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My kids and I used to fight over who got to read the comics first each morning. This time of year, the kids know they get dibs. I’ve found the paper stuffed with far more entertaining press: The retail ads containing products only sold during specific holidays. Like jewelry and vacuum cleaners going on sale in May then ties and lawn mowers making a splash in June, electric illuminated shoe polishers and “touchless!” toothpaste dispensers adorn the ad pages and store shelves in December.  

When they ask this year, I’ll have a far easier time telling my family what I DON‘T want for Christmas.

Talking Pet Toys. One of the reasons my dogs are still around, despite Hank’s penchanct for running away in search of neighorhood cats and Nugget utilizing her three bladders on our wool area rugs, is they, unlike other members of my household, don’t talk back to me. Nor do they hog the remote, eat the last brownie or borrow and lose my brand new $25 tweezers—but the not talking thing is priceless. So I would spend ten bucks on a toy that talks which they‘re just going to chew, eat and vomit back onto the couch?

Wine Aerating Pourer: This is a thingy you put on your bottle of red wine prior to pouring it into your glass. As opposed to pouring your red wine into a decanter before pouring it into your glass. I hire someone to aerate my lawn every fall before I overseed. But my wine? Either one of those aerating processes seems like an unneccessary and time wasting step. Open bottle. Pour in glass. Drink. Repeat.

Electric Cookie Gun: Put this thirty dollars towards some more wine. First of all, it looks nothing like a gun. I mean, if you‘re gonna make a kitchy luxury small appliance, at least have a little fun with it. Make it so the cookie dough shoots out of the barrel of a Red Rider BB Gun or Magnum PI pistol. This thing resembles yet another cylindrical, difficult to wash gimmicky appliance with a power cord. And have you ever seen or used a normal (nonelectric) cookie press? Not. That. Difficult.  

Bed Desk for Laptop Computers: With multiple preset angled positions, integrated LED light and built-in mouse pad, it looks kinda functional and maybe a bargain at thirty dollars...but the only thing I want to do when I finally fall into bed at night is sleep. Not work on my lap top.

The 2-pound bread maker (seventy bucks), counter top wine chiller (eighty bucks), rechargeable wine opener (thirty bucks) and all countertop battery operated fountains are out due to lack of space. If  I’m going to utilize what precious counter space I have, it’ll be for that bottle of wine I won’t aerate.

Karen Rinehart’s columns appear Sundays in the Independent Tribune. Watch videos and read more on


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