Tip of the Week: New Year's Eve Trick

If your champagne has lost its fizz, place a raisin in the glass. The last bits of carbon dioxide that remain will cling to the raisin, then be released again as bubbles. You can also try throwing a few raisins into the bottle before you make the final pour.

Tip of the Week: Free Car Air Freshener

We love this tip for the winter months, when it's too cold to roll down the windows in our mini van, and since we hate to throw anything away it's even better! To make a free air freshener for your car, break old, scented candles into several pieces and place in a clean sock, then knot shut. Place the sock under the seat of your car and you'll be greeted with that lovely scent from your favorite used-up candle every time you open the door!

Don't Pay for Wrapping Paper! Frugal Holiday Wrapping Ideas

Gift-giving is already expensive, so why add the cost of wrapping presents when you can use materials from around the house for free? These options not only save you money, they make the gift more personal and creative. Visit our new website for our favorite ideas for wrapping gifts this holiday season.

Tip of the Week: Making Your Christmas Tree Last Longer

Keep your Christmas tree fresher for longer by simply adding 1 teaspoon of sugar every time you water it!

Black Friday: Get the Best Deals without Overspending

Black Friday is almost here! For businesses, it's time to go from the red to the black, and for consumers, it's time to save! But it's hard not to get caught up in the commotion and end up spending more than you meant to. We've compiled tips for staying frugal on Black Friday, as well as some of our favorite can't-miss deals. Visit our new website for tips on how to get the best Black Friday deals!

Thanksgiving Cooking Tips

Everybody loves Thanksgiving, and everybody's favorite part of the holiday is FOOD! We have great pointers for Thanksgiving favorites, including mashed potatoes, stuffing, and, of course, turkey. Visit our new website for these Thanksgiving cooking tips!

Ten Cleaning Tips We Couldn't Live Without

Whether you're expecting company, your house needs a spring cleaning, or you're just trying to keep up with removing the cat hair from the couch, cleaning always seems to take longer than you'd wish. Luckily, we have some secrets for making cleaning much easier. Check out these ten cleaning tips from our Who Knew? books that we simply couldn't live without!

Click here for Ten Cleaning Tips We Couldn't Live Without on our new site.

Tip of the Week: Cleaning Artificial Flowers

Got some beautiful artificial flowers that are starting to get dusty? Easily clean fake flowers easily by placing them, “bloom” end down, in a plastic bag with 2 tablespoons salt. Hold onto the stems and close the bag, then shake vigorously. The salt will attract the dust, leaving your flowers looking as good as the real thing!

Tip of the Week: Preserving Your Jack-o'-Lantern

Make your pumpkin last longer by spraying it with a bit of WD-40 after you're done carving! It will keep your jack-o'-lantern from rotting, and also keep critters from gnawing on it.

Tip of the Week: Removing Scratches from Wood

To make scratches on wood invisible, reach for a nut! Pick a color that matches your wood (pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts usually work best), break apart the nut, and rub its insides against the scratch. Who knew?

Everything You Need for an Easy Halloween

Having three rambunctious boys (and an energetic husband), it's no surprise that Halloween is a big deal around our house. If you're caught up in the excitement too--or you just desperately need a cheap costume idea--here are some great sites to help.

Now that our oldest has gotten too old to want to dress up, it makes me all the more excited to help our other boys (and Bruce) assemble their costumes. This year, our littlest is dressing as a New York Giant, and our middle, some version of the Pillsbury dough boy. If your kids are still picking something out, check out these great kids' costume ideas from Real Simple, which are still simple enough to assemble before Halloween. If you're like me and haven't figured out what you want to be, check out this free e-book that gives you lots of costumes you can make from clothes purchased at your local Goodwill. As for Bruce, he'll be heading for YouTube for inspiration--I can't even imagine what he'll come up with (and almost don't want to).

Pumpkin Carving
Ever wanted to make one of those cool pumpkins that had a design on it rather than a face? Now you can, with Martha Stewart's pumpkin templates. Her site has more than 40 free designs, with links to print them out and use on your pumpkin. While you're prepping your pumpkin, make sure to save those seeds, which are both nutritious and super-tasty once they've been roasted. Or if you're truly adventurous, try this recipe for pumpkin seed brittle--great for dipping in hummus and other snacks.

Having a Party?
If you're hosting a Halloween party this year, check out our Halloween party tips on our new website, including cheap ways to create atmosphere and fun and easy games.

Tip of the Week: Quicker Drying

This week's tip is one of our favorites--such a simple way to save energy! Just add a large, dry towel to the dryer with your wet items, and they'll dry much faster!

Tip of the Week: Making Your Shower Curtain Liners Last Longer

Soak your vinyl shower curtain liners in saltwater before you use them. Saltwater prevents mildew, and will make your shower curtain last longer.

How to Make Crispy Salads!

Since my post about how to make fluffy pancakes is so popular, I thought you'd also appreciate a post on how to make perfect, crispy salads! Like fluffy pancakes, crispy salads can often be elusive, so we've compiled tips to help keep the crunch in your lettuce and other veggies. Visit our new website for tips on how to keep your salad fresh and crispy!

Five Tips for Healthy, Beautiful Fingernails (and Toenails, Too!)

Although I love my three boys more than anything, sometimes I do wish I had a girl whose fingernails I could paint. So since no one in my immediate family is going to be putting on nail polish anytime soon, I thought I'd share my favorite nail-care tips from our Who Knew? books with you!

Tip of the Week: Why We Love Toothpaste

A white, pasty toothpaste (not a gel) like original Colgate should be a part of everyone’s medicine cabinet - and not just for clean teeth. This kind of toothpaste can be used to clear up pimples and even as a salve for burns. Simply dab a small amount onto affected areas and leave overnight.

How to Save Money on Gas

If you feel like your kids' personal chauffeur, you also know how expensive gas can be. We always tell people to check out GasBuddy.com before they fill up, which will tell you what local gas stations have the cheapest prices--and you may be surprised at the results. But even if you're getting the cheapest unleaded available, it sure can go fast! Luckily, there are a few simple ways than can help you use less gas. Visit our new website for some great tips on how to save money on gas.

Ten Things You Didn't Realize Duct Tape Could Do

Did you know that Duck Products, a manufacturer of duct tape, sponsors an annual competition that awards a college scholarship to the person who creates the most stylish prom dress made from duct tape? Even if we had a daughter I don't think we'd attempt that one! Visit our new website for ten more uses for duct tape.

Ways to Save Energy and Lower Your Electric Bill

Like all of us, if you've recently received an electricity bill, you're probably looking for ways to cut down on energy costs. Visit our new website for some easy ways to make your electricity, water, and other bills less expensive.

How to Make Perfect, Fluffy Pancakes!

Until recently, I had never been very good at cooking pancakes, and was always left disappointed in my efforts (even if the kids didn't know the difference). So when I met Manual, a short-order cook at a great diner here in New Jersey, I had to ask him his secrets to fluffy pancakes. Here are his hints, plus a few others. Once I used them I was amazed how much better my pancakes came out! With these perfect, fluffy pancakes, now I'm not afraid to offer them when serving breakfast or brunch to an audience more demanding than some cartoon-watching kids!

• Don’t overmix the pancake batter—you don’t want the gluten in the flour to overdevelop and allow the carbon dioxide that makes the little air pockets to escape. It’s better to leave in a couple of lumps than to overstir.

• Refrigerate the batter for up to 30 minutes. This further slows the development of the gluten and the leavening action.

• Always quickly stir the pancake batter a few times before you pour it onto the griddle. The ingredients can settle; stirring recombines them and aerates the batter.

• Make sure you flip the pancakes as soon as air bubbles appear on the top, then flip them back over if necessary to finish cooking them. If you wait until the bubbles break, gas escapes, and your pancakes won’t be as light or fluffy.

• If you like brown-on-the-outside pancakes, add a little extra sugar. The sugar caramelizes, giving a browner color to the pancakes. Also, some people swear by adding a tablespoon of pure maple syrup (the real stuff—no imitations!) into your pancake batter.

• For perfectly formed pancakes, use a meat baster to squeeze the batter onto the griddle. It gives you so much control you’ll finally be able to make those animal-shaped pancakes your kids have been begging you for!

Fourth of July Tips

Fourth of July is right around the corner! Whether you're holding a backyard barbecue or are just kicking back with the kids, we have some simple tips for saving money and making this fun summer holiday a little easier. Visit our new website for our favorite Fourth of July tips!

Five Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Vacation

 Summer vacations aren't just fun, they're absolutely essential for breaking free from the daily grind of life every now and then. If you're like us, though, this year's summer vacation is going to be tighter than ever.  Visit our new website to read about easy ways that you can save money on your vacation this year.

Top Ten Household Uses for Vinegar

Check out my guest post on today's blog at one of my favorite sites, Fatwallet.com It's on the Top Ten Household Uses for Vinegar. If you're impressed by all the amazing things this versatile liquid can do, make sure to also check out my Top Ten Household Uses for Aluminum Foil! Enjoy, and let me know your unique uses in the comments section below!

How to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden Naturally & Effectively

In spring, nothing's more fun than watching your plants come up and flowers bloom...and nothing's worse than watching them get destroyed by pests. We know of some natural, inexpensive ways you can keep ants, aphids, deer, raccoons, and other pests out of your garden--so your petals and leaves can stay intact. Visit our new website for ways to keep pests out of your garden!

Tip of the Week: A Surprising Crayon Remover

To remove crayon marks from wood, rub mayonnaise over the area and leave on for 10 minutes, then easily wipe off.

Tip of the Week: Power Shower Spray!

Don't spend money on those expensive daily shower sprays. All you need to keep mildew out of your shower is a mixture of one part vinegar and 10 parts water in an empty spray bottle! Bonus: You don’t have to worry about a toxic cleaner hitting the baby’s bath toys.

Tip of the Week: Got Greasy Wallpaper?

This week's tip is a quick and easy fix: To remove grease stains from wallpaper, place a brown paper bag over the stain and press with a warm iron. The grease will transfer to the bag.

The Most Efficient Way to Pack a Carry-On Bag

With more and more airlines charging fees for checking baggage, knowing how to get as much stuff as possible into a carry-on bag is more important than ever! Check out this great slideshow from the New York Times, where a flight attendant shares her secrets for packing 10 days worth of clothes (and a clutch!) in one small carry-on bag.

All-Natural Beauty Night: Make Your Own Face Masks, Toner, and More

One of my favorite parts of gathering household tips is finding all-natural solutions for skincare and beauty products--which is great, because Bruce doesn't really know the difference between eyeliner and mascara (don't let his HSN presentations fool you--he had to ask me what pressed powder was when we bought it for his demonstration). That's why I'm so excited to be having some of my best friends over tomorrow night for an all-natural beauty evening. Bruce and the boys are off to a movie, and we'll be making an exfoliater, toner, face masks, and moisturizer, all from natural ingredients I have at home.

Visit our new website for face masks, toner, and other beauty products you can make at home!

Tip of the Week

Ooops, I almost forgot to post this week's "Tip of the Week" over at our homepage, WhoKnewTips.com! Here it is: To light hard-to-reach wicks at the bottom of jar candles, use an uncooked strand of spaghetti. Light the end of it, then use it like a fireplace match.

What are your greatest tips? Let us know via our "Submit a Tip" page and you could be featured in our next book!

Four Quick and Easy Household Repairs: How to Fix Banging Pipes, a Dented or Squeaky Floor, or a Sticking Door in 15 Minutes or Less

We all have those small household repairs that never seem to get done. Every time you notice them, they irritate you--but it seems like it would be even more irritating to spend the time to fix them! Luckily, some household repairs are easy to fix in very little time: 15 minutes or less! If you have banging water pipes, dents in your wood floor, a sticking door, or a squeaky floorboards, then you're in luck! We've compiled our tips and tricks to make these common household problems fast and easy. Visit our new website to learn how to fix banging pipes, how to fix a sticking door, and more!

Natural Gardening Tips: Plant These Plants to Repel Bugs, Fertilize the Soil, and More

Planting a garden takes enough time and energy as it is, but you can make maintaining it a little easier by planting plants that repel bugs, fertilize your soil, and attract insects that will pollinate your plants. Make your garden work for you with these super-powered plants!

Last Minute 2009 Tax Tips

Finally got cracking on your 2009 taxes and need some tips? Read below for a few of our favorites from our Super Tax Saving Secrets book!

• Did you buy a car, light truck, motor home, or motorcycle in 2009? You can deduct the sales and excise taxes for up to $49,000 of the purchase price as long as you purchased it after February 6, 2009 and before January 1, 2010. By utilizing this deduction you will get cash back on your tax return, kind of like a delayed rebate. Enjoy!

• If you think you may qualify for interest deduction from your home equity loan, it’s important to know that it is not unlimited. You can generally deduct interest you pay on the first $100,000 of a home equity loan. After that, it depends. If the home equity loan was used to improve your first or second home—or to purchase a second home—you can probably take the deduction on an amount up to $1 million or the value of the home. IRS Publication 936 Section 2 contains more detail. If you use the alternative minimum tax (AMT) on your 1040, your home equity loan deductions will only help you if you used the money for home improvements.

• Should you use the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit? Both are credits you can take if you, your spouse, or your dependents were enrolled at an eligible educational institution and you were responsible for paying their college expenses in 2009, but you can't take both (for the same person) during the same year. The American Opportunity Credit, which is scheduled to expire after 2010, provides up to $2,500 for the first $4,000 of qualifying educational expenses.

• Need to file an extension? An extension will give you extra time to get your paperwork to the IRS, but it doesn’t extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You’ll also owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment charge if it amount already withheld doesn’t cover at least 90 percent of your total tax. To request an extension, you’ll still need to submit Form 4868 by April 15. You can also e-file an extension request using tax preparation software such as TurboTax.

• If you finished filling out your return, but are unable to pay the full amount of tax due, don’t request an extension. Instead, go ahead and file your return on time and pay as much as you can. The IRS will send you a bill for the balance due. To apply online for a payment agreement, click here for more info and to set up a payment plan. If you are unable to make payments, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to discuss your payment options.

• Need a little break while doing your taxes? Check out this page of tax humor.

The Five Steps to Buying and Organizing Clothes this Spring

Just realized it's time to buy a whole new wardrobe (or at least a few essential clothing items) for the spring? If you're like me, the thought of rummaging through the closet to figure out what we and the kids need for the new season almost makes the warm weather less enjoyable! (Almost.) We've compiled easy-to-follow steps to make the whole experience a little easier. Visit our new website to learn how to buy and organize clothes this spring!

Household Tip of Week: Those Hard-to-Clean Places

There always seems to be one thing around your house you just haven’t figured out how to clean easily. At our house, that thing used to be the pull cords on our Venetian blinds. They were grimy from years of use by greasy hands, but taking down the blinds always seemed liked too much work. Finally, we found this solution: Get a step ladder or something else that you can rest a jar on top of that is the same height as the top of the blinds (where the pull cord begins). Then fill the jar with cold water and add a tablespoon of bleach, soak the cord for two to three hours, and rinse. Just make sure to pull your blinds up first, so the maximum amount of cord possible is exposed.

What solutions to hard-to-clean places have you discovered? Let us know in the comments section below! And PS, apologies again for the lack of posting lately. We've been so busy!

Who Knew? Household Hero: Aluminum Foil

Bruce laughs at me when I say that aluminum foil is God's gift in a serrated box, but I love all its practical uses around the home! It has so many, in fact, that we dedicated an entire chapter to aluminum foil in our book Who Knew? 3. Visit our new website for 10 of my favorite non-cooking uses for aluminum foil, one of our Who Knew? Household Heroes!

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