Decoration or Preparation?

I admit it; I got the candles out for decorations for Valentine’s Day. I decided to use my snowmen decorations along with the hearts.

I got out all the wine colored candles to use in the kitchen because they would match the valance. I had a small table runner that I made using the matching napkin as on the valance at the window.

I arranged the candles so the decorative side would be between the two doors. I thought it was just decoration, but it wasn’t.


Saturday, I had just finished practicing when the power went out. Apparently, something major got broken because it was out for 5 1/2 hours.

I told my son I was going to open the cupboard doors under the sink.

“Why?” he asked.

“If the power is off overnight, the pipes could freeze. The cupboards are not heated. If you open the doors, the air will warm up to the temperature of the room,” I explained.

When David got home, I reminded him that he could light the stove top with a match and cook soup for lunch. We hadn’t opened the refrigerator or freezer, and I kept the sheer curtains open while the sun was shining in.

I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. We didn’t have “snow days;” we had blizzards that lasted 3 days to 2 weeks. We were always prepared. My family laughs at me because I keep 4 liters of boiled water in the closet and dry milk on hand.

“What next?” my son asks.

“Report the loss of power using the landline phone mounted on the wall in the kitchen.” I dug the number out of my much-maligned DayTimer and he made the call.

I read a book while I waited for the power to come back on. After 2 hours, I decided we might be in for a long haul.

I pulled out 2 of my retractable clotheslines and hung the load that had been in the washer on them. I brought upstairs a few items we might need: 3 sleeping bags, 2 oil lamps, 2 candles in glass jars, and 1 camping coffee pot.

We had just lit the last candle when the power came back on.

My Valentine's Day Candles.

My Valentine’s Day Candles.

©2009-2016 All Rights Reserved.


Foil Stuck to Food or Fused to the Bottom of the Oven?

I usually keep foil on the bottom of my oven to catch drips. (The manufacturer tells you never to put anything on the bottom of your oven.)

For some reason, the foil was missing when something ran over. It was right before Thanksgiving and I didn’t have time to clean the oven. I put more foil down on top of it.


When I pulled the foil off, a section stayed stuck to the bottom.

This section of foil was stuck.

This section of foil was stuck.

I researched how to get it off, and found that there are two different problems:

  1. The foil is stuck to food on the bottom of the oven, or
  2. The foil has been fused to the bottom by high heat.

(The “Clean” cycle will not remove the foil; it will fuse it to the bottom of the oven.)

We cook our turkey on 500° for the first half hour. I knew there was food it was stuck to, but I didn’t know if it was fused to the oven bottom. I tried a trick that chef’s use to clean pans.

I put a dryer sheet down, poured boiling water over it, and let it sit overnight.

Dryer sheet to the rescue.

Dryer sheet to the rescue.

Whistle while you work...

Whistle while you work…

Just cover the area with boiling water.

Just cover the area with boiling water.


Some of the foil came right off.

Some of the foil came right off, but some stayed fused to the bottom of the oven.

I did more research and found they recommended using “Draino” or “Easy Off” to remove the foil. Since it is a chemical reaction, (it gets hot and there are bad fumes), they recommended taking the bottom piece out of the oven and doing it outside.

Right. It was below zero here!

Is there a better way? One of the chemicals mentioned was the same as Coke, (according to one of the comments). I got a Coke, poured it over the remnant, and let it sit overnight.

Well…this is the embarrassing part…

My daughter came over to watch our granddaughter because I had to leave and her parents weren’t back yet. She asked to make cookies and I thought it was a great idea!

I was playing the keyboard at practice when my phone vibrated with this text…


I forgot about the Coke! So, I got out another dryer sheet, doused it with boiling water, and started over. Most of the burnt Coke came up.

I poured more Coke over the foil and waited. That did not work.

I ran the “Clean” cycle last night.

The burned coke is gone, but the foil is still there.

The burned coke is gone, but the foil is still there.

The good news? You can determine if the foil is stuck to food or fused to the oven with the dryer sheet trick! The bad news? I have to take time this weekend to try to remove the fused foil. Sigh.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

World’s Largest Diffuser!

Everyone wants curly hair…

…except those who do.

Most ladies with curly hair let it grow long, without bangs. The bangs tend to spring up like coils.


I was watching a one-year-old and a four-year-old because their regular babysitter had to go to the emergency room. The older one knew me; the younger one did not. She cried great, big tears when she woke up and everything was unfamiliar.

I lay her down next to the four-year-old, and said, “She just doesn’t know me.”

“It’s your wild hair,” replied the four-year-old.

I burst out laughing and shared the story with everyone for the next week. I thought it was hilarious. Oh, the honesty of children.


The truth about curly hair is you have to wash it, adjust the curls based on your hair’s temperament that day, and then sit still until it dries naturally.

But who has two hours to do that!

On Christmas Eve, I found a fantastic diffuser.

We did not have a white Christmas; it was rather warm that week. I got ready for the Christmas Eve Candlelight service a little late and my hair was still wet. I went into the living room and sat on the ottoman to wait until it was time to leave.

Moving warm air from window with fans.

My living room.

The ceiling fan was on because I had baked earlier. It is the world’s best diffuser! It dried my hair without disturbing my curls.

World's best diffuser!

World’s largest diffuser!

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

Fill in the Cracks

One thing you can never accuse me of is being a fake. I am transparent and have been known to share too much information.

I look at other blogs and all of their houses look perfect. Mine doesn’t and I take pictures of it anyway. I try to skip the worst parts…like the basketball court, my youngest drew on his bedroom carpet with a permanent marker. Sigh.

Today’s pictures will prove my point.

They built our home in 1971 and I swear they put in windows they took out of a trailer. They were Plexiglass with metal frames. Some even had a single pane. At the first opportunity…13 years after we bought the house…we put in replacement windows. At the time they did not make replacement windows for the basement.

The original Plexigalss windows that were in our basement.

The original Plexiglass windows that were in our basement. Note the key rings that are attached to the tabs. In case of fire, they make it easier to remove the windows.

When my husband started his new job at a different lumber company, he found there was a company that now makes replacement windows for the basement. I begged him to buy four.

After he installed them, he thought, “Great! No more plastic.”

Man, was he ticked when he came home and found I had put rope caulk around the windows and taped plastic over them in the laundry room.

(He’s not the one doing laundry under a cold, north facing window!)

The new windows are perfect. The window wells are not! I could still feel air coming in. I put rope caulk around the windows to seal the cracks.

The new windows are twice a thick and with frames that will not have to be painted.

The new windows are twice a thick and with frames that will not have to be painted.

He planned on painting the window wells this fall, but it got postponed to next spring. Obviously, our basement is not finished! You can see my sloppy caulking job between the cement foundation and the blue insulation!

If there’s a crack anywhere, I fill it up!

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

When the Vinegar and Baking Soda Trick Does Not Work on Towels

I was relaxing in the tub and dropped my washcloth into the water. It seemed to float! Amazing! It took several minutes to absorb the water and sink.

I live in an area with very hard water and we do not have a water softener. I read in several places the trick of washing your towels with vinegar and baking soda.

It didn’t work!

After more research, I found it is better to rinse your towels and washcloths with ammonia, not vinegar.

1. Fight mineral deposits.
If you’ve got hard water, mineral buildup could be the culprit. “To lift deposits, wash the towels in the hottest water possible, and add 1 cup of ammonia and nothing else,” says Good Housekeeping home care expert Heloise.

I fill a downy ball with ammonia. It helped the towels, but my washcloths were still scratchy.

Then I remembered my hairdresser told me to rinse my hair with warm water and baking soda to remove any build-up of products. I got out a bucket, dumped a half a cup of baking soda in it and filled it with hot water. (You can buy baking soda in a 4 lb box.)

I soaked the washcloths for a day before I washed them. That softened them up and they started to absorb water better.

My washcloths are ten years old and that is a lot of build-up to remove. I didn’t keep track of which washcloths I had previously soaked. (Sorry) I don’t know how many times I soaked them in baking soda, but I recommend doing it more than once. You may notice a huge improvement after soaking them just once. I also used a 5-gallon bucket. You could use more baking soda in a smaller bucket. (Yes, I should be more scientific! Lol)

Soaking washcloths to remove build-up.

Soaking washcloths and hand towels to remove build-up.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

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Save Time, Money, Water, and Electricity with This Laundry Tip

When my father was planning to retire, he decided to upgrade his older appliances. His dryer worked fine, but he wanted to have a matching set. My dryer was dying and he offered his old one to us. He wasn’t sure how long it would last.

That was ten years ago and his dryer is still running!

What did I do to extend its life?

I followed a tip I first heard at

“Put your dryer on the ‘Delicate’ setting and dry everything on the ‘Permanent Press’ cycle.”

Your dryer’s heating element on low extends its life. The clothes dry just as quickly…even towels!

Another thing I do is get the clothes out of the dryer on the first buzz. If there are items that are not completely dry, I put them back in the dryer and let it run while I fold the remaining clothes. They are usually dry before I get the rest folded. If not, like the double pockets on jeans, I throw them over the retractable clothesline, see here.

I take the time to shake out each larger item before I put them in the dryer. Clothes tangled in a ball take longer to dry, and it leaves them hopelessly wrinkled.

I turn flannel pajama pants and sweatpants inside out to allow the pockets to dry completely. I even fold the jeans into a “Z” to keep them from tangling. (Don’t forget the tennis balls, see here.) It really helps if you have white jeans washed with other white fabrics, see here.


In November our washer started leaking. The repairman said a bearing was failing and it wore a hole in a hose. He repaired the hose and it still leaked. When he came back he found the second leak was from the gasket on my front load washing machine.

That disgusted me!

We had to replace that gasket twice while it was still under warranty. The gasket cost $100.00 and the labor to replace it was $200.00. The repairman told me to use it until the ball bearing completely failed. We both agreed it would not be wise to invest another $300.00 in the machine.

Our washing machine is 12″ from a drain and there is nothing between it and the drain. It has been no problem to just let it leak when I run it. The water just goes down the drain.

I was so pleased with the dryer’s longevity, that I decided to find a way to make a washer last longer. Then it hit me…

the “Speed Wash” cycle!

That cycle runs for 38 minutes and the regular cycle has an extra rinse and runs for 61 minutes. I started my clothes on the “Speed Wash Cycle” for a few months now and they are just as clean. I treat stains as usual before throwing them in the wash.

The great thing is the washer cycle finishes a few minutes after the dryer’s first buzz. I have time to fold that load before putting the next load in the dryer. A load used to take 2 hours to wash and dry; now it takes an hour and fifteen minutes.

I wash 2 loads a day and I finish in an hour and a half, including the time to fold the clothes. It used to take me over 3 hours to do the same 2 loads. It’s wonderful to finish my laundry in half of the time!

A tip to save time, water, electricity, and wear and tear on your machines.

A tip to save time, water, electricity, and wear and tear on your machines.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.


I was at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party and I noticed she had a “Pack and Play” tucked in the walk-in closet of her master bedroom. I remembered when my granddaughter was a baby, I would put the “Pack and Play” between the bed and the closet door.

There is just enough room for the "Pack and Play"

There is just enough room for the “Pack and Play”

I would like to have a bigger bedroom but found there is enough room.

When my daughter moved out…again…I moved a computer desk into that room. We also keep an air mattress set up for those times my granddaughter visits. I rolled the comfortable office chair in there because I spend more time writing than David spends working on the finances! I was happy that there is just enough room in there for both functions.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension to write in the spare bedroom.

There is just enough room to pull out the extension and write in the spare bedroom.

Bigger is not always better. It is more expensive to purchase maintain. I am happy with just enough.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.











No Ads, No Pop-Ups, No Donations

December 29th was this blog’s 6th anniversary. I thought by now I would be making a little money.


Last year, I took a few blogging courses and my first post of the year was my most popular ever. Unfortunately, it was the post about my husband losing his job and a few months later that business, which started in 1926, closed its doors for the last time.

I would rather my husband keep his new job than to have another popular post!

One of the things recommended in these courses was to visit other blogs with which you have something in common. I visited several blogs that interested me and even followed a few. I would just start reading and a pop-up ad would ask me to follow that blog.

They were annoying.

I started blogging because I like to write. Starting a blog to make money, leads to disappointment quickly. Are you willing to write a post on Christmas Day? I spent four hours on Christmas writing a post that I just had to get down on paper.

This year I am starting with a new approach, “No Ads, No Pop-Ups, No Donations.” I never have requested donations, or set up any pop-ups, but I did have ads.

When ended their affiliate marketing, I decided to end all advertising. I didn’t make any money anyway. (It cost you to block advertising.) I went to my “word ads” page to see how much I have accumulated in the last six years.


They won’t cut a check until the amount reaches $100.00 and I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I set it up to keep all ads off of both of my blogs.

What’s my point?

Money is not a good motivation to start a blog. It is better to just live on what you are making now. Better, not easier…and I will be here to give you ideas, tips, and pointers.

2016 is going to be a great year!

A blank piece of paper.

A blank piece of paper. A fresh start.


©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

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