waffle iron in the kitchen. preparing homemade waffles, pouring a dough

Waffle Cornbread, Reverse Spicy Heat and More Great Reader Tips

Quite possibly, the thing I enjoy most about this job of mine is that I get to read, ponder—sometimes shriek WHAAT?!—all of the great tips and ideas my readers send it for me to share with you.

Here’s another batch for your consideration and hopefully, enjoyment!

 waffle iron in the kitchen. preparing homemade waffles, pouring a dough

Will it waffle?

I use my waffle iron to bake cornbread. It’s fast and doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Delora

Turn down the heat

If you end up cooking something that is too spicy, just add a teaspoon of sugar and you will counteract the spiciness of the dish. Nancy

Unplugged, happily

We disconnected our satellite TV service about eight months ago. We only watched about 10 of our favorite channels and had to pay for a 250 channel package just to get the channels our kids watched. Now instead, we watch those shows from streaming video on our computer or borrow movies from the library. We saved $77 a month on the service, $20 a month on our electric bill, and now we have two kids who love to read. Diane

Water spots begone!

I had a problem with hard water spots on my windows and had tried everything that I could think of, including vinegar. Nothing worked. I figured that I had nothing to lose and tried Bon Ami powdered cleaner. It worked without causing any damage whatsoever to the windows. I merely scrubbed the windows with Bon Ami on a damp terry rag, then rinsed and cleaned as usual to get any residue off. It took time, but Bon Ami was very effective. Wendy

Cheap napkin rings

Inexpensive napkin rings can be made from shower curtain rings. There are a lot of colors and designs that can be used for a casual table setting. Gale

Cheap detangler

My daughter has curly hair and it constantly gets tangled. Instead of buying expensive detangling products I take a spray bottle, fill it with water and add one or two squirts of cheap hair conditioner. It works just as well to comb out tangles as the expensive brands. Holly

Neat pancake prep

To save washing that messy bowl of pancake batter I put the pancake mix in a quart-size Ziplok bag, and add the water and other ingredients according to the recipe. Then I zip it closed and shake and squeeze the bag until the batter is mixed well. I cut one corner of the bag and squeeze the batter onto a hot, nonstick skillet. I throw the bag away when I am done, and there’s no mess to clean up! Bob

Free shakers

I save spice containers that have shaker caps. I wash them out and fill them with flour or sugar. These containers are convenient when you just need a sprinkle or shake, such as when kneading dough. E.H.

Tile whitener

For whiter tile, sprinkle Cream of Tartar on the tile and grout, then rub with a cut lemon or rag moistened with lemon juice. I spent a year trying to turn our gray bathroom floor back to white, to no avail, until I tried this tip. It worked like magic! Diane

Plumper burgers

A family friend taught me to make hamburgers by adding crushed crackers to the beef before making it into patties. This makes the meat go farther and also keeps the patties from shrinking while they cook. I think it makes the burgers juicier, too. Tammy

DIY dryer sheets

I make my own fabric softener “sheets” by mixing 2 tablespoons of the cheapest liquid fabric softener I can find with 2 cups of water. I soak a washrag in it and then squeeze out what I can and throw it in the dryer. However, I was having a problem with mildew forming in my fabric softener mix. I added 2 tablespoons of vinegar to my mixture and I have not had any more problems with mildew. Linda

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33 replies
  1. Lynnell Caldwell
    Lynnell Caldwell says:

    I live in Southern California and it’s cooler than normal. I’m not up to going outside yet – I had surgery on Wednesday for pancreatic cancer. I love reading all the tips! I’m a big EC fan!

  2. Chris Norlund
    Chris Norlund says:

    Tacoma, Washington. Weather alternating between rain, and then a patch of semi-sunny days lately. Christmas lights went up today. Thanks for sharing all of the interesting and helpful ideas! LOVE the great info and wise financial mentoring! Mary—you’re my hero!

  3. Betty Thomas
    Betty Thomas says:

    Kuna Idaho just 20 minutes from the state capital, Boise. It’s gray, rainy and a bit windy. Perfect day for reading a good book while sipping hot tea!

  4. Jan Olson
    Jan Olson says:

    Hi: I live in McCall, Idaho. It is currently 26 degrees and snowing lightly. We have a late start to winter this year, but I think it has finally arrived. Happy Holidays all.

  5. Shirley Coleman
    Shirley Coleman says:

    I’m in Archbold Ohio. It’s 37 degrees and we are having an all day rain. Good day to stay in and wrap Christmas packages.

  6. kcjmc
    kcjmc says:

    While I love the idea of the mess-free convenience of the make-in-a-plastic bag pancake mix suggestion above, I hate the thought of adding to the plastic problem in our landfills and in our oceans. It literally takes nearly forever to decompose, if ever at all, and you can search “giant islands of plastic in the Pacific” for more info on that.

    • June Willoughby
      June Willoughby says:

      That’s the same thought I had! I hate that plastic is so permanent. Our recycling program has cut way back on what they take with plastics and also cardboard. Recently I thought – why am I putting these cartons in my plastic trash bags where they will never decompose? So now I just put them in the trash can loose. At least there is a chance they will decompose over time this way.

      I live in Coos Bay on the southern Oregon Coast. It’s in the low 50’s here today and overcast. We’ve just started getting the rain we normally get in the fall. We’re way behind!

  7. Julie Reiman
    Julie Reiman says:

    Good Morning Everyone,
    I’m from Nekoosa Wisconsin! We are expecting some snow today! (3-6 inches) The temperature is 32 degrees! Have a great weekend!

  8. Judy Buzby
    Judy Buzby says:

    Hi all, I live on Grand Island, NY in the middle of the Niagara River with Niagara Falls in the north and Buffalo in the South. We actually look south across the river to Canada. Cool and rainy, perfect day for soup!

  9. Marilyn Dreher
    Marilyn Dreher says:

    Suwanee, GA (30 miles northeast of Atlanta) but both born and raised on Long Island, NY…(me and my spouse went to H..S together) left there and moved to Savannah, GA where my brother moved to…then husband transferred to Atlanta. Have followed you for many years. at 740 pm Sat, rainy but 54 degrees!

  10. Sue V
    Sue V says:

    I live in Cottonwood, AZ, 100 miles North of Phoenix, AZ. We have many winter visitors and they disappear in the summer! 🙂 It is cool out with a breeze and they are forecasting snow flurries tomorrow. Originally from Ft. Wayne, IN so snow flurries always exciting for me.

  11. Dorothea Giordano
    Dorothea Giordano says:

    I too, live between Boulder and Denver in northern Colorado. In Thornton. Just moved here over the summer. Maybe I’ll run into you some day, Mary! You’ve taught me so much over the years–thank you!

  12. Emjay
    Emjay says:

    Arroyo Grande here. Not at all near the dreadful firestorms we all see on news featuring California. We are between rainstorms today. These are drought-ending storms, thankfully.

  13. Cally
    Cally says:

    Reeds Spring, Missouri. about 15 minutes west of Branson, MO. It’s currently 33 degrees, and will be in the 30-40 all week. that’s ok as long as the sun shines!

  14. Heather Shover
    Heather Shover says:

    North Central Kansas. Right now it is 25 degrees F. A few snow flakes flying, but we have snow on the ground. I am ready for spring already.

  15. annie56
    annie56 says:

    I’m in northern New Hampshire. About an hour from the Canadian border. Winter came a little early this year so significant snow on the ground already, ski areas open. Love reading all the wonderful tips & suggestions about products. Many have worked for me over the years. BTW, we live debt-free. Just because we do! It’s a great way to live!

  16. Deb Lawrence
    Deb Lawrence says:

    Hello, am currently in Christchurch, New Zealand but soon to head home to the UK! Thank you for all your great ideas.


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