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Friday, September 12 , 2014

New Use for Your Tissue Boxes

Instead of having plastic produce bags taking up lots of space in a drawer waiting to be recycled or floating around loose in a cabinet, do this...

Pack your stash of plastic bags into an empty tissue box. If you do not want to use the cardboard kind, look for a decorative tissue-box cover that matches your kitchen (or wherever you need to keep a store of plastic bags). Even the bottomless covers will hide the bags away—you just can’t move them around too much. Try to use the largest tissue box or cover you can find— the small ones tend to multiply as you collect more and more plastic bags.

More help with home organization...

 

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Thursday, September 11 , 2014

3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Fridge Bins Clean

Do you hate pulling out those cumbersome fruit and vegetable bins to clean them? So do we! Here's what to do…

For easy cleanup (and to prevent messes), line the fruit/vegetable and meat drawers with old plastic place mats (or even with cheap new mats from the dollar store). You may have to cut them to fit, but considering how easy they are to wipe clean, it will be worth the effort. You can easily remove the mats to clean them rather than pulling out the entire drawer.

If you don't want to bother cleaning place mats, line the drawers with paper towels. They will provide some protection and help absorb moisture, which means that the fruit will last longer.

Some people try to line drawers with plastic wrap, but we've found that the paper towels are much more cooperative.

More help with cleaning your kitchen...

 

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Wednesday, September 10 , 2014

Clean Your Pewter with Cabbage?!

Did you just inherit a beautiful candelabra (or maybe a set of tankards) that looks tarnished beyond repair? Don't despair! Here's what to do...

Use a large, outer leaf of a cabbage as you would use a cloth to rub the pewter clean. We find that the large white cabbage leaves work the best. Then buff the pewter with a soft cloth.

If a pewter object is badly tarnished, use #0000 (super-fine) steel wool dipped in olive oil and cautiously scrub off the tarnish. Then wash, rinse and buff dry with a soft cloth.

More household magic...

 

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Tuesday, September 09 , 2014

Remedy for Aching Hands

Ouch! That was a rough patch of lawn mowing or tennis playing! Now your hands feel like they've been through a wringer. Here's what to do...

If your hands are feeling achy, try this solution. In a bowl, combine three cups of hot water, three tablespoons of witch hazel and one-half cup of Epsom salts. Make sure the water isn’t hot enough to burn, then dip your hands in the solution for about five minutes...enough time for the magnesium sulfate in the mixture to penetrate and ease the pain in your joints.

More natural help for pain...

 

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Monday, September 08 , 2014

Easily Disinfect Your Countertops

If you like your countertops and other kitchen surfaces clean and disinfected but don't like that harsh, bleachy smell, here's a better way to clean.

Keep two spray bottles handy—fill one with 3% hydrogen peroxide and the other with white vinegar. Lightly spray your counter with the peroxide, and wipe it clean. Follow up with a light spray of the vinegar, and wipe it clean. Then relax, knowing that your countertop and other kitchen surfaces have been treated with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial agents. Yes, your kitchen will smell like vinegar for a little bit, but it will dissipate quickly.

Note: Do not use peroxide and vinegar on a regular basis to clean marble or unsealed granite countertops (most granite counters have a coat of protective sealant). Both solutions are acidic and could discolor these surfaces over time.

Where the germs lurk...

 

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Friday, September 05 , 2014

Pinch Here to Feel Great

You do have control over your mood. Believe it! Here's a little acupressure to help you quickly lift your spirits.

Acupressure involves activating specific trigger points on the body along pathways called "meridians" or "acupoints." These specific points correspond to troubled areas in the body, and applying pressure (usually with your thumbs, fingers or palms) engages the body's natural self-curing abilities. The acupoints often have ancient descriptive names, such as Joining the Valley and Mind Clearing.

Pressing the Inner Gate acupoint can reduce emotional upset—such as anxiety, depression and irritability—in only two to three minutes.

Location: On the inner side of the forearm, three finger widths up (toward the elbow) from the center of the wrist crease, in between two thick tendons.

What to do: Place your thumb on this point and your fingers directly behind the outside of the forearm between the two bones. Squeeze this slowly and firmly, hold for two to three minutes, while breathing deeply. Repeat on the other arm for the same amount of time.

This acupressure exercise can also help: Carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia and nausea.

Thanks to Dr. Michael Reed Gach, founder of the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, California, for this remedy.

More ways to undo the blues...

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Thursday, September 04 , 2014

Easy Way to Make Meatballs

We just discovered this, and it works great. If you are pan-frying a close-knit group of delicate, small food items that each need individual attention (such as meatballs), don't flip them with a wide spatula (which will puncture your other meatballs) or a pair of tongs (which might cause the fragile meatballs to fall apart). Use this instead...

A metal pie cutter is angled to a point and can work around the tight spots between your meatballs or fritters, making it easy to turn each one over. This tip comes from a happy accident—Joan didn't have a regular spatula nearby and used the first thing she pulled out of our utensil drawer. It worked like a charm!

More help in the kitchen...

 

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Wednesday, September 03 , 2014

How to Clean Your Fake Flowers

We have transitioned from houseplants that need little care (succulents, spider plants) to realistic-looking artificial flowers that need very little care (just a yearly cleaning to keep them from looking dingy). Here's how to keep fake flowers looking fresh and new.

To clean sturdy fabric flowers, take a plastic or paper bag (big enough to hold the flowers), and pour in one cup of table salt. Hold the flowers by the stems, and put the blossoms into the bag. Hold the neck of the bag closed around the stems, then shake, shake, shake, giving the salt a chance to clean the flowers.

When you take the flowers out of the bag, do it over the sink (or outside) and gently shake off any salt remaining on the flowers. Inspect the flower petals closely—if there is still any residual salt, you can brush it off with a clean pastry brush or a small paintbrush. The flowers should be clean, and their colors fresh and bright.

More great ways to decorate and organize...

 

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Tuesday, September 02 , 2014

Tickle Trick to Stop Their Snoring

A friend told us that he starts to snore the minute he falls asleep. We asked if it bothers his wife. He said, “ It not only bothers my wife...it bothers the whole congregation.” If you sleep with a snorer, here's what to do...

Actually, snoring is not a joking matter. Chronic snoring—that is, snoring every night and loudly—may be a sign of a serious condition known as sleep apnea. Apnea is Greek for “without breath.” During the night, an individual with apnea stops breathing repeatedly from an obstructed windpipe (usually due to excess weight, but not always). If you think that you or your loved one has sleep apnea, talk to your doctor. Aside from causing daytime sleepiness, apnea may lead to high blood pressure, heart problems and stroke.

How to stop occasional snoring: Occasional snoring can be caused by very dry air—a lack of humidity in the bedroom. Simply use a humidifier, especially in the winter months. Or, instead of shouting at the snorer and scaring him awake, lightly tickle his throat and the snoring should stop. Of course, the laughing may keep you awake.

More ways to better sleep...

 

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Monday, September 01 , 2014

De-Stink a Lunch Box

No one wants to go back to school with a smelly lunch box! Here's how to brighten up the food container that's been hiding away all summer.

To freshen up a stinky metal or plastic lunch box, moisten a slice of bread with distilled white vinegar and let it sit in the lunch box overnight. The next morning, throw away the soggy bread, wash out the lunch box with warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Then load it up with your child's (or grandchild’s) sandwich and fruit.

More ways to fix funny smells...

 

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