This Week at Costco – February 8, 2009

February 14th, 2009 · 16 Comments

This week we bought a lot of non-food items, for a change.  There are just some times when I’m more interested in the other stuff than the grocery things that we always pick up.  At least at our Costco, you can definitely smell the spring gardening season in the air; lots of fertilizer, gardening tools, and even some plants and bulbs.

Cuisinart SmartStick Blender

Cuisinart SmartStick Blender

Cuisinart SmartStick Hand Blender – Okay, this was the most excited I’ve been to see something at Costco in a while (which probably says something sad about me).  But honestly, it’s just because I’ve been looking for one of these for a while that was well made, yet under $70.  And of course Costco came through for me.  So, the main reason I’ve been wanting one of these is that our previous one, also a Cuisinart, was so old (like from back when my husband was single) that the bottom part didn’t detach so it was really hard to keep truly clean plus, it didn’t have any other fancy tricks besides just straight up blending.  But this new one fixes all of that by having the attachments come off of the actual hand-held motor part so that you can put them in the dishwasher (except for the gear parts) to get them clean.  Not only can it blend with the little stick blender attachment, but you can take that off and put on a whisk attachment, and you can also attach it to what is basically a little food processor too.  So, you can blend, whisk, chop, and grind with this one little tool.  I’ve seen this same model online for over $50.00, so buying at Costco is a real bargain at just over half of that price; thus my excitement about it.  $29.99.

Cooking Thermometer 2-Pack

Cooking Thermometer 2-Pack

Roasting Thermometer and Instant Read Probe – We were on such a roll with the kitchen gadgets this week.  The roasting thermometer is the kind with the probe attached to the main unit so that you can keep the thermometer in the food in the oven while the unit sits on the counter; the instant read probe thermometer is the less high tech thermometer that you just stick in the food, read the temperature, and then pull it out again. This is a great replacement to our current array of thermometers that are hit or miss on how well they work.  We have a really old roasting thermometer that we love because it is so easy to set, however, the probe has started to be somewhat unreliable and slow to track the temperature lately.  And then we have a slightly newer one that is really hard to set and the probe doesn’t seem to work so well either.  So, the new one from Costco has some cool features but is still really easy to set to our own temperatures.  It has pre-set temperatures for different meats and ‘doneness’ settings.  The pre-sets are great if you don’t have your own preferences, but I usually find them to be a little higher than I would like because of the carry over cooking.  It also has a light on the front to indicate how far the food is in the cooking process by changing from blue to yellow to red; or you can look at the display to see the current temp of the food. One of the really nice features is that the probe and its cord store in the bottom of the unit; the bottom expands open and it tucks away there.  And, of course, it has a plain kitchen timer that is easy to set and will still work even if you are using the thermometer.  In the pack you also get an instant read thermometer, which is digital as well, for those times when you don’t need/want to break out the probe, like for liquids.  It has a very readable display for one of these types of thermometers and is accurate in just a second or two.  $14.97.

Rubber Mulch for Landscaping and Playgrounds

Rubber Mulch for Landscaping

Lasting Choice Rubber Mulch – You might think this is a bit of a weird product but I’ve been waiting for this since last spring when I didn’t buy it but really wanted it.  So, this wonder mulch is made out of recycled tires and will last for years because it won’t decompose in the elements.  Plus, it will retain it’s color for years and years (at least 10).  They also claim that it won’t attract bugs or termites the way regular mulch will, it won’t mold or mildew, and it won’t blow away.  Plus, it does all of the things that regular mulch does by protecting your plants and the soil.  On the down side, it is much more expensive than regular mulch but you’re not replacing it every year so it probably pays for itself in a couple of years.  I wanted this mostly because we have a part of our yard that gets zero sun and stays moist most all of the time; regular mulch would decompose in no time flat.  I guess if it works out well in that area we can add it to more parts of our yard next spring and stop all of the mulch spreading every year.  This would be great for under a swing set (which is definitely one of the initial intentions of this product) or in a play area because it is very soft and won’t give off splinters. 1.6 cubic feet for $19.49.

Crossword Puzzles for the year

A year of Crossword Puzzles

Penny Press Crossword Puzzle Book – I like to keep my brain limber and active – my brain isn’t getting any younger -and crossword puzzles are a great way to do that.  This is really all my mom’s fault; she got me hooked on the puzzles a few years ago when I went for a visit and we did the puzzles in her newspaper every day.   I even have a crossword application for my iPhone for those times when I’m waiting in the doctor’s office or someplace that can be boring.  Luckily, every once in a while (maybe twice a year) Costco has these puzzle books so I can get my brain in shape and save a little cash.  This most recent book at Costco has more than 300 puzzles in it, and while they are all word-based they are not all straight crossword puzzles; so there is a bit of variety.  I try to do a puzzle every afternoon.  Of course, some of them are really easy and quick, so I finish them rather quickly but there are other ones that are way bigger and take a bit more time and thought.  Either way though, it’s giving my mind a little something to do that is more challenging than reading or watching television.  $3.59.

Duracell D Batteries

Duracell D Batteries

Duracell Coppertop Size D Batteries –  Have you ever been counting on your flashlight or lantern only to find out that the batteries are dead?  Yeah, that happened to us recently and we had absolutely no replacements and every single one of the batteries was dead – in 3 different lanterns!  Luckily, we weren’t out in the wild camping, we were just in our garage and attic.  But still, it’s not very fun.  So, we had to fill up on the big D size batteries.   Since we buy in bulk at Costco, we get 12 batteries in a single pack which will put batteries in all of the lanterns, plus leave us with a few spares.  I’m glad we found out that all of our batteries only had minutes to live before our next camping trip; it would really be painful to only be left with the emergency flashlight I keep in my car that you have to crank to power. As far as batteries go, I don’t really have a preference and if they would have had the Kirkland Signature batteries in this size we definitely would have purchased them instead.  The KS batteries are just as good (possibly even made by Duracell?) and way cheaper but for some reason they don’t seem to make the size D batteries.  I guess there isn’t enough of a market these days for giant batteries; mostly it’s the AA and AAA size they seem concerned with since those are in remotes.  12, D batteries for $11.19.


Tags: appliances · Books · Electronics · Games & Toys · Household Items · Landscaping · Office Share

16 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 marc alejo // 2011.03.22 at 11:20 pm

    I was wondering if you had the owners manual for these solar stepping stones. I purchase two set and I only opened one. The other one was stored. Now that I opened them after redoing my yard. THe solar led lights are missing. I wanted to contact the maker and ask for a replacement. I can’t find my owners/installations instructions.

    • 2 Kimberly // 2011.03.30 at 4:10 am

      @Marc – Sorry, I don’t have any of the manufacturer information for those solar lights. Do you still have the box? If so, the manufacturer is usually listed on there so you should be able to track them down online using that info and Google. And you might find that they have the user’s manual online too.

  2. 3 Maxne // 2010.07.26 at 6:30 am

    Two years ago I purchased solar stepping stones form COSTCO. COSTCO only carried them for one year. Last year, my sister found them at a military base exchange. This year the only place I can find them is on the Home Shopping Network but they are SOOOOO expensive, compared to the previous purchases.

    Does anyone know any other place that sells them?


  3. 4 Maxne // 2010.07.26 at 6:16 am

    I still have not found Lasting Choice Premium Rubber Mulch that I purchased at COSTCO last year; and, I am still trying to find it. After more than a year, my plants all look great.

  4. 5 Mark // 2010.07.25 at 6:31 pm

    Maxne, did you ever get an answer to where you can purchasethe “Lasting Choice Premium Rubber Mulch?” I am looking for more as well!!

    • 6 Kimberly // 2010.07.26 at 1:04 am

      Mark, I thought I had responded to this but it looks like I didn’t. I believe that they also sell the same rubber mulch at Walmart and Home Depot. And just to update: after having ours down for over a year, it still looks great, obviously no longer smells of rubber, and doesn’t move because of the rain or leaf blowers. It also hasn’t faded a bit, unlike wood mulch after a year. I still love it and think it is a great idea.

  5. 7 Maxne // 2010.05.07 at 8:36 pm

    It is May 2010; can anyone tell me where I can buy “Lasting Choice Premium Rubber Mulch.” I used it last year and I need more this year. SAMS has another brand that is brown instead of black. I want the same brand that I got from COSTCO in 2009!

  6. 8 Dave // 2009.06.26 at 4:26 pm

    I can definitely say that the rubber odor dissipates over time. At least, I don’t notice ours smelling anymore, but then we’ve had ours down for about 3 months now. I don’t think it took quite that long to stop smelling, though I can’t say how long it did take either.

  7. 9 pat xerri // 2009.06.26 at 4:03 pm

    Just bought some Wonder Mulch at our Costco and spread it out this AM. It looks great in a large sunny planting area by our front door. BUT, the “rubber” odor is really overpowering! Did you encounter this problem as well and did the smell dissipate over time? I can see why it won’t attract insects, but I certainly don’t want to asphixiate friends and neighbors as they come up our walk way. Here’s hoping I don’t have to rake it all out.

    • 10 Kimberly // 2009.06.26 at 4:25 pm

      It was pretty smelly at first, but that quickly went away after it was out in the fresh air for a bit. I think it was the next day before the smell was totally gone. Now that we’ve had it down for a while it doesn’t smell at all and has remained very intact despite the rain, sprinklers, and blowers that the landscaper uses. I love it and wish I had enough to do my entire yard, honestly.

  8. 11 Pat // 2009.03.25 at 12:34 am

    Thanks, Kimberly! That’s an awesome price for stila lip product, since they retail for about $20 each!

  9. 12 Kimberly // 2009.03.02 at 9:02 am

    After doing a little research I can’t find anything aside from a possible over-dose of zinc that can be attributed to this mulch. From what I read the zinc can be given off by the mulch and taken up by any plants possibly causing them to have stunted growth. Of course, I also read a number of things that said if your soil is low in zinc, this is less of a problem, obviously. And the thing about the mulch being made from tires isn’t really an issue even if your mulchburns, from what I have read. There isn’t an EPA warning and a recent 2007 study (more recent than the stuff that Nancy linked to) from the California Integrated Waste Management Board seems to support the idea of using rubber mulch, especially for playgrounds where it can really reduce the potential for injury from a fall.

    So, I’m planning to use my rubber mulch. None of the research says if there is any difference in the leaching from the mulch if you use landscape fabric, which I plan to use, so maybe I’ll do my own little research experiment in my backyard to see how or if it changes plant growth when used with landscape fabric.

  10. 13 Clue // 2009.02.16 at 4:17 pm

    Well gosh, Nance, that’s disappointing news! Here I was going to go buy 20 or so bags of rubber mulch to do my shrub beds and now I find that it’s going to ruin the Earth, destroy my computer’s hard drive, knot my knickers in a bundle ~and ~ steal candy from babies!

    All right, termite-inducing cypress mulch it is…again. Hmmm. I wonder if those chemicals the Orkin man uses are good for the Earth, etc.?

  11. 14 Kimberly // 2009.02.15 at 9:08 am

    Nancy, thanks for the information. I guess that I assumed they treated the rubber in some way to make it less scary chemically. I’ll have to do a little more research before I use my rubber mulch, I guess.

  12. 15 Nancy Alderman // 2009.02.15 at 9:06 am

    “Rubber Mulch” Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) is concerned about the ground-up rubber tires that unsuspecting people are buying at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, B.J.’s and the internet and spreading the ground-up tire “mulch” all over their gardens.

    In some states rubber tires are a “Hazardous Waste” and in other states they are a “Special Waste”. Whichever the case – one has to get a permit to dispose of rubber tires and there is a cost associated with that disposal.

    It is these very same rubber tires that are being cut up and sold to people as “mulch”.

    Why is this a serious problem?

    (1) The rubber mulch has an excess amount of zinc – and the excess zinc stunts the growth of plants. See North Carolina’s Department of Agricultural’s study on
    rubber mulch –

    (2) There is the potential for ground water contamination from the chemicals in the ground up rubber tire mulch. For people on residential wells, this is particularly worrisome.

    (3) If the rubber mulch is used on vegetable gardens there is the possibility that the plants will uptake the chemicals found in the used tire mulch.

    (4) Chemicals found in rubber tires are:

    Benzene Carcinogen, Developmental Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant

    Phtalates Suspected Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant

    PAHs Suspected Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant ,Respiratory Toxicant,

    Maganese Gastrointestinal or liver toxicants

    Carbon Black Carcinogen

    Latex Causes allergic reactions in some people

    Benzothiazole: Skin and eye irritation, harmful if swallowed. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

    Butylated hydroxyanisole: Recognized carcinogen, suspected endocrine toxicant, gastrointestinal toxicant, immunotoxicant (adverse effects on the immune system), neurotoxicant (adverse effects on the nervous system), skin and sense-organ toxicant. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

    n-hexadecane: Severe irritant based on human and animal studies. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

    4-(t-octyl) phenol: Corrosive and destructive to mucous membranes. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

    Zinc: There is a very large amount of zinc that is added in the manufacturing of tires and therefore there is a great deal of zinc.

    (5) The companies producing and selling this product do not explain where the rubber mulch comes from or the dangers it presents to gardens, soil contamination and ground water. They are simply telling people they won’t have to mulch again for the next 10 years because the product will not break down. Real garden mulch is meant to break down and become part of the soil.

    Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) is a nine-member, non-profit organization composed of physicians , public health professionals and policy experts, dedicated to protecting human health from environmental harms.

  13. 16 Kimberly // 2009.02.14 at 3:53 pm

    Hey Pat. P, I almost forgot to give you your Stila update. I forgot to add a little note about the Stila cosmetics to my post, so here it is instead.
    The only thing that our Costco had was a lip trio set: lip glaze in praline, mini lip glaze in vanilla, and lip polish in brilliance for $14.99.

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