With the holiday looming and lots of fall parties to go to, you always want to bring a gift to the hostess. I like to take homemade gifts because they are personal. Depending on your talent, they can be crafts or delicious treats from your kitchen. Here is one my friends like. I put it in a decorative jar with a pretty bow and sometimes include a tea cup or mug or cookies.
HELOISE’S FRIENDSHIP TEA
2 ½ cups powdered orange-flavored breakfast drink
1 ¾ powered instant tea, not sweetened
2 to 2 ½ cups sugar or to taste
1 small package lemonade mix (makes 2 quarts)
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Blend together all dry mix ingredients. Store in a tightly sealed jar.
2. To serve, use 1 to 2 teaspoons mix per 6 to 8 ounces of hot water.
Dental floss is used to well, keeping gums and teeth healthy. But there are many other Heloise Hints to use the cheap product around the house. It’s great for emergencies too. Can you guess?
1. Sew on a button. It works better than thread.
2. Cut cheese, cakes or other food items. Unflavored please!
3. Use as a shoelace when you don’t have time to buy new ones.
4. String beads or popcorn.
Old furniture can develop small cracks or scratches. Wood furniture needs good polish, so it does not dry out. If there are big problems, check with a furniture pro, but there are a few Heloise Hints you can do to cover the small issues:
1. Wax sticks that you can find at hardware or big-box stores are handy. Match the wax stick color to the wood finish. They can cover up deep scratches or cracks in wood.
2. Rub the stick into the crack until the wax is flush with the surface.
3. Then, heat a putty knife with a hair dryer or in hot water. Use the flat side to press the area filled with the wax to make sure you have an even, smooth surface. You may need to re-do until it’s filled in.
We know, it’s important for every family member to have all of the key numbers needed in case of an emergency. Some numbers are more important than others. Here are the steps you should take to ensure your family is protected:
1. Post emergency numbers by home phones and program them into everyone’s cell phone. Be sure work numbers of Mom and Dad or emergency contact are in those phones! These numbers also can be kept in wallets, appointment/family calendars or in your computer.
2. Key numbers, such as police and fire are at the top of the list. Teach small children how to call 9-1-1. Nine, One, One. NOT Nine Eleven.
3. Here is the checklist of other numbers family members should be able to access easily: Poison control, hospital, family doctor, insurance agent, electric, gas and water, plumber and at least 2 neighbors.
Clean your home generally is not fun! Do you know what steps to take or what products would be best to do the job better? Here are four Heloise Hints to help you:
1. Before you choose a commercial cleaning product for a specific task, read the label first! Cleaners vary widely. Be aware that a number may have to be diluted before using. Others should not be mixed or applied to some surfaces.
2. Prepare the area to be cleaned by removing food, dirt or debris. Vacuuming will get rid of dirt from many surfaces.
3. Exactly what is the dirt? All dirt is NOT the same. Use the right cleaner for the right job. If you are unclear of whether the cleanser could hurt the surface, test a small spot or do not use it at all.
4. Be certain you apply enough cleaner to cover the surface. Then leave it on for the recommended time or at least 30-60 seconds, so it can work. Do not wipe it off right away because you’ll have to repeat the cleaning process. Why waste your effort and money doing a job twice!
These are great coverings for floors, but they get dirty and need special cleaning. How you clean will depend on what kind you have: Natural-fiber sisal, like sea grass, coconut or paper fibers or synthetic fiber sisal consisting of nylon or wool-blend materials. Here’s what to do:
1. For synthetic-fiber sisals, read and follow the manufacturer’s recommended directions, which may be a dry-cleaning method or hot-water extraction.
2. For perking up natural-fiber sisals, manufacturers recommend using only a dry-cleaning method. Never steam-clean or wet-shampoo this type of sisal. Too much dampness can cause natural-fiber rugs to shrink or pucker.
3. For cleaning stains, lightly mist the affected area with only the cleaning solution the manufacturer recommends. Do not pour any cleanser directly onto the rug. Instead, lightly spray and blot the area with a white towel until the stain is gone.
4. For preventing stains on sisal rugs, use a fabric-protectant to cover the rug, which will lessen with use and need to be reapplied.
When you are in the den or living in room and watching TV, don’t just sit around!
When those endless TV commercials come on, take those minutes to get something simple done. Straighten up, clean up, and clean out clutter. It’s amazing how much what you can do in just a few minutes:
1. Put back what needs to be in place, like toys (pet and kids!) books or pillows.
2. Get rid of that stack of magazines or newspapers. First, go through them to clip the articles you want to save and put them into a paper file or scan into your computer.
3. Give the rug or carpet a quick look. If needed, go over it to pick up crumbs and debris with the vacuum. Take a small rug outside to simple shake away crud!
4. NEVER LEAVE A ROOM EMPTY-HANDED! If you go to get more food or drink, take the dirty glasses and plates that go to the kitchen. Take trash to the garbage bin!
It happens all too often, you are making a recipe, and discover that you don’t have one of the ingredients. What to do at the last minute? Check your pantry! Here are several substitutions you can make for the 1 cup of milk called for in the recipe—which you don’t have!
1. Mix nondairy coffee creamer with water to make 1 cup.
2. Stir ½ cup of evaporated milk with ½ cup of water.
3. Mix powdered milk and water to make 1 cup.
What do you do if take drinking glasses out of the dishwasher and suddenly notice that they are cloudy—even though they are clean? Here’s how to check to see if the cloudiness caused by etching or can be removed.
Here is the Heloise way to find out if drinking glasses have a hard-water buildup or are permanently scratched or etched: Heat full-strength vinegar and soak the glasses in it. However, if they are delicate or fine crystal, use only warm vinegar.
Rub the glasses with a plastic scrubber, rinse and dry well by hand. Examine the glasses to see if the cloudiness has gone. If it is, the cause could be because of hard-water or because of using too much or too little dishwasher detergent. If the cloudiness remains, the glasses may be scratched permanently.
Even though we e-mail so many of our digital photos, we also print them out. With the holidays coming up, picture taking will be part of every event, so here are some Heloise Hints on how to save and protect the photos and memories captured in them:
1. If you print pictures using an ink-jet printer, get pigment-ink instead of dye-ink because your photos will last a lot longer. Check the cartridges to find those that indicate pigment on the packages.
2. Always store photo albums in a cool, dry place. Also, be sure to clean and take care of your CD discs.
3. Examine older photos every now-and-then to monitor on their condition, so you won’t find out too late that they have deteriorated.
4. Be aware that daylight and ultraviolet light causes photos to fade, yellow or get brittle. To help preserve favorite shots, switch the photos you have on display in frames on a regular basis.