Tips of the Week

Welcome to Beck & Call's Tips of the week.  We hope to offer a few easy tried and true ways to help simplify your life. We always appreciate feedback on how these tips work for you.

Feb 15, 2015
I hope everyone is staying warm. Here in Ohio we are around O degree mark. A couple of things to remember with this temperature is to keep everything working. If you have pipes on an outside wall keep the doors under the sink open to let warm air circulate. A small trickle from a faucet will also help keep pipes from freezing. If you have to go out even for a few minutes cover your ears and hands. You can get frostbite with these temperatures in a matter of minutes. Be careful shoveling also. Do not overdue it as this can cause issues with your heart. Be sure to bring pets inside. If you have any elderly neighbors check on them as sometimes they don't realize the temperature and will turn their heat down. If you can stay inside that is the best idea. Make a pot of chili, soup or stew. I made the chili yesterday and the stew today.

Jan. 22, 2015
Happy New Year! As I said in Dec. I am doing Tip of the Month instead of weekly. It's the time of the year that we start prepping for taxes. It's a smart idea to have an envelope just for tax information. Grab a large envelope and as your W-2, 1099 and other tax documents arrive in the mail you can put them in one designated place. If you receive your documents electronically be sure to print them out and put them in the envelope. Most documents will arrive by the end of the month. I have one account that sends out their documents in March so I have to wait for the last one but prior I can put all my information together.

Dec. 31, 2014
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! It is New Year's Eve and a time to reflect on last  years accomplishments and next year's goals. Don't feel pressured to make a year long goal. Make some small ones and as you accomplish them you can make a new one. I am going to switch my Tips of the Week to Tips of the Month. I hope you all continue to check them out. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Dec. 18, 2014
This is a reminder tip to think about your year end taxes. If you are like me, you are getting many requests for donations. If you itemize your taxes think about making year end donations to your favorite charity to reap the benefits of the deduction. Also remember to fund your retirement accounts. Technically you have until April next year but why procrastinate.

Dec. 11, 2014
I hope everyone is getting ready for Christmas and celebrating with family. I know money is tight for everyone. Remember it's really a time to rejoice and share love. Don't feel like you have to buy the biggest and most expensive gifts. Gifts from the heart are very special. I have old photos that I have put into frames and plan on giving them to family members.

Dec. 4, 2014
It's almost Christmas. Time flies...One of my favorite activities is making cookies. It's nice to pick a Saturday or Sunday to make cookies for the season. Look through old recipes and find ones that remind you of holidays past. I look at my mom's old cookbooks and files and pull the one's we made when I was small. Also, having kids around will bring back the joy of decorating and licking the bowl. Happy Baking!

Nov. 26, 2014
It's the day before Thanksgiving Day. It is a time to be thankful for all the blessings we have in our lives. Being thankful doesn't have to be something big. It can be the little things. Take a moment and think of all the wonderful happenings in your life. Also take a moment and call a friend or relative you haven't spoken to for awhile and say hello.

Nov. 13, 2014
Well the snow has begun to fall. It's time to make sure your car is in winter mode. Besides checking the oil and fluid levels it's important to make sure you have emergency items available. Make sure you have a bottle of water, a candy bar or some sort of protein bar, a blanket, jumper cables. It's also helpful to have some kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck in snow or on ice. Always make sure you have at least a half tank of gas.

Nov. 6, 2014
The weather is changing and it's time to think of comfort food. It's a great time to go through old recipes and pull out the family favorites. I love making soups, stews and meatloaf. Make extra and freeze it. It will be an easy weekday meal when you don't feel like cooking.

Oct. 29, 2014
I missed a week due to my mother's passing. I have seen so many people and spoken to even more. I don't have cousins and other relatives in state but I do try to keep in touch with them. I have learned in these past couple of weeks how important family is even if they don't live close. Also, friends are family too.  I ask each of you to take the time to call a friend or family member you haven't spoken to for awhile and say hello. It feels good and it means so much.

Oct. 16, 2014
I was driving today and the sun was shining. I saw all the dust that had accumulated on the dash board and the console. I used a dry sweeper cloth, like for Swiffer brooms, to wipe everything off. All the dust came up without any fuss. I also put  dryer cloths under the seats to freshen the air. Easy clean up!

Oct.9, 2014
I just learned a new use for leftover pickle juice. It is good for killing weeds. Save the leftover juice and strain the seeds. Pour the juice in cracks where weeds grow. It can also be put in a spray bottle and used that way.

Oct. 2, 2014
I am doing some jobs around the house that only get done once or twice a year. One is polishing the silver for the holidays. You can make your own polish by mixing a couple tablespoons of baking soda with water to make a paste. Spread the paste and let sit for 10 minutes. Rub it gently and rinse with warm water. Use a soft cloth to dry and polish.

Sept.24, 2014
On the subject of travel...if you have ever forgotten where your house keys are when you return from a trip then make a spare set and use duct tape to secure them in your trunk under the carpet on the floor.

Sept. 17, 2014
If you store your suitcase in the attic you know it gets musty smelling between uses. If you put a fabric softener sheet or a scented bar of soap in the suitcase before storing it will eliminate the odors.

Sept. 10, 2014
Summer is ending and the temperatures are cooler. This is a great time to clean out the garage. We all accumulate stuff throughout the summer. With the cooler weather it's a great time to go through everything and toss what is not needed, store summer items and bring out fall and winter items.

Sept. 3, 2014
I came across a very simple trick to clean out the fabric in your purses. If you take a lint brush with the sticky paper and roll it around in an empty purse it picks up lint and other pieces of paper and little items stuck in the corners.

August 28, 2014
Well, it's Labor Day weekend. The kids are back at school and summer is coming to a close. With kids going to school, we need to be very careful at stop lights and stop signs. Not only do pedestrians need to look both ways but drivers also. Make sure you check all crosswalks and corners before making a turn. Children can appear out of nowhere so be very careful when driving.

August 21, 2014
We all have issues with nasty little bugs in our home. Some non toxic ways to get rid of fruit flies is to take an apple and stick cloves in it. The fruit flies don't like the scent of the cloves. A way to get rid of ants is to soak some cotton balls in lemon juice and place them where the ants are coming in. Ants don't like the smell of lemon juice.

August 14, 2014
The weather has been very cool at night. It makes for great relaxation outside. Many of us have a fire pit outside we use on cool nights. It's important to make sure the fire is out before retiring inside for the night. Make sure flames are out and stir the ashes to break up any glowing embers.

August 6, 2014
I am sorry for no tip last week as my computer was on the fritz. This week let's look at our jewelry. It's important to keep jewelry looking good. It's also nice to look at old jewelry  and see how it can look new again.  Gold jewelry that has been sitting around can get a good cleaning by  soaking it in 1 cup dish washing liquid and 1 teaspoon of ammonia. Use an old toothbrush to scrub it.  Wipe it with a clean cloth and buff it. It will look new again.

July 23, 2014
With all the pretty flowers in the garden you want to bring them inside. If you don't have florist foam you can use a potato to hold your flowers in the vase. Cut the potato in half. Place the flat side down. Punch holes to hold the stems.

July 16, 2014
This is the time of the year to do outdoor projects. One is staining or painting a deck. It is hard to judge the color of the stain on a card. It is wise to get a small can of stain and try it on a small inconspicuous area of the deck to make sure it is the color you want. You won't waste time and money if it is the wrong color.

July 9, 2014
I hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday weekend. The weather has been variable the last few days. We have had rain, sun, tornadoes and high humidity. With this kind of weather we need to be prepared for many situations. For the severe storms make sure you have an emergency plan in place. Make sure you have extra supplies. For the sun make sure you wear sunscreen and protect yourself from overheating. Drink plenty of water. Don't forget your pets and your flowers. Most of all enjoy your time outside.

July 2, 2014
It's the Fourth of July this weekend. It's time to remember the freedoms we have in the United States. It's also time for picnics and cook outs. We have to remember to be careful with fireworks. If you are going to use fireworks remember to point them away from people and houses. If a spark hits a roof it can ignite a dangerous fire. Most important have fun and relax.

June 25, 2014
With the summer weather and being outside, there is always the issue of flies. One way to avoid getting bitten by black flies is to rub your skin with undiluted vanilla extract. They will avoid you.

June 18, 2014
I've been looking at fresh herbs this summer. A great way to keep them is to chop them up and put them in an ice tray with water and freeze them. An average cube holds about a tablespoon of herb and a tablespoon of water. When needed, take a cube out and add it to your recipe. Fresh herbs and no added water.

June 11, 2014
I hope everyone was able to gather old photos to put together for Father's Day. I work with many families that have felt that they were the only ones that could provide good care to their loved one. This leads to caregiver burn out. It is important that you remember to take time for yourself each day. This could be sitting quietly outside, reading a favorite magazine or book, taking a long bath. The important thing is to make sure to make the time and don't be afraid to ask for help.

June 4, 2014
I didn't add a tip last week due to being out of town. This month we celebrate Father's Day. So many memories to think about. Maybe this year instead of the typical store bought gift we should think about something unique. You can gather old photos and put together a photo album or even a DVD that can be shared by the family. Maybe writing down special moments in a book. My father passed many years ago but I still recall our special moments and share them with those I love. Let's remember dad in a special way this year.

May 20, 2014
I hope your weather has improved. We continue to have rain but everything is green and it looks good. Memorial Day is approaching. It's the official kick off to summer. There will be parades and cookouts. This is the weekend we finally put our vegetable plants in the garden and get the yard ready for summer. Please do not forget our servicemen that served our country. This is truly what Memorial Day is all about. Thank a serviceman or woman when you see them this week.

May 13, 2014
We had a major rain storm last night. Power was going off and on. Flooding was happening in many places. It made me think of being prepared. It would be wise to have a emergency pack ready for these situations. I think you should have a working flashlight, water for drinking, medications handy and a non-electric radio. I also charged my cell phone when I heard the storm was approaching. Depending on where you live, you might need additional items. Think about what you would need if power was out for more than a couple of hours. Also, if power is out for more than a few hours, minimize the number of times you open your refrigerator and freezer. This will keep your food cold and minimize spoilage.

May 7, 2014
Mother's Day is this Sunday. It is a time to recall all the wonderful memories of our moms. It is also a day to remember those that have been in a mother role in our lives. Take time to acknowledge the women in your life that have been a mother to you.

April 28, 2014
Well, we are getting some warmer weather during the day. You can start to bring your plants outside when they are about an inch high. Only bring them out if it is warm and sunny. This allows them to start to get ready for outdoor planting. I usually only leave them out for an hour or so to start. The time can increase as they get stronger.

April 22, 2014

I hope everyone is enjoying the spring weather. You should be watering your seeds. If you use a spray bottle in the beginning it helps control the wetness. My seeds are starting to sprout through the dirt and it is fun to watch. Remember to start thinking about where you are going to put the plants outside. You can draw a plan out on a piece of paper. You can transplant directly into the ground or place in pots. We will continue the process next week.

April 14, 2014
What a week it has been for allergies. I normally don't get spring allergies but last week was bad. As for starting plants inside. I set up my box lid with my starter pots or cups. I tape labels on the outside of the pot or cup. I lay out my seed packets and dirt/soil.  I use a scooper to fill the pot about 2/3 full. I put a seed or 2 in each pot and then fill it the last 1/3 with dirt/soil.  I water them gently. I put a piece of plastic wrap over the box and place it in a sunny spot in the house. I check them daily to make sure they remain moist. As the get bigger I take off the plastic wrap. When the temperature warms up and is steady you can put them outside for a couple of hours to get them stronger for outdoor planting. I also do extra pots and give them to friends for their gardens. Happy Planting!

April 3,2014
I think we may be turning the corner on the weather.  I hope you have found some new and interesting seeds for your garden. I am starting to get my supplies together to start some of my vegetables inside. I do buy some starter pots from the garden supply center but I also use what I have at home. For instance, if you have the small paper cups or even the Styrofoam coffee cups you can use them as starter pots. I get my pots, dirt/soil, a box lid or a aluminum baking pan, seeds and plastic wrap all together. Then I plan out a time when I have an hour or so to set aside. Next week I'll explain my process.

March 26, 2014
It's getting to be spring. It's time to start thinking about what to plant in your garden. I like a vegetable garden. Tradition says we should plant on Memorial Day. I like to look at all the ads and catalogs to find rare and interesting plants. Starting looking and see what interests you. Then look for the sales. Take your time and enjoy the search.

March 18, 2014
My friends and I were talking about eggs today. It's hard to know when an egg really goes bad. A tried but true way is to put the egg in a bowl of cold water. If it sinks, it is still fresh. If it floats, it is best to throw it out.

March 12, 2014
St. Patrick's day is on Monday. It's a day that everyone is Irish. I have Irish in my blood and always look forward to a day of celebration. Typically it's corned beef and cabbage. I also love to have some Irish Soda Bread. My mother made it every week to have with breakfast on Sat. and Sun. Find a great group of people to celebrate with and may you find your pot of gold!

March 4,2014
It's still very cold throughout the country. I want to remind everyone to make sure you check on your elderly neighbors and relatives. They may have heating issues or may not be able to get out and get groceries or other necessities. Just remember that spring is around the corner.

Feb. 24, 2014
As I said in earlier tip, some tax information comes in late. I just received another investment tax form today. Fortunately, I have not completed my taxes yet. So as a reminder, double and triple check you have all your tax documents that you are expecting before filing. It is no fun to do an amendment to your taxes.

Feb. 18, 2014
I apologize for not writing last week. I had some computer issues. This brought to mind a very important lesson about computers. It is vital that you keep up with your backups. Make sure you set a day and time to back up your files. Try to pick a day that you can do it as a routine. There are many programs that can set this up to be automatic. It would be sad to lose files and photos. This also goes for cell phones. Set up an automatic back up of contacts and photos.

Feb. 4, 2014
We've gotten our tax information together now it's time to think about the refund. Being responsible you should put some money away for a rainy day. Even if it's only $50. Then try to do this weekly or monthly. It really adds up fast. It takes discipline but it is worth it.

Jan. 28, 2014
I know it has been very cold in many places with record breaking temperatures and snow. This may have delayed some of your tax forms. I'm still getting them. Remember to get them all before you file your taxes. I hope everyone is warm and staying safe. 

Jan.20, 2014
Let's stay on tax issues. You should receive all your W2's, 1099's, mortgage statements, etc. by the end of the month of January. I have found that some of my tax shelter information does not arrive until March. You need to be sure you have all your statements before you file.


Jan. 13, 2014
It's tax time again. Now is the time to start getting all your papers in order. If you have a folder or a box where you can put everything it will be alot easier. Start by going through all your papers and create 3, shred, keep.  I love my shred pile. Tax items should include mortgage statements, investment papers, medical receipts, home improvements. Some people may also have rental expenses, self employment receipts, and other income. Let's just get the piles together now. Any file folders  from 2013 should be nearly empty. You can start them over for 2014.  As for what to keep, tax info should be kept for at least 7 years.  Utility bills such as gas, water, electric, cable and telephone can be shredded as you can always get copies if needed. When your W2's and bank tax forms come in, put them in the same folder as your other tax receipts. Once evrything is in one folder, it is less daunting to go through it.

Jan. 7, 2014
Happy New Year!  I hope everyone is staying warm. Most of the country is experiencing a very cold week.  Just a reminder to keep your house safe during this cold spell. If you have pipes on an outside wall let the water trickle out so the pipes don't freeze. It's also good to keep the doors open on the cabinet so warm air circulates.  If you have pipes in an area that doesn't get heat you can also wrap them with foam to insulate them.

Dec. 30, 2013
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. It's been a good year with many changes. I am looking forward to 2014. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Be careful and I will be back next year.

Dec. 16, 2013
Christmas is a time to be with family and friends. We all have our traditions. It's good to remember them. We have to find a way to teach them to our children so they continue. I am the keeper of the traditions in my family. This year I plan on explaining why certain types of gifts are given every year. This is my way of honoring my mom and dad. If you have traditions, try to explain them this year so they will live on through the next generation.

Dec. 9, 2013
It's getting to look a lot like Christmas! It's time to start the holiday cards. I know in today's computer world it is easier to send an email or a text. I think it's still nice to get a hand written card in the mail. It is more personal. Grab your old address book, cards and a pen. Start at the beginning and flip though the pages to see who you haven't spoken to for awhile or haven't seen. I think it's fun as you recall old memories of these people. Don't forget the older people in your life as they always enjoy getting personal mail.

Dec. 2, 2013
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It's now time to start thinking about holiday gifts. I know it's hard sometimes to stay on budget. What I do is write a list of everyone I want to buy a present for. I look over store ads and see where the products are. I also look online at the retailer's site. I do buy online to save the running around time. I only buy when I directly go to the retailer's site. I do not buy on a site that I have been directed to. Too many scams. Also, by having a list I tend to stay on task and not go overboard. I also try to use only one credit card so all the purchases are in one place in case I need to research a purchase. I also buy a few hostess gifts, candles, candy for last minute visits. It's a;so good to buy a few small gifts for unexpected guests. Happy shopping!

Nov. 25, 2013
This is Thanksgiving week. It's time to give thanks for all of our blessings. I am so thankful for so many things. I have a great family, wonderful friends, and a good job. Take time this week to be thankful. Remember the small things. A roof over your head, food on the table. By taking time to recall the small things you will see how good your life is. Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov. 18, 2013
The weather is getting cold and that means its time to winterize the car. It's important to get your car in to your local mechanic. They will winterize the car which includes an oil change, fluid checks and tire checks. They will determine if the tires need to be rotated, changed or add air to them. Make sure they check your spare also. I also add a survival kit. This includes a blanket, a few snacks, water, flashlight and a sign that says HELP to put in the window. I also make sure that my gas tank is always at a half tank. You never know if you will be stuck in a traffic jam due to weather related accidents or if you run off the road. It's also a good idea to have jumper cables in case the battery runs low. An ounce of prevention saves you time and headaches later down the road.

Nov. 10, 2013
With the holiday season upon us we need to do a cleaning of the house. One way to clean small items such as figurines is to use a small paint brush. It gets into all the little crevices. A larger brush will also help dust the pleats in lampshades.

Nov. 3, 2013
I am sorry I didn't write last week. I had a power outage and life got hectic. So, let's talk about being prepared for an outage. I have well water and a septic tank. When the electricity goes out I don't have water, shower, or drinking water. I keep a jug of at least 1 gallon of water for personal hygiene and drinking. I keep another 2 gallons for toilets. If you flush the toilet you can pour water in the back of the toilet and continue to flush. As far as lighting, keep your flashlights with batteries, candles that are in holders. I also have an antique kerosene lamp that I use for lights. Another reminder, keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Most of the time you can keep everything if the time of lost power is less than 8 hours. If in doubt, throw it out. Another preventive measure is check with your home insurance company if your policy covers lost food. You need to do this prior to the loss. It is normally a minimal cost to add it to your policy but well worth it if you have a full freezer or refrigerator.

October 21, 2013
It's fall and the temperatures are dropping. To protect your plants you can bring potted plants in. Other plants you can cover with leaves and this will protect them from frost at night.

October 14, 2013
Laundry is always a chore that I don't look forward to. If you have a white or light colored shirt that has dark lines or a ring on it don't panic. Rub some white chalk on the lines and let it sit overnight. Wash as usual. The chalk will absorb most of the dark lines.
October 7, 2013
The end of summer and start of fall includes putting up all the summer furniture.  Make sure you clean everything before you put it away. If you hose down furniture or pool items make sure everything is dry before putting it away. It will be easier in the spring plus it will inhibit the mold and musty smells that happens over the winter months.
September 30, 2013
Well fall is definitely here. The leaves are falling and the temperatures are changing. This is my favorite time of the year. I like to cook in my crock pot this time of year. I  have looked through my old cookbooks and found some great recipes. A simple one is beef stew. I put cut up carrots and cut up potatoes in the bottom of the pot. I then put the beef stew meat in on top. I add sliced onions, celery and mushrooms next. I usually dissolve 1 beef bullion cube in a cup of water and add that. The seasonings are whatever you like. I use salt, pepper, garlic salt, season sat and a dash or two of Worscestershire Sauce. If you want more liquid you can add an additional cup of water. I cook it on low for 6-8 hours. It's great to come home and smell dinner cooking. In the coming weeks I will add some additional recipes. Happy Cooking!
September 22, 2013
Now that it s fall, it's time to plant bulbs. If you are like me, I always forget where I planted them. It's a nice surprise in the spring but sometimes hard to plan the rest of the garden. To remember where they are, put golf tees in the ground to mark the spots. If you have multi colored tees, you can match them to the color of the flower or coordinate them according to the type of bulbs.
September 13, 2013
I know everyone at one time or another end up with tiny little fruit flies either at home or at work. They are so annoying. From a pest control expert, you can get rid of them very safely an economically. Place a small cup of vinegar in the area they are and they will fly into the cup. When asked about which kind of vinegar he said any kind will do but the red wine vinegar is best and does not have as bad of an odor.
September 6, 2013
Now that Labor Day has passed it is time to think about the end of summer.  With the weather a bit cooler, we can start with some outdoor chores. One big one is the garage.  I believe the only way to do this is to take everything out. I know it's a daunting task. Try to get some friends and family to help. Just take everything out. Make areas for keep, toss and donate. When you look at items make sure they don't go back in if they are broken. Decide if it the item is worth keeping and/or fixing. Garden supplies should also be looked at if they are old and probably no longer effective. After everything is out, do a good sweep. If you have a drain in the garage you can  hose the floor down. Also when you put things back in the garage group like items together such as garden, coolers, sports etc.  Items that won't be used during the fall and winter can also be put together.  This may be the time to put hooks up and hang items. The garage is usually a catch all area. Once it is organized you will feel great.  Good Luck!
August 22, 2013
It looks like summer is winding down. If you are like me, we are trying to get the last bit of fun in. I enjoy sitting outside in the evening. The only problem is so do the mosquitoes. If you run a couple of fans in the area you are sitting you can be mosquito free as they are not strong enough to fight against the current of the fan. Enjoy!
August 15, 2013
If you are like me, I am always trying to find a way to clean that spot on the carpet or rug that seems to appear out of nowhere. I also normally don't recommend  certain name brands but this time I will. When I was with a client the other day, her cleaning girl came in and needed to clean a black spot off the area rug. She used Windex Multi Surface cleaner. It came up within minutes. She sprayed it on and used white paper towels to dab it. I was very impressed. I would recommend trying this method first on a inconspicuous area first as all rugs are different.
August 2, 2013
There a are numerous ways to help your plants, indoor and outdoor,  get needed nutrients.  Leaves from left over tea bags or even loose tea can be worked into the soil; left over club soda that has gone flat can be poured over the plants; the cooking water from pasta or potatoes is great.  Your plants will get an extra boost.
July 25, 2013
Do you have sliding glass doors that have become hard to slide?  A lot of debris gets in the channel/groves of the base of the door and builds up.  An easy fix is pour a little hydrogen peroxide in the channel/grooves and use an old toothbrush to clean out the channel.  Follow up with a paper towel. When it is dry, spray a little WD40 and the door will slide easily.
July 18, 2013
The weather has been extremely hot in Northeast Ohio.  We have to remember to hydrate ourselves.  Try to keep cool water with you when you are walking or driving.  Don't forget the pets.  They also need extra water with these temperatures.  If you have an elderly relative or neighbor check on them often. They can forget to drink fluids or even to use the air conditioner.
July 12, 2013
I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July!  Have you ever had a rug on a hard floor that due to age the rubber backing has stuck to the floor?  An easy solution to remove the stuck on rubber backing is to mix white vinegar with a little warm water in a bowl.  Dab on the solution with a paper towel and let it sit for a minute or two.  Gently use a paint scraper or a non-serrated knife to scrap it off.  Wipe excess with a clean cloth. It is economical and you don't have to buy expensive solutions.
June 28, 2013
 With the summer months come gardening chores.  We all get slugs at one time or another in our gardens.  One sure fire to rid our gardens of these pests is with beer.  Fill a bowl with beer and put the bowl in the ground so the lip of the bowl is just above the ground. The slugs will seek out the beer and drown in the bowl. 
June 19, 2013
During the summer months, many streets are getting repaired and that means tar on the car.  A quick solution to get tar of the car is to dip a clean rag in mayonnaise and spread it over the tar.  Wait a few minutes and wipe it off with another clean rag. Happy Travels!
June 12, 2012
When it's time to try new recipes, you want to keep the recipe clean and dry.  A simple way is to slip the written or printed recipe into a plastic storage bag. Anything that drips on it can be wiped off.
June 5, 2013
The weather is warming up and it is time to pull out the lawn furniture.  One of the easiest way to clean everything that is also environmentally safe is to use white vinegar and warm water.  Mix about 1 tablespoon to a gallon of water and use a clean rag to wipe off furniture.  This also works for fabric weave furniture.  For stubborn dirt, add a little more vinegar.  Rinse with clear water. Remember to enjoy the sunshine.
May 22, 2013
This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend.  Let's remember all of our veterans and active service people.  Thank you for all you do!
May 15, 2013
The weather is changing which means our menus are changing also.  It's time to start thinking outdoor cooking.  Let's take a look at our refrigerator and clean out old expired condiments. You know the ones left over from last summer.  Go through and look at everything.  Take everything out and wipe down the shelves and drawers. Only put back the jars and bottles that are new.  Let's get ready for summer.
May 8, 2013
We been doing some heavy spring cleaning.  Let's do a simple task this week.  With spring here we are driving with the windows open which in turn lets in dust and pollen.  Keep a Swiffer cloth in the car and use it to wipe down the dash board and console.
May 1, 2013
In the spirit of spring cleaning, it is very important that we keep track of medications.  This includes prescriptions and over the counter medications.  Take some time and pull out all the medications you have in all the locations in the house.  You will probably find that you have duplicates of many medications.  Place them all out on a table and group like medications together.  First check expiration dates.  Put all expired  medications off to the side in a pile.  Check medications that you no longer take and place them in the pile. Once you have looked at every medication and decide which ones to keep, you should list all medications for all family members and put the list in a safe place.  Then put the medications you are keeping in one location so you can find them easily. Most communities now have a drug drop off location for expired and old medications.  These locations can be at a fire station, police department or drug store. Check and see where yours is in your community and drop off your medications.  This is the safest way to dispose of them.
April 24, 2013
Well now that the floor of the closet is done, let's do the clothes hanging up and on shelves.  This is tedious but must be done. This is a time consuming process so make sure you have blocked out some time. Take everything out of the closet.  You will need to go through every piece of clothing.  Start with pulling out the pieces that you know you haven't worn either because of style or size.  Start a donate pile. Then go through the pieces that you are not sure of size and try them on.  Be honest with yourself about the chances of fitting into them again.  Keep the pieces you like and start your keep pile.  Look at the other pieces and decide if you like, dislike or they need to be repaired (button, zipper...).  After going through everything you should have a pile for donate, throw away, repair and keep. When you are ready to put clothes back in the closet, hang the clothes with the  open part of the hanger facing you.  When you wear the piece and you put it back in the closet hang it with the open part of  the hanger facing the back of the closet.  When it's time to do this next season, you can easily see which pieces you haven't worn by looking at the hangers. Good luck!
April 18, 2013
One of the most tedious projects for spring cleaning is the clothes closet.  I like to do this one step at a time.  I start at the bottom and work up.   I start with taking everything out that is on the floor.  This includes shoes, purses and anything else that has landed on the floor.  Once everything is out take a look, a real hard look, at the shoes and decided if they are in style, need to be repaired or need to be donated.  This goes for purses also.  Try to remember if you wore these shoes or carried these purses in the last year.  If not, it's time to donate.
April 10, 2013
Let's keep with spring cleaning.  Everyone has a junk drawer or two.  Everything goes in there.  It's interesting to find out how much can actually fit in a drawer.  When you are watching TV, take a drawer with you.  Dump it out on the floor or even the couch.  Have a trash bag with you.  Go through everything and toss old receipts, straws, wrappers, gum etc. Start a pile for items that need to be put in other places. Then put back in the drawer only things that belong there.  As with last week's tip, a little progress makes you feel good and keeps you motivated. 
April 3, 2013
It's spring time and time to start spring cleaning. This is a daunting task but a doable one.  Let's start with one project at a time.  It is always easier to start small.  Let's start with under the kitchen sink.  This is where many cleaning products, rags, sponges end up.  I like to take everything out so I can see everything.  Once everything is out wipe down the floor.  Go through each product and discard those that have dried up or are nearly empty.  Go through the rags and sponges and throw out the old ones.  You very well may find duplicate products.  If possible combine them.  Once you have thrown out old and worn products, put the products back in and group them according to use.  Then put rags and sponges back.  Now everything is neat and you know what you have.  This is an easy way to start spring cleaning.  Once it is organized you can feel you accomplished something.  This plan works for bathroom sinks also.  Try to do one area a day and in a week you will have them all completed.

March 27, 2013

posted Apr 3, 2013, 12:56 PM by Beck & Call   [ updated Apr 3, 2013, 1:01 PM ]

This is the time to dye eggs and you have the styrofoam cartons left over.  If you are having company over for dinner you know you have to make ice cubes. If you only have  2 ice trays,  you can use the styrofoam egg cartons as ice trays.  Cut off the top of the carton and fill the bottom with water and place in the freezer.  You will have plenty of ice. 

March 20, 2013

posted Apr 3, 2013, 12:54 PM by Beck & Call   [ updated Apr 3, 2013, 12:54 PM ]

To keep brown sugar from getting hard after it is open, put  a couple marshmallows or a slice of apple in the bag before closing it.  There's enough moisture in them to keep sugar soft.

March 13, 2013

posted Apr 3, 2013, 12:53 PM by Beck & Call

St. Patrick's Day is upon us.  I share with you the following:
An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Be safe while celebrating!

February 18, 2013

posted Apr 3, 2013, 12:52 PM by Beck & Call

At some time or another we all face odor problems in our closets or in our drawers. There are some inexpensive solutions.  To minimize closet odors you can take a small jar with a lid and fill the jar with baking soda.  Punch some holes in the lid and place it in the closet on a shelf or on the floor. You can also take an old nylon stocking, fill it with potpourri, tie it off and hang it on a hangar in the closet.  You can also set it in a drawer and keep everything fresh.  Another option is to tape a fabric softener sheet to the inside back of a drawer.  Nothing feels better then opening a closet or a drawer and have everything smell fresh. 

If you have any tips or comments feel free to pass them along.

February 11 2013

posted Apr 3, 2013, 12:51 PM by Beck & Call

It seems that every day more requests for charitable donations arrive in the mail.  Though many are worthy causes that I do support, it becomes confusing as to whether I made a donation earlier in the year. Now I put all the requests I receive in a folder. When I am ready to make my donations, usually in the spring, I open the folder and pull out the charities I want to support and write all the checks out at once.   I toss all the duplicate requests and charities I do not support.  The benefits are that all future requests can be tossed when received because I know the charities I do support have already received my donation and when tax time comes all my tax deductible donations are listed together in my checkbook register.

I hope this helps you. Let me know what you think.

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