Around-the-House Hacks – VI

I am going to assume that most of my readers have heard all about the ways that baking soda and white vinegar – two staple items in most kitchens – can be used for cleaning and deodorizing many things. If you haven’t, I suggest a simple search on either and you’re sure to find at least one good hint on each.

But did you know that you can mix baking soda and vinegar together to make a cleaner? I didn’t. I’ll be honest, I have so many different brands of different cleaners in my home, mostly because I’m too lazy to make my own when the spirit moves me to clean something. But recently, after much internal growling at how cloudy my vehicle’s headlights lenses are (okay, my girl is 14 years old, so one expects some wear and tear) and trying multiple “magic” cleaners on the market guaranteeing to remove the cloudiness with just a spray and a swipe (none of them did), I finally decided to do my own search for a DIY solution. This was all after I learned that you can’t just replace the plastic lens, but have to replace the entire headlight, to the cost of close to $200 each!

I found a site which gave me just a few short steps, and which used baking soda and vinegar as the solution. Okay, I admit that I was extremely cynical that these two pantry items were going to succeed where expensive, allegedly powerful chemical products had not, but since I had both products and the time, I decided to give it a try.

This is what I was dealing with.

The instructions were to first clean the lens (DUH!). Then mix baking soda with white vinegar to make a paste. I used a small container (again, I wasn’t expecting results, so why waste a lot?) and had to add the vinegar in little bits at a time until it was ‘paste’ quality. It was recommended to use an old toothbrush. Well, I have a battery-powered toothbrush and some old brush heads that I keep just for cleaning things, so I knew I was well armed. Simply dip the toothbrush in the paste and apply it in small circles over the entire lens. I did multiple paths to make sure I’d gotten everywhere. By this time, much of the paste was dried on. I simply took some window cleaner and paper towels and cleaned the surface.

Only see a little bit of difference!

Okay, as suspected, it wasn’t shiny and new-looking as I had hoped! But it was a little bit cleaner and clearer! On to the final step!

Using WD40 (also something many of us have on hand) and a microfiber cloth, spray a liberal portion of the WD40 on the cloth and then wipe over the entire lens. (Note: WD40 does NOT hurt vehicle paint – I checked!)

Um….. WOW!

Okay, it’s not perfect – but WOW, it was a pretty amazing transformation to a piece of plastic that had been oxidizing for at least 14 years! I’d learned, in my research before trying it, that oxidation is what causes the lenses to become cloudy. The oxidation causes pits in the lens and then dirt fills in those pits. By using the WD40, the pits become ‘filled’ with the oil and thus creates the shine!

I kept looking out at it for hours, afraid it would disappear!

I can’t tell you how proud I am when I see these headlights now! I want to become a viral spokesperson to everyone who has the cloudy lens syndrome and tell them what an incredible and easy fix this is! Both headlights cost me less than an hour in time total, a few teaspoons of baking soda, maybe 1-1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar and a few cents worth of WD40 – well worth it!

I’m seriously that excited about my headlights, and that excited to share this hack!

Wishing Our Lives Away

Remember how, during our school years, we couldn’t wait for summer? How we’d keep wishing time would move faster so we could get out of school and be able to sleep in late, play outside (the pre-technology days) and go on family vacations and all of the fun things we couldn’t do during the school year?

Remember how, during our senior high school years, we couldn’t wait for schooling just to be over? We wanted to turn “eighteen” – the magic age when we legally became adults and had rights?

Remember how (if we went to college) we couldn’t wait for weekends home and semester breaks?

Remember how, when we finally found “the one”, we couldn’t wait to get married and start sharing our new and proud adult life with another?

Back in the early days of life – as a child and as a young adult – we all tended to wish for time to move faster. We all wanted to rush on towards the next best thing that we’d laid out for our lives in our brain. Most of us imagined the spouse, the house with the white-picket fence, children, family pets, consistent paychecks that allowed us to pay our bills and buy more stuff. We didn’t think – to be honest, didn’t know – about the drudgery of daily life once we’d settled into being adult. For some, the picture turned out just like we’d imagined and for some, it did not – but either way, we stopped looking forward to the next best thing and let ourselves become slaves to the routine of the “thing” where we were. We became – most of us, anyhow – mature, responsible adults, doing what needed to be done in order to make our way successfully through whatever was put before us. What was put before us wasn’t some wish of something we’d looked forward to, but something that needed to be done in order to sustain ourselves exactly where we were.

And at some point, in our 40s or 50s, we started wishing time would pass again – this time to when we could retire from work and be allowed to have time to enjoy life as we wished again. Whether it was to travel, or garden, or just be lazy, we realized that adulthood wasn’t exactly the bright shining orb we’d wished ourselves into all of those years ago. We were at one time excited to earn money and thought it was the answer to fulfilling every dream and desire we had.

We were wrong.

We were wrong about a lot of things. But most of all, we were wrong seeing our future through rose-colored glasses when we were young. We didn’t know about the stress of mortgages or car loans, the costs of medical, home and vehicle insurances. We didn’t know how much of the money we worked for would be taken by the government instead of being in our paychecks.

And we didn’t know that we might possibly reach a time in our lives where the days would seem to drag on forever but the years would pass by far too quickly. We didn’t know that there was a possibility that, once we’d reached the ‘golden age’ of retirement, we might well not be physically capable of all of those things we thought we could do once our time was ours again. We become intent of making memories with our loved ones, because for all of us, our biological clocks begin ticking. Chronologically, we’ve somehow scraped and clawed our ways to the top of the hill and have started the downhill slide. All of those tangible things we craved in order to show ourselves and others our stature no longer take precedence if our physical stature prohibits us from enjoying them. The vacation home, the boat and jet skis, the planned trips around the country in our motorhome, the planned trips around the world to visit other cultures – all of them become the “work” in our lives that we craved while we were “working”.

And we stop – we stop wishing our lives away. We’re melancholy about turning the calendar over to the next month, wondering where that month went… wondering if we’d done anything constructive or created any lasting memories, or if we just let the days slip by to be filled with doctor’s appointments and errands like grocery shopping. If we have a bucket list, we occasionally look at it and see more things we’ve never done that we’re most likely never going to do.

When we get to this new age of enlightenment, we may finally understand why our elders told us not to “wish your life away”. We may also wonder why parents and grandparents weren’t more forthcoming and honest about what we could expect from life. To protect us, as children, their struggles were kept from our eyes and ears – and we remained clueless.

I heard someone lament recently about an approaching 32nd birthday and I had to bite my tongue. I’m tired of telling people in their 30s who complain about “being old” that they have no idea what “old” feels like. I wonder if it’s my duty to inform them – forewarn them – about what’s to come. I feel bad for them for feeling so “old” at that age (already).

But, we all got what we asked for. We spent all of those years wishing for time to fly by, looking forward to the next chapter in our life story. But here’s what I know about the story of life. We should read it from end to beginning. I know if I’d have seen this part of my life before I’d lived it, I’d sure have lived it differently!

Would you?

(P.S. I wrote this article because I’ve found myself wishing that time would fly again. Not for years, but for months. I’m ready to see the end of the political BS by a November election here in the US. I’m ready for the pandemic to have some solid move to overcoming.)

Congratulate Yourself!

I’ve become a big fan of memes these days. I’ve copied and shared numerous ones – especially about coffee and sleep! – on different social medias and with different friends, as appropriate. When I came across this one, it spoke to me loudly and clearly, and I determined that it needs to be shared here as well. It reads:

It’s said that we are all our own worst enemies. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but it certainly is accurate for me. I’ve written before about how I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold others, how I feel guilty at even the possibility that I might let someone down and other similar topics. I also know that when I do something nice for others, it makes me feel good, and I subconsciously add that to the “done good” column. But when I’m feeling fragilely depleted, as I am these days, and realize that I have nothing good to give unless I put on that fateful mask and pretend everything is okay, I’m at a crossroads.

I’m good at being chatty and cheeky. It’s a natural and oft seen part of me. I rationalize to myself that this is what people have come to expect from me, and that my silliness and positivity give them a moment to smile. I’m happy I can do that. But when I can’t do it naturally, an internal fight goes on inside my head. I like making people smile. I like creating a moment or two in another’s day that makes them chuckle or relax. But when it’s not something that’s coming naturally, I either tend to hide myself away because I don’t have it to give, or I ‘pretend’ at being that chatty, cheeky person. Neither is the right answer.

The mask frightens me. I wore it for so many years that it became a way of life and it often came close to destroying me pretending to be someone who wasn’t genuine and real. It took me a long time to release the glue that held that mask in place – and a painful time releasing it as well – so I shudder about the idea of putting it on and having to start that process all over again. The alternative is also frightening. I’m not a social butterfly by any means, so my life is generally secluded. My socialization occurs in places and with people who, with the exception of my bestie and my brother, have only ever seen that positive side of me. Plus, in this world full of problems, I’m not likely to lay my own on people whose problems seem so much worse than mine.

I’ve gotten off-track a bit. Thinking back to the meme, I might need to print it out and put a copy in several places where I’m bound to see it. Maybe if I learn to concentrate on the good vibes of the good things I do instead of keeping such a growing list of all of the ways I haven’t done good, I’ll be able to be more ‘okay‘ with myself and more willing to reclaim the funny, sarcastic part of me that people like seeing. It can’t hurt, can it?

Yes, I am, even if it’s not good enough for anyone else!

Apathy

I stated in an email to my bestie recently that I was feeling apathetic. I decided to look up the word to make sure I’d used it correctly.

“Apathy indicates a state of fatigue and idleness accompanied by an indifference or an absence of emotion and desires. The apathetic patient doesn’t feel emotions, is indifferent to everything, and doesn’t feel like doing anything.”

For someone who is a strong empath and who also suffers from depressive moods now and again, I find myself at odds with the fact that this is exactly how I’m feeling! My bestie and I call it “meh” – describing “meh” as “I just don’t care either way.”

I’ve already discussed the need to become NUMB to the news these days, news which is either political (not in a good way) or about COVID-19 are at the top of every news show these days. I’ve figured out that every idea of both is filled with truth or lies, depending upon one’s own perception. People snarl and fight about having to wear a mask, while others wouldn’t be caught anywhere without one. People snarl, fight and make idiotic remarks about both of the candidates running to be President of the US of A in the November elections. Hydroxychloroquine either does or doesn’t help with coronavirus, depending on which ‘experts’ you choose to believe. Climate change either is or is not something to be worried about, again, depending upon which ‘experts’ you choose to believe.

I think another definition of apathy should include the words wishy-washy. We are a country that simply has become so feeble in stature in our need to be “right” that the need to be right becomes the only thing that matters. I guess my question is, how is it possible to not feel apathy these days? I am certainly not qualified to know which of the opposing ‘experts’ is correct or wrong in any of these things. To be honest, none of us are qualified. It comes down to a gut instinct, and that’s such an individual reaction that it’s almost no wonder why we are divided!

Meanwhile, I can’t help put struggle with what becoming apathetic means to me – it’s nice to have the break from always being highly emotional about anything and everything – my own or someone else’s anything and everything. It’s nice to have a break from the roller-coaster ride of emotions. But, I have to admit, it’s also boring as hell!

The monthly calendar has turned to August. My year-to-date, though my years aren’t always abuzz with activity, has been the most boring time I can recall. I’m joining on the bandwagon of understanding that the coronavirus not only brings physical issues, but mental issues as well. I know I’m bored because I’ve resorted to online window shopping and I LOATHE shopping! Worse, I know I’m bored because I’ve dug out my dance-ersize DVDs and have them ready to load up and play, and I HATE exercising more than I LOATHE shopping! (Light-bulb moment: I don’t hate exercising, I merely HATE feeling sweaty – which I can do on my own without exercise!)

Seriously – the “highlight” of 2020 has been dislocating my shoulder and having to deal with the pain, the strengthening movements, the cupping therapy, the Graston therapy and the ongoing issues. It’s given me something to focus on!

Anyone else suffering like I am?

Around-the-House Hacks – V

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is the time when we seem to use a lot of ice cubes to keep our drinks cool in the sweltering heat. For me, at any time of the year, I like my drinks to be ice cold, so while I go through more ice cubes in the summer, there are always ice cubes available in my freezer any day of the year!

For people who like to make smoothies or for those who live for ‘frozen’ alcoholic drinks, ice cubes on hand are also a major concern! Provided you’re proactive like I am about making certain to always have plenty on hand (my dream is an ice and water on the door fridge!), there are other ways to use ice cubes.

If you have hanging plants that require you to reach for the step-stool in order to water them, the next time you water them, add a few ice cubes around the plant as well. The ice cubes will melt slowly, providing a small but consistent amount of water to reach down to the roots over a period of time and without concern of causing a downpour from over-watering the plant. Ice cubes are an excellent way to water your live Christmas tree as well, for the same reason. In both cases, you won’t have to climb up on the step-stool or shimmy on your belly under the tree nearly as often!

If you’ve ever rearranged furniture, you know that heavy pieces tend to leave dents in the carpet where they’ve been sitting. An easy rehab? Place an ice cube directly on the dented area. Let the cube completely melt, and then brush (fingertips work fine) the nap in all different directions and it will snap back up!

Have a DIY caulking project? You know how difficult it can be to try and get a perfectly smooth line with your fingertips. Grab a piece of ice instead! Using a piece of ice will insure a nice even bead, and the caulking won’t stick to the ice like it does to your fingers!

No matter what flavor your local pharmacist offers in children’s medicines, kids often still turn up their noses at the taste. Give your child an ice cube to suck on before administering the medicine. This numbs the taste buds and allows the medicine to go down – and all without a spoonful of sugar!

An ice cube can also numb the area where a splinter has seated itself, making it easier to “dig” it out.

For a less expensive alternative to popsicles, make a flavored drink your children like and pour it into ice cube trays. When frozen enough, add a popsicle stick to each cube. Pop when completely frozen and let them enjoy! (Extra hint: to protect from dripping, slit and slide a cupcake paper up on the stick – it will catch any drips!)

Does your leftover rice dry out when you reheat it in the microwave? Put an ice cube in the center of the pile of rice before covering to reheat. The ice cube will melt as the rice reheats, giving the rice a much needed drink of moisture to return to its original texture.

If you like to make gravy from the drippings of roasted meat, you know that there is always fat in the broth you’ve made while roasting. Pour the broth into a bowl and add one or two ice cubes. The fat will quickly adhere to the ice cubes. Make sure you scoop the cubes out before they are completely melted, and you may have to do this step an additional time. Worth the effort though, over seeing your gravy boat start to cool with the gravy in it and the grease rising to the top!

If you have a garbage disposal, drop a handful of ice cubes into it now and again and turn it on. Any grease on the blades from use will cling to the cubes as they are ground up, making your disposal clean and grease free!

Ice cubes – they’re not just for drinks anymore!

I’m In Over my Head!

Which of my loyal readers knows how many times I’ve mentioned in blog posts that I am electronically technology illiterate? I’ve never pretended to be otherwise!

Well, now I’m officially in over my head!

I’ve recently been watching an online streamer play a game called Sims 4. She’s been building and decorating a house there, and I have had so much fun suggesting ideas for decor and furniture placement, and she has taken many of my suggestions. With my usual inability to sit still for long periods of time, I have been mentally invested in this fun for over 2 hours at a time without realizing that over 2 hours has actually passed!

This sweet young lady, who knows I’ve never played a video game and tend to get bored watching, saw how much enjoyment I was having, and graciously provided me with her information so that I could download the game on my PC and play it on my own! So I downloaded what she sent me.

However, I’m frightened by it already! It may be on my computer now, but I still know literally nothing on what to do with it now! Because it’s under her name, I have great anxiety about doing something with it and having it affect her game! So, I suspect that it will do nothing more than take up some space on my hard drive.

On top of that, I’ve been invited to take part in a Zoom get-together. Now, I think I safely assume that I need a microphone to be able to talk to the other people in real time. Okay, I suspect that a camera would enhance my being there, but I’m more than okay with not showing my face. To be honest, I don’t really like my voice so I’ve been happy with being able to type in chat what it is I want to say. However, I don’t think that’s an option, so the microphone is necessary. Which microphone? Where do I plug it in? How do I use it?

I’m not against learning new things. It’s just that I’ve always learned best when being taught by a hands-on approach. I even watched a YouTube video on Zoom and was overwhelmed in under 5 minutes! I need someone sitting beside me who knows all of the ins and outs, telling me how to do things and watching me while I try them. Even then, I’d need to make notes because I’d quickly forget much of it without some reference the next time.

I usually detest people who tend to play ostrich and stick their heads in the sand rather than confront something. But that’s exactly what I feel like doing! At the foundation of it all is the fact that I’m afraid I’ll do something to “break” my laptop and end up having to buy a new one. This one has lasted me longer than most – almost 2 years! – and that’s a record for me. During these economic times, I’d prefer not to have to spend money to purchase yet another laptop that I’ll eventually break!

HELP! I’m in OVER MY HEAD!

Finally Making Use of Time

It’s been many months now since COVID-19 came to completely change our lives. For some, the sheltering-in-place was a good time to clean out closets, do small household repairs, tackle bigger household projects, etc., etc., etc. Of course, we found time to whine and complain about the barriers of the pandemic as well!

As someone who routinely cleans out closets, who rents so she never has household repairs or projects to do, the days haven’t been any different for me than they would otherwise be. I’d see the occasional thing that needed to be done, but they were all insignificant things. Like sewing on a button to a winter top that will be months until I’m ready to wear it again. Like regluing loose pinecones on the pinecone wreath I made and hung two years ago. I’ve managed to keep up with the routine household chores in the way I’ve always done, limited, of course, to what I can do with my shoulder/arm at any given time.

I’ve returned to reading more and watching stuff on Amazon Prime to pass the time this past few weeks. I looked at those ‘projects’ but gave no thought to actually putting action into them.

Today, I finally did. I had a project that I’d been wanting to do which required me to dig out my hot glue gun, and since I also needed to take care of those loose pinecones, it seemed like the right time. Mission accomplished!

Well, that felt good – to have that one inconsequential thing taken care of! Finishing my project on the same day I started it was a major accomplishment, and I only considered once about letting it go to finish in the near future. Little bits of tidying up – like organizing my junk drawer, for example, are things I’ve started to do a few of daily. My two BIG projects still loom – finishing scanning photos into my computer and then transferring them to a disc drive so I can empty the boxes of unorganized pictures and going through three large totes and four shelves of crafting pieces and projects and making decisions about what might actually get done and what needs to be given away. Both of these projects require massive amounts of time, and both of them must occur in my spare bedroom, which is not air conditioned and gets warm even with a fan blowing over me.

Meanwhile, what time I can tolerate in this room has also been productive. I’ve cleaned out so many files on my computer, for starters. I’ve also done some research into recipes, like how to make risotto which I’ve never had but would like to try. I’ve spent time on Amazon comparing prices for grocery items I can purchase (and have delivered to my door!) versus what the same items cost in the grocery store (which I have to lug to my car and then lug into my house!)

I’ve been slowly looking at and starting to purchase Christmas gifts. Two years ago, I would have been 99% or more done with the shopping part, but last year I learned that I shopped too early and then found something I liked better as a gift after I’d bought something else.

Is any of this astounding? Nope! But I’m often very skilled at procrastination, so no matter how insignificant and menial these tasks may be, a feeling of accomplishment is a feeling of accomplishment after all! It’s not like anyone but me knows anything is different – for example, how my junk drawer looks now compared to what it looked like before I organized it. No one else would have even noticed the loose pinecones on my wreath. No one else knows how many and of what files I had on my computer to know that it’s been cleaned out.

But I know! I get to pat myself on my own back in acknowledgement of success and finishing a project that is important to no one but me. It’s kind of like darning a whole in the heel of your sock – no one knows the hole was ever there so no one knows you repaired it. But you can feel it when you wear that sock!

We all deserve to feel accomplished! Sometimes it’s as simple as putting fresh sheets on the bed! Congratulate yourself!

The Authenticity Project

The majority of books I’ve read or that are still on my looming ‘to-be-read’ pile are purchases from thrift stores, library book sales and book-swapping sites. It is extremely rare for me to purchase a newly published book; that is largely why I never do any kind of book review. However, my dear friend, Prin (aka Marnette), recently recommended a book to me in a responsive comment to my blog post “Lost and Found”. Prin is an avid reader, and her word alone was enough reason to make that kind of purchase. Thus, The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley recently entered my home.

I tended to have a preset idea that this book, while fiction, would be deeply psychological in nature. And, at the conclusion of reading it, I did take a few minutes to look more deeply at the characters from a psychological perspective, but didn’t dwell on the story from that view.

The story itself is charming. The author does a great job at introducing each new character to the story and with ‘fleshing out’ each character as the story progresses. The reader is given the ability to know something deep and dark about each character as the story unfolds, and, while each character is genuine in act and word, the reader quickly discovers that each is also hiding an even more authentic part of their persona. The hiding part is always brought about by fear of judgement and unacceptance.

I don’t want to tell too much of the story because I don’t want to give out any spoilers. It is an enjoyable read.

Although it was a lovely read, I was able to pull from it what I think Prin intended on a personal level. Knowing each character’s hidden authenticity did not distract me from liking each of them for who they were. None of the character’s fears about what they didn’t want being found out changed my perception of any of them; it made them even more human to me and, ironically, allowed me to like them more.

As these hidden secrets were revealed, the other characters responded with the typical emotions – anger, mistrust, fear. Sitting on the sidelines of the story, I could imagine myself reacting that same way. I admit, it made me trepid, though, about how people would react to ME when I revealed my own hidden secrets. I did feel validated that my own fear – in real life – was practical.

I would easily rate this book a 4.8 out of 5 stars. There was a small point – probably less than 20 pages – where the story began to lag for me, and that’s the only reason I didn’t give it a perfect 5 star review. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read. And men, who might be looking for more insight into themselves, would also benefit from this book.

Thank you, Prin, for this excellent recommendation. I appreciated the story for the story’s sake itself, and I appreciate the glimpses I got of myself through others’ (even fictional characters!) eyes. In a way, reading it made me feel more ‘okay’ about myself, and I suspect that was your intention! Well played!

Around-the-House Hacks – IV

Did you realize that 99% of the meat packages you buy at your local grocery store come on Styrofoam trays with shrink-wrapped plastic? The Styrofoam tray is used to cushion the meat so that packages can be set upon each other without compromise to the appearance to the meat in each package. And, of course, we appreciate that and don’t give it much thought. And think about all of the take-out/to-go containers you get that are also made from Styrofoam!

Did you also know that Styrofoam is non-biodegradable? So that means that when you open the package to use the meat product and toss the tray in your trash, it is going to end up in a landfill where scientists believe it will remain in solid form for at least 500 years!! The very building block of expanded polystyrene foam (the name Styrofoam was trademarked by the Dow Company) plastic is petroleum, which is neither renewable nor sustainable.

So, why not find some creative ways to recycle/reuse this product? Sure, it’s most likely still going to end up in a landfill (people have burned it in campfires and the like, but it releases several toxic emissions when burned and shouldn’t be handled that way), but if we can get several uses from it before tossing it, we’re at least not creating additional landfill matter from using something else where Styrofoam can be reused.

The trays are easy to wash, usually fairly clean except for raw meat having touched it – nothing that hot, soapy water can’t erase. And there are so many ways in which the trays can be reused!

Having an outdoor picnic? We all know how flimsy paper plates can be, so why not offer your guests an appropriately-sized foam tray to use instead? They’ll surely appreciate the extra sturdiness while filling their plates. The larger trays also make good food platters for what you’re serving. Afterwards, if you don’t want to wash and reuse (and that’s the purpose of paper plates anyhow), you’ve gotten at least one extra use from them before they hit the landfill.

Have budding artists at home who like to paint? Foam trays make an excellent palette for dabs of the various paint colors they want to use, again, being much more sturdy.

Foam trays are also useful when you’re working on a project that requires separate colors of small beads. Using a hot glue gun on a metal stand? Put a piece of foam tray under the nozzle when the gun is in resting position and it will catch any small drops of melted glue from the nozzle between uses. Teaching a child to sew? Punch holes in a foam tray and fill a large-eyed blunt needle with yarn or multiple strands of embroidery floss and have them learn in an easier, more visual way! Draw and cut out patterns from your cookie cutters and let the kids decorate them for tree ornaments! And I’m sure many crafters could think of ways to use these items for their projects.

For the gardener, foam trays are great as disposable knee pads! Sure, they aren’t as cushiony as the pillowy-type knee pads you buy, but they do provide an extra layer of comfort and save your knees/pants from any mud or dirt. Use the trays to line the inside of your wooden garden walls, providing an extra layer of insulation for the garden.

Going on vacation and need an easy way to pack the jewelry you want to take with you? Use a piece of foam with holes for your pierced earrings and place the entire thing in a zippered plastic bag. They will stay secure in single pieces without becoming a tangled mess and you’ll be able to see right away each pair you have to choose from.

Foam trays are great for putting under planters that have drainage holes in the bottom. They will hold any excess water from watering the plant, as well as allowing that water to be pulled back in when the roots get dry.

If your feet get tired easily, grab clean foam trays and cut insoles for inside your shoes or boots. You’ll get an extra layer of cushioning for free!

Props for Halloween or party games can easily be cut from foam and then painted or decorated as needed.

And, when you’ve run out of ideas…. check out: https://www.foamfacts.com/recycling/ to see if there is a recycling center near you.

Happy reuse/recycling!

Freda

This was written by my brother in tribute to our maternal grandmother. It is an accurately true and vivid description of the angel on earth that she was!

commonsensiblyspeaking

In Grandma’s eyes is where I see

The happiest of memories

This woman who loved me so

Had the greatest heart to show

The caring, loving, little things

The pulling at your apron strings

Every need for your attention

Never felt like a distraction

You could stretch every penny far

Cupboards filled with mason jars

Hand-rolled dough to make a pie

Better than one could ever buy

Plain gingham dress of every day

A little Dutch in the words you say

Your laugh when something tickled

And those bread and butter pickles

Scrapple, pot pie, and apple butter

Kitchen skills like no other

The garden where you would kneel

Your strength put into every meal

Of grandkids, you would always boast

But I am sure it’s me you loved the most

You, the caring I always knew

I hope you know, I loved you too

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