Archive for February, 2007

The most common and popular finish for large and small appliances, cookware, utensils and sinks these days is stainless steel. It’s easy to clean and looks great with almost any decore. Here are a few tips to easily keep your stainless sparkling clean and shiny!

To clean your stainless steel sink use olive oil on a cloth and dry with a clean cloth. Make a paste with baking soda and Watkins degreaser, rub gently to remove stains and hard water spots. Wipe up any water spots which may form mineral spots.

To remove stains from your cookware try using club soda, or apply vinegar to remove spots and stains from your utensils and cutlery. Rinse and dry well.

To clean large appliances, like refrigerators or counter tops try using glass cleaner or a mild spray and wipe cleaner.

To remove labels from new stainless steel appliances soak the item in warm water; or lay a soapy wet cloth over the label, let it soak then rub it off with the cloth.
To remove grease from your cookware or appliances, clean using a mixture of Watkins degreaser and warm water.

Here are some tips to avoid damaging to your stainless steel items:

  • Don’t use steel wool or abrasives to clean them.
  • Don’t leave stainless steel cookware on extremely high heat as this will cause discoloration.
  • Do rinse off acid or salty foods if the item is not going to be washed immediately.

There are many special stainless steel cleaning products available on the market today, but your regular cleaning supplies will work just as well with out any added expense. A little tender loving care will ensure all of your stainless steel appliances, cookware and peripherals continue to sparkle for years to come.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and the usual candy, flowers and cards can be so expensive these days. Wouldn’t you rather make homemade valentines? If so, here is how easy it is to make homemade valentines and save some money too.If you have a computer, (if you are reading this you probably do) you can make homemade valentines cards. Use Photoshop or some other card-making software, it is not only fun, but easy too and you can make loads of valentine cards in no time.

How about making a valentine wreath for your door? It’s easy, use red fabric of different textures to make heart shapes. Then stuff them with plastic grocery bags to give them fullness. You can make several hearts and sew them together to form a larger heart which you can then add to a round piece of wire.

How about a valentine’s basket? Fill the basket with homemade heart shaped cookies, your loved one’s favorite or some decorated with red icing. Here’s a quick and easy recipe:

Vanilla Wafers

Watkins Cooking Spray
1 tbsp/15 mL all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/125 mL sugar
1/4 cup/60 mL cornstarch
2 tbsp/30 mL butter, melted
1 egg
2 tsp/10 mL Watkins Original Double-Strength Vanilla or Vanilla Nut Extract
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL Watkins Butter Extract
3/4 cup/180 mL all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp/2.5 mL Watkins Baking Powder
1/8 tsp/0.6 mL salt

Cooking Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Spray two large baking sheets with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp/15 mL flour; set aside. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, margarine and extracts; mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls 2 side by side, using spoon to shape into a heart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans and let cool on wire rack. Decorate as desired.

Makes 3 dozen, 30 calories each 2 per serving.

Or use your baking skills to prepare a homemade valentine cake, you can even shape it into a heart. Surprise your family with a wonderful after dinner treat!

You can make a valentine heart for your loved ones with some red construction paper, glue; and sparkles. Write your heartfelt sentiment on it and hang it so that your spouse can see it as soon as they walk in the door. Cut out heart shaped cards and write notes of love on each one! Give them to everyone who is special to you.

It doesn’t need to take much time or money to make homemade valentines. Just a little imagination and a few items you have around the house can really make a splash without having to spend a fortune. Remember, it’s the thought that counts!

Many hands make light work so it’s never too early to teach your kids to help you with chores around the house. Children can even start as early as two years old. While children mature at different rates, you can easily determine what age appropriate chores are best suited for toddlers, kids, pre-teens and teens. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Toddlers can help by:

  • making their bed
  • picking up their toys
  • feeding the family pet
  • straightening up shoes
  • putting dirty laundry into the basket
  • cleaning up spills on the kitchen floor

    Even at this young age most two and three year olds can manage these chores. Teach your toddlers to do their chores by making a fun game out of it or improvising different ways in which they can help.
    Four and five year olds can also:

    • set the table
    • dust around the house
    • help bake cookies
    • carry grocery bags (as long as they’re light)

    Six and eight year old’s can add:

    • vacuum the floor
    • take out the trash
    • fold the laundry

    They can also help you prepare meals with lots of supervision. Think of the experience you are giving your children at this early age.

    Pre-teens can do even more. Some of the more vigorous chores can be relegated to outside work:

    • rake the leaves
    • wash the car
    • help clean out the garage

    If you need help inside the house, they can certainly help:

    • prepare meals
    • dusting and vacuuming the house
    • wash dishes
    • clean the bathroom

    They are old enough to make their own beds, tidy their bedroom of debris, organize their toys, and put their own laundry away.

    Teens can do almost any chore that you can do, however they pose a different problem altogether. Sometimes they are willing to help, and other times they’re not. It may depend on how you’ve raised them. If they’ve been doing chores since they were two, you won’t have a problem. They have the ability to prepare meals, clean the kitchen, wash windows, and do the laundry. Just about any indoor and outdoor chore that needs doing! Give your teen responsabilites, you don’t want them to feel like a baby, now do you?

    Doing chores will give your kids a great sense of pride and accomplishment, no matter what their age. The added benefit is that when everyone pitches in and works together you’ll have more time to spend doing fun stuff with your kids.