Saturday, January 4, 2014

Household Tips and Tricks

I have so many little tips and tricks, that I thought that I would do a post of them all and continually add to them.

1.  Easy Band-Aid Removal

Removing a Band-Aid can create almost as many tears as the injury itself.  Now, we apply a layer of Vaseline over the Band-Aid before L goes to bed at night and it is easy to remove the next morning.  Sometimes, it even falls off during the night.

2. Piano Practicing
Here are some ideas to encourage your child to practice the piano.  Check out this link.

3. Favorite use for vinegar

My favorite use for vinegar is to pour one cup in the washer during the wash cycle, when I am washing towels.  It takes the musty smell out of the towels.  It also removes the soap residue, if you are sensitive to detergents.
I found this website:  I might have to look at it later for more vinegar uses.

4. Cut open tube of body wash, to get the remaining body wash out.
Click here to read full blog posting and more photos.

5. Lovies, blankets and stuffed animals
I learned a long time ago to buy 2 of a child's favorite stuffed animal or blanket.  Or cut a blanket into two and hem the edges.  But just recently, our youngest lost her "purple baa baa", aka "purple bunny", so I had to search for not one, but two more to replace it.  If one gets dirty, you can replace it with the back up and wash the dirty one.

6. Sock Drawer
I organize my Husband's sock drawer by putting the navy blue socks on the left, khaki socks in the middle and black socks on the right.  In the morning, he just grabs a pair of socks from the area of the drawer that he needs.  He does not need to turn on a bright light to see if he is grabbing a blue or a black pair of socks.
7. Freeze prechopped onions
A lot of recipes call for 1/2 of a chopped onion.  What do you do with the other half?  I chop it up and place it in a freezer ziplock baggie.  I put it in the freezer until I need to use it.

8. iPhone Protector for beach or poolWhen ever we go to the pool or beach, I worry about sand and water droplets getting on/in my phone. So I place it in a snack size ziplock baggie. I can still use my phone through the plastic with my wet sandy hands. I can't submerge my phone, but it keeps it a lot cleaner.

9. Pizza cutter - can cut more than pizza
Pizza cutters are great, but they can be used for more than cutting pizza. You can cut pancakes, french toast, sandwiches, stuffed crescents and quesadillas.

I needed a central location for my calendar in the kitchen, so I hung it on the cabinet door. I looped a string through the hole on the calendar and hung it over the cabinet door. (see 2nd and 3rd photo). On the inside of the cabinet, I attached a 3M hook to hook the sting on it. If I don't want my calendar showing, I can easily take it down, when company comes over.
I have granite counter tops and it is recommended to use soapy water clean them. I was getting tired of making sinks of soapy water to wipe down the counters, so my husband suggested that I fill a spray bottle with soapy water. It is really easy and convenient to clean them now.

12. Furniture scratch repair
Rub shoe polish on the scratch and let it sit for 5 minutes. Rub the excess shoe polish off.Before: 


I don't use a canner to seal my jars. This is how my Great Aunt taught me to seal jars. This only works for cooked jam and jelly recipes.
First, as I am making my Jam, I heat up a pan of water. Enough water to cover the jars laying down. When the jam is almost done cooking, I carefully add the clean jars to the boiling water.
After, I remove the jam from the direct heat, I place a towel in my left hand and use tongs to remove a jar from the boiling water. Be very careful, the jar is very hot!!! Carefully, ladle the jam into the jar. Fill the jar up to a 1/2" from the top and carefully wipe off the excess jam that dripped over the edge. I use a towel or clean dishcloth. Place lid on top of jar. Screw rim on jar tightly. Place jar on dish towel and cover jars with another dish towel. In the next few hours, you will start to hear the lids popping/sealing shut. If they don't seal, (which I have never have had happen) toss the old lid, and start the process over again. Click here for more pictures.

I love to organize by using lists. But my lists and recipes were overwhelming my kitchen counter, so I bought a magnetic dry erase board and mounted it on the inside of my kitchen cabinet. It cleaned up my counter top and it keeps me more organized. On the board, I write out my meal planning, to do list and shopping list. I use magnetic clips to post my grocery list and the recipes that I am making that week.
I used 3M Picture Hanging strips to hang the board on the inside of my cabinet door. These strips are like a heavy duty velcro.

Bleach and traditional cleaners were not able to get the dirt out of the grout. I am actually embarrassed to show you the before and after picture, because the grout was so dirty. This all natural grout cleaner really works, but it doesn't have harsh fumes like Oxi-clean. These ingredients can even be found in your pantry.
7 cups of water
1/2 cup of baking soda
6 drops of lemon essential oil
1/4 cup of vinegar

I mixed the ingredients in a bucket and used a rag to apply it to the grout line. I let it sit for 30 seconds and used a bristle scrub brush to remove the dirt. Go to: to learn more about Young Living essential oils.

I was tired of paying $10 and up for containers and nets to hold the bath toys. I decided to make one. First, I bought a $1 plastic basket at Dollar Tree. Next, Using a permanent marker, I marked dots on the bottom of the basket 1 1/2" apart. Then I drilled holes in the bottom of the basket, using a 3/8" drill bit. This is what the bottom of the basket looks like after the holes were drilled. Next, I placed plastic bumpers on the bottom of the basket. You can pick these up in the picture hanging section of the hardware store. This will help the water drain away from the basket. And fill it with your favorite bath toys. It works 10 times better than the bath toy net that we were using and it costs a lot less. Click here to see more how to photos.

17. Make dried out markers new again.
This is something every mom needs to know. A Crayola Factory Experience employee told us this tip when we visited the Crayola Factory store in Easton, Pennsylvania. You don't need to throw out crayola markers that have dried out. Fill the marker lid with water and place the lid back on the marker. Let the marker set overnight and it should work like new in the morning. See the before and after picture below.

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