’d better remember to cycle the laundry or else someone isn’t going to have any pants for school tomorrow, and a fourth for when it’s time to leave for a dentist appointment.

White board (photo from I’d buy this locally to avoid shipping issues—or better yet, we got ours from Freecycle. If you have a busy schedule, I heartily recommend the Giant Whiteboard system of organization. I like how it’s flexible depending on what kind of system we need at the time: we can write a list for each person, or we can make one big list, or we can draw a two-week schedule because we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to manage things. Paul can use it to help with math homework, or I can use it to draw a map because I can’t remember the street names, or we can use it to leave notes for each other.

Lands’ End backpacks (photo from I like these because they last way longer than a backpack from Target or Walmart (though I’ll still shop there if I want a character backpack), but I can get them on sale for the same price or less. This particular one I’ve linked to is down to $15; there’ll be a better selection of the sale ones when it’s not Prime Backpack Season. And Lands’ End frequently has sales that combine percent-off and free shipping, so periodically I buy a stack of backpacks for less than $10 each—for my own kids, and/or to donate to a local charity that helps families with back-to-school stuff.

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