Archive for the ‘Household Tips’ Category

Get rid of the white film in a slow cooker with baking soda and dish soap, then start using crockpot liners.

Have a stubborn white film in your crockpot that won’t come off in a regular washing? Here’s a solution: add about three tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of dish soap to your pot and fill it up with water. Turn your slow cooker on low for a few hours. Then, pour out the water and use a non-abrasive sponge and a bit more baking soda to scrub away the film. Rinse, and your slow cooker should look like new!

To keep another white film from forming, consider using crockpot liners every time you cook. They’ll cost you about $4 per 6-pack, but they’ll save you the hassle of soaking and scrubbing.

Or, line your slow cooker in foil for easy cleanup and even cooking.

There are a lot of easy slow cooker recipes for bread out there, but if you find that the food you cook in your slow cooker tends to be more crisp on the edges than you’d like, try lining the inside with foil if you don’t already have crockpot liners. Foil will help distribute heat evenly and make cleanup a breeze.

Create a crockpot divider with foil to use one slow cooker for two dips or recipes.

Slow cooker dips are the best! Why limit yourself to one crockpot recipe at a time? Use heavy-duty foil to create a crockpot divider across your slow cooker. Then use a slow cooker liner to keep two different dips separated.

Convert any recipe to an easy slow cooker recipe.

You may have to adjust the amount of liquid called for in the recipe (like adding 1/2 cup water or broth if no liquid is called for), but otherwise, converting a conventional-cooking recipe to an easy slow cooker recipe is simple. Just use the guide above.

You may also be wondering what temperature is low on a slow cooker, and what temperature is high. The answer varies according to your model, but you can generally expect the low setting to heat your slow cooker to 170-190 degrees Fahrenheit over several hours. Setting your crockpot to high is the equivalent to 280-300 degrees.

Also, if you’re making a stew or soup, just be sure to add the veggies in first and place the meat on top. You’ll never wonder how to use a crockpot for a normal recipe again!

Keep the lid on your slow cooker while it’s in use.

Did you know that every time you take off the lid to stir or sniff what’s inside your slow cooker that the temperature drops dramatically? It can take up to half an hour to get the temp up again! Only open if you absolutely must!

Brown your crockpot roast on the stove beforehand for more flavor.

Although you can fully cook your crockpot roast in a slow cooker, searing meats first will give your dish a richer flavor. The seared pieces help hold in juices, and any extra fatty parts crisp up nicely.

7. Melt and keep chocolate melted for dipping and baking.

Fill mason jars with chocolate chips and other candy melts. Then, fill your slow cooker halfway with hot water and set to high.

After about 30 minutes (uncovered), give the chocolate a stir. If the chocolate is fully melted, set your slow cooker to low, and the chocolate should stay melted for a couple of hours.

Just make sure not to cover your slow cooker — any water or moisture that gets into the chocolate will cause it to seize.

Chocolate slow cooker dips are always a hit!

8. Cook the main dish and sides at the same time by wrapping individual foods in foil.

Ever wondered how to use a slow cooker for multiple things at once? Making a roast, and want potatoes not soaked in the juices as a side? Wrap the seasoned roast and potatoes individually, and the flavors will stay separate.

9. Use your slow cooker to keep food (like mashed potatoes) warm on Thanksgiving.

Free up your burners with one of the easiest slow cooker hacks, and remember to stir your potatoes at least once every half hour.

10. Warm tortillas on top of your slow cooker.

Instead of a lid, place a glass baking tray on top of your slow cooker — preferably one that’s filled with some chili con carne or another tortilla-ready dish. Put your tortillas inside the glass dish a few minutes before serving and they’ll be ready along with your slow-cooker meal!

11. Melt down wax and add wicks to make your own crockpot candles.

This is one of my favorite crockpot ideas, and the finished product is perfect for gift giving! These crockpot candles are easy to create.

What you’ll need

What you’ll do

  1. Fill mason jars with wax and place in your slow cooker.
  2. Slowly pour boiling water around the jars until the mason jars are halfway submerged.
  3. Cover and turn your slow cooker on high.
  4. Depending on the size of the jars you use and amount of wax, you should be able to stir the wax after about 45 minutes. You’ll notice your jars will only be halfway full now. Refill jars with more wax beads and cover your slow cooker for another 45 minutes to an hour or until all the wax has melted.
  5. Insert wicks, carefully remove the jars from your slow cooker, drop in essential oils if you wish (8-15 drops should do), and let them cool completely at room temperature.

TIP: Use a clothespin or even the clip on a pen or mechanical pencil to keep the wick centered while your candle wax solidifies.

12. Use broken crayons to make DIY crockpot crayons.

Melt down all those broken crayon bits in a slow cooker and have kids reuse them, or give them away as gifts. Use little Dixie cups, fun silicone baking shapes or even empty toilet paper tubes as molds!

What you’ll need

  • broken crayons
  • molds
  1. Remove the paper wrapper from broken crayon bits and place them in molds.
  2. Set your molds in an empty slow cooker and turn the heat on high.
  3. Depending on the size of your mold, check back every 20 minutes or so until all the crayon wax is melted.
  4. Turn your slow cooker off and allow the wax to harden a bit before carefully removing the molds.
  5. Cool crayons completely before using.

13. Catch unwanted condensation with a towel placed under your slow cooker lid.

This works especially well for Crockpot bread recipes.

14. Make your home smell good by using your slow cooker as a potpourri warmer.

THIS is how to use a crockpot during the holidays! Boil cinnamon sticks, apple peels, orange rinds, whole cloves, cranberries, and other delicious-smelling ingredients in water.

15. Make your own crockpot yogurt with just two ingredients.

It also makes a great slow cooker dip for fruits! Just let the yogurt cool first.

What you’ll need

  • 1 gallon milk (I use whole because the more fat in the milk, the thicker it will be)
  • 8 ounces of plain yogurt (you can also use Greek) with live cultures — just look on the ingredient list

What you’ll do

  1. Pour all the milk into a slow cooker, cover, and place on high.
  2. Keep slow cooker on high for about four hours until milk reaches 180 degrees (use a candy thermometer to check temperature).
  3. Once milk reaches 180 degrees, turn the slow cooker off, uncover slightly to let the heat escape, and let it cool to 120 degrees (usually takes about 2 hours).
  4. While the dairy mixture cools, take out your yogurt (called a “starter”) and let it get to room temperature.
  5. Once the temperature of the milk is 120 degrees, gently add your yogurt and swirl it around with a whisk until combined.
  6. Now, preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Once it’s preheated, turn the oven off (make sure you turn the oven off!), but leave the oven light on. This will keep the temperature optimal while the cultures are doing their thing and making yogurt magic.
  7. Place the covered pot in the oven and leave it alone, undisturbed, for 8-12 hours. The longer you leave it in the oven, the more tang the yogurt will have. I usually leave mine for 10-11 hours.
  8. After it’s done making magic in the oven, gently place the pot in the refrigerator to cool for a few hours.

Enjoy your homemade goodness!

16. Use a slow cooker as a makeshift humidifier.

Using multiple slow cookers as humidifiers throughout the house works like a charm when you’re feeling under the weather and don’t already have a humidifier!

Fill your slow cooker about three-quarters of the way up with water, cover, and turn the setting on high. After about an hour, let the moisture escape into the air. Make sure to refill the pot with room-temperature water as needed — and don’t let the pot run when there’s nothing in it.

17. Avoid overcooking with a light timer.

An appliance timer costs about $11 for two on Amazon and can assist you with your slow-cooking adventures if your crockpot doesn’t already have a built-in timer.

18. Clean the liner of your slow cooker with ammonia.

Despite our best efforts, the slow cooker itself (under the removable stoneware) can get pretty gross. It’s also not dishwasher safe. Solution? Fill a small baking dish with ammonia and set it in the liner of your slow cooker. Then simply pop the lid on and leave it overnight. You don’t even need to turn your slow cooker on! The ammonia fumes will loosen the gross stuff, and you can simply wipe it up in the morning.

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1. Become a pet sitter and make up to $800 per month with Rover.

If you love pets, become a dog host with Rover. Set your own rates and choose which breeds you’ll accept.

You can choose whether you’re available to watch dogs during the day, for overnight boarding — or both! You can also do house visits and take them for walks while their owners are out!

Rover includes premium pet insurance and 24/7 customer care if you happen to run into any issues. Talk about a flexible way to earn money when you’re at home. Note that Rover takes a 20% service fee, so if you work enough to earn $1000, you will receive $800.

2. Download Paribus and they’ll help you get a price adjustment.

I love Paribus. It works by tracking your shopping at select online retailers for you. If you buy something that drops in price within a specific time frame, then Paribus alerts you and helps you request a refund.

It doesn’t work for all stores, and everything is subject to a store’s individual policy regarding refunds when they change the price of something you’ve bought.

Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links provided.

Clear out some clutter and earn Amazon gift cards with Amazon Trade-In.

With Amazon Trade-In you can send in your old Amazon devices and electronics, plus non-Amazon video games, gaming consoles, and cell phones in exchange for Amazon gift cards.

You’ll need to enter in your item and its condition via the Amazon Trade-In site. Then Amazon will email you a shipping label so that you can send in your items free. When Amazon receives your package, it can take up to 10 business days to process.

Once they’ve verified your item and its condition, they’ll post a credit to your Amazon account that you can use on anything Amazon sells!

For example, you could get $75 for Apple AirPods Pro! Totally worth it.

5. Earn a part-time income buying and selling used books with BookScouter.

I met a guy who literally makes $12,000 per year selling books.

If you’re up for taking your kids on book-finding treasure hunts with your BookScouter mobile app, this could be a great way to make easy money at home! BookScouter helps connect you to over 30 vendors who regularly buy and sell books (including those expensive textbooks), so you can pick which vendor has the best offer.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one company that will buy your books, check out Sell Back Your Book.

Take a minute to try new products or take surveys!

Yes, it’s a way to make easy money at home. No, it’s not a scam. Advertisers pay to have their products tested by normal people like you. Seriously. Moms are a crazy-important demographic and your voice matters!

We don’t recommend all survey apps, but here are a few that we think are legit and perfect ways to make money as a stay-at-home mom.

Rent out a room in your house through Airbnb.

Depending on where you live, what your accommodations are like, how you choose to price your space, and of course, how much demand there is for your digs, you can make anywhere from $200 per week or more for one guest in one room when you list your home on Airbnb.

Nervous about doing this with small kids living with you? You could also rent out your whole house when you’re away on your family vacation.

Complete flexible, remote projects with Appen.

Appen has something for everyone, as long as you’re willing to be detail-oriented. Appen’s clients are companies looking for freelancers to complete tasks and answer short surveys to improve their artificial intelligence products.

As an Appen contributor, you can work on long-term or part-time projects. You might transcribe audio, categorize social media, moderate content, or just draw boxes around images; every project is different and you choose what you’re interested in.

Flex your muscles as an entrepreneur — take on freelance projects through Upwork.

If you’re a writer, tech-savvy, good with people, into accounting, or someone who can design like a boss, there are a lot of freelance gigs that might be just right for you, courtesy of freelance platform Upwork.

Set up your profile (which is basically like a resume), and once you’ve been approved, you can start trying to get work.

Get cash every time someone buys your original photos on Foap.

Want to get your children outdoors? Have an eye for beauty?

Put the two together and you could have success selling your photos on Foap. Companies are always looking for fresh stock photography that doesn’t look like a stock image.

You’ll get paid per download of your image. Yep, you read that right. It means you could sell the same image over and over. Point and shoot, mama!

Foap will take a 50% commission on every download — so if your image sells for $10.00, you’ll make $5.00. Some people have made as much as $2,000 a year in extra income!

Do your online shopping through Rakuten and get cash back on your purchases.

When you sign up with Rakuten you’ll get a $10 bonus when you spend $25. Did you hear that? Free. Money. (Sort of.)

Once you start making purchases, stores you shop at will give Rakuten a commission and then they share it with you! Totally legit and totally easy.

We’re talking popular stores, too! You can get up to 6% back when you shop at WalmartMacy’s, and Sephora, and up to 15% back from Carter’s!

Run errands for other people as a TaskRabbit tasker.

Make deliveries for other people on your own schedule and at your own pace with TaskRabbit. You can choose which tasks you want to take, and you can “nope” the ones you don’t. You could even complete tasks while you’re already out shuttling kids to and from activities!

Sell your crafts on Etsy if you’re artsy.

I know I’m not the first one to recommend this. If you’re crafty and you’ve been talking yourself out of selling your creations on Etsy, let me give you a nudge — just do it!

Keep in mind, you’ll pay three fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee, and a payment-processing fee. You’ll pay $0.20 per listing you publish in the Etsy marketplace.

This gives you four months to sell your item, and once it sells, you’ll pay a 5% transaction fee on the sale price (which doesn’t include cost of shipping) plus the amount you charge for shipping and gift wrapping. After that you’ll pay 3% plus $0.25 for payment processing if you use Etsy Payments.

Get paid to do other people’s laundry through Laundry Care.

It’s really as simple as it sounds. Sign up to be a home-based launderer, and start taking clients in your area. If you enjoy doing laundry and you have good attention to detail, then Laundry Care is one for you.

You’ll be an independent contractor, paid about $20 per bag, and each bag has 2-3 loads of laundry. You will also have to provide all your own detergents, fabric softener, stain treatments, and dryer sheets. To get started, you have to purchase their $100 start kit — but it’s easy money from then on.

Download the Drop app and earn money back just for linking your debit card.

Here’s how to make the magic happen:

  1. Download the Drop app
  2. Link your credit or debit cards
  3. Shop! You can buy groceries, make a Costco run, or even take an Uber!
  4. Redeem your points for Drop rewards

Write an eBook and self-publish using Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

Getting published used to be hard; self-publishing used to be expensive. No more.

Once you’ve written your manuscript, simply upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing, set your sale price, and start earning 70% royalty.

It’s free and your eBook shows up next to everything else on Amazon within 24-48 hours. In order to really be a successful self-published author of an eBook, get cozy with social media, because you’ll want to tell everyone you know to go check out your new book on Amazon.com.

Cash in on your academic skills by working with Tutor.com to tutor K-12 students.

If you’re a teacher taking a break to be home with your kiddos, or you just have a lot of smarts in areas like math, science, or foreign languages, Tutor.com is a great way to earn some side cash.

If you’re available to tutor at least 5 hours per week, you can pass a test in your chosen area of expertise, and you’re passionate about education, then check this one out!

The exact pay rate depends on several factors, like difficulty of subject and how many hours you’ve racked up tutoring, but you can expect somewhere between $10.00 and $19.00 an hour.

Have experience as a voice actor? Become a voiceover artist with Bunny Studio.

via National Skill India

If you’ve started a career or gained experience as a voiceover artist, continue from home with Bunny Studio.

Get paid to do what you’re already doing online with InboxDollars or Swagbucks.

Read email, watch videos, browse the internet, or play games online? Make money while you’re at it.

You can earn up to $40 per month with InboxDollars (with a $5 bonus right now!) or $100 per month when you use Swagbucks ($10 bonus right now!).

Give attorneys feedback about cases as an online juror through Online Verdict.

Attorneys used to rely on focus groups and mock trials exclusively when trying to decide whether or not to take a case. Now Online Verdict offers attorneys a chance to get feedback about cases from people like you, while you’re sitting in the comfort of your own home.

Sell your skills on Fiverr and make at least $5 per gig.

Have copywriting or graphic design skills? Know SEO? You can sell just about any skill for at least $5 on Fiverr. Quick, easy, and low commitment.

Join Women for Hire and get access to flexible and remote jobs.

Women For Hire makes it easy for companies to find stellar women to fill vital positions from entry-level to executive leadership using their comprehensive job search tools. You get to choose what industry you’d like to work for, based on what you already know about products and services available.

Positions may be in person, hybrid, or remote and highly flexible. Women for Hire also provides career guidance and webinars to help you find your dream job and grow your skill set. They have an entire section dedicated to working from home to make your search that much easier!

Make $10 per 10 minutes spent testing websites with TryMyUI.

Testing websites through TryMyUI is a great way to make money while you’re at home. A huge part of actually getting gigs testing websites is being available to test right when you get the email invitation.

You’ll most likely only get a few tests per week, but it’s a great way to make extra cash!

Become an evening or weekend Lyft or Uber driver.

So this isn’t one you could do at home exactly. But with Lyft and Uber’s flexibility, you can easily drive a few hours a week. Not only is this a great way to get out of the house and meet new people, it’s lucrative too! Do as many or as few hours as you like — you set your schedule.

Interact with more adults as a part-time virtual assistant with Flexjobs.

This isn’t for all of you. But if you crave adult interaction or are thinking about getting a job, consider being a virtual assistant through Flexjobs.

Working from home has so many perks! It may take some juggling and scheduling, but if you have administrative or project management experience, being a part-time VA may be a great fit.

Doesn’t sound fun? Flexjobs offers a variety of other positions and many fields, so be sure to thoroughly peruse their listings for your dream job.

Based on Glassdoor reviews, you can expect to earn somewhere between $13 and $17 an hour, depending on your experience.

Shop for or deliver groceries with Instacart and make up to $25 per hour.

Become a shopper, cashier, or driver with Instacart in order to make some side cash and interact with all kinds of different people.

Be aware that while this is a legitimate way to supplement your income, there are a lot of negative reviews of the company online.Get paid to shop with Shopkick.

Get paid to shop with Shopkick.

In addition to getting coupons through Shopkick, you can earn “kicks” or reward points for completing shopping-related tasks.

Earn kicks for walking into certain stores, scanning products with your smartphone (no need to buy the product!), using your credit cards, or scanning your receipt. Cash your kicks in for gift cards!

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Supplies needed to make your own Stitched Pom Pom Beanie

  • Plain beanie
  • Yarn (If you are doing hearts then a thicker yarn will make a bigger impact.)
  • Needle (Make sure it is big enough to thread your yarn through!

How to make your own Stitched Pom Pom Beanie

Step 1: Start stitching your hearts! There isn’t much of a secret to this, just stitch a V, then cut your ends inside the hat and tie them off. Shown in the photo is all free-hand so they aren’t exactly evenly spaced, but you could also measure and mark them before with a pencil if you want more exact placement.

Step 2: Make your pom pom! Wrap the yarn around 4 of your fingers about 100 times. Then, carefully slide it off of your hand but so it keeps its shape.

Step 3: Cut a piece of yarn a view inches long and tie around the circle of yarn very tightly. Then, take scissors and cut through the loops. After all the loops are cut, you may want to spend some time adjusting and trimming the ends of the pom pom.

Step 4: Thread your needle again and attach the pom pom to the top of the hat by threading it through the pom pom and tying it off inside the hat when secured.

by The Pretty Life Girls

diy heart patterned stitched pom pom beanie

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1. Organize kitchen cabinets with a pull-out spice rack.


Spicestor makes one that requires no tools to put together, and it comes in different sizes.

2. Turn magazine files into water bottle and canned food holders.

Via Better Homes and Gardens

3. Organize pot lids with Command hooks.

4. Use stackable, clear containers to store bulk foods.

Via the social homeFancy canisters for kitchen staples like flour and rice are attractive, but most of them aren’t stackable. Keep storage simple with plastic resealable containers.

5. Attach cork to the interior of cabinets for recipes.

6. Use chalkboard paint and hooks for measuring hints and utensils.

Via Tidbits from the Tremaynes

7. Use a lazy Susan to hold cooking essentials and Tupperware.

Via iheart organizinghttps://19b8ae431a451d1446deae85cdc568de.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

8. Hang baskets on the inside door of a cabinet with adhesive hooks.

9. Or, mount a file holder to the inside of a kitchen cabinet door.

Via Apartment Therapy

10. Store baking sheets and cutting boards in metal file holders.

Via The Organized Wife

11. Turn tension rods into kitchen cabinet organizers.

Via Get Set Organize

12. Or, use a rack to organize lids.

Via Alejandra TVYou can find roll-out lid racks like these on Amazon for around $40.

13. Hang up bulky trash bag rolls.

Via Simply Organized

This not only frees up a lot of cabinet space, it makes it easier to grab a bag when you need one. All you need are some curtain rod racks and a couple of dowels. Follow these easy directions to get started.

14. Use stackable mesh shelves.

Via Cabinets Direct USA

Use shelves specifically made for kitchen cabinets or even stackable desk organizers.

15. Attach hooks in the cabinets nearest an entryway.

Via Better Homes and Gardens

Keep cabinets organized, and stay on top of keys, umbrellas, bags, and anything else you need to get out the door.

16. Secure sink caddies to empty spaces inside a cabinet.

Via Amazing Interior Design

17. Hang oven mitts and hot pads with adhesive hooks.

18. Store items based on how often you use them.

Via julie banner

Determine what goes where in the organization order based on how often you use the kitchenware. Put everyday dishes within easy reach with special-occasion pieces up above.

19. Add a built-in dish-drying rack over the sink.

Via Wonderful Engineering

20. Hang KitchenAid accessories near other baking dishes.

Via The Shabby Creek Cottage

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1. Ripen bananas quickly by baking them for 40 minutes in a 300-degree oven.

Place unripe bananas on a parchment lined baking sheet and stick them in a preheated oven. Check bananas after 30 minutes, and if they’re black and soft to the touch, they’re ready. Make sure you cool the bananas completely before using them in recipes.

2. Substitute a half ripe, mashed banana for an egg when baking sweets.

1/2 banana = 1 egg

Because the moisture in a banana binds ingredients just as well as an egg, they make a great egg substitute for baking, whether you’re making pancakes or quick breads.

3. Coat measuring cups and spoons with cooking spray to use every last drop of an ingredient.

4. Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting dough to help cookies retain their shape.

Use a pastry brush to remove any extra flour from the cut cookie dough.

5. Keep cookies fresh by putting a slice of bread in an airtight container with them.

To keep moist cookies soft and chewy place cookies and a slice of bread into an air-tight container. White bread is best and should be changed out every other day or so.

6. Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls for garnish.

7. Proof dough in a low-temperature, preheated oven.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees then turn it off before sticking your dough in.

8. Submerge refrigerated eggs in warm water for three minutes to bring them to room temperature.

Fill a cereal bowl with warm water and soak your eggs for three minutes.

9. Heat a knife under hot water and dry it off to slice through cakes perfectly.

10. Soften butter quickly with a heated glass.

Pour boiling water into a glass to heat it up. Then, dump out the water and place it over the stick of butter. The butter will soften within minutes without melting.

11. Grate frozen butter for easy mixing when making biscuits or pie crust.

To make the best flaky pie crust, first, place your butter in its original wrapper into the freezer until very firm. Take a knife and score the wrapper at the tablespoon mark you want to stop at, remove that portion of the paper. Grate the stick of butter using the large-hole side until you reach the wrapper, then combine butter flakes as directed in your recipe.

12. Use unflavored dental floss to cut cheesecakes and layered cakes.

13. Grind oatmeal in a blender to create homemade oat flour.

Pour old-fashioned, steel cut, or quick cooking oats into a blender and pulse on high for about 30 seconds or until the oatmeal becomes the consistency of flour.

14. Run granulated sugar through a blender or food processor as a quick DIY powdered sugar.

1 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon cornstarch = 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Add granulated sugar and cornstarch to a blender or food processor and pulse two-three minutes or until a powder forms.

15. Stop ingredients from flying out of a mixing bowl by draping a towel over the mixer.

16. Or, create a splash guard with an ice cream bucket lid.

Use the lid from a gallon ice cream bucket, and cut from a hole in the center, adjusting the opening based on the size and movement of your mixer’s paddle. When mixing, you may need to hold down the lid. Just throw it in the dishwasher when done!

17. Prevent brown sugar from clumping with marshmallows.

Place brown sugar and a few marshmallows into an airtight container. Replace marshmallows when they harden.

18. Convert a paper plate into a hand-mixer splash guard.

19. Turn one big pie into a dozen mini pies with a biscuit cutter.

Spray the inside and outside of a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter with nonstick cooking spray before cutting straight into your ready-made pumpkin pie (HINT: Costco pumpkin pies work really well with this tip). Gently slide the pie out by using a knife or spoon to tap the outside of the cutter. Top mini pies with whipped cream and enjoy!

20. Chill whisk and bowl before you whip heavy cream for fluffier whipped cream.

Place a large bowl (stainless steel or glass) and a whisk or mixer beaters in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. Refrigerate whipped cream and use within 24 hours for the best flavor and texture (can be gently rewhipped if necessary).

21. Scoop bits of broken eggshell from a bowl with another piece of eggshell.

22. Scrub stubborn food from pans with crumpled up foil.

Don’t try this on nonstick pots and pans!

23. Or, clean baking sheets with a baking soda and peroxide paste.

While wearing gloves, put about 1/4 cup of baking soda in a small glass bowl and add just enough hydrogen peroxide to form a paste. Using steel wool or a sponge, rub the paste into your baking pan’s stains. Allow the paste to sit for about 45 minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.

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1. Newspaper stuffed into wet boots will help absorb moisture quickly.

2. Dryer sheets can remove winter static and frizz from hair.

3. Cooking spray will keep snow from sticking on a shovel.

4. Dryer lint stuffed into an empty toilet paper roll will make starting a fire easier.

5. A pool noodle cut in half will keep tall boots from losing their shape when not in use.

6. Wool felt or fabric (an old sweater works too) can help keep feet warm.

Just use one of the insoles from a favorite winter shoe to make the pattern on wool felt or fabric. You can find wool fabric at craft stores like Jo-Ann Fabrics or even online at Amazon.

7. Changing the direction of your ceiling fan will keep your home warm for less.

Find the switch on the motor house of your ceiling fan (make sure you turn the fan off before doing this), and simply flip the switch. Or, use your fan’s remote to change directions. All the warm air hanging out near your ceiling will be circulated back down

8. Plastic bags, secured with clothespins, will stop ice from forming on your car’s side mirrors.

The night before a storm, cover your side mirrors with plastic bags. If you don’t have clothespins, try rubber bands!

9. A clean mascara wand can exfoliate chapped lips.

Put a little lip balm on first for extra smoothness.

10. The leftover heat from your oven after baking is perfect for warming your house.

Open your oven door just a crack and enjoy the heat—just don’t forget to warn small children about staying away!

11. Knee-high socks—slipped over windshield wipers before a storm—will save you from de-icing.

12. A disposable razor can remove the fuzz and pills from a sweater.

13. A few drops of hand sanitizer on your key can open a frozen door lock.

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1. Don’t forget to add liquid before cooking.

Since your Instant Pot works by using steam to create pressure, you’ll need to add at least one cup of liquid to your Instant Pot for any meal you cook.

Of course, there are exceptions to any rule. Sauces are already a liquid, so you’ll need little to no added water to build pressure inside your pot.

Also, some foods carry more water than others, so you’ll probably need to add less water with veggies (like tomatoes or spinach) than you would with denser foods like meats.

Instead of taking a shot in the dark, refer to your Instant Pot recipe for specific liquid requirements.

2. But pay attention to the “Max Fill” line.

Inside your inner pot, you’ll see it says “PC MAX,” with a ⅔ line and a 1/2 line. It’s important to never fill your inner pot past than the ⅔ max line.

For food that expands with heat (such as rice or dried vegetables), do not fill the inner pot past the ½ line.

Overfilling your Instant Pot can result in leakage, splatter, or poorly cooked food — and it’s a mistake you’ll only make once.

3. Don’t forget to seal the steam valve before cooking.

The steam valve sits on top of your Instant Pot lid and has two settings: sealing and venting. The steam release handle allows you to move from one setting to the other.

Make sure the steam release handle is in the sealing position before using any of the pressure cooking programs. This will prevent steam from escaping the Instant Pot and allow pressure to build inside.

  • To seal the steam valve, close the lid and line up the steam release handle with the “wavy” lines next to the valve.
  • To vent the steam valve, you’ll need to have the steam release handle in the venting position — either by pushing it back yourself (also known as a manual or “quick release”) or on its own via a “natural release”.

TIP: Use a towel, potholder, or silicone glove to turn the steam release handle. When you switch the steam valve to vent, steam will come out hot and fast — so cover your hands and any unprotected skin!

4. Know the difference between a Natural Release and a Quick Release.

There are two ways to release pressure from your Instant Pot: through a Natural Release or a Quick Release.

Natural Release: Your Instant Pot releases pressure on its own until the float valve (next to the steam valve on top of your lid) drops down. A natural release takes a bit longer, but it’s best for recipes with meats, soups, broths, beans, starchy foods, and foods with lots of liquid.

Quick Release: You manually release pressure from your Instant Pot by pushing the steam release handle back to the venting position until the float valve drops down. A quick release is much faster and is best for recipes with vegetables, fish, and fragile or fast-cooking foods.

5. Don’t use the same sealing ring for every Instant Pot recipe.

The sealing ring is an Instant Pot accessory and safeguard that keeps your lid locked tight during pressure cooking. It helps your machine withstand the high forces of pressure needed to cook the food inside.

Since the sealing ring lives under your Instant Pot lid, it can absorb a lot of the steam and smell your food emits while cooking.

That’s why it’s always good to have a spare sealing ring to use for different types of Instant Pot recipes. I recommend using one sealing ring for sweets and another sealing ring for savory dishes.

6. Avoid overcooking food with the “Keep Warm” setting.

The Keep Warm setting automatically turns on when your food is done cooking, so it’s easy to get distracted and forget that it’s on. If you don’t manually shut off the machine, the Keep Warm setting will keep it on for 10 hours before the machine shuts off itself.

If you’d rather NOT use the Keep Warm setting on your Instant Pot, you can switch it off on the control panel and avoid the risk of overcooked food altogether.

7. It can take time for your Instant Pot to build and release pressure.

Depending on the recipe and the amount of food you’re cooking, it can take up to 40 minutes for your Instant Pot to fully build pressure. But remember, releasing that pressure from your Instant Pot takes time, too.

A Quick Release only takes a few minutes, but Natural Releases take 10-40 minutes, which can really add to your overall cook time.

Before starting your Instant Pot recipe, don’t forget to factor in the time it takes to build and release pressure. A 15-minute recipe can quickly turn into a 35-minute recipe when you account for the whole process.

8. Pay attention to the timer and start buttons on your Instant Pot.

You’ll need to select your cooking program BEFORE setting the timer on your Instant Pot’s control panel.

The cooking programs are located on the left and right sides of your control panel. Press the button for the cooking program you want to use, then press the “+” and “-” buttons to add or subtract time.

10 seconds after you choose your settings, your Instant Pot will beep three times and turn on to start the preheating cycle.https://009555340b45ce42b0a4ca132199bb98.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

9. Don’t forget to replace the inner pot before cooking again.

What may sound like a no-brainer is actually a common mistake.

Since you remove the inner pot to clean it, you may forget to place it back in your Instant Pot before dumping in food for your next recipe.

I recommend replacing the inner pot immediately after cleaning and drying it so you don’t have to remember it for next time.

10. Don’t underestimate the sauté function.

Instant Pots are best known for their pressure cooking abilities, but that doesn’t mean its other programs (like slow cooking and sautéeing) aren’t as good.

The sauté program works the same as a stovetop pot or pan, but it’s definitely a game-changer. You can stir-fry veggies, thicken sauces, and brown meats without adding another pot to your pile of dishes.

Your Instant Pot lid stays off for the sauté program, so you don’t have to deal with the build and release parts of pressure cooking.

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1. Use a seam ripper to clean out your vacuum.

Slide the seam ripper over all of the strings, hair, and gunk wrapped around the brush of your vacuum. It will pick up so much more debris!

2. Clean your window tracks with baking soda and vinegar.

When’s the last time your window tracks were clean? Were they ever?

Sprinkle baking soda throughout, more heavily if you have a buildup of gunk. Spray vinegar over it, and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe with a damp cloth.

3. Use baby wipes to clean up carpet spills.

This only works with fresh stains, but it’s effective and easy! A baby wipe already has the perfect saturation of liquid, and it won’t come apart like a paper towel.

It works particularly well on pet stains!

4. Clean your baseboards without breaking your back.

Baseboards get overlooked, but they’re an easy way to make a huge impact. Now you can clean them without having to be on your hands and knees!

Attach a microfiber cloth to a broom with twine or a large rubber band. Dampen the cloth with warm soapy water, and drag it along your baseboards.

5. Use olive oil to clean your leather furniture.

Rub a rag with olive oil on it over any scratched-up spots on your leather furniture. Let sit for about an hour, then wipe down with a damp cloth. Your leather will be clean and shiny again.

6. Clean your remote controls once a week.

These often go overlooked in the cleaning schedule, but just think of how often they get touched!

Simply wipe them down with an antibacterial wipe once a week (or daily if you’ve been sick).

7. Clean your range hood filter twice a year.

Its entire job is to collect grease, so it’s no wonder it gets disgusting. Twice a year you should remove it and soak it in boiling, soapy water with baking soda. Let it soak for about 30 minutes, then scrub with a dish brush.

Rinse, let dry, then reattach.

8. Clean your stainless steel with cream of tartar.

Wet a sponge and add a small amount of cream of tartar before you wipe down your stainless steel. Rinse to reveal the shine.

9. Clean the underside of your furniture every six months.

No, not underneath your furniture (though you should be doing that, too) but the underside. Dust, mites, and spider eggs all collect in those cool, dark spaces.

Make sure to use the hose attachment of your vacuum to clean the bottoms of your furniture at least twice a year.

10. Clean any knobs and handles in your kitchen daily.

The handles and drawer pulls on your cabinets and the buttons on your microwave are the most touched spots in your kitchen. Use an antibacterial spray or wipe to keep the germs at bay at least once a day— especially during the dreaded cold and flu season.

11. Keep your kitchen sink smelling fresh.

Pour a cup of baking soda down your drain, then follow with two cups of vinegar. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, then rinse with boiling water.

Do this at least once a week to keep everything smelling fresh.

12. Use a soap-dispensing sponge to clean your bathtub.

Fill your sponge with dish soap, warm water, and baking soda. Make sure to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (peppermint is the best!).

Scour your wet bathtub and fill your bathroom with the scent of essential oils at the same time.

13. Don’t ruin your grout with bleach — use baking soda instead.

Make a paste with baking soda and warm water, and apply it to your grout. Soak a microfiber cloth in warm water and a few drops of mild soap then wipe off the baking soda mixture.

14. Clean in between the toilet seat and tank.

Put a disinfectant wipe on the tip of a flat-head screwdriver, then push it between the edge of the toilet seat and the base of your toilet tank.

You’ll get rid of so many germs and built-up grime.

15. Replace your contact lens case monthly.

The solution alone isn’t enough to clean out your case. Wipe it down daily before refilling it with solution, then replace once a month.

16. Clean the walls of your closet.

Sure, you wash your clothes, but what about your closet? Remove everything from your closet, wipe down the walls with a mixture of mild soap, water, and essential oil.

Make sure not to forget the clothes rod!

17. Deep clean your mattress then keep it fresh with baking soda.

Vacuum your mattress with a hose attachment to get rid of any loose debris. Then mix together 8 oz of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons baking soda, and a drop of dish soap in a spray bottle (you’ll need to use this immediately!).

Spray your mattress completely, then simply let sit. Once it’s completely dry, vacuum using the hose again.

Periodically sprinkle with baking soda, then vacuum to keep your mattress smelling fresh.

18. Wash your pillows at least twice a year.

Don’t let dust mites in your pillow get the best of you. Wash two at a time with bleach, then dry them with a couple of tennis balls to keep them fluffy.

19. Make your towels more absorbent with vinegar and baking soda.

This will actually take two washes, but I promise it’s worth it.

Run your towels through one wash with 1 cup of vinegar and hot water. Then wash them AGAIN with 1/2 cup of baking soda and hot water.

They’ll be fluffy and fresh.

20. Clean your clothes washer once a month.

Rinse your washer with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water regularly. It will help get rid of that mildewy smell that can build up in there.

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1. Volumizing Sea Spray

On those all-too-frequent days I can’t get to the beach, I use this hair spray for lots of lift and a breezy scent. You could pay as much as $26 per bottle, but these replacement options will keep you volumized for mere pennies per ounce.

The main components of a great texturizer are salt for volume, a softener to counteract the salt’s drying effect and something to make it smell great!

Combine a cup of hot water with a tablespoon or so of coarse salt — sea salt or Epsom salts work great. The more salt, the beachier the look. Add in aloe, some conditioner you already have or maybe some of the water-based gel in your cabinet to add softness and hold.

After it cools, add a few (optional!) drops of essential oil and pour into your spray bottle. Bend over your sink and spray liberally on damp or dry hair at the roots. Shake, scrunch, flip and otherwise adore your instant big, sexy, beach-day look! 

Off-the-shelf cost: $14.99 for 6 ounces.

DIY cost: $1 per bottle at most, and your first batch of ingredients will last forever.

2. Dry Shampoo

When your day is too full of responsibilities

excitement for a full shampoo and conditioning, you reach for dry shampoo for a grease-free look that won’t strip your hair’s natural oils — but there’s no need to strip your wallet, either.

Dry shampoo dispenses greasiness with an oil-absorbing powder that disappears in your hair. Depending on your hair color and what’s on your shelves, you can try cornstarch, fine arrowroot flour, baby powder or even unsweetened cocoa powder (my personal fave, though I’m a pretty dark brunette and a total chocoholic). Apply to your roots and comb through until the product disappears.

Not into smelling like chocolate cake or a baby’s bottom? I like to comb in a drop or two of that essential oil I use in my sea salt spray for scrumptious-smelling hair. 

Off-the-shelf cost: $23 for 3.5 ounces of a fancy kind, or $6.99 for 3.4 ounces of a drugstore brand.

DIY cost: You probably already have these items in your pantry. Otherwise, maybe a couple of bucks at your grocery store’s bulk bin.

3. Exfoliating Salt or Sugar Scrub for Hands and Body

This product is pretty much just sugar or salt, oil and something that smells good. Go ahead and raid your pantry and grab that essential oil.

Plus, you can choose between a micro-exfoliating granulated sugar scrub or a macro-exfoliating coarse sea salt scrub, experiment with white or brown sugars, coconut or olive or almond oil… the possibilities are endless. 

Off-the-shelf cost: $16.50 for 8 ounces at Bath and Body Works, but I’ve seen these bad boys go for $40 for 8.2 ounces from premium dealers. No way!

DIY cost: About $3 per batch, depending on the type of oil you choosenull

4. Body or Face Lotion

You can make a fabulous body lotion by simply adding a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil to the coconut oil you’re already using.

Or, experiment with shea butter-based lotions and try other nourishing oils, like avocado or jojoba. Depending on how much you trust your face, you could try a gentle mixture — I’m pretty oily, though, so I’d proceed with caution!

Off-the-shelf cost: Amazon lists a 12-ounce Aveeno lotion for $5.93, which is pretty standard for drugstore body lotion. Facial skincare products are hugely variable and can be quite expensive, like $32.76 for 2 ounces.

DIY cost: About $3 to $5 per batch

5. Facial Toner

Check out the ingredient list on that refreshing spritz you use before your moisturizer or in the middle of the day — it’s pretty much a bottle of watery perfume!

By experimenting with tea, rose water or witch hazel, you slash costs and get to figure out what works best for your skin on the cheap. If you’re starting to amass those essential oils I keep mentioning from all this DIY, check out some of these skin-type-specific recipes

I like using a cotton pad to apply my toner, but you could grab another spray bottle if you enjoy the spritz effect.

Off-the-shelf cost: $45 for 8.4 ounces is not unheard of, though you can find drugstore options for less than $8 for around the same size.

DIY cost: Depends on your ingredients, but could cost pennies or up to $4 per

6. Face Masks

Whether your skin is dry, oily or a combination — and even if you’re dealing with acne well after high school — you can try tons of at-home treatments. Raid your kitchen for apple cider vinegar, honey and egg whites. How about avocado and cocoa powder

The good news is, not only do you already have these ingredients on your grocery list, but you can try a variety of treatments without breaking the bank. My oily summer skin loves apple cider vinegar, but milk and honey feels decadent before bed!

Off-the-shelf cost: A 1-ounce charcoal mask from Sephora costs $13.00, but who knows which one’s right for you?

DIY cost: From pennies to $5 per mask, depending on the ingredients you choose

Although a few of these recipes require some initial investments like essential oils, glass containers, spray bottles or shea butter, you’ll be left with ingredients to keep making personalized beauty products for a year or longer — and with extra cash in your pocket.

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While planning your day of indulgence, don’t forget to design your own relaxation grotto. Give your bathroom a deep clean and then:

  1. Splurge on a soft, thick towel.
  2. Pick up some pretty containers from the dollar store to hold all the scrubs and potions you make.
  3. Treat yourself to a fluffy bathrobe to wear while relaxing.
  4. Get some inexpensive candles to create ambience during bath time — or make your own.
  5. Set a plant or vase of flowers in the bathroom, because greenery makes everything better.
  6. Cover your bathroom window with frosted contact paper to diffuse bright sunlight that might harsh your mellow.
  7. Put a few sprigs of eucalyptus on the corner of the bathtub to create a clean, refreshing scent when you run the hot water.
  8. Buy a bathtub overflow drain cover so you can fill the tub extra deep and soak all the way up to your chin.
  9. Queue up this chill Spotify playlist.
  10. Use the cucumber you bought for your eyes to make some cucumber and lemon-infused water to sip as you spa

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