Holiday 2009 Turkey Cooking Tips

Christmas dinnerIf you are making turkey for Christmas you may have some questions about the best way to handle and cook it. Below are some tips from Whole Foods Market that can help make your holiday meal the best it can be.

  1. Refrigerate a fresh turkey immediately.
  2. Remove a turkey from the refrigerator about an hour before placing it in the oven.
  3. Don’t stuff the bird! It’s best to cook the stuffing and the bird separately and stuff once both are fully cooked. his method reduces baking time as well.
  4. A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast.
  5. Allow bird to rest (covered) for about 20 minutes after cooking. This redistributes the juices and makes for smooth carving.

Tools to have on hand:

  • Heavy duty roasting pan with rack to keep the turkey from resting on the bottom of your pan.
  • Trussing string to tie the turkey legs together.
  • Aluminum foil to cover turkey when cooling.
  • Wooden spoon & large metal spoon.
  • Fat separator for a leaner gravy.
  • Basting brush to baste turkey with melted butter, or bulb baster for basting with pan juices.
  • 8-cup measuring cup.
  • Fine sieve for straining pan juices.
  • Wire whisk for making gravy.
  • Good quality carving set.
  • Instant-read meat thermometer.
  • Apron

5 Tips For Getting Patio Furniture Winterized

812948_94717934As the weather gets cooler its time to think about putting your patio furniture away. You still probably have a few weeks of intermixed good weather, so don’t put them away too soon but be prepared by mid October to spend a day or two getting them ready for storage.

1. Clean off accumulate grime. Wash off any dirt which has built up over the summer and fall with soapy water and a sponge then rinse the furniture and let it dry thoroughly. It’s best to do this on a fine and if possible, windy day so that the furniture can dry off easily. Power wash wicker with a gentle spray to remove the dirt from loose weave.

2. Clean cushions and pads. If possible machine wash the cushions and pads from the chairs. You can also sponge clean them if the care instructions prefer you don’t machine wash them. Always store you cushions and pads indoors, in a place that is not damp, which could cause mildew problems.

3. Bring umbrellas indoors. Clean your umbrella on a nice day and leave to dry outside and then bring indoors.

4. Patio furniture storage. Move what you can indoors and for those items that stay outdoors, make sure they are completely covered with all weather coverings.

5. Check your furniture regularly. If you do have some furniture that will be staying outside make sure and check on it regularly. Its a good idea to brush snow and remove ice from your stored furniture, so that the weight of either don’t cause damage.

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 – Clean 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 – Fill with aspirin, change or lotion for purse or backpack.

6 Easy Organizing Tips

759509_35836084Organizing your life can be a bit difficult at times. Anything that gets your stuff in the right spot and easily keeps them in the right spot is helpful. Below are some unusual and easy organizing tips to make your life a bit easier.

  1. The 3 Things Pick-Up – Pick up three things in a room that belong somewhere else and go put them away. When you have put the last thing away, look for three more. Little by little, the clutter disappears.
  2. Charity Trunk Bag/Box – When you run across shoes, or clothes that you no longer wear or toys your children have outgrown, take them straight to the car and put it in the bag. When the bag fills up, drop it off at the nearest donation site.
  3. Dry-Erase Calendar – Give each family member a different color marker so everyone can see at a glance who needs to be where.
  4. Recycle Mail – After you pick up your mail, walk straight to the recycle bin. Don’t drop your mail off on your counter or set it down on the car seat, go through it on the spot.
  5. Shoe Holder Organizer – Hang a shoe holder organizer over a door to store cell phones, batteries, digital cameras MP3 players and the like. Simply label each pocket.
  6. Never Run Out of Food Again – Designate a space for your grocery list in your kitchen, the refrigerator works best, and when you run out of an ingredient, write it down immediately.
  7. Recipes in One Place – If you tend to tear out magazines from magazines, use a three ring binder with clear plastic inserts to keep the recipes free of splatters and dividers to separate appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and desserts.

6 Tips to Help You Save Money on Dry Cleaning

1000115_42973077Everyone is looking for ways to save money in this economy and if you work in an office, you probably have a hefty monthly dry cleaning bill. Here are some helpful tips on how to save money on dry cleaning.

  1. Apply Makeup, hair spray, and perfume before getting dressed. They can all stain fabrics. Allow these cosmetics to set for at least 5 minutes before getting dressed.
  2. Omit odors at home. If your sweaters are a bit stale(but not stained), use heat-activated dryer sheets, such as Dry Cleaner’s Secret.
  3. Spot-Clean. If you get a small stain, treat it immediately with a product like Oxiclean Spray-A-Way and save yourself an emergency trip.
  4. Check your local newspaper for coupons and deals. Cleaners generally offer discounts(10 to 33% off) in the spring and fall.
  5. Practice Moderation. Overcleaning can decrease clothings longevity, so dry-clean only when necessary. You might get away with cleaning a wool suit once or twice a year, and wool sweaters and skirts may be worn up to six times before you need to send them out.
  6. Wear a machine washable shell under your jacket to protect it from perspiration stains.

5 Tips to Help You Get More Free Time

819004_74401677Who doesn’t need more time? Most people complain because they don’t have enough time to get the every day tasks completed, why do you think we have so many fast food restaurants, super quick pre-made food, and all these time-saver-ways to do things? I don’t know how it got to be this way but to counteract the problem, here are 5 tips to help you get more free time.

1. Take a Breather – Take a step back to take a good look at you life with some perspective. Block off a half a day or a whole day if you can. With this time, take a look at your life and ask yourself, is it what you’ve always wanted? What things actually fill up your day? What things could you drop or minimize to make more time?

2. Declutter your Schedule – Weed out your jam packed schedule. Find the stuff that’s not so essential and cancel them. Postpone other stuff. Leave big blank spaces in your schedule.

3. Learn to Say No – You cannot say yes to everything, you will never have free time. Get protective about your time, and say “no” to everything but the essential requests. Click here to learn the gentle art of saying no.

4. Wake up earlier – Using this time to do things like, exercise, walking, reading. Early in the day works well simply because there’s not much going on to distract or interrupt at this time of day and it doesn’t interfere with family time.

5. Consolidate errands – Try to do all errands on one day, and plan out an efficient route. Most people will save at least an hour a week in total.

Emergency Plan Checklist

545391_81580206Disasters, natural or man-made, often come without warning. Having these supplies and details in order ahead of time will help you weather the storm with less stress.

Know your area – Check for what to expect in the area you live.

Create a basic emergency kit – Include the following: Water(have 1 gallon per person, per day, for 3 days); can opener; battery-powered radio; flashlight; extra batteries; moist towelettes and garbage bags(for sanitation); local maps; first-aid kit; whistle; wrench or pliers and dust mask.

Make a to-go bag – Create a small version of an emergency kit with essentials like nonperishable food, water and a small first-aid kit.

Know your evacuation route – Have more than one option for getting out of town quickly.

Designate family meeting spots – Pick an area near the home to meet in the event of a fire. Choose another spot that is in the region, in case everyone is scattered and can’t get home. Have a third spot that is out-of-town, should your family have to evacuate separately.

Select an out-of-town contact – Name one family member or friend who can serve as a point person if your immediate family is separated.

Make a list of phone numbers – Everyone in the family should have a list of important contacts that they keep with them at all times. Include your office numbers, childrens schools, day care, doctors and close family members.

Write down important personal information – On the same phone list, under the doctors numbers, note any medical conditions you or anyone in your family has. You can print out a template listing all of this info at

Know the emergency plan of your children’s schools – Make sure and get all the information from your children’s schools as to where they go when they are evacuated and where you can pick them up.

Have a family meeting – Make sure everyone in your family knows and understands your emergency plan. Talk about the meeting spots, fire safety, and escape routes.

Adapted from REAL SIMPLE

Last Minute Wedding Tips


June is the most popular month to get married, making May the month from hell for most brides and their families. Planning a wedding is no easy task and with only weeks left before the big day you probably have much to think about and get done.

Below are some tips and resources that can help you make it to your wedding day happy and with little stress.

1. Have your maid of honor put together a Bridal Emergency Kit. Including items like extra stockings, hairspray, mints, etc…

2. Make sure and make confirmations from rehearsal dinner, to the honeymoon details. Make sure everyone involved knows exactly where they are supposed to be and exactly what they are to do while the wedding is going on.

3. Put together a basket or box with all your needed wedding ceremony items in it.
– Bible (Bible Bearer)
– Pillow (Ring Bearer)
– Basket (Flower Girl)
– Bell (Town Cryer)
– Guest Book & Pen
– Unity Candle (candles & stand)
– Bridal Bouquet & Throw-away bouquet
– Attendant bouquets & Boutonnieres
– Corsages
– Petals for Flower Girl
– Ceremony Program

4. Assign different members of your wedding party to each vendor so that you dont have to worry about it the day of. So then those members of your wedding party can make sure the flowers, Pastor/Priest, Cake, etc.. all know the correct times and they can help the vendors get to where they need to be.

5. Make a list of certain snapshots you want the photographer to take because on the day of your wedding, you will not want to have to think about it, nor will you remember what it is you wanted.

For more Wedding Planning Help click here.

10 Ways To Save 10 Minutes

Over at Marc and Angel Hack Life I found this article; 10 Ways to Save 10 Minutes

They give you 10 non-complicated ways to save 10 minutes or more a day.

These are not complicated procedures.  They are very simple, straightforward suggestions.  Sometimes our days are so crammed with things to do that 10 minutes represents the difference between sanity and insanity.

1. Plan Ahead and Start early – 10 minutes of dedicated time planning in the evening will save you valuable time in the morning.

2. Handle All 2 minute Tasks Immediately – If you roughly estimate a task will take you less than 2 minutes to accomplish, do it right now.

3. Group Smaller Tasks Back to Back – Group similar tasks together in an effort to minimize the amount of wasted time between task orders.

4. Eliminate All Distractions For a Set Time – Cutting out all distractions(email, cell phone, co-workers) for a set time is one of the most effective ways to get things done in less time.

5. Take Notes and Make Lists – Write down those things you need to do, or you will end up wasting more time trying to remember things that would have taken seconds to write down.

6. Standardize Common Responsibilities – If you find yourself performing the same set of tasks on a regular basis then it makes sense to establish an efficient, standardized way of accomplishing them.

7. Buy in Bulk, Cook in Bulk – Buying stuff and cooking food are two of the most common unplanned consumptions of time. The most efficient way to counteract this is by doing bulk loads of both.

8. Use Productive Shortcuts – Find where you can hit 2 birds with 1 stone.

9. Organize All Your Space –  Keeping your living and work space organized saves you time and money when you know where to find what you are looking for without having to search.

10. Productively Use Waiting Time – Think of tasks you can complete while waiting at a doctors office, in the post office line, or waiting for the oil change. Waiting time does not have to be wasted time.

For the complete post click here.

How to Clean Your Office Desk

1172246_33091802We are well into spring but spring cleaning is not only for spring. If you haven’t cleaned your desk lately and you have been having problems finding frequently used items, it is time to get your clean on. Below are some helpful ways to clean your office desk.

Keyboard -To begin with shake out your keyboard and then grab a canister of canned air, hold your keyboard over a garbage can, and the force of the spray should shake lose all remaining particles.

Monitor Compukiss has a Clean the Screen tutorial for any type of monitor you have.

Mouse – Clean out your mouse by taking tweezers and removing the buildup that accumulates around the ball. If you have an optical mouse, just clean off the buildup that occurs around the bottom of the mouse.

Chair – It all depends on the material its made of. Beyond the Office Door runs through the different office chair material and how to clean them.

Desktop -Wipe over the entire desktop surface with a disinfectant spray to keep the germs at bay.

Carpet -Don’t leave crumbs on the ground for the weekly cleaning crew, clean it up right away if they have a dust buster.

Desk Drawers – Pull everything out of your desk drawers, keep a recycle bin and garbage can close, get rid of any papers you dont need. When you have gone through everything, make sure and put anything you use frequently near the front of the drawer and those things you dont use often to the back of the drawer.

Phone – Clean your phone with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. The alcohol will clean off any dirt and leave it germ-free.