Toys for Guys – Bacon Bin, Stoic Standing Mat & Backyard Ice Rink

In Articles, Culture, Toys & Gadgets by Sandy McMurray

Bacon Bin
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My first experience with real southern cooking was in Nashville. The homestyle restaurant served hot chicken, mashed potatoes, and the best tasting green beans I’ve ever had. What was the secret ingredient that made them taste so good? Bacon grease!

Since bacon makes everything better, it stands to reason that bacon fat can improve other foods. If your recipe calls for butter or cooking oil, try bacon fat instead. Imagine melted bacon fat on a hot baked potato, or drizzled over fresh popcorn. Pie crusts normally use lard or shortening, but why not? Butter tarts with bacon pastry!

Once you figure this out, you need a place to keep your leftover bacon grease—something like the Bacon Bin. When breakfast is over, pour the leftover drippings into the Bacon Bin. The strainer keeps out any overcooked bacon bits, and you get a fresh supply of hot bacon fat to use later. With everything.

The Bacon Bin is made of heat resistant silicone that can hold the hot grease without melting or spilling. It’s dishwasher safe and cute enough to leave out on the counter.

The Bacon Bin sells for about $35.
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Stoic Standing Mat
It’s not easy being your feet. They get walked on every day. You don’t wash them as often or as carefully as you should. And when was the last time you touched your toes?

The makers of the Stoic standing mat have a suggestion to strengthen, stretch, and massage your feet while you work. “Massage improves circulation,” they say. “It stimulates muscles, reduces tension, and often eases pain.”

That sounds great, but their version of a foot massage looks a lot like standing on a pile of Lego bricks. Using the Stoic standing mat is like “taking your feet to the gym,” they say. That doesn’t sound very relaxing.

Let me just grab a dictionary. Here we go. Stoic: a person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.

If that sounds like you, check out the Stoic standing mat. The modular system comes with three different rough surfaces and three different balance beams. Using “the power of uneven terrain,” you will learn to spread your toes, increase the motion in your feet and ankles, and (probably) make a lot of interesting sounds. It’s gym for your feet, for about $400.

Backyard Ice Rink
Get your kids outside and on the ice with a backyard skating rink from EZ ICE. It works on any surface, assembles without tools, and takes just 60 minutes to set up.

EZ ICE has no stakes to drive into the ground, so you can assemble almost anywhere. Each rink kit contains a set of brackets, straps, and boards that fit together easily without tools. Even a rookie should be able to assemble an EZ ICE rink in less than an hour.

At 16 inches high, the side boards are low enough to step over and high enough to keep pucks in play. Each board weighs less than 10 pounds.

EZ ICE rinks are expandable too. You can buy a kit for a small rink this year and add on next year if you want a bigger layout. The large kit (40′ x 80′ rink) is designed to fit perfectly on a standard-sized doubles tennis court.

Any surface. No tools. 60 minutes. EZ ICE kits start at $2,700.

Sandy McMurray
Sandy McMurray writes about toys, gadgets, and games at
Sandy McMurray
Sandy McMurray writes about toys, gadgets, and games at