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

Bath and beauty recipes at

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! for more recipes & tips for cleaning tips & hints & recipes

Plus - if you have a household hint to share, please email it to me at

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 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 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!