November 2012 - Posts - Dollar Stretcher Guest Blogger
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November 2012 - Posts

  • Cleaning Up Your Dining Room for Thanksgiving

    by Kemi

    With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you want to make sure that the place where everyone will gather, the dining room, is in shiny order, looking the best it can.

    The Dining Table

    This is the most important piece of furniture in your dining room. It has seen many meals, lots of love, and could probably use a bit of sprucing up.

    Start by removing any white rings caused by heat, water, or the like. You can use a cheap household ingredient for this.  Grab some salt and sprinkle a little on the rings. Use a soft cloth with a dab of olive oil on it and gently rub the ring. Polish it up with a dry cloth.

    Next wipe down your table legs. Most people don't pay attention to the amount of food that can get splattered here, especially if you have children. Keep your table finish in mind when cleaning this part of your table. A dampened cloth is good. Be sure to dry after you have wiped up any spills and polish up if needed.

    The Dining Chairs

    Do your young children eat at the dining table each night? Your dining chairs may need a good cleaning too. Wipe them down with a damp cloth being sure to pay extra attention to those sticky spots. And then polish them if needed.

    If you use chair pads or have padded chairs please take the time to clean them. If you can't throw them in the washing machine, spot clean them or use a carpet cleaner with a spot cleaning attachment. Soiled padded chairs are very unsightly.

    The Walls and Windows

    • Always start at the top. Use your duster to remove any cobwebs along the ceilings, especially at the windows. Your vacuum with the extension hose can tackle this also.

    • Next you'll want to clean your windows and any window treatments. If you have blinds, there are few ways you can clean them depending upon how dirty they are. I have found the easiest way for metal blinds is either to take them down and wash them in the shower. Another way is to wet a cleaning cloth in all purpose solution and and go over the blinds slat by slat. This is a bit more time consuming.

    • If you have washable curtains, take them down and see to that or give them a good vacuuming.

    • Next you'll want to clean the windows themselves. Did you know that it's best to clean windows on an overcast day so you won't get streaks? Fall is a great time for overcast days.

    • Wipe down the window sills themselves and vacuum up the grooves and corners of your windows.

    • If you want to be very thorough, you can give your dining room walls and/or the baseboards a wipe down. The dining room could probably use this, and if you want to put your best foot forward, try at least for the baseboards.

    The Floor

    If you have the disfortune to have carpet in your dining room, shampoo it or spot clean it. Better yet, spot clean it and then shampoo it if it's in your budget or you own a carpet cleaner.

    For your wood flooring, vaccum or sweep/dust it well and use a reccomended wood floor cleaner to shine it up.

    You' re done! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Kemi is a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling mom of one who has run Homemaking Organized since 2006. She blogs about her own homelife at the HMO blog and writes about homemaking of the past at Vintage Homemaking

  • Using Up Halloween Candy

    by Loralee Leavitt

    When Halloween rolls around, so does the candy. If your children get a candy overload, what do you do with it all? Here are some ideas that might save you money and save your children’s teeth at the same time.


    Candy lends itself well to science and exploration.  Let your children cut the candy apart with table knives to see what’s inside. Dissolve different kinds of candy in water and discover what sinks or floats, or put the candy on a foil-lined cookie sheet and melt it in the oven to see what happens. You can find more experiments at www.candyexperiments.com/.


    Candy’s beautiful colors and shapes make it perfect for art projects. Let your children glue it to posterboard or cardboard to make candy mosaics. Use tacky glue or hot glue instead of Elmer’s, and make sure you’re not using sticky candy, because the artwork will get even stickier as it sits out on display. Or save your candy to decorate holiday gingerbread houses (you can make an inexpensive “gingerbread house” by melting sugar and using it to glue graham crackers together.)


    If you’re baking holiday cookies, raid the candy stash. Replace chocolate chips with M&M’s or chopped-up chocolate bars.  You can also melt chocolate bars to use where melted chocolate is called for, such as in chocolate frosting or chocolate pie. Save the clear, hard candy for stained glass cookies.

    Candy Buybacks

    With the Halloween Candy Buyback, dentists and orthodontists “buy” children’s candy and send it to support the troops.  Check www.halloweencandybuyback.com/ to see if there’s a participating dentist in your area. (If you find one, be sure to call ahead of time to make sure the office is still participating.) 

    Otherwise, you might offer to buy the candy back yourself. You’ll spare your children’s teeth, and you can pull the candy out again for stuffing stockings or parties.

    Collect for Lunches

    My mother used to add a piece of Halloween candy to our lunch bags every day, which stretched the candy out for months. If your children don’t brush their teeth at school, avoid sticky candy. Candy like taffy or jelly beans can get stuck in crevices in your children’s teeth, contributing to cavity formation. Chocolate doesn’t stick to teeth, so that might be a better choice for a school lunch.

    Donate it

    Local food banks often accept Halloween candy, and you’ll get a tax deduction for your contribution. To teach your children a lesson about nutrition, invite them to help you choose some healthy foods to donate as well.

    Don’t let Halloween candy scare you away from Halloween. Whether you turn your candy into experiments, art, holiday cookies, or tax deductions, you’ll never need to worry about excess Halloween candy again!

    Loralee Leavitt destroys candy for the sake of science at www.candyexperiments.com/. Her book, Candy Experiments, will be released in January 2013.

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