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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Top 20 Household Secrets from Grandma

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Top 20 Household Secrets from Grandma


I grew up in Germany as a child, and I still remember following Oma around as she went about her household business. Through the years, I have adapted and refined some of her methods, but it's nice to know that she still influences my daily life even today. I thought I would share some of the wonderful tips and tricks I've learned, so here they are!

Home Remedies for Health

  • Headaches - immerse feet in bucket of hot water (as hot as you can stand) for 15 min. At the same time, wring out a cloth in ice water and put on forehead or back of neck (wherever it hurts); hot water will dilate blood vessels and increase flow to feet
  • Cold sores - at first tingle, dab on some Pepto Bismol
  • Burns and cuts - Oma used to keep an aloe vera plant in the kitchen and whenever she cut or burned herself, she'd dab some of the sap on for instant relief and healing; I typically keep some aloe vera gel in the kitchen and it works just as well
  • Cramps or backache - get a heating pad (I got mine at walmart) and apply directly to pain (it works wonders); you can also take a hot bath, adding a cup of chamomile tea to water and then drink another cup; for menstrual cramps, also can take vitamin B12, eat a banana (for potassium) and drink plenty of water
  • Sore throat - gargle with 3 tsp salt and water; eat several tablespoons honey throughout the day; can also gargle with a dash of cayenne pepper (not more than 1/8 tsp)
Home and Cleaning

  • Clean Stinky Washing Machine - fill with hot water, add 1 qt chlorine bleach, run on longest wash cycle, after bleach cycle, add 1 qt vinegar and run through same cycle again
  • Refresh Kitchen Automatic Disposal - sharpen blades by putting in 2 cups ice; freshen up by pouring in some baking soda, let sit for 15 minutes, pour in some vinegar or lemon juice and let it bubble up, rinse with cold water
  • Clean Pots and Pans with burned on gunk - Boil water and a few drops dishwashing liquid in pan, this will loosen everything up
  • Ink stains on leather furniture - rub in a little cuticle remover, buff, may have to set 10 minutes
  • Stains (especially marker) that refuse to come out of carpet - pour ammonia on stain, take a paperbag and iron, the stain will lift off onto the bag (make sure room is well ventilated and keep the kids out for a day); for general carpet stains I use either babywipes or Clorox wipes (I have light colored carpets and it has never discolored, be sure to test out on a small bit of carpet first)
  • Watermarks on Wood Furniture - rub mayonnaise in (or petroleum jelly) and leave overnight , rub off or can use toothpaste in circular motion on white stains (very gently)
  • Stains on walls - crayon (paste of baking soda and water or WD40 and papertowel followed up by a cloth with hot water and some dishwashing liquid mixed in), general stains (art gum eraser), ink (hairspray or rubbing alcohol), grease (cornstarch and water, let dry and vacuum)
  • Soap scum in shower - believe it or not, I don't have any because I keep a squeegee in the shower and always squeegee the walls after each use (believe it or not, this works); no need to buy all those shower chemicals; if you would like to start with a fresh shower, then spray on vinegar, leave on for 15 minutes and use a nylon scrub brush; can use an eraser to clean grout and if you have stains, use a paste of baking soda and chlorine bleach, let dry and rinse
  • Stinky Shoes - sprinkle with baking soda, put in plastic bag and freeze for two nights; shake out baking soda when thawed; if shoes were wet to begin with, stuff with newspapers and keep refreshing til dry
Declutter

  • Stuff out of Place - before I go to bed, I make one pass through the house straightening up and collecting out of place items in a bin or basket, as you pass where it belongs, put it away; the kids have to do this before they go to bed too
  • Messy kids' rooms - encourage kids to play with one toy at a time; when it's clean-up time, give them detailed instructions instead of "clean up your room" (say, okay, put away that pile of Legos, then put away your Army men, etc); for smaller kiddies recycle their toys, leave them with a half dozen toys a week and then exchange those with pieces you have put away, they get more joy out of their toys this way
  • Clutter at the front door - Make sure you have a little table and two baskets (one big, one small) at the front door; keys go in the little basket or dish on the table, other stuff goes in the basket instead of strewn across the floor or misplaced somewhere; we have a small hall stand with hooks to corral items brought inside
  • Get to bed relaxed and worry-free -Check your calendar for appointments and such for the next day; make a "to do" list (always keep a pad of paper and pen by your bedside, you never know when you will think of that next best thing); make sure everyone has their outfit laid out for tomorrow (unless it is a stay at home day); and look ahead to making your morning easier (for example, make lunches the night before)
Travel/Out and About

  • Stay prepared with a box of babywipes in the car - I use these to clean the car dashboard (something to do at a stoplight); also works great for cleaning carpets and for general clean up (especially if you have kids); also keep a regular box of Kleenex in the car
  • Keep the kids occupied - Keep a bag of things to do for the little ones and add snacks and drinks before you go out the door
I hope that you find some of these tips useful! If you have any you'd like to share, that would be great!

See this article and others like it at "Make It From Scratch" Carnival #26 at Balanceindiet!

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8 Comments:

Blogger therapydoc said...

Just a terrific post. Thanks for all that good stuff. I'm definitely trying the feet in hot water thing.

August 3, 2007 at 1:19 AM  
Anonymous ThriftyKaren said...

Sounds like your grandma was a wise woman. It's nice when these tips are passed down. Thanks for participating in the Make it From Scratch carnival.

Karen
www.balanceindiet.com

August 13, 2007 at 6:05 AM  
Anonymous HowToMe said...

Oh, I love this post!! Nicely done.

(MIFS)

August 14, 2007 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger tegdirb92 said...

what a great post--I will definitely be saving and trying some of these!!

August 14, 2007 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

wow there are some great tips there!

August 15, 2007 at 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

these are terrific! Has anybody heard about another use: baking soda to repel mosquitos? Have no idea whether/how this works.

August 20, 2007 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

I know baking soda can be a big help (mixed with water) to soothe your skin after being stung...don't know about repellent though! Let us know if you find anything that substantiates this:-))

August 20, 2007 at 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read that rubbing the inside of an orange peel on your skin will help repel mosquitos and other bugs. if you're going to be sitting outside you can also place the peelings from any type of citrus fruit in a container around the area to repel them from a larger area.

April 2, 2008 at 8:30 PM  

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