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Dollar Stretchers

June 21, 2013
Northern-Sun Print
Cooler AC A simple overhang made of metal or other material shading an air conditioner at least two feet over it can reduce AC costs up to 10%. Makes sense. D.

Removing Wallpaper the Easy Way Here's a great, cheap way to remove wallpaper. Use fabric softener. Put it on the wall with a cloth and let it stand about three minutes or so. It will come right off with a scraper, and it smells good, too. Helen C.

Chicken Gravy Trick When making gravy from chicken or turkey "juice," let the stock cool and then put ice cubes in. The grease (fat) will adhere to the ice cubes. Simply fish them out and decrease the fat content. M.

Bell Peppers When shopping for bell peppers of any color, I seek out the ones with only three "nubs" on the bottom. These are the male plants, and they don't contain nearly as many seeds. It's an easy way to pay less per pound and have less to prep at home, too. Penny

Natural Deodorant Regular deodorant sometimes irritates my skin, so I made my own. If you sweat little or moderately, this will work for you. I combine 1/4 part cornstarch with 3/4 parts baking soda in a baby powder shaker. While still moist from showering, I sprinkle it on my fingers and rub it in until it almost disappears. I've used this for several years now and find that it works very well. The cornstarch helps to keep me dry and the baking soda eliminates odor. You might need to vary the proportions, depending on your particular body chemistry. Try adding a little scented powder to the mix for extra freshness or apply a bit of your favorite body splash before rubbing in the deodorant mix. T.

Summer Nights We installed a ceiling fan and use several other fans (priceless on a hot night), but the best discovery I made was a simple reversal of our wintertime routine. In winter, we often heat up (microwave) little fragrant herbal bean bags we received as gifts one Christmas, and we put them in our beds. In summer, the very same bags can go into the freezer during the day and back into our beds with us at night. My favorite spot is right on my feet, but on the head is nice too. I think you can make the bags out of small beans and dried grains and then toss in some lavender for fragrance. Cynthia

Protecting Your Garden If you have a cat or a dog, don't throw away the hair that accumulates when you brush them. Instead, put clumps of it around any plants that "critters" like. I have found it chases rabbits and squirrels away from my tulip bulbs. It also seems to be keeping insects from feeding on new rhododendron leaves. I just put a small clump at the base of my plants and renew it from time to time. What could be easier? Barbara in CT

Windshield Wiper Maintenance Instead of thinking you need new wipers, clean them with a rag moistened with ammonia. Wipe the wipers five to six times. You may be surprised to find out that they just needed cleaning. Keep the ammonia rag on the wiper and glass. Avoid your car's paint. The ammonia will remove any wax that you have on the car. You might also want to use rubber gloves and a mask. Ammonia fumes can be quite strong. P.

What Do You Spend Money On? One thing I have learned that has greatly impacted my financial life is finding out that spending money on experiences brings me more happiness than spending on possessions. I used to buy a lot of little things on impulse, which would clutter up my home. When I sat down and really thought about the happiest moments of my life, I realized it was on trips we had taken or when going out to a favorite restaurant. Realizing this has caused me to stop spending on little things, de-clutter my home because a clean home makes me more peaceful, and save that money instead for doing more of what I really love. This does not have to be expensive. We take day trips to the beach or a lake. We save until we can afford a really nice restaurant, instead of eating take out. And now I have satisfaction and joy that no previous purchase could have given me, while enriching my life with new memories. Julie S.

More Cast Iron Skillet Care A very critical thing to do when cleaning cast iron pans is to coat the pans with a light film of fresh cooking oil as soon as they are clean and dry (preferably while they're still warm). Put a little in and then lightly spread with a clean paper towel over the entire inside surface. This will prevent rusting far better than just drying the pans, keep the seasoning of the pans intact, and help keep foods from sticking the next time the pans are used. We have several different cast iron pans, one of which I use almost every morning for cooking hubby's eggs. When I clean (without soap), dry and re-oil that pan properly, the eggs slip out nice and easy onto the plate every time. Elaine in NJ



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