Alternative Uses for Common Household Products

926720_76229931Plastic Bottles – Use for keeping things cool in your cooler. Fill 3/4 full and stick in your freezer and pull out when you need it for your cooler.

Steel Cans – Remove label and replace with your own fun label or construction paper. Decorate and use for your own office supply holder.

Old Suitcase – Use to store wrapping paper, tissues, bows and all your wrapping paraphernalia so you can easily pull it out when you need to wrap gifts.

Old Socks – Pull over hands to dust crevices of lampshades, furniture, blinds and any hard to reach place.

Glass Jars РClean and use to store screws, nails, pens, pencils, rocks, sea shells or just about anything.  Use the original lid, cork or decorative fabric.

Cardboard Tubes – Wrap extension cords or a string of lights around them for tangle-free storage.

Toothbrush – Use for cleaning auto parts or grooves between the tiles in your bathroom.

Greeting Cards – Make into gift tags by cutting with pinking shears and punching hole in the corner.

Shower Curtain – Use to cover your table while the kids are painting or doing a craft.

Film Canisters РFill with aspirin, change or lotion for purse or backpack.

Eating Out on a Budget

1105305_37239518I love food, love it! But I as my checking account dwindles I am finding that I really need to slow down on eating out. I love to eat out, try new restaurants and spend time with friends but now I have started looking for ways to make my favorite past time a bit of a cheaper enjoyment than it previously has been.

Here are some ways to eat out on a budget:

Always check the restaurant website for a happy hour menu. Try making your meals out early in the evening to enjoy the cheaper eats. Happy hour most of times has some of the same options as the regular menu without the high price tag.

Look around for coupons. A lot of local restaurants have coupons in the paper or ads that come once a month in the mail. If you find coupons for a restaurant you frequent, keep them handy(in your purse or wallet) for those surprise meals out. Another great place to find coupons is in the Entertainment Book, they offer a lot of 50% off or 2-for-1 meals. Also it doesn’t hurt to check the restaurant website to see if they have any coupons online.

Stay away from drinks. Simply order water and you will save a lot of money on a family of four.

If you have kids, check out restaurants where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.

Share a meal. This morning I shared a meal with my sis at a local restaurant that offers a lower price in the morning for their special of the day and our total with drinks came to under $9.00.

10 Simple Ways to Relax

1191285_80138577Hard day at work? Kids driving you nuts at home? Need to find a way to relax and unwind? Here are 10 simple ways to relax.

  1. Rent a funny, happy movie, Laughter releases tension and helps put life back in perspective.
  2. Get moving! Pop in your favorite CD or turn to your favorite radio station and dance for a few songs. This will revitalize your body and mind and you’ll be ready to face anything.
  3. Have you ever heard of the phrase “take 5?” Set aside 5 or 10 minutes to have “you” time. Try waking up a little bit earlier than the rest of the house and enjoy the quiet alone (or with a nice cup of tea).
  4. Buy yourself a notebook or start a computer journal. Every night jot down happenings, thoughts and things accomplished that day, or even your frustrations. When your mind is “cleaned up,” it is easier to relax and fall asleep.
  5. Light a candle. Lavender, vanilla, sandalwood and spearmint are soothing scents to look for when purchasing special candles. The simple act of lighting a candle creates a soothing environment for you to relax in.
  6. Do yoga. If you don’t have time to join a yoga class at least once a week, then purchase a yoga video. Make time to do at least 15 minutes of yoga most days. This will help stretch and relax your muscles.
  7. Take a bubble bath. Put on some soft music, light a candle and enjoy a nice warm bubble bath. If you don’t want music, you can always take a book or magazine with you.
  8. Deep Breathe. Inhale deeply through your nostrils then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat several times until you begin to feel calm. Using this simple deep breathing technique can be helpful when you’re stuck in traffic with loud kids in the back seat.
  9. Use your imagination. Close your eyes and think about some place or thing that makes you feel calm. Hold that picture in your mind as you practice deep breathing. You might also try using imagery to relax while your scented candles burn and soothing music plays in the background.
  10. Read a book. Escape into a different world with a good book. The fictional world can be a great way to escape from the pressures of motherhood for half an hour or so.

The Skinny Jeans Workout

1075458_20766913I was reading CNN news online and came across this article ‘Skinny jeans’ class aims to aid your zip. Having never heard of this workout before I was interested to find out more about it. Jessica Ordona, a retail specialist with a commercial real estate firm in Bethesda, Maryland, says “It’s different than your typical workout class, it’s not high-impact cardio, but you’re sweating the whole time because you’re working every muscle group.”

The Skinny Jeans Workout concentrates on core muscles, balance and posture. A cross between ballet, butt-burning stretches and light weight lifting, the workout involves the entire body. Participants of the Skinny Jeans Workout class are encouraged to go barefoot during the class. Instructors say it increases the balance, and forces the body to be smarter. The class is held two days a week and each session is only a hour. Regulars at the class, swear that they have dropped several jean sizes ever since enrolling in the class months ago.

We have all worried about how we look in jeans and having a workout dedicated strictly to wearing jeans is attractive to most women and maybe even some men.

Another site,, has written an article with 7 exercises you can try at home for whatever specific issue you are dealing with.

If you want to buy the DVD, your best price is Best Buy – Lisa G’s Skinny Jeans Workout DVD.

4 Common Health Issues Fixed

44646_9698Below are some health issues that you may not know anything about. Issues that may at times take you by surprise. Here are some helpful hints to get you on your way to getting back to normal as quickly as possible when these come up.

1. Bumps on your tongue – These little bumps are actually inflated taste buds. Unless the bumps spread or don’t go away after 7 days, they’re nothing to worry about. Simply rinse your mouth with salt water to speed healing.

2. Airplane stomach – Do you get gassy when you fly, or stomach pains from the gas? Believe it or not there is something called high-altitude flatus expulsion. There is less air pressure at high altitudes, so any gas trapped inside you expands. Try to avoid things like soda and beans. And once your are airborne, Gas-X wont help.

3. Exercise itch – If your legs itch when you’ve been exercising outdoors in the cool morning air, the temperature is probably to blame. Its not well understood, but increased blood flow to the skin in cold air can trigger the release of histamines, the same substances released during allergic reactions. Pre work-out stretches and an antihistamine like Benadryl can help.

4. Eyelid twitch – That irritating eyelid spasm is a sign that you are way too tired. Physical exhaustion and stress can make your facial nerves fire spontaneously for no reason. Catch up on some sleep and lay off the caffeine.

7 Simple Ways to Lose Weight

Cherry red summer apple isolated on whiteIt doesn’t matter what time of year it is or what holidays or vacations are coming up, in almost every household in this country and beyond there is someone on a diet or someone who is trying to stay at their current weight.

Here are 7 simple ways to lose weight:

1. Eat at least 8 grams of fiber at breakfast. Four tasty high fiber breakfasts – Egg and cheese tortilla, whole wheat french toast, oatmeal with wheat germ and bananas or fiber rich banana pancakes.

2. Have a 150-calorie morning and afternoon snack. You can skip the am snack if your not hungry but an afternoon snack is nonnegotiable. If you go too long without eating your body will get low on blood sugar making you feel more hungry and cause you to eat more at dinner time than you would if you just had a small afternoon snack.

3. Plan at least 3 go-to breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Meals that are healthy that you can grab when you need something quick so that you don’t grab something that is bad for you.

4. Think twice about toppings and add-on’s. The simpler the better when dieting. You would be amazed by the amount of calories something as little as nuts or cheese add to your meal.

5. Make veggies the base of your lunch or dinner. Think of your meals as a pyramid: veggies should be the base, lean protein next, then a small amount of healthy carbs to top it off.

6. Have an after-dinner treat every day. We’re human; we need goodies, if you take them completely away then your diet plan will backfire. You should limit your after-dinner treat to 120 calories.

7. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Many studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to weigh more than those who do.

For more information on these 7 Simple Ways to Lose Weight check out Glamour Magazines May 2009 issue.

Rubber Bands to the Rescue

a5583259-7e5f-4268-8de4-90aea87ee133_t_6Rubber bands may not seem to have many magical powers but those stretchy things that we find wrapped around the mail or at the bottom of the junk drawer have much potential. Check out these 10 uses for rubber bands, some will surprise you, others may be old news, but all are useful.

1. Temporarily stop a water leak in a garden hose. Wind a thick rubber band around the hole in the garden hose to stop the leak until you have time to replace it. The rubber band is waterproof and will plug the hole.

2. Stop the cutting board from moving. Place rubber bands around each end of the cutting board to prevent slipping. The rubber grips the surface making it easier to chop.

3. Use as an eraser. Fold a rubber band in half a few times and use it to erase pencil markings.

4. Car visor receipt/paper holder. Wrap a few rubber bands around your cars driver-side sun visor. Conveniently holds miscellaneous papers, parking stubs, etc. under the rubber band.

5. Toddler proof your cabinets. Stretch a few rubber bands tightly between the left and right cabinet knobs to lock them in place.

6. Waist expander. Especially great for pregnant women who aren’t big enough for maternity clothes but can’t fit into their regular clothes. Take a rubber band and loop it through the button hole and fasten to the button, giving you an extra inch or so.

7. A bookmark. Wrap a rubber band around the front cover and through the middle of the book to whatever page you finished on. Next time you pick up the book the first page that isn’t rubber-banded will be the page you left off on.

8. A handle grip. Wrap several rubber bands around the end of a pole or stick to create a handy grip. You can wrap rubber bands around just about anything that you need help gripping.

9. Use as an adhesive. It’s not glue, but a melted rubber band makes a darn good adhesive.

10. And rubber bands make great pony tail holders.

PVC Pipe Kids Sprinkler

diagram2There is still a month left of summer, and in some states August is the best month for good sunny weather or too hot to not have some sort of sprinkler or pool for the kids to play in. My friends made one of these fun sprinklers for their kids and they said it works great and the kids love it. From the Disney Family Fun online site, The Deluxe Kid Wash.

Craft Materials:

  • Eight 10-foot lengths of 3/4-inch PVC pipe
  • These 3/4-inch PVC fittings: 12 T’s, 2 crosses, 7 elbows, 4 caps, one 1-inch to 3/4-inch T, 1 straight fitting and 1 female hose adapter.
  • 1 pool noodle
  • Craft foam
  • Permanent markers
  • String
  • 3 large sponges
  • 40 feet of nylon lawn chair webbing
  • Paper
  • Fasteners
  • Adhesive-backed velcro

1. Cut the Pieces and Make the Waterholes
Using a hacksaw or PVC-pipe cutter, cut the pipe into the lengths shown below. Be sure to sweep or vacuum up the plastic dust. Use a 1/8-inch bit to drill waterholes as shown above: 12 holes each in crosspieces X and Y, spaced 2 to 3 inches apart; 3 holes, all on the same side, in each of the 2 side pieces shown, and 3 holes at the tops of 2 of the caps.

2. Assemble the Frame
Connect the fittings and pipe sections as shown in the diagram at the top of the page. Use a mallet to pound the pieces firmly together for extra stability.

Continue reading “PVC Pipe Kids Sprinkler”

9 Unusual Uses for Restaurant Coasters

coasters_sYou know the pulpboard coasters you get from the bar or restaurant. The ones they stick under your drinks? It seems most people take home or have taken home coasters a time or two in their lives, but what do you do once you get them home, they aren’t good for much.

1. Use the coasters as buffers for liquid dribbles in your refrigerator or cabinets. Just put a cardboard coaster down under your condiments and keep the fridge and cabinets clean and free from hard to clean stains.

2. You can reuse them as coasters, just keep a few fun ones on the table for guests to use when they come over.

3. Your kids might enjoy using them as safe-to-throw frisbees.

4. Level a coffee table or small table. Stick a coaster under the leg of a coffee table to keep it level.

5. Fire starter. Use a handful of cardboard coasters to start your fire.

6. Collect them. As fun as collecting matches, people collect cardboard coasters and display them for their friends to see.

7. For decorating cards or scrap books. These cardboard coasters have amazing and fun pictures on them, making them perfect for craft projects.

8. Bookmark. Perfect for marking your place in a book.

9. Use to jot notes down on when no pad of paper is available.

10 Ways to be Happier

green carRecently as I have had to deal with the passing of my father, I have taken notice of life and how people interact with each other, and I had never really having taken notice before. My continuous thoughts were that I wasn’t taking advantage of all that life has to offer and how serious some people seem to take life. I want to be happier and more carefree. Its not too late, here are 10 ways to be happier.

1. Get plenty of sleep. As you know sleep is essential to your health, depending on the person, you need between 6-9 hours of sleep per night.

2. Exercise. You have heard it before, exercise is one of the most dependable mood lifters around.

3. Stop the nagging. This is a tough one, at least for me, but the biggest happiness boost is from relinquishing the need to have everything done on my schedule. You may not think so but trying to get people to do things on your schedule is very tiring and frankly a lot of work.

4. Do not express every angry thought you have. Before I was married I was always told not to let the sun go down on your anger, but not expressing anger often allows the feelings to dissipate.

5. Laugh out loud. They say that frowning can cause frown lines but they say smiling keeps them away, so how much more do you think laughing can do? Laughter dissolves tension, stress, anxiety and boosts the immune system.

6. Volunteer. Helping others really does make you feel better, enabling you to put your own problems aside and focusing on the needs of others.

7. Fake it until you feel it. If your feeling blue, try acting like you are happy and your actions will eventually make you feel happier.

8. Count your blessings. Pause every day to reflect on some positive aspect of your life, you will experience a heightened sense of well-being.

9. Smell the air. The benefits of aromatherapy in relieving stress are real. Try smelling some rosemary to lower your anxiety levels.

10. Take action. About 40% of your happiness level is within your control, take time to reflect and take conscious steps to make your life happier.