Ant Invasion When we lived in Florida, we had problems with "sugar ants." They were tiny critters that invaded our kitchen constantly. With three cats and a dog, we were hesitant to use pesticides. I found that white vinegar worked wonders. I filled a spray bottle with white vinegar, and every night before bed, I would liberally "mist" the countertops, floor around the garbage can, etc. and let it dry. The vinegar smell disappears quickly, and it's non-toxic and cheap. Becki in Indiana
Wrinkle Free Clothes An idea for wrinkle free clothes is to simply plan ahead! The day before a difficult piece of clothing is planned to be worn, simply soak it in the sink or with the shower spray. Hang the item appropriately and allow it to drip dry. By the following morning, the item will be dry and wrinkle free, as gravity pulls on the weight of the water and "pulls" the wrinkles out. I haven't ironed in almost 20 years. Kathy
Before You Check Out Before you pile groceries on the checkout counter, stop and look in your basket. Did you pick something up on impulse or just because of a sale price? Did you buy "Two for $5" when one would cost just $2.50? There's nothing wrong with putting items back before you pay for your food. Be sure you either return the item to its proper shelf or hand it to the cashier to re-shelve. A simple "I've changed my mind. Thank you." will suffice. Clare
"Loaded" Pizza We love pizza with a lot of toppings, but each topping adds to the total price. Now we order pizza with sausage and cheese. While waiting for our pizza delivery, we cut up and sauté onions, peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli. When the pizza arrives, we add these toppings, have a healthy meal, and save a bundle. I like to let them add the sausage since I can't see very significant savings by buying my own. I also feel the flavor of the pizza is better if the meat is cooked with it. If you prefer pepperoni, add it with the other toppings. A.
Easy Slow Cooker Clean-Up I used to buy those bags to put in the slow cooker for easy cleanup. They are expensive, and I didn't feel comfortable cooking my food in plastic, so I stopped using them. Now I spray the bowl of my slow cooker with cooking spray before adding the ingredients, and even after long hours of cooking, the residue comes right off. MB
I Can Make That! My niece recently bought her first home, and I saw an adorable item for a housewarming gift. It was a pillow with the word "NEST" on the front, but it was in a little boutique shop and cost $34.99, which I just couldn't spend on a pillow. So I went to a local home goods store and bought a plain canvas pillow for $7.99 and used my existing stencils and navy blue fabric paint and made the pillow myself. It came out great! Even the "imperfections" look professional since the pillow was intended to look sort of "rustic" in the first place. Most importantly, my niece loves the pillow. It sits front and center on her sofa in the living room, and she says that she's received a lot of compliments on it. We can't always replicate every item we see in the store, but if you see one that looks fairly easy, take your time and give it a shot. I'm so glad I did! Ann in NJ
Washer Maintenance Recently, I noticed that the flow of water coming into my machine was decreasing in strength. I also noticed a lack of hot water. So, I began looking through the owner's manual in the "trouble shooting" section. It mentioned clogged filters. Having extremely hard water, I thought that was a real possibility. So I turned off the water and disconnected the hoses at both the faucet and at the machine. Both of the hoses were full of sludge (you have to remove the little screen filter to get at it). Now, I have full strength with both my cold and hot water! Judy S
Purchase Calculation Whenever you make a purchase, mentally figure out how many hours you would have to work to make the purchase. For example, a $100 pair of jeans is looked at in a completely different light if you get paid $10 an hour and would have to work for 10 hours to earn the money to purchase the jeans. Suddenly, the $25 pair looks really good. This tip benefits in a lot of ways. First, it makes you aware of the true cost of an item, because every hour at work is an hour away from your friends, loved ones, and hobbies. Second, it makes you stop and think about how badly you need an item, or if it can be found somewhere else cheaper. It also cuts down greatly on impulse purchases. This tip allows you to save money in other areas as well. Once I realized that I was spending the money from one hour of work every day just on a quick lunch, I started packing my own lunch, and it's been great! S.
Eliminating Head Lice I have been working with children of various ages in our local school district for almost 15 years. I have seen it all when it comes to head lice. The first thing I do is sit in very good light and pull the nits out one by one. This takes a while. If you want to get rid of them for good, there are no fast fixes. Dispose of them in a plastic bag as you are pulling them out. Remove any live ones. Shampoo the child's hair and then coat with a lot of Vaseline®. Cover with a plastic bag. Most people do this at night. It will take several shampoos to get the Vaseline® out of the hair. Wash everything that is washable. If it is not washable, put them in garbage bags and secure the top tightly. Put outside and leave for two weeks. Change sheets and wash daily each time the child has slept on them. You will need to get a spray. There are several on the market. Spray couches, carpets, cars, and any other item that can't be washed. I know this sounds like a lot of work. If you do not do this, you will have the lice back in two weeks. It's an endless cycle. Make sure you wash the things in the hottest water possible. Don't give up! There is an end in sight. D.R.