If you have stored these chairs over the winter, they may need a thorough cleaning to make them look nice on your patio or deck. Here’s what to do:
1. Hose them down to remove dirt or debris.
2. If you notice stains, make a solution with ¾ cup of household bleach and 1 tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent with 1 gallon of water (be sure to test this mixture on a hidden spot to ensure that the plastic does not discolor).
3. Wear rubber gloves and rub the mixture over the stained areas. Let this remain on the chair for 5 to 15 minutes. Then rinse well and air dry.
When you are getting ready to go to a picnic and are packing a cooler,
use these hints to help keep food and drinks stay cold:
1. When you open the cooler, first add a layer of ice to the bottom. Then, put in the food, which is in sealed containers or plastic food bags. On top, add water bottles, juice packs that are 7/8th full and frozen. You can also put in frozen gel packs. They thaw, and in the process, keep the food cool.
2. Place the cooler inside the car, not in the trunk. When you arrive at your destination, put the cooler in a shady location, not in the sun. Make sure when everyone opens the cooler to get drinks, that they close it immediately.
If you are planning lots of backyard barbecues, parties or beach gatherings, you can save money by buying sturdy plastic plates, containers and silverware and reusing them over the summer. Here’s how to care for and make them last longer:
1. If the dishes are really sturdy, put them in the dishwasher. If not, wash by hand in hot, soapy water and dry completely.
2. If the containers stink or are stained, make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub really well. If they still smell, fill with newspaper that you have crumpled up, which will absorb the odors and the seal with the lids. Let it sit for several days. Wash again and the smell should be gone.
3. Stack and store safely, so they don’t get damaged or break.
Baking soda can be used for all kinds of cleaning tasks and odor removal. Keep several boxes handy for use during the busy summer. For more baking soda hints, you can find them at my website here.
These beautiful pans look so great when they are nice and shiny, but they do get discolored. Here’s how you can restore that shine:
1. Create a paste by mixing salt and vinegar together or by using ketchup, which has vinegar in it and is already thick.
2. Rub the paste/ketchup onto the copper with a sponge or paper towel.
3. When it’s shiny again, rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
When you make that delicious gravy that enhances so many dishes, it’s inevitable, it seems, that those unsightly, and definitely not tasty, lumps suddenly appear. Here’s how to prevent them:
1. Blend a bit of a thickening agents, like cornstarch or flour, with a bit of hot liquid, such as milk, bouillon or water, to create a paste and stir it into the rest of the hot liquid.
2. Add this to gravy, sauces or casseroles or soups.
When you receive chocolate as a gift, you may not, as unlikely as this seems, want to eat it all up at one time. Chocolate can be affected negatively by heat, light or other strong odors. Here’s what to do to extend the shelf life:
1. Wrap chocolate well and put into a sealed plastic bag. You should store it in a cool, dry place, not near the stove.
2. You can put chocolate into the refrigerator or freezer. It should last about a year. But if you notice a white coating or a texture change, it probably should be tossed out.
After checking in, when you first go into your room, take these steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay:
1. First, get out alcohol wipes or anti-germ gel and wipe down the TV remote, phone, door handles and other surfaces. Germs from previous guests can linger on surfaces for hours.
2. Put valuables and your wallet in the same place every time you re-enter the room. You will know exactly where they are and not leave them behind.
3. Request extra towels or pillows as you as you are in the room. You will be prepared for the evening.
4. Always put the chain on the door and keep it locked during the day and evening.
This cabinet gets so much daily use and consequently so much dirt, debris, grime and spilled liquids. Here’s how to clear out and reorganize:
1. First, lay down newspaper on the kitchen floor. Then remove everything and put onto the newspaper.
2. Toss all bottles that have just a tad of remaining liquid inside, about ¼ inch or so.
3. Examine all dated containers and get rid of anything that is a couple of years old or if the contents look bad.
4. Wipe down the whole inside, including pipes and remove all spills.
5. Put down peel-and-stick tiles on the bottom or line just with heavy-duty aluminum foil to contain spills.
6. Corral cleaning bottles in plastic bins.
When you are baking and mixing the ingredients, here are some hints on how to do this the right way with the mixer or hand mixing:
1. If you have large nut pieces or chocolate chips, they can be chopped up into smaller pieces with the mixer, which you may not want.
2. So instead, hand mix the chips and nuts into the batter to retain their size/shape for the recipes you are making. Also, do this for chunks of dried fruit and dates.
If you have to freeze a cake, it’s better to freeze without filling or frosting because they make the cake soggy. Here are the steps to take:
1. Wrap the cake in a couple of layers of plastic after it is completely cooled and then put into a container, so it doesn’t get crushed. Note: Cakes don’t freeze totally solid.
2. To thaw the cake, don’t take the wrapping right off, but allow it to thaw at room temperature, which may take an hour or so.
NOTE: Unfrosted cakes freeze well for up to 3 months, but frosted ones do okay for only about 1 month.