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    Saturday
    May312014

    Tip of the Day: Remedy for Super-Dirty Hands 

    Kids playing in the mud? Powdered laundry detergent makes an excellent hand cleaner for very dirty hands. It’s specially formulated to get rid of grease and oil, and the powder will work as a mild abrasive.

    Friday
    May302014

    Tip of the Day: The Best Way to Boil Vegetables

    If you need to add more water to vegetables as they are cooking, make sure the added water is as hot as possible. Adding cold water to already-cooking veggies may affect their cell walls and cause them to toughen.

    Thursday
    May292014

    Tip of the Day: Reusable Repellent Jar

    Here’s a creative idea for keeping insects (particularly flies and mosquitoes) away from your next barbecue or outdoor party. You’ll need an old tin or Mason jar with a lid, as well as a clean cloth or rag. Saturate the cloth with a diluted essential oil like eucalyptus, pennyroyal, peppermint, lavender, or lemongrass; place the cloth in the tin or jar and seal. To use, open the jar and place it on whatever table you’ll be using outdoors. Its fragrance will repel insects. After every few uses, refresh the cloth with more diluted essential oil.

    Wednesday
    May282014

    Tip of the Day: Make Jeans Last Longer

    To make your jeans last longer, iron patches on the inside as soon as you purchase them. Place the patches where you or your family’s jeans usually wear out the most quickly, such as the knees or the inner thighs.

    Tuesday
    May272014

    Tip of the Day: Keeping Cookies Chewy

    To keep your cookies chewy until the last one is eaten, add a slice of bread to the cookie jar. This will provide just enough moisture to keep the cookies from hardening.

    Monday
    May262014

    Tip of the Day: When the Wine Runs Out... 

    Got an empty wine carton leftover from your last boozy gathering? Instead of tossing it, reuse the box for shoe storage—place all of your out-of-season footwear into the sizable container, and tuck it away until next year.
    Sunday
    May252014

    Tip of the Day: For a Juicy Steak

    Some backyard cooks think that searing a steak at a high temperature will keep the juices in. Nonsense! Searing does cause the browning that creates a good flavor, but it doesn’t seal in the juices. A steak cooked slowly and at a lower temperature is more tender and retains more of its juices. If you want to sear a steak, only do it for a minute or two on each side, then lower the temperature and let it cook more slowly.

    Saturday
    May242014

    Tip of the Day: Keep Rats Out of Your Yard

    If you’ve found rats or rat droppings in your backyard, your barbecue grill may be to blame. Rats love the smell of the grilled-on bits that often get stuck to grills, and will come snack on them, even if you think it’s impossible for an animal to get inside! The best way to keep them away is simply to keep your grill clean. When you’re done using it, place a large piece of aluminum foil over the entire top of your grill, then put the top back on and let it sit for 10–15 minutes. The caked-on mess from the burgers and hot dogs will turn to ash, making sure there’s nothing left to attract rats.

    Friday
    May232014

    Tip of the Day: Be a Day-Tripper

    The most expensive part of any vacation is transportation and lodging, so consider taking several day trips during the summer rather than one week-long one. Commuter rail lines often offer discounts on train fare and tickets theme parks and other attractions, or you may be overdue to take a drive to that nearby state park. For ideas of where to take day trips in your area, call your state’s tourist board or type your state’s name and “day trips” into a search engine.

    Thursday
    May222014

    Tip of the Day: Cheese Grater Clean

    Problem: you want to break your addiction to buying pre-grated cheese in bags, but cleaning up the cheese grater is always a pain. Solution? Put the grater in the freezer or run it under cold water for several minutes before grating, and the cheese won’t stick. You can also try spraying it with cooking spray before each use.