Monday, February 23, 2009

Interesting Household Tips - The Kitchen

I am sure that all of us have heard or have gotten some great tips over time and wish we had all of them in one convenient place. Here are some that I have heard or have found very useful myself.

I will discuss interesting household tips that I have found in other areas of the home each week for the next month or so. Please send me any that you would like me to include in a future post.

Food
Reheating Pizza
Heat up leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet on top of the stove. Set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No more soggy microwave pizza.

Extra Frosting
When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes; this will double it in size. You will get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You will also eat less sugar/calories per serving.

Reheating Refrigerated Bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Stained Hands
Some food can stain your hands, but rubbing them with raw potato slices can help remove it.

Fish Smells
After handling fish, squeeze a lemon wedge between your hands to help remove the smells.

Spicy Food
When eating something spicy and your mouth is burning, take a spoonful of sugar to calm down the burn. Avoid carbonated drinks as these will only make your mouth burn more; stick with water or juices when eating anything spicy.

Gadgets
Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry the cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Keep Bowls from Moving
Keeping a damp cloth under any bowl that you are stirring items in will keep it steady, thus keeping it from sliding around on the table.

Stirring Hot Food
Whenever stirring anything that is hot, use a wooden spoon. The wooden spoon will not get hot and won't scratch up the pot either.

Glasses Stuck Together
To remove glasses that are stuck, place cold water in the top container and put the bottom in hot water. Wait for a minute and slowly try to remove them, it should be much easier.

Insects
Fruit Flies
To get rid of fruit flies, take a small glass and fill it with a half inch of Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix it well. The flies will be drawn to the cup rather than your fruit.

Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They will eat it, take it to their "home," and since they can't digest it, they will die off. This could take a week or a little longer, especially if it rains, but I have heard that it works very well. Also, since it's not poisonous, you don't have to worry about your pets or small children being harmed.

Other
Burns
If you accidentally burn yourself, put vanilla extract on it to calm it as well as to keep it from blistering over.

Enjoy trying these out!

Marlin

Monday, February 16, 2009

Window Treatments

Here are some ideas for what to use for unique window areas.

Crescent Windows
  • Use 3 sconces to drape fabric around a crescent window
  • Arched shades are great for covering the crescent windows completely. They can be found in many different colors to match your home. They can also be bought in faux wood.
Corner Windows
  • Add three long drapes, one to each window as well as in the corner, to create cohesion.

  • Connect two drapes together and tie with a tassel at the corner. This creates a very elegant and dramatic effect.

Ways to Show off Windows


  • Add Interesting Tassels or Trimmings

How to make a window look longer or larger

  • Extra long curtains can add height as well as drama to a window.

  • Have the drapes go to the top of the ceiling and sweep the flooring to elongate the look.

Sliding or Non-Sliding Glass Doors

  • Bamboo coverings

  • Roman Shades

  • Sheer panels

Best Way to Darken a Room

  • Blackout Shades or anything lined with Mylar, a fabric that acts as a light barrier, keeps out both visible light and UV rays. Ideal for bedrooms, nurseries and media rooms. These also work great on sliding glass doors.

Be Creative
If you have curtains that you love but have changed your d├ęcor and don’t want to get rid of them, you might not have to. If it’s a fairly neutral color, you can simply add on to the bottom of the drapes with a more vibrant color or vice versa. This helps if you move and your news or longer than your old ones. You can also embellish it with beads or ribbons. For those windows that are smaller, you can cut up the longer curtains and create panel shades for your windows.

Can't sew? No problem, there are other ways to achieve the look you want. Try out the following methods:

  1. Velcro
  2. Seam Tape
  3. Fabric Glue

Hope these ideas help!

Marlin

Monday, February 9, 2009

Beneficial Health Tips with Household Items


I have always heard from many people how this herb or that item can help with different ailments that you might have. So, I thought I would gather as much hints that I have heard about and compile them here.

If you have tried something and it’s worked for you, post a comment here, so that we all may benefit!

Banana

  • Eating one a day, helps eliminate muscle cramps (leg cramps) due to low potassium levels

Beer

  • I know this is strange, but this girl I knew in college used to wash her hair in beer once a week to keep it soft. I never tried this myself but her hair always looked lush and amazing and yes, it was very soft.

Cucumbers

  • Cold slices over your eyes helps reduce puffiness

Frozen Vegetables

  • A pack over the eyes helps ease puffiness

  • Also helps if your face is feeling hot; instead of a cold washcloth, try this

  • Also great for muscle sores if you don’t have an ice pack

Garlic (fresh)

  • Chewing on a clove or two will help with upset stomachs and gas

  • Helps to eliminate coughs

Ginger

  • Helps to reduce nausea

  • Ginger tea helps with menstrual cramping

  • Lessen pain from rheumatoid arthritis

  • Can help reduce stress levels

Ginseng root and leaves

Never tried this before but have heard the following:

  • May help reduce mental and emotional stress

  • May help with fatigue

  • May help restore your body’s natural heat and cold sensors

  • May help with reducing hunger

Honey

  • Can help soothe a sore throat (pour into tea)

  • Have heard that it can soothe a cough as well

Milk

  • Splashing your face with milk can help with sunburns, redness and irritated skin

Milk of Magnesia

  • Use as a mask on the face for 5 minutes and it helps reduce oily skin

Peppermint Leaves

  • Helps reduce upset stomachs and gas

  • Chewing the leaves helps with bad breath

  • Great for reducing stress levels

  • Have heard that it can help get rid of a cold fast

Tea Bags

  • Cold tea bags over the eyes, helps with reducing puffiness (caffeine helps minimize this)

Toothpaste (not gel based)

  • Put over a pimple to reduce its size but only keep on for a few hours at a time.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Low Cost Ideas for Valentine’s

First off, I want to say a big "Congratulations" to all the Steelers fans out there! The Cardinals and the Steelers both were amazing and the Steelers certainly deserved the Superbowl trophy. It was definitely a great game to watch. Fantastic job Pittsburgh!


Now on to this week's post...

Who said Valentine’s Day had to be expensive? Here are some ideas for enjoying Valentine’s without worrying about the cost.


Ideas for Kids

Food Ideas

  • Make cookies using heart shaped cookie cutters
  • Make cupcakes or a cake by using a heart shaped pan
  • Have the kids involved by having them put on the sprinkles and the icing
  • Make a batch of cookies and put them in a tin box to be sent to school (or even send some to your loved ones)
Craft Ideas – if these are for school, you can easily add a note and attach some candy to it to make it complete for giving and sharing

  • Paper flowers (make via tissue paper)
  • Paper airplanes (make via construction paper)
  • Have them draw pictures for each of their friends, along with a note
  • Have them make their own cards
  • Don’t forget the teachers, they can do the same crafts above for them
  • For more ideas, Kaboose, has some unique crafts that they can create
What to keep on hand for Valentine’s crafts:

  • Scissors
  • Glue gun and glue stick
  • Elmer’s Glue or glue sticks
  • Hole puncher
  • Heart and other themed Stickers
  • Ribbon
  • Red or pink Construction Paper
  • Crayons or markers
  • Candy – easily available from your local dollar store
Ideas for Adults

  • Treat each other to a massage at home. You just need to have lotions if you don’t have any scented oils. Make sure to know the basics of massage.
  • Have a nice dinner for two (if you have kids, have them spend the night or a few hours at the grandparent’s house or even in another room watching a movie, or have a later dinner after they go to bed).
1. Have flowers – try the grocery store if you don't want to go to the florist
2. Have candles lit
3. Have a favorite music CD playing in the background

  • Enjoy watching a movie together.
1. Get under the covers and cuddle
2. Make some popcorn
3. Treat it like a date

  • Maybe finish an item that has been on that list of “things to do” for longer than it should have been. Won’t that be a surprise?
Single?

If you don’t have a significant other, who said you can’t enjoy Valentine’s?

  • Light some candles
  • Burn some incense
  • Have a bubble bath
  • Fill your place with flowers
  • Watch your favorite movie
  • Order or make your favorite dish
  • Read a book that you have wanted to for quite some time
Valentine’s is meant not only for your loved ones, it’s a day for all. Share yourself with others - whether it is a smile or some other kindness that you can provide (opening a door for someone, getting to know someone at work that you haven’t talked to before, etc.). Then make this something you do every day rather than just on a ‘special’ day.

You have 12 days to work towards this, better yet, start early. Start today.

Marlin

Whatever It Takes