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Useful Household Hints

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I have a new Sparkfriend, Loretta24, who is posting daily household hints in March. These are some of my favorite ones so far, which I may be able to use and might help some of you. Here is Loretta's page:

* Mosquitoes - take a white dinner plate, put a little water on it and a few drops of Lemon Joy. Skeeters are attracted to it, fall into it and die for some reason.

* Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces - no more stains.

*Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator - it will keep for weeks.

* Clean toilets with an alka seltzer. Drop one (or two) in the toilet. Wait 20 minutes, then flush and scrub gently.

* When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness. (never tried this)

* To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh - if it rises to the surface, throw it away. (I do this all the time, but usually not salted water. It still works.)

* Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away. (does this seriously work?)

* To get rid of itch from mosquito bite: try applying soap on the area, instant relief. (never tried this)

* Ants, ants, ants everywhere... Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march - see for yourself. (this works to some extent. You should see the amazing chalk lines we have had in the bathroom when ants came in the window the last couple years.)

*When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

* If you run out of anti-static dryer sheets after you take the clothes out of the dryer, run a metal coat hanger down the material, and give it a shake. This will remove the static electricity. (we don't use dryer sheets, so I'll bring a coat hanger down to the laundry to see if this works.)

* To remove onion, garlic or bleach or other odors off one's hands: Hold a stainless steel knife (not a cutting knife, more like a butter knife) under cool running water..the smell will be gone from one's hands in a matter of about 10 seconds..any stainless steel utensil will do, though.

* Wipe your dog off with a dryer sheet after you brush him/her. This helps to remove loose hairs that stay on his/her coat. It also makes your pet smell nice, too. (guess I should get some dryer sheets)

* Keep a spray bottle mix of water and a little laundry softener in it on hand to spritz a cloth to dampen it. Use it to wipe dog hairs off of yourself after brushing your pet. You can also spritz it on your pets rugs (or your furniture) before you sweep them. This really helps get the dog hairs off. (sounds cool, we just don't use laundry softener)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JSTETSER 3/15/2012 6:20AM

    I never heard of the alka seltzer in the toilet. I'll try it.

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BECCABOO127 3/14/2012 7:24PM

    Great tips, thanks!

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NANCYBOAT 3/14/2012 2:24PM

    these are good - I need to remember the Tupperware one!

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UMMSULAYM_NOVA 3/14/2012 2:08PM

    Good tips, thanks for sharing!

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BROOKLYNROSE 3/14/2012 1:54PM

    Thanks for sharing:) I'm going to try a few of those myself!

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4ANEWME2DAY 3/14/2012 1:52PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Photo Update

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Here is the cake I made for my husband's birthday. It is a good thing I took a picture. The sugar deliquesced (melted and liquified) and was absorbed into the cake and was nearly erased entirely. I was so glad I had a picture to show him what had been there.. Not just an empty middle.. The frosting name and stars were still there, but the whole center was plain chocolate. Good cake. Much lower fat without the thick frosting. The middle is plain Polaner All-Fruit Preserves of seedless strawberry with added fiber.

My son refused to take his blood glucose test this morning and did not get to have any cake. This was the last straw after losing tv time and computer time and then the chocolate milk for not cooperating. Major tantrums and meltdowns. He was 15 minutes late to school and I was 25 minutes late to my class because of this. In the last two tests he's had the levels have been pretty low- 52 one day and 80 the next, so it's important that I get the test done, but it's been sooooo traumatic and almost impossible. Today it was impossible.

This morning he also stole an ancient package of cake fondant which was all hard and had chipped it into pieces on the floor and under the coffee table. Plus he had a bowl of the all-fruit strawberry jam for breakfast and a glass of choc. milk. Later after not getting the cake, he took a nap. I was really sick with a stomach bug and had to rest. While I was sleeping he took out the ice cream and the popsicles and had some of each, and left them melting under the coffee table.

I was awakened from a very very deep sleep by the doorbell - three times, (I had sleep paralysis) and then my neighbor came inside calling for me. I managed to get up, but was dizzy and in a daze from deep sleep. I asked where was Nicholas. She said a man up the street found him riding on his bike alone and brought him home, but that I hadn't answered the door (he knocked). I didn't even hear it! So I explained to neighbor that I was sick and napping and that he'd been napping when I went to bed. She asked what I needed and I said just more time. She agreed to take him about another hour. Well, she kept him about half an hour, but it was enough for me to get up and be a bit more alert.

He is grounded from his bike for a week.

Here is a picture of him on his bike from YESTERDAY when we got it out and he had a nice ride while I was walking.

When he came home I just held him tight and told him how much I loved him and how grateful I was that it was the neighbor telling me he'd been off biking and not the police calling to say my son was hit by a car. Whew! This boy is so independent.. such a challenge!

Here is me from about noontime:

yes, I felt as good as I looked. Yucky!

I tried so hard to smile for you guys.. That's the best I could do.

I am feeling worlds better now.. for some reason, though clearly not all better yet.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUE42DOWN 3/14/2012 5:24PM

    That is some gorgeous decorating work on the cake - wow!

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MRSMELVIN1 3/14/2012 1:10PM

    Beautiful cake and it looks just yummy.

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ROJAKHAN 3/14/2012 12:58PM


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LINDAKAY228 3/14/2012 11:49AM

    I'm so grateful for you that he got home safe and nothing happened but I can imagine how scary it was to find out what had happened. I know things are tough but hang in there. We're here for you.

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DEE1221 3/14/2012 11:02AM

    Not fun being sick and taking care of a little boy who wants to be independent. Hang in there!

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TESSABEAR428 3/14/2012 9:52AM

    The cake looked great! Awesome job! As for your son, I am sorry he is being a pain in the behind. I would have been so upset with Mia had she done any of those things! I would have been extremely grateful that she wasn't harmed or worse, but at the same time, that is a HUGE "no-no" in my book. I hope your son starts to cooperate better with you and I hope you start to feel better too! emoticon

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MRS_EVA_K 3/14/2012 8:04AM

    The cake was beautiful!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday. I promised to make him a chocolate cake. I do amazingly rich, decadent chocolate cake. The recipe is like "Better than Sex Chocolate Cake" which includes sour cream, extra pudding mix, extra cocoa, extra chocolate chips, one extra egg.

Suggestions for a low-calorie icing? I usually do a homemade buttercream frosting and half the calories of a slice are the frosting. So I am thinking of using plain all-fruit preserves (strawberry is what he suggested) and maybe get a nice stencil for the top and use confectioner's sugar on top. What do you think?

This is going to be majorly challenging to make a chocolate cake on my extreme PMS day. Sigh. I will probably make a little cupcake of it to try tonight - maybe two, so my son will have something and maybe not get into the big cake.

So the big problem is really the part about what to do with the rest of it after we celebrate tomorrow afternoon? I told DH he needed to bring it to his office. Maybe half to his office and half into the freezer.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPHANALILLEY 3/15/2012 11:26AM

    I make lemon and orange bundt cakes. To ice them, I put 1/3 of a can of store bought icing in a corner of a zip lock baggie (unsealed). I microwave it for 10 - 15 seconds and snip the corner of the bag and then drizzle the glaze on top. 2/3 less sugar, calories, and fat! BooYah!

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NPA4LOSS 3/13/2012 9:52PM

    Offices love treats! emoticon

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PEARL-LADY 3/13/2012 5:56AM

    it sounds too tempting to leave around..enjoy put in freezer for 'special' occasions!

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    Ok, well a few problems..
I can't stand cool whip and neither can my son nor husband.
We don't really have any close friends in the area. They live much farther away and those we have in town are not available in the daytime. My husband works 3 pm to midnight and does not have the day off. We'll be celebrating - just my son, husband, and I, right after my son gets out of school between 1 and 3 pm.

My husband was self-employed and now has a job that he works remotely at - but uses his own office, which is ONLY him in the office, no one else. There isn't anyone else to give cake to. I am thinking of saving about 1/4 of the cake in the freezer for Easter since I am not planning to make another cake then and this year the Easter Bunny is bringing almost no candy, just little games and sand toys.

The biggest problem now is that I have a SparkLive class at 10 pm and I have only 30 minutes to get this cake ready and in the oven before that. I thought the class was at 9 and I'd be done by 10 and could start then. Hrm!! Must go work my butt off. :)

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MRS_EVA_K 3/12/2012 8:59PM

    I do fresh berry puree in freshly whipped cream on top of chocolate cake.

Good luck, girlie

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MARTHASPARKS 3/12/2012 8:56PM

    Make it the right way for him and invite friends over. Plan for a piece and eat only what you plan. A little bit is not a problem.

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YOADDICTION101 3/12/2012 6:27PM

    Make him take it to the office. Trust me cake will go like hot cakes lol. Works every time. I usually MAKE my friends take peaces of cake home with them, especially if I know any have kids.

Instead of messing up the icing why not scrap it off your peace?? I usually scrap icing off birthday cakes because there is to much. At least before spark people. Now I do it because I don't want all those sugars but I also don't want to through everyone's taste buds off by playing around with the recipe.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 3/12/2012 5:20PM

    A chocolate cool whip topping might also work. emoticon I lighten some of my hubby's frosting with part cool whip. He LOVES frosting.

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BLUE42DOWN 3/12/2012 5:03PM

    I put this into your status comment also, but sometimes we have to be willing to toss a food like this. Someone else in their blog once made a comment much like this:

Would you rather trash food or trash your body?

Would DH actually be eating the leftover cake if it was in the freezer? Or would it simply be waiting there for that weak moment in which you (or your son given what he's done before) pull it out?

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BIGDOG18 3/12/2012 4:49PM


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Feeling Yucky.. and about my Dog (pix added)

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am feeling just yucky today..
low on energy,
and yes.. PMSy, which means it's hard for me to get going, to control my temper, and to resist food cravings, especially chocolate. I am going to try, though. I mean not totally. I will have some high cacao chocolate later, but I'll be careful and not binge.

Very PMSy.

(I took all these pictures today to show you my not happy, feeling yucky face.)

I need to grocery shop and do household chores - laundry, dishes and overall clean up/organization. I am debating if it's easier to grocery shop alone or with my son. I mean I know it's easier without him, but I just feel like resting now and won't get that chance when he's home really. I also need to walk Nessa and I was waiting for the temperature to go up a little.

I have one MAJOR accomplishment that is really good.. but I'm kind of ashamed to admit it. It was only major because of how bad it had gotten. Well, one thing I'd been failing to take care of was my dog's coat. She hadn't been groomed in well over a month, possibly closer to 2 months. Nessa is a Maltese, a toy breed with long white hair, so she needs almost daily brushing and it was really extremely out of control. Yeah, so this was the main thing I felt really like a failure about regarding her. I walk her every day, sometimes twice, and I feed her twice a day and pay attention to her, but her coat was not ok. In fact recently I'd said to my husband that this was the main thing I felt like a failure about in my whole life. Everything else was doing OK.. maybe not great, but not total meltdown.

So last night, with my husband helping to hold her, I cut out all the mats, which were worse than I've ever seen them. I cut the hair very short on all four legs, cut hair off bottom of her paws and around toenails, cut her toenails, cut the hair on her face around her eyes, and gave her an overall much shorter haircut. Her hair was nearly touching the ground so all the fur near the edges was messed up. After the haircut Josh helped to brush her out without catching too much. She seems to feel much better and looks better. She still needs a bath and really a professional groomer to give her a real puppy haircut, which will be easier for me to maintain.

The work with Nessa took so long (more than 2 hrs) that I didn't make it back on SparkPeople to get to my SparkLive class last night (which bummed me out a lot when I realized I'd missed it). And I didn't get online til like quarter of 12 and I had very little time to get Sparkpoints and I didn't get them all for the first time in months. I had 61, but I JUST missed the bonus spin. I mean, like I was already spinning the wheel and it was going around and then instead of stopping on a number, I got a page that said I didn't have enough points today to earn a bonus spin. The time changed to midnight in the MIDDLE of my bonus spin and I didn't get them. That was annoying!!!

But I have to think of what I DID accomplish.. I really helped Nessa do what needed to be done so she can feel better and well, so I can feel better about her, too. I am proud of finally getting this done.

Sundays are hard for me to get all my Sparking done, because I work all day at the church. This is my busiest working day. Yesterday I worked early, took family home and walked dog, grabbed a lunch, worked more midday. Then we went to see The Lorax again as a family. (I had gone the day before with Nicholas and he wanted to see it again and my husband did, too. I had to take them anyhow so I decided to join them.) Then I went back to work for a couple hours. Then I came home and helped with bedtime for my son. After that was all the work on my dog. Then just a few minutes online before I totally crashed.

Hmm.. It is very hard to do a dance party when my husband is home and in a very bad mood projecting negative energy and cursing, even though he wasn't mad with me. I dealt with that on Saturday night from 10:30-midnight. I dance in the living room and that's where he's on the computer. I had to stop a few times because of him.. By the middle or a bit later, he had calmed down and it was easier. His schedule is going to change in two weeks, though we don't know what it will be until tomorrow. He mostly bid on the early day shift schedules, which would be good for the fact that he'd be home in the evenings with our son and I wouldn't need a sitter when I want to go out. We'll see what he gets. Oh yes, and when he works late, he is a bear in the morning.. and two morning bears are not so much fun.

Yeah, so feeling yucky and could use some support - hugs, words of encouragement, and maybe SparkGoodies, today.. I need you today, Sparkfriends.. and probably for the next few days. I'm doing OK, but this is the hormonal time of the month I tend to fall off the SparkWagon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XPHOENIX 3/12/2012 4:18PM

    We are PMSy at the same time, babe. We can do this!! If we survive this week without stabbing someone, I claim that as a victory :) LOL I hate it when I have been on SP a few times in the day but forgot to spin the wheel and miss out on my points. GRRR! Then it shows "0 days"... geez. Streak broken :( BUT.. you are still showing up for yourself, so I claim that as a victory :D Hang in there, babe... we can survive anything! Any THIS week :D

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ELIZRN 3/12/2012 3:40PM


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BLUE42DOWN 3/12/2012 1:11PM

    emoticon emoticon

Very good job getting the work done on Nessa's coat. Long ago I worked in a pet store, and know just how much the grooming side can be a chore - especially if it hasn't been maintained. She'll be more comfortable, and I'm sure you're happier just to see her looking better.

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TESSABEAR428 3/12/2012 12:52PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/12/2012 12:52:15 PM

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BACKATITAMY 3/12/2012 11:30AM

  Sending you positive vibes Angel. I know how you feeling during TOM. I feel like that time just destroys all the good that I do the rest of the month. Don't feel to bad about your poor poochie. I'm sure that you didn't neglect her on purpose, you were just busy. The good thing is that you got the job done and now she is feeling better too. Keep your head up.


emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IAMAGEMLOVER 3/12/2012 11:20AM

    There is one good thing about getting older. No more of this monthly crap. Watch what you eat and try to plan healthy snacks ahead of time. If it's not in the house, you can't eat it.

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Saturday Blog - Good and Bad

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Good: I lost 1.5 lbs this week and I'm down 25 lbs since my start again with SparkPeople in July. Yay! Very happy to get to this point!

Bad: This morning my 5 year old son said to me, "Mommy, you have a fat butt." This really hurt my feelings and he got a lecture about this and how it hurt my feelings and to never tell anyone that they are fat or that a part of them is fat because it's just mean. I can only imagine how much worse I'd feel if I wasn't already completely committed to healthy living and weight loss. And what he doesn't know is how much different my butt is now from what it was before he was born when I was 300 lbs. I had a huge shelf butt. That was my biggest body part. Now, post-baby, my stomach is bigger than my butt - and it is getting flatter.

Good: Went to see The Lorax movie with my son and really enjoyed it. Son liked it, too. Motivated to plant things.

Bad: Smacked on the head by a teenager while sitting in my seat at the movie theater. Also bad - a family came in very late, like half hour into the show and chose to sit in our aisle. The little boy tried to shove past me and I had to tell him to wait because that was my injured leg and I had to get up to let them past. Sigh.

Good: Hubby bought us a new wireless printer/scanner for the house! We've got an older laser printer which has been out of toner for about a year, but the toner costs $150, which is about twice what he paid for the new device.

Bad: My knee went out of whack yesterday afternoon during my second walk. It's been really hurting me a lot, though went back in overnight. Still sensitive today. I didn't exercise at all yet today, though I'm going to go try to do a bit of a dance party. This is safe enough, because I can stop and sit if my knee starts hurting again.

Good: I had an OMG dinner!! Salmon marinated in maple syrup and low sodium teriyaki sauce (yes, again! This is phenomenal!) with crushed pistachios on top and fresh lemon. I served this with brown and wild rice with flax meal, sugar snap peas, raw baby carrots, raw bell peppers (yellow, orange, red), with a bit of hummus. (picture coming). What an awesome meal it was!

I am clearly PMSing today (boo) and had food-gasms from this meal plus from the Ghirardelli chocolate mint squares I had earlier. I took a bite of that and shut my eyes and went "Mmmm!" and my son was watching and wondered what I was doing. I said I was savoring it, so he shut his eyes and said, "Mmmmm!" just like me. LOL! Well, not bad if he turns into a foodee, too, as long as he can learn portion control and healthy choices.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUE42DOWN 3/13/2012 12:46AM

    emoticon for the good things!

Have you had a doctor check your knee? I wonder if a brace could help give it time to heal while allowing you to remain active.

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LORETTA24 3/12/2012 7:48AM

    emoticonI love the way you begin and end with an upbeat note! I always start my day with a positive reading or thought and then speak out loud a list of things that brought joy into my day when going to bed. It helps me to balance my day and rest better at night. You are doing a great job and I know you will be successful in being a healthier you. Thanks for sharing your day. Stay safe and keep smiling sunshine. emoticon

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TURTLERASKIN 3/11/2012 11:05PM

    Oh my gosh, 25 pounds -- that's so amazing! I love how you set up the blog -- our journeys are really, really a mix of good/bad, and I love that you recognized that and showed how the good really balances out the bad most of the time. Congrats on coming so far and doing so well!

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LINDAKAY228 3/11/2012 12:16PM

    Congratulations on the good things and I'm sorry about the bad. Hope you're knee doesn't give you any trouble today. Have a great day today!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 3/11/2012 9:50AM

    Sounds like the good far outweighed the bad. emoticon You are doing great. emoticon

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LADYGLAMOUR 3/11/2012 3:32AM

  We all have good/bad days but you seem to be dealing with yours really well.
Looking forward to seeing a picture of that yummy meal you had! emoticon

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TESSABEAR428 3/10/2012 10:19PM

    Yay for all those good things! And also YAY! for the way you handled the bad! My daughter did "one" of those moments the other day in the doctor's office, but not to me. Our doctor is a "smaller" person... when he walked into the room with my husband and daughter, she said, "AW! What a cute baby! I want one just like him!" My husband was mortified and prayed the doctor didn't hear her. I scolded him for not explaining to her and apologizing to our doctor. Granted, Mia is 4.5, but she is very smart and would have comprehended the situation. Lol. I hope your knee is on the road to recovery!! Take it easy in the mean time! Keep up the GREAT work emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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