Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Susan's Helpful Hints

Having lived 57 years and being married for almost 38 of those years, I've learned a few things about things around the house.

  1. Do your top sheets pull loose during the night from all that tossing and turning you do?  I like to tuck only the corners of my top sheets so my toesies can feel a little freedom and yet my hubby can't steal all the covers. To keep them tucked, tie a knot in both bottom corners and then tuck. Just don't forget to untie before you wash them. They don't dry very well in knots!
  2. Are you plagued with ticks as we are? One morning my white cat Frankie came into the house with a total of nine ticks on him! Needless to say, I went straight to the pet store and purchased enough Frontline to send their stock up about three digits! I still find them hitching a ride on the cats and the dog and I'll find them crawling up a wall or on a piece of furniture. The easiest way to pick them up is a piece of tape. Just stick it on the tick and wrap it up like a little package and the nasty tick dies a slow death, which, in my opinion, is well-deserved.
  3. Does your large carton of yogurt or sour cream weep and cry with the indignity of having a spoon thrust into its innards, leaving huge craters behind? Well, weep no more, sweet yogurt! Just tell those thoughtless users to take that spoon and smooth the top just like a baby's bottom and your whey will no longer separate from your curd. Where's that Miss Muffet when you need her?
  4. Are you lucky enough to own a salad spinner? I have an Oxo brand one that is indispensable in my kitchen. If you don't have one, and have no plans for a future purchase, here's a handy-dandy little trick. You know those nice net bags in which lemons come packaged? Save those little beauties, and do what I did before I bought the spinner. Put your freshly cut and rinsed greens into one, step outside and whirl your arm like a ferris wheel a few times. Not only do you spin the water out of your romaine, but you also get a little exercise and entertain the neighbors who are relaxing on their patios and just hoping for a distraction from the ho-hum of their day.
  5. When you bring that bag of uncut greens home from the grocery, don't just put it away in the bowels of the fridge to be discovered a week later, limp and dreary. Take a few seconds to remove it from its original packaging or produce bag and give it a quick rinse. Then wrap it in a large muslin or linen tea towel and return it to the produce bag for storing in the fridge. It stays fresh much longer, and will be nice and crisp when you bring it out in a day or two.
  6. If you're like a lot of people who are trying to use vinegar to replace toxic cleaning chemicals in their homes, here's a tidbit you may not know. Some white vinegars are made from petroleum (crude oil)! Yikes! Be sure to check the label to see if it is made from corn and not petroleum.
  7. Speaking of vinegar, did you know that apple cider vinegar is one of the best treatments for a bad sunburn. Pour about a gallon into the bathtub and add tepid water. Climb in (you might want to wear noseclips for this step) and just start sponging that vinegary solution onto the red skin parts over and over until you turn good and pruney. It really is a cheap, effective sunburn remedy.
  8. When it comes to burns in the kitchen, there's always ice and there's aloe, but did you know that honey also soothes first-degree burns? Plus, you can lick your fingers afterwards.
  9. Ouch! I was walking home to show my little bumblebee to my mommy and I just up and decided to squish it up in my hands...and you know what, that bumblebee stung me! And you know what my mommy did? She made a paste out of meat tenderizer (unseasoned) and a drop or two of water and rubbed and rubbed that into my sting and the pain just went away in a few minutes. Isn't my mommy smart? Next time, though, I think I'll just bring her some pretty flowers...but first I'll check for bees.
That's all for today, friends. Did you know any of these? Kudos if you did!


Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Thanks for the tip about the yogurt; that was a good one!

And you handle ticks the same way I do! I get delight in the thought of them sufficitating to death.

dutchbaby said...

First, your new garlic header is gorgeous! I'm so inspired - thanks for the gardening tips.

Speaking of tips, these are so humorously told and useful too! I love tip #1 with the knot in the sheet corner. My husband and I sleep in a queen-sized bed with king-sized blankets. I think it's the secret of our success.

White vinegar a petroleum product? Crazy!

I look forward to licking my fingers after my next burn.

My daughter stepped barefoot on a bee at the end of her 3rd birthday party. Her babysitter made a poultice of a Benedryl tablet and applied it directly to the sting. Worked like a charm. One of the thousand reasons why she was our babysitter for 13 years.

ds said...

Yum to the garlic pic! There is at long last a farmer's market that appears on Sundays not far from me. One of the vendors this week was selling garlic scapes. What can one do with those?

I knew number 5. And my mommy used to put a patch of baking soda mixed with water on my bee stings.
Now to check the vinegar to see what it's made of...

Oliag said...

#1 I did not know and will give it a is always amazing how much the sheets move around in the middle of the night!...

I have heard that meat tenderizer is the way to go on bee stings but have never tried it...My mother was of the baking soda paste persuasion...I like the idea of the crushed Benadryl tablet too.

I can't seem to get my head around the honey on burns idea...sounds painful to me even if tasty...The nurse in me tells me not to put anything sticky on burns:)

Now I have to go and check my vinegar too:)

California Girl said...

Thirty years ago, my girlfriend was loadeding her freshly washed salad greens into a cloth bag and swinging it about to get the water out. Worked great!

As for a vinegar bath, how 'bout sponging it on? I love using fresh Aloe juice, out of the plant. Unfortunately there are no Aloe plants in New England. It works wonders, however.

The Bumbles said...

I like your last 3 tips especially - as Bumbles we are more prone to accidents!

My only tip is to tuck a dryer sheet under your hat when out doing yard work - it will keep the mosquitoes away.

VioletSky said...

*snort* at #4!
and I used to use the net bags for my greens, but now I have more tips on what to do with all my teatowels

I knew about the apple cider vinegar on burns! In fact, (shamefacedly admitting) I seem to have forgotten to put sunscreen on my face the other day while sitting in the sun at the music festival....
sponging it on is the way to go, though I am still a little red ... and crave chips.

VioletSky said...

that would be 'fries' to you.
and we put vinegar on our chips/fries (though not ACV, I prefer malt)

Wanda said...

I didn't know the fact about white vinegar, but along the way, I've learned most of the other things. Now I need to go check that white vinegar!


Cindy said...

Great tips Susie Homemaker! So sorry you have ticks... hate those little buggers. We just have mosquitoes, flies, fleas and yellow jackets, all of which could take a permanent vacation and I would be quite happy about it.

Do you have a helpful hint for shingles? My hubby has them, and is in a lot of pain (and when he's not feeling well, I suffer too). I always thought this was something old people got, but he's only 45.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I love your helpful hints! I love the visual of you standing out in front of your house flinging a net bag of lettuce around! Wonder what the weirdo next door to me would think?

Ruth said...

I did not know about the petroleum thing, Missy. YUCK.

So, I can lose the 2.5 lb. weights and ditch the salad spinner, and just twirl my arms for a while? The chickens were scared of me before.

I think I need to tell Don about that knotted sheet corner trick . . .

Good tips, Miss Susie!

alaine@éclectique said...

Susan, thanks for those tips, particularly the vinegar......Oh, horrors, to think we use it in cooking! I'll definitely be checking the label!

Char said...

:) love the sheet tip - i have to try that!

Susan said...

Hi Sandy! I used to pour off the whey from the yogurt, but it actually has a lot of nutritive value in it, so I started doing this. It's kind of amazing that it does that.

Yes, I take delight in watching the little buggers squirm until I fold them up in the tape. Is that sadistic? You're darn tootin'!

Susan said...

Thanks, dutchbaby! It's my new favorite header...of course, I say that about all of them! :)

Unfortunately, when you have a king-size bed there's no upgrade in size, so this is the next best thing.

That's a good idea about the Benadryl. I'll have to try it next time I get stung. Yellowjacket season will be here before we know it!

Susan said...

ds, I knew you could use garlic scapes for cooking, but didn't know how, so I googled and there was a lot of ideas out there. Here's one site:

I guess they would be a milder form of the garlic taste? Something like scallions::onions?

My mom always used baking soda on stings. The tenderizer works a little faster because the papaya that it's made from neutralizes the venom.

Susan said...

Oliag, the honey on burns is an old-timey remedy and it really does work because of its properties. Here's a link to a NYT article:

As I said to ds, the papaya in the tenderizer neutralizes the venom, so it really does work well.

Something I forgot about sunburns is to take ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory which helps reduce the heat in the sunburn. You probably already knew that, though.

Susan said...

Cali Girl, cloth bags or large tea towels work great for drying the greens, too. Your friend was ahead of the times!

I keep a large pump bottle of aloe vera gel for putting on sunburns. It's a lot less stinky than the vinegar. Kids complain about that...I don't know why! The plant is better for kitchen burns, but I have no south-facing windows to grow one, so I rely on kitchen products to do it.

Susan said...

Molly, being Bumbles I would expect you to have a dis-proportionate number of accidents! Always happy to be of service!

I'm going out to pick beans this morning, so I will try your dryer sheet method. There are a LOT of mosquitoes hiding in those bean plants!

Susan said...

Well, Sanna, the next time you forget your sunscreen, be sure to stop and get some chips to eat while you're treating your sunburn! I love chips with malt vinegar. I haven't had that in years...I need to find a good English pub. Actually, we have a facsimile here in town called Old Bag of Nails Pub. And their specialty is fish and chips. Hmmmm, lunch anyone?

Susan said...

Wanda, somehow I knew you would know most of these! A good Ohio girl like you!

It's mostly the el cheapo WV that is made from petroleum. I think if you stick to name brands, you're okay. Although it would seem like the other way around, wouldn't it? Isn't corn still cheaper than crude oil?

Susan said...

Cindy, ooh, ouchie, poor hubby! I really have no experience with shingles, but I found this on

"Get a helping hand from nail polish remover. For a homemade treatment that really works, crush two aspirin tablets (not Tylenol or another pain reliever) into a powder and mix with two tablespoons of acetone-containing nail polish remover. Stir into a solution and apply to the affected area with a clean cotton ball, advises Robert B. King, M.D., professor of neurosurgery at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse College of Medicine. To prevent possible burning, do not apply the solution to any folds in the skin where it would not have a chance to dry. Relief starts within five minutes and may last for several hours.

The acetone-based nail polish remover removes dead skin cells, soap residue and oil, while the aspirin desensitizes affected nerve endings. Don't use this mixture, however, if you are allergic to aspirin, as it may cause a reaction in some aspirin-sensitive people. Also, keep the mixture away from your eyes."

It sounds weird enough to work, and is recommended by a neurosurgeon, so it seems to be authentic. I think I would try it on a small area first though.

Hope he's better soon!

Susan said...

Sandy, you crack me up! Probably the same thing that my weird friend next door would think...that I'd lost my ever-lovin' mind! Of course, she never steps foot outside, so she would most likely not see me! :D

Susan said...

I know, Ruthie...isn't that gross?!! Who knew?

No, no, no! The chickens aren't afraid of you! They're just very respectful of anyone who has a brain bigger than a pea! ;-)

Maybe you'd better stick with the weights, though. I think this exercise is mostly good for seeing how much wind velocity you can get going with underarm flappies! (of which you have none!)

Thank you, Miss Ruthie!

Susan said...

You're welcome, Alaine! Yes, go check that label now!

Susan said...

Char, glad you liked really works!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea about the white vinegar! Or the honey. Since we always have these on hand your tips will some in handy :)

Susan said...

Always happy to serve, Stacy!