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"Chili represents your three stages of matter: solid, liquid, and eventually gas."--John Goodman as Dan Conner

Helpful Hints for Life Recipe

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This recipe for Helpful Hints for Life, by , is from CHERISHED FAMILY RECIPES FROM HOME, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Robin Smith


New uses for common things


* Newspaper as Food-Container Deodorizer
Original purpose: Daily source for information.
Aha! Use: Food-container deodorizer. Stuff a balled-up piece of newspaper into a plastic container, seal it, and let sit overnight. By morning, the paper will have absorbed food smells.
Reward: That lingering curry scent is yesterday's news.
* Vegetable Oil
Original purpose: Frying up a tasty batter.
Aha! Use: Shining leather shoes. Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt, then apply a small drop of oil to a soft cloth and rub the surface to remove scuff marks. Reward: A polished look from heel to toe.
* Lemonade Kool-Aid
Original purpose: Quenching your thirst.
Aha! Use: Cleaning lime deposits and iron stains inside the dishwasher. Pour a packet of lemonade Kool-
Aid (the only flavor that works) into the detergent cup and run the (empty) dishwasher. Reward: Citric acid in the mix wipes out stains; you don't have to.
* Mesh Vegetable Bag
Original purpose: Toting home potatoes, onions, and tomatoes on the vine.
Aha! Use: Scrubbing up after dinner. Cut ends open, scrunch, and add soap and water. Reward: After a gooey mac and- cheese cleanup, you can throw this freebie sponge away guilt-free.
* Lint Roller
Original purpose: Restoring your black turtleneck to its fuzz-free glory.
Aha! Use: Dusting a lamp shade. Run the roller up and down the outside to get rid of small particles that
shouldn't be there. Reward: The satisfaction of knowing that every surface in your living room will pass
the white-glove test.
* Lemon
Original purpose: Adding zing to soups or salad dressings.
Aha! Use: Removing tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards. Slice a lemon in half,
squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing. Reward: A house that smells
like a lemon grove rather than chemicals.
* Baking Soda as Silver- Polisher
Original purpose: Making cakes rise.
Aha! Use: Polishing silver. Wash items, then place on aluminum foil in the bottom of a pot. Add a baking-soda solution (1/4 cup soda, a few teaspoons salt, 1 quart boiling water) to cover for a few seconds.
Reward: A chemical reaction that gets the black off the gravy boat.
* Salt
Original purpose: Unlocking flavor in your favorite dishes.
Aha! Use: Cleaning up a spilled egg. Heap a handful of salt on the mess, leave for two minutes or so, then wipe up. Reward: The egg sticks to one paper towel instead of sliding off five or six.
* Coasters
Original purpose: Keeping wet glasses from making rings on Mom's mahogany coffee table.
Aha! Use: Catching escaping drips of sticky stuff from bottles and jars in cupboards. Reward: Shelves that don't require a full wipe-down after every spoonful of honey, slather of jam, or glug of olive oil.
* Cooking Oil
Original purpose: A hot bath for fried foods.
Aha! Use: Removing adhesive from glasses. Apply cooking oil to the sticker using a paper towel or a soft cloth, rub firmly, then rinse with warm, soapy water. (If the adhesive is stubborn, use a dab of toothpaste along with the oil.) Reward: Goo Gone be gone—one less cleaning product to buy.
* Car Wax
Original purpose: Shining up the sedan.
Aha! Use: Polishing faucets, sinks, tile, even shower doors. Turtle Wax leaves behind a protective barrier
against water and soap buildup, so your hard-earned sparkle will last past the next tooth-brushing. Reward: A gleaming bathroom all week long.


Household Tips


* Newspaper weeds away
When you start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Then wet newspapers and layer around the plants, overlapping as you go. Cover with mulch and forget about weeds! Weeds will get through some gardening plastic but they will not get through wet newspapers.
* Broken Glass
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.
* 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 in narrow openings.
* Reducing Static Cling
Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and … guess what! … static is gone.
* Foggy Windshield?
Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!
* Re-opening envelopes
If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.
* Dryer Filter
Even if you are very diligent about cleaning the lint filter in your dryer it still may be causing you a problem. If you use dryer sheets a waxy build up could be accumulating on the filter causing your dryer to overheat. The solution to this is to clean your filter with a toothbrush and hot soapy water every 6 months.
* Bathroom Tile
Rub ordinary car wax into your ceramic bathroom tiling to clean and refinish. Let it stand 10 minutes and
buff or polish.
* Bleach Smell
To remove bleach smell from hands (and that slimy feeling) pour a little vinegar or lemon juice over your
hands then rinse. (bleach is alkaline, vinegar and lemon are acid, so they cancel each other out and balance the pH of your skin.)
* Before you wear a new garment, put a little clear nail polish on the front and back of each button. Buttons will stay on longer when their threads are sealed.
* Zippers won't stick if you rub them with the edge of a bar of soap.
* To remove a hem crease, sponge the material with white vinegar and press with a warm iron.
* Nail polish remover removes tar and grease from white leather shoes.
* White shoe polish will apply more evenly if you rub the shoes with a raw potato or rubbing alcohol before polishing.
* Vinegar and water will remove salt stains from shoes and boots
* Easy eyeglass protection
To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear
Nail Polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.
* For longer lasting pantyhose, try freezing them before you wear them. Just wet, wring out and toss in a
plastic bag to freeze. Thaw and hang to dry.
* Apply spray starch to doors and to painted walls along hallways and stairways where fingerprints
accumulate. The coating will resist marks better. Place a piece of white chalk in your silver chest or jewel
box to absorb moisture and help prevent tarnishing of silverware and jewelry.
* Freezers run more efficiently when they're three-quarters or more full. When provisions drop, fill
milk cartons or jugs with water and put them in the freezer to take up empty space.
* Those beds of pansies will bloom more prolifically if you take a few moments to pinch out early buds. This encourages plants to bush out and, in the end, produce more flowers.
* To keep your extension cords from getting tangled, insert them into a empty toilet paper roll to store.
* Drain de-clogger: ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup vinegar. Pour baking soda down drain first then follow with the vinegar. Close drain and let sit until bubbling has stopped then follow with a bucket of hot boiling water.

Pesky Critter Tips


* No More Mosquitoes
Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.
* Squirrel Away!
To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.
* Get Rid of Ants
Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!
* Splashing plain rubbing alcohol on yourself and allowing it to dry will deter mosquitoes from biting you.
* Rub Vick's Vaporub® on your pants and legs to ward off ticks.
* Use half vanilla (has to be pure vanilla) and half water for a mosquito and tick repellent.
* Dab lavender oil on your pulse points; it smells great on you but repels insects.
* Place USED kitty litter from a litter box in small tubs in several places around the garage. Mice think… "it smells like a cat--must be a cat - I'm out of here!"
* To prevent mice from gaining entry to your garage, stop up any openings with steel wood pads. Mice will not chew through these!
* Buy a mesh/net laundry bag that you would use for washing nylons and 5 boxes of moth balls. Put the moth balls in the bag and hang it in your garage near the door to get rid of mice, birds, and bugs.
* Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. To deter ants, use catnip. Sprinkle it in their paths.
* Sprinkle ground cayenne pepper around the garage (inside & out), and especially near entry holes.
Pests don't care for the smell of it.
* Spread some ground cinnamon where you think the ants are coming into the house.
* Cleaning bug killer
If menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.
* Bye-Bye Bug
To keep bugs and worms away from outdoor and house plants, add a clove of garlic to the soil.
* Goodbye Fruit Flies
To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it ½ inch with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!




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