Taking the House by Storm

The trials and tribulations of the average gal trying to navigate through life, love and the pursuit of domestic bliss.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Shortcuts, Tips & Tricks

Hey, campers. Here are some more household gems – and one beauty tip – for you.

One of my favorite shortcuts for baking is cooking spray with flour. Instead of laboriously greasing a pan with butter then sprinkling with flour or a little reserved cake mix, you can simply shake a bottle and push a nozzle. I've used both Pam and Baker's Joy with great results. The only thing I don't like about it is the fumes. My lungs feel like a sticky mess afterwards, so try to be like Clinton and don't inhale.

As my regular readers will know (thanks, you two), I am a How Clean Is Your House? fiend. Disgusting as episodes can be, it's like a train wreck I can't take my eyes off. And it usually pays off. Kim and Aggie generally have some tips even we Americans can put to good use. I'm highlighting two today.

The first is a trick for cleaning out a vase that has gross water and particles dried into the bottom. Fill the vase with vinegar (use your judgment on how much you need), toss in a handful of rice and shake. The rice loosens all the yuck and the vinegar cleans the scum. Dump out the offending concoction and rinse.

The second is an interesting way to clean your silver jewelry if you don't own any of those stinky cleaner jars. Put a piece of foil in the bottom of a plastic kitchen container, like Rubbermaid or Tupperware, and put your dirty jewelry on top.

Cover with a tea cup full of warm water and sprinkle in some baking soda. It shouldn't take long for the dirt to lift off. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm going to see if this method will clean my stainless napkin ring holders. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks to The Tyra Banks Show, an episode about cheapness and a beauty tip from Sarah Jessica Parker, I will no longer purchase those expensive blotting papers from The Body Shop. Now, I'll just excuse myself to the ladies room, grab a potty protector, tear off a piece and blot the grease off my face. I guess Hollywood isn't always glamorous, but it can be practical!

A follow up to my article on the Sugar Bear brown sugar softeners. I tried to purchase 4 each of the adorable little sugar bears and the lobster (designed to keep pots from over boiling) only to be informed when trying to check out that I hadn't met the purchase minimum. Of course, there was no indication of what that was.

Annoyed, I called the non-toll-free number. The woman who answered was very nice and apologetic; apparently, this is a glitch with the programming. What a relief. For a second there, I thought this was some sort of warehouse situation catering to retailers that required purchases of huge quantities. She graciously took my order and I expect to receive the little critters any day now. I'll let you know how it goes.


  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger divaqueen said…

    I love your helpful hints. I read them & say to myself, "hey, that's a great idea!" but then it's MONTHS later when I get around to using it...or never! I did bake the diet pop cake (chocolate w/Diet Sunkist) last weekend & took it to Andy's boss's house. I didn't tell them how I made it until after they tasted it & LOVED it (especially the kids!). They couldn't believe it & there were only 3 small pieces left! Thanks Mama Meaux for one recipe that has become a staple in my house!

  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger Cara said…

    That tip with the potty paper cracks me up! Who knew? Oh, and I made my first diet pop cake tonight. Diet Dr Pepper with Devil Food cake mix. It turned out great! But, I think I like the Sunkist one better. That was yummy!


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