25 Genius Uses for Your Kitchen Appliances

Use your slow cooker to bake fresh bread.

You may think you know your kitchen appliances, but you might not know all the amazing things they can do if you just think outside the box. Or the toaster, as the case may be. Check out these ideas and try them yourself!

  1. Your dishwasher is an ideal place to clean and sanitize baby’s toys and teething rings with no harsh chemical residue. A great idea, especially during cold and flu season.
  2. Your steamy dishwasher is also a great place to cook seafood! Wrap fresh fish tightly in aluminum foil with a bit of oil, spices and fresh lemon, then run through a short cycle (no soap!) and you’ll have fresh steamed fish.
  3. Use a pizza cutter to quickly chop fresh herbs. Simply bunch the herbs together and roll the cutter back and forth over them to get a fine chop.
  4. Your coffee grinder is perfect for grinding fresh spices like peppercorns, anise or cumin for big flavor.
  5. Grind rice in a coffee grinder to make fresh, quick rice flour for tempura recipes.
  6. Make a quick garlic paste by using a micro planer.
  7. Need to quickly shred meat? Place your meat into the bowl of your stand mixer with the regular paddle and turn it on. You’ll have evenly shredded meat in about 30 seconds!
  8. An immersion blender or a french press makes great whipped cream without a splattered mess or a tired arm.
  9. Use the hot plate on your coffee machine to toast a bagel or heat a muffin.
  10. Flip your toaster on its side and make quick grilled cheese sandwiches by placing a slice of bread with cheese on top into the slats and allow the toaster to broil the cheese. (HINT: Set it on the highest setting, then attend closely and pull the bread out when cheese is at desired consistency. You don’t want the bread launched out!)
  11. Your food processor can make homemade ice cream in minutes flat. Freeze your ice cream mix in ice cube trays, then pop into the food processor to get a quick, creamy blend.
  12. Your food processor is also an ideal place to make pizza dough, even better than your stand mixer or your hands. You’ll have better, more elastic dough in a shorter amount of time using the food processor.
  13. Preserve fresh herbs by chopping them and putting them in ice cube trays. Fill the trays with olive oil and freeze. Transfer the cubes to a freezer bag and use fresh herbs for your soups and sautés whenever you need!
  14. Use your pepper grinder to make fun, fresh flavors for different dishes. For example, fill it with your favorite cookies to create a fun topping for ice cream or cakes.
  15. Your turkey baster can be used all year long for your pancake batter. It’s less messy than your cup measurer and (bonus!) you can create fun shapes, almost like its a pen.
  16. Use your waffle iron to create crispy hash browns.
  17. Pour brownie or cake batter into your waffle iron for a quick dessert.
  18. Your bundt pan is a perfect roasting dish for your chicken and vegetables. Place the chicken’s cavity over the center ring, then fill the pan with your carrots and potatoes and onions. The bird will cook quickly and evenly and those savory juices will drip into the veggies!
  19. Your microwave is the perfect place to produce a poached egg for your eggs benedict. Crack the egg into a microwave save bowl, then add about 1/2 cup water and a 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar. Place a saucer over the bowl and microwave on high for one minute.
  20. Microwave lemons and limes for 10-15 seconds (depending on size) before juicing. The heat will help release juices.
  21. Use your slow cooker as a towel warmer for your Girl’s Spa Night.
  22. A slow cooker can also bake a fresh loaf of bread while you’re at work.
  23. Use your freezer to help restore stretched out clothing. Place stretched out sweaters or jeans in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. The cold air can help to tighten the fibers and restore shape.
  24. Use your hard-boiled egg slicer to cut strawberries, butter, and mozzarella cheese.
  25. The hot water from your Keurig machine is perfect for cooking a cup of noodles.

How to Clean Your Outdoor Garbage Cans

After a long hot summer, outdoor garbage cans have spent a lot of time roasting and the smell can knock you out (but not in a good way). We’ve got a great project to clean and refresh those bins while the weather is still pleasant. Try it out and thank yourself every time you breathe freely around your cans.

  • Reserve time on or immediately after garbage collection day, so that you start with an empty can.
  • Technically, one person can perform the job, but it’s much easier with a partner.
  • You’ll need rubber gloves, a non-toxic disinfectant (we recommend Simple Green), a long handled broom, a flashlight, a garden hose with a jet attachment, and a sunny, safe spot like a patch of grass or a driveway to perform the task.
  • A power washer is not necessary, but extremely effective. If you use one, remember to wear safety goggles and be careful to avoid spraying any skin or paint.
  • Turn the can on its side with the lid open.
  • Use the flashlight to inspect the inside of the can and identify any areas that have stuck-on debris. Depending on the size, depth and color of your can, it can be hard to miss problem areas.
  • While wearing your rubber gloves, use the broom to shake loose any debris.
  • Use the jet hose attachment or power washer to spray into the can for an initial rinse. Hold the water on any problem areas for 20 seconds to give them a soak and loosen debris.
  • After rinsing, tip the can upside down to drain.
  • Turn the can upright and pour a thin drizzle of disinfectant all along the edge of the can, allowing it to dribble down and coat all the sides. Use your flashlight to determine if you need more. Once the sides are coated, pour a thin layer over the bottom of the can. Allow the disinfectant to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Tip the can on its side and use the broom to scrub the inside and bottom of the can. This should get sudsy and break down any debris.
  • Use the hose again to give everything a thorough rinse. Tip the can upside down to drain as much moisture as possible.
  • Tip the can upright and shine the flashlight to be sure you haven’t missed anything.
  • Spray and scrub any debris off the outside of the can and lid.
  • If clean, allow to air out (preferably in the sunshine) for an hour or two. The sunshine will help disinfect.
  • Finally, use the hose to thoroughly rinse your broom. Use disinfectant if necessary.
  • Enjoy a fresh, clean garbage can for months to come!

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Personalized Back-to-School Gear

BTS pic

It’s not only fun to personalize your school supplies, it’s practical! If your supplies are easy to recognize, they are harder to lose. Use some simple craft supplies you might already have and a little inspiration to make your school supplies look great all year through.

1. Washi tape wrapped in a pattern around your pencils, pens, and glue bottles is a fun, easy way to make supplies easy to identify and hard to misplace.
2. A personalized tote for teacher or student makes a great gift, keepsake, and useful tool.
3. Vinyl lettering for binders and folders helps students stay organized and looking great.
4. Use Modge Podge on backpacks, binders, even pencils to coordinate a fabulous look including monogrammed backpacks and super stylish notebooks and pencils.

Happy back to school!

How To Get Sand Out of Everything

Sand. It’s heavenly between your toes, but what about when you find it everywhere, from your clothes to your car to your hair? Here’s a simple primer to keep the sand where you want it and nowhere you don’t!

Skin: Sand stuck on dry skin will slide right off with a little sprinkle of baby powder and gentle rub. Keep a travel size bottle of baby powder in your beach bag.

Hair: Baby powder will also dislodge sticky sand from dry hair and scalps. Sprinkle a little at the roots, then tilt your head upside down and tussle hair at the root to release sand. For straight hair, use a fine-toothed comb. Then later, opt for a sudsy bath instead of a shower. Soak hair in the water and work hair at the roots with your fingertips. Sand is heavier than hair, so it will release and fall to the bottom of the tub.

Clothing: Tossing sandy clothes into the washing machine will only lodge them further into the fibers. Lay clothes flat in the sun to dry. When fully dried, give them a gentle tug to loosen the fibers, then shake out the sand. Once the sand has been released, you can put them through a wash cycle.

Swimsuits: The fine fibers of swimsuits are a perfect trap for sand. Turn suit inside out and allow to dry completely. Tug gently at suit and shake out trapped sand. Next, soak swimsuit in a sink full of warm water for about 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of delicate laundry soap (such as Woolite) and hand wash. Rinse with warm water and wring out extra water with your hands before laying suit out to dry on a large towel.

Cars: If simple vacuuming doesn’t seem to do the trick for your car upholstery and carpeting, try brushing it first with a pet hair brush. This will release the sand from deep in the fibers and make it easier to vacuum. Repeat the cycle several times if necessary.

Your Child’s Eyes: The most important thing is to keep your child from rubbing or scratching her eyes, since the sand could scratch the cornea and cause infection. Take a fresh bottle of water (preferably at room temperature and not ice cold) and have the child tip her head back while you pour a gentle stream into the corner of the eye to flush the sand out.

There’s only one thing left to do: get out there and get sandy in order to try these techniques!

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25 Genius Travel Tips

 

Summer is full of long vacations and quick weekend trips, so we’ve gathered 25 genius trips to make your journeys sweet!

  1. When packing, roll your clothes to save space and avoid wrinkles. For clothes that have to be folded, use a sheet of tissue paper to avoid wrinkles.
  2. Pack a variety of snacks for the kids in a tackle box.
  3. Carry wet wipes on the plane and wipe down tray tables, arm rests, and anything your hands will touch during a flight.
  4. Use a sunglasses case to store chargers and cables.
  5. A dryer sheet at the bottom of your suitcase or duffle bag keeps clothes smelling fresh for weeks.
  6. Use your cell phone to take a clear snapshot of all your tickets, passports and other important documents.
  7. Wrap shoes in a hotel shower cap to keep dirty soles off your clothes.
  8. Stuff shoes with socks, belts, or scarves to utilize more space.
  9. For road trips, hang a shoe organizer on the back of the seat to have kids’ activities and items organized and within hands’ reach.
  10. Tuesday afternoons are statistically the best time to buy airfare for less.
  11. Marking your luggage with a “Fragile” tag usually gets it preferential treatment, like first in line at baggage claim.
  12. When traveling to a foreign country, use an ATM to withdraw cash. You will get the best exchange rate and avoid markup fees by banks.
  13. On your last day in a foreign country, gather all your cash and loose change and give it to a homeless person or someone in need.
  14. Use contact lens cases to store small amounts of cosmetics and lotions to save space.
  15. A rigorous workout the day before international travel will help you fight jet lag.
  16. On road trips, pull over for scenic photos and outlooks. It’s a great way to break up the drive and you’ll see amazing sights you’d otherwise miss, all for five minutes of your time.
  17. Tie a colored ribbon around the handle of your luggage for easy identification at baggage claim.
  18. Always keep a bottle of water and a protein-based snack in your purse or bag.
  19. Keep a stash of essentials (underwear, toiletries, documents) in your carryon, just in case your luggage gets lost.
  20. If you miss a flight or connection, don’t stand in line at the counter, use your cell phone and call the airline directly.
  21. For car rentals, hotels and any other type of reservation, always ask the booking agent, “Is this is the best rate you can give me?” They are obligated to answer honestly.
  22. Always sign up for frequent flyer and customer loyalty programs. The perks are plenty and add up quickly.
  23. The water on airplanes is not regulated. Order drinks without ice and always use hand sanitizer after washing your hands in the lavatory.
  24. Purchase park, museum, and tour tickets online and in advance. You may pay a dollar or two extra, but it will save you precious time standing in lines.
  25. Ask local people where to eat.

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10 Tips for a Perfectly Packed Cooler

Packing a cooler for a day on the water is both an art and a science. A lunch of  warm drinks and waterlogged sandwiches can put a damper on the whole experience, so use these tips to establish yourself as Master of the Cooler and bask in your glory (and the sunshine) all day!

  1. Use separate coolers for drinks and food. This is the number one tip because your drink cooler will get opened several times all day long, allowing cool air to escape, which can be dangerous for food. The temperature in the food cooler will be easier to keep consistent and safe if it is separate.
  2. Mark your coolers. A strip of masking tape with “FOOD” and “DRINKS” written on it is all you need to keep your friends from opening the food cooler a hundred times looking for drinks.
  3. Pre-chill drinks. Your ice will last 2-3 times longer if drinks are already chilled.
  4. Use crushed ice in the drink cooler. Lay cans and bottles on their sides along the bottom of the cooler and cover with a layer of crushed ice and repeat the process. This allows the ice to touch a greater surface of each drink, and as the cooler gets opened and closed, the ice will melt a bit, which will keep drinks nice and ice cold all day long.
  5. If you have a variety of drinks, have them represented in each layer, so that no one has to dig to the bottom of the cooler for their favorite drink.
  6. Always pack water. Hot sun, water activities and alcohol all dehydrate the body, so make sure to have plenty of water on hand. You can also freeze water bottles ahead of time and use as ice packs in the food cooler for backup water if needed.
  7. Avoid ice in the food cooler. Ice melts into water and water seems to find its way into everything. Use frozen gel packs and pliable freezer sheets to keep foods cool. There will be minimal condensation and no slushy water to mess with. Cool air travels down, so put your cooling mechanism on top of the food and allow it to cool from the top down. If it’s an especially large cooler, add gel packs in the middle and the top.
  8. Pack your food cooler in chronological order. Think about what you’ll need first and most often, and have that available at the top. This will help you contain the cold air and keep you organized.
  9. Keep perishable items in sealed containers and close to a cold source. Meats and dairy products should be stored in an airtight bag or container and placed directly next to a gel pack to prevent spoil and contamination.
  10. Keep coolers out of direct sunlight. All your smart packing and cooling techniques will not do much good if the cooler is baking in the sun all day. A shady spot will make all the difference.

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Summer Boredom Buster: Make Greeting Cards

If it’s too hot outside and the kids are getting restless, why not get creative to beat this summer boredom? Open up your arts and crafts closet, pull out your stuff, and have the kids create their own greeting cards for a year’s worth of occasions. The kids can eliminate their boredom with a little creativity and you’ll be thanking yourself again and again during the busy occasions ahead for utilizing this down time! Check out these ideas for inspiration:

1. Turn a handprint into Santa’s beard with this clever holiday card. (Can you imagine the bragging rights you’ll earn if you get your holiday cards made in July?)

2. Transform wine corks into custom stamps to create these handmade valentine cards.

3. Pick some flowers from the yard and use them as stamps to create a delicate design for an anytime card.

4. Create designs with a white crayon on card stock, then use watercolors on top to create a beautiful reverse design.

5. Cupcake liners from the kitchen cupboard paired with tissue paper and fuzzy poms transform into colorful birthday cupcake cards.

Do you have a favorite boredom buster? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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DIY Temporary Tattoos

Summer skin is the perfect place to showcase a new tattoo, but there’s no need to commit to permanent ink. We’ve got a fun way to create your own temporary tattoos that look totally legit with just a few household items (and maybe an artistic friend). Follow these directions for a tattoo that will last approximately one month with normal wear.

DIY Temporary Tattoo

Sharpie marker
baby powder
hairspray

1. Wash and dry skin surface.
2. Use a Sharpie marker to draw image directly onto skin.
3. Sprinkle a generous amount of baby powder onto the tattoo and gently rub in a circular motion.
4. Brush off excess powder.
5. Hold hairspray can several inches from tattoo and spray the area for about 5 seconds, or until coated.
6. Allow hairspray to dry and set for about 10 minutes before washing the tattoo.

HINT: Use a variety of Sharpie colors and tips to create all sorts of intricate art. The sky is the limit! (Although, we’re partial to cookie tattoos.)

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How to Revive Your Dingy Outdoor Furniture

If your patio furniture has lost its luster, don’t toss it out. A little elbow grease along with the right tools can turn your dingy patio furniture into like-new lounge areas. Here’s what you need to bring your furniture back to life:

  • White Resin Furniture: Use a bleach/water solution (1 part bleach to 5 parts water) along with a fine steel wool pad to easily scrub away the grimy gray film on your furniture (as pictured). Don’t forget a pair of gloves.
  • Aluminum Furniture: Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing soap with a gallon of warm water. Dip a sponge in the solution and scrub the furniture. Rinse with a hose.
  • Wrought Iron Furniture: Use a broom or bristled brush to remove dirt and debris from crevices, then hose it down thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to a gallon of water and gently scrub the iron, then rinse thoroughly. Wipe furniture down with a towel.
  • Teak Furniture: Use a soft brush to clear dirt and dust away. Then, use a mild wood soap solution with a damp rag to clean the wood. Rinse with a hose and allow to dry.
  • Wicker Furniture: Use a hose vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the tight weave, then dust with a dry paint brush. Mix 1 teaspoon mild wood soap with 1 gallon of warm water and use a soft rag or sponge to wash the furniture. Rinse with hose and wipe down with a clean towel.
  • Canvas Cushions: Mold and mildew can build up on the edges and underside of canvas fusions. Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing detergent with 1 teaspoon Borax in one quart of warm water and fill a spray bottle. Thoroughly saturate the entire surface of the cushion, especially in the creases, crevices and edges. Allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes, then using a garden hose with a jet attachment, spray the cushions to release the solution and the grime. Stand the cushions on edge and allow to dry in a sunny spot until just damp. Then spray with a fabric protector to prevent future mildew. Allow to dry thoroughly in the sun.

NOTE: Always test in an inconspicuous area before treating an entire surface!

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Sweet Ideas for Store-Bought Nibblers

Have you picked up a box of our fudge-dipped Nibblers Cookies at your grocery store yet? These crave-worthy cookies are delicious right out of the box, but we’ve thought of some other great ideas to transform these snacks into some of your favorite desserts!

  • Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches: A little scoop of ice cream in between two Nibblers Cookies is both delicious and adorable.
  • Pie crust: Add two tablespoons melted butter to one box of loosely crushed cookies, then press into an 8″ pie tin. Fill with your favorite cream or pudding filling.
  • Brookies: Our Nibbler Cookies are delicious baked inside of a brownie using our Brookie Pan.
  • Push Pops: Layer Nibbler Cookies with cream and chocolate layers in your favorite childhood push container.
  • S’mores: Squish a freshly roasted marshmallow in between two Nibblers Cookies. The fudge will melt to make an ooey gooey easy s’more.

Grab a box and get creative!

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