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Tip of the Day: Regulating Your Pool's pH

When alkalinity needs to be increased in your swimming pool or hot tub, baking soda can be added to restore a balance if there is too much chlorine.

Tip of the Day: When Temporary Tattoos Need to Be Less Temporary

There’s nothing kids love more than temporary tattoos—until they decide they hate them. To easily remove a temp tat before it rubs off itself, dab some cold cream on the area, then wipe it off with a washcloth.

Tip of the Day: Replacement Cap

If you lose the tiny cap to your glue or caulk tube, stick a screw in there instead! We actually prefer long screws to caps, because they’ll clean out the narrow area in the tube and make sure the glue or caulk doesn’t harden between uses.

Tip of the Day: Protect "Grown Up" Glasses

If your children have graduated past the sippy cup stage but still have problems getting a grip on “grown up” glasses, try putting five or six small rubber bands around the glass. That’ll help them hold on, which means fewer spills for you to clean up.

Tip of the Day: Citrus for Ceramic

The easiest way to clean ceramic figurines is to rub them with the cut side of a lemon wedge. Leave the lemon juice on for 15 minutes, then polish up with a soft, dry cloth.

Tip of the Day: Scuff Remover

To remove scuff marks left on your floor by dark-soled shoes, rub some baking soda into the spot with a wet rag. They'll virtually disappear.

Five Storage Secrets to Make Food Last Longer

Do you feel like you’re always throwing away food? Letting food go bad before you have a chance to eat it drains your pocketbook and results in more time-consuming trips to the grocery store. Before you head to the supermarket again, check your fridge and your cupboards and make a note of ingredients you have for future meals. Picking up a few more items to complement those ingredients will help you use up everything you already have. It’s always important to make a grocery list and, if you can, plan out a few meals in advance, so you hit the market with a goal in mind rather than wander the aisles picking up whatever happens to catch your eye.

Read the rest of Five Storage Secrets to Make Food Last Longer at our new website!

Recipe of the Week: Diploma Cookies

photo credit:

These delightful cookies from Betty Crocker are a fun addition to any graduation party or a great gift for your favorite graduate.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

How to Make It:
1. Beat butter, shortening and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in baking powder, salt, vanilla and egg. Stir in flours. Divide dough in half. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours.

2. Heat oven to 375°F. Roll each half of dough into 15x6-inch rectangle on floured surface. Cut lengthwise into three 15x2-inch strips, then cut crosswise into two 7 1/2x2-inch strips.

3. Working quickly, spread about 1 teaspoon melted chocolate over one strip to within 1/4 inch of one long side. Gently roll up, starting at long side with chocolate. Repeat with remaining cookie strips and chocolate.

4. Cut each roll into 2 pieces; roll each cookie slightly to shape. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cookies about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool 1 minute; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely. Place remaining chocolate in plastic bag. Cut hole in corner and squeeze out chocolate to look like ribbons.

Do you have a recipe you want us to highlight as Recipe of the Week? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: Trim on the Cheap

If you’re used to getting an expensive haircut, it’s hard to switch to a bargain salon such as Supercuts. But what you can do to save yourself hundreds of dollars a year is to get a hairstyle that doesn’t need a lot of upkeep. When you need a trim in between cuts, go to an inexpensive salon. While hair stylists at the bargain salons sometimes can’t give you the fancy cut you want, they can usually handle a simple trim, following the path of your normal stylist. If you just need your bangs cut, ask at your usual salon if they offer free bang trims in between cuts.

Tip of the Day: Ease Wasp Stings

Stung by a wasp? Apply apple cider vinegar to the area with a cotton ball and the sting will subside.

Tip of the Day: Handy Document Storage

The school year is nearly over, and you need a place to store the kids’ artwork and diplomas. Try rolling them tightly in paper towel tubes so they won’t crease, then label the outside, so you know what’s what. The tubes can also be used to store marriage certificates and other important documents.

Tip of the Day: Dust Ruffle Alternative

A dust ruffle is one item that can safely be consigned to the “things you really don’t need” category—unless you’re trying to hide everything you’ve stored under the bed. Make your own with a sheet or tablecloth. Only the sides of the bed that show need to have something hanging down over them. A more streamlined option is simply to cover the box spring with a fitted sheet.

Tip of the Day: Makeshift Platter

If you’re looking for a platter for devilled eggs, brownies, or other picnic items, simply cover a piece of corrugated cardboard with aluminum foil (dull side up), then throw it away when you’re finished!

Tip of the Day: Corn/Bread

If you’re serving bread with your barbecue, use a slice to easily butter your corn. Spread a generous amount of butter onto the bread, then gently wrap it around your corn. Twist the cob until the butter has gotten into every crack, then enjoy perfectly buttered corn and bread with melted butter.

Tip of the Day: Grill Fish in a Cage

If you have two small wire racks, you can easily cook a fish (and impress your friends) on your outdoor grill. First, find toaster-oven or cooling wracks and some fireproof wire. Oil the racks, then put the fish between the them and tie the racks together. Grill the fish on one side, then flip your newly constructed basket with large tongs or a spatula. This makeshift cage will keep delicate fish from breaking apart.

Tip of the Day: Free Coloring Books

To never have to buy a coloring book again, head over to, where you can find printable images for kids to color, including those of popular cartoon characters.

Tip of the Day: Homemade Exfoliant

For a super-smoothing skin exfoliant, mix a handful of Epsom salts with a tablespoon of olive oil and rub over wet skin to cleanse, exfoliate, and soften the rough spots. Rinse off well for a polished finish. If you don’t have Epsom salts, use the coarsest table salt you can find.

Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Buttermilk Scones

photos courtesy of The Single Housewife
We love the concept of Jolie O'Dell's blog, The Single Housewife. With so many blogs written by and for housewives and busy families (including our own), Jolie declares, "Why wait to be a homemaker for someone else? I might as well enjoy the fruit of my own labors." We're grateful she's sharing those fruits with us as well, such as this fantastic recipe for chocolate buttermilk scones.

1/2 cup flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 scant teaspoon baking soda
1/4 scant teaspoon salt
2 1/2 Tablespoon chilled butter
1/3 cup cold buttermilk

How to Make It:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all but the last two ingredients until they’re well blended without too many lumps.

2. With scissors or a small knife, snip the butter into little lumps and toss it into the dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter (or, if you don’t have one, a potato masher or two knives working in a criss-crossing motion), cut the butter into the dry ingredients.

3. Gently stir in the buttermilk until everything’s just moistened — don’t overstir it. What you end up with will be a very moist ball of batter.

4. Scoop the dough out onto a floured cutting board or other work surface. With floured hands, gently pat it into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Don’t knead it, and don’t roll it out thin.

5. Once you’ve got your circle, cut it like a pizza into six wedges. Arrange those on a baking sheet a couple inches apart. Bake them for 15 minutes and let them cool slightly while still on the baking sheet. Makes six small scones.

To see photos of the entire process, click here!

Tip of the Day: For Tougher Trousers

Keep the waistband of your slacks from curling up by ironing a strip of rug binding onto it. Problem solved!

Tip of the Day: Nuts About Pistachios

What's the best tool with which to open a stubborn pistachio? Half of another pistachio shell. Slide it into the crack, pry the nut open, and spare your nails.

Tip of the Day: Credit Karma

Did you know that legally, you are entitled to one free credit report per year? However, many credit report sites will make you pay to see your score, or charge you a membership or “credit monitoring” fee. Visit for a free, no-strings-attached estimation of your credit score. Then go to to see how they came up with that score, and to make sure there no errors on your report.

Tip of the Day: Fight With Fizz

If your clothes are extra greasy, add a can of lemon-lime soda to your washing machine along with detergent. The acid in the soda breaks down the oil in the greasy clothes, and your wash will sparkle.

Tip of the Day: Love Birds

It may seem silly, but not to your bird—put a mirror in his cage to make sure he doesn’t get lonely. The bird will see the reflection of himself and think it’s another bird to keep him company. Of course, the other solution is simply buying your bird a real feathered friend!

Recipe of the Week: Chile Lime Hummus with Homemade Tortilla Chips

photo courtesy of A Kitchen Addiction

A great way to save money on groceries is to make your own chips. Think that's time consuming? Think again. This recipe from A Kitchen Addiction shows how easy it is to bake tortilla chips as well as make a delicious hummus dip. Who knew?

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
1 15-ounce can cannelloni/white beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon (or more if you like spice!) chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt, optional
soft tortillas, any kind, any size
cooking spray
your choice of: garlic salt, salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano, or any other spice you like!

How to Make It:

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Cut tortillas into desired sizes. Lightly brush olive oil or spray cooking spray over both sides of the tortilla pieces. Sprinkle with your choices of spices.
3. Bake for 5-10 minutes, turning halfway through, or until chips turn slightly brown. Time will depend on how large you cut the pieces.
4. While chips are baking, start on the hummus. Place garlic gloves in a food processor. Pulse until pureed. Add beans, lime juice, tahini, chili powder, olive oil, and salt. Pulse until smooth. Serve with freshly baked tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Do you have a great recipe to share? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: Reduce Green Odors

Kale, cabbage, and collard greens are delicious to eat, but can sometimes smell stinky when they’re being prepared. Make sure not to overcook them, which will make them release more odors, and place a few unshelled pecans in the saucepan while cooking, which will help absorb any scents.

Tip of the Day: Plastic Lid System

Are plastic lids taking over your kitchen? We feel your pain, and can offer a solution: Store a dish drainer in your cabinet, and file the lids on their sides in size order. You’ll find the lid you need in seconds, and your kitchen will seem much more organized.

Tip of the Day: Strawberry Berry Straws

Hate the waste of lopping off strawberry stems with a knife but like to serve the delicious treats ready-to-eat? Try this: after washing, push the stems out from the bottom up using a plastic straw.

Tip of the Day: Salt of the Earth

Did you know Epsom salts are one of the best natural lawn fertilizers around? They’re composed of magnesium and sulfur, both of which are highly beneficial to grass. Magnesium kick-starts seed germination, and is also a player in manufacturing chlorophyll, the substance that plants manufacture from sunlight in order to feed themselves. Sulfur, meanwhile, also helps with chlorophyll, while also enhancing the effects of other fertilizer ingredients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It also deters certain pests such as ground worms. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that savvy lawn care specialists have been using Epsom salts for years. You can either sprinkle them on your lawn using a spreader, or make a liquid solution out of them by adding some water and put it in a spray bottle.

Every Tip You Need to Know for Your Backyard Barbecue

Who doesn't love a BBQ? Time to throw some steaks on the grill, grab a nice cold drink, and celebrate summer in style with these tips for great backyard barbecues. For the quickest way to chill drinks, impressive grill tricks, and more, read Every Tip You Need to Know for Your Backyard Barbecue at our new website!

Tip of the Day: Fruit Ruins Flowers

When deciding where to place that beautiful bouquet you just got for Mother's Day, steer clear of the fruit bowl. Ethylene gas given off by fruit will cause the flowers to die more quickly. Choose a spot farther away from any fruit, and your flowers will last longer.

Tip of the Day: When Wine Wins

If you spill wine on a tablecloth, blot up as much as you can as soon as you can with a cloth, then sponge with cool water. Wash immediately. If the fabric is not machine washable, cover the stain with a small cloth dampened with a solution of detergent, water, and vinegar, then rinse. Get the cloth to the dry cleaner as soon as you can.

Tip of the Day: Sending Flowers?

If you’re sending flowers for a special occasion, skip the national delivery services and web sites. Instead, find a flower shop that is local to the recipient and call them directly. Most national services simply charge you a fee, then contact these very same stores themselves.

Tip of the Day: Makeshift Vase

When you’re serving breakfast in bed this Mother's Day, don’t despair if you can’t find a vase for that elegant touch of fresh flowers. Grab a toothbrush holder, which gives a mod look and holds the flowers up quite nicely.

Recipe of the Week: Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

photo courtesy of Kiddies Corner Deals
This healthy twist on a traditional pancake recipe removes any guilt you may have about asking for seconds at the breakfast table. Many thanks to Nichol from Kiddies Corner Deals for sharing this low-fat, high protein recipe with us!

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Truvia or other brand of stevia
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg white
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt- such as Fage Total 0%
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Maple syrup or sugar-free maple syrup

How to Make It:
1. Heat a griddle to medium high heat. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, Truvia, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl add egg white, yogurt, milk and vanilla beat for 1 minute.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until blended. Fold in blueberries.
4. Spray griddle with cooking spray. Measure out 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup of batter and place on griddle. (1/4 cup servings will yield 6 small pancakes; 1/2 cup will yield 3 large pancakes.) Flatten slightly with spatula. TIP: spray your spatula with a light misting of cooking spray first.
5. Cook until golden brown, flip, and cook the other side until brown.
6. Top with maple syrup.

Tip of the Day: House Plants on the Cheap

Always buy house plants in the spring, when you’ll find a better selection and prices that are 20–60 percent cheaper.

Tip of the Day: Like White [Bread] on Rice

Rice can be stored in fridge for a longer amount of time if you store a slice of toast on top of it. The toast will absorb excess moisture and keep the rice fluffy and fresh.

Tip of the Day: Homemade Bubbles

Warm weather is bubble season for kids who want some outdoor fun. Here’s an inexpensive homemade solution for blowing bubbles: Mix 1 tablespoon glycerin with 2 tablespoons powdered laundry detergent in 1 cup warm water. Any unpainted piece of metal wire can be turned into a bubble wand: Just shape one end of the wire into a circle. Blowing into the mixture with a straw will make smaller bubbles float into the air. For colored bubbles, add food coloring.

Tip of the Day: Reheating Rolls

The quickest way to reheat biscuits or rolls? Sprinkle them lightly with water and wrap them in foil. It should take about 5 minutes in a preheated 350° oven.

Tip of the Week: Free Podcasts

For free podcasts, head over to, which will allow you to search for and browse through thousands of podcasts in such genres as comedy, food and drink, and kids and family. It also has links for free podcast-playing software if you don’t already have some on your computer.

Tip of the Day: All's Fair in Love and Pinatas

When it comes to piñatas, the spoils go to the bullies, but not if you separate the candies and prizes into Ziploc bags for each guest before stuffing them inside the paper-mâché animal. The kids will still get a rush of excitement when the piñata drops, but the game won’t dissolve into an “Are we having fun yet?” moment when they start fighting over Tootsie Rolls and Milky Ways.

Tip of the Day: Mail Safety Measure

Always put outgoing bills in a post office mailbox instead of the mailbox on your front door. A thief could get to your mail before the mailman, and the information provided in your letter could lead to identity theft.

Recipe of the Week: Banana Parfait in a Jar

photo courtesy of Mom What's for Dinner
How many times have you heard the cry, "Mom, what's for dinner?" Christi from the Mom What's for Dinner blog has that covered -- and dessert too. This delightful parfait is easy to tuck into a lunchbox or picnic basket, or makes for a fun addition to a buffet table at a party or casual reception.

Heavy whipping cream and/or store-bought whipped cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar

How to Make It:

1. Slice up the banana.
2. Melt your chocolate by adding 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream and chocolate to a double broiler, or put it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it at 50% power for 3 minutes. Stir until smooth.
3. Layer your jar with banana slices, then chocolate, then whipped cream. Repeat until full.
4. Store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Tips from Christi:
"If you have not mastered making whipped cream, it is easy and takes 5 minutes. I posted the recipe here. If you are really in a time crunch you can buy it. I prefer fresh and homemade."

Do you have a great dessert to share? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: Don't Run on Empty

You should always fill up your gas tank before it dips below a quarter of a tank. Always having a little bit of fuel will make sure your car’s fuel injection system stays healthy.

Tip of the Day: Yet Another Use for Packing Peanuts

Packing peanuts will take several decades to decompose, so you can make better use of them than throwing them away. Place them at the bottom of flower pots before covering with soil and planting flowers and other plants. They’ll keep the pot well-drained and much lighter than if you had used rocks.

Tip of the Day: Make Tomatoes Last

For the best storage, keep tomatoes stem-side down in a cool place. If they still attached to the stem, remove them from each other and space them so that they’re not touching.

Five Natural Remedies that Relieve Allergy Symptoms

Itchy, watery, eyes, sneezing, and sinus pressure are as synonymous with springtime as the Easter bunny: yep, it's allergy season again. If you're sick and tired of expensive allergy medication or literally tired from the antihistamine pills you're popping, consider taking the natural route. For our favorite remedies that relieve allergies, visit our new website.

Tip of the Day: Solve a Gasoline Problem

Nothing stinks on your clothes like gasoline! To remove the odor, place the offending clothes in a bucket of cold water, and add a can of cola and a cup of baking soda. Soak overnight, then line dry outside if possible. If there is still any odor left, just wash as usual and it should be gone.

Tip of the Day: Make Your Own Cards

Show your friends you care and save money by making your own cards to send for birthdays or other occasions. Look through old magazines for funny photos (or shots of your friend’s celebrity crush) to use for the front. Or for something more complicated, visit for ideas and free backgrounds and embellishments to download.

Tip of the Day: A Lighter Coat for Fried Foods

When making a batter for foods for deep-frying, try adding ½ teaspoon baking powder for every ½ cup flour. The coating will be lighter.

Tip of the Day: Stop Losing Socks

Use a mesh lingerie bag or pillowcase to launder each family member’s socks separately. It’s an easy way to keep them together, so they’ll be easier to sort later.

Tip of the Day: The Answer for Artificial Flowers

To clean silk flowers, try blowing off the dust with a hairdryer set on cool. You can also put the flowers in a paper bag, add some uncooked rice, and shake. The dirt will transfer to the rice.

Recipe of the Week: Cheesy Carrot Rutabaga Ring

courtesy of The Art of Natural Living
A reader of ours recently sent in a cry for help: "My neighbor just gave me some rutabagas from her yard and I have no idea what to do with them!" Luckily Inger from The Art of Natural Living shared her fabulous carrot and rutabaga recipe with us. Who knew rutabagas could be so delicious?

1 rutabaga, cubed (a scant 4 cups of 1/3” cubes—make up with extra carrots if short)
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds of carrots, cubed (a scant 4 cups of 1/3” cubes)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
Additional parsley for garnish (optional)

How to Make It:

1. Boil carrot and rutabaga cubes 15-20 minutes until tender.
2. Drain veggies and heat in saucepan to evaporate excess water.
3. Add salt, pepper, Parmesan, garlic, parsley   Toss to combine and adjust seasonings to taste.
4. Pack into greased ring mold.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400.
5. To unmold, set a plate on top of the ring, then flip plate and mold over as a unit. Remove ring. (Not as hard as it sounds!) Place additional parsley in center of ring as garnish (optional).

Do you need some recipe inspiration? Let us know!

Tip of the Day: Become a Secret Shopper is now looking for mystery shoppers across the US! Get up to $25, and sometimes free meals and products, to go shopping and visit restaurants.

Tip of the Day: Easy Tile Cleaning

The easiest way to clean ceramic tile is with rubbing alcohol. Just pour it straight on, and mop until it dries.

Tip of the Day: Stitching Sheer Wear

It’s fun to work with sheer materials for curtains and lingerie, but they can be very unwieldy when you’re using a sewing machine. If you sew them to paper (which you’ll rip off as soon as you’re done), they will stay smooth. Make sure to use needles made for lightweight fabric and fine thread.

Tip of the Day: Save the Planet (and your Clothes)

To conserve energy and make clothes last longer, line-dry them. Not only is air-drying less harsh, you’ll love the real smell of sun-dried linens. If you don’t have a clothes line, hang shirts and pants on hangers on tree limbs! Just make sure not to put brights in the sun, as they may fade.

Tip of the Day: Crack Goes the Ceiling

If you have a crack in your ceiling but you can’t quite afford to re-plaster yet, you can fake it with some readily available household supplies. Take one part white glue and one part baking soda, mix them together thoroughly, and then dab the paste onto the crack using your fingers, a Q-tip, or similar object. If your ceiling isn’t white, you can try mixing different food colorings into the paste until you get exactly the right shade.

Tip of the Day: Bust that Rust

If your shaving cream can is leaving rusty rings on the side of your tub or sink, perform this trick right after you purchase a new container: Coat the rim around the bottom of the can with clear nail polish, then let it dry. The nail polish will keep out water, making sure it doesn’t rust.
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