Friday, February 1, 2008

Freezer Tricks

Most people have heard that if you put a sealed envelope in the freezer, you can then slide a knife under the flap to open the envelope and it can be resealed. The freezer can come in handy in other ways, too!

To remove old wax from a glass candle holder, place the candle holder in the freezer for a couple of hours. When you take it out and turn it upside down, the wax should fall right out. I haven't tried this with a metal candle holder yet, but it definitely works for glass.

Also, you can extend the burning time of a candle by leaving it in the freezer at least 3 hours prior to lighting the candle. (Of course, don't light the candle in the freezer. That's just silly.)

Paint brushes:
If you're in the middle of a big painting project and have to stop for the day, or even just for several hours, instead of rinsing the paint brushes out just so you can get them dirty again the next day, put them in gallon Ziploc bags and stick them in the freezer. The next day, or whenever you get around to finishing the project, pull the brushes out of the freezer and let them thaw for about 20 minutes. Voila! The brushes are ready to use again, and you don't have to worry about water in the brushes!

And finally...

Smelly Freezer:
Leave a section of newspaper in the freezer and change it out once a week. Newspaper absorbs odors very effectively. If you have to store fish in the refrigerator, cover it in newspaper to keep the smell from lingering in your fridge.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Icy Steps

With all of the snow and ice hitting many of my friends (but not us - all we have is cold, cold rain), I figured this little tip would be a good one to share:

Instead of treating your icy walk with salt, which can kill the grass, mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 1/2 gallon of warm water and pour it over your steps and sidewalk. The dishwashing liquid helps prevent the ice from re-freezing. To make the ice melt faster, add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol (or add beer, but really - who wants to waste beer?) to the mixture.

You can also use dishwashing liquid to make a home-made gel ice pack by pouring a small bottle of dishwashing liquid into a Ziploc bag (I would double-bag it) and putting it in the freezer. The dishwashing liquid does not freeze solid. Of course, it may be just as easy to go out and buy a gel ice pack.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Remedy: Nausea and Upset Stomach Remedy

After paying homage to the toilet bowl gods yesterday morning, I was informed of a nausea remedy I had never heard. Lo-and-behold! It worked! Or at least it helped enough that I figured it was worth sharing.

The recipe:

Approximately 1 cup of crushed ice
Approximately 1 cup Welch's Grape Juice
A pinch of baking soda

Pour the grape juice over the crushed ice, then add a pinch of baking soda and stir. SIP slowly as often as needed, but do not gulp.

I was feeling terrible enough when my daughter's teacher told me about this yesterday morning that I figured it was worth a try. While it didn't completely relieve the stomach upset, I was no longer jumping out of bed to run to the toilet.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Remedy: Poison Ivy - 3 Remedies That Work

Most people are allergic to Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac. This allergy can come and go without warning, so keep the following remedies in mind the next time you have an outbreak.

If you know you've come in contact with one of the poisonous plants, rinse immediately with cold water for at least 15 minutes. If you don't know when you came into contact with it or can't stand rinsing with cold water, take a cool (as cool as you can stand it) shower with Dawn dishwashing liquid. Taking a warm shower opens the pores, therefore allowing the urushiol to penetrate the skin more readily. Note: If it's been more than 30 minutes, some of the urushiol will have already absorbed into the skin, so rinsing/washing may not prevent it.

Here are 3 remedies to help relieve the itching and clear it up as quickly as possible if the rash has already developed:
  1. Hot, hot water: To stop the itching for several hours, soak the affected area in as hot of water as you can stand. This will cause the cells to release histamine at a faster rate, therefore the initial reaction to the heat is itchiness. Gradually increase the temperature until the itching stops. Once the itching has subsided, the cells will be depleted of histamine. The itching should not return for several hours. If you have open blisters, you may cover the area with sterile gauze to help prevent infection. You may repeat this process every time the itching starts again.
  2. Bleach: Make a solution of 1 part bleach to 1 part warm water. With a cotton ball, apply the solution liberally to the affected area and let dry. The affected area will likely sting during and after application, however this remedy has been known to clear up the outbreak within two days. May be used immediately following the hot water soak.
  3. Baking Soda and Epsom Salts: Baking soda helps draw toxins out as well as soothes irritated skin, and Epsom salts draw toxins from the skin. Either take a warm bath with 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of Epsom salts or make a solution of 1 part baking soda and 1 part Epsom salts to 4 parts hot water and apply liberally with a cotton ball. Another option is to soak gauze in this solution and apply the wet compress to the affected areas for 15 minutes. One other option for the baking soda is to make a baking soda paste and apply it to the skin.

On a side note, if you have an outbreak but cannot pinpoint where you came in contact with poison ivy, give your pets a bath! Many people come in contact with the poison ivy oils from their pet's fur. Also remember to wash all linens often until the rash is gone.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Review - Hormel Refridgerated Entrees - Meat Loaf

With a 10-month-old and a busy schedule, I often feel rushed to get everything done in the evenings, especially cooking dinner. When I first saw the Hormel (r) Refrigerated Entrees at Kroger, my interest was peaked by the "Cooks in just 4 minutes!" on the front of the box. I kept talking my self out of buying any of the entrees because I was certain that it would taste bad or be tiny portions.

When I went grocery shopping on Saturday, some of the entrees were on sale, so I decided that it wouldn't hurt to try one or two types. One of the types I decided on was the Meat Loaf. When I got home, I put it on the shelf in the fridge and thought no more of it - at least not until yesterday afternoon when I was trying to come up with something quick for dinner.

After arriving home yesterday evening, I started preparing dinner immediately. I had decided to pair the Meat Loaf with cheesy mashed potatoes and green beans. I got the pan of water going for the mashed potatoes and opened a can of green beans, then popped the Meat Loaf in the microwave, following to the package directions. The water was ready for the milk and potatoes just as the microwave beeped. I set the timer for 2 minutes while I finished getting the potatoes ready because the entree was supposed to sit for 2 minutes before peeling back the film.

Everything was timed perfectly. The mashed potatoes and green beans were ready by the time the timer went off. I split everything between 2 plates, one for me and my daughter and one for my husband. Dinner was on the table a mere 15 minutes after I started preparing it!

Now came the true test - the taste. While it definitely wasn't as good as home-made, it was edible, even tasty. My 10-month-old wasn't a big fan, but her tastes change daily. My husband didn't complain, though, which is a very good sign.

The ultimate conclusion - for a quick dinner, the Hormel (r) Refrigerated Entrees Meat Loaf will work fine if I can find it on sale again (sale price - $4.99; regular price - $6.99). If I have the time, though, I would really rather have home-made.

***Disclaimer: This review is solely based on experience. No requests were made for this review and no exchanges will be made with regard to this review.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ripen Green Tomatoes

If you were given green tomatoes or had to pick your tomatoes before they were ripe, a quick and effective way to ripen them is to put them in a brown paper bag and put them in a closet. They should start to ripen during the first 24 hours, so be sure to check them after the first day.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Dozen (or more) Uses for Lemons

Lemon is an amazing fruit that is not only nutritious and delicious but also has a plethra of uses around the home! Here are a dozen or so tricks to try (in no particular order):

1) Freshen your refrigerator: Place half of a lemon on a saucer and set it in the back of your fridge for a day. The lemon will absorb the odors in your fridge while putting off a fresh clean scent.

2) Microwave Cleaner: Take half of a lemon, place it in a microwave safe bowl, and cover it with water (or use 4 tbsp of lemon juice to one cup of water). Place the bowl in the microwave oven and microwave it for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the bowl as it will be HOT! Wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp sponge, cloth, or paper towel. All food splatters should wipe off easily from the inside walls.

3) Soothing Sunburns: Mix one part lemon juice with one part water* in a bowl, jar, or bottle. Apply the solution liberally with a cotton ball using a gentle dabbing motion. The solution acts as an astringent, relieving the pain and heat. Abstain from direct sunlight after applying this solution.
*One part means one of whatever form of measurement you want to use - cup, tablespoon, ounce, milliliter.

4) Eliminate Lime Scale and Hard Water Deposits: Rub the lime scale with half of a lemon (peel side up), and the lime scale should come off easily. If a little more scrubbing power is desired, sprinkle the meaty side of the lemon half with salt before rubbing. For glass shower doors, apply lemon juice with a clean sponge, then dry with newspaper.

5) Brighten and Whiten Fingernails: If your fingernails have turned yellow and brittle from repeated manicures and polish, soak your nails in lemon juice for 10 minutes, then dip them in a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water. This should whiten, brighten, and strengthen your fingernails.

6) Blackhead Removal, Pimple Relief, and Blemish Reduction: Before turning in for the night, gently dab lemon juice on your face with a cotton ball or cotton pad. In the morning, wash your face with cool water, and the blackheads should be diminished if not gone completely (it may take several days of using this method for some to disappear). To eliminate pimples, dab with lemon juice several times a day until the pimple is gone, usually in only 24 hours if you can refrain from picking at it. For blemish reduction, make a mixture of 2 parts lemon juice to one part honey and apply to face. Honey has natural astringent properties as well as moisturizing.

7) Relieve Bloating and Sluggishness: Before breakfast, mix one teaspoon of lemon juice, one teaspoon of honey, and one cup of warm water. Drink. This helps kick-start your body's elimination processes.

8) Remove Smells and Stains from Hands: Rub hands with lemon juice or a piece of lemon to remove smells such as garlic, onion, or fish, or stains from berries and fruits. Rinse with water and the smells and stains should be gone.

9) Stop Bleeding and Disinfect Minor Wounds: Apply lemon juice, either directly or with a cotton ball, to the wound and the bleeding should stop (this is not to be used for puncture wounds). For canker sores or other sores in the mouth, either dab with lemon juice or gargle and swish with a solution of one part lemon juice to one part water.

10) Brighten Whites Without Bleach: Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice along with your normal detergent and wash as normal. This is especially great for cloth baby diapers because the lemon juice also acts as a disinfectant. Hang to dry in the sun for ultimate whitening and disinfecting.

11) Clean and Sanitize a Dishwasher: After removing all dishes, add 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the soap dispenser and run the dishwasher through a normal cycle. This will also help remove the mineral deposits that can make spots on your dishes.

12) Furniture Polish for Hardwood Furniture: Mix one part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil. Apply a small amount at a time to the furniture surface and buff with a soft, lint-free cloth (like an old t-shirt).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Reduce Static Cling

Trick: Pin a small safety pin to the inside seam of your slip, skirt or slacks to help the static electricity ground out. Also, if a multi-layered shirt builds up static easily, pin it to a seam that is next to your skin, such as the side seam, to reduce the static cling.

Source: A former co-worker

Used?: Yes

Results: Since I tend to build up static electricity really easily, this has been a blessing!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Soreness Relief from Shots

Trick: Use Vicks VapoRub on the shot site soon after the shot is given to relieve and help prevent soreness at the shot site.

Source: A co-worker who prefers anonymity

Used?: Yes

Results: I first used this the day after my daughter's 4-month immunization shots because her legs were sore from the shots. Within 30 minutes of applying the Baby Vicks VapoRub to her legs, she no longer screamed and pulled away when I touched her thighs. I used the Baby Vicks VapoRub within 2 hours after her 6-month immunization shots and her legs did not seem to get sore at all. Since then I've used the VapoRub every time she's received shots.

Note: The Baby Vicks VapoRub was the type I had on hand. There was some speculation as to whether or not it would work. It seemed to work fine for me, though the original instructions were to use regular Vicks VapoRub.