Monday, April 20 , 2015

How to Garden with Allergies

It's the heart of allergy season and it seems the sneezing gets worse every year, but a person has got to garden! Here's what to do…

If you suffer from allergies, it's actually better to garden on damp and rainy days (when pollen is washed off plants)…and in the evening (when pollen counts are lowest), if possible. Also, be sure to eliminate all weeds from your garden—weeds (for example, ragweed and tumbleweed) are common allergens, so get them out of your garden when they're small and relatively harmless.

And remember, before entering your house, always remove all of your gardening clothes, dust off your shoes, and don't forget to clean your glasses.

Natural ways to relieve allergies…


Thursday, April 16 , 2015

Best-Smelling Sheets Ever

Ahhh…do you want sweet dreams inspired by lovely smells from your bed linen? There are all kinds of fabric softener varieties that tout great scents, but maybe you just haven't found a favorite...or you just don't feel like buying this special laundry item. No problem! Use another favorite household relaxer.

To enjoy a special sensory treat at bedtime, add about one-quarter cup of your favorite bath salts into your washing machine when you launder your sheets. The smell that relaxes you while you bathe will lull you to sleep!

More help with your linens…


Monday, April 06 , 2015

Don’t Ruin Your New Towels

You just couldn't wait to purchase that flashy terry-cloth beach towel for your upcoming beach adventures. You'll want to keep the colors vibrant. Here's what to do…

The first time you wash those new towels or that richly hued bathrobe, pour one cup of table salt into the washer along with your detergent, and it will help set the color.

More help with your laundry….


Monday, April 06 , 2015

Clean-Fingernail Trick for Gardeners

Often the worst part of gardening is clean-up. And if you really like getting into the dirt, cleaning out your soil-packed fingernails can seem like the biggest chore. We have the solution! Here's what to do…

Right before you start to garden, scratch a wet bar of soap with your nails. Make sure that soap gets under each fingernail. See where we're going with this? You are preloading your nails with soap, thus preventing soil from getting in there. Soil under the nails is hard to clean, whereas soap can be easily washed and nail-brushed away as soon as you've finished gardening. Lovely!

More help with gardening…


Wednesday, April 01 , 2015

Fizzy Fix for a Stopped-Up Drain

If the water in your bathroom sink or tub isn't draining as quickly as it should, chances are there is a tangle of hair (possibly mixed with soap and toothpaste scum) caught on the pop-up stopper that needs to be cleaned out. Gross, yes, but simple enough to do on your own. All you have to do is twist and pull out the stopper. Remove the gunk (wear gloves please), then wipe down the stopper with white vinegar, which will dissolve any residual stickiness. If your sink's stopper is not removable, pull it up as far as it will go without breaking and try this…

Crush three Alka-Seltzer tablets, and chuck them down the drain. Then add one cup of white vinegar. Wait three minutes, then run hot water. You may need to repeat on tough clogs.

More help with bathroom clean-ups…


Monday, March 30 , 2015

Why You Should Always Carry a Potato?

Have you ever been at a good friend's or relative’s house and seen a lush plant with many babies that you would just love to have a bit of? The next time you visit, bring a potato. Here's why…

If your friend kindly offers you cuttings of that plant you admire, take out your potato. Cut off a chunk from one end of the potato, and make holes in it with a chopstick or ballpoint-pen cap. The holes should be about the size of the plant's stems. Gently insert the cuttings into the holes. Then put the potato piece with the cuttings in a bag or box, and they should stay safe and moist during your trip home without any water spills on your car floor or upholstery.

Once the cuttings are home, you should mist them with a solution of one-quarter teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to two cups of water. This will help prevent them from getting a fungal spore infection.

More help with your plants…


Wednesday, March 25 , 2015

New Ways to Have Easter Fun

It's time to plan your Easter party! Here's what to do…

Rather than the same old Easter egg hunt, create a special scavenger hunt with themes of spring that could include baseball cards, seed packets, plastic flowers, dolls in summer outfits, bicycle accessories, funky sunglasses…whatever fun items to help ring in the warm weather. Hide your items, and write a fun little rhyming riddle about where each might be located and what it is. Your party guests can try to guess what each item is before they go looking—that's more fun than just poking around for eggs!

But you still want eggs—hard-boil them and use them as place cards. Cut out strips of construction paper or cardboard (about 1" x 5"). Form a circle, overlapping one end of the strip on top of the other, and glue or tape it to stay that way. Use this as an egg stand and place one at each table setting. Write your guests' names on the eggs with crayon, then dye them with food coloring or egg dye.

If you have extra time and enough chutzpah, you can also decorate the eggs to resemble each guest. Your bald guests will be the easiest.

More help with your celebrations…


Tuesday, March 24 , 2015

Tomato Bra—April Fool’s or Is It Real?

Have your homegrown tomatoes lacked support in the past? Well, prepare yourself for the ultimate recycle solution that will give your tomatoes a lift…

Instead of throwing out that shabby old bra, use it to support zaftig tomatoes. Brace the tomato plant by tying its main stalk to two stakes set about two feet apart. Then attach one end of the bra strap to one stake and the other end to the other stake, making sure the bra cups are positioned under the larger tomatoes. Position the stakes accordingly.

The bra will give the plant the extra support it needs and prevent it from collapsing under the weight of the plant’s oversized love apples. And you’ve also solved the problem of what to do with your old bras! It seems like such a waste of ingenuity to throw them away.

Best colors for the job: If you have a choice as to which color bra to use, black will attract more sun and should be used before the tomatoes ripen…a white bra should be used for ripe tomatoes, during the last days before picking.

Hey, it's April Fool's Day! Are we serious about this tomato bra trick? Actually, we are! But if you don't like the idea of having your old bras (or your wife's) displayed in your tomato garden, we understand. Then again, it could end up being the life of your garden party.

More gardening secrets…


Monday, March 23 , 2015

Disinfect Without the Bleach

Do you really want your bathroom to smell like a hospital…especially when your guests are just about to arrive? Here's what to do…

If you want to avoid the harsh smell of bleach, you can clean and disinfect your toilet by using this simple formula. In a spray bottle, add one-half cup of distilled white vinegar, one-half cup of plain water and 15 drops of tea tree oil (available at health-food stores). Shake the bottle, then spray both sides of the toilet seat, under the rim, around the bowl, etc. Wipe the seat dry with a clean cloth and brush and flush the inside bowl. The slight vinegar smell will disappear, leaving the unusual, fresh scent of tea tree oil.

And, by the way…always put the lid down before you flush. When you flush without closing the toilet seat lid, a polluted plume of water vapor and bacteria can spew out of the flushing toilet bowl. The polluted water particles waft around the bathroom and eventually land. If there are toothbrushes out in a nearby cup or holder, they may be a landing strip for some of those particles. Yuck!

More ways to easy cleaning…


Wednesday, March 18 , 2015

No-Slip Purse Trick

It's so annoying to carry a purse with a strap that keeps slipping off your shoulder. Don't put up with this hassle! Do this instead…

Sew a big button on your jacket or coat on the side where you usually carry your bag. Test to see what part of your shoulder is most comfortable for the strap and position the button accordingly. It'll work as a hook to keep the slippery strap in place.

Try to find a button that matches the color of your jacket so that it will blend in…or no—you could use a glamorous button that blares out your individual style.

More help with your wardrobe…