Keep Your Cool in the Heat of Summer

As I write, it’s the first day of summer and a scorcher here in Northern Colorado—103F. But, it’s a dry heat—only 10% humidity.

I know, you’re laughing, as if 103 dry is any more tolerable than a more humid 103. Actually, it is—or so the weather experts tell us.

Now that the summer heat is bearing down on cities across the U.S., millions of window-mounted air conditioners are getting a real work out. Chris Hall, president of  RepairClinic.com, says his company is ready for the seasonal spike in questions from consumers who are wondering why their A/C unit isn’t working properly. In many instances, he says, consumers can rectify the problem themselves–if they have the right advice.

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Stop Whining!

As the mother of two young world-class whiners, the behavior modification techniques described in the booklet—more like a pamphlet—appeared too simple to be taken seriously.

In desperation, however, I decided to give the anti-whining program my best shot.

Day One: Whenever one of the boys whined I did exactly as prescribed. I got down to his level, looked him straight in the eye and said in a firm-yet-gentle manner,

Stop whining! I cannot listen to you when you whine because it gives me a headache.

Next, I imitated what he said and the way he said it, right down to his nasally, high-pitched, sing-song tone. Then I restated in a grown-up voice what he said, using a better choice of words and required him to repeat it without whining, blaming or complaining.

I did this no fewer than 397 times before bedtime on Day One.

Day Two: The second day was similar to the first except after my demonstration of the correct way to communicate, I had to turn away and ignore the child until on his own he restated his need or situation without whining, blaming or complaining.

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How to Remove Latex Paint Stains from Carpet or Just About Anything Else!

Want to get latex paint out of carpet, upholstery or any other kind of fabric―even if it’s old and dried up? No problem!

Saturate the stain with any brand of lacquer thinner (not paint thinner, not mineral spirits or anything else you might be tempted to substitute), applied with a clean white cloth, so there is no chance of transferring the color from the cloth to the item to be cleaned.

Allow the lacquer thinner to sit for a few moments to soften the paint so you can scrape, blot and or scrub it out with the application cloth.

Depending on how old the paint stain is, you may have to repeat a couple of times, but it will come out without leaving a bigger problem in its wake.

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No More Bad Hair Days

A recent post in which I wailed and whined about my very bad hair day started it. You may recall how I mentioned volumizing, styling techniques and a great can of hairspray. That brought an avalanche of desperate queries, suggesting to me that perhaps I’m not the only one dealing with an occasional bad hair day!

Which volumizer? Hairspray? What? Where?!

Not long after we visited the world of shampoos and conditioners. That stirred up lots more questions and very specific ones as in exactly which products?

So today, I’ve decided to tell. Exactly. Specifically. And trust me when I say that  I’ve tested many—none of which are sponsored, all of which I buy myself.

(From time to time I see these products at stores like Walgreens, King Soopers, Target, Walmart, but never all of them at the same time in the same place—except on Amazon. I am convinced that overall, Amazon consistently has the best prices.)

1. SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER. Currently, I’m using  Tigi Bed Head Moisture Maniac Shampoo and Conditioner because I got them on a terrific sale. My hair is dry, I live in a dry climate, my hair is (surprise!) color-treated and both are very gentle. These bottles are huge and since I get at least 4 days out of a hairstyle, they will last me a very long time. About $30 for both.

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Letters to the Editor: Stick Vac, Travel Tips, Cleaning “Juice,” Garbage Disposals and Sweet Peas

One of the great joys of writing is receiving letters to the editor. Not surprisingly, responses to what I write vary greatly, which I find gratifying. That means your’e reading and thinking. And from time to time I find myself re-thinking in response to what you write. I hope you find this selection of recent letters both interesting and thought-provoking.

Best Inexpensive Stick Vacuum—Finally!

I’m a happy user of the Eufy Cordless HomeVac you recommended. I love it—especially as we have a cat who tracks litter all over. This vac works for so many medium and lightweight uses (toast crumbs, scattered litter, dirt tracked in, for a fast buzz around the dining table, etc). In fact, we have hardwood floors and use this vacuum 90% of the time. It is so lightweight and portable compared to our heavier duty vacuum. Also, I’m amazed how long the charge lasts. When it is charged up and not used for even a week, it still maintains its full charge and is ready to go. Definitely a winner! Joyce

Comments to Travel Tips, Tricks and Hacks

Great tips, as usual. When we travel, along with the Do Not Disturb sign on the door, we also leave the T.V. on so it seems as though someone is in the room. Cathy

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Just Hand Over the Sweet Peas and No One Gets Hurt

Confession is good for the soul, I’m told, and so I’d like to confess. I came this close to clocking the woman standing in front of me in the very crowded pick-up line at the airport last week. It’s not that she was rude or jumped in front of me or anything like that. She was holding a bouquet of fresh flowers … Sweet Peas!

It seems that she’d just returned having chaperoned an entire class of high-school students on a Spring Break trip. Amazingly, she appeared to have all of her mental faculties intact and a sweet attitude, too!  As for those flowers, a grateful parent presented them to her as a kind of welcome-home-I-still-can’t-believe-you-were-brave-enough-to-do-this kind of gift.

I don’t mind that she had flowers. But Sweet Peas? Clearly, homegrown from a garden within driving distance of my home? Not only were they beautiful, they were abundant. I mean gigantic blooms with perfect ruffles, and a bouquet so large this woman could barely get her hands around it.

I inched ever closer to her just to get a whiff of that fragrance. But I couldn’t appreciate it much for all the envy that flooded my soul. My garden should be overflowing with Sweet Peas at this very moment. It’s not. I am so angry at myself. You see, I procrastinated. I thought I had plenty of time to get my seeds into the ground for a glorious spring harvest of Sweet Peas.

But no … I had other things to do. Then it rained. I got busy. I lost my window of planting opportunity.

Saving money is a lot like planting. You need to do it early then you can sit back and relax. But unlike those of you who’ve lost your window of opportunity to save early and reap a big harvest come retirement, I’ll get another chance.

Next fall I will plant early and spring 2018 is going to yield a bumper crop of Sweet Peas like the world has never known. You just wait.

While you’ll never be able to catch up fully on what might have been if you’d started an aggressive savings program years ago, that should not stop you from starting now. Today.

Determine to put away the same amount (or more, never less) every month, week … or day. Just do it. You won’t notice much of anything in the beginning. But some time from now you’ll be reaping a bountiful harvest that’s going to make life much more enjoyable down the road.

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The Wonders of Epsom Salt

I can recall vividly—and count on one hand—the migraine headaches I’ve had in my life, all of them before age ten. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them. Until a couple of months ago.

With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why now, after all these years?

In reading up on the latest findings on what causes migraine headaches, I discovered how important magnesium is to overall health. Turns out that an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. population suffer from magnesium deficiency causing all kinds of health issues—one of them being migraine headaches. But  here’s the problem with that: magnesium supplements are not necessarily the answer because magnesium is not easily absorbed through our digestive tracts.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that common, ordinary Epsom salt is one of the richest sources of magnesium, which just happens to be easily absorbed through the skin—by soaking in it. In a nice warm bath!

You can be sure that Epsom salt soaks are now part of my routine to boost my magnesium and hopefully avoid migraines in the future.

Epsom salt, also known as hydrated magnesium sulfate (not to be confused with table salt, which is not at all the same thing) is plentiful, inexpensive and available at drugstores and supermarkets everywhere. And it has dozens of other practical uses and health benefits, too.

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Ask Me Anything: Dehumidifiers and Glass Stovetop Disaster

Humidity, or the lack thereof, is a popular topic this time of year. Where I live in northern Colorado, it’s dry! We have like no humidity. Well, not exactly, but it averages in the low mid-20 percent during the summer and fall months. We have a humidifier in our home and it runs 24/7 year round for health and comfort.

Recently, lots of readers have inquired about how to deal with the opposite—high humidity, which can get pretty miserable this time of year.

What is the best inexpensive home dehumidifier? 

I am confident and very happy to recommend two different high-quality machines (depending on the size of the space you have), both of which just happen to come from Frigidaire. A dehumidifier can be a godsend for those who live in high humidity areas to remove excess moisture from indoor air. Some of the most common indications that you may need a dehumidifier are: wet stains on walls and ceilings, stuffy feeling in a room, rotting wood, condensation on windows, musty smells and allergies (if the air in your home is too moist, it will encourage the growth of bacteria and mold, which are common allergens).

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