Simple Solutions for 3 Common Laundry Problems

What do stinky, yellowed and crayon stained laundry items have in common? They’re the reason lots of people write to me. Fortunately, each of these problems has a unique method for reversing that particular laundry problem.


No matter how many times you wash those items, you just cannot get rid of the disgusting sour, mildewy odor. The problem is clear evidence of bacteria that continue to live, despite having been previously washed and dried.


Letters to the Editor: Coffee Roasting, Beef Jerky, Two-Year-Olds, Gift Guides and More

Today I want to remind you, my dear readers, of just how much joy you bring to my life with your comments and feedback. You give me a daily dose of reality because I use my inbox to measure the “temperature” of how this blog is being received.

Now and then I get a comment, and I reluctantly tell you this, that’s just not fit to print. Others make me smile, and even cry from time to time. But all are joyfully received, regardless the content. That’s because they let me know that at least one someone out there is reading what I write!

Comments to How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans

Can one who drinks decaffeinated coffee do this?  If so, how? Lois

Yes! Decaffeinated raw green coffee beans are readily available. I now keep a supply myself so I have freshly roasted coffee for guests who prefer decaf. (My favorite based on guest feedback is this Decaf Columbian, about $30 for 5 pounds). I do find that decaf beans using  the Swiss water process for decaffeinating, roast faster than regular beans, so I watch decaf roasting even more closely. 


How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans

Clearly, a recent post where I mentioned that my coffee roasting hobby has taken on a new dimension now that I import my green raw cofffee beans from the grower in Costa Rica, piqued the interest of many of coffee lovers.

It all started about 10 years when I had a conversation with Dax Wilson, who’d recently taken up this hobby of home roasting. The motivation? First, quality and taste, but also to cut the high cost of quality coffee by at least half. That was enough to get my attention and all I needed to become equally enthusiastic.

Today I’m going to walk you through the entire process I followed to get started, complete with tips and advice on creating your perfect cup of home roasted coffee.


Make It Yourself: Beef Jerky, French Salad Dressing, Steak Sauce 

If your family loves beef jerky, French salad dressing and A-1 Steak Sauce as much as mine, you definitely need to learn how to make these grocery items yourself—cheaper and better!

Here’s the deal: If you can make it as good or better than its store-bought version for way less money, why not? Give these recipes a try. I’m going to bet that once you do, you won’t go back.


Bake Bread, Save Dough: Basics for 5-Minutes-a-Day Bread Bakers

You may recall a column from a few weeks ago on baking bread—specifically, artisan bread in five minutes a day! It’s true. I do. And given the number of messages, comments and questions I received in response to that column, I’m excited to know that so many of my readers want to do that, too!

Rather than address each of your questions individually, I’ve taken the liberty to compile and edit them down to this manageable few:

Q: Can I get started with just the Master Recipe or do I really need the book?

The creators, Jeff and Zoe, have kindly made the Master Recipe plus step-by-step instructions with photos available at their website (click HERE), so the answer is no, you do not need the book to get started. But you’ll want it eventually. Hint: It would make a great Christmas gift.


Ask Me Anything: Concrete Stains, Yellowed Whites, Power Toothbrush

Every day when I open my inbox, I find dozens, if not hundreds, of questions from the audience. Want to know the most-asked-about subject? Stains. Nasty, ugly, stubborn stains on everything you can imagine from concrete to laundry, and teeth, too.

Q: Five years ago we replaced our entryway steps and now the concrete has developed green/brown stains from dead, wet leaves, etc. How can we remove these stains?

A: The leaf stains are caused by tannins, the same type of compounds that are found in grapes and make wine taste “dry.” Tannin stains on outdoor concrete may not permanent, but they can be difficult to remove. Fresh stains often go away on their own, provided they are exposed to the powerful bleaching action of the sun. Fresh stains are easier to remove than older stains. Powdered detergents that contain bleaching agents that remove organic stains like food, blood and plant material can effectively clean old, stubborn stains from concrete surfaces, according to Concrete Network.

Here are the steps to follow, making sure you have placed a tarp over nearby plants to protect them from cleaning products. Always test a small, inconspicuous area of the concrete before you apply the cleaner to the stain:


Money in the Bank is Frugality’s Reward

Living frugally does not mean choosing a life of poverty. Frugality is simply the act of avoiding waste. It means finding the most economical way to accomplish a task or project. Frugality doesn’t mean giving up, it means living better because when you have all that you need plus money in the bank, life becomes much easier.

Frugality is a state of mind, an attitude you choose for a way of life that is rewarding. Every day my mailbox fills with frugal tips from my loyal readers. Some make me laugh; others leave me wondering why I didn’t think of that. Still others have become such a common way of life for me, I’m grateful to have been reminded of what a great frugal idea it is. Enjoy this recent sampling:

$5 GIFT-GAME. Last year, all of our children were home for Christmas so my husband and I decided we would hand out $5 bills to each one, go to Walmart and set a time limit of ten minutes to find a gift AND get through a checkout line. Before we left home we drew names. The kids still talk about it. Sandy

And Now the Rest of the Take-My-iPhone-Please Story

You may recall that several months ago, after considering my options for what to do with my iPhone 5C (trade it in, sell it, consign it, auction it, donate it, or keep it) I’d decided to sell the phone to the online company that had given me the best cash offer.

That didn’t happen. Within hours of posting that column, I received a message offering one more option: