SPECIAL NOTICE – PLEASE READ

To my readers. This notice is to let you know that after today, there will be no more posts on this website. I don’t feel like I am doing justice to this website. My enthusiasm just isn’t what  it should be for this project. From time to time I may post other hacks on  blogsbymamma.com and will put them under the category of Hacks By Mamma.

A friend of mine is starting a new venture, and I am very enthusiastic about it. The link to my friend’s project is tastynerds.com. My plans are to help with the project.

Some Easy Easter Hacks

Easter is fast approaching, so here are some easy hacks to help you along.

Kelly Bagnasco had a neat idea on her Facebook. It was on how to make an edible Easter Basket. You will need a piece of sturdy cardboard for the bottom of the basket, boxes of candy for the sides of the basket(the number of boxes necessary depends on how big you want the basket to be), wrapped candy, that is in wrappers so that the candy can be bent, to use for the handle. Hot glue the boxes to the cardboard and to each other, and then hot glue the ends of the bendable candy to the boxes and to each other. Fill the basket with whatever you want, and then watch the children have fun eating the candy out of the boxes and the bendable wrappers. Now you don’t have to worry about storing the Easter Baskets because all you have is empty boxes and wrappers. The picture shows only one box of candy for each side. You may glue as many boxes together as you wish to get the basket as big as what you want it to be.

Edible Easter Baskets

Use a plastic pasta fork when dying the Easter Eggs. The eggs won’t fall off and you won’t burn or dye your fingers. Picture from www.potsandpans.com

A Pasta Fork

Different ways to decorate hard boiled eggs:

1.  Use a crayon to put designs on the egg before actually dying it. The dye will not stick to the wax crayon and will result in whatever design you drew on the egg remaining uncolored after the dyeing is done. Only the places where there was no crayon will be dyed.

2. Use water color paints to draw on the designs. No clothes will be damaged with water colors. Anything that is spilled will easily be washed out in the washing machine.

3. Use small cups to dye one end at a time of the egg. The results will be a multi colored egg instead of an egg with just one color on it. Let them dry in the egg carton on their sides, or in a muffin tin.

4. Use small decals to make pictures on the eggs, or use temporary children’s tattoos for the pictures.

5. Now is the time to use whatever fingernail polish that is left in the bottom of the bottles that you just couldn’t make yourself throw away. Have fun polishing pictures on the eggs.

6. You can use cotton swabs to put the coloring on the eggs in a more controlled way than dunking them. If you don’t have cotton swabs you can make them by taking toothpicks and using cotton balls to wrap some cotton on the ends of them.

7. You can also use finger paints to decorate the eggs.

 

I have heard that finger nail polish remover will take scuff marks off of white shoes. I have never tried it myself, but some people have said it works fairly well.

When hard boiling the eggs, as soon as they are done, put them in cold water with some ice cubes in it for about 10 to 15 minutes. The eggs should be easier to peel when it is time to peel them. I know that it works when you peel them as soon as you cool them down this way, but I have not tried it after the eggs have been sitting for a day or two.

Binder Clips Hacks, Colors of Bread Ties and Tags, Fresh Produce Codes

Some people may not know it, but produce stickers tell what type of environment the produce was grown in. The colors of bread tags and ties tell what day the bread was made. The codes for the colors are given below. The middle two picture show the color codes for bread tags and ties as well as a way to recycle the bread tags in the office, the computer room or on the computer desk. The last part shows binder clips, and some of the hacks possible by using them.

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The picture below is from http://www.amazing-stories.net/found-out-what-the-small-stickers/2/

When you know what the codes stand for, even if there isn’t an explanation as to what type of produce it is, it won’t matter. There are three different types of codes that tell what environment the fresh produce was grown in. The types are Organic, Conventional, and GMO.

A 5 digit code that starts with the number 9 means that the produce is Organic and was grown naturally not using and chemicals. 9 Is Fine

A 4 digit code that starts with 4 means that the produce was grown using chemicals and pesticides. Whenever I know that produce was grown the conventional way, I always wash it before I eat it. I feel safer that way. After I wash it, I figure I can eat it without becoming ill from it.

A 5 digit code that starts with an 8 means that the produce is a product of GMO engineering. In other words, it is a Genetically Modified Organism. 8, I hate.

 

Produce Stickers Codes

3107_PLU_code_orange       mango-conventionally-grown-PLU-code-4959

The mango above is not organic.  It is conventionally grown.  I don’t like that word choice because it sounds so… normal.  It is a sad state of our farming practices when it is “normal” to spray food intended for human consumption with poison.  No wonder people continue to get sicker.   If you see on the label a number beginning with a 3 or 4, that food could contain poisons like pesticides and herbicides and could have been grown with synthetic fertilizer from petroleum.  I would much prefer a mango that had a PLU code starting with a “9″, which is “fine”.

If an apple is conventionally grown and starts with a 3 or 4, I wash the apple, then peel the skin off and discard.  There are probably poisons sprayed on the skin and I do not feel right about feeding that to my family or myself.

Apples

3 or 4

If we buy 3 or 4, we are sure to wash the food thoroughly before cooking or eating.  The orange peel above could be saturated with poisons, so I would not use the peel in any recipe.

I got some of this off of Google with the following  Reference:  http://energyfanatics.com/2009/04/24/fruit-label-organic-genetically-engineered/

I Googled what GMO means and this is the first result.

Genetically Modified Organisms
     GMO Tomato     This picture is from theodysseyonline.com
If you’ve shopped in a natural foods store in recent months, you’ve no doubt seen products bearing the label “GMO-free” or “contains only non-GMO ingredients.” The acronym GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, which refers to any food product that has been altered at the gene level.
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The picture below is from 710keel.com. You will notice that the colors of the twist ties are the same as the colors of the bread tags in the picture below this one. We all probably grew up believing that bread was baked everyday. The colors and days of these twist ties and tags tells us otherwise. This way we will know what are the best days to go buy bread. You just need to know what time the bread delivery comes that day, so you won’t get there before the bread has even been delivered. Since bread is not baked on Wednesday, if you buy bread on Wednesday, it is day old bread. The same goes for Sunday. But I would think that Sunday would be obvious though. Even growing up, I don’t think anybody ever thought that bread was baked on Sunday.

Bread Twist Tie Colors

The picture below is from theideaking.blogspot.com. These are bread tags.

Bread Color Codes

The picture below is from hubpages.com. This shows a really unique way to recycle the bread tags. You can use them to identify the numerous cords that are necessary to use any computer and all of its’ attached machines such as a printer, the speakers, a DVD burner and so on.

Bread Clips

 

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The first picture below is from www.buzzfeed.com. This is a really nifty way to make sure that whenever you have to disconnect your computer, or any of the machines that are attached to it, the cords will not fall behind the desk.                                                                       Here is a link to a video on the topic of hacks using binder clips  <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/prG3qWjp4Nk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

The second picture is from www.instructables.com. The binder clips make a good phone holder.

Binder Clips Hacks Binder Clip for Phone

The picture of the cord organizer idea is from www.unorganizedmommy.com.

The toothpaste tube holder is from www.survivalkit.com. The idea can be used on any type of squeeze tube.

Binder Clips - Organized Cords   Binder Clip - Tube Holder

The above pictures

Just Some Personal Hacks

Here are just a few hacks that I use now, or have used in the past.

  1. If you don’t have time to wash your hair, but your hair is oily, use baby powder in it. Sprinkle some baby powder in the top of your hair and wipe your hands over it to get it to cover the oiliest part of your hair. If your hair is white, then you either used too much baby powder, or you didn’t wipe it into your hair well enough.
  2. For those of you that have babies still in diapers, there is a fairly easy and inexpensive way to help with the discomfort of diaper rash. Purchase a bottle of liquid antacid like Mylanta or Mayo-lox and dab it on the diaper rash with cotton balls. This works for the occasional yeast infection in the leg folds, under the breasts, and under the arms as well.
  3. For those of you who crochet, here is something that you may be able to use. I am crocheting scarves for friends and others, and when they start to get long it is hard to keep the scarf on my lap while I am crocheting. I took a storage bag and rolled up most of the part that I had already crocheted and put it in the bag. As I finish each row and go to turn the scarf around to head back in the other direction, the scarf stays rolled up in the storage bag instead of falling on the floor.                                                                                                                                            2016-02-11 22.13.26   2016-02-11 22.14.58                         Lately I have found it really hard to locate any stitch place holders in the stores and so have resorted to safety pins. They work really well. You may see what I am talking about in the picture below.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2016-02-11 22.15.19
  4. In the pictures below, you will see how I stabilized my collapsible yarn drum with pieces of Mylar being taped together and then being inserted into the drum. The instructions are in another post of my hacks, “Stabilizing A Collapsible Yarn Drum”. The main thing that I wanted to show here was the newest addition to my yarn drum, the trimmed piece of Mylar that separates the piece that I am crocheting from my other skein(s) of yarn and other crocheting supplies. The last three pictures show it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             2015-12-26 21.02.20  2015-12-26 21.04.492015-12-26 21.04.06  2015-12-26 21.06.45                                           2015-12-26 21.05.55  2016-02-11 22.16.45                                          2016-02-11 22.17.28  2016-02-11 23.05.15

Notice To All Of My Readers

Notice To All Of My Readers

After having to go through the loss of my friend’s parents dog last month, I never thought that something like that would happen any too soon again. I was oh so wrong.

My guinea pig, Alisha is now resting in peace. Here is a picture of me holding Alisha, my furry baby, and of her getting ready to give me kisses. I loved her so dearly. My friend had listened with a stethoscope and had heard at least three if not four baby’s heartbeats. I was so excited that we were going to have babies again. This was to be the last time. We never let any of our guinea pigs have more than three litters and this was her third litter.

2015-08-22 20.12.272015-08-22 20.00.44

Wednesday, February 3rd, she seemed to be going into labor to have her babies. When I woke up Wednesday morning, there was every indication that she was in labor and had already had one still born baby. There was a lot of blood covered bedding in the cage. I was a little sad not to see a live baby, but not too concerned because I didn’t know how long it had been since she had had the still born baby.

2016-02-05 15.35.17

She was just staying in the corner being very quiet. I tried to pet her, but all she would do was shiver all over. I left her alone to see if she would finish having the babies. After about three or four hours I went to check on her and see how many babies she had had. To my dismay, she had not had any more babies, but was still bleeding. I thought that she was still having babies, but apparently they were all being still born. It was a very sad time not to see any live babies.

On Thursday, February 4th, when I first looked in on her, she was just the same as I had left her the night before. I also noticed that she had not eaten anything and had not had any water either. I had put a piece of tape on the line where the water was to check on her water intake.

2016-02-05 15.35.17

Throughout the day I continued to check on her and to pet her. Being scared that she was not going to make it, I had my friend to take some pictures of me holding her, for what could possibly be the last time. They are below.

IMG_0303(2)IMG_0302

IMG_0303

A few hours later I went back to check on her, but still no more babies. Not knowing anything else to do, I covered her cage up and left her alone for the night hoping to see babies in the morning.

But, that was not to happen. Much to my dismay, in the morning, Friday, February 5th, there still were no live babies to be seen. But Alisha was still very big, so I knew that there were still babies to be born.  But she was sitting in the corner differently from what she had been the day before. Now she was pressing her head up against the side of the cage and breathing very quickly. The carrot that I had given her the night before was dried up and still beside her. Obviously she still was not eating or drinking

2016-02-05 15.35.30

My friends and I started trying to force water into her by using a small syringe and giving her a few drops at the time. We were hoping that after doing that, she would have the babies. So once again, we left her alone for three or four hours at the time, in between trying to give her water. At around 7:00 PM I went to check on her, and to hold her and hug her just for a little while. I had my friend to listen to her and to see if he could hear the babies’ heart beats. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hear any and could barely hear her heart beat. He thought that she had a collapsed lung. When I picked her up, she had an accident on me.

2016-02-05 19.43.22

I was a little alarmed, but thought that maybe she was getting ready to have her now dead babies. That, she had been in labor too long and the babies had all died. So once again, I went out and left her alone for an hour. My thoughts were that if she had the dead babies, just maybe, then she could rebound and be OK. At least that was what I was hoping.

At 8:00 PM I went back to check on her and her babies. There were no babies, and she was not breathing either. I had my friend to listen again, and he confirmed my worst fears. Alisha had died. She had died from the exhaustion of trying to have her babies. She had apparently been pushing so hard to have them that her lung collapsed and she just could not rebound from that stress. At least she is no longer suffering from her ordeal. I will miss her dearly.

All day Saturday (yesterday), February 6, I was just sort of in shock. I had been counting on watching the last babies grow up and go to loving homes. That was not to happen. Instead, I had to say “Good-Bye” forever to Alisha, my furry baby.

I am sorry that I have been unable to do my blogs during this time, but to me, my furry baby was more important. I loved her so much. I watched her grow up from the day she was born, and I bought her from my friends, when she was old enough to be taken away from her mother. It had been a wonderful time with her, and I certainly was not ready to let her go. I know that at least she will not suffer anymore.

I hope that this is the end of anybody that I know losing a pet to an untimely death. They are having a really bad effect on me lately, and I am sort of befuddled to understand as to why.

Hacks For The Microwave

These are hacks that you use in your microwave.

  1. To clean your microwave very easily:

Take one lemon and cut it in half.                                                                                             In a small bowl put 1/2 cup of water.                                                                                         Squeeze both halves of the lemon in the water and put the squeezed lemon halves in too.   Put in microwave for 3 minutes.                                                                                               Take out of microwave and swish the mixture around.                                                       Put it back into the microwave and let it sit for five minutes.                                                    Remove from microwave and wipe it out.

2. Second version – put a small bowl of water in microwave for two minutes and wipe out.

If you need to heat two things in the microwave at the same time, but they won’t both fit. Put a glass upside down in the microwave and put the second thing on it and heat it up.

3. A third way to easily clean the microwave is to put a handful of wet paper towels in the microwave for about 4 or 5 minutes. When the towels cool down, just use them to wipe off the softened up food.

4. I have heard that if you cut both ends off of an onion and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds then when you cut it there won’t be any tears.

5. It is possible to steam a postage stamp off of a letter in the microwave. All you have to do to steam it off is to put a couple of drops of water on it and put it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. The stamp will come off very easily.

6. If you have crystallized honey in a glass jar, take the lid off,  put it in the microwave for about two minutes and the honey will be back to normal.

7. To make lemons or limes super juicy, put them in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. They will come out easy to squeeze and very juicy.

8. To make peaches or tomatoes easy to peel, put them in the microwave for 30 seconds and them let them sit for about two minutes. The peelings will easily come off.

9. When your brown sugar gets all clumped up like a rock, you can make it become soft again. Dampen a paper towel and close it up tightly in the box. Put the whole thing in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. The sugar will soften up.

10. For easy heat compresses, take a wash cloth or a hand towel and wet it. Put it in the microwave for about one minute. It will come out nice and hot to be able to use it as a hot compress.

 

Hacks For House In Cold

The first hack is a very important one.

To prevent your pipes from freezing, let a little bit of water keep dripping from the faucet, but don’t let it just go down the drain. Take a clean container and catch the water in it and then use it to water your inside plants.

catching water so pipes won't freeze

If you have a crawl space under your house. you can purchase insulation for your pipes to help keep them from freezing up.

For those of you that are new to trailer living, you should put a skirting around your trailer and you might consider putting the Styrofoam insulation on the backside of the skirting for even more protection from the cold. It will not only help with the pipes, but it will help some with the floors not being quite so cold. You can also use throw rugs to help keep the floors a little warmer.

If you are good at sewing or crocheting, and you cannot afford to purchase lined drapes, you might think about making covers for the windows for at night. It will help keep the warmth inside and the cold outside. These can be hung on sturdy tension rods if the covers are very heavy. These are held inside the windows by very strong springs.

Tension Curtain Rod

If the covers are not very heavy, you may be ale to get by with the smaller extension rods. These hold really light weight curtains, or pieces of plastic just draped over them. You use small nails to secure them close to the woodwork on the window.

extension rods

I have used light weight curtains, but they only helped a little bit to keep some of the cold from blowing in. What I liked the best was using sheets of very thick plastic. I used the kind commonly used for drop cloths when painting. I secured it with heavy duty shipping tape. I put it up at all of my windows except for the kitchen. I had to have at least one window that could be raised in case of a smoke emergency when cooking.

Besides putting plastic up at the windows, I also used weather stripping around my doors to keep the drafts out. That worked really well for me. The type I used was similar to the picture below in that it was a very thin metal strip that was also nailed to the door, it was sort of like tin, but it also had a strip of felt next to the wooden door frame right under the metal stripping. It was basically just the top piece that was nailed to the door frame after the felt was nailed to the door frame. That way, when the door closed, the piece of metal would rest on the felt strip that was attached to the door frame. It made a very tight seal. It had to be replaced every couple of years though, where different things would get caught on the door going in and out.

Door Weather Stripping

I hope these cold weather hacks help at least a little bit.

Sensible Hacks To Help Keep You Warm In The Winter

Here are a few sensible hacks that cost little or no money to start doing.

When you cook anything in your oven, when you are done, just leave the oven door open. The picture is from http://www.fastcodesign.com/3045845/samsungs-clever-new-oven-door-can-open-halfway

door open on oven

While the oven is cooling down it will also be warming your house up a little bit. It’s free heat. You have already used the oven and the heat will be wasted if you just close the door to the oven when you are done.

After you are done with your shower or soaking in a hot tub, if your mirror is fogged up, then there is heat that can come out in your house when you are done in the bathroom.

bathroom mirror fogged up

Leave the door open while the bathroom cools off. It’s free heat. The bathroom has already been heated up during your shower, don’t waste the heat. The picture of the foggy mirror is from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/110690103314860974/

You may not believe it, but even when you use a small toaster oven, you have heat that can go out in your kitchen and the rest of your house just by leaving the door open after you are done. Once again (broken record here) it’s free heat. Granted it’s not much, but it’s free. You can at least heat up your hands if they are cold.

Draft dodgers are a good way to keep the cold out and the heat in your house or apartment. I had one that went under the door. There was a dodger on both sides with a piece of flat material that went under the door connecting the two sides. It worked really well. I used it for years, until it fell apart. I need to find another one. See picture below. The picture is from https://www.dealsplus.com/Home-Garden_deals/p_74-off-dual-draft-dodgers-for-doors-and-windows-free

Double Draft Dodger

If there are areas in your house that have cold floors you can put a rug down over them. A cold floor lacks heat. When you have a rug there, the rug absorbs the cold from the floor and keeps your feet somewhat warm when you walk on those spots.

Houses that have floor vents in each room can be kept a little warmer by closing some of the vents. Say you have a four bedroom house and each room of necessity has a floor vent in it. One of the bedrooms doesn’t get used. Well, that bedroom is having heat pumped into it and nobody is even there to benefit from it. Close the vent and the heat that would have gone into that room bypasses that room and goes to the two rooms on either side of it. That way, both rooms will be warmer. There is a little knob on one side that you can push to close the vent. In the picture below, the little knob is on the far right side in the last slot by the rim of the vent. It doesn’t stick up very far. See picture below. The picture is from https://ali522.wordpress.com/tag/floor-vents/

floor vent picture

You can take advantage of the sun during the day. On really sunny days, open your blinds, shades, or drapes and let the sun come in. If you have insulated drapes, they can be open during the day and closed after the sun goes down. The insulation will keep the cold out quite a bit. You will be surprised at how well it does. Yes, the drapes may cost more at first. However, they will reimburse you over and over again for what they cost by the savings that you will have in the heating bill.

I used ceiling fans year round to help keep my apartment cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Mine had lights on it and hugged the ceiling, it did not hang down on a chain. It was not as fancy as the one in the picture, but it did have the five blades and four lights. Heat rises, and by running the fan backwards in the winter, it pushed the warm air back down, thereby helping keep the apartment warmer. The picture is on Google and belongs to Press Electric LLC.com.

ceiling fan with lights

Then there is always the choice of putting on a sweater if you are chilly when you are awake, and adding an extra blanket if you are cold at night. Or like the lady in the picture, you can hold a hot water bottle also. Sweater picture by http://www.dailymail.co.uk/  The picture of the lady in bed with a blanket is from www.blanketcentral.com

 

person wearing sweaterblankets on bed

I hope that these hacks will be useful in helping you to keep warm this winter.

DIY- CAR SEAT CLEANER – Upholstery Hack

This is a before and after picture of how good it works.
NOTE: you might have to do it twice.
Before - After Car Seat CleanerThis works great!

What you’ll need:
* 1 cup of Distilled vinegar
* 1 cup of Club soda
* 1/2 cup of Blue dawn dish washing liquid. (Use more or less if you want!)
* Spray Bottle
* Scrub brush

What to do:
1. Mix everything together in a spray bottle and shake it up really good.
2. Spray on the seats and let soak for 5-10 minutes.
3. Scrub in circular motion with a brush and you’ll notice the stains lift up as you are scrubbing.
4. Take a wash cloth, wet it, and wipe down to remove the soap.

When Grief Takes Over

To My Readers,                                                                                                                              I am sorry that I have not posted anything since I wrote the blog last week titled Dealing With Loss And Grief (in blogsbymamma.com). Little did I know what I would have to deal with myself. I honestly thought that I would be able to handle what had happened and still be able to function. Of course I knew that there would be times when I would be overly sad and even cry about it. What I did not realize was that it would hit me so hard.

The sudden death of a family pet is always hard to handle. When a pet is sick and the family knows that there is no way for the pet to get well, they know that death is going to be coming. They have time to try to prepare for the inevitable. Don’t get me wrong, knowing that the death is inevitable does not eliminate the empty feeling and the feeling of loss. However, when the death is unexpected and due to the pet being hit and killed by a vehicle, the loss seems so much worse.

When my friend’s parent’s dog met this fate last week, while my friend was keeping the dog, I experienced this in a way very unfamiliar to me. I don’t know if it is because of my age or what, but last week I lost almost all sense of time and days. I thought that I had only missed a couple or three days of posting. I was absolutely shocked when I looked at the website and found out that I had not posted anything since the initial post about the accident and how to deal with the grief. The post was meant to help others that may be going through it. I never thought that I would be posting it for myself, but I now realize that that is exactly what has happened.

Please accept my apology for that happening, but I could not help it. Hopefully I am over the initial shock and can get back to my obligations. I am certainly counting on that being the case. There will still be times that I will feel sad, but I will do my best not to let it take over me like it did last week. I will get back to a schedule tomorrow. I didn’t want this post to appear further down and be missed.