Tag 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.

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 – 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 – 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.

Gardening Helpful Hints

  • lavendar2
    Lavender improves a strawberry crop.

    Planting lavender in your strawberry bed will improve the crop.

  • Thyme deters cabbage worms, mint deters cabbage moths, and basil deters mosquitoes.
  • To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap .
  • Paint the handles of your gardens tools a bright color to help you find them amongst your plants.
  • Keep a box in your garden for easy tool storage.
  • Train your melons, squash, and cucumbers onto a vertical trellis or fence.
  • Milk jugs, soda bottles and other plastic containers make covers to place over your plants and protect them from frost.
  • Water your garden in the early morning to conserve moisture loss .
  • Add a few drops of food coloring to the bottom of your rain gauge. The level will be easily read the next time it rains.
  • Prevent agressive plants from taking over your garden by planting them in a plastic container.

Helpful Hints


  • Clean narrow necked bottles with vinegar and water.  Add rice.  Cap and shake to scour the bottle.
  • To remove water scale form drinking glasses fill with vinegar and let sit until clear.
  • In cool weather, when washing windows, wet your cloth with car windshield washer solution.  Wipe and dry.
  • Clean woodwork with cold tea.
  • Mix 1 tbsp salt with a cup of vinegar.  Add to flour vases to clean the grimy residue.
  • Polish scratches on glassware with toothpaste.
  • Rub peanut butter on price-tag glue to remove it.
  • Prevent vases from scratching furniture by putting self-stick pads on the bottoms.
  • Clean up broken eggs by sprinkling with salt and letting stand a short time.  Wipe clean with a paper towel.

Christmas Helpful Hints

  • helpfulhints12-14-2016
    Christmas Helpful Hints

    Never leave an open flame unattended, especially near a Christmas tree.  Many fires are caused over the season from candles.

  • Wrap presents in colorful comic strips, sheet music or wallpaper that you have around the house.  Decorate with bows , baubles or greenery.
  • Have a scavenger hunt for small trinkets to keep children busy while you are preparing the meal.  They’ll have fun and you’ll have more time to prepare the turkey.
  • Prepare as much of the food as you can ahead of time.  Even better delegate specific dishes to family members who are coming to visit.  Everyone will have more time to visit.
  • Keep plenty of batteries on hand for gifts that unexpectedly need batteries or for cameras.  You don’t want to be without your camera to record the fun.
  • If you must drink invite guests to stay over for the night or alternatively take a taxi home.
  • Make a garland from snapshots of your children from the past year and hang above the fireplace.  Alternatively,  children’s artwork can be cut in snowflakes, trees or snowman and strung in a garland as well.  It’s a fun way to keep your children’s treasures without having to store reams of paper.

Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints
  • Store marshmallows in the freezer to keep them from going dry.
  • Dip scissors in hot water when cutting marshmallows or sticky candy.
  • Keep nuts in the freezer to keep them from going rancid.
  • Store peanut butter upside down to allow the natural oils to combine with the peanut mixture.
  • When doubling recipes always use the original amount of salt.
  • Coat your measuring cup with oil before measuring out sticky liquids like molasses or honey.
  • Spray beaters with vegetable oil before using.
  • Roll dried fruit in a light coating of flour to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of batters.
  • Sprinkle your cake plate with sugar to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan when serving.
  • Place a slice of apple on your cake plate to keep your cake fresh longer.