Factotum Facts
Part of the Solution...
Jump Into Summer

            Kitchen Tips

  • Berry Care -How many times have you brought home a beautiful big box of strawberries from the local produce stand and within one day they are already starting to rot and/or covered with a fine white coat of fuzz...Here is how you can prevent it - rinse strawberries (or any berry, for that matter) in a mild vinegar solution - 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water - dry them and store in a paper towel lined airtight container.

  • Watermelon - Fresh cut watermelon can release a lot of juice making that bottom layer of fruit a soggy mess.  If you store the chopped up watermelon in a salad spinner the juice will drain into the surrounding bowl.

  • Sangria - don't use ice cubes to chill your drink instead take chunks of fruit (strawberries, grapes, apples, peaches) place in single layer on baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours.  When you pour the sangria add the chunks of fruit -- Bonus, you get to eat the fruit!

  • Skewer storage - who doesn't like a good shish-ka-bob?  Stabbing yourself with the skewers in your utility drawer not so much!  Quick solution - stick the pointed ends into the end of wine cork - real cork, not plastic.

  • Red Wine - You just sat down to a nice dinner and you were really looking forward to a nice glass of red wine - your first sniff and taste lets you know it should have been decanted - now what?  Grab two glass pitchers; pour the bottle into one and pour back and forth about 15 times.  Your wine will greatly improve in taste - better balanced, less tannic with more complex aromas.

Non-toxic, Homemade Cleaning Products

  • Glass and Window Cleaner - Mix 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 1 gallon of warm water.  Pour into a spray bottle and use as needed.
  • All-purpose Cleaner - Either dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water or sprinkle baking soda directly on a damp sponge.  Baking soda will clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Toilet bowl scrub - sprinkle baking soda into the toilet bowl, add vinegar, and scour with toilet brush.
  • Lime and mineral deposit remover - Cover the deposit with vinegar soaked paper towels.  Leave the paper towels on for about 1 hour before cleaning; this will leave the chrome clean and shiny.
  • Furniture polish - in a spray bottle, mix 3 parts olive oil and 1 part white vinegar; apply with a clean, soft cloth.

Lightning Bugs or Fireflies?

What do you call them?  Almost 40% of a survey used the terms interchangeably - the rest was split evenly between only using lighting bug or firefly --- while a scant .2% called them "peenie wallies".

Ahh, the magic of a summer night.  As a kid, who doesn't remember grabbing a jar, poking holes in the metal lid, putting some grass inside and then running around in the backyard capturing these little wonders?  It is still with a sense of awe when I see their first twinkling in the woods behind our house - it means summer has arrived!

  • Did you know that in some parts of the western U.S. they miss out completely on this rite of summer?  That's right...California may have a lot to offer but no lightning bugs!

  • Did you know that a firefly isn't a fly, nor is it a bug; it's actually a beetle?

  • Did you know their luminescence is caused by the oxygen they take in and combine with luciferin to produce light with almost no heat?

Whether your vacation takes you to the mountains or the shore this summer - don't forget the sun screen!
Consider that 40-50% of Americans who live to age 65 will get skin cancer at least once.
  • Put on enough - one shot glass of sunscreen is enough to cover your body
  • Reapply - all formulas degrade after 2 hours
  • Apply at least 30 minutes before you go out - that's how long it takes for the ingredients to activate
  • Don't hold onto sunscreen for too long - the U.S. FDA requires that sunscreens either retain full strength for 3 years or include an expiration date

" Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not"

Dorothy Draper, Good Housekeeping                   

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