How to Get Your Perspective Back on Track

These days, it’s easy to fall into the muck and mire of worry and defeat. Personal crises like a financial emergency, the loss of a job—or worse, your home—punctuated by the daily news can ruin your perspective and dump you into a pit of despair.

What you need to know today is that even when things seem completely hopeless, there’s always a way out. That’s not to say that you should slip into denial when bad things happen. But good things also happen.

By learning how to control your thoughts and stepping back to see the bigger picture, you can climb out of that pit and into the sunshine of a new day. It’s all about learning how to get your perspective back on track.

1. Feelings are fickle. They can’t be trusted. Our feelings send messages to our brains that are not always reliable. Your emotions may be all over of the map. Instead of allowing your feelings to run the show, take control by writing things down in clear, simple sentences. Acknowledge the facts. It is what it is—no better, but no worse, either.


16 Facts and Uses for the One Cent Piece That are Worth Every Penny

For some people, pennies are so annoying, they don’t even bother picking up strays that end up on sidewalks and streets. Then there are those who eagerly collect the copper coin, living up to the Benjamin Franklin quote that a penny saved is a penny earned.

Assuming that the rest of us fall somewhere between those extremes, today I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few facts and uses for the lowest value coin in the U.S. currency lineup—the lowly penny.

Four, no more. Carry four pennies with you at all times so you always have just enough to avoid paying the odd cents when you make a purchase. This way you avoid getting pennies back in change. Serious “change savers” save other coins but want to get rid of the pennies as quickly as possible. This method will do it.

Tons of copper. Since its beginning, the U.S. Mint has produced more than 288.7 billion pennies. Lined up edge to edge, these pennies would circle the earth 137 times. The average penny lasts 25 years.

Big waste. It now costs more than one cent to produce a penny. In 2007, the U.S. Mint lost $31 million in making 6.6 billion new pennies.


Ask Me Anything: Vacuum Cleaner and Home Chef Packaging Material

In elementary school I was one of those kids who would get so excited raising my hand and jumping up and down when the teacher asked a question I knew the answer. Me, me, me! Pick me!!

That may or may not have been what I did when both of today’s questions landed in my inbox on the same day one right after the other.

Your Best Inexpensive recommendations are awesome! Love my Eufy robot and Rowenta steam iron. Both items are practically life-changing. I also adored Home Chef but the accumulation of ice packs and insulation pads overwhelmed me. The company could not provide answers as to what to do with this stuff. The ice pack gel cannot go down my drains because of our septic system. This was the recommendation of the ice pack manufacturer. My freezer can’t hold anymore packs. I’ve listed both the ice packs and insulation padding on free cycle and Craigslist numerous times with no results. Any ideas?  I miss my Home Chef. Ellen

Dear Ellen: I contacted Creative Packaging, the company that manufactures the PacTemp Creative Ice Gel Packs as well as our friends at Home Chef to make sure I’m giving you the most accurate answers to your questions.


Got a Big Harvest? Can It!

So, you planted a garden, lucked out when your property included fruit trees, stumbled upon a produce sale you just couldn’t pass up, or joined a CSA. Good for you! Now what? What will you do with all that bounty?

Your choices are 1) quickly consume your harvest before it spoils 2) give it away or 3) preserve it to enjoy in the future.


One of the best ways to preserve—the method of food preservation that is making a big comeback—is known as “canning.”

Canning is not difficult, but it is a procedure that should be followed precisely.


How the Right Thermometer Makes Me Look Good in the Kitchen

After such a great response to this when it was originally posted I’ve decided to run it again for readers who may have missed it. ThermoWorks is currently running 15% off on everything through Sunday, August 13th, using code “SITEWIDESAVE15“. If you’ve been holding out on the ThermoPop or MK4, now is a great time to buy for some awesome savings on one for yourself or a gift for a loved one.

Faithful readers know how much I love to cook. That has not always been the case. It was coming face-to-face with how much money we were spending on restaurants, diners, take-out and drive-thrus that forced me (kicking and screaming) into the kitchen.

All those years ago, I looked to TV shows, cookbooks, and online videos to teach me how to cook. I became a marginally decent cook.


Several months ago, I ponied up about $20 (I had a coupon) to test a subscription to Home Chef meal kit delivery service (read about that HERE and HERE).


Ask Me Anything: Robot Mops, Sun Block, Tile Grout, Stinky Cigarette Smoke

From cars that wreak of stale cigarette smoke to tile grout and robot floor mops, I get questions of every kind from my awesome readers. I love the challenge. So please, keep those cards and letters coming!

I love my Eufy Robovac II. With an entire house of wood plank tile, it has changed my life! It has recently come to my attention that there are now robot mops. Do you have a Best Inexpensive recommendation for these? Janet

I’m so happy to hear how much you are loving your Eufy robot vacuum. I love mine, too! As for a robot floor mop/scrubber, the one or two that works pretty well most of the time is way too expensive. Affordable robot floor scrubbers seem to be more trouble and make a bigger mess than they’re worth! As soon as that changes—and it could anytime—you’ll be the first to know!

What can I put on a window to block the heat from the hot sun on that side of the house from coming in? Doris


Turn Your Dishwasher Into a Workhorse Plus More Great Reader tips

The dishwasher in my house is a workhorse. It does a great job of cleaning dishes of course, but also baseball caps, waste baskets, and de-crystallizing honey* (yes, you read that right). Now I can add cleaning refrigerator shelves to the list.

SPARKLING CLEAN SHELVES. When I clean my refrigerator I put all the shelves, including the door shelves, in the dishwasher. I run the short cycle, which saves time, and the shelves come out sparkling. Emma

DOG HAIR-REMOVAL GLOVES. My Labrador Retriever frequently goes places with me, traveling in the back of my car. Needless to say, lots of dog hair gets stuck on the carpet. I’ve tried everything to remove it including sticky roller tape and special sponges, but nothing has worked. Finally, I tried my gardening gloves. The palm of the glove has a rough, rubbery texture and they work beautifully. I put on the glove and run my hand palm down along the carpet. The hair piles up in my glove. Kathryn


They’ll Think It’s Filet Mignon

From time to time my supermarket runs a special on a cut of beef they label,  “London Broil.” It’s a lean piece of meat, about 1 1/2 inches thick and tough as shoe leather.

photo credit: Jeremy Keith

You may wonder why I load up my freezer when it goes on sale for around $5 a pound. That’s because I have a secret weapon that turns flank steak, or any other tough cut of beef, into filet mignon. Well, not exactly, because it does not have all the fat of a filet, but so flavorful and so tender, some say it’s even better than filet.

But first, let’s clear up something. Apparently, my store is unaware that there is no cut of beef called  “London Broil.” That refers to a preparation method that involves marinade and seasonings.

What I am buying is flank steak. It comes with no seasonings or marinade. Just plain, tough beef. And that’s okay because I know how to fix that problem.