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Friday, January 18 , 2013

Keep Your Windshield Frost Free

If you dread scraping your car windshield on frosty, freezing mornings, then this tip is for you. When you park your car outdoors overnight, spread a large plastic trash bag or sheet of plastic over the front windshield. Secure it under the windshield wipers and/or by shutting the doors on the edges of the bag(s). (If you shut off the car ignition while running your wipers, the blades should land vertically on your windshield.) If you don’t have plastic bags, you can also use brown paper bags, which will be held in place by the windshield wipers.

The next morning, when you remove the bag(s), there will not be any frost or ice on the windshield.

Put little plastic or paper bags over your side mirrors to keep them frost free too.

Thursday, January 17 , 2013

Perfect Popcorn Every Time

An hour before popping corn (freshly popped is always the best), sprinkle a little warm water on the kernels. Or keep your popcorn kernels in the freezer. Either way—warm water or freezer—your popcorn will be fluffier and have fewer duds.

Wednesday, January 16 , 2013

Winter Getaway Packing Tips

Travel light! Give lots of thought to what you really need. Once you commit to your wardrobe choices, follow this packing order to keep creases to a minimum: First, lay out jackets…then shirts/blouses and pants/skirts…followed by jeans—all folded in half across the length of the suitcase. Shoes and undergarments go in the corners.

Tuesday, January 15 , 2013

A Comforting Cup for the Common Cold

Prepare a cup of healing tea by steeping equal parts of cinnamon, sage and bay leaves in hot water. Cinnamon has antibacterial properties, sage works as a natural expectorant and bay leaves help clear congestion. Steep for 5 minutes, strain, and just before drinking, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Sweeten with a little honey, if you desire.

Monday, January 14 , 2013

Clean and Soothe Your Dog’s Messy Paws

If your dog went out in the snow without paw protection, as soon as you get home, wash his paws with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 cup of warm water. It will soothe any burning caused by rock salt used to melt sidewalk snow.

Tags: baking soda
Friday, January 11 , 2013

Banish Early-Morning Brain Fog

Are you having a hard time getting your brain in gear these chilly winter mornings? Jump-start your day hydrotherapeutically. That’s a fancy way of saying—take a shower! Begin with warm water, then make it hotter for 10 seconds (not burning hot), then cold again for another 10 seconds, then hot again for another 10 seconds. (Do you notice a pattern forming here?) Repeat the hot/cold cycles 5 times.

Hot water dilates blood vessels for a circulation surge…cold water constricts blood vessels for a slowdown in circulation. This switching act revs up the morning’s sluggish blood flow, sending oxygen to the brain, which should make you more alert and focused for the rest of the day.

Thursday, January 10 , 2013

Easy Craft for Winter Cabin Fever

This is a fun and inexpensive craft...easy enough to do with your kids. Make napkin rings from empty tubes of toilet tissue or paper towels. Cover the tubes by pasting on paper that matches your table or room décor. You can use construction paper, wrapping paper, leftover wallpaper, last season’s sample wallpaper books (available at your local paint store) or even newspaper—try the comics.

Once the tube is covered, cut it crosswise into equally sized pieces—about 1½ inches wide. (Any large pair of scissors will do the job. The cardboard loops easily pop back into shape.) If you use solid paper to cover the tubes, you can also decorate them with stickers, sequins and ribbon.

We recently set a dinner table with a solid red tablecloth, napkin rings covered in black-and-white magazine excerpts with thin red ribbon tied around them, white linen napkins and white dinnerware. Conversations started immediately as dinner guests read their napkin rings and shared the articles.

Wednesday, January 09 , 2013

Super Shine Your Flatware

If your stainless steel flatware is dull, streaky, or spotty from the dishwasher, pour a little baking soda on each utensil, add 1 or 2 drops of water and rub it shiny clean. Rinse and dry. You should be able to admire your upside-down reflection in a spoon.

Tags: baking soda
Tuesday, January 08 , 2013

Make Your Onion Sweeter

Let’s suppose you want to use a milder and sweeter-tasting onion in your salad, but all you have is a regular, strong yellow onion. Slice the yellow onion and soak it in cold water for 30 minutes, along with 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar. The pungent acid will dissipate in the water, and the onion will have a milder, sweeter flavor.

Monday, January 07 , 2013

Freshen Up a Flat Bed Pillow

Put new life into an old, flattened-out feather or down pillow by letting it toss and knock around in a dryer (set on a low setting) for 10 minutes with 3 or 4 tennis balls and a fabric-softener dryer sheet.