If I’d known what a difference a convection oven would make, I would have forked over the $89 years ago. A convection oven blows heated air from all four sides, distributing it more evenly, producing better texture and taste than a microwave. It broils, toasts, and bakes in less time than a regular oven with no preheating, uses less energy, and makes lifting heavy dishes a thing of the past.
The only downside is the knobs on this model are slightly difficult for my fingers — something to consider. Larger models big enough to hold a turkey can cost up to $200, but can be placed at a height that’s right for you.
— Sharon Gardner
The Shortest of Reachers
I love my reachers (grabbers to some people). I have two different types and wish I had a variety stashed in every room. In most cases things are only two or three inches beyond my grasp. When using a long reacher, it’s annoying to back up three feet just to get a pill bottle out of the medicine cabinet, then try to lower it without wobbling.
For years I’ve dreamed of inventing a really short reacher, just long enough to bridge a short distance to scoop up the dropped earring in the bathroom, the grape on the dining room floor, or the flyaway invoice in the office. I’ve tried metal kitchen tongs and plastic salad tongs, but they don’t adequately grip most tiny objects.
Finally I hit the jackpot at Hobby Lobby — 7-inch Mini Nylon Tongs in three different colors and four styles of “hands.” They are easy to squeeze and have a coating that holds the wayward object nicely. The best part is they are only $1.67 each. I caught them on sale at 50 percent off — a delightful 84 cents per grabber. Now I have one in every room and haul in the traditional reachers only for the big stuff.
No Hobby Lobby near you? Search for mini nylon tongs at www.hobbylobby.com.
— Sharon Gardner
Landscaping a Ramp
Carl Hay, T12 para, Portland, Ore.
A popular way to hide a front entrance ramp and please your homeowner’s association is to plant shrubs in front of it. Hay’s ramp is concrete with safety curbs. He and his wife, Olivia, decided to bring in large rocks and container plants, space them and plant them to create a pleasing pattern, and then let time and Mother Nature do the rest. They are just getting started on the project. “We’re doing it with help from the VA,” Hay says. “With a slope of 5 percent or less, ramps don’t require a handrail.”