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Saving Time with Beans
I read a long time ago that freezing beans before cooking breaks down the protein fibers just as soaking them does. It works and it saves time. Just take the bag of beans and place them in the freezer overnight to skip the soaking or pre-cooking time normally required.
Bonnie in Arkansas
When measuring sticky liquids like honey or molasses, spray the measuring cup with cooking spray. The honey or molasses will pour right out without sticking to the cup. It works every time!
Wet Cell Phones
The best thing to do if your phone is wet or gets immersed is to immediately take out the battery, wrap the phone and battery separately in paper towel, and cover both with rice for several hours.
When vacationing, avoid the cute tourist gift shops. Look instead at the local discount store (Wal-Mart) where you can often find t-shirts, caps, etc. with the logos of the area for a fraction of the cost! We found cute t-shirts for $4 at a Wal-Mart near Plymouth, Mass. where similar ones were $10 or more at the gift shops.
Rhonda in Kansas
Free Drawer Organizers
Drawer organizers can be made from any box. The bottom few inches of a cracker box can hold paperclips. The bottom of a cereal box can separate the steak knives from the regular cutlery. Tape the top and bottom and use the sides of a cereal box to create two long drawer dividers and use one for the long spoons and the other for rulers and cutters in your sewing area. These boxes can be shallow or cut with higher sides to better fit the depth of your drawers. If they seem flimsy, strengthen them with a layer or two of masking tape. A shoebox in a dresser drawer can keep socks corralled. One of the best things about these is that they are free, and if you spill something on one, you can just toss it and make a new one.
The Charity Potluck
It is said that charity begins at home. Because my family is on such a tight budget, it is sometimes impossible to give money to a worthy cause, as much as we would love to help. Recently, we felt the urge to give to a worthy cause at our church, but could only afford to give $10 to $20. We came up with the idea of a "Potluck with a Purpose." Assuming that many of our friends were experiencing the same woes, we invited eight couples to come to a potluck and bring a sealed envelope with the amount of money that they would have spent taking their family out to eat. It could be the equivalent of a nice restaurant or, in our case, fast food. No one knew what the others were giving and it was all in cash. At the end of the evening, we had collected $347 for our church project. Sweet! We all had a great evening together and served an even greater purpose.
Removing Urine Smells
I recently purchased a large used rabbit cage that was heavily stained by the previous occupant's urine. I tried scrubbing and scraping, but nothing worked. I finally covered the floor of the cage with white vinegar. I only had to give it a quick scrub and a rinse after about half of an hour, and it came out like new! Now I use it on my rabbit's litter pan regularly to keep it from accumulating stains. However, I always make sure to rinse it well, as my rabbit doesn't like the smell of the vinegar. I've also used it on the bottom of my cockatiel's cage since then, and it also came out like new!
Mary-Ann, Victoria BC
Before My Doctor's Visit
I always have my annual blood and urine testing done before I go to my annual physical. Call about two weeks before your scheduled appointment and have the doctor's office send the necessary paperwork to the lab where the tests are done. Your test results will be sent back to the doctor before your visit. You then have current test results and can discuss any problems with your doctor at that time and not just the quick telephone conversation after your appointment.
Tina K. in Littleton, CO
We often buy discounted DVDs or borrow them. Many have annoying skips. My teenage daughter took a movie DVD that skipped so much it was unwatchable and cleaned it with the spray and cleaning cloth that comes with our eyeglasses. The DVD was completely restored. We have used this tip often in the past few years. We really enjoy movies, so this has saved us trips to the theater and provided much entertainment.
Serious About Recycling
When our recliner broke and could not be fixed, we decided to recycle as much of it as possible. I cut off the back fabric panel and one of the side panels to make pillows for our couch. I also cut open other parts of the recliner to get to the stuffing that they used in it. I now have enough stuffing to make more pillows than we need. The metal parts are going to the recycling center in town. My husband burned the wood.
The Lunch Game
When I was little, I tended to throw away everything in my lunch sack. My mother started drawing a picture on the lunch sack, and when I brought it all home, she would add something to the picture. The next day at lunch, all my friends would gather around to try to spot what she added. I was so careful with my lunch sacks that a little paper sack would often last a whole month.
It took a few school years to actually make it all the way through one package of small paper bags. I now have my own children in college and still remember how special my mom made lunch everyday, just by the pictures that she drew.