Not Martha

What I Want for Christmas: camera gear, kitchen stuff and video games

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens Canon XSi

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens is a fairly inexpensive lens that has been recommended to me over and over again from the moment I got my Canon XSi. The lens works well for indoor, low light conditions and I could really use that during our short, overcast days.

KitchenAid Mixer replacement bowl Beater Blade for KitchenAid Mixer KitchenAid mixer

I bought a basic KitchenAid mixer on sale so it was nice and cheap. However, the bowl it comes with doesn’t have a handle on the side and I didn’t anticipate how, well, handy that would be. Fingers crossed somebody will get me this replacement bowl with a handle. Also, having two mixing bowls would be very convenient lots of times, like have one bowl chilling for whipped cream while making gingerbread in the other. I also sort of want one of these new fangled beater blades.

Old Stone Oven baking stone OXO oven mits with silicone grips

I want to perfect my calzone making this winter. This baking stone from Old Stone Oven will also help keep a constant oven temperature, which I need badly. I just went and measured my oven to make sure this one would fit inside. When I made those calzones I accidentally burned the bejeezus out of my thumb so I bought some idiot proof OXO Good Grips Silicone Oven Mitts shortly thereafter, and they’ve served me well. They have a nice ring to hang on a hook as well as a magnet so you can store them on the side of your fridge.

PlayStation 3 PlayStation 3 remote control for DVDs

Shortly after we got a PlayStation 3 Netflix announced they were offering free streaming content for it. The PS3 is also a Blu-ray player (it also plays regular DVDS and does a better job of it than our old DVD player, oddly). We may never leave the couch, in which case we’ll also need the PS3 remote.

But we need more games! Scott and I like to play games together, instead of against each other, and we’ve already worked our way through Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (both were SO much fun). Games you can play together (as opposed to networked) are lacking, but here are the ones we’re looking at next:

Lego Batman Lego Indiana Jones 2 Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon

LEGO Batman, Lego Indiana Jones 2. The Adventure Continues (There is more? There is more!), and The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon.

Little Big Planet! Super Stardust Pixel Junk Monsters

LittleBigPlanet, Super Stardust HD, and PixelJunk Monsters.

Borderlands Uncharted 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Uncharted 2, Borderlands, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

There is a complete list of cooperative games (beware, some are split screen) at Co-Optimus, found via Ask Metafilter.

· comments [40] · 12-11-2009 · categories:christmas · shopping ·

40 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa // Dec 11, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I think I might have commented on this before but can’t quite remember….I’ve had nothing but trouble when using my SideSwipe beater. Butter, etc. tend to get stuck right in the hole in the middle of the blade. So rather than having to pause to scrape down the sides, you have to pause to scrape out the hole, and it’s not nearly as efficient as scraping down the sides would be. I recently saw a different blade with the same concept at a schmancy grocery store in Tacoma. From what I recall, it was much more similar to the Kitchenaid style blade (read: no hole), but with the same silicon flaps on the sides for scraping the bowl with. I wish I’d paid attention to the name! Might be worth looking into.

  • 2 paola // Dec 11, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    The idea of you and Scott sweetly gaming side by side is a very endearing one…

  • 3 megan // Dec 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Lisa – This is good to know. I’m going to replace this in my wishlist with the New Metro Design beater blade. Initially I thought it would not fit my mixer as it’s listed for 5-quart ones, but reading more carefully I see it is made for all tilt-head KitchenAid models.

  • 4 megan // Dec 11, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Paola – It saved our sanity when we were basically trapped inside during the snow last winter!

  • 5 punkrawkknitter // Dec 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I just bough LittleBigPlanet last night and I’m hooked. I rarely play console games, preferring to stick to my whimsical PSP and DS games, but man alive, love love love LBP… multiplayer mode is a bit like the divorce simulator though, if you’ve ever played mario party then you’ll know what I mean. It’s fun, but you’re going to try your damndest to screw over your partner.

    I also saw this in a local cookwear store. I didn’t pick it up but I’m kinda regretting it…

  • 6 Anna // Dec 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    If you like role playing games I would also recommend Tales of Vesperia when it comes to the PS3 here in the US. The PS3 version release date for the States has not been set yet.

    I played it on the xbox360 and it has a huge storyline with lots of twists and turns and in battles you can have a second local player control a second character in the game.

  • 7 megan // Dec 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    punkrawkknitter – Note what Lisa says about the Side Swipe blade in comment #1 above. We will make sure to have a no-hard-feelings handshake after playing LBP :)

    Anna – Thank you! I had not heard of this game. Crossing fingers that it comes out soon.

  • 8 Kelly Anne // Dec 11, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    The lens! Yes! Best christmas gift ever!

  • 9 rakka // Dec 11, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    hey, megan!

    the ps3 netflix disc is pretty lacking. if you and scott have a 360, the streaming is *much* better through that. (it’s the version that jason and i use. you do have to have xbox live but it’s worth it. in contrast, we got the ps3 disc when it first came out and have used it once.)

    also, you MUST play uncharted on the ps3! both of them! now! the second is the best game i’ve played in a LOOONG time!

  • 10 megan // Dec 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Rakka – Shhh. We don’t have an 360 and are doing our best to avoid the temptation. As in, la la la don’t need one la la la.

    Thanks for the recommendation on Uncharted! I’ve added it to my list above.

  • 11 Donna Sue // Dec 11, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I can only say good things about Lego Batman. I’m not a big videogame person, and I’m not competitive at all, but I loved playing this with my husband. I actually liked it better than Lego Star Wars. It got to the point, though, that I played without him and finished the game–I so wanted 100% completion on just one video game in my life that wasn’t the original Sonic the Hedgehog. :)

  • 12 Emira // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I am ridiculously excited by the idea of oven mitts with a magnet in them. What a brilliant idea that is.

    On the lens discussion, how is the lens that that camera comes with? I’m considering buying it as a xmas gift for myself and am wondering how quickly I should be investing in a new lens. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the stock one.

  • 13 Lindsay // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Man, do I love Little Big Planet. Such a cute game. I must admit though, I had almost as much fun stapling donkey tails to my partner’s head and watching them whip around as he moved, as I had playing the actual game. SOOOO funny. :)

  • 14 Stephanie // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for the list of cooperative games. I bought my husband an xbox for christmas last year just so he could play Left 4 Dead. What I thought was a completely selfless gift has turned into something I really enjoy. I started my gaming career with Lego Indiana Jones (you are right, so fun!) and am now plowing through Left 4 Dead 2. I love the cooperative aspect almost as much as the fact that I’ve become just slightly better than my husband.

    …I never said I wasn’t competitive :)
    Also, I agree with rakka: the streaming netflix on the xbox is amazing.

  • 15 megan // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Emira – The kit lens is actually pretty good, it’s the only one I’ve used so far and I never find it lacking. It’s been called one of the best kit lenses out there by lots of reviews I read as well as by photographer friends. However, as you probably know, the better quality the lens does show up in the pictures. The lens above is a step up in capturing light but it doesn’t zoom much so you often find yourself standing far back to get detail shots. If I ever need a really good lens I’m planning on renting them for a local camera shop.

    One note about the XSi – the only thing I don’t like is that the viewfinder is only 90% of the picture field. Say if you are photographing something on a sheet of paper and don’t want to see any table around the edges, you cannot accurately judge just where that is and you can get slivers of table around the edges, but you only see them when you take the photos off the camera. It’s usually not a problem but for some product photography style shots is can be irritating. Something to keep in mind!

  • 16 megan // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Stephanie – Oh you’re killing me here. We can’t get an Xbox so la la la PS3 is just fine la la la.

  • 17 Donnell // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve been playing Borderlands on the Xbox 360 for several weeks now. Love it. Lots of shooting mayhem.

  • 18 Faith // Dec 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Long-time lurker here, but I thought I’d chime in to say that the f1.8 50mm lens is totally worth it. It’s wide aperture has spoiled me for my kit lens. Even though it’s fixed and doesn’t zoom it stays on my camera about 90% of the time.

  • 19 megan // Dec 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Faith – Thanks! I’m glad to hear it. I’ve been trying to take prettier pictures lately and I feel like I’m ready to find out what a new lens could do.

  • 20 Daryn // Dec 11, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Megan – the f/1.8 is decent, but the f/1.4 is an awesome upgrade. It’s like $350, but the difference is well worth it.

  • 21 Jen // Dec 11, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    Oh, I LOVE Pixel Junk Monsters sooo much! My husband and I played that almost non stop to kill time when we were off work waiting for our very overdue baby to make an appearance the summer before last. It’s a very, very happy memory. Of course, it’s a great game all on it’s own merits, but it’s funny how much our associations play into it all.

    (Mario Galaxy, for example, I cannot tolerate at all now – I associate it way too strongly with the crippling morning sickness of the first trimester. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.)

  • 22 Jessi // Dec 12, 2009 at 10:28 am

    You may want to think twice before you ask for/purchase Modern Warfare! My husband got it, and has subsequently done nothing else for the past 2 weeks :) I thing that game might be a little TOO cool! Him and his best friend have the headset so they can talk to each other while playing the game. It’s pretty fancy.

  • 23 David // Dec 12, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I have both the 1.8 and the 1.4 lens and both are great. But the 1.8 is really light, so it’s great for traveling. And if you keep an eye on it, the price dips to around $70, which is about what I paid for mine. And I used it, happily, for years before I upgraded to the 1.4

  • 24 michelle // Dec 12, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    We love the Lego video games, too! We’re working on Batman right now. And they’re great for when little kids come to visit, because they can just keep dying and dying and the game doesn’t end.

  • 25 Anja // Dec 12, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I love my 1.8 50 mm lens too. I couldn’t afford the 1.4, so it was an easy choice – and I don’t think I’ve used my kit lens more than a couple of times. It’s great for indoor photography and portraits, particularly children, who move all the time :)

  • 26 Kimberly // Dec 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    You’ll love the 50mm 1.8; I keep it on my XSi almost all the time.

    I’ve had the metro design beater blade since last Christmas; it’s so much better than the blade that came with my mixer.

  • 27 Nancy // Dec 13, 2009 at 7:59 am

    If Santa doesn’t bring you that baking stone, hit up your local home improvement warehouse store and buy one or two unglazed terra cotta quarry tiled floor tiles (or one big one and some medium ones–whatever will fit on your oven rack). Mine live in the oven all the time and I bake artisan breads (on a piece of baking parchment) right on top of them. You can use them in your grill, too.

  • 28 jennifer // Dec 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    echoing all the comments about how littlebigplanet is tons of fun!! and hilariously adorable. my husband and i have a wii, but i am almost tempted to get a ps3 just to play LBP.

  • 29 claire // Dec 13, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    re: baking stone/tile
    My mother just went to a hardware store an bought a big ceramic tile to use as a baking stone and it works great-especially for pizza (she got us one too). So keep that in mind before you spend a million dollars at a cooking store!

  • 30 Vanessa // Dec 14, 2009 at 6:56 am

    You need to get a game called Bioshock– it’s absolutely fantastic. Stuff for both the men and ladies– some shooting/violence, puzzle solving, beatiful graphics in an art deco scene, and great old music. Check it out!

  • 31 Amber // Dec 14, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I played Little Big Planet for the first time last night and LOVED it! I knew I would, even though we don’t have a PS3. I’m really liking the newest Super Mario, which is cooperative, but that might only be for the Wii.

  • 32 Lane // Dec 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    You can get a terra cotta tile at Lowe’s or Home Depot for about $6 for the 16 x 16 inch size. Just make sure it’s unglazed and has no surface sealers.

  • 33 koroshiya // Dec 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    it’s not really cooperative, but katamari forever is awesome on the PS3. it’s easy to take turns, though.

  • 34 Tanya // Dec 18, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I don’t know where I would be without our PS3 remote. Little big planet is cute and is addictive, as are the Lego games . Excited about LEGO HP!

  • 35 Shelby // Dec 18, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I second all the reccomendations for Little Big Planet. It’s an awesome, whimsical platformer that happens to contain a level design tool.

    And as for the remote control, the Blu-Link universal remote combines a bluetooth remote for the PS3 with an infrared remote for everything else. It’s definitely on my wish list.

  • 36 M // Dec 21, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I love playing videogames with my boyfriend too. Playing together is much better than playing against each other imo. PS2 has some good co-op games. If you’re into the fighting games (that aren’t too hard) check out Dark Alliance (1 and 2), the Gauntlet, and Champions of Norrath.

  • 37 Kristen Rask // Dec 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Do you have the pasta attachment for your Kitchen Aid? If not, add it to the list. It’s the best! I am asking for an ice cream maker attachment this year. What would life be like without a Kitchen Aid? I never want to know…I hope you get the goods :)

  • 38 pey // Dec 23, 2009 at 6:57 am

    little big planet is the BEST!! my husband and i play it together…. so much fun!

  • 39 Carrie // Dec 23, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    i got my sister a beater blade for christmas. it’s a perfect gift for anyone with a kitchenaid.

  • 40 Kate // Dec 23, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Hi baking Gods and Godesses out there! Do you have any idea where I can get Kitchen Aid mixer attachments for the “Professional 5 Plus” series? My Dad used to work in resteraunt supply and I was the lucky reciepient of the mixer for my 30th birthday. I heard a rumour that there is a food processor attachment which would, essentially, change my life forever. Kitchen Aid’s website was not very helpful for me and of course, Dad no longer works in the industry! Help!

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