Category Archives: Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints – Plants

Helpful Hints - PlantsOne of my hobbies is growing plants and now that it’s almost growing season I’ve listed a few helpful hints on all things plants.

  • Don’t put clay pots on furniture. The clay is porous and the water will seep through and ruin your table’s finish.
  • To water clay potted plants while you are on holidays place a brick in the bath tube and fill with water to the top of the brick. The water will seep through the drainage hole in the clay plot and water your plants.
  • Styrofoam packing chips are good substitutes for rocks placed in the drainage layer at the bottom of flower pots.
  • Save empty egg cartons to plant your spring seeds in. The cardboard containers can be planted directly outside in the soil.
  • Plant banana skins at the base of roses to provide vital nutrients for the plant.
  • Crush egg shells and scatter around the base of roses to deter bugs.
  • Plant dill near tomatoes to lure caterpillars away from the plants.
  • Vinegar will destroy grass in driveway and sidewalk cracks.
  • Cut flowers from the garden in late evening or early morning to make them last longer.
  • Add leftover tea water to plants that require acidic soil weekly.
  • Take egg shells and place in a container filled with water.  Let sit for a couple of weeks, strain and then feed your plants.
  • Spider plants act as household air cleaners.
  • White azaleas last longer than the other coloured azaleas
  • Freeze fresh herbs in a bit of olive oil in ice cube trays.  Pop a cube out to flavor soups and stews.
  • Grow house plants from avocado pits, orange pits and pineapple tops.
  • When re-potting plants use a coffee filter to prevent soil seeping out of the bottom of the pot.

Vegan egg and milk replacements

The change to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle can be difficult when recipes call for animal based eggs and milk.  There are replacements that can be made in  your baking for both eggs and milk.  This lists includes some of the most popular replacements.

Vegan egg replacements for 1 eggVegan egg and Milk Replacements - The change to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle can be difficult when recipes call for animal based eggs and milk. There are replacements that can be made in your baking for both eggs and milk.

  • 1/4 cup soy yogourt
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp soy flour mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup soft tofu blended with recipe liquid
  • 1 tbsp flax meal and 3 tbsp of water.  Let sit 5 minutes before using

Vegan milk replacements for 1 cup of milk

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Cleaning Helpful Hints

  • Use old socks, tee shirts or worn out towels for cleaning rags.CleaningHelpfulHints
  • Put your liquid cleaner in a spray bottle for easy use.
  • One part vinegar and 3 parts water makes a good window cleaner.
  • Don’t wash windows on a hot day. They dry to quickly and streak.
  • To clean mirrors mix 2 parts water to 8 parts rubbing alcohol.
  • Clean woodwork with cold tea.
  • Place the crystals from a chandelier in a pillow case. Fasten tightly and place in the rack in the dishwasher to clean.
  • Clean flower vases with 1 tbsp salt and 1 cup vinegar. Soak until clean.
  • Use vegetable oil to remove tags from glass.
  • Clean metal blinds with 1 quart water mixed with 3 tbsp vinegar and 2 tsp liquid detergent.

Helpful Hints – Food

  • Dissolve mint candies into your tea instead of using sugar. They sweeten the liquid and give It a tangy flavor.HelpfulHints-food
  • Enhance the flavor of tea by placing an orange peel in the tea package.
  • For a better flavor store your cover in a tightly covered tin in the refrigerator.
  • Use purified water to prolong the life of your coffee maker.
  • Add vanilla extract to the water as coffee brews to add flavor.
  • Freeze leftover coffee in ice trays. It’s excellent in ice coffee.
  • Freeze clusters of grapes to keep punches cold.
  • Serve hot cider from a slow cooker on low setting. The cider remains warm as long as you wish.
  • Blend cottage cheese in a blender. You can use the mixture in dips instead of sour cream.
  • Store cottage cheese upside down. It keeps better.
  • Grate leftover cheese into a freezer bag to store. The cheese can be used for spaghetti or nachos.

Helpful Hints – Laundry

  • Soak new colored clothes in salty water before washing. The colors will stay brighter in the wash.

    Helpful Hints
  • Soak blue jeans in ½ cup vinegar before their first wash to prevent the color from fading.
  • Wash jeans in cold water and only place in the dryer for about 10 minutes. Hang to dry.  This prevents shrinking.
  • Wash corduroy inside out to keep it lint free.
  • Fold socks in pairs before washing.
  • Use vinegar to remove sweat and grass stains.
  • Some stains can be removed by soaking a garment in baking soda and water and then washing.
  • Measure detergent with the scoop that comes with the soap.
  • Use cold water for the rinse cycle. Clothes retain their shape better.
  • Make your socks whiter by soaking them in boiling water to which a slice of lemon has been added. Wash the socks in your normal washing cycle.

Helpful Hints – Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions


  1. Set realistic Goals – The easiest way to defeat a resolution is to set unrealistic goals.  Goals need to be specific, measurable and obtainable within the time frame in question.  If you want to lose weight, for example, you should lose no more than 2 pounds a week.  Expecting more will set you up for disappointment.
  2. Take each day as it comes – Every day is a new beginning. If you fail one day persevere and try again.
  3. Make only one resolution – You will need all your energy focused on one goal.  Once you have made your goal a habit you can introduce another resolution.
  4. Plan to succeed – Create a diary or journal where you brainstorm strategies to keep you on track.  The more you are prepared the easier it will be to keep your resolution.
  5. Visualize – Close your eyes and see yourself fulfilling your resolution.
  6. Get Support – Family, friends and medical professionals can give you the support and encouragement you need to be successful.
  7. Set Rewards – Schedule small rewards periodically for milestones on your journey. You are more likely to continue with your resolution if your successes are reinforced.
  8. Track Yourself
  9. Talk to yourself as you would a friend. – Don’t berate yourself or comment negatively on your efforts. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend than you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself.  Positive reinforcement will help you to keep your resolutions.
  10. Take Small Steps – You don’t have to reach your goal today. Each small movement you make towards your desired goal moves you forward to succeeding with your resolution.

Helpful Hints – Baking

Helpful Hints
  • To color sugar for decorating cookies put several drops of food coloring in a plastic bag. Add several tsp of sugar.  Secure top of bag and work coloring and sugar together until evenly combined.
  • Often when making cookies sugar can be cut by 1/3.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a paper bag. The mixture is incorporated thoroughly and you don’t make dirty dishes.
  • Spray your beaters with non-stick oil before using to stop the batter from climbing up the beater handles.
  • One tsp of cornstarch added to fudge will improve its flavor and texture.
  • Keep nuts in the freezer. They will last longer.
  • Store peanut butter upside down to keep it fresher.
  • When doubling a recipe use the original amount of salt.
  • When measuring honey or molasses oil the measuring cup. The sticky liquid will pour right out of your cup.
  • Roll raisins or dried cranberries in flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom in batter.

Helpful Hints – Cleaning

  • To remove scale from drinking glasses fill the glass with vinegar to above the scale and let sit until clear.Helpfulhintscleaning
  • Old fashioned erasers will remove paint splatters from window panes.
  • Polish scratches on glassware with toothpaste to make them invisible.
  • Remove the sticky glue from price tags with vegetable oil.
  • Use a hair dryer to dry decanters.
  • Clean mirrors with cold tea to make them sparkle.
  • To wash windows use a mixture of 1 gallon warm water and 1/4 cup cornstarch.
  • Never wash windows on a sunny day.  They dry too fast and streak.
  • Clean costume jewelry by placing in baking soda and brushing lightly.
  • A car brush is helpful for cleaning under couches

Helpful Hints – Personal

  • Put your favorite herbs (lavender, bail rose petals) in a small sachet and place in
    Helpful Hints

    your bath with epsom salts

  • Run cold water in the bath tub before adding hot water to prevent steam in your bathroom.
  • Unwrap soap before using and store in a dry place.  This makes them harder and they last longer in the bath.
  • To use up small pieces of soap slightly soften them in a microwave and mold them in a bar in plastic wrap.  Let sit to firm.  Unwrap and you have a new bar of soap.
  • Rub your hands with a little vinegar to remove food odors and remove fruit and vegetable stains from hands.
  • Use water and lemon juice to remove pain smells from hands.
  • Dip hands in lemon juice to whiten your fingernail tips.
  • Rub soap under nails before working in the garden.  This prevents dirt from getting in them.

Laundry Helpful Hints

  • Turn pants inside out before washing. It will keep them lint free and the color will stay better.laundry
  • Soak bright colored clothes in cold, salt water before laundering to keep the colors brighter longer.
  • in socks in pairs before washing them so that they match up when they come out of the laundry.
  • If you have a sticky zipper rub it with a lead pencil.
  • Always hand wash silk garments in cool water.
  • Use vinegar to remove grass stains from clothing.
  • Always measure detergent using the scoops that came with the soap.
  • Use a cold water rinse cycle. Clothes retain their shape and color better.
  • Dishwasher detergent can be used to whiten sweat socks and white cottons.
  • To remove blood stains, soak the clothing in cold water for a day. Change the water occasionally.
  • Use a bit of toothpaste to remove ink from clothing.