Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Household Hints - Cooking - How to Make Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs (for Sandwiches and Egg Salad)

From: Joe Nouhan, chef, Bay Wolf, Oakland:

For perfect hard-cooked eggs with no green ring, start the eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

Household Hints - Cleaning - Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Countertops & Cutting Boards

Clean your counters and table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave a
fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishcloth when you wipe, or spray it
on the counters.

Submitted by Carolyn

Christina's Note:
I also love using hydrogen peroxide to clean cutting boards - it works to kill germs, but isn't as hard on you as bleach is.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Free Household Hints - How to Keep a Mixing Bowl from Slipping

Slippy mixing bowls can be a bother in the kitchen - so try these tips to keep your mixing bowls in place on your countertop:

  • Moisten a kitchen towel with water, and place on the countertop. Put the bowl on top - the bowl will stick to the moistened towel, leaving both of your hands free to make dressings, sauces, etc.
  • Or...create a rope snake with a kitchen towel, and make a donut-shape of it on the kitchen counter. Place the bowl inside the towel and it will hold your bowl in place.

Have great kitchen or household tips to share? Please send them to christina@happyslob.com and I'll include them on the blog!

Household Hints - Cooking - Make a More Flavorful Roast Chicken

To up the flavor of your roast chickens, try stuffing the cavity of the bird with whole heads of peeled garlic, large chunks of peeled onion, whole bunches of fresh herbs or even wedges of lemon. The flavors will make your roasted chicken taste delicious - plus the veggies or wedges of lemon will create a moister chicken as well. :) Enjoy!

Household Hints - Making Sauces/Cooking - Cooling a Sauce Quickly

If you need to cool a sauce or pudding quickly, try this trick: Just put the pan into a shallow baking pan that has been partially filled with cool water. You may need to change the water with cooler water again, as the hot pan will warm the water.

This will cool your sauces/puddings or custards quickly and easily, so they'll be ready to serve faster!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Household and Baking Hints - How to Make Softer Cookies

If you want cookies like sugar cookies or peanut butter cookies to stay soft when they cool, bake them with a loaf pan with about 2 inches of water in it also in the oven (don’t let the pan touch the heating element). After the cookies cool, store them in an airtight container.

**Thanks to Carolyn for sending in this hint!**

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Household Hints - Cleaning - Cleaning Chrome and Removing Rust from Chrome

To remove rust from chrome, wipe it with aluminum foil dipped in Coke. To polish chrome, use a crumbled up piece of aluminum foil and rub

Household Hints - Natural Ant Repellant

Ant Repellant: To keep ants out of the house, find where the ants are entering the house and sprinkle a "barrier" of cinnamon or any type of ground pepper to block their way. The spices are too hot for the ants to cross.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Household Hints - Laundry - Lint Removal Tips

When you are washing things that attract lint put some heavy net in with your clothes. It grabs all the lint. Every now and then wash the net to get the lint off of it

Thanks to Shelly for this household hint!

Household Hints - Cleaning Stained Marble Surfaces

For heavier stains, take three or four cakes of Ivory soap, cut them up and disolve in hot water until you have a "slurp."

Paint this on the marble and let it sit for five days or so. If the gunk starts to dry during that time, consider slopping some more on -- or wetting it down.At the end of the period, hose and wash it all off. Presto, the marble is as good as new!

Thanks to Carolyn for submitting this household hint!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Household Hints: Baking - Instead of Using Pam and Cooking Sprays - Try This

Instead of using Pam and other cooking sprays, just use olive oil or canola oil (or any other heart healthy oil) in a spray bottle. You'll find specialty spray bottles just for use with oil at kitchenwares shops or online at places like eBay.

This way you're using a natural product, which is actually good for you. But, by using the spray on cookware and on salads, you'll limit the amount of oils you're eating.

Household Hints - Keep Kitty Litter Clean and Fresh Smelling

Here are two ways to keep plain kitty litter smelling fresher and cleaner:

1. (Submitted by a reader) Sprinkle baby powder in the litter every time you change it.
2. My favorite tip - I sprinkle baking soda in the kitty litter every time I change the cat litter box. It helps to neutralize odors SO well, and it's natural so it's safe for my pets. :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Household Hints - Baking and Frosting Cakes - How to Turn Chocolate Frosting into Black Frosting

To turn regular brown chocolate frosting into pure black frosting, simply add drops of blue food coloring to the icing until it turns the shade of black that you're looking for.

Submitted by Dorina

Household Hints - Fruits and Vegetables - Remove Stickers from Fruit without Damaging It

Removing Stickers From Fruit
If you don't want to gouge or damage the skin while trying to get the
ID stickers off, try this: Put a tiny piece of transparent tape on top
of the sticker and it should lift right off.
Submitted by Dorina

Household Hints - for Coffee Lovers - Choose Less Oily Coffee Beans

At work, my boss is a real coffee connoiseur - and as such, she recommends to customers that when grinding their own coffee beans, they should choose a LESS oily type of coffee bean. Some coffee beans (including Starbucks brand) can be very oily, and can actually gum up the workings of many coffee grinders.

She says that when you look at the coffee beans, you should be able to tell that they're not OVERLY oily - the surface should look more matte than glossy.

More coffee tips & recipes all the time at: The Coffee Creations Blog

Friday, October 27, 2006

Household Hints - Use Paper Towel Paper Tubes for Extension Cords

Tammy wrote:

use empty paper towel rolls to store extention cords inside

Another use I love for paper towel tubes is to use as a cat toy! My cats have always loved these...I'll even attach a piece of yarn to it so I can drag it along and they have great fun attacking the paper towel roll. Just make sure all the paper towel is off the roll, or else you'll have a real mess on your hands!

Keywords: recycle, paper towels, paper towel tubes, paper towel rolls, re-use, homemade cat toys, fun toys for cats, make your own cat toys, ways to recycle paper towel containers

Household Hints - Pests and Bug Repellants - Keep Bugs Away While You're Walking

Tammy suggests: "put dryer sheets in your pockets to keep mosqitoes and bees
away while you're walking outdoors."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Household Hints - Storing Vegetables - Don't Store Onions and Potatoes Together

Here's one of those crazy hints that I WISH I had known years ago. :) For years I've stored my potatoes and onions together in one bin, and (duh!) always wondered why my potatoes kept going bad so quickly.

Lo and behold, a friend tells me that you shouldn't store potatoes and onions together, because they cause each other to go bad. Now that I store them separately, both the potatoes and onions stay fresher (and usable) longer, and I'm very happy about that.

Thought I'd pass the helpful tip on to all of you readers!

Household Hints - Cleaning - Use Salt and Vinegar

Over on my other website - http://www.happyslob.com - I write a lot about using baking soda and vinegar together to clean. But, I've found a new set of favorites too -- using vinegar (or lemon juice) and plain old table salt.

The vinegar is very acidic, and the table salt helps add some grit to the mixture. This is a great mixture to use to scrub the bathtub or shower, or sinks...anywhere you need a scrubby mixture to really clean surfaces. Enjoy!

Household Hints - Use Ziplock Bags for Leftovers

I find when cooking meals for a large crowd like the Thanksgiving that we just celebrated there is never enough room in the fridge for the left over food so I store them in zip lock bags they take up far less room in the fridge. Every time I do this every one thinks it is such a good idea so I thought I would pass it along to you.

~Submitted by Cathy~

Household Hints - Houseplants - Use Epsom Salts for Healthy Plants

Epsom salt for your house plants.
1 t. per plant. For large plants, 1 t. per foot. You can put it on dry at the base of plant or mix in the water. This is great for the garden too, especially the tomatoes. You will notice a difference in the foliage within a week or two as the plants just love it.

~Submitted by a reader - thanks!~

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Household Hints - How to Remove Sticky Price Tags and Labels

Don't you hate when that sticky price tag or label just won't come off? Here are a few tips from readers (and me!) for removing price tags without any residue left behind:

  • Stickers, Decals, and Glue: To remove them from furniture, glass, plastic, etc. saturate with vegetable oil and rub off. (This was submitted by a reader)
  • Use a small amount of smooth (not chunky) peanut butter. Rub it on the label and let sit for a while. The oiliness will help to remove the sticky residue and the label itself.
  • Goo Gone is a product that works to remove residue when nothing else you've tried will work. Here's information on it: Goo Gone® - 8oz.

    The ladies in the shop where I work all swear by this stuff!

Household Hints - Baking - Using Baking Soda and Salt in Recipes

Here's a hint you can use: When you have a recipe that calls for salt and baking soda, the salt can be omitted entirely. Baking Soda is naturally salty and the better of the two used in a recipe. Hope this helps.

Submitted by Kathy

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Household Hints - Cooking and Freezing - Store Flour and Breadcrumbs so they Don't Go Bad

I freeze fine breadcrumbs and flour to avoid them going bad or attracting bugs. No need to defrost, just take what you need.

Submitted by Linda

Household Hints - Frugal Tips & Cooking - Freezing Ground Beef

Ground beef sale: Buy regular ground beef, cook and season, spread on cookie sheets to cool. Put in Ziploc sandwich size bags – they hold one pound (cooked), then freeze. It defrosts faster (about an hour) and it makes preparing supper faster.

Submitted by Linda

Household Hints - Cooking - Freeze Leftover Grated Cheese

If you only use grated mozzarella cheese, grate it all, put in container or Ziploc freezer bag and put in freezer. When needed, just scrape amount needed with fork and put in recipe. It defrosted in minutes, and it is cost saving.

Submitted by Linda

Household Hints - Cleaning - Cleaning Screen Doors

Hi Christina: Just finished cleaning the windows (ready for winter) and for a number of years now, I have been cleaning the screens with a lint brush..works like a charm with no mess.

Submitted by Verona

A Funny Household Hint from the 1600's

The good chatelaine of the 1600's should strew fresh straw on the floor of her dwelling at least once a month during the winter to keep down the noxious odors? and then remove all in the spring cleaning.

Submitted by Judi

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Household Hints - Baking - Great Tip for Scooping Cookie Dough

Use a tablespoon size ice cream scoop when making cookies. The dough comes out really easily and you get the same size cookies every time.

Submitted by Sue W.

Household Hints - Cooking - Don't Crack Boiled Eggs

When hard boiling eggs add a little vinegar to the water and if they crack the white won't come out as much.

Submitted by Sue W.

Household Hints - Cooking - How to Make Softer Chocolate Chip Cookies

Add a little cornstarch to chocolate chip cookie dough-with a recipe of about 2c flour use 1 heaping teaspoon, and with 4c flour use a tablespoon. This keeps the cookie soft on the inside.

Submitted by Sue W.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Household Hints - Ants and Pests - Get Rid of Ants Using Bay Leaves

This summer I had a bad ant problem in my kitchen. I tried everything I could think of, spraying, ant traps, and etc.

My friend told me this one. She said put bay leaves along your counter top and on floor or any where you see them, and by golly it works. I guess they don't like the smell of them.

Submitted by Joan S.

Household Hints - Laundry and Stain Removal - Removing Grease Stains with Toothpaste

Hi Christina:

My daughter had a grease stain on her sweatshirt, and black marks on
her hockey socks which I could not get off with any stain remover, or by

So, I got out the Crest Whitening Expressions, Lemon Ice flavoured
toothpaste, and put it on all of the stains. I rubbed the toothepast on the
garments and let them sit there for 5 minutes.

I put the shirt and socks in the wash with Tide. When the wash was
done there was no grease stain, and nearly all of the black marks were
gone. The marks that were left on the socks were not noticeable.

Submitted by: Catherine

Household Hints - Laundry - Save Time on Laundry Day by Sorting

To save time and my sanity on laundry day I have everyone sort their own clothes when they take them off each day. I use a different colored basket for different color loads. ie: white basket for white loads, blue for darks, green for hubby's work clothes, and red for brights. This also helped my daughter learn to sort things by color. If you do laundry more than 1 day per week, this will help you see at a glance what you have a full load of to wash.

Submitted by Janice Z.

** Need More Help with the Laundry? **
Linda Cobb shows you how to remove ANY stain:
The Royal Guide to Spot and Stain Removal

Monday, October 09, 2006

Household Hints - How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

To get rid of those pesky fruit flies

Put a little glass with about a quarter inch of apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap, stir, and it attracts those pesky little buggers, and then they are gone.

Replace everyday, till the little critters are gone.

Submitted by Missy

Household Hints - Gardening & Recycling - Use for Old Blinds in the Garden

If you have an old venetian blind that you're replacing, save the slats by cutting them out of the blind and use them as plant markers in your garden. You can cut them as tall or as short as you need.

Submitted by Roberta

Household Hints - Gardening - For New Seedlings

When putting out new seedlings in the garden, buy a box of wooden kitchen matches and insert one right up against the stem of the tiny seedling. This prevents the creepy-crawlies from cutting off the stem. It works especially well against cut worms which tend to cut off the stems at ground level.

Submitted by Roberta

Household Hints - Laundry - Use Vinegar as a Fabric Softener

I no longer waste money on fabric softeners that tend to clog up the screen in my dryer over time. I now use vinegar in the last rinse cycle and the clothes come out softer than with the expensive alternative.

Submitted by Roberta K.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Household Hints - Beauty Skincare - Using a Micoplane to Remove Calluses on Feet

When people first hear this tip, they're skeptical. But, Microplanes are excellent for getting rid of even the driest and hardest skin on your heels. These have become so popular that Microplane has even developed a special product JUST for removing hardened skin on the bottom of your feet: Microplane Foot File

Use after taking a warm bath, to soften the skin and make it easier to remove the hard calluses. Be careful as these are sharp, and you'll only want to remove a bit of skin at a time, rather than take too much off your heels and cause pain.

After removing hard skin from heels, be sure to moisturize with a rich foot cream. Peppermint foot creams are especially soothing and have a nice cooling feel.

Household Hints - Make Your Own Dried Citrus Peels (Lemon, Lime, Orange)

Drying your own citrus peels is ridiculously easy AND very cheap to do. You'll need a decent citrus zester - such as OXO Good Grips Lemon Zester . The Good Grips brand is an especially nice one to use if you have Arthritis, as the grips are larger and easier to grasp.

First, ensure that you've properly and thoroughly dried the citrus fruit you're going to dry the zest of. (I like using baking soda and water -- make a paste of it and use to really scrub the outside of the fruit.) Wash the baking soda residue away and then remove all of the outer layer of zest from the fruit. Leave the white pith behind - it's bitter and doesn't have essential oils in it like the outer layer of peel does.

Lay the citrus zests out on a parchment lined cookie sheet for a few days - especially great laid out in a sunny window, as the sun will help dry the peelings even faster. When the peelings are totally dried, pour into a jar and keep for your baking. Easy, and delicious!

Household Hints: Use Lemon, Lime or Orange Peels for Moister Brown Sugar

Another easy tip to prevent your brown sugar from getting hard and lumpy -- add a generous fresh peeling from a citrus fruit such as an orange, lemon or lime. The moisture from the fruit peel will prevent your brown sugar from going hard! (Just make sure to wash the fruit thoroughly before peeling to remove any pesticides, etc.)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Household Hints - Kitchen - Make Fancy Ice Cubes

Making fancy ice cubes doesn't take any special ice cube trays. Try these easy ideas to add pizzazz to regular old ice cubes:

In a regular ice cube tray, fill as normal with water. Add a small leaf of mint to each ice cube and/or a tiny section of lemon, lime or orange. These are great served with special drinks! Once the ice cubes freeze, the mint and or citrus will be imbedded inside, adding a special touch.
Tovolo Perfect Cube Yellow Silicone Ice Cube Trays, Set of 2

Household Hints - Laundry - Keep Socks together in the Wash

Another easy way to stop losing those mysterious lone socks is to put them all together in a laundry-safe mesh bag. (Sometimes you can also find lingerie washing bags that will work great too.) This way you'll finally stop losing those socks!

New Colors! Adult Argyle Knee High Riding Socks

Household Hints - Photography - Take Better Family Pictures

One great hint for new (and always improving) photographers is this - get low. The best pictures are taken when you're on the same level as your subject. If, for instance, you're taking baby pictures, then squat down and get the photo on the same level -- the photos feel far more personal and look a lot more professional this way.

Household Hints - How to Melt Chocolate

Melting chocolate is easy.

Use either a double boiler OR a pot of barely simmering water over which you've fitted either a Pyrex or a stainless steel mixing bowl. Add your chocolate in the top and gently melt until almost all of the chocolate has melted and then remove the bowl from the heat. The residual heat will help melt the last bits of unmelted chocolate.

The secret to great melted chocolate is to NEVER get any water in the bowl. The water causes the chocolate to seize up, so just make sure to use a large enough bowl on the top and to have the water on at barely a simmer. :) You should get beautifully melted chocolate this way!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Household Hints - Laundry - Prevent Discoloration of Clothing

In the laundry, help to prevent discoloration of your clothing by soaking the clothes first in a salt water solution. Just use about a cup of regular table salt in a large bucket or tub. The salt increases the fabric's color-fastness.

Household Hints - Batteries Longer Life

Make your batteries last longer - keep them in the refrigerator!

Household Hints - Beauty Skincare - Get Rid of Skin Tags

An easy and natural way to get rid of skin tags is to use milk thistle. Apply the milky juice from the plant right onto the skin tag every day until it will finally go away. :)

More Helpful Tips on Removing Skin Tags

Household Hints - Freeze Bananas for Easy Banana Bread and Muffins

Love banana bread and banana muffins, but hate the bother of waiting for the bananas to ripen? Try this instead...buy a large bunch of bananas and let them get fully ripe. Peel the bananas and then mash them all in a large bowl.

Now, take 1 cup measures of the mashed bananas and put each cup into a separate plastic baggie and freeze. That way, when you need mashed ripe bananas for recipes, it's all done and all you need to do is reach into the freezer!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Household Hints - Cleaning - Cleaning Wicker Furniture

Clean wicker furniture by spraying dusting or furniture polish onto an inexpensive paintbrush. It gets to all the hard-to-reach dust specks, and it takes a lot less time.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Household Hints - Cooking - Easy Ways to Peel Garlic

Love the taste of fresh garlic, but hate peeling it? Here are some easy ways to get fresh garlic into your meals without the hassle of picky peeling:

  • Just smash the garlic with the flat side of a good chef's knife and you can peel it right off.
  • Try one of those new plastic garlic peeling tubes - they make quick work of peeling garlic. And, they generally only cost a few bucks - well worth it if you use a lot of garlic in your cooking. I like the Zak Designs E-Z-Rol Garlic Peeler, Green
  • One more for good measure - try popping the unpeeled garlic cloves in a glass of cold water about a half hour before you'll need it. It apparently make it really easy to remove the skins.

Household Hints - Cleaning - Clean the Toilet with Coke

Yes, you read that correctly! You can clean even the most stubborn toilet stains and grime with a can of Coca Cola! :) Give it a try - pour one can of regular Coke into your toilet, and swirl around with a toilet brush and let it sit for about 45 minutes. Give it another swirl with the toilet cleaning brush when the time is finished and flush the mess away - you'll be surprised by how clean and gleaming your toilet will be!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Household Hints - Laundry - Never Lose a Sock Again

Always losing socks in the washer or dryer? Try this to keep those socks in matched pairs -- no more missing socks!

  • Use either a safety pin or a clothespin to attach the socks together before throwing them in the wash. :) They'll still get nice and clean, but you won't have to go searching for mystery socks anymore!

Baking Soda Uses #4 - Removes Bugs from Cars

Last week my son came by on his way from Florida to Va and the front of his truck was black with bugs (I have never seen anything like it - it was bad). We tried pressure washing them off and it wouldn't come off! Then I remembered something I had seen on TV and tried it. It works great.

I mixed baking soda with enough water to make a thin paste. I sponged it on and let it sit a few minutes and then went over it with the sponge and all the bugs came off with very minimal rubbing. Just make sure you rinse well.

~Submitted by Garnetta~

Household Cooking Hints: Cooking Ground Beef

When browning ground beef, I use a turkey baster to extract the fat that cooks off.

Then I use my pastry blender to break the meat up so you don't end up with big chunks.

I was a consultant for Pampered Chef for a little while and that was 2 things that everyone seemed glad to learn about at my parties.

Thanks to Garnetta for sending in these tips!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Household Hints - Beauty - Treatment for Dry, Cracked Feet

Dry cracked feet not only LOOK ugly, but they can get so dry and calloused that they actually hurt too.

Here are some helpful tips on treating dry, cracking feet and heels:

  • Try a pumice stone. After taking a bath, scrub your feet with the pumice stone. Doing this regularly will really help get rid of callouses.
  • Purchase a special heavy duty cream for this purpose -- slather it on your feet every night and then wear socks to bed. It will help to penetrate your rough, dry skin during the night.
  • Some foot scrubs really help - use in the bath or shower, again on a regular basis for the best results.
  • Some people swear by Crisco shortening as a foot moisturizer. I know, it sounds crazy -- but they use the solid shortening as a moisturizer every night and then put socks on, as mentioned in tip 2, above.
  • Soak your feet in warm water with a cup of white vinegar in it, and one drop of dishwashing liquid soap. Let each foot soak for 20 minutes or so and then use a pumice stone on it. The soaking in that special solution really helps soften the dry skin so it can be removed.
  • Try a brown sugar scrub for your feet - Mix enough brown sugar with olive oil (or other vegetable oil) to create a thick paste and then scrub onto your moistened feet. Rinse off and add moisturizer to finish.

More hints and tips at http://www.kitchencraftsnmore.net

Bath and beauty recipes at http://www.kitchencraftsnmore.net/bath.html

Household Hints - Beauty - Hide Pimples

To hide pimples, try one of the new concealer sticks or liquid concealers that are meant exactly to do that. These new blemish concealers not only help naturally hide the look of the pimple, but they also help to heal the zit at the same time with medications in the make-up.

A great two-in-one product!

Household Hints - Beauty - Removing Excess Facial Oil

An easy way to dab away excess facial oil during the day - use small squares of tissue paper or brown paper (like a brown paper bag.) Keep in a tiny envelope or small craft-size plastic baggie and keep in your purse.

Just use to dab away excess oil on your face. It works great - - and you won't have too much powder on your face at the end of the day!

Household Cleaning Tips: Cleaning a Glass Top Stove

Cammie from KS writes:
"I use 'Cook Top' brand Cleaning Creme for Smooth
Top Ranges, and on the back of the bottle, it says
that it is manufactured in the USA for Maytag
Customer Service. I am sure that my husband got
it at Sears.
We have made some messes on our stove, and it
takes it right off. If you keep cooking over
the mess, I don't know how well anything would work!"

Marilyn in Florida suggests:
"I know that most people know about the virtues of
baking soda, but I would like to put my two cents in!
I have spent countless hours trying to scrub my
ceramic cook top to get all the burnt on foods off.
I've used the commercial cleaner that came with my
stove, SOS pads and even the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.
I finally poured baking soda on the food, dampened
it with water to make a paste, and let it sit for
15 minutes or so. The burnt food came off in one
wipe! I am now a true believer in the power of baking
soda! I've saved money, time and my elbows."

Household Hints: Moister Brown Sugar Tips

Easy ways to keep your brown sugar from drying out:

I recommend:

  • Use a brown sugar saver - a small ceramic disk that you initially moisten and keep in your brown sugar container.
  • Use a sealed brown sugar container
  • A piece of stale bread in the container will help keep the brown sugar from drying out
  • A small piece of apple will moisten brown sugar
  • Finally - microwaving the amount of brown sugar you need in a microwave-safe dish will also loosen up hard brown sugar and make it malleable enough to use in your favorite baking recipes!

Household Hints: Sharpen Sewing Needles

Sewing needles can easily be sharpened with an emery board. Simply use on the end of the needle at an angle to sharpen - just as you would do to file your nails. It really helps keep needles working better for longer!

http://www.kitchencraftsnmore.net for more recipes & tips
http://www.happyslob.com/happyslobtips.html for cleaning tips & hints & recipes

Plus - if you have a household hint to share, please email it to me at christina@happyslob.com

Friday, September 22, 2006

Household Hints: How to Clean the Range/Stove Vent Screen Filter

Years ago I decided I no longer wanted to clean that greasy thing so I came up with a plan, and use old pantyhose! Now, this won't work for everyone depending on the shape and size of your screen, but it's perfect for mine. The fan on our Dacor range is not an over-head fan, it is a down-draft fan. The filter is the full width of the range 36" or whatever it is and about 4" wide. I simply cut the legs off an old pair of pantyhose and slide the screen into one leg. I then stretch it tight and tie a knot on the end. When it's ready to be changed I just cut the knot and then roll the pantyhose up and toss it in the trash. I keep the extra leg handy on a towel rack under the sink for a quick replacement. It works so well, and I never have to clean the screen any more! The panty hose has all the grease, slime and dusty dirt stuck to it and my hands don't even get greasy when I remove it!

Again - big thanks to Tammara for this fabulous hint!

Household Hints: Kill Ants with Borax

BORAX aka 20 Mule Team (in the laundry soap aisle)is a great killer of carpenter ants. Kills slugs too! It's a natural resource from the desert and you can kill off a nest of carpenter ants with it, and I imagine perhaps sugar ants too. It also reduces the spider population in your home. We used it when we had a nest of carpenter ants get into our house.We sprinkled it around the perimeter of our house outside and my husband placed it along the sole plates under the house. The adult carpenter ants are pretty tough and at first it may not seem they will get killed off by it, but their death is delayed long enough to take the powder back to the nest, and you end up killing off the entire nest. It's cheap, non-toxic and a much better solution than dangerous chemicals, which costs hundreds of dollars if a professional comes in. Borate is a derivitive of the same natural resource and often is seen as an ingredient in insecticide type of products. I've never tried this but I've also heard it can be sprinkled on carpet to kill fleas and flea eggs and then you vacuum it up!

Thanks to Tammara for submitting this household hint!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Household Hints: Dryer Sheets to Freshener Dresser Drawers

An easy way to freshen dresser drawers or musty closets is to deposit a few fabric softener sheets - choose a fragrance you like, and voila! In no time your dresser drawers or closets will smell a lot fresher.

* A more natural freshening option would be to take dried herbs, wrap in cheesecloth and tie with twine, and hang that in your closets or place that in your dresser drawers. *

Health and Beauty Hints: Make Your Own Age Spot Treatment

This is a very popular page on my other website, some natural ways to Lighten Age spots. Give it a try!

Household/Health Tips: Remove Splinters Easily

An easy way to remove splinters - just place a piece of Scotch tape over the area with the splinter and pull the tape away. The splinter should come right out - and far easier than dealing with tweezers!

Household/Cleaning Hints: Tips for the Shiniest Windows and Mirrors

Some of the best tips for getting super clean and shiny windows and mirrors are:

  • Try a vinegar/water mix -- it's a non-toxic cleaner that gets windows and surfaces sparkling clean
  • Use scrunched up newspapers instead of paper towels so you don't leave lint behind
  • Club soda (either fresh or stale) is a remarkable window cleaner!
  • Try a micro fiber cloth to clean with -- they also don't leave lint, and help any glass cleaner work far better.

For more easy cleaning tips, visit: The Happy Slob's Housecleaning Blog

Get rid of the WORST Household Odors with a Lampe Berger

Lampe Berger is a natural air purifying lamp, which was first developed in Paris in the 1800s for hospitals in France. These gorgeous works of art help eliminate bacteria in the air - and they work at getting rid of the nastiest smells - pet odors, cigarette smoke smells, and old cooking odors. Once you try one, you'll love it!

P.S. Also stock up on the scented oil of your choice - you need the special Lampe Berger oils (either scented or in Neutral) to fill the Lampe and successfully remove bacteria and odors from your home. This makes an excellent gift!

Household/Kitchen Hints: Getting more juice out of lemons

My two favorite ways of getting EXTRA juice out of lemons (or limes, oranges, grapefruits for that matter) are:

  • Roll the citrus fruits on the counter before slicing into them. :) It releases a lot more juice.
  • Dunk the lemons or limes into hot tap water and let sit for a few seconds before juicing. Way more juice!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Baking Soda Uses #3: Add to Your Bath Water

Add 1/2 cup (or more if you so choose) of baking soda to your bath water while the water is running. Soak in the tub, and you'll notice that the baking soda really helps to soften your skin. Also a nice option for anyone who has allergies and finds commercial bath products too harsh for them.

Love bath stuff?

Baking Soda Uses #2 - Scrub & Shine Chrome or Stainless Steel

Now THIS is a frugal cleaner for you. :) Use a moistened cloth and a bit of baking soda mixed with water to create a bit of a paste and gently scrub to clean chrome or stainless steel surfaces.

Rinse all lingering traces of the baking soda away and dry thoroughly. Sparkly clean!

Baking Soda Uses #1: Garbage Can Cleaner

Scrub out that funky garbage can with either plain baking soda OR a foamy mix of baking soda and white vinegar. Not only does it clean the garbage bin, but it also naturally deodorizes it!

Cooking and Recipes Tips: Faster Baked Potatoes

Craving a baked potato, but don't want to wait all the time it takes to bake in the oven? But, you really don't want a microwaved potato?

:) Easy - just compromise! Wash and dry a potato and pierce it all over with a fork. Microwave on high for a couple of minutes (obviously longer if you're making a few) and then pop into a preheated 400 degree oven and let it finish baking.

This way you drastically reduce the baking time, but still get that lovely crunchy baked potato skin that we potato lovers really LOVE!

Painting Tip of the Day: Easy Way to Remove Oopsies

Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and doorknobs before you start topaint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.
(from my http://www.kitchencraftsnmore.net newsletter from 2001)

Decorative Painting Techniques Book: Over 50 Techniques for Convincing Brushstrokes and Paint Effects

Flooring and Carpet Tips: Loose Carpet Threads

When a carpet thread is loose, snip it level with the pile. Don'tpull it out or you may unravel part of the carpet.

Gardening and Yard Tips: Squirrel-Proof Your Birdseed

Adding chili powder to birdseed fends off squirrels without botheringthe birds. (Thanks for the tip Molly!)
Peanut Butter
Here's an easy recipe to make your own peanut butter - it only takes 2 ingredients! You'll also find a helpful peanut butter hint at the end of the recipe. From the http://www.kitchencraftsnmore.net newsletter from 2001.

Ingredients:2 cups salted dry-roasted peanuts1 tablespoon vegetable oilCombine peanuts and oil in a food processor or blender.

Blend until creamy. If making a large amount, you mightneed to work in small batches and stop the machineoccasionally to scrape the peanut butter off the sides.You can make chunky peanut butter by chopping 1/3 of thepeanuts coarsely, and stirring them into the finely blendedpeanut butter.With home-made peanut butter, you'll need to stir itoccasionally, as the oil will drift to the top of the jar. Keeprefrigerated in a tightly covered jar.P.S. A great tip – when you make your own peanut butter, store itupside down in the fridge! (In a well-lidded container, of course.)It'll help keep the oils in the peanut butter and you won'thave tostir it as often. Yummy – you peanut butter lovers will love trying this one!