Thursday, January 29, 2009

Small Changes for Big Look in Foyer

Sorry, no before picture. Faded gold wallpaper, and three doors: one to a coat closet, one to the living room, and one to a short hallway with two more doors: one to the mudroom, and one to the garage.

After the garage conversion and widened hallway, we opened the wall making the original foyer and hallway one area, and moved the door to the mudroom into the den.

A faux finish in tan, brown, and burgandy complement the colors in the tapestry framed to the wall.

Until next time, may you have blessings and warm welcomes,

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Garage Conversion Experience

One reason we decided to close in the garage instead of building a new addition (which we couldn't afford now) was that there wasn't enough turning room to get our pickup into the garage without making a wide turn through the yard. Also, two cars couldn't fit into it at the same time. Another reason was because the garage door didn't fit right, with a big, open gap around it. Might as well have had a big, neon "Welcome Critters" sign blinking on it. It didn't help that we lived on the edge of an open field between two creeks. Every time the wind blew, the attic trap door flapped up and down until it eventually fell to the floor. Then stray cats squeezed through the garage door gap and made their way into the attic. Mice in the attic make very little noise, but a cat in the attic - especially a cat chasing mice in the attic - makes a lot of noise.

The garage interior measures 21x21.5 feet, plenty of room to have living room and office space and then use the existing living room as a dining room. The walls were sheetrocked and had been finished, but had no insulation, shelves and brackets nailed to the walls, and the sheetrock on the ceiling was sagging, probably because of moisture in the attic and no insulation.

I spent one day pulling all the sheetrock off the ceiling, and then heard that a big warehouse near town was remodeling and giving away building materials. I made several trips in the truck and got enough insulation batting to do the ceiling, a couple of flourescent light fixtures, and enough wiring to do a small house. Once home again, I spent the weekend insulating and Hubby pulled the wiring for four can lights. Then one of Hubby's customers gave him a ceiling fan taken out of the house because paint splattered on it. Fine with us, we spray-painted the whole thing with black and installed it.

There had been a leak, like a miniature Niagra Falls, where the roof tied into the garage wall, and when Hubby was in the attic, he found that there was no flashing in that area. Thank you Moe and Curly. So he had to take off some shingles and siding to add the flashing. Leak solved. We also changed the mudroom into a closet and moved the door around to the den. Looking back, I wish we had left the closet door in the foyer even though another door would open against it. I'll talk about that another day.

Other than that, our only costs were new sheetrock, diy blown insulation for two walls, and a gas fireplace for heat. The room was habitable, or shabitable, at this point by Christmas 1997. I don't know why we thought it would be fun to celebrate in here that year because it wasn't.

Since it had been used as a garage at some point in the past, it had oil drip stains on the concrete. We cleaned them with degreaser until water no longer beaded up on it, but the stains remained. Hubby painted them with an epoxy concrete paint, mis-tint of course, and it was clean enough to walk on and put in our upholstered furniture.

We found four flush mount ceiling lights for a couple of dollars in a clearance bin because they were polished brass. A little burnished copper metal finish and they were better.

The next spring, we tore down an old house on my grandparent's farm and used the old boards as wainscot paneling in the room. We had seen this in someone else's house and it seemed so warm and casual. We did a soft faux stucco on the walls and painted, another mis-tint. This is what it looked like the following Christmas.

Dave Ramsey likes to say that when you have no savings Murphy will move in your spare room and bring along his brothers, Broke, Desperate and Stupid, and that's exactly what happened to us, only we had no spare room. It took a couple of years to pull out of that and begin working on the house again, and then it was with an extremely thin budget.

During those lean years when we put our financial house in order, and as I sat in this uncompleted den, I marveled at my grandmother. She lived in that two-room house built in the 1800's where the walls were the thickness of one board, no studs or even sheetrock. The entire house was smaller than the den this wood was now in. She didn't drive and was in this house all day with five children while my grandfather worked the farm, plus the school teacher boarded with them. The walls had newspaper and wallpaper pasted on the inside and pieces of tin and canning jar lids nailed to the outside, all in an attempt to keep out the wind. The wood probably wasn't as dried out and splintered when she lived in it seventy years before, but I can imagine her relief and joy when they bought a bigger house, two story, and with real walls.

The old wood had to go. It was impossible to clean, and spiders liked it way too much. So the first thing we did after booting Murphy out of the house was to tear the wood off the walls, stucco the walls to match what we had done before, and painted walls and ceiling desert tan, not a mis-tint, but a color I actually got to choose off a color deck. We put beadboard trim around the fireplace topped with a mantle Hubby made. This and the trim were painted white.

And then, finally, we bought carpet, a beige berber with brown flecks.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a home for the holidays,

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Look at the Past

In doing some research today, I came across this snippet in an 1889 newspaper:

"Into how many classes is mankind divided? Six; being, enlightened, civilized, half-civilized, savage, too utter, not worth a cent, and Indian agents."  (Did you notice that was seven divisions?)

It goes on to say that "enlightened nations are those which have the most wars and the worst laws, and produce the worst criminals."

I'm not sure what "too utter" is, have to agree that some folks aren't worth a cent, and pity the Indian agent of that time if that was indeed the general opinion of the time.

We have come a long way.

Another item in this paper, reporting news from a nearby town: "We are still tormented by the two talking pests. They seem to grow worse and heaven only knows when it will end."

I don't know if that paragraph was a mystery to the readers of that time, or some reference to people everyone knew. Odd, since I've only read positive remarks in this paper.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Amazingly Simple Remedies

I received these tips in an email from my mother. My mother, well meaning though she is, falls for every email sent to her. She sent me an email telling me to stop using my swiffer because it makes pets sick. She has sent me emails about a slasher who hides under cars and slices women's ankles so they can't run away, about perps who find an unlocked car door and hide in the backseat waiting for their victim, and those who immitate a baby crying to get someone to open the door. Dial 112 on your cell phone and it will connect to an emergency station anytime, anywhere. Don't answer your cell phone while it is on the charger or it will electrocute and kill you. Oh and be sure to pass these on to everyone you love.

Most of the time, I look up the snopes link and send it back to mom so she doesn't continue sending this stuff to everyone, or more to me. But still, she continues sending them, along with every email with tips in them.

So the other day I got this one. I sighed, and opened it to see what tips about the many uses of dryer sheets I can't live without now, and I decided these tips are worth repeating.

Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop.

Avoid arguments with the Mrs. about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.

For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.

A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives; then you'll be afraid to cough.

You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD -40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

Remember: Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.

Now be sure to send this list to 10 friends in the next 10 minutes, including me so I know you care.

Until next time, may you have blessings and friends who send funnies,


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Little Red Wonder That is a Cranberry

I was reading an article in a magazine at the doctor’s office that intrigued me, so I came home to do a little more research on this superfruit. I already knew cranberry juice was good to prevent a UTI infection, but I never knew why.

Long before modern man even knew what an antioxidant was, the American Indian was using them to make healing poultices. And now the cranberry is known because it is high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. The active ingredient in cranberry is the chemical compound proanthocyanidins, or PACs, which keep bacterial infections (including E-coli) from sticking to the bladder wall and thereby prevent urinary tract infections. Cranberries also possess quinic acid which may prevent kidney stones. Some studies have also shown that the proanthocyanidin compounds have cancer fighting properties.

While more research needs to be done, studies have also shown that drinking just one 8 ounce glass of pure cranberry juice will also suppress the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria, and the bacteria that causes plaque. In addition, there is evidence that this one glass can also reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad one) while increasing the HDL cholesterol (that’s the good one).

What might be more encouraging to our aging population are the studies that show that diets high in antioxidants and other phytochemicals may prevent some of the signs of aging we all dread, such as loss of coordination and loss of memory.

For more information on this little berry, visit The Cranberry Institute.

Until next time, may you have blessings and cranberries,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Pantry and Freezer Challenge

Kim, at The Frugalista Files, challenged us to a pantry/freezer challenge. I looked at my pantry, and it's not bad, but then I looked into my freezer...


I'm in. I have no idea what is even in there.

In the freezer was an unopened box of corn flakes bought to make oven baked chicken. So last night I got out the blender, and crushed all the flakes in the box and made the chicken recipe. But I still have a lot of crushed cornflakes left. What to do.

There are several recipe websites with search engines for particular ingredients.
All Recipes is great because you can enter up to four ingredients you want to use, and also four ingredients you don't want in a recipe.

Update February 17, 2014: Allrecipes has changed so that now you have to have a specific type recipe in your search, and I find it very difficult to use. Too bad. It used to be such a help.

There are other recipe websites where you can list a single ingredient, such as Redbook Magazine, Foodieview, Goodhousekeeping, Epicurious, and Supercook. The best of these is Supercook because it searches other recipe websites. Once you enter your single ingredient, it will give you a list of other ingredients and ask which ones you have on hand, which makes it easy to find a recipe you can actually make.

Until next time, may you have blessings and an organized freezer,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cheap Security Alarm to Prank Friends and Family

I really dislike greeting cards because they are such a waste of money. I resent paying $3.50 for a card to go with a gift, and I really feel bad for the person who gives one to me. They paid good money and stood in line for who knows how long to pay for it, so I can read it for three seconds and then throw it away. I am not one of those sentimental people who keeps greeting cards. I have enough paper cluttering my existence.

However, I received a birthday card last year that I just couldn't throw away. It was one of those greeting cards that plays music when you open them, and I just couldn't throw away something that seemed to have a use. Or did it? I kept it for two months until I thought of something. They can be taken apart to make a gag security alarm. I cut out the part of the card with the chip and speaker and glued it to one of those freebie magnets from the dentist's office. Then I slipped a regular strip of paper under the connection and taped it to the door so it can be pulled out when the door opens.

Actually, I put this on the side of my freezer with the paper taped to the freezer door; it is completely out of sight from anyone opening the freezer. It's been a lot of fun to hear everyone when they open the freezer door and the music starts playing. Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture of it on the freezer so put it on the back door for the photo shoot.

I can think of a lot of fun uses for this, on the cookie jar (of course it would have to be attached to a metal cookie container or attached in another way), on a hotel door, on the tv cabinet, or anywhere else you want to startle people. Watch out though, Brownie almost dropped a glass when she opened the freezer the first time.

Until next time, may you have blessings and fun pranks,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cutie Patootie

This little cherub visited us over the holidays and loved to put her head right there on the coffee table. I guess it felt good.

Until next time, may you have blessings and chubby hugs,

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Product Review: Yellow Out

In an attempt to declutter, I am using up things. One such thing is a product called Yellow Out. I bought it because Lil will not wear a white shirt once it has a yellow stain in the arm pit area. I bought this product when she was in high school and her school uniform included a white shirt. I didn't read all the fine print in the back before buying it, I just saw the words on the front label proclaiming it "remove yellowing and rust stains from white laundry" with a picture of a white t-shirt.

I tried the product on a small load of clothes that included her school shirt and a few of Hubby's dingy old t-shirts. It made no difference in them at all, and I stuck the bottle in the back of the cabinet. Now I found it again, and after reading the entire back label, it says it is "designed to remove rust, yellowing, and dinginess caused by aging and iron in your water supply." Oh well, that explains why it didn't get the sweat stains out, but not why it didn't get the dinginess out of Hubby's t-shirts.

Still, because I want to get rid of it, and because I have a set of white sheets that are so yellowed I have to hide them from guests, I gave it another try. It also says on the back label "for stubborn stains, increase dosage and/or contact time" so instead of using the 1/2 cup recommended for a load of laundry, I used 1 cup. Let me tell you that this stuff is a very fine powder that floats through the air when pouring it into a measuring cup or the washer, no matter how slowly it is poured. It says it is a skin and eye irritant, but I will also tell you it is a nose and throat irritant.

The sheets I washed are 100% cotton; the top sheet was just dingy, but the bottom sheet had a yellowed area in the center from sweat stains. What can I say, the Hubster has active sweat glands. The sheets are dry and they look much better. Both sheets are bright white. The Hubster's pillow case is still yellowed, but better than it was. I don't know if another round of this stuff would get that pillow case bright white or not, but I am favorably impressed with the results. I wonder if Lil's shirt and Hubby's t-shirts didn't turn out as well because they weren't 100% cotton.

Until next time, may you have blessings and products that work,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Still Working on the Kitchen

Before moving in, we moved the location of the doors, changed out the peninsula, added upper cabinets from the laundry area, and had new lower cabinets made, as well as an oven cabinet.

Remember the before picture?

The cabinets in the kitchen were good, custom cabinets, but the finish was dull and had some surface damage in places. After cleaning them well, we used sanding sealer, sanding sealer, and sand paper to prep them, and then restained and applied new polyurethane. The tile we chose for the backsplash is gray with a border tile with a fruit design. We thought this door pull went well with it.

The kitchen countertops and sink were installed the day before we moved in. We would have liked more time so we could have gotten more done, but at least I didn't have to wash dishes in the bathroom, a definite plus.

Since the kitchen was long and narrow, it was fairly dark. Because of that, we chose white tile for the floor, and white appliances except the smooth cooktop, which was black with gray specks. We thought it wouldn't show fingerprints or scratches like a white or solid black. We also let a display at the appliance store influence the placement of the oven, and put it under the cooktop, even though it was a separate unit. It works there, but its front is a piece of tempered glass held off the metal by bushings in the corners, and every crumb from the cooktop above is drawn to that narrow opening and can't be removed. When we ordered the new cabinets, we were planning to put in two ovens, but with our budget quickly disappearing, we bought one oven and microwave and left the other opening empty. It was several years before we could add the second oven, a side-opening convection oven.

We also chose a white ceramic/cast iron sink which I later came to regret. Even though I really like that it has one extra large basin, I have broken or chipped countless dishes on the center divider. Aluminum pans mark it easily, and it also stains from foods easily. I have found that the glass cooktop cleaner works best removing the metal marks.

The new peninsula was a little smaller than the original to allow more room to open the refrigerator doors, and the new has a stack of drawers. The original kitchen had a furdown (called soffit or bulkhead in other parts of the country) which was a bit deeper than the cabinets. We added a plate rail that was a bit deeper to accommodate knickknacks and small antiques. We also changed out the recessed lights and added a ceiling fan. The blown acoustic was scraped off this ceiling also, and a knock down texture put on. The wallpaper was tan with little rust colored flowers. Sizing was applied to the furdown before the wallpaper border was put on, which made me think removing the wallpaper was going to be a breeze. Wrong. The walls had no sizing, and the curling seams had been closed with school glue. Armed with a spray bottle, razor blade, and scraper, the wallpaper relaxed its hold except for a few stubborn areas where big chunks of sheetrock paper came with it. We didn't know if we wanted to paint or have the walls repapered, plus we still want to remove a wall, so we decided to temporarily paint the walls, holes and all. And thirteen years later, it looks the same, except a few of the holes have been patched.

This is now - with still a lot of work to be done.

The cabinets need to be totally refinished now, and of course the walls need to be painted. All in good time.

One thing that never ocurred to Larry is that a house should have a door to the backyard. Children and pets especially need direct access to the safety of a fenced backyard.

So after thirteen years of walking out the side door and through a gate to get into the backyard, we finally have a back door. I wanted a door with the 9-lite look, but with mini blinds between the glass that raised as well as tilted, but cheapskates economically careful folks can't be choosy, so we ended up with a plain glass door with a cellular shade between the glass.

From the newly finished living/dining room - both new doors:

Hubby really likes the shade because it can lower from the top as well as raise from the bottom.

He started at the crack of dawn one Saturday, or so it seemed when I was jolted out of a deep sleep, sawing out the brick to make the opening. By evening, the door was in, and most of the trim in place both inside and out. I didn't get a chance to take a "before picture" from inside so will have to start from this point. The tile in front of it needs to be replaced to fit against the threshold.


And after (also removed the tree)

Until next time, may you have blessings and patience,

Next, on to the laundry room.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Do Your Neighbors Call You?

We used to have some neighbors we called The Screamers. Everyone in that family screamed at each other, especially the dad. He was a fat man (about the same size as me actually) who always wore black shorts and a black t-shirt. I always wondered if he was as stubborn as I, refusing to buy new clothes until he lost weight, and then realized there was nothing left in his closet. But I digress.

Mr. Screamer yelled the most at his oldest son who he worked like a slave. That teenager was the hardest working young man I have ever seen, quite unlike his father. When Mr. Screamer wasn’t yelling at the oldest son, he was yelling at the two younger children. And unlike the hard working teen, they were always out in the backyard screaming at each other, or screaming back at him. I never saw Mr. Screamer putting them to work at anything.

The Screamers also had several German Shepherds who barked all the time, and the family also screamed at the dogs. We were so happy when that family sold their house and left, only to find out that the new family was also a family of screamers. Thus their name is also The Screamers. And wouldn’t you know it, this family has German Shepherds too? The exception is their dogs don’t bark constantly.

We have another set of neighbors who let their dogs run loose. We call them The Dog People. Sorry, we’re not very original. When they first got the dogs, or dog (it was only one then), we found the dog in our yard, looked at it’s tag and called the owners. The Dog Woman came to get the dog, apologizing profusely that her gate was broken. That was about six years and two loose dogs ago and still the gate is open.

I don’t know how these dogs stay alive. Not only are they always in the street, either lying there or just sitting, but they get into trash and eat any and everything. They must have cast iron stomachs, or maybe they throw up in their own yard everyday where no one can see them. It’s sad too, because one of the dogs is particularly friendly and pretty.

There were The Walkers, named so because they walked all the time. And I do mean all the time, morning, noon, and night – late night. They didn’t wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight after dark either. I was often afraid I would back over them when I left our driveway at night, so many times they were right there when my tail lights shone on them. I finally gave them some flashing lights to attach to their belt when they walked at night to give me, if not them, peace of mind with their night walking. They have since moved, and I actually miss looking out for them as I still back slowly out of the driveway at night.

Then there’s The Crazy Lady. Every neighborhood has to have a crazy lady, and ours is no exception. I don't call her that because I have met her, know her name, and I like her. But she is outspoken, in a neighborhood where most try to turn a blind eye to problems. She also walks, but not at night. What makes her crazy, in the opinion of some of my neighbors, is her persistence at yelling at speeders and other drivers who don’t meet her strict driving standards. At her insistence, the city put up a speed limit sign of 20mph. Everywhere else around us, the residential speed limit is 30mph, but on our street, it was 20mph. I said was because that sign didn’t stay up very long, and then one night it mysteriously came down. For a long time, we didn’t have a speed limit sign, but we now have one again, and this one is 30mph.

We either know the rest of our neighbor’s names, or they live too far away for us to bestow a moniker on them. And that brings me to you, and to myself for that matter. What name have you been dubbed by your neighbors?

Until next time, may you have blessings and interesting neighbors,

My ordinary life

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trying Out Recipes: Hamburger Potato Rollup

Monday is usually the day I try out a new recipe. For one reason, it's the day I plan the week's menu and go shopping. However, I was a bit relunctant to try a new recipe today or even this week. We're trying to lower our grocery bill and experimenting can sometimes be expensive. Last week Lil was in a cooking mood, and she likes recipes that are - to say the least - out of the ordinary. Usually her recipes have some kind of meat and fruit combination which I don't usually find too appealing, but can usually eat. However, last Tuesday she made something called Chicken Loaf from one of my cookbooks. I wish I knew which cookbook as it should probably be in the trash.

She used some chicken breasts I had purchased to stretch into three meals, and she spent a lot of time cubing and braising the meat before combining it with all the ingredients that made it a "loaf". Hubby and I were on a conference call so Lil brought some out to us. It didn't look very appetizing, or very loaf-like, in fact it looked like it had been already been eaten and returned to the plate, but we both tasted it.

Hubby's "yuck" and quick dive for a glass of water warned me not to take a big bite, and after I choked down a small piece, I looked at him and asked "Here Kitty, Kitty?" and he nodded. We dumped our chicken in the cat bowl on our way into the house.

When we got back in the house, Lil asked how we liked it, and not wanting to hurt her feelings, we avoided a direct answer. Both she and Brownie ate it, but when we didn't really answer, Lil said it wasn't very good and asked what we wanted to do with the leftovers. Brownie said "Meow". I was swallowing a drink of water when she said that and nearly choked. Hubby burst out laughing and they had no idea what was so funny.

So after that in addition to not wanting to waste money, I was a bit afraid to try out a recipe tonight, but I did. It was a meatloaf with mashed potatoes in the center. It was actually pretty good, and could be any meatloaf recipe, except it had two eggs in it instead of the one I usually put in meatloaf, to make it firm. Spread the meatloaf out into a 10"x10" square on a piece of waxed paper. The mashed potatoes had parsley, thyme and marjoram in it and was spread down the middle of the meatloaf, then lifting the wax paper, the meatloaf was rolled into a loaf shape around the mashed potatoes, ends crimped, and placed in a loaf pan, then cooked as usual.

I thought it would be a good recipe to use up leftover mashed potatoes, so if you are looking for something new or a way to use up mashed potatoes, give it a try.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a stray cat who will eat your mistakes,

My ordinary life, Lil

Amazingly Simple Remedy for Bone Spurs in Feet

This is from my mother-in-law's doctor, so it's not just a folk remedy. She had a heel spur, and I had a spur in my heel and in the ball of my foot and it worked for both.

In the morning before getting out of bed, lie on your back and bend your toes toward your head holding as long as you can. Do this for about ten minutes, doesn't have to be ten continuous minutes though - just hold as long as you can, relax and do it again - up to ten minutes. When you get up, don't go barefoot, even to walk to the kitchen. Wear a shoe with a gel cushion in it; they can be found at any big box store or drug store.

Three times each day (and meal time works great) get an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas, put it on the floor and place the area of your foot with the spur on it. Roll it around on the ice for 15 minutes. Frozen peas work great for this because they are rounder and therefore less painful than ice, and they don't thaw in the 15 minutes they are out and can be reused indefinitely.

This is not a quick process, depending on the severity of your spur, it could take anywhere from three to nine months, but it does work.

Until next time, may you have blessings and relief from heel spurs,

Friday, January 9, 2009

Laundry Room

The original laundry area was a closet in the hall, just big enough for the washer and dryer. It had an upper cabinet above it that matched the kitchen cabinets, so we took that down and moved it to the kitchen. (Since we didn't take before pictures, my neighbor kindly let me take a picture of hers since it is essentially the same.)

The cabinet maker who built our kitchen cabinets had a stack of cabinets and shelves that were rejected for some reason. We got a free set of shelves to replace the cabinets over the washer and dryer. Free is good.

Hubby had had back surgery and it was not the success we hoped it would be, and he couldn't work on the house for awhile. Luckily, we had a neighbor who had been in the construction business and we hired him to put the water line and a/c vent in the room. Then we could move the freezer out of the kitchen so the real work could begin.

I put a shelf for canned goods around the top of the walls, and covered the storage boxes with wallpaper. A fresh coat of white semi-gloss on the walls and woodwork and the utility room looks pretty good. For a small utility room, it certainly holds a lot, 2 freezers, washer, dryer, and a year's worth of canned goods.

An old picture of dated country blues and pinks is renewed with new mats and a painted frame.

Until next time, may you have blessings and clean laundry,


Vinegar, Who Knew?

I have had a note on my desk for a long time touting the benefit of rinsing fruits and veggies in a solution of vinegar and water. Since I had long since forgotten where I got the info, I did a quick search and found verification of that fact along with a lot of other uses. One website, Frugal Fun, lists 28 practical uses for vinegar. I especially love the tip about unclogging drains.

The "recipe" I have for the vinegar rinse is 3 tablespoons white vinegar to a quart of water. Other sites have 3 tablespoons white vinegar to a gallon of water, so I guess it's all good.

My note also included a couple of other vinegar tips: 1)Revive wilting veggies by soaking them in one quart cold water with one tablespoon white vinegar, 2)Add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the boiling water you are going to cook your rice in and it will be fluffier and less sticky. I have a recipe that calls for a teaspoon of lemon juice with rice so I guess it's the same principle.

I've used vinegar in the garden for several years as an organic weed killer, and even though I knew it killed mildew, I seldom use it for that purpose. Mom always put a cup of vinegar in the laundry when a wet towel accidently sat in the bottom of the hamper for a week and soured the surrounding laundry. Wonder who could have put that towel there? And I wouldn't be without vinegar when house-training a puppy. It is a wonder on pet stains and odors.

If you think you know every use for vinegar, look at Vinegar Tips.Com for 1001 uses.

I think it's time to add vinegar to my grocery list.

Note added Jan. 11: Instead of using bleach on the mildew in my shower, I tried 5% vinegar. You know that black mildew that forms on the caulking at the base of the shower? I wouldn't say it didn't faze it, but it definitely didn't get rid of it; it just made the room stink.

Until next time, may you have blessings and natural cleansers,