Archive for the ‘A Mimi Tip’ Category

Dear Readers,

My daughter-in-law told me about an advent calendar of activities she crafted for our granddaughter.  It contains lots of fun things to do and make.  Some of the undertakings scheduled on her calendar consist of:

1.  Making tissue paper stars to hang in the windows

2.  Drinking hot chocolate with Daddy

3.  Singing Christmas carols

4.  Buying the Christmas tree

5.  Eating dinner by the Christmas lights

6.  Baking cookies with Mommy

7.  Making handprint paper ornaments

8.  Learning the “Angel of God” prayer

And the list goes on and on.

I thought it was such a clever idea.  It keeps the little ones occupied performing the daily activity, while it takes the focus off the seemingly endless wait for the arrival of Santa Claus.  Danielle got the idea from www.artfulparent.typepad.com blog entitled “A Christmas Tree Advent Calendar”.  Check it out and maybe you can start making Christmas traditions with your little ones.

My second “Toddler Tip” is a safety tip.  Saw this tip on the evening news.  It concerns the small button-like batteries in many toys.  Be sure that the battery does not drop out onto the floor where crawling toddlers can grab them and put them into their mouths.  Swallowing one of these batteries is very serious.  The acid from the battery leaks out and damages tissue in the esophagus.  The damage can be permanent.  An x-ray is the only way to know for sure if a battery has been swallowed.  Keep an eagle eye out for any of these loose batteries.  After all, I want you and your toddlers to have a safe holiday as well as a happy one.  And remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

This is the final installment of tips from Maureen’s e-mail.  I hope you find all of them informative and useful.

1.  Goodbye Fruit Flies:  To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass and fill it 1/2 inch with apple cider vinegar and 2 drops dish washing liquid.  Mix well.  You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

2.  Get Rid of Ants:  Put small piles of cornmeal wherever you see ants.  They eat it, take it “home”, and can’t digest it so it kills them.  It may take a week or so to take effect, especially if it rains.  But it works and you don’t have to worry about small children or pets being harmed.

3.  Info About Clothes Dryers:  The heating unit went out on my dryer.  The repairman said he wanted to show me something.  He went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter.  It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load of clothes.)  He took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it.  (The line filter is made of a mesh material.)  The hot water just sat on top of the mesh.  It didn’t go through at all.  He told me that dryer sheets produce a film over that mesh and that’s what burns out the heating unit.  You can’t see the film, but it’s there.  It’s what is in the dryer sheets that make your clothes soft and static free.  You can actually feel this waxy film on the unused dryer sheets.  It builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen.  This is also what causes dryer units to catch fire and potentially burn your house down!  He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time and to keep your electric bill lower is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water, using an old toothbrush.  Do this at least once every six months.  He said that will make the dryer last twice as long.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Here is a continuation of the tips that I received from my walking partner, Maureen.  Check them out.

1.  Keeping Weeds Away:  Wet newspapers, put layers around the plant overlapping as you go.  Cover with mulch and forget about weeds.  Weeds will grow through some gardening plastic but they will not get through wet newspapers.

2.  Broken Glass:  Use a cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of broken glass that can’t be seen easily.

3.  Chop up leftover snickers bars from Halloween.  Peel and slice a few apples into a baking dish and sprinkle chopped candy bars over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Serve alone or with ice cream.

4.  No More Mosquitoes:  Place a dryer sheet in your pocket.  It will keep the mosquitoes away.

5.  Squirrel Away:  To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle them with cayenne pepper.  The cayenne pepper doesn’t hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it.

6.  Flexible Vacuum:  To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge, add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum.  It can be bent or flattened to get into narrow openings.

7.  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 out.

8.  Foggy Windshield:  Hate foggy windshields?  Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove compartment of  your car.  When the windows fog, rub with eraser.  Works better than a cloth!

9.  Reopening An Envelope:  If you seal an envelope and then realize that you forgot to include something inside, just place the sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two.  Voila!  It unseals easily.

10.  Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs.  It’s cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth.  It’s also a great way to use up the hair conditioner you bought but didn’t like!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Okay, these aren’t my original tips.  (I wish they were!)  The came from a list of useful info e-mailed to me from my faithful walking partner, Maureen.  She cautioned me to “remember this is from the internet – and who knows if any of these things are really the truth!”  The tips are very interesting but you can choose if you wish to use them or not.

1.  For a cool brownie treat, prepare brownies as directed on package.  Melt Andes mints in double boiler and pour over warm brownies.  Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

2.  Peel a banana from the bottom and you won’t have to pick the little “stringy things” off of it.  That’s how the primates do it.  (We’re primates too!)

3.  Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.  It will stay fresh much longer and not get moldy.

4.  Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.  It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

5.  To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich, add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.

6.  Add garlic immediately to a recipe, if you want a light taste of garlic and add it at the end of the recipe, if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

7.  Reheat Pizza:  Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to medium-low and heat until warm.  This keeps the crust crispy; no soggy microwave pizza.

8.  Easy Deviled Eggs:  Put cooked egg yolks in a zip-lock bag.  Seal, mash till  they are all broken up.  Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly.  Cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg white.  Just throw bag away when finished, for an easy clean up.

9.  Expanding Frosting:  When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes.  You can double it in size.  You can frost more cake or cupcakes with the same amount.  You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.

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

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Read an interesting magazine article about how to clean a sponge.  If you use a sponge in your kitchen, this article is very enlightening.  I’m going to quote it verbatim.

“What Gets a Sponge Really Clean?

We worked with EMSL analytical testing lab in Westmont, NJ, to find out.  Consumers used sponges for a week in their kitchens, and the lab tainted others with three common pathogens:  salmonella, E. coli, and pseudomonas.  We tested six cleaning methods – the dishwasher, microwave, and washing machine: bleach, ammonia, and vinegar soaks – to see which removed the most bacteria.

And The Best Germ Killer Is… The bleach solution killed 99.9 percent of the three bacteria strains from all our test sponges (scrub and regular cellulose), a benchmark based on the EPA’s requirement for sanitization of non-food-contact surfaces.  Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water, and soak the sponge for five minutes.  The microwave and the dishwasher were the next most effective, zapping 99.9 percent of germs from the home-used sponges and from the lab-treated sponges.  However, on the lab-treated cellulose sponges, microwaving  just missed the mark for E. coli (99.83 pecent reduced), and the dishwasher didn’t quite get all the salmonella or E. coli (99.88 and 99.86 percent reduced, respectively).  Put a sponge into a regular dishwasher load, using the “heated dry” setting.  In the microwave, saturate the sponge (we used 1/4 cup of water for scrub sponges and 1/2 cup for cellulose); heat on High for one minute (scrub) or two minutes (cellulose).  Keep an  eye on it.  Clean sponges weekly, and toss shabby ones.

How Did the Others Do?  A five minute soak in full-strength vinegar averaged 99.6 percent bacteria elimination; in full-strength ammonia, 97.0 percent.  The washing machine proved least effective, killing on average 93.0 percent of bacteria.”

I think this article came from a Good Housekeeping magazine.  I cut it out and forget to label it.  Hope you find it informative.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

One warm Saturday morning as I concluded my walk, I encountered a father and his young son.  They were both on bikes and the dad was warning the child about how to safely cross the street at the traffic light.  The boy listened intently to his father.  On another morning walk, I hear sounds of chatter coming from behind a tall hedge at the side of a home.  It was a one-sided conversation, so I assumed that the lady was talking on the phone.  Happily, I discovered this was not the case.  A mother was reading to her son from a book.  From the tone of her voice, it was an adventure story.  The boy, about 8 or 9 years old, was still in his pj’s and contentedly cradled next to his mom, as they sat on the porch swing.

I thought about both of these parents and what a terrific gift they were giving to their children – their time and undivided attention.  This time was bestowed freely and was not marred by sneaking glances at their blackberry or I-phone.  Kids don’t crave expensive toys or fancy trips to amusement parks.  Spending time together with loved ones is what they really want!

I learned this fact was true when raising my children, but even more so with my granddaughters.  And now I have plenty of time to give – time to rock them to sleep, time to swing them while singing songs and most of all, time to read to them.

And come to think of it – isn’t that what we all crave?  We all desire time and attention from those who are dear to us.  It gives validation to our very existence!

If there is any advice Mimi would give to parents, it is this.  Give all the time you can to your youngsters – it is more precious than money and oh so fleeting.  Enjoy your children before they grow up.  Housework and chores, cellphones and blackberries will always be there but time with your children is limited.  I realize now just how fast time flies and I’m going to treasure every moment I spend with my granddaughters.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

I wish Mimi could take credit for these great tips but she can’t!  I found these tips to be very useful, even for a veteran homemaker.  Couldn’t wait to pass them on to you.  All the info in this post came from “The Dishwasher, Deconstructed” by Carolyn Forte in the July, 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping.

1.  Do not mix loads of silver and stainless dinnerware because if the metals touch, the silver pieces may become pitted.

2.  On the top rack:  nestle cups and glasses between, not over, the rack tines to secure them without allowing water to become trapped and leave spots.

3.  Unload the bottom rack first.  Tableware in the top rack may not be totally dry, and can drip water onto items below.

4.  On the bottom rack:  plates and bowls should face toward the center (where the spray arm is located), and pots and pans should be angled the same way or placed fully upside down.

5.  On the bottom rack:  slip platters and baking sheets along the sides, not across the front where they could keep the dispensers from opening or the detergent from mixing with the water.

6.  In the utensil caddy:  to keep flatware from nesting (so soap and water can reach all the surfaces), place forks with the tines up and knives with the blades down and alternate spoons – some up, some down.

7.  Store detergent in a cool, dry place (not under the sink!”).  Powders can clump when damp; gels can separate if keep in a too-warm spot, like near hot-water pipes.

8.  And this is the best tip of all:  before a cycle, run the kitchen sink until the water’s hot.  With heated water in the pipes, the dishwasher can clean from the get-go.

Hope you find these tips as helpful as Mimi has and remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Healthy Tips Mimi Has Found

Dear Readers,

The November, 2009 issue of  Good Housekeeping’s “Good Health” column reported on at least 12 good tips for staying healthy this winter.  Three of these tips really appealed to me so I am sharing them with you.  (These are direct quotes from the column.)

“Keep your toes warm.  Give this one to Mom:  Catching a chill can jump-start a cold, say researchers at Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre.  Plunging the feet of volunteers into cold water triggered the onset of cold symptoms in 10 percent of subjects, while there were far fewer colds in the ‘toasty toes’ control group.  Cooling the feet, explain researchers causes constriction of the blood vessels in upper airways, which may reduce defenses against vexing viruses.

Pop in some earbuds.  Music seems to raise levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), one of the body’s primary defenses against germs.  When researchers from Australia’s Monash University subjected students to the tension-filled task of preparing an oral presentation, participants who worked to the soothing strains of Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D Major’ not only enjoyed a drop in stress symptoms, but also had a surge in IgA.  Singing in a choir has a similar immune-boosting effect, German research has found – all of which just might translate to fewer colds.

Enjoy a drink.  Spirits aren’t just good for your heart.  “Having one or two drinks a day is associated with less risk of getting a cold,” says Cohen.  Red wine may be particularly protective, report researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Harvard School of Public Health.  They found that, compared with nondrinkers, those who drank two glasses daily had about half the risk of coming down with a cold.  The reasons for the lower risk are unclear, but it might be the anti-inflammatory action of the resveratrol in red wine.  But don’t start drinking if you don’t do so already.”

In conclusion, here is Mimi’s take on the above tips.  Put on a snazzy pair of warm winter socks, turn on the radio and hoist a glass of red wine.  Sounds like fun to me.  What do you think?

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

It is very important for all of us to save our environment and think “green”.  I discovered there are many ways in which lemons can be the “green” answer to household problems and chores just by reading an article in an old Better Homes and Garden magazine entitled “Lemon-Aid”.  I’m going to quote directly from this article.

“When life gives you  lemons, freshen up around the house.  The citric acid in lemons works as a natural cleanser and laundry aid.  Lemons also leave a clean scent.  Here are some common household uses for lemons:

Remove tarnish from copper by dipping a lemon half in salt, then rubbing it onto a copper surface.  Squeeze a little juice onto a pot and let it sit for several minutes to remove stubborn tarnish.

Rub a lemon wedge over your hands to remove lingering odors from working with onions, garlic, fish, or other strong-smelling foods.

Clean some stains (especially food stains) from countertops by squeezing lemon juice over the stain.  Let juice sit for 30 to 45 minutes, then pour baking soda over the juice and gently rub the stain away.

Remove rust from tools and other metal surfaces with lemon juice.  The juice also will loosen bolts that are rusted in place.  Pour juice over metal and let it sit until rust starts to dissolve.  If juice runs off the surface too quickly, saturate a rag or paper towel with lemon juice and wrap the towel around the rusted area.

Erase rust spots and fruit juice stains from white fabrics by dabbing stains with lemon juice.  Dry in the sun to help with bleaching.

Grind lemon rinds in your garbage disposal to keep it smelling sweet.”

I hope this article will help you to always think “green” and to

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

In the interest of full disclosure, this tip did not originate with Mimi but came from a dear friend, Sue, who thought it may be a good topic for this blog.  I wholeheartedly agree and am going to quote verbatim from her informative e-mail.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this past week trying to figure out how to get the mothball smell out of my winter clothes – both cotton and wool.  I hadn’t used mothballs for a long time because I thought I was somehow immune to this plague.  Then I wore a favorite brown cardigan over a blue top last winter and someone pointed out that they could see blue through the moth holes in my sweater; boy, was I embarrassed.

This summer I was conscientious again and used mothballs; but when I opened the drawers in the dresser this fall, the smell was overwhelming.  I tried leaving the drawers open, hanging the clothes on the line (though not for a long period of time), all to no avail.

I finally googled for answers this weekend and found the answer.  Following information I found on various websites, I bought dryer sheets (which I otherwise avoid on the theory that fewer chemicals are better.)  I put the clean, dry clothes in the dryer on the “delicates/knits” setting with 3 dryer sheets and gave it a full cycle.  Everything came out smell-free.

I bought Seventh Generation dryer sheets because they seem to be reasonably “green” and because they have no perfume”.

Thanks, Sue, for this great tip.  I’m sure the readers will find it very helpful and remember to

Keep smilin’!

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