Helpful tips for November 2016

Hello there and welcome to our monthly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our monthly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
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Helpful tips for November 2016

In this issue:

General tips
Articles of the day
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary

General tips
Courtesy of the research team at

Scientists say that the best time to take a nap is between 1 p.m. and 2:30
p.m. because that’s when a dip in body temperature makes us feel sleepy.

About being able to cook eggs?
You can cook them at 185 F degrees on a sidewalk.

Here is a quick way for warming up your hands on a cold winter’s day:
Open your tap, turn to the hot water, and voila!
Just stick your hands under the tap and all will be well.

Now, here is a tip when washing your whites!
Use laundry liquid that is blue in color.

Finally, an article by Dan Thompson on wall paper removal.
Wallpaper Removal—It’s a Messy Job!
Is there any easy and quick way to remove wallpaper and the paste
from bathroom walls? Mickey
Dear Mickey: The answer to your question depends on how the wallpaper was
applied. If it was pre-pasted paper, it should come off quite easily.
However, I’m going to guess that since this is a bathroom and a bathroom can
hot and humid, your wallpaper was applied with heavy-duty paste, which could
present a big challenge.
Perform a test using a strong solution of white vinegar and water (say, 2
cups of vinegar to a quart of hot water) in a spray bottle. Spray this on a
section of wallpaper and really saturate it well. This will soften most
pastes so you can easily scrape the paper and backing from the wall. Work in
areas, removing the paper and paste completely, then moving on to another
small area. But again it depends on the type of glue that was used and how
old the wallpaper is.
If a strong vinegar solution doesn’t work or you find it just too tedious, a
steamer like this Wagner 1-Gallon Wallpaper Steamer may do the trick. If
this is a one-off kind of job and you don’t see any point in owning a
steamer, you should be able to rent a steamer from a tool rental company in
your area.
If you want to get this job done quickly with minimal mess, I’d spend a few
bucks for a product called DIF Wallpaper Stripper by Zinsser. DIF comes as
a concentrated liquid, a gel and also a fast-acting spray. You can find DIF
at stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and online.
Author: Mary Hunt on 10/12/16
edited by Dan


Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team

How to Wake up a Cake Mix
Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate
If I didn’t know better I’d swear that boxed cake mixes reproduce in the
of night on the shelves of my pantry. One day I counted 18 boxes of cake
Here’s how that works: Cake mixes go on sale routinely. One week it will be
Duncan Hines, then Pillsbury takes its turn and so on.
The typical sale price for a cake mix is typically $1.50 or less. I hold
onto my cake mix coupons until that particular brand goes on
sale. With a $.75 or even $1 off coupon, rarely do I pay more than $.50 for
a cake mix.
The challenge for me has been to find better ways to make a boxed cake mix
taste homemade.
Check these quick hits plus five of my favorite recipes that use a cake mix
as one of the ingredients:
Forget the water. Use whole milk (or even buttermilk) in place of the water
called for in the package instructions.
Devil’s food. Any kind of a chocolate mix will really perk up and take on
that wonderful homemade taste when you use strong
brewed coffee in place of the water, and toss in a handful of chocolate
chips, too.
Counteract the sweet. Cake mixes are very sweet with a distinctive “cakemix”
taste. Adding 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice to
any white or yellow cake will counterbalance the
sweetness and hide the tell tale taste of the mix.
Butter is better. Instead of the oil called for in the box mix instructions,
substitute with melted butter.
And now for some of my favorite recipes that use a box mix as an ingredient
to make all kinds of yummy desserts:
Cake Mix Cookies
1 18.25 ounces yellow cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven go 350 F. Dump cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in the oil and
eggs until well blended (go ahead, use your clean
hands). Mix in the chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls or roll into balls the
size of walnuts and place 2 inches apart onto a greased
cookie sheet and flatten just a bit with your fingers. Bake for 8 to 10
minutes. Do not over bake. Remove from pan to cool on wire
racks. Yield: About 2
dozen 2-inch cookies.
Because there are so many different kinds of cake mixes (with pudding, with
double pudding, extra moist and so on), you may
need to make slight adjustments to this recipe. For example, I’ve found that
with some varieties of mix the dough is so stiff and dry
it’s not possible to form the cookies into balls. When this happens I simply
add one or two tablespoons of water until the dough is
If you want to cut down on fat, try substituting 1/2 cup applesauce for the
Variations: You can use just about any combination of cake mix and chips.
Example: Carrot cake mix with white chocolate chips; chocolate cake mix with
peanut butter chips; devils food cake mix with toffee
bits chips; German chocolate cake mix with pecans and coconut; white cake
mix with crushed pineapple (drained) and coconut.
By the way, if you need lots of cookies in a hurry, this recipe multiplies
well. Just
start with two cake mixes and double the additions.
A tip on storing Cake Mix Cookies. Depending on the type of cake mix you
use, these cookies may dry out after two days. To
prevent this store them in an airtight container with a piece of bread. I
don’t know why, but for some reason this keeps the cookies
just as fresh and moist as can be.
Banana Pudding Cake
1 1/2 cups milk
1 3.5-ounce banana instant dry pudding
1 18.25-ounce spice cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 bananas, mashed
1 16-ounce can white frosting or powdered sugar, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix milk and pudding together until pudding gets
thick. Add cake mix, oil and eggs to the pudding mixture
and beat with electric mixer until fully incorporated. Stir in mashed
Pour batter in a greased tube or Bundt cake pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or
until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Invert hot
cake onto a platter. When cake has cooled, spread white frosting or sift
powdered sugar over cake. Serves: 8-10.
Melted Ice Cream Cake
1 18.25-ounce white cake mix
2 cups melted ice cream, any flavor
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly mist a Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray
then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the
pan aside.
Place the cake mix, melted ice cream, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Mix
with electric mixer on low speed for one minute, scrape
sides of bowl and then beat another two minutes on medium speed. Pour into
the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the rubber
Bake in the preheated oven until the cake springs back when lightly pressed
with your finger, 38 to 42 minutes. Remove the pan
from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a
long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake
and invert it onto a small rack, then invert it again onto a second rack so
that the cake is right side. Cool for 30 minutes longer.
Frost with your favorite icing or dust with powdered sugar. Serves 8-10.
Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate


Green Spring Cleaning: 9 Do It Yourself Recipes for NaturaL Cleaners
April 1, 2013
Conventional cleaning products may be loaded with unsafe chemicals (no
telling which ones as their formulas are protected as trade secrets…), but
fortunately they’re not the only spring cleaning option.
Green cleaners made with common natural, non-toxic ingredients are safer and
cheaper to use, and they clean just as well. Here are some recipes for green
and healthier housekeeping in any season:
1. All-Purpose Cleaner.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of washing soda (sodium carbonate), 2 teaspoons of borax**,
1/2 teaspoon of plant-based liquid soap, and two cups of hot water in a
spray bottle. Shake well. (**Note that although
washing soda and borax are natural minerals, they’re also caustic, and borax
is toxic if swallowed. Keep them out of reach of children! If you prefer not
to use them, try swapping them out for other natural
ingredients. Or just omit.)
2. Disinfecting Cleaner.
Mix 2 teaspoons **borax, 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap, 4 tablespoons white
vinegar, and 3 cups hot water in a spray bottle. If you want to skip the
borax, look up a recipe for a hydrogen peroxide-based DIY
3. Oven Cleaner.
Combine 1 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup of **washing soda with enough water to
make a paste. Apply to oven surfaces and let sit overnight. Wipe and rinse.
If you’d prefer not to use washing soda, try
making a paste with only baking soda.
4. Tub & Tile Cleaner
Mix 1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap and 1/2 cup water. Mix
thoroughly then add 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Apply immediately, scrub,
and wipe. For a mildly abrasive scouring scrub, just
blend baking soda and plant-based liquid soap to your preferred consistency.
5. Toilet Bowl Cleaner.
Dump 1 cup of **borax and 1/4 cup of white vinegar into the bowl. Let sit
overnight. In the morning, scrub and flush.
6. Furniture Polish.
Apply a 1:1 blend of olive oil and white vinegar, and polish with a soft
7. Glass & Window Cleaner.
Combine a 1:1 mixture of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. (To
remove the waxy build-up left behind by conventional glass cleaners, add 1/2
teaspoon of liquid soap to 1 cup each of water and
white vinegar.)
8. Mold & Mildew Cleaner.
Mix two cups of water and two teaspoons of tea tree oil in a spray bottle,
shake well, spray, and let stand for a few hours before wiping. Hydrogen
peroxide will also work.
9. Floor Cleaner.
Use 1/4 cup washing soda, 1 tablespoon of liquid soap, 6 tablespoons of
cornstarch, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and two gallons of hot water on linoleum
and no-wax floors. For wood floors, use 1 cup of vinegar
in a bucket of hot water.
Article source:

Green Spring Cleaning: DIY Recipes for Natural Cleaners


From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
Choosing the hotel that best suits my needs

As a blind traveler, one of the most important things for me to do before I
leave home is to ensure that the hotel I stay at will be able to meet my
needs. So here is how I go about doing this.

Before I even make my reservation, I ask the hotel if they cater to the
needs of a blind person. I never assume that they do it; for if I were to
do this I would be very disappointed. So as they say, I take the

My checklist includes:
Making sure that a staff member can give me an orientation to my room. That
is, to show me how to operate the TV, and where the outlets are located.
Next to orientate me to the tubes in the bathroom for it is often difficult
for me to decipher shampoo from conditioner and body wash from body lotion.
Then I ask for an orientation to the in hotel restaurant and then to the
Finally I ask for a very brief description of restaurants around the hotel.

Nine out of ten times hotel staff are very helpful and considerate and help
is often at my fingertips. This is the formula that works for me and I hope
that it can help you too.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.

To learn more about me, visit
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