8 Awesome Uses for Your Slow Cooker

slow-cooker

How to make Play Dough

  1. Mix 2 cups of flour, ½ cup of salt, and 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar in the slow cooker.
  2. Pour in 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of oil, and a bit of food coloring.
  3. Place a damp towel under the lid, and cook the colorful mess on high for 45 to 60 minutes
  4. Stirring often.
  5. When done (the dough should easily form a ball), remove the mixture from the slow cooker, knead several times, and allow it to cool.
  6. When stored properly, the playtime essential should last 3 to 4 months.

How to make Crayons

  1. Sort all of your old crayons by color family, and remove the paper wrapping.
  2. Place the broken bits of a single color into the slow cooker, and heat on low until the pieces have melted.
  3. Pour or ladle the melted crayons into silicone molds and place in a cool, dry location until they’ve cooled completely.
  4. Then, break out the coloring sheets and set the little ones to work.

How to make Candles

  1. Simply grate or shred the wax into the slow cooker, and heat on low.
  2. Then, prep your molds (old coffee cans or plastic containers work well) by oiling them with a bit of cooking spray.
  3. Tie a fresh wick (available at craft stores) onto a pencil, suspend the pencil across the top of the mold, and tape the bottom of the wick in the center of the mold.
  4. Once the wax has melted, pour it into the mold, and let it cool.
  5. Once the wax has hardened, trim the wick and light it up.

How to Roast Nuts

  1. Grease the bottom of the cooker.
  2. Place a cup of raw seeds or nuts into the pot.
  3. Sprinkle in seasonings and toss to coat.
  4. Cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or until the seeds “snap” when tested.
  5. Store in small plastic bags or glass jars for easy snacking.

Room Deodorizer

  1. Fill the appliance halfway with water
  2. Mix in a cup of baking soda.
  3. Heat on high, uncovered, for several hours or overnight to get rid of offensive odors.
  4. To banish especially strong smells, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the water.

Room Humidifier

  1. Fill the pot about three-quarters full with hot water.
  2. Cover with the lid.
  3. Turn the appliance to its highest setting.
  4. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and let the steam saturate your indoor air.

How to make Hot Cocktail

  1. Mix up all of the nonalcoholic components of your cocktail in the slow cooker, and keep it covered.
  2. When you’re ready to serve, pour your spirits into a glass, then ladle in some of the heated mixture.
  3. Be sure to keep the alcohol out of the appliance or it will cook off before you are ready to imbibe.

How to make Soap

See recipe and instructions.

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:07 am  Leave a Comment  

How to Make Soap with a Slow Cooker

Soap.PNG

Equipment

  • A slow cooker
  • A scale (this is important for making a soap that is not too harsh or too oily)
  • Glass jars and bowls
  • A stick blender
  • Plastic cups (optional)
  • A metal spoon
  • A wooden spoon
  • A spatula
  • Soap molds (or an old cardboard box lined with parchment paper).
  • A large bottle of white vinegar for neutralizing the lye mixture if it spills on anything.

For Your Safety

  • Gloves
  • Eye Goggles

Soap Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.760 pounds water ( 12.16 ounces or 344.73 grams)
  • 1 pound (16 ounces or 453.6 grams) coconut oil
  • 1 pound (16 ounces or 453.6 grams) olive oil
  • 0.303 pounds Lye (4.844 ounces or 137.339 grams)
  • Up to 1 ounce of essential oils of choice (optional)

Soap Recipe Instructions

  1. Make sure that your work area is clean, ventilated and that there are no children nearby. This is not a good recipe to let children help with since Lye is caustic until mixed with water and oils.
  2. Measure the oils in liquid form (by weight) and pour into the slow cooker.
  3. Turn on high just until oils heat up and then reduce to low heat.
  4. While oils are heating, carefully measure the lye and water separately. TIP: Use disposable plastic cups. They don’t weigh anything on the scale so they make measuring easy.
  5. Keep 3 separate disposable plastic cups labeled:
    1. Water
    2. Lye
    3. Oil
  6. Carefully take the cups with the water and the lye outside or to a well ventilated area.
  7. Pour the water into a quart size or larger glass jar.
  8. With gloves and eye protection, slowly add the lye to the water.  (Warning: DO NOT ADD THE WATER TO THE LYE!)
  9. Stir carefully with a metal spoon, making sure not to let the liquid come in contact with your body directly.
  10. As you stir, this will create a cloudy white mixture that gets really hot.
  11. Let this mixture set for about 10 minutes to cool. It should become clear and not cloudy when it has cooled.
  12. When the oils in the slow cooker have heated (to about 48-54 degrees Celsius or 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit), slowly pour in the water and lye mixture and stir.
  13. Quickly rinse the container used for the water and lye mixture out in the sink. Rinse with white vinegar to make sure all Lye has been neutralized.
  14. Use the metal or wooden spoon to stir the lye/water mixture into the oil mixture in the slow Cooker.
  15. Once it is evenly mixed, use the stick blender to blend for about 4-5 minutes or until it is opaque and starting to thicken.
  16. Cover and keep on low heat to thicken.
  17. Set a timer for 15 minutes and check it every 15 minutes until it is ready. It will start to boil and bubble on the sides first.
  18. After about 35-55 minutes (depending on your slow cooker) it will thicken enough that the entire surface is bubbly and the sides have collapsed in.
  19. At this point, turn the heat off.
  20. If you are going to use essential oils (e.g. lavender and orange) for scent, add them now.
  21. Quickly and carefully spoon into molds (e.g. empty boxes lined with parchment paper).
  22. Cover the molds with parchment paper and set in a cool, dry place.
  23. After 24 hours, pop the soap out of the molds. For best results, let it set for a few more days so that it lasts longer.

For other awesome Slow Cooker Tips, see this article.

Published in: on December 9, 2016 at 2:05 am  Leave a Comment  

20 Supermarket Survival Tips to Save You Money

Supermarket Survival Tips

Published in: on July 25, 2016 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Organize Your Desk and Cabinet

your-writing-cabinet-organization

Published in: on March 3, 2016 at 6:58 am  Leave a Comment  

How to Enable “Game Mode” on HDTV

What is “Game Mode”?

Game Mode is an option that display manufacturers put into their HDTVs to disable certain image processing protocols when its enabled. It usually makes your picture look worse.

Why would anyone want to turn on “Game Mode”?

Because your pretty picture is the reason your controller and inputs feel sluggish. By enabling “Game Mode”, you are disabling certain features of the TV to reduce picture quality, and in return you get more responsive inputs on your controller. The less your TV has to work, the more responsive your controller is.

Game Mode varies by manufacturer. Some manufacturers require you to go into a settings menu and enable it from there, while others require you to change picture settings. This article explains how to turn on Game Mode on some of the major brands of TVs.

Samsung

Samsung keeps it consistent when it comes to enabling Game Mode on most of their recent HDTVs. It usually involves navigating to “Setup”, and then going to “General”. You will see an option for “Game Mode” over there. Use your remote to enable this option.

Update: Some Samsung displays can further lower their input lag over using Game Mode, by renaming the HDMI input to “PC”. Usually, this only works on the dedicated PC HDMI port, which for Samsung HDTVs is usually HDMI 1. If you’re not satisfied using Game Mode, check out the PC relabeling trick!

Sony

Sony HDTVs are very different from the other brands covered here, because they require your remote control to access the Scene menu. Look on your remote for a button labeled “Scene” and press it. Once pressed, it will bring up a scene selection menu pictured below. Simply select “Game” and it will select Game Mode for you.

LG Electronics

HDTVs from LG enable Game Mode by going into the Picture Menu. That menu has an option called “Picture Mode”. It lets you select modes such as Standard, Vivid, etc. In that menu, there is an option for “Game”, set your picture mode to that in order to enable it. This location is convenient because you don’t have to go into extra menus outside of picture in order to enable it. Smart placement by LG.

Sharp

Sharp HDTVs require you to go into “Picture Settings” and change the “AV MODE” setting to “Game”. This method is almost identical to the way LG does it in their televisions. You don’t have to dig through a lot of confusing menus to enable it.

Panasonic

Panasonic’s Game Mode can be enabled from the “Picture” menu, similar to LG and Sharp HDTVs. Once in the menu, select between different modes until you find the “Game” setting.

DisplayLag Website

Finally, if you are shopping for a new HDTV, be sure to check out the DisplayLag website for ratings and comparisons.

Published in: on September 21, 2015 at 2:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Driveway Sealer Calculator

Driveway SealerCalculating Driveway Sealer Requirement

  1. Determine your Driveway Square Footage (Length x Width).
  2. Multiply your Square Footage by 0.002857 to see how many 17 L pails of driveway sealer you need.  (Assuming each 17 L pail covers about 350 square feet.)

This will give you a close approximation of how many 17 L pails of driveway sealer you need to purchase.

If you have doubts, buy one more 17 L pail than needed (but check your store return policy beforehand). Any extra sealer can be saved and used to touch up spots, or maybe give a second coat to areas prone to oil drips. Just remember that you need to keep driveway sealer from freezing if you save it to touch up spots later.

For best results,  when sealing your driveway, make sure your outdoor temperature is above 10-degree Celsius (50-degree Fahrenheit) with no rain for the next 48 hours.

Calculation Example

  1. Let’s assume you have a driveway that is 35 foot long by 20 foot wide.  Your square footage is 35 x 20, or 700 square feet.
  2. Multiply 700 by 0.002857 will give you 1.9999 pails.  So, we order 2 buckets.

This number is not absolute, but it will get you reasonably close for one coat.

If you double coat your driveway, you can expect a 10-15% coverage rate (multiply your pail requirement by .1 to .15) for your second coat.

Published in: on August 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

11 Mosquito-Repellent Plants

Basil

BasilCalling all cooks! Want a double whammy when it comes to mosquito protection? Plant some basil! Not only will you have a quick and easy mosquito repellent, you will also have a delicious fresh herb on hand to add to all of your favorite recipes! There are many different varieties of basil around, so feel free to experiment and find the ones that you like best. Many expert gardeners recommend trying lemon basil or cinnamon basil to deter insects.

Catnip

CatnipYour feline friends will be happy to know that catnip is a great mosquito deterrent! In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in bug repellents. It is a very easy plant to grow, and if you have cats in the house, they will surely be happy to have it around. However, be careful not to plant catnip in with other flowers, veggies, or herbs if you have cats around your garden. They will surely roll around in the catnip and smash everything nearby!

Citronella

CitronellaIt’s one of the most common ingredients in most mosquito repellents. Citronella is a beautiful perennial clumping grass that emits a strong aroma. That aroma masks other scents, and keeps mosquitoes from being attracted to things located around it. The citronella plant has a much stronger aroma than other mosquito repellents that contain citronella, so it is a great choice. Citronella is very easy to grow, and can get to be a very tall 5 or 6 feet high! You can grow citronella in pots and place it around a porch or patio, or you can plant it directly in a yard or garden bed. It’s a great choice for repelling mosquitoes naturally.

Garlic

GarlicUnfortunately for all of us who love Italian food, studies have shown that EATING garlic does not repel mosquitoes. (Unless, however, you were to eat a HUGE amount!) However, having garlic around DOES! Make sure to add some garlic to your flower bed or vegetable garden for added protection!

Geranium

GeraniumThis beautiful flowering plant is a great choice for mosquito repellent. When planted in a hanging container, the colorful blooms will cascade over the side of the pot, providing a beautiful visual piece as well as a very useful bug repellent!

Lavender

LavenderYou probably know that lavender is a gorgeous purple flowering plant with a soothing, calming scent. But, did you know that it is also a natural mosquito repellent? Grow lavender indoors near a sunny window, or outside in your garden or flower bed to keep the bugs away. While you’re at it, make a delicious herbal tea, or use lavender to fill your home with a wonderful calming aroma.

Lemon Balm

Lemon BalmAnother great choice for a mosquito repelling plant is lemon balm. A member of the mint family, the plant also known as horsemint and beebalm is a very easy plant for beginning gardeners to grow- even if you don’t have a green thumb! Lemon Balm is a very hardy plant, it resists drought, and it grows well even in shade. It is a very fast growing and sometimes aggressive plant, so you might want to contain it to a pot, where you can move it to wherever you like to ensure that it doesn’t take over your garden! An added bonus? You can dry the leaves and use them to make a delicious herbal tea!

Marigolds

MarigoldsA bright, hardy annual plant, marigolds are a great choice for repelling mosquitoes. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and they have a unique aroma which bugs find repulsive. The flowers themselves are beautiful and can make a great border or addition to any flower bed! Try placing them around borders of your home, and mosquitoes might not want to cross over!

Peppermint

PeppermintMost bugs despise the smell and taste of peppermint, so planting it around your home is a great way to keep them from dropping by uninvited! Plus, if you do happen to get bitten, peppermint leaves rubbed directly onto the skin make a great itch relief treatment! Added bonus for the wonderful minty smell that makes a delicious addition to food and beverages!

Pennyroyal

PennyroyalThe adorable pennyroyal flower is a natural deterrent for mosquitoes! Make sure to plant some around your flowerbeds! Pennyroyal plants also make great groundcovers, and they attract a plethora of beautiful butterflies. Some people even use pennyroyal to flavor certain fish dishes. As you can see, this plant has plenty of benefits!

Rosemary

RosemaryRosemary is a beautiful flowering plant that is often used to flavor lamb or fish dishes, but did you know that it is also a natural mosquito repellent? It’s perfect to add to your herb garden or flowerbed to keep bugs away, and it even attracts butterflies!

Plus you can simply snip a few springs off every time you need to add extra flavor to your lamb or steak!

As you can see, there are many different plants out there that can help to keep bugs away! Next time you reach for the chemical bug spray, take a minute and think again, and choose something more natural!

Published in: on July 26, 2015 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mattress Dimension Chart

Single/Twin 39″x 75″

bed_twin
Twin size (also known as single) is generally made to accommodate one child or one adult sleeper. On occasion when you need to lay with your child it should accommodate, but will be a bit crowded. Twin is great for smaller guest spaces, bunk beds, and daybeds. If you are a taller adult you may want to consider a Twin XL which will give you added length.


Single/Twin XL 39″x 80″

bed_twinXL
Twin XL size (Extra-Long) is 5 inches in length longer than the standard Twin. This size is great for taller youth or adults. Twin-XL is the same length as a queen or King, In fact two of them side by side equals a King.


Double/Full 54″x 75″

bed_full
Full size (also known as a double/standard) was commonly used for two adults 30 – 40 years ago when the homes and bedrooms were built much smaller. Now it is usually purchased for single person use and sometimes smaller guest rooms. It is a tight fit for two adults and the same length as a Twin. Two adults sleeping on a Full size is equivalent to each person sleeping on a crib mattress (27 inches of sleep space). Most people with a sleeping partner opt for the queen size. Full can sometimes be special ordered in extra long.


Queen 60″x 80″

Bed_Queen
Queen size is the most popular size sold. Ideal for two adults who don’t want a King size in order to save living space.  Also great for those who just like to spread out.


King 76″x 80″

bed_king
King size (also known as an eastern King) is the same length as a queen but much wider (16 inches). If you have the space it offers the most room for couples. King size beds are also great if you have kids or pets who like to share your bed. For very tall people you can also special order a California-King which is a 72″ x 84″.


Mattress Dimension Chart

Mattress Type inches (cm)
Crib / toddler 27 1⁄4″ × 51 5⁄8″ (69 cm × 131 cm)
Modern cot 30″ × 74″ (76 cm × 188 cm)
Single/Twin 39″ × 75″ (99 cm × 191 cm)
Single/Twin XL 39″ × 80″ (97 cm × 203 cm)
Double/Full 54″ × 75″ (137 cm × 191 cm)
Double/Full XL 54″ × 80″ (137 cm × 203 cm)
Queen 60″ × 80″ (152 cm × 203 cm)
King (eastern King) 76″ × 80″ (193 cm × 203 cm)
California King waterbed 70″ × 82″ (178 cm × 208 cm)
California King 72″ × 84″ (183 cm × 213 cm)
Published in: on January 31, 2015 at 8:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Great Household Tips

Here are some great household tips found on the Internet.  Credits go to the people who came up with the original tips.

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Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

How to Deal with Insect Bites

bugsWhether you are camping, gardening, or playing outdoor sports, it is difficult to avoid getting bites from pesky insects.  This article shows you the options available for taking the itch out of insect bites.

(Disclaimer:  This article is purely informational and does not endorse any of the products mentioned.)

Natural Remedies

Taking an oatmeal bath helps soothe pain and itching.  Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Bath is anti-inflammatory and helps retain skin moisture.  Alternatively, you could try applying a paste of baking soda and water to bites or stings; the Sodium Bicarbonate can reduce itch.

Oral Remedies

Benadryl Allergy Caplets are an oral antihistamine (containing Diphenhydramine) which helps reduce the swelling of skin from any insect bite or sting.  It also reduces the itching from mosquito bites and ant stings.  However, it can be sedating.  Other alternatives are:

Topical Antihistamines

These are less potent than Oral Remedies but can still soothe itchiness.  Here are few topical options:

  • After-Bite Gel
  • Benedryl Itch Cream
  • Claritin Skin
  • Polysporin Itch Relief
  • Lanacane

Other Options

Health Canada has approved an all-natural oral mosquito repellant that also claims to repel black flies and other bugs.  It is called Mozi-Q.  Tablets contain Staphysagria, a substance derived from Delphinium plants.

Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment