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 - - 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 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 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!