Helpful Hints not from Heloise

     Finding solutions to household problems is often a process for me but one I actually enjoy. I also like sharing those solutions with others so here goes:

     I have thrown away numerous shirts, some of which were favorites, because I could not find anything that actually took out cooking grease no matter what claims the products made. One day I came across a can of cigarette lighter fluid and something clicked. Sure enough, it takes out cooking grease with no damage to clothing. I found it at Walmart near the check-out stand. Just squirt it onto the grease stain before washing and no more stain. I have even missed a stain after washing and applied the lighter fluid, rewashed and no more stain.

     Hydrogen Peroxide takes out blood. My husband taught me this one as he is a chemical whiz.

     Vinegar is a natural fabric softener, no need for even dryer sheets. Learned this one on the “Peachskinsheets” website.

     If you are looking for awesome bed sheets at an affordable price, check out My husband is very hard to please when it comes to sheets and I am touch sensitive. We couldn’t justify spending a small fortune for top of the line sheets. We have a Tempurpedic adjustable split king so it requires a special set of 2 extra long twin sheets and a king top sheet. I did a search on the internet for where to find the sheets and found a blog in which someone recommended Peachskinsheets. OMG, awesome. Super soft and smooth, no pilling, wick away moisture (Tempurpedic often equals sweat). Since we got these sheets, I love getting in bed at night for that “aah” moment.

     This one is a really personal but also really helpful. Pee before and after sex, even if it is just a drop. This helps prevent  Urinary Tract Infections.

     Most of you probably already know this but the only way to really clean  ceramic and/or slate tile floors and keep them clean longer is with a steam mop. I cannot tolerate the residue left by floor cleaners. Your floors are never really clean and they attract dirt. When you use a steam mop, you are just using water so there is no residue and they dry so much faster. You can actually walk over them in socks and your socks will still be clean.

     Consider having a “whole house vacuum system” by Honeywell installed. It’s easier and less expensive if it is installed when the house is built but it can be done any time. Ports are installed in strategic locations throughout your house so that you are not lugging a vacuum cleaner around. You just insert the really long hose into the ports and press the switch on the handle.  It also has hand attachments for dusting and detail work. You can get kick plates as well so that you can sweep dirt up to the kick plate, engage the switch and no more dirt though I use these very little. A word of warning, this vacuum system has very strong suction and will suck up everything.  It will suck up dish towels, underwear (yes I found my daughter’s underwear in the dust collection bin), pens, etc. Great for cleaning out fireplaces and pine needles from Christmas trees. It has a canister in the garage that collects the dust and dirt (plus any other little ole thing it has sucked up) which I empty about every six months into a trash bag and out it goes for trash collection. The canister has a connection site for the hose in the garage so that it can be used to clean out the car etc.

     To remove hardened food from pots and pans, fill them with soapy water and put them on the stove burner on the high setting and let it boil until you see the food loosening. This is especially good for cast iron skillets. I learned this from my mom and have noticed others picking it up from me.

418Pm9141-L._AA160_     To remove stuck on food from pots and pans or anything really, there is a plastic tool which is tapered to a thin edge. I found them at Bed, Bath and Beyond after the one I was given in a gift bag disappeared. It makes clean up soooo easy. Better than a credit card, easier to hold and doesn’t wear out. Its very inexpensive.

     The best thing for a stuffy nose is ibuprofen. When your nose stops up, it is because of swelling so the Ibuprofen reduces that swelling. Be sure to take it with food though because it can upset your stomach. If you are like me, the first sign of a problem is the feeling like you have something caught in your throat (sinus irritation) then mine goes into a sore throat and develops from there. If I take Ibuprofen, it will most often stop the cycle. Mucinex which I have to take it every day, twice a day, can get to be expensive but it also works for me.

450     If you have a dental bridge, the best flossing devices are Soft Picks. They are straight and thin enough to get through and have tiny bristles making flossing a breeze and massages your gums. I use them on all my teeth. My current dentist doesn’t like bridges because he says they are so difficult to floss that people don’t and it not only makes for bad breath but also promotes gum disease. The hygienist turned me on to these and I love them.

For ladies, Dollar Tree if you have one in your area, sells a box of 75 scented diaper bags for $1. I am telling you this not for your baby but for you or your menstruating daughters (though most use tampons these days). I, unfortunately, have to deal with leaky bladder so I have to use pads every day because I don’t want to have surgery. I keep the diaper bags in a wicker basket that has a flip up lid on the back of my toilet along with pads, making them handy. I hated having to wrap pads in toilet paper and put them into the community trash can for obvious reasons. So, I use these diaper bags for my used pads and toss them into a step-can that I keep next to the toilet.  It makes for easy disposal and alleviates odor issues. Sorry to gross you out, I tried to be as discreet as possible.

I was spending a small fortune on Starbucks Frappacinos. At $5+ a pop every day and sometimes more than once a day, it really added up. I got to where even the freebies didn’t justify the cost. I bought my husband a Magic Bullet blender for Christmas so he could make smoothies. Great investment! I learned how to make my own Frappacinos at quite a savings. I just fill the mixing cup 1/3 full of ice, add coffee to the same level, add milk, caramel and Splenda, place the mixing cup on the base and run it for about 1 minute or less and I have a Frappacino. I had to experiment with my recipe until I got it right for me. Here are some suggestions:

  • My husband drinks really strong coffee from ground beans. He combines Starbuck’s Espresso and French Market, both of     which are strong. He makes a pot for me which he pours into a container that we keep in the refrigerator. You can prepare any coffee you like but probably the stronger the better since it gets diluted out with ice and milk.
  • You can add as much ice as you like to make it the consistency you prefer. I have found that I like it more creamy than icy so I use less ice.
  • I use skim milk to cut back on calories but you can use any milk you like.
  • We both use Smucker’s Sugar Free Ice Cream Topping Caramel in our coffee, it is also fat free and I use Splenda for sweetener but you can use sugar or any type of sweetener you like.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. I’m sure I have more but I will save them for another time.

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