Category Archives: HOUSEHOLD

Keramikos Kitchen

 sharp knivesI don’t keep sharp knives in the house. Seriously. I’m not a chef, and actually, I barely qualify as a cook, even when I’m the one putting dinner on the table (which is most often a TV tray, let’s be real here!).

So…no knives. Until I found Keramikos Kitchen. They sent me a couple of their ceramic knives to test. I’d never heard of, let alone seen, a ceramic knife prior to this. I read about them at their blog and found that they’re not meant for chopping; actually, if you use them like a cleaver, you risk breaking them. I was intrigued. A knife for slicing. I do slice things. I eat a decent amount of fruit, especially in the summer, so having a good slicing knife would be pretty nice.
They are nice. I cut up some fresh strawberries last night and the paring knife made it a piece of cake. Actually, the biggest advantage I saw was how thin I could slice them. Not only could I slice them really thin, but it was a uniform slice (instead of the kind of slice that starts out thin and gets progressively wider as you make the cut).
I read on the Keramikos blog that ceramic is “chemically inert,” so I did a little experiment. I tried the 6″ chef’s knife they sent on a head of iceberg lettuce. Usually, lettuce browns shortly after it’s cut with a metal knife. Sure enough, no browning with the ceramic blade. All this time, I assumed I was getting crappy lettuce!
The other thing that won’t happen with ceramic knives is the transfer of flavors from one food to another. You can go from slicing garlic to fruit and since the blades don’t absorb the juices of what they’re cutting, the flavors won’t mix. That’s one less thing to wash when you’re done!
Speaking of washing, these should be hand-washed to give them the longest lifespan possible. They’re guaranteed for five years (sweet!), too. Personally, I hate having to hand-wash anything, so these have been through my dishwasher. They did fine.

knives

One thing that struck me when I opened the package was that one blade was white and the other, black. I checked out the Keramikos Kitchen site and found out that the black one is made of zirconium carbide, which turns black when it’s fired in a kiln. The harder material makes them less likely to be damaged from misuse. I was pretty glad they sent that, because (like when I put them in the dishwasher), it’s pretty likely that they’ll see some misuse here (even though I’ve banned hubby from using them).
Ceramic blades will break if they’re dropped or misused (ahem, husband!). On the other hand, they’re a lot lighter than their metal counterparts. If you approach this from a “right tool for the right job” standpoint, I think most kitchens could benefit from having a couple, especially the paring knife for fruit. Since the ceramic blades are about 50% harder than stainless steel, the blades keep their edge much, much longer than a metal knife.
If you’re interested, I highly suggest reading this blog post at the Keramikos site for more info on why you should use ceramic knives. (It’s also a way to enter to win some of your own!)

knives

Want to win your very own?! Of course you do! You can win the utility and paring knife boxed set, here’s how:
  • leave a comment on this post about why you’d like your own ceramic knives
Bonus entries:
  • go to this post at the Keramikos blog and leave a comment about what you like best about the knives (you MUST come back here and let me know that you did it, please!) – 1 entry
  • follow me here (sidebar) – 1 entry
  • follow me on twitter (sidebar) – 1 entry
  • subscribe to the blog via email (new! sidebar) – 1 entry
  • put my blog button on your blog (you MUST leave me a link to it!) – 1 entry
You can enter up to SIX times for these babies! Leave a separate comment for each, please. Giveaway runs until June 10, 2009, 11:59pm EST.

Laundry with No Soap?! It’s a Mystic Wonder!

laundry

See that?  It’s the Mystic Wonders Complete Laundry System, sitting in front of all the laundry products I used to use.  You’ve gotta hear about this!
I do a ridiculous amount of laundry.  And since I’m one to let it pile up, it’s that much more burdensome when I do finally get around to it.  And usually, there’s a load of clothes from the last time I did laundry waiting for me in the dryer, half picked through from taking things we needed out all week.  Of course, this time was no different, so I figured I’d toss my new dryer balls in to fluff everything up.  Not much of a test, but I figured I’d break ’em in easy.  They worked like a charm, everything came out like….well, like it hadn’t been sitting in the dryer for a week!

Next, I tossed the really cool Wonder Ball in the washer with a load of towels.  My first reaction:  Does thing work?  Could it possibly?  It doesn’t require detergent!  Nothing but water.  Water + Wonder Ball = clean laundry?  You bet!  I’ll admit, it took some getting past the idea of not pouring soap into the little dispenser drawer, but I went ahead.  From the Mystic Wonders site:  The Wonder Ball works through physics. The frequency enhanced mineral blend within the ball creates an energy field when agitated in the machine. When this energy meets with the water, the water is in its best cleaning state. It is the water that does the cleaning.”  I set the washer to hot (always the setting I use for towels) and let it go to work.  

I threw the wet towels into the dryer with the two Wonder Dryer Balls when they were done.  No dryer sheet, zip, zilch, nada.  These showed immediate results – it took ten minutes off the dryer cycle, which is great.  I will say that the towels had some static cling going on when I took them out, which really drives me bonkers.  So, I’ll continue to throw a dryer sheet in with the balls.  I’ll definitely continue using the balls, too, though, since they cut the drying time pretty dramatically.  I was also able to set the heat to medium, too,.  That’s going to add up to a lot of energy (and money!) saved!
The towels came out clean, smelled fresh, and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between washing them with my old detergent versus the new Wonder Ball.  Not having to buy laundry soap anymore is mighty appealing, let me tell you.  So, I figured I’d test them again on something tougher – a load of my daughter’s dirty clothes.  If you’ve ever washed a load of baby clothes, you know that all manner of eeeew gets on them.  My girl is no exception, so I knew this load was going to reveal if the Wonder Ball would cut it at our house.  I know that I was pretty skeptical when I started using the Complete Laundry System a couple weeks ago, so I took pictures to show you just what this cool little ball can do.  Here is the protective mat from the changing table before and after I washed it (I’ll leave what those stains are to your imagination, just note that they’d been there a few days by the time this sucker made it to laundry day).

before.  eeew.

after.  clean!
 
After putting our towels and most of the clothes we wear week in and week out through several washings, I even noticed a couple stains started to loosen up and fade.  I’ll admit that it’s still a little weird not to be pouring detergent into the dispenser.  It’s so nice, though!  This system is very kid (and in some cases, husband!) friendly – as long as the Wonder Ball stays in the washer and doesn’t take a ride in the dryer, you’re good to go.  It’s easy, it saves money and conserves energy…and that makes mom happy!
 
Want your own Complete Laundry System?  Fern (who is just about the nicest lady you’ll ever encounter, she’s great!) has graciously decided to give away not only a Complete Laundry System, but also 10 one-year Wonder Balls for 10 runners-up!!  How awesome is that?!
Here’s how to win:
  • comment on this post & say why you’d like a Complete Laundry System (with a valid email, please!) = 1 entry
  • follow my blog (under ‘follow’ in the sidebar; leave a comment to let me know you’re a follower, please!) = 2 entries
  • follow me on Twitter (link is in the sidebar; leave a comment to let me know you follow, please!) = 2 entries
  • This giveaway is open until Monday, May 25th at midnight EST.
*Special note – if you followed on the old Screamin’ Deal blog, you’ll have to re-follow here (but just this once – once you’re a follower, you’re good to go at the new Makes Mom Happy site).  Thanks!!
**Second special note – entries without email addresses will be disqualified.  I hate to do that, but I really don’t have time to chase down email addresses for everyone.  So, please put your email address in at least one of your comments!
I’ll be giving away some of the one-year Wonder Balls at random on Twitter, so keep an eye out for me! =)