The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Kitchen Cleaner/Grease Remover

vinegar I really need to find a good kitchen cleaner/grease remover that’s safe for wood. I don’t really like to use chemical cleaners, so I usually rely on vinegar to remove grease stains from my countertops and ceramic tile backsplash behind the stove. But I tested the vinegar cleaning solution on a small section of my wood cabinets, and it left a stain there, so I need an alternative.

Does anyone have any recommendations for something that can safely remove grease and grime buildup on oak cabinets? I’m open to anything: commercial products, home concoctions, etc. As long as it works, I’m game! I’m just getting sick of looking at these dirty cabinets day in and day out….

Stay Alive Board Game

stay-alive In an effort to get my son to spend less time playing video games, I’ve been trying to get him interested in board games instead. I had a bit of success with stuff like Chutes & Ladders and Candyland, but he’s bored with those now. So I recently purchased Stay Alive to expand the collection a little bit.

The object of Stay Alive is to push and pull various levers across the board to get your opponents’ marbles to fall while leaving your own intact. It’s for 2-4 players, and the game is both easy to explain and easy to pick up. We were playing in no time!

I bought the travel-sized version because I figured it would be easier to handle than the full-sized one — and because it will take less time to finish a game. It’s a 5×5 board, and each row has either one or two layers that the marble must pass through before dropping off the board.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward. Each player takes a turn at sliding one of the levers, with the goal being to get the other players’ marbles to drop. The only real rule is that players must move a different lever from the one the player before them moved. This is just to prevent a stalemate, with players sliding the same lever back and forth to negate each other’s move.

Overall, Stay Alive is a pretty fun family game. We’ve played it quite a few times already, and after two months, everyone is still interested in the game. Hopefully the interest will keep up for a while longer! Anyway, at $9.95, this was definitely a decent purchase!

Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzels

snyders-hmo As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, I’m absolutely addicted to crunchy snacks. I love pretzels, but quickly get tired of the plain kind. Fortunately for me, there are lots of great flavored varieties out there, including Honey Mustard & Onion from Snyder’s of Hanover.

These are hard, bite-sized “pretzel bits” that have a generous amount of flavoring on each piece. The result is a terrific snack that contains just 140 calories per 1-oz serving. At that rate, I won’t even experience any of the usual guilt that comes with snacking — the same guilt that drives me to find the best appetite suppressant immediately after I indulge!

At first, I thought the combination of honey mustard and toasted onion sounded a bit gross. And to tell the truth, I couldn’t even really decide if I liked these pretzels or not the first few times I ate them. But the flavor has grown on me since then, and this has become one of my favorite snacks — though I do need to keep copious amounts of mouthwash on hand to combat the raunchy breath that results from these things!

Snyder’s of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Bits are available everywhere. If you’ve been put off by the thought of this particular flavor combination, I’m here to tell you that it’s at least worth a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by it.

Kindle DX

kindle-dx Ok, I’ve taken a look at the new Kindle DX, and I think I want it! It’s a lot bigger than the K1 that I have right now, but that’s not the reason I think the DX would be useful. I like the fact that it’s specifically made for textbooks and PDFs, which could be very important for me should I be accepted to grad school this fall.

I would much rather read all of my homework on a Kindle than have to lug those huge, heavy textbooks around. I don’t even know about the availability of texts for Kindle, but even if they don’t have what I need, I’d make it work. I’d buy the book, rip out the pages, scan them one by one, and then load them on the DX. Seriously.

But the DX costs $489, which, I simply cannot justify spending on another e-book reader. So unless I come into a major inheritance or latch onto a class-action winning lawsuit or something, there’s no way I’m getting one of these within the next few years.

Oh, well, at least I have a K1 that still works as flawlessly as the day I got it!

Mizzou Mesh Basketball Shorts

mizzou-shorts As a big fan of the University of Missouri, I recently bought a bunch of Tigers branded gear to wear while lounging around the house watching their football games. My recent additions include these mesh basketball shorts produced by Sports Specialties, a Nike brand.

These mesh basketball shorts are one of the most comfortable pairs of shorts I’ve ever worn! They’re 100% polyester, lightweight, and mesh, but not the see-through kind. They have an elastic waistband with a drawstring, as well as two front pockets — which were critical for me since I wear these in and out of the house and need a place for keys, coins, cell phone, etc.

The shorts have the word Mizzou embroidered in gold lettering down the left side, and have gold piping around the cuffs. But the best features, in my opinion, are the two rubber elastic bands around the inside of the waist. These help keep the shorts in place, and prevent them from either riding up or slipping down. Awesome!

At $23.95, these were a bit expensive for a pair of shorts, but after wearing them for a couple months, I think they’re well worth the money. In fact, I think I’m going to buy a couple more (of different teams maybe) pretty soon! Sports Specialties rocks!

Kettlebell Craze

kettlebell-package I recently wrote a post about how I bought a pedometer in order to follow the 10,000 steps principle on the days that I don’t go to the gym. I felt that I needed to up the amount of physical activity on those days to boost my weight loss and help me achieve my fitness goals.

Since then, I’ve talked to a couple of people who recommended I take a look at Kettlebell training. I’ve seen a lot of infomercials for kettlebells and whatnot, but I never really paid much attention to them because it didn’t seem like something I needed.

But after checking into the program a bit more, I’m beginning to change my mind. The two most attractive features of kettlebell training are the fact that results can be achieved in just three 20-minute workouts per week and that the program lasts just six weeks.

Right now, I go to the gym three days per week and spend 90 minutes there. I do 45 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes on the weight machines. If I can combine those workouts and get both cardio and strength training in just 20 minutes? And right from the comfort of my own home? Wow, sign me up!

I think I’m going to try this soon. The package that includes a bunch of DVDs and a kettlebell isn’t that expensive, so I won’t be out much even if it turns out this sort of thing isn’t for me.

Totally Hideous Xbox Shoes

x-box-shoes I saw an article a couple days ago about an “artist” (nick)named Sole Junkie who created a pair of Xbox inspired sneakers. The article was somewhere on Yahoo, and the only reason I’m even giving the ugly-ass shoes the time of day is because of the cost. The artist says he will sell these things for $2,500.

For that price, you might think the shoes have wireless Xbox controllers in them that will allow you to play wherever you are or something. But they don’t. Ok, so maybe they light up in all sorts of cool ways when you’re walking? Um, nope.

Fact is, these $2,500 shoes do absolutely nothing — and they don’t even look good while they’re sitting there on your feet! Seriously, have a gander at those things. Would you pay even $50 for them? I wouldn’t.

And what’s with that Nike copyright infringement? That is a Nike logo I see, isn’t it — albeit turned the opposite way? Is that all you have to do to get out of a copyright violation? Just use a mirror image of the same logo??

Gardetto’s Italian Cheese Blend

gardettos Everyone knows that I love crunchy snacks, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I buy Gardetto’s Italian Cheese Blend all the time. This is a wonderful snack mix that includes pretzel twists, pretzel sticks, pretzel nuggets, melba toast, bread sticks, and bread stick twists all coated with a terrific cheese flavoring. Once I pop open a bag, all bets are off — I can’t stop eating these things! I especially love the bread stick twists, and admit to picking through the bag to get those first. What can I say? They’re just so delicious!

According to the nutrition information, a single serving is 1/2 cup or 30g and contains 140 calories. The problem is that the amount of calories from fat per serving is 45, which is kind of high (32 percent) — but not quite to the point where I need to chase this snack with fat burner pills or anything like that.

Anyway, Gardetto’s Italian Cheese Blend snack mix is one of my all-time favorites. It’s usually in the potato chip aisle, so if you’ve never tried this, check it out the next time you go shopping. If you love crunchy snacks as much as I do, this will be a hit!