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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


My child is a peanut butter and jelly freak. And while he has a fairly sophisticated palate for a 5 year old, he would, if I’d allow, eat pb&j morning, noon, and night. I regularly pack peanut butter and jelly in his lunch. I rationalize the nutrition – whole grain bread, natural peanut butter, homemade jelly by me, and Horizon organic milk box. Not too bad, right?

But he has this awful habit of wiping his face on his shirt sleeve. We’re working on perfecting our table manners, but this one seems especially difficult to break. So I have perfected the removal of the peanut butter stain. Here’s my method:

• Carefully scrape the excess off the sleeve

• Pre-treat with a stain remover and let it soak in for a few minutes

• Then pre-treat with dishwashing liquid and let that soak in as well

• Wash in the hottest water safe for the garment

• Never put it in the dryer – always air dry

And thank goodness I have. His nicer clothes were becoming play clothes, leaving not much to choose from for school. There was a period of time when I was considering sending him without a shirt. Perhaps then he’d learn to use a napkin.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Strawberry Jam

I am certain that I’ve mentioned before that I am a big foodie. But I’m not sure that I confessed that I am really a food snob. There are so many things I’m not brand loyal on until it comes to food. Then there are the foods that I refuse to buy in the store – I insist on only eating homemade. One such item would be jelly.

I have been blessed with a mom that’s incredibly industrious in the kitchen. She has taught me so many things – things that I believe are a dying art – like making bread from scratch, canning, and making jelly. And while she is incredibly industrious in the kitchen, she is also incredibly messy in the kitchen.

We’re in strawberry season, and that means I’ll be heading to my parents house to make strawberry jam. Since I got strawberry stains on me the last time we did this, I am certain I will again. And given the popularity of strawberries this time of year, I am certain I will not be the only person. Here are some removal tips for clothing:

• Don’t wait too long. The sooner you attack any stain, the more likely you’ll be able to remove it.
• Rinse the stain with cool water
• Soak the garment in a mixture of cold water, white vinegar and liquid laundry detergent. Try 1 T. vinegar and ½ t. detergent for every quart of water.
• Rinse after soaking.
• Launder with a color-safe bleach and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
• Always examine the garment before placing in the dryer. If the stain is still there, try again.
• Never throw a stained garment in the dryer as the heat will cause the stain to set.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Local Lightning Strike

Its here – thunderstorm season. And though it is early in the season, it seems like we’ve already had our fair share for this year. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, the odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 280,000. But did you know that the odds of your home being struck by lightning are 1 in 200?

I was surprised by that number. But in March there was a story (http://myfox8.com/2012/03/21/lightning-catches-house-on-fire-no-injuries/) on Fox 8 about a couple in High Point whose home was struck by lightning. In the story, Kay Brown described hearing a boom around 7 p.m. She went to investigate and found that the back of her house was on fire. Both Mrs. Brown and her husband, Robert, were surprised it happened to them. Mr. Brown wasn’t home at the time, and thankfully Mrs. Brown and the family pet made it out safely.

The story went on to explain that they were able to salvage some things and their home will need ample repairs. And while many of us have sentimental things, things can be replaced. The most important thing during a storm is to protect yourself and your family.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe during a lightning storm:

Seek safe shelter – a place that is fully enclosed with a roof, walls, and a floor. Avoid seeking shelter in things like carports, covered patios, metal buildings, etc. Second, stay off of landline phones, computers, and any other electrical equipment. Also stay away from all plumbing outlets. Cell phones are safe to use should you need to call 911.

If you don’t have access to a safe shelter, hard topped automobiles are an option. Avoid touching any part of the metal frame or wired device in the vehicle. Things like golf carts and convertibles don’t provide adequate shelter.

The Nation Weather Service has more detailed information about lightning safety on their website. Go to http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm for more information.

If your home receives damage, feel free to call our company expert Chuck Brammer at 336-992-0700. He’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gross Habit

About a year and a half ago, my husband adjusted his hours, going in earlier and staying later, so that he could start running at lunch. He went to lots of trouble to get just the right gym bag. Then he gave me a list of items he needed so that he could keep his bag stocked at all times.

Here’s his routine on a day he’s going to the gym at lunch. He gets his gym bag – now typically he leaves it in the trunk of the car though lately he’s been throwing it into the laundry room as he walks in the back door – pulls the dirty clothes from the side pocket from his prior visit and places clean clothes in the main part of the bag.

Now my husband does lots of things that irritate, but this habit just grosses me out. Here’s why: wet gear that’s left in a gym bag can begin breeding bacteria within hours. The odor from bacteria can be a rather intense smell. But besides the odor, sweat is mostly salt and if left on fabric can stain it and eventually corrode it.

I’d like to say that I have a solution, but I don’t. So I continue on – being grossed out by the habit, using my finger tips when I pick through those items before washing, and scrubbing my hands immediately afterwards. If anyone has a suggestion to my latest laundry dilemma, I welcome it eagerly!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Add an Extra Rinse

“Don’t forget the extra rinse,” my mom called down the stairs to me. She reminds me of this every time I help with the laundry while visiting and for good reason. A number of years ago, my dad developed a rash (don’t worry, I asked if I could share this) around his waistline. The diagnosis from the family physician was too much laundry detergent.

Before writing this blog, I took a look at a number of articles on this topic. Most said something like the dyes, chemicals, and perfumes in detergent, if not completely rinsed out, can cause skin irritation. I became curious about what was exactly in the product I like to use so I pulled up the MSDS. Some of the ingredients include Ethanol, Ethanolamine, and Anionic and Nonionic Surfactants. Under signs and symptoms of exposure for skin it said prolonged contact with concentrated material may be drying or transiently irritating to skin. My dad has really sensitive skin so it makes sense that his clothes with soap residue remaining rubbing against his skin day after day would cause irritation. Based what I read, it’s a fairly common problem.

Here are three simple things you can do to ensure there is no detergent residue left in your clothes. First, use less detergent. Experiment with the amount to see how little you can use and still get your clothes clean. Second, add an extra rinse. Finally, add vinegar to the final rinse as it helps remove any excess residue.

Let us know if you’ve experienced this problem and if you have any tips to share!
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