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Archive for the ‘Naturally Domestic’ Category

Add some ground cayenne pepper to soups and stews. It helps the body release toxins.

Sniffles, coughing, sneezing and general sickliness is par for the course this time of the year in Ohio. Between kids going back to school, the weather changing from warm to brisk, and the shortening amounts of daylight, it’s no wonder Fall is rampant with sinus issues, allergies, and colds. It seems like everyone has something and if you don’t yet you soon will fall prey to this season’s avalanche of health concerns.

But, what is there to be done? Certainly you can load yourself up with over the counter pharmaceuticals at the first itch in your throat. But what if you pursue a more natural approach to healing? What if you, like thousands of others, believe in holistic prevention? Our bodies were designed to combat dis-ease. They were meant to come into contact with dis-ease and fight off the infection naturally, thus boosting the immune system and providing the body with a lifetime of antibodies; something that vaccination and medication cannot ever do.

With the threat of H1N1 (erroneously termed ‘swine flu) people are in full panic mode. But the simple truth is that there are some very simple and natural steps a person can take to prevent the onset of any dis-ease, from the common cold, to yes, even the dreaded Swine Flu. These easy steps boost your immune system, giving it a jump start on prevention, without the side effects of medications or vaccines.

What are the measures that can be taken to counter becoming ill?

1. Eat a balanced diet

2. Stay hydrated

3. Be active

4. Practice good hygiene

5. Get a good night’s sleep

6. Don’t stress

7. Be positive

I know the steps read like a common sense guide to being happy and healthy, but really, that’s exactly what they are. Not only are you treating your health, holistically (all encompassing) but you are doing from the inside out. Our bodies are awesome machines, but when we neglect certain gears in our machines, it affects the whole thing.

By eating a well balanced diet we make certain our bodies get the nutrients they need to function at their very best. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins sugars and lipids are all necessary beginning at a cellular level. If we ignore these needs or if we over indulge we risk off setting the delicate balance and doing more harm than good.

Our bodies are more than 80% water. Having said that, it is critical the body stay hydrated. In a day we lose more fluids than we may think. Thus it makes sense that we have to refuel with that liquid gold, water, every now and then. The general consensus is eight glasses of water per day however, we can supplement by eating fruits and drinking other fluids that have a water base.

It’s no secret that activity is better than a sedentary lifestyle. It gets us moving, gets the blood flowing and just plain feels better than being parked on our derrières for hours on end. Get up and move every 30 minutes. Even with a desk job just get up and walk for a minute or two, it will do you good. Get active with a group, learn to dance, chase the kids or play fetch with the dog!! There is no excuse for obesity (aside from a medical condition) in this world, it compromises the immune system and makes you feel terrible, inside and out.

I can’t say enough about practicing good hygiene. The number one cause for the eradication of dis-eases is the better living conditions we have today. Keeping yourself and your home clean and fresh is a great way to stave off infection and dis-ease. Hand washing is imperative, but too much can actually be counter-intuitive. We do have a plethora of good bacteria on our bodies that help with protecting it from illness as well.

We all need it and most of us, sadly, do not get enough of it. No, not sex: sleep. 24 hours in a day is barely enough to get everything done and when the days become shorter it seems like we get less done. Busy minds, babies crying, dogs barking, neighbors mowing the lawn at what seems like the crack of dawn, are all things that hinder our restfulness. To combat such interruptions, a person needs to get on a schedule and stick with it. We are, after all, creatures of habit. So go to bed at the same time every night and awaken at the same time every day. Eight hours of sleep is recommended for adults, but anything from six to nine hours is sufficient.

The last two things that will help keep a person healthy and happy are often over looked. People feel overwhelmed and stressed more than not. But this does nothing to help the immune system, in fact, when frustrated, depressed, anxious and upset our physical bodies actually begin to mirror our emotional health. Joy, laughter, love and compassion make us feel healthier and feeling good is the first step to BEING healthier.

Healers often talk about the power of a positive attitude. A person who is ill and very cynical takes almost twice as long to heal than one who is optimistic!! So smile!! Laugh!! Get some hugs from loved ones. It’s medicine for the soul.

These are simple steps to implement into your daily life, steps that will help you to feel better and BE healthier too. In addition to being as easy as a smile, they are also inexpensive which is a bonus if finances cause you some stress. Dis-eases are everywhere, but they are avoidable because prevention is key. And if by chance you do fall ill, eat some soup, stay hydrated and ride it out, because in the end you have built up a lifetime supply of antibodies for that particular dis-ease and that is what holistic health is all about.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy autumn,

Lauryn

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Do I have an entry for you today? Oh yes, hippie family, I certainly do. It’s a doozy too, especially if you like to simplify your life and not compromise your more natural lifestyle. Are you all a- tingle yet? You should be.

When I was little my mom used to make scrambled eggs in the microwave (WHAT? Oh yes.) It wasn’t until I went on to a sleepover at the age of seven that I even knew you could make them on the stove! My child’s mind was blown. Anyway, to this day, I still prefer scrambled eggs in the microwave. And I know, microwaves aren’t super healthy, blah, blah, blah. I know, I’m a work in progress and I haven’t yet achieved Mystical Pioneer Level 10 yet. Now, back to the eggs. Clean up is a bitch. Well, it used to be. Somehow no matter what I do the eggs get baked on to the dish I use. I even tried cooking spray (blehh). I would soak the dish, throw it in the dishwasher asap (which usually meant scheduling dishwasher time around cooking, which seems silly) and STILL the egg residue would be there taunting me! UGH.

Then, out of nowhere the other day inspiration struck me as I stared at the yellow caked on cement. I reached up to my cupboard and

You see that? That mess of yellow cement that used to plague my existence? Not any more, tee-hee 🙂

grabbed some salt. SALT! Why did I never think of this before? Nine years of cooking for a family and it hit me just like that. I poured some salt in the dish, and started scrubbing away with a wet scrubby. No elbow grease. No profanity yelled at the dish. The egg residue was GONE in the blink of an eye. I could have scrubbed with just my fingers and some salt too. That’s how easy it was. HALLELUIAH! I was sure I saw the clouds part and heard a choir of angels sing praises.

The first time I did this was right after I had cooked and eaten. The picture above shows a bowl that was sitting in my sink overnight after a late night craving for a homemade McGriddle that I was too lazy to wash at that exact moment. I didn’t even soak it. Today took a little more work to get the egg off, but compared to not using the salt it was still pretty easy. So if this little trick works for cementified eggs, it probably works pretty well for anything else baked on that has, until this moment, been the bane of cooking.

All clean after a nice salt scrub!

And what is that green thing sitting there in the picture? That, my friends, is my reusable kitchen scrubby that took me 10 minutes to crochet. I love it. Why? It’s freakin’ reusable, that’s why! I just toss that bad boy in the laundry every night when I switch out my dish cloth from the day, too. No sitting over night to marinate in bacteria waiting to be used the next day to *ahem*, “clean,” with. Oh no, not in this house. I have a special laundry basket just for towels, dish cloths, wash rags and scrubbies! Every night I replace the icky rags and towels with clean ones and I haven’t used a sponge since I don’t know when.

If you are the crafty sort (and even if you aren’t this is super easy), the pattern for my kitchen scrubby is at the bottom of the page. Try to be patient with me, this is the first pattern I have ever written!

As an added bonus, you can use these to exfoliate your face/body (hooray for not having to buy those uber expensive things anymore, amIrite?). They also make great gifts 🙂

All in all this is a pretty informative entry here. We all deserve gold stars for striving to make our lives a little less complicated!

Happy Thursday,

Lauryn

Easy Crochet Kitchen Scrubby

Skill- easy-peasy

Puff stitch (Tutorial found here)

Chain

slst (slip stitch)

Crochet in the Round

Items needed:

Extra yarn laying around- worsted weight, any color.

Size J crochet hook.

Pattern:

Chain 3

Slst in first chain to make a circle

Round 1

8 puff stitches in center of the circle

slst to join

Round 2

2 puff stitches in st space (between your puff stitches)

Repeat all the way around (16 stitches)

Tie off.

You’re done!! Do a happy dance 🙂

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I never liked schedules or routines but it seems these days I have fallen into some that I really adore. The only schedules I ever had as a child were school, sports, work and family dinners. Aside from these things, everything else in my life could be done when I wanted to do them. As an adult I never stuck to a routine, not really anyway. Nothing hard and fast, that’s for sure save for bedtimes and, again, family dinners. So when and how did I fall into a routine around here and how in the world did I come to actually depend on it?

Most people would would think that having children would have caused this shift in my lifestyle, but that’s not it. Our lives have always been organic- in that we do what we want, when we want. I would clean when I had time, we would run errands anytime morning or evening, laundry was done on an as needed basis and breakfast and lunches were made when we were all hungry. As you can imagine it was chaotic, though I never would have admitted it at the time, if I even bothered to notice.

I didn’t sit down one day and decide our lack of a schedule wasn’t working for us. Nothing changed over night- it evolved all on its own to become what it is today. And now I am somewhat (okay, very) OCD that things stay the way they are. Why? Simply because this is what works for our family and our lifestyle and leaves mama a whole lot less stressed out everyday.

Five and a half years ago we moved to this suburban location and I learned very quickly that suburban living meant that anyone could stop over at anytime. Neighbors always had something going on and our outdoor meetings could, at any time, result in an invitation to come into our house, from a child needing a bathroom break to a friend wanting to see the changes we made in the house. I got it into my head that the house needed to be presentable at all times for this very reason. Thus was born my, “all chores must be accomplished by 10am,” philosophy. Why 10am? It seemed like the time when people would get moving around the development, when people would venture out to do yard work or play with children.

I personally define chores as those annoying daily tasks that always need to be done. For me it is getting the dishes from the dishwasher put away so that it is ready to receive another load and nothing should be in the sink. The bathroom should be cleaned up, clothing gathered up and put in the laundry basket, floor cleaned and nothing on laying out on the counter. I sweep and clean the kitchen floor and check to see if the floors need vacuumed- they usually do. My vacuum and I have developed a special relationship over the years. I also clean the cat litter everyday and change the bunny litter if it is needed. All of this is done by 10am, though if I am really motivated it gets done by 8:30am. Accounting for taking Logan to school it bumps it back to 9am.

I have also developed a routine for laundry that I really like. I am able to do the majority of laundry on Mondays and Fridays. Monday’s laundry gets us through the week and Friday’s through the weekend. It also opens the washing machine up during the week and relieves any stress if I decide to wash curtains, stuffed animals or bedding.

Generally, though not always, laundry is finished by 10am save for putting it away. On Mondays and Fridays, laundry is the first thing I gather up before starting my other chores.

I do other necessary evils throughout the day as I have time. These are on an as needed schedule. Cleaning the bathtub, organizing closets, wash down walls, dusting, washing windows and anything else that requires my attention though isn’t considered a daily chore. Having done everything by 10am and spreading out what I want to do means I’m not stressing about getting other things done throughout the day. Less stress= a happy mama and we all know what they say about mama being happy (insert evil laughter).

My philosophy is to have everything done so that if someone stops over I wouldn’t be embarrassed to invite them into my home. I also like to avoid any sort of real work on the weekends because we always have something to do as a family. On the weekends I do dishes and straighten up and that’s about it. I don’t want to have to wait on cleaning the house to be able to go out and have fun.

My biggest pet peeve in this whole world is a dirty kitchen. I spend a majority of my time in that room and can’t even consider cooking (which I do three times a day) if it is dirty. My mom taught me years ago to clean up as I go and that has stuck with me. Consider baking cookies. I’m a pretty messy baker. If I didn’t have my dishes done and the dishwasher available my sink would be piled high with mixing bowls, measuring spoons and other utensils and I would lose my mind- no really, I would, I know this from experience.

As if my morning routine weren’t enough, I have one for evenings as well. I once read an old wive’s tale that said something to the effect of, “a dirty kitchen left over night will cause a restless sleep.” Man, did that one stick! I don’t know when I became a neat freak, because if you ask my parents it didn’t happen soon enough, but now if something is left unfinished I do have a more difficult time falling asleep at night. I need my beauty sleep, so we can’t have that! After dinner, dishes are cleaned and loaded in the dishwasher. I usually run it in the morning after breakfast. The house gets a once over and I can retire to family time satisfied that everything is done.

Schedules are something I used to ridicule until mine was developed. Now, I really can’t imagine doing anything around here without my always dependable routine.

Wishing you all clean and uncluttered home harmony,

Lauryn

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I have always subscribed to a very basic standard when it comes to applying Feng Shui techniques in my home. It always seems like such a giant undertaking when you’re first introduced to this Eastern concept, but if you focus on a few, almost common sense, concepts it gets much easier. It takes a bit of understanding before embarking on any sort of application, but even the most basic concepts can easily be understood once you break it all down.

 

First, and this gets beaten into my skull constantly with many of my various studies, is that you have to accept that everything is composed of energy and everything emanates this energy. It’s called by different names depending on what you are studying, the Chinese know it as chi, or qi literally translated “life force energy”. In Japanese it’s ki and in India it’s called Prana. Everything is energy and energy is everything. This is the most basic concept of Feng Shui.

 

Once you allow the above to become your mantra you can begin to assess your surroundings. You need to use your mind a little here and try to visualize your house as a place where energy swirls all around you. Energy from non living things like furniture, energy from those around you and energy from things like plants and animals.

 

You begin to see things take on new meanings, like a leaky drain suddenly becomes a metaphor for wastefulness in your everyday life. A garbage can that is on display in the kitchen becomes an analogy for an unhealthy diet. So too do pictures of decrepit buildings or photos of when you were not happy in your life start to emanate negative energy into your surroundings.

 

 

So where does one begin?

 

The first thing I did was decide that the clutter around my house, though minimal, was blocking a natural and beneficial flow of energy. I cleaned out cupboards, under beds, straightened drawers and inside pantries and closets. Almost immediately I felt this rush of ‘clean, fresh’ non stagnant current surge through my home.

 

Adding color is another great way to soothe tumultuous energy or rejuvenate a dull area. Although there are obvious correspondences between certain colors and those things we wish to attract or emotions we want to harness or strengthen. For example red is for passion or green to bring financial security. But for me, I have always followed my heart when it comes to color. If it makes you feel awake, aware, inspired, creative, loved or any other positive emotion employ it!!! Feng Shui is about bringing to life that which you desire, and the law of attraction states that what we believe we are, we become!

 

I also aspire to surround myself with nature and natural elements. Water, greenery and flowers bring a vital and recharging energy to any room in which they are placed. Plants especially, because they utilize the carbon dioxide in the air that we exhale and return oxygen to the environment through cellular respiration keep the atmosphere clean and renewed. Water too is great in fountain form as it collects animated energy and recirculates it throughout the room/house in an endless circuit.

 

Anchoring is another technique that uses objects to reroute and calm exuberant energies or to stimulate stagnant areas like barren corners. Stairs and hallways are like slingshots for energy, they propel the essences down them. To stave off this occurrence it is suggested you place an object at the end of the hallway or stairs or use a crystal to divert the energetic forces. In dark solitary corners or areas where energy can get trapped place a plant or a light. This will keep the energy from becoming stagnant in this space.

 

I am a big fan of night lights. This and plants have become my answer to every tough aspect I have encountered and to date it has worked wonders. Mix the two by placing a night light behind a plant or for my favorite effect place some small white strands of Christmas lights throughout the plant for an almost ethereal sparkle.

 

During the day I adore candles, they make me feel mystical even in the mundane. And remember, it’s all about attitude!!

 

Again, these are the few techniques I have easily executed around my home. They are the most basic and for me, the ones that make the most sense.

 

Lauryn

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I love lists. In fact, here’s a list of why I love lists.

  1. They are simple to read.
  2. Organization, organization, organization.
  3. Who doesn’t love an at-a-glance reference?
  4. They are handy and small enough to stick where it counts; purses for grocery lists for example.
  5. When our brains fail us, lists are our trusty sidekick.

And so, here is a list of all the uses for lowly ol’ lemon juice– another of my favorite things. Double whammy.

“Lemon juice is the strongest food acid in our kitchens, strong enough to make life unbearable for most bacteria,” says Robert Wolke, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Use Lemon Juice to:

  • Reduce blemishes. Mix the juice of one medium lemon with one tablespoon of honey and apply to clean face. Rinse. Your skin will be glowing and future blemishes are greatly reduced.
  • Make buttermilk. Mix one cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice for a buttermilk substitute that works great!
  • Sanitize your dishwasher and remove mineral deposits and odors, remove all dishes. Place ¼ cup of lemon juice in the soap dispenser and run through the normal cycle. Your dishwasher will be clean and smell wonderful!
  • Freshen a stinky garbage disposal, slice a medium sized lemon into the disposal and turn on the disposal with running water until the lemon is gone.
  • Clean grout around tiles, apply lemon juice and water with a toothbrush and scrub.
  • Clean copper pots, cover the surface of a half lemon with salt and scrub. Rinse and buff with a soft cloth for a beautiful shine.
  • Clean silver, clean with lemon juice and buff with a soft cloth.
  • Cleans the tarnish off brass.
  • Freshen the air, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the vacuum cleaner bag before vacuuming.
  • Clean glass shower doors, apply lemon juice with a sponge. Dry with newspapers for a sparkling shine.
  • Remove the smell of garlic or onions from your hands, rub with a lemon slice and rinse.
  • Brighten whites that can’t be bleached, just pour a quarter of a cup of lemon juice into the washing machine.
  •  Dab small scrapes and scratches with some lemon juice to disinfect the wound. It will also take the itch out of poison ivy.
  • Remove fruit or rust on colored clothing, mix a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice. After checking the fabric for colorfastness, apply the mixture and let it set for 15-30 minutes. When stain is lifted, launder as usual.
  • Clean counter tops and remove stains (including laminate and stone counter tops), apply salt to the cut side of a lemon and scrub. Rinse and dry.
  • Freshen the microwave, place a few lemon slices covered with water in a small bowl and microwave on high for one minute.
  • Clean and disinfect cutting boards, wash with lemon juice and dry in the sun.
  • Freshen the air, place a teaspoon of cinnamon over lemon slices and cover with water. Simmer in a saucepan for 15 minutes on medium heat.
  • Make your own furniture polish that is much better for the wood than what you can buy, prepare enough for a single preparation (make fresh each time you use it.) Mix the juice of one lemon, one teaspoon olive oil and a teaspoon of water. Apply a thin coat to furniture and buff to a deep shine.
  • Remove ink from fabric, apply lemon juice liberally while the ink is still wet. Then wash the garment on the normal cycle with regular detergent in cold water.
  • Cure dandruff, apply one tablespoon of lemon juice to your hair. Shampoo, then rinse with water. Rinse again with a mixture of two tablespoons of lemon juice and two cups of water. Repeat every other day until dandruff disappears.
  • Write with invisible ink, use a cotton swab as a pen to write in lemon juice on a piece of white paper. Once it dries, hold the paper near a hot light bulb (don’t touch!). The writing will turn brown. Now we can fulfill our dreams of being spies.
  • Eliminate blackheads, rub lemon juice over blackheads before going to bed. Wait until morning to wash off the juice with cool water. Repeat for several nights until you see a big improvement in the skin.
  • Create blonde highlights, rinse your hair with one-quarter cup lemon juice with three-quarters of a cup water.
  • Remove fruit and berry stains on your hands, rinse hands with lemon juice.
  • Whiten, brighten, and strengthen fingernails, soak fingernails in lemon juice for ten minutes, then brush with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Rinse well.
  • Stop bleeding and disinfect minor wounds, pour lemon juice on a cut or apply with a cotton ball.
  • Relieve poison ivy, apply lemon juice over the affected areas to soothe itching and alleviate the rash.
  • Eliminate odors in your humidifier, pour three or four teaspoons of lemon juice into the water.
  • Relieve rough hands or sore feet apply lemon juice, rinse, then massage with olive oil.

So now when life hands you lemons you can get your clean on!

Lauryn

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Salt Uses & Tips

Beside making food delicious, it’s believed there are more than 14,000 uses for salt, and our grandmothers were probably familiar with most of them. A number of these uses were for simple things around the home before the advent of modern chemicals and cleaners. Many of these salt uses are still valid today and can be much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than more sophisticated products. I can’t make any guarantee about the results if you try any of these uses and tips, but there must be something to them since they have been handed down over the years in many households. Most of these salt uses have stood the test of time.

The most familiar use of salt undoubtedly is in the kitchen and on the dining table. Salt accents the flavor of meat, brings out the individuality of vegetables, puts “oomph” into bland starches, deepens the flavor of delicate desserts, and develops the flavor of melons and certain other fruits. No other seasoning has yet been found that can satisfactorily take the place of salt.

Salt- it’s not just for eating anymore

But, there are many other uses for salt around the home, as well. Salt is an excellent cleaning agent, either on its own or in combination with other substances. A solution of salt and turpentine restores the whiteness to yellowed enamel bathtubs and lavatories. A paste of salt and vinegar cleans tarnished brass or copper. A strong brine poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from collecting and eliminates odors.

Salt helps destroy moths and drives away ants. A dash of salt in laundry starch keeps the iron from sticking and gives linen and fine cottons a glossy, like-new finish. A thin paste of salt and salad oil removes white marks caused by hot dishes or water from wooden tables.

A box of salt is also an important item in many bathrooms. In mild solutions, it makes an excellent mouthwash, throat gargle or eye-wash; it is an effective dentifrice; it is an effective antiseptic; and it can be extremely helpful as a massage element to improve skin complexion.

Salt Uses & Tips: In the Kitchen

Boiling Water – Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time (it does not make the water boil faster).

Peeling eggs – Eggs boiled in salted water peel more easily.

Poaching eggs – Poaching eggs over salted water helps set the egg whites.

Testing egg freshness – Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; a doubter will float.

Preventing browning – Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.

Shelling pecans – Soaking pecans in salt water for several hours before shelling will make nut meats easier to remove.

Washing spinach – If spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings will not be necessary.

Preventing sugaring – A little salt added to cake icings prevents them from sugaring.

Crisping salads – Salting salads immediately before serving will keep them crisp.

Improving boiled potatoes – Boiled potatoes will be given a fine, mealy texture by sprinkling with salt after draining, then returning them to the pan and shaking them back and forth quickly to get rid of the excess moisture.

Cleaning greasy pans – The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you use a little salt in it and wipe with paper.

Cleaning stained cups – Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.

Cleaning ovens – Salt and cinnamon take the “burned food” odor away from ovens and stove burners. Sprinkle spills while oven and burners are still hot; when dry, remove the salted spots with a stiff brush or cloth.

Cleaning refrigerators – Use salt and soda water to clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator. It won’t scratch enamel either.

Extinguishing grease fires – Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the oven will smother flames. Never use water; it will only spatter the burning grease.

Improving coffee – A pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavor and remove the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.

Improving poultry – To improve the flavor of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out with salt before roasting.

Removing pinfeathers – To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.

Cleaning tarnished silverware – Rub tarnish with salt before washing.

Cleaning copper pans – Remove stains on copper pans by salting area and scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Cleaning coffee pots – Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

Removing onion odors from hands – Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.

“Sweetening” containers – Salt can “sweeten” and deodorize thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

Cleaning sink drains – Pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain regularly to eliminate odors and keep grease from building up.

Brightening cutting boards – After washing them with soap and water, rub cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.

Fixing over salted soups – If soup has been over salted, cut up a raw potato or two and drop into the soup. The potato will absorb the salt.

Cleaning dried-on egg – Salt not only makes eggs taste better, but it makes “eggy” dishes clean easier. Sprinkle salt on dishes right after breakfast; it makes them a whiz to clean when you have time.

Preventing food from sticking – Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying fish to prevent the fish from sticking. Sprinkle salt on washed skillets, waffle iron plates or griddles, heat in a warm oven, dust off salt; when they are next used, foods will not stick.

Preventing mold – To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.

Whipping cream and beating egg whites – By adding a pinch of salt, cream will whip better and egg whites will beat faster and higher.

Keeping milk fresh – Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.

Setting gelatin – To set gelatin salads and desserts quickly, place over ice that has been sprinkled with salt.

Salt Uses & Tips: Cleaning

Cleaning brass – Mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste, rub the paste on the brass item, leave on for an hour or so, then clean with a soft cloth or brush and buff with a dry cloth.

Cleaning wicker – To prevent yellowing, scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm saltwater and allow to dry in the sun.

Cleaning grease spots on rugs – Some grease spots can be removed with a solution of one part salt and four parts alcohol and rubbing hard but carefully to avoid damage to the nap.

Extending broom life – New brooms will wear longer if soaked in hot saltwater before they are first used.

Removing wine stains – If wine is spilled on a tablecloth or rug, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover the wine with salt, which will absorb the remaining wine. Later rinse the tablecloth with cold water; scrape up the salt from the rug and then vacuum the spot.

Removing rings from tables – White rings left on tables from wet or hot dishes or glasses can be removed by rubbing a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the spot with your fingers, letting it stand an hour or two, then wiping it off.

Restoring sponges – Give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater after they are washed.

Settling suds – If a washing machine bubbles over from too many suds, sprinkle salt on the suds to reduce them.

Brightening colors – Wash colored curtains or washable fiber rugs in a saltwater solution to brighten the colors. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.

Removing perspiration stains – Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains disappear.

Brightening yellowed cottons or linens – Boil the yellowed items for one hour in a salt and baking soda solution

Removing blood stains – Soak the stained clothing or other cloth item in cold saltwater, then launder in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash. (Use only on cotton, linen or other natural fibers that can take high heat.)

Removing mildew or rust stains – Moisten stained spots with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, then spread the item in the sun for bleaching; and finally, rinse and dry.

Color-matching nylons – Good nylons that don’t have a match can be made the same color by boiling them a few minutes in a pan of lightly salted water.

Fixing sticking iron – Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.

Cleaning fish tanks – Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank. Use only plain, not iodized, salt.

Salt Uses & Tips: Health & Beauty

Gargling – Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water for use as a gargle for sore throats.

Cleaning teeth – Mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverizing the salt in a blender or rolling it on a kitchen board with a tumbler before mixing. It whitens teeth, helps remove plaque and it is healthy for the gums.

Washing mouth – Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda as a mouth wash that sweetens the breath.

Bathing eyes – Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint of water and use the solution to bathe tired eyes.

Reducing eye puffiness – Mix one teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and apply pads soaked in the solution on the puffy areas.

Relieving tired feet – Soak aching feet in warm water to which a handful of salt has been added. Rinse in cool water.

Relieving bee stings – If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.

Treating mosquito and chigger bites – Soak in saltwater, then apply a mixture of lard and salt.

Treating poison ivy – Soaking the exposed part in hot saltwater helps hasten the end to poison ivy irritation.

Relieving fatigue – Soak relaxed for at least ten minutes in a tub of water into which several handfuls of salt has been placed.

Removing dry skin – After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.

Applying facial – For a stimulating facial, mix equal parts of salt and olive oil and gently massage the face and throat with long upward and inward strokes. Remove mixture after five minutes and wash face.

Removing tattoos – Called salabrasion, this technique involves rubbing salt on the tattoo and requires several treatments. Healing is required between sessions, but there is virtually no scarring. CAUTION: This is a medical procedure that can be done only by a physician.

Salt Uses & Tips: Household

Extinguishing grease fires – Keep a box of salt handy at your stove and oven and if a grease fire flares up, cover the flames with salt. Do not use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease. Also a handful of salt thrown on flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills will reduce the flames and deaden the smoke without cooling the coals as water does.

Drip-proofing candles – Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip.

Removing soot – Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.

Invigorating goldfish – Occasionally add one teaspoon of salt to a quart of fresh water at room temperature and put your goldfish in for about 15 minutes. Then return them to their tank. The salt swim makes them healthier.

Cleaning flower vases – To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water.

Keeping cut flowers fresh – A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

Holding artificial flowers – Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place.

Keeping patios weed-free – If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

Killing poison ivy – Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

Keeping windows frost-free – Rub the inside of windows with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been moistened on your car’s windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.

Deicing sidewalks and driveways – Lightly sprinkling rock salt on walks and driveways will keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for easy removal. Don’t overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to grass and ornamentals.

Deodorizing shoes – Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.

Stay salty, my friends,

Lauryn

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