Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Planned Parenthood Book Sale!



Wah Whoo can you tell I am excited? I love children's books and diy books and cook books! If you love books you will want to go to this, it's in DSM but totally worth it! They also have a ton of cd's, dvd's and other media at the sale. The sale is always located at the 4-H building at the Iowa State Fair Grounds


Thursday, April 19
 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
 Friday, April 20
 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
 Saturday, April 21
 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
 Sunday, April 22
 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
 Monday, April 23
 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

OVERVIEW
  • Held twice a year in Des Moines at the Iowa State Fair Grounds 4H Building.
  • More than 400,000 items available at each sale in 45,000 sq. ft. of space.
  • Free parking.
  • No presales - so everyone has access to inventory at the same time.
  • Shopping carts and baskets available.
  • Holding area provided for large purchases.
ADMISSIONOpening night admission: $10 adults and $10 children
FREE admission all other days
GOALTo raise funds for the support and expansion of the education and community outreach programs of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.
ABOUTOffered twice a year, the event is a book lover's paradise. Each sale offers more than 400,000 of books and related items, all categorized and individually marked. Books range from collectible "oldies" to recent best-sellers and include first editions and rare finds, plus CDs, DVDs, puzzles and posters. Customers return year after year (and day after day), many setting up chairs at dawn on the first day for the grand opening!

Flower Art Work Tips

Edited final Picture




Picture that I took


Ahh Spring in my house, I Love it! So I had to get a picture of some simple Gerber Daisy's and I am so happy it turned out, I love the ditital aspect of so many things but I thought I would share some simple times on taking pictures of flowers and editing them

When taking pictures of flowers my rules are:
Get in Close, the closer the better most times
have natural light when possible
Take the picture at diffrent views, and angles, what you see is not always what the camera will see

and practice makes perfect

When editing flower pictures,

Crop out the flaws, use the Van Gough rule, have three sides of the flower/subject touching the sides
Play with the picture to see if the picture looks better in a toned color or in black and white
Simple effects are just enough to make the flower look artistic like my picture does!

Now what to do with the picture, I am thinking of printing this on Canvas and framing it as a piece of art work.



Does Your Store Sell Beef With Pink Slime?

DISCLOSURE: I am not saying I am for nor against this product. Below are facts that I have come across doing my research.

There has a lot of recent press about the “pink slime” that is used a filler in ground beef. It is always so hard to know what this is, and if the press has made it worse than it is or if the stores are trying to cover things up. Who knows!? However, before you can determine if you want to avoid this product in your beef, you should conduct your own research. You need to know what this product is and what it contains.

First of all, it really isn’t “pink slime.” The photo of a pink toothpaste-like substance that is circulating on the internet isn’t even beef at all – it’s actually chicken! Lean Finely Textured Beef is 100 percent beef, and it looks like ground beef.

Lean Finely Textured Beef is not “filler” – it is 100 percent beef. Rather than being cut from the carcass with a knife, it’s separated from the fat trim in much the same way cream is separated from milk.

Lean Finely Textured Beef is a wholesome, nutritious product. It has the same nutritional value as 90 percent lean ground beef – because it IS lean ground beef.

Lean Finely Textured Beef has been included in fresh ground beef for 20 years. There have been NO health concerns cited in connection with this product.

The ammonium hydroxide process is safe and widely used on all kinds of food products. It is not an “ammonia bath” or “soaking in ammonia,” as some news accounts have portrayed it – it’s a puff of gas used to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria such as salmonella or e coli. Ammonium hydroxide has been used since the 1970s in the processing of foods such as baked goods, cheeses, chocolate, pudding and gelatins, and has been safely used on beef trimmings since 2001. Again, there have been NO health concerns cited in connection with this process; even the critics who came up with the term “pink slime” admit that it is safe.

Lean Finely Textured Beef is a sustainable product that helps meet world demand for high-quality protein. The inclusion of a small percentage (no more than 15%, and usually less than 10%) of LFTB in ground beef increases the lean content of the ground beef and makes use of quality beef that would otherwise go to waste. The beef industry estimates that discontinuing the use of LFTB (which is included in approximately 70 percent of ground beef sold in supermarkets) would require an additional 1.5 million head of beef cattle to be slaughtered each year, and would raise the price of ground beef by approximately 20 percent.
WHERE TO SHOP

So, now that you have some background about the fillers used, you might be curious as to whether your store includes this product or not. I contacted our local stores and share this information below. You can go HERE if your store is not listed, so you can find out if the location where you shop includes this or not.



HYVEE

The following is the information sent to me by their corporate office:

Hy-Vee ground beef in rolls is purchased through Tyson. Tyson includes a small percentage of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) in its ground beef to increase the lean content of the beef. The LFTB in Tyson’s ground beef is treated with a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas during processing to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria.

Hy-Vee ground beef sold In tray packs is supplied by Cargill. It also includes a small percentage of LFTB, but Cargill does not use the ammonium hydroxide processing method. Instead, its ground beef is treated with citric acid to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria.

Hy-Vee’s Amana 85 Percent Lean Ground Chuck From Trim contains no LFTB.

Your Hy-Vee meat specialist can suggest other ground beef options for customers who do not wish to purchase ground beef containing lean beef trim.

Thanks pennypinchinmom

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pampers Gifts to Grow: New 10 Point Code

Yay! There’s another new Pampers Gifts to Grow code available! Just enter code FB3PD23GXDAYS12 to score 10 more points – valid today only!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” Idea for Frames


This is so simple it is pretty much self explanatory. However, do keep in mind that you have to use small screws. You don’t want to go and have this come out the other side.

Another variation on this is to use super glue if what your hanging is plastic or really light. I’ve used it for some of my smallest sons plastic picture frames. Works great!

Tired Of Those Lids Cluttering Up Your Cabinet?


We finally got tired of all the pot lids taking up all of our under cabinet space! They are virtually impossible to stack and just very irritating. So if you are as tired of it as we were here is what you do.

Materials:

Wood Screws

Curtain Rods (Click here to get them now!)

Curtain Rod Holders (Click here to get them now!)

Screwdriver or Drill (Click here to get it now!)

Level

Pencil

Directions:

First take your curtain rods (most of them come with the holders already with them) attach the holders and place them across your cabinet. Take the level and make sure the rod is level going across.

On the corners of your curtain rod holders mark it with a pencil. This way you know where they go as you will now remove the rod and take the holders off. Screw the holders in place using your mark you just made as your guide.

Now just place your rod back onto the holder and voila you now have a handy place to store those lids. Typically you can get 2 rods on each cabinet door. I have one with 3 but it holds the smaller lids.

Give Those Old Wood Shutters A New Purpose!


This is so easy to do! Another “Why didn’t I think of that?” idea.

Just take some old wooden shutters and paint them to match the decor in your dining room, kitchen, or even home office. Screw them to the wall with your drywall screws and you have an instant organizer. Do like I did and put a notebook in it…no more lost sticky notes!

Source: marthastewart.com

Handy Uses For Things Around The House!

Space Saver! What A Nice Way To Organize Towels!


Another really easy project!

Materials:

Baskets (Click here to get it!)

Drywall Screws and Anchors!

Level (Click here to get it!)

Pencil

Drill or Screwdriver (Click here to get it!)

Directions:

Take your 3 baskets and find a place in the bathroom near the shower or bathtub that will be convienient to place baskets on the wall.

Take and hold your first basket open end facing you…the largest one on the bottom or whatever you prefer…on the wall with the level sitting on top. This may be easier with some help..though I did it alone. Then once basket is level mark the corner with a pencil.

Take 2 of your drywall screws and drill or screw them through the basket about 1/4 inch away from upper corners on the inside of the basket. If you hold the basket against the wall when the screw passes throuhg the basket it will leave a mark for you so that you can put your anchors in.

Remove basket from wall and then insert or drill in the drywall anchors. Return basket to wall and screw the drywall screws into the anchors.

Repeat for the remaining baskets.

Note: You may want to use washers over the screws as this will give a more solid hold. Also I put screws in to all 4 corners.

New Way To Organize Those Cords and Stay Green!


Another of those….”Why didn’t I think of that?” moments!

Just find a box to store them in and use those empty toilet paper rolls for something good! Genius!

Easy Under The Bed Storage Idea!



Another great storage idea!

Materials:

Old Dresser Drawers (I get these from Goodwill, Yard Sales, even from people just throwing out old dressers.)

4 Casters (wheels) (Get them here!)

Handles (if needed)

Paint (if needed)

Screwdriver or Cordless Drill (Get it here!)

Directions:

Take some old dresser drawers and attach the casters (wheels) to the 4 corners of the drawers. Add handles if needed. For a newer or neater feel paint the drawers to match the bedroom decor. Great under the bed storage!

Source: bhg.com

How one person repurposes their creamer containers into snack holders!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

PERFECT DOUGHNUTS

PERFECT DOUGHNUTS
Recipe by Fabio Viviani
Yields 1-2 Dozen, depending on size

http://screen.yahoo.com/the-ultimate-doughnuts-28629677.html

Ingredients:

4 small potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup plus ¼ cup milk, warmed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup lard
¾ cup sugar
1 package (or 2 ¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
4 ½ cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
Extra light olive oil for frying
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
Additional sugar

Method:

Boil potatoes and allow to cool before mashing.
In a stand mixer with the hook attachment, mix milk, eggs, sugar and yeast on low for 2 minutes allowing the yeast to activate.
Add the mashed potatoes, then lard, then flour one cup at a time, until it is all added. Then add the salt and mix until dough is soft and supple.
Knead and add additional ¼ to ½ cup flour if necessary: the dough should be really soft, but NOT sticky.
Roll out dough to ½-inch thickness with a rolling pin.
Cut out doughnuts with a pizza cutter.
Place on greased baking sheets; cover with a damp, lightweight towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Cook in oil heated to 340 degrees F, till browned on both sides, flipping them over a few times to get even color.
Remove from oil and place onto paper towels to dry.
If desired, brush warm doughnuts with melted butter and dip in powdered sugar.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bayer Advanced lawn and garden care Rebate

Bayer Advanced. Get up to $6 back by mail wyb Bayer Advanced lawn and garden care products before 12/30/12.

Invisible Glass Rebate

Invisible Glass. Get $4 back by mail wyb an Invisible Glass Reach & Clean tool in a retail store before 5/31/12.

buy 2 Playtex. Get a FREE Stephanie Johnson Cosmetic Bag (a $45 value)


Playtex. Get a FREE Stephanie Johnson Cosmetic Bag (a $45 value) wyb any two specially marked packages of Playtex Gentle Glide 360° Tampons (18 ct. or larger) or Playtex Sport Tampons (14 ct. or larger). Offer good through 8/30/12 while supplies last.

Bounce Rebate


Right now you can receive a $5 mail-in rebate, when you purchase the Bounce® Outdoor Fresh® 8 Month dryer bar.
Download the rebate form HERE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Recyclebank Exclusive World Water Day Quiz (Worth 20 Points!)


Recyclebank has a new Learn & Earn opportunity to Discover World Water Day. Learn about World Water Day during this quick interactive quiz and Earn 20 Recyclebank points! Check back next week to help celebrate World Water Day for an opportunity to earn 40 more points too!

Irish Soda Bread


Irish Soda Bread


3 cups All Purpose Flour (I needed more, at least a cup more but was not counting after the 3)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk ( substitution:To make 1 cup of Buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes.) I did this ans was just fine!


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Place the baking powder, salt, sugar, and flour in a bowl. Stir in the eggs and buttermilk.



Next, sprinkle a little flour onto a clean surface and knead the dough 10 times. Shape the dough into a loaf. Grease a loaf pan ( I prefer to make bread in stoneware.) with cooking spray and place the dough loaf into the pan. Bake for one hour. Allow the bread to cool before removing it from the pan. This recipe feeds about 12 people and maybe 1 or 2 leprechauns.



Fried Soda Bread:
"Soda bread farls are ideal for frying after they have been made a day or so. These taste great with a poached egg on top. Fried soda is also one of the essential ingredients in an Ulster fry."

Ingredients

1 prepared soda bread farl
1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
1 pinch salt, or to taste (optional)

Directions

Split the soda farl in half horizontally.
Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Gently fry soda bread for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden brown. Serve hot, seasoned lightly with salt.

Green Velvet Cake… St. Patty’s Day Baking



Green Velvet Cake (recipe by Bakerella)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz green food coloring

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

or use yellow box cake and ad green food coloring, we had green frosting and green sprinkles from XMas!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Enter to Win FREE Taco Bell T-Shirt (1,000 Winners)

Starting today through March 11th at 10 AM PST, you can head on over HERE and enter daily for a chance at winning a limited edition Taco Bell “I ▼ Doritos Locos Tacos” t-shirt. There will be 1,000 winners selected in a random drawing for each Daily Sweepstakes conducted on 3/14/12 from among all eligible entries received per Daily Sweepstakes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Disney Movie Rewards: New 25 Point Code


Currently, you can add 25 more points to your Disney Movie Rewards account! Just head on over here and login to your account, then enter the code BARSOOM to score your points! That’s it!

If you haven’t joined Disney Movie Rewards yet, I would highly suggest doing so now! This is a great rewards program… especially if you have kiddos that love Disney movies. Basically every time you purchase a Disney DVD or go see a Disney movie at the movie theater you earn points. Once you’ve earned enough points, you can then redeem them for a reward! They have a lot of different rewards available from electronics to toys, DVDs, occasional gift cards, and more!

Homemade Playdough

Homemade Playdough

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup salt
3 tsp cream of tarter
1 1/2 T oil
1 1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients into pan on stove. As the mixture gets warm it will start to get sticky. Keep stirring until you get the dough consistency. Remove from pan. Remember, the dough will be hot. You can add coloring at the beginning when you add all ingredients into the pan or you can wait and knead it in later once the dough has cooled.

Make Your Own Yogurt Pops with a Vacuum Sealer


I don't have a vacuum sealer or food saver, but this looks like a great idea for someone that has one!!!!

If you already have a vacuum sealer or food saver, you're already familiar with how well it works to save and store food. If you don't, you probably know someone who does, and with the roll of foil already loaded in the machine and a tub of yogurt, you can make your own yogurt pops in a matter of minutes.

With a food saver, you can essentially create vacuum sealed bags of any size, so Once A Month Mom decided she could make thin, long baggies into which she could spoon her favorite yogurt and then seal off the top. When you see the photo, it's the kind of trick that seems obvious, but since most people use vacuum sealers for meat, cheese, or other perishables, yogurt pops may not spring to mind.

She also notes that you can use the same process for pudding or juice, and then toss them in the freezer for frozen yogurt, pudding pops, or popsicles. If you have a vacuum sealer, what are some of your favorite uses for it?

Thanks, onceamonthmom.com

How to Prepare Freezer Meals



Go here: http://cuttingcouponsinkc.blogspot.com/search/label/Freezer%20Meals for more meal see makes!

The basic recipe for a Freezer Meal is :

raw meat
1 can cooking soup
1 soup can water (sometimes milk)
seasoning.

Place all of the ingredients in a Ziploc freezer bag and lay flat in the freezer. To prepare, run warm water on the bag until you can break it into several pieces. Place in the crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

For example, one of the basic recipes I use is for Sunday Chicken. This consists of 1 lb. raw Chicken Breasts, 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 soup can water & 1 packet of dry onion soup mix. I serve this with either mashed potatoes or rice and a veggie (usually green beans).
Some of my favorite cooking soups are:

Cream of Mushroom
Cream of Chicken
Cream of Onion
Cream of Chicken & Mushrooms
Cream of Chicken with Herbs
Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic
Golden Mushroom
Cheddar Cheese
Fiesta Nacho Cheese
French Onion
Tomato
Cream of Shrimp

I did not include Cream of Celery in my list because I personally do not like the flavor of it but it can be used too. You can also use Tomato Sauce, Chicken Broth or Beef Broth in a freezer meal.


A Freezer Meal does not have to be complicated. You can add 2 cups Spaghetti Sauce (homemade or store bought) to a ziploc bag and add 1 lb. of raw chicken. Now you have Chicken Parmesan. Simply add the contents of the bag to your crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve over pasta and top with cheese.

I have also taken 2 cups of salsa and added 1 lb. raw chicken. This makes yummy Chicken Tacos or can be served with Mexican Rice. There are no limits to the Freezer Meals you can create. Use ingredients your family likes and combine with ingredients you have in your pantry.

One time I made a Freezer Meal & labeled it Itailan Chicken. It was delicious!! Unfortunately I had no idea what was in it. I am guessing that I probably had some leftover ingredients and I just tossed them in the bag and labeled it so you might want to include a list of ingredients on the ziploc bag so this doesn't happen to you!


This is one of our favorite Freezer Meals. I buy the boneless Country Style Ribs and put them in a frezer bag. I then add barbecue sauce and a little water and freeze. These can be cooked in the crockpot for 4-6 hours, in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour or on the grill.

My best advice is to get creative & don't be afraid to experiment. There are no right or wrong recipes, just use your families taste to determine what ingredients you use in a Freezer Meal.

Thanks, cuttingcouponsinkc

Crockpot Asian Chicken Recipe


Need a easy meal!

Crockpot Asian Chicken

1 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Honey
2 tablespoons Garlic Powder*
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice*
1lb. Chicken Breasts or Tenders (raw)

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with Fried Rice. (I just make white rice!)


This can also be prepared as a Freezer Meal. Just add all of the ingredients to a freezer bag and lay flat in the freezer. To prepare, run warm water on the freezer bag until contents breaks into pieces that fit in the crockpot. Cook on low 4-6 hours.

Thanks,cuttingcouponsinkc

Country Inn Breakfast Bread Recipe

County Inn Breakfast Bread (O YUMMO!)

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Brown Sugar
2 Eggs (beaten)
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 cup Buttermilk (substitution:To make 1 cup of Buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Topping:

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Butter (in pieces)
Dash of Nutmeg


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. In a second larger bowl combine remaining ingredients in order given. Gradually stir dry mixture into liquid mixture. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle topping over loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Serve hot with butter.
( substitution:To make 1 cup of Buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes.)

THANKS, cuttingcouponsinKC

Irish Soda Bread Recipe


Irish Soda Bread


3 cups All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk ( substitution:To make 1 cup of Buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes.)


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Place the baking powder, salt, sugar, and flour in a bowl. Stir in the eggs and buttermilk.



Next, sprinkle a little flour onto a clean surface and knead the dough 10 times. Shape the dough into a loaf. Grease a loaf pan ( I prefer to make bread in stoneware.) with cooking spray and place the dough loaf into the pan. Bake for one hour. Allow the bread to cool before removing it from the pan. This recipe feeds about 12 people and maybe 1 or 2 leprechauns.

thanks, cuttingcouponsinKC

Fried Soda Bread:
"Soda bread farls are ideal for frying after they have been made a day or so. These taste great with a poached egg on top. Fried soda is also one of the essential ingredients in an Ulster fry."

Ingredients

1 prepared soda bread farl
1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
1 pinch salt, or to taste (optional)

Directions

Split the soda farl in half horizontally.
Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Gently fry soda bread for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden brown. Serve hot, seasoned lightly with salt.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hy-Vee sale 3-07 through 3-13

Crystal Light drink mix 2/ $4.00 $2.00 $1/2 Crystal light
Lay's potato chips or Kettle cooked chips 2/ $4.00 $2.00(use coupon from class)
Nabisco Oreo cookies $2.00
Minute Maid orange juice 2/ $5.00 $2.50
Dole broccoli 2/ $3.00 $1.50
Sweet ripe cantaloupe 2/ $4.00 $2.00

Online Ad:
V8 Splash or Smoothies stock up $2.28(02-05 S $1.00/2)
Ocean Eclipse Pink Salmon $5.00 $5.00

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pampers Gifts to Grow: New 5 Point Code

Yay! There’s another new Pampers Gifts to Grow c
code available! Just enter code TWITM7TWRFGTH12 to score 5 more points!

Catalina National Offers: February 6, 2012 - May 13, 2012

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Solutions for Your Toughest Cleaning Problems

Problem: A pot has boiled over—all over your stove, that is.

We understand that, frankly, it can be hard to keep an eye on everything that’s going on in the kitchen. To clean up a cooking spill on the stove, let it cool first, then remove drip pans or grates (you’ll clean these separately). Apply a dollop of dishwasher detergent gel or a paste of dishwasher detergent powder and water directly to the spill. “Don’t use regular dishwashing soap—it doesn’t cut through cooked-on foods as well,” says Trotter. Let this sit for 15 minutes, then use a damp sponge to check whether it’s ready to wipe off. If it’s still stuck, add a few drops of water, wait another 15 minutes, then wipe clean.



Problem: Drips, crumbs and other food-related things have dried onto your stove’s drip pans and grates.

Let’s be honest: Not all of us wipe up messes right away. When your stove’s drip pans or grates have become too unsightly to bear, run them through the dishwasher (by themselves) on the pots and pans cycle, or soak them in the sink with gel or powder dishwasher detergent. Use about 1/4 cup of soap with just enough water to cover them. Let sit about a half-hour, rinse and dry. For heavy grime, let your self-cleaning oven do the work, says Trotter. Preheat oven to the lowest temperature, then turn it off. Place the grates on an old towel and spray with oven cleaner, then place in the still-warm oven for 30 minutes. Remove grates, spray off in the sink and dry.




Problem: The surfaces in your kitchen are covered in grease.

This is especially true if you’re an avid cook. For weekly maintenance, use straight distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. “Spray it on a soft cloth and wipe down, but avoid using it on porous surfaces such as granite,” says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple. If you’ve got heavy buildup, you’ll need something tougher to cut through it. “Use a microfiber cloth dipped in a degreaser such as Dawn dish soap mixed with water,” says Teresa Ward of Teresa’s Family Cleaning in Rocky Point, New York. “And don’t forget the top of the refrigerator, which gets pretty greasy.”



Problem: Smudges that just won’t go away on your stainless steel appliances.

Though stainless steel looks lovely straight out of the box, you may have noticed that the material tends to show everything—including hard-to-clean smudges and smears. To remove them, wipe down with a slightly damp, very fine microfiber cloth. If there’s a greasy buildup, which can occur over time if you’ve used stainless steel products to clean these appliances, remove it by washing down with dish soap and water or lemon-scented ammonia (make sure to ventilate your kitchen when using ammonia). Dry with a clean microfiber cloth, wiping with the grain.




Problem: Hard-to-remove scuff marks on your bathroom’s porcelain sink.

There’s nothing worse than seeing your pristine sink covered in scuff marks, right? If you’ve been afraid to scrub them for fear of scratching the surface, start with a nonabrasive polishing powder such as Bar Keepers Friend. Wet the surface thoroughly, then pour a few tablespoons’ worth on the stain. Use a wet microfiber cloth or white or blue sponge (avoid green sponges, which are for heavy-duty use and may scratch the sink) to rub out the marks. Or use a pumice stone, available for a few dollars at hardware stores. “Keep the stone and the surface very wet to avoid scratching, and gently buff out the marks,” says Trotter.



Problem: Soap scum buildup on the walls of your shower and/or tub.

Soap scum is always the last thing on everyone’s to-do list. Why? Because it seems impossible to get it all off. Try using a microfiber cleaning cloth with a paste of 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (not bottled), 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup baking soda to scour the surfaces lightly, says Ward. Or try using a nonabrasive scouring pad, like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, sopping wet with your favorite cleaner (let the cleaner sit for 15 minutes before wiping down). To prevent scum from building back up and eliminate the need for weekly cleanings, use a squeegee to skim water and soap residue off walls after showers or baths.



Problem: Hairspray buildup on bathroom surfaces.

The price to pay for gorgeous hair? A gross buildup of hairspray on the surface of your bathroom sink. To remove, start with hot water and a microfiber cloth. If this isn’t effective, try a dash of non-sudsy lemon-scented ammonia on the cloth to cut through the lacquer. Or try 1/2 cup of water, a few squeezes of Dawn dish soap and a sprinkle of baking soda on the cloth. “Let it sit for a few minutes each time, then rinse and repeat. It may take a few applications,” says Ward.








Problem: Crud-covered glass shower doors.

You know you’re in trouble when you can hardly see through your glass shower doors anymore. To make them transparent again, use a spray of white vinegar or a commercial soap scum–removing product with a plastic scrubby; avoid abrasive products, as they can scratch glass doors. Once clean, apply a thin layer of liquid lemon oil furniture polish or car wax paste to provide a water barrier and prevent buildup, says Trotter. To prevent buildup, you can also use a squeegee after showers. To clean out shower tracks, use a nylon brush to scrub gunk out of the crevices, and chopsticks or a BBQ skewer to dig into corners.








Problem: Dusty Venetian blind slats.

Talk about a tedious job! Instead of wiping down slat by slat, which is incredibly time-consuming, blast through your blinds with these genius tips. First of all, don’t use cleaning products, which will only make the blinds streaky. Instead, “Use a microfiber cloth that’s barely, barely damp,” says Trotter. “Close the blinds flat and wipe side to side all the way from top to bottom. Then turn the lever to move the slats in the other direction. Wipe again from top to bottom. Now stand on the backside of the blind and do the same thing in both directions.”



Problem: Dusty chandeliers or overhead lights.

OK, chandeliers are so high up, no one ever really notices if they’re dirty—except you know they are. So once or twice a year, make sure the light is cool, then remove fabric shades and vacuum or use a sticky lint roller to dust them. Use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to wipe down each bulb. Heavy glass shades can be run through on the top rack of the dishwasher on the china cycle. Delicate shades should be hand-washed with a mild dish soap and dried. “Dirty lightbulbs emit about 20 percent less light,” says Smallin.


Read more: House Cleaning Tips - Simple Cleaning Tricks at WomansDay.com - Woman's Day

Solutions for Your Toughest Cleaning Problems

Problem: A pot has boiled over—all over your stove, that is.

We understand that, frankly, it can be hard to keep an eye on everything that’s going on in the kitchen. To clean up a cooking spill on the stove, let it cool first, then remove drip pans or grates (you’ll clean these separately). Apply a dollop of dishwasher detergent gel or a paste of dishwasher detergent powder and water directly to the spill. “Don’t use regular dishwashing soap—it doesn’t cut through cooked-on foods as well,” says Trotter. Let this sit for 15 minutes, then use a damp sponge to check whether it’s ready to wipe off. If it’s still stuck, add a few drops of water, wait another 15 minutes, then wipe clean.



Problem: Drips, crumbs and other food-related things have dried onto your stove’s drip pans and grates.

Let’s be honest: Not all of us wipe up messes right away. When your stove’s drip pans or grates have become too unsightly to bear, run them through the dishwasher (by themselves) on the pots and pans cycle, or soak them in the sink with gel or powder dishwasher detergent. Use about 1/4 cup of soap with just enough water to cover them. Let sit about a half-hour, rinse and dry. For heavy grime, let your self-cleaning oven do the work, says Trotter. Preheat oven to the lowest temperature, then turn it off. Place the grates on an old towel and spray with oven cleaner, then place in the still-warm oven for 30 minutes. Remove grates, spray off in the sink and dry.




Problem: The surfaces in your kitchen are covered in grease.

This is especially true if you’re an avid cook. For weekly maintenance, use straight distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. “Spray it on a soft cloth and wipe down, but avoid using it on porous surfaces such as granite,” says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner Plain & Simple. If you’ve got heavy buildup, you’ll need something tougher to cut through it. “Use a microfiber cloth dipped in a degreaser such as Dawn dish soap mixed with water,” says Teresa Ward of Teresa’s Family Cleaning in Rocky Point, New York. “And don’t forget the top of the refrigerator, which gets pretty greasy.”



Problem: Smudges that just won’t go away on your stainless steel appliances.

Though stainless steel looks lovely straight out of the box, you may have noticed that the material tends to show everything—including hard-to-clean smudges and smears. To remove them, wipe down with a slightly damp, very fine microfiber cloth. If there’s a greasy buildup, which can occur over time if you’ve used stainless steel products to clean these appliances, remove it by washing down with dish soap and water or lemon-scented ammonia (make sure to ventilate your kitchen when using ammonia). Dry with a clean microfiber cloth, wiping with the grain.




Problem: Hard-to-remove scuff marks on your bathroom’s porcelain sink.

There’s nothing worse than seeing your pristine sink covered in scuff marks, right? If you’ve been afraid to scrub them for fear of scratching the surface, start with a nonabrasive polishing powder such as Bar Keepers Friend. Wet the surface thoroughly, then pour a few tablespoons’ worth on the stain. Use a wet microfiber cloth or white or blue sponge (avoid green sponges, which are for heavy-duty use and may scratch the sink) to rub out the marks. Or use a pumice stone, available for a few dollars at hardware stores. “Keep the stone and the surface very wet to avoid scratching, and gently buff out the marks,” says Trotter.



Problem: Soap scum buildup on the walls of your shower and/or tub.

Soap scum is always the last thing on everyone’s to-do list. Why? Because it seems impossible to get it all off. Try using a microfiber cleaning cloth with a paste of 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (not bottled), 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup baking soda to scour the surfaces lightly, says Ward. Or try using a nonabrasive scouring pad, like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, sopping wet with your favorite cleaner (let the cleaner sit for 15 minutes before wiping down). To prevent scum from building back up and eliminate the need for weekly cleanings, use a squeegee to skim water and soap residue off walls after showers or baths.



Problem: Hairspray buildup on bathroom surfaces.

The price to pay for gorgeous hair? A gross buildup of hairspray on the surface of your bathroom sink. To remove, start with hot water and a microfiber cloth. If this isn’t effective, try a dash of non-sudsy lemon-scented ammonia on the cloth to cut through the lacquer. Or try 1/2 cup of water, a few squeezes of Dawn dish soap and a sprinkle of baking soda on the cloth. “Let it sit for a few minutes each time, then rinse and repeat. It may take a few applications,” says Ward.








Problem: Crud-covered glass shower doors.

You know you’re in trouble when you can hardly see through your glass shower doors anymore. To make them transparent again, use a spray of white vinegar or a commercial soap scum–removing product with a plastic scrubby; avoid abrasive products, as they can scratch glass doors. Once clean, apply a thin layer of liquid lemon oil furniture polish or car wax paste to provide a water barrier and prevent buildup, says Trotter. To prevent buildup, you can also use a squeegee after showers. To clean out shower tracks, use a nylon brush to scrub gunk out of the crevices, and chopsticks or a BBQ skewer to dig into corners.








Problem: Dusty Venetian blind slats.

Talk about a tedious job! Instead of wiping down slat by slat, which is incredibly time-consuming, blast through your blinds with these genius tips. First of all, don’t use cleaning products, which will only make the blinds streaky. Instead, “Use a microfiber cloth that’s barely, barely damp,” says Trotter. “Close the blinds flat and wipe side to side all the way from top to bottom. Then turn the lever to move the slats in the other direction. Wipe again from top to bottom. Now stand on the backside of the blind and do the same thing in both directions.”



Problem: Dusty chandeliers or overhead lights.

OK, chandeliers are so high up, no one ever really notices if they’re dirty—except you know they are. So once or twice a year, make sure the light is cool, then remove fabric shades and vacuum or use a sticky lint roller to dust them. Use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to wipe down each bulb. Heavy glass shades can be run through on the top rack of the dishwasher on the china cycle. Delicate shades should be hand-washed with a mild dish soap and dried. “Dirty lightbulbs emit about 20 percent less light,” says Smallin.


Read more: House Cleaning Tips - Simple Cleaning Tricks at WomansDay.com - Woman's Day

10 Things You Can Clean in the Dishwasher

1. Glass Globes from Light Fixtures
It's amazing how much brighter a room will look after this cleaning task is checked off your to-do list. "Run these through on the top shelf and make sure there's space between them because the glass is more fragile than what's used for drinking glasses," says Trotter. Use the delicate, china or crystal cycle if available, and skip the heated dry option. And to be safe, avoid washing antique or hand-painted globes or those with gold-leaf trim in the dishwasher.
Find out how to clean your house in under an hour.

2. Shower Heads and Faucet Handles
If your shower head is spraying sporadically from clogged holes or your faucet handles aren't as shiny as they used to be, place these on the top rack and run the pots and pans cycle. It's fine to run cookware through at the same time, so you're not wasting a wash for these few items.

3. Plastic Hair Brushes, Combs, Clips and Barrettes
These personal care items get coated with hair products, but clean up well in the dishwasher, says Trotter. Remove all strands of hair, then corral everything in a mesh lingerie bag or dishwasher basket on the top rack. Run a normal cycle. One note: Don't try this trick with wood-handled or natural bristle brushes because the water and heat can damage them.

4. Baseball Hats and Visors
"The dishwasher is a fantastic way to make sure hats keep their shapes," says Linda Cobb, a cleaning expert who is also known as the Queen of Clean. Put hats on the top rack, head opening down, on a separate wash cycle from dishes because you can't use dishwasher detergent (many contain bleaching agents). Instead, fill the detergent cup with borax, found in the supermarket laundry aisle. Run a regular cycle without the heated dry option, then place hat over a glass or jar to dry. Reshape brim while damp.

5. Plastic Toys
Small plastic items such as baby toys, teethers and action figures can get funky pretty fast. Toss them in a mesh bag or dishwasher basket and place on the top rack. "Wash these on a normal cycle along with your other dishes," says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner.

6. Pet Bowls and Toys
It's generally fine to load these with other dishes. "Wash them regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria that can make both you and your pet sick," says Kimberly May, DVM, of the American Veterinary Medical Association. "But it's prudent to run a separate load or use the sanitize cycle if you have a baby or a familymember with a suppressed immune system." Most dishwasher-safe toys are labeled accordingly on the package or manufacturer's website. However, if you're not sure whether the material will hold up in the dishwasher, just to be safe, you can also soak toys in 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, and rinse well. Rope toys and rawhide chews can't be cleaned; toss when icky.
Check out the best ways to clean up after pets.

7. Kitchen Dish Sponges and Brushes
Load these up at the same time you do the regular dishes, suggests Smallin. The top rack is usually the best place so you can stand them up or wedge between other items. Run through on a normal cycle.

8. Kitchen Appliance Parts
Once a week, load all of these into the dishwasher to make the whole kitchen seem shinier: chrome drip pans, enamel-coated gas grates and burner caps, fridge water dispenser grate, sink plugs, microwave tray and range hood grease filters. Use the normal washing cycle.
Learn easy ways to extend the life of your household appliances.

9. Butter Dishes, Sugar Bowls, Spoon Rests, and Salt and Pepper Shakers
"We handle all of these things every day, so they collect lots of grease and grime, which you may not even notice," says Trotter. Periodically empty sugar, spice and condiments and wash these containers along with your regular loads. Once they are completely dry, you can refill them with the contents you set aside before washing.

10. Personal Care Items
Toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, goopy soap dishes, nail brushes, plastic makeup brushes and bathtub drain plugs all benefit from an occasional run through the dishwasher. Place on the top rack with smaller items tucked in a dishwasher basket, and wash on a normal cycle with your other dishes.



Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sweepstakes of the Day ~ Reese's March Madness

Enter HERE the March Madness Sweepstakes from Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for a chance to win a trip to the 2013 NCAA Men's Final Four. You could also instantly win a Reese's t-shirt or a coupon for free Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. You can enter daily through April 30th. Good luck and be sure to let me know if you win!