Helpful tips for December 2020

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.
It’s what we do for a living! We help you to help yourself!
From the business desk team at
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Helpful tips for december 2020

In this issue:

General tips
Articles of the day
* Getting smoky microwaves clean of the smell again:
* 5 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Without Killing Them
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
* a review of the Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown Suites hotel

*** A special appeal:
Give the gift of accessibility to disabled children and their families

The world today is not what it was yesterday, and it will not be the same
tomorrow. We are presently living in very challenging and troubled times,
but rest assured, with our high propensity to create, innovate, and overcome
we will get through this together!

Author Donna Jodhan is committed to doing her part to ensure that persons
with disabilities, especially our kids with disabilities, are not left out
and that they are given every opportunity to be a part of our growing
virtual world.

Author Donna invites you to support one of her many ongoing initiatives by
making a small donation today. To say thank you, all supporters are granted
unlimited access to all 3 of Author Donna’s Subscription Libraries. These
include her Audio Mystery Library, her Recipe Library and her Home & Garden
Library. Review them today at:

All donations, including anonymous donations, are also acknowledged on both
the Author Donna Jodhan Supporters Page and the Author Donna Jodhan Donor
Wall for the duration of their support.

Please consider giving the gift of accessibility to disabled children and
their families today. Your support makes the difference in keeping our
children connected, healthy and part of our community.

Your $25.00 donation will be used to create one virtual meal for a family
with disabled children. Guaranteed to create happy smiles and contented
tummies, while encouraging healthy meal preparation.

Your $35.00 annual donation will be used to create bedtime stories for
families with disabled children. Where the heroes are kids and adults with

Your $50.00 donation will be used to provide one hour of tutoring to a
family with disabled children. Topics are accessibility related and
age-specific. Accessibility tips and tricks to help keep your home happy and

Your $65.00 annual donation will be used to provide tips on scam and privacy
protection to families with disabled children.

Your $75.00 annual donation will be used to provide one email support
package to a family with disabled children. The recipient of your donation
will be able to send a total of 10 emails and receive a maximum of two
responses per email directly from Donna Jodhan. All support topics are
accessibility related and are specific to both age and disability.

Your $100.00 annual donation will be used to provide an evening of virtual
mystery games and mind bending puzzles to a family with disabled children.
Lots of fun and enjoyment for the entire family! Helps to keep the family
entertained while self-isolating at home.


General tips
Courtesy of the research team at

Scams of the month:
Before giving you our scam tips of the month, here are some very valueable
You need to remember that scams come in the following formats:
As emails, as phone calls both recorded and via a live caller, and o yes!
It can even show up at your door and in your mailbox.
And now they are targeting us through texts being sent to our cell phones.

Before giving you the latest scams making the rounds; we have some do nots
to share with you.
Do not respond to emails that look strange to you.
Do not download attachments from unknown senders.
Do not share your username and password to your online banking and any other
online payments facilities with anyone.
Do not give out any banking or personal details on the phone to unknown
Do not pay any attention to threats from automated phone recordings or from
live persons with regard to your credit card or that you owe money to any
revenue agency.
Do not entertain any offers either via email or by phone from senders and
callers offering incredible service packages as they may pertain to cable
and tv services, prizes that you have won, or any sort of any type of
service package.
Do not answer the door to unknown callers.
Take extra caution to make sure that the details of your credit cards and
debit cards are fully protected when you make payments at restaurants or at
stores, pharmacies, and elsewhere.
Do not enter your password for Facebook or Twitter in response to a text
request on your cell phone.
The same if you are asked for your Apple ID.
Do not fall prey to a text message telling you that your banking details
have been compromised online.

So what are the latest and greatest scams making the rounds these days?
Automated phone calls saying that your Visa card has been compromised!
Just hang up on these calls!
Weird automated phone calls in the Chinese language with music playing in
the background!
Just hang up!
Faxes from strange numbers!
Just ignore!

Okay and for those of you who will be cooking a Christmas turkey!
When defrosting you need to leave your turkey in the fridge for two days.
Never leave it out to defrost.

Be ware of those porch pirates!
They work like this:
They drive up and down streets of neighbourhoods looking to see when courier
vans are dropping off packages on your porch.
They wait for a few minutes to see if you are going to answer the doorbell
to pick up your package from the courier.
And if you do not appear after a few minutes, they hop out of their van and
grab your package.
So please make sure to be waiting for your package.

A tip on how to shred documents if you do not own a shredder.
Soak your paper documents in water, wait for it to become soft and then just
go ahead and shred them.
A little messy but it works.

Heat and smells?
They rise, not descend!

From the condo management office:
Are you wondering…
…what can be done to conserve water, so our water utility bill doesn’t go

Here are a few quick tips:
1. Do your laundry in the evening after 7:00 pm.
2. Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Even a small drip can waste 50 or
more gallons of water a day.
3. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Before brushing, wet
your brush and fill a glass for rinsing your mouth.


Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team

Contributed by Dan Thompson
Getting smoky microwaves clean of the smell again:

Smoke is a tough problem whether in a microwave, car or other enclosed
space. And thankfully in most cases, smoke is not
too tough
for Nok-Out.
You have to consider that once smoke gets involved in a microwave, it gets
circulated through the entire appliance,
potentially touching every nook, cranny and surface. Nok-Out applied full
strength, must do the same by touching every
place that is harboring that odor.
1. Start by unplugging the appliance from power.
2. spray it inside and out, top to
bottom including any carousel, racks, filter and other parts making sure
comes in contact with every part of that appliance. Nok-Out is not at all
toxic or harmful, so you can confidently spray
the fan blades and so forth, provided you can reach them without taking the
oven apart. Do not attempt to do that!
3. Once you’re certain every square millimeter of the oven—its door,
hinges, corners, crevices, seams, top, sides, bottom
and every other surface—has come in contact with Nok-Out, allow it to dry
completely. Leave the door open and don’t use it
for at least 24 hours. That should do it. If you still notice the odor, give
it the full treatment
again. Good luck!
Don’t forget, when ordering Nok-Out use coupon code DPL for 10% off your
You can also call Ted from Nok-Out toll free at 1-866-551-1927 and he can
answer any questions you have.
Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate blog,
Our mailing address is:
Everyday Cheapskate
12340 Seal Beach Blvd.
Seal Beach, CA 90740


Contributed by Dan Thompson
5 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Without Killing Them

Recently we had a large coloney of uninvited ants come a calling. We looked
for natural ways of expressing our dislike of them taking up housekeeping in
our home. The natural ways worked for a while but eventually a more
aggressive professional exterminator was called in. I share with you some
nonharmful methods that can be tried and are quite successful for smaller

5 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Without Killing Them

antsAnts are critical to the environment in too many ways to count, but they
quickly become pests when they invade your home seeking food, shelter, or
both. Nobody wants an ant invasion, and often times will reach for intense
chemicals to eradicate them as quickly as possible. Pest control is one
aspect of daily living in which people accept some of the scariest chemicals
into their homes, numb to warnings stamped on the packaging-“Don’t inhale!”
“Don’t touch!” “Call poison control if you make any direct contact with
this substance!” “Potentially harmful!” “Actually what we mean is it will
kill you!” Well, you get the point. If something needs detailed instructions
plus a hotline number for 24 hour emergency assistance (human or animal) or
chemical emergency assistance, I don’t want it in my house. What you have
to think is-if this is going to obliterate the pests (in this case, ants)
won’t it be harmful to anyone and everything else? Yes. It will. But what
nature brought forth is can also turn away, so read on about how to get rid
of ants naturally.

1. Bust Out The Vinegar, Baby

Ants communicate with each other using sounds, touch, and-the golden ticket
here-pheromones. The pheromones are chemical signals. Scent trails, in
essence. Ants perceive smells with their antennae, and can determine
direction and intensity of scents. If a forager ant finds food, it marks a
trail leading back to the colony, which the other ants than follow to the
source of the food. Each time the trail is traveled, the smell is
intensified. By using white vinegar by all of their entrances and any paths
that you know of, you are disrupting their scent trails and making it
harder for them to creep back to the food source they’ve been invading.

You will need.

– 1 part white vinegar

– 1 part water

– A clean cloth


Mix together white vinegar and water, and spray/wipe down all of the
entrances you know or suspect they may be getting in by, and spray/wipe
down all counters or surfaces by food sources.

Vinegar Ant Remedy

2. Draw The Line

Have you ever noticed outside in the summer the way ants and sidewalk chalk
just don’t seem to mix? That’s because they don ‘t. Ants that stumble
through chalk get covered in the stuff, while some people suggest minerals
in the chalk (such as talc) actually kill the ants.

You will need.

– A stick of sidewalk chalk


Draw a thick, heavy line around entrances-repeat as needed. This generally
needs to be used in conjunction with another method of elimination.

Ant Chalk

3. The Ant Honey Pot

How to get rid of ants.are you focusing too much on the “get rid of” part?
Have you done everything you can to exterminate the ants, but it’s just not
working? If eliminating them isn’t doing the trick, try diversion. No, you
don’t want to attract the ants to your house, but if a colony has set up
camp, diversion can sometimes be the way to go. Once they’ve decided the
honey pot you lay out is better than that hard to reach food you’ve locked
up, it’s easier to lay something to deter them from coming back in. After
you’ve got their scent trails cleaned up, food sealed tightly, and some
kind of deterrent by the entrances, they aren’t nearly as apt to coming
marching in again. Even if they try, they’re going to find you’ve made it a
lot harder by then!

You will need.

– A small paper bowl

– A few tablespoons of honey OR a 1-1 mixture of sugar and water


Place a little paper bowl with the honey outside, a little ways from your
house but not so far that the ants won’t find it. Once they find the
sweet stuff, they will happily go to that, rather than try to battle their
way into your house. You can also mix some sugar and water and spray it on
the ground if you find the honey ineffective. Once they have discovered the
pot, move it a little bit at a time further and further away from the
house, refilling and refreshing it as needed.

Ant Honey Pot

4. Essential Oil Entrance Blocker

Ants don’t like strong smells. They mess up their scent trails and
communication, not to mention it covers their bodies if they literally have
to crawl right through it-which they do, with this essential oil spray. Now
you can really experiment with different oils, or blends of oils, and see
what works best for you and your ants. For me, peppermint or eucalyptus
usually does the trick. Regardless of what method I am using to get rid of
ants, I always whip up a batch of this spray to further ensure success.

You will need.

– 20 drops of peppermint essential oil

– Fresh water

– A spray bottle


Fill a regular or medium size spray bottle with fresh water and mix in the
peppermint essential oil. Spray liberally around any and all entrances to
the house. Repeat when you deem it necessary (usually when the scent starts
to fade.)

Essential Oil Spray

5. Ant Balls

If you find that spraying a solution of essential oil and water doesn’t
work, it’s time to bust out the ant balls. The cotton balls serve as an
extra barrier to keep the ants out of the home, while the undiluted
essential oil will steer the ants clear at least 90% of the time. Be sure
not to leave these where you think a curious pet or child would find them
an appealing snack. If you don’t have essential oil, you can try using
white vinegar in a pinch.

You will need.

– Cotton balls

– Peppermint essential oil OR undiluted white vinegar


Liberally douse the cotton balls with undiluted peppermint essential oil. I
usually put the oil in a dish first so I don’t accidently drip it all over
my fingers. Alternatively, soak the ball in undiluted white vinegar,
squeezing out just enough excess that it doesn’t leave a puddle where you
place it. Use one of the cotton balls to wipe down the area by the entrance,
and then stuff another into the crack/hole/almost invisible opening that
they are sneaking in through. Refresh as needed.

Peppermint Oil for Ants

Bonus: 6. When Push Comes to Shove

I don’t like to kill anything-I am the person that will rescue an ant if I
see it floundering about in the water-but sometimes, you have no choice.
For example, if you have a nest of fire ants and a baby crawling
around-there was even been an instance where the venomous stings of a fire
ant colony almost killed a 13 year old boy. In this case, the non-toxic way
to eradicate the ants is with soap and boiling water. It’s unfortunate, but
sometimes there are simply other things you need to protect.

You will need.

– A medium pot’s (or bucket’s) worth of boiling water

– 1 cup of liquid dish soap


Fill a medium pot with water, leaving enough room at the top that you can
carry it without it sloshing over the edge. Bring it to a vigorous boil,
and quickly stir in the dish soap (use an environmentally friendly dish
soap that is biodegradable.) Put the lid on the pot to retain heat and
minimize the risk of it spilling, and use hot mitts to carry it out to the
nest. Pour the water into the nest, slowly enough so that it doesn’t
overflow. If you are aware of another entrance, and are worried about the
ants going up into the yard, you can place a barrier over one of the
entrances. Repeat the process as needed if you run out of water (really,
once is usually sufficient.)

Dish Soap to Kill Ants

My ant story.

When I was quite small I had a hospital for bugs, with my most common
patients being ants. I would bring the ant into my house and set it under a
heat lamp on some cushy towels where it proceeded, in all reality, to
probably get fried (I didn’t figure this out until just writing that-my
intentions were good-and I did have some make a full recovery!) Now I am not
suggesting you set up a bug hospital and welcome ants into your home, but
the point is, ants will not seize control of your house just because you
didn’t turn to some lethal pesticide (for my house growing up they probably
spread the word to steer clear lest they get cooked!) There really are worse
things than ants to have in your house-like the toxic products you’re using
to kill them-and it’s well worth a bit of extra effort to get rid of ants

Tips: Ants seek two primary things in your home-food, and shelter. The first
step in dealing with getting rid of ants is to seal up any and all food, and
seal up any and all crevices that you find them making their way in through.
I know-its more work than just spraying some insecticide around-but it’s
worth it.

– Let me re-emphasize the part about sealing up food. Seal up your food!

– You will, in all likelihood, have to experiment with how to get rid of
ants in a number of ways, and try several combinations (e.g. using the chalk
method in combination with the honey pot and essential oil spray.)

Get rid of ants naturally without the use of chemicals. Keep your pets safe
by not using toxic ant killer.

You may also want to

learn how to get rid of spiders

” How to Keep Spiders Out of Your House with Essential Oils”

Source: ” 5 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Without Killing Them”



From the pages of Donna’s diary
a review of the Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown Suites hotel

Early in February 2017 I stayed at the Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown
Suites hotel at the 337 O’Connor St. location and I was quite satisfied with
their service. I stayed for one night and enjoyed a buffet breakfast the
next day before departing.

So how would I rate their services? With 1 being the lowest and 5 being the
highest, here are my ratings.

Service desk assistance – 5
Assistance for guests with special needs – 5
Operator assistance – 5
Assistance at restaurant – 5

The room was comfortable and easy to navigate and all of the promised
amenities were there.

The buffet breakfast was quite sufficient and it included eggs, fruit,
croissantes, muffins, juice, and tea and coffee.
The waitress went out of her way to provide me with assistance.
So you can see that I was thoroughly satisfied.
I would say that hotel staff were well trained and there was one particular
waitress at the restaurant who went above the call of duty to assist me.

So in case you would like to check out this hotel, here is the address.
Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown Suites
337 O’Connor St.
Ottawa, ON
K2P 2N2
Tel 613-567-7275

I look forward to my next trip to the Best Western

Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown Suites
337 O’Connor St.
Ottawa, ON
K2P 2N2
Tel 613-567-7275

I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.

To learn more about me, visit

On your next trip you could enrich your down time with some of my audio
mysteries. Take them with you wherever you go!
In the car, on the plane, on the bus or train, at the beach, anywhere!
Affordable, portable, (computer or i device) and you could either purchase
or Subscribe for unlimited access to my library at
and you can now take advantage of our free downloads here.

If you enjoy podcasts then check out my weekly one called take another 5!
From recipes to apps, and from mystery moment to tips for entrepreneur and
scam alerts!
Available for download at

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