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No, I did not learn everything I needed to know in Kindergarten…

November 17, 2008

Some things take a little longer to figure out.

I am one of those people who always has a suggestion. I know it can be annoying but I am really just trying to be helpful. I am sad that I am going to miss so many chances to share my best trade secrets with you by merely slipping them into casual conversation. So, I am going list some of my favorites for you here – you can read over them when you really miss me – it will remind you that I can be annoying. (Please don’t say “no need to be reminded”. You’ll break my heart.) But do feel free to share your own tidbits – I’ll take them with me. Then I can be annoying in India, too.

409 will get nearly any stain out of clothes – dirt, grass, ketchup, grease, oil. Really, it will. Hello baseball pants. It’s better than bleach for whites. Really, it is. It will keep the underarms of your white t-shirts white. I don’t know how it works on silk or wool – some things are better left to the dry cleaning gods.

Even if you don’t have a baby – buy diaper wipes – the generic brand is just fine. They are great to keep in the car and the bathroom. Do not flush them down the toilet. You really don’t want to know how I gained that little pearl of wisdom. They are also great for blowing a nose that is raw from being too runny (just make sure they are unscented or you won’t miss me at all.)

Ketchup does not have to be kept in the fridge – think about it. The next time you are at McD’s or any other fast food restaurant, look for the ice under the ketchup – there isn’t any. They would not risk a law suit – it can be served room temperature – and it is so much better that way! Say it isn’t so – if you don’t believe me, read the bottle – it does not say “refrigerate after opening.” (Note to babysitters – please quit putting my ketchup in the fridge.)

Cut brownies with a plastic knife. You won’t believe it – they don’t rip. You’ll be singing my praises so loudly I will hear you in India.

Salt or baking soda can get pet and kid pee (and its smell) out of your carpet. Just pour a ton of it on there and let it soak over night – then scoop up as much as you can and vacuum up the rest. You’ll need to clean your vacuum filter after this. Bear has a hazmat suit you can borrow.

Celery lasts forever in the fridge if you wrap it in aluminum foil.

Cut pizza with scissors – and the crust off of sandwiches. Buy stainless steel scissors and you can throw them in the dishwasher.

Throw toothbrushes in the dishwasher when someone is sick. It kills the germs.

Don’t buy tupperware – your old sour cream, margarine, and cream cheese containers work great. If you are someone who won’t be able to remember what’s in there  – write it on the outside of the container with a sharpie. And if you forget to eat it – wah lah – you have a science fair project. Plus you are really recycling. Go green baby.

Throw sponges in the dishwasher every day – they won’t smell spongy.

Clip newborns fingernails when they are asleep – seriously, it is so much easier!

Cook a bunch of ground hamburger at once (buy the big pack at Costco and cook it all at once) – then drain it, separate it, and freeze it in sandwich bags. When you are ready for tacos or spaghetti, you are half-way done. Half the time, half the mess.

When you are cooking ready-made biscuits, rolls, or cookies in the oven, lower the temperature by 25 degrees – they may take a tad longer to cook but they won’t be gooey inside.

Taking dinner to someone who is sick or who just had a baby is a tremendous gift – but not if you take it in a bunch of dishes that have to be returned. The sleep-deprived can barely remember to brush their teeth (and they can’t find their toothbrushes because they left them in the dishwasher), much less remember which casserole dish came from whom (thank you English degree). Forget presentation – they won’t care how pretty the salad looks. Throw everything in plastic ziploc bags or old sour cream containers and give them the gift of sanity mixed in with a little time. Throw in some paper plates and plastic forks – no dishes tonight!

I have a friend who told me once how to clean out under the stairs in her garage. But I refuse to pass this little nugget along – I don’t have time to clean out under the stairs in my garage – I don’t even care about cleaning out any part of my garage – enter at your own risk. She also tells me the time in exact minutes – enough said.

Don’t forget to share your favorite hints from Heloise.

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