Handy Kitchen Utensils Hang a towel rack high on a wall and attach butchers’ hooks to it. Use the rack to hang lightweight pots and pans or utensils, such as ladles and sieves. M.
Protecting Plants I found that putting used cat litter around my plants helps to keep the squirrels away. They seem to think a cat is lurking and that they had better move on. R.
Great Grapes When I buy grapes, I strip them off the stem, wash them, and put them into a resealable gallon plastic bag. Then I add water. This keeps the grapes so plump, crisp, juicy and easy use. JC
Save on Fabric Softener Vinegar is a natural fabric softener (1/2 cup per load usually works). We use this for our baby’s cloth diapers because fabric softeners take away their absorbency, and it works great. The vinegar also helps to remove soap residue. Allison
The Free Table My dad passed away recently. He lived in a trailer park and had many close friends there. While cleaning out his place, I found many items that I didn’t want or need, but were too nice to throw away. I put a few of the more expensive things on Freecycle and set up a “Free” table in front of his house for the rest. This was a big hit with his friends, and it was a good way for me to meet his neighbors and friends. B.
Recipes at the Ready I used to be frustrated finding recipes I’d seen and wanted to try, but couldn’t find them again. Now I take a picture of the recipe with my phone. That way, I can scroll through my photos to find it and have the recipe with me at the store for the ingredients. If I like it, I copy it to my recipe cards. Otherwise, I just delete it. It makes menu planning much easier too! Nancy S. in Chicago
Cooler Homes Regarding summer cooling, we just had solar films installed on our windows that are facing the south and east. What a difference this has made! The day that the installer was here, the sun was shining bright, and our kitchen was becoming hot. The room cooled down dramatically within minutes after he installed the films! The films also keep the sun’s harmful rays from fading and damaging furniture, wood trim, cabinets, etc. L
You Wouldn’t Believe... At the beginning of the month, I started to do something that has been a real eye-opener. In this age of iPhones and taking pictures of everything, I’ve been taking a quick photo of all the food we throw in the garbage. I take pictures of that half eaten bagel or banana, the milk that went bad before it got used, and the cookies that got stale because they weren’t reclosed properly. We are a family of four and we try to live wisely and not waste food, but I am honestly astonished (and somewhat ashamed) by looking at almost a month’s worth of pictures of the food we are wasting. I have a few more days to go before I show my two kids, but I did show my husband. At first, he thought I was joking, but not for long. Seeing the waste in so many pictures has been a definite eye-opener for us and will be the same for my kids I think. We can definitely do a better job and stop throwing food (i.e. money) in the garbage! Ann F.
Wedding Gouging Our local TV station surveyed costs of various wedding items. They concluded that many shops that cater exclusively to the bridal industry easily take advantage of the emotional state of young women and their mothers. They pointed out that caterers charged a third more per plate for a wedding dinner than the exact same menu for a retirement dinner. I suggest brides explore the cost of both with the caterer of choice to ensure they are not being taken advantage of at this emotional time. S.