Life Hacks?

Have you seen those “Life Hacks” on pinterest? They give you weird and interesting advice that may or may not work.

Some of them are useful, but many seem to me to be COMPLETELY made up.

Here are some examples of the ones I suspect are fabricated:

Stand out and use blue ink hack

1000 Life Hacks. Doubt it, but pinning it anyways :)

Life Hack #266

Um… exactly how am I supposed to test these? And do I really care?

Here’s one that I actually did test:

pinterest1

 

The hardest step on this one was finding a vending machine with numbers you could actually press. But I did try it.

Did it work? No.

Did I look like an idiot pressing random numbers while the machine flashed INSERT COIN INSERT COIN INSERT COIN at me? Oh yes indeed.

But I proved that Life Hack was made up!!

Now, I just have to remember to start playing Tetris after my next traumatic event…

I Want Oscars Hair!

No. I don’t mean Oscar’s hair.

oscar

I mean Oscars hair.

oscar2

You get it? I’ve been reading the People Magazine “Awards Season Special.” Also I’ve been looking at hair tips on pinterest.

hairpin

So I decided to try to make a version of this with my own hair.

Unfortunately I suffered from a lack of a hairstylist team. So my results were not quite red-carpet worthy.

hairpin2

Also I doubt that stars prepping for the Oscars have kids yelling “I want Beefaroni!” or “She licked me!” while they are trying to beautify themselves.

Wrap Away Inches Overnight?

DIY Body Wrap... lose up to 1-2 inches a night??
Today I’m bringing you a wallet-friendly version of body wraps. I’ve been seeing these around the internet lately and mentioned them to a friend. She’s from Mexico and said she’s been doing those for years, just not the commercialized type. I tried it one night and lost .5 inches on my gut overnight!
Here’s her “secret recipe” for DIY Body Wrapping. You only need 3 things: Lotion, Plastic Wrap, and Ace Bandage

I saw this tip on pinterest and I figured I should try it.

After all, I didn’t embarrass myself enough with my shaving post (remember how I let my leg hair grow into a full crop?!), so  it seemed like a great idea to try some more internet self-humiliation.

First I measured my waist for a baseline number. It measured XX inches.

(The above number has been censored, for your own protection. Because if you read the actual number of inches it takes to go around my not-so-svelte waist, I’d have to kill you. Or myself. One or the other.)

Then I gathered my supplies:

bodywrap1

  • Moisturizer (Natural is best; something from the sea –like kelp or mud– is suggested, but you can use plain lotion.)
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Ace Bandage

Here are the instructions, from iheartnaptime:

Step 1 – Apply a thick layer of lotion to the area you want to target. {Don’t rub it in completely!} You can do it on your stomach, your thighs, your upper arms, wherever your “trouble spots” are.

Step 2 – Wrap the ENTIRE area with your plastic wrap. I went all the way around my mid-section several times. Make it snug but not tight; you do have to wear it ALL night long.

Step 3 – Now wrap the area with a long bandage of some kind, anything that will keep your wrap in place. Be sure to cover the plastic completely. Secure it well and you’re ready to hit the sack!

bodywrap2

Here I am, looking completely ridiculous, right before going to bed, making a crinkling noise with every step.

I crack myself up.

I got into bed in the dark, rustling loudly like a candy wrapper in the movie theater. I said to my husband, “I’m doing something strange for my blog.”

“Oh yeah?” he said sleepily.  “Let me guess… You smeared yourself in oil, and then wrapped up in Saran wrap and Ace bandage.”

I was dumbfounded. “What? You could tell that from the sound in the dark?” I asked, impressed.

“No,” he said. “I saw your weird supply stash in the bathroom.” Then he went to sleep.

It was a little tougher for me to fall asleep, being trussed up like leftovers from Thanksgiving. Also I was sweating.

But this was actually the point. I’ll quote, “The idea behind the wrap is to help your body release water that’s retained due to weather, food consumption; even Mother Nature’s visits. The combination of lotion and plastic helps sweat it out of you.” (That’s from my friend at iheartnaptime again.)

Okay, so the next morning I unwrapped myself, with difficulty, as the whole thing had bunched up quite a bit. then I measured my waist again, and it was XX inches!!

(Whoops! Censored again! You thought I’d slipped up, didn’t you? I’m crazy, but I’m not THAT crazy.)

Let’s do the math on this: XX inches minus XX inches equals…2.

WOW!! I lost two inches of sweat!

That’s kind of gross. But still… I’m amazed that it worked!

Well… It SORT OF worked. That evening I measured again, and 1 1/2 of the two inches had returned.

I couldn’t even keep them off for 24 hours!!

Macaroni and Cheese

macncheese

I saw a new way to make mac and cheese on pinterest.

The difference is: You cook the noodles in the milk instead of water. 

I know, right? CRAZY. But it was really good.

It was super creamy, but did not use any butter or cream. There was only skim milk and cheddar cheese.

Now, I haven’t done the calorie math on this, but it’s got to be healthier than regular mac and cheese. (Especially when paired with frozen broccoli, as above. Bravo to me! Ha ha.)

The only drawback was that it required more standing and stirring than I usually prefer. (I’m lazy like that.) In my experience, it took longer than the 25 minutes on low for the milk to thicken; I think it was more like 35 minutes.

Still, this was some good pasta.

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese
Source: Cate’s World Kitchen  adapted from White on Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried pasta
  • 2 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup loosely packed cheddar cheese, shredded by hand
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dijon mustard, can omit and substitute nutmeg instead
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

In a small saucepan, add pasta and milk.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until pasta is soft, stirring frequently and ensuring milk does not boil.

Turn heat off, add cheese & salt & and stir to combine.  Stir in the mustard or nutmeg & cayenne a little at a time, to taste. Cover and let stand for a couple of minutes, then stir again and serve. If not creamy enough, add milk a little at a time, and gently stir.

If you would like to bake it at this point, place in a baking dish and top with a generous sprinkling of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes until cheese has melted.

Cleaning the microwave

My friend sent me a pin about cleaning the microwave.

Easy way to clean your microwave - heat a bowl of water and vinegar for 5 minutes, the steam will dissolve stuck on stains. Simply wipe off.  Genius!!!!
Easy way to clean your microwave – heat a bowl of water and vinegar for 5 minutes, the steam will dissolve stuck on stains. Simply wipe off. Genius!!!!

Now I’ll admit that my microwave isn’t the cleanest on earth, so I tried this.

microwave

It worked pretty well, although it made the kitchen smell too vinegar-y. I think plain water would have been just as good.

Now that it’s clean I need to post a sign that says, 

“Put a paper towel on your Beefaroni, kids….

…and for the love of all that is good, PUT A PLATE UNDER YOUR HOT POCKET!!!”

The Scentsy Switch

I saw this tip on pinterest for switching scents in a melted-wax “Scentsy” warmer.

Place a cotton ball in your melted wax and watch it absorb before your eyes, after it's absorbed throw it away. Easy way to switch scents.
Place a cotton ball in your melted wax and watch it absorb before your eyes, after it’s absorbed throw it away. Easy way to switch scents.

I have two of these plug-in warmers in my house and they make it smell GREAT! The only “problem” is, you have to change out the scent every few days to keep it fresh. (I alternate upstairs and downstairs.)

Normally, what I do is switch off the warmer so that the wax hardens, and then gouge it out with the back of a (no-eraser) pencil.

scentsy4

It usually comes out pretty cleanly. 

But I thought this cotton-ball tip was worth a try.

scentsy1

First of all, one cotton ball wasn’t enough.

scentsy2

And then the challenge was to get the cotton ballS unstuck from my fingers and into the trash.

scentsy3

My fingertips still feel a little gucky.

Still, though, I guess this tip would work well enough if you didn’t want to wait for the wax to harden.

Probably it would be best with a GIANT cotton ball.

Detangling Doll Hair

I saw this on pinterest about detangling your dolls’ hair with fabric softener, so I thought I’d try it.

How to untangle doll hair....Izzy's Rapunzel is in need of a DO :)!

doll1

After all, with four daughters in the house, ranging in age from 17 to 5, we have some nasty-haired dollies around here.

<< I chose these two dolls to receive the honors.

There were a few different methods mentioned of using the fabric softener, all requiring a solution of half Downy/half water. I could dunk the doll’s head, spray the doll’s hair, or dip a comb in the solution. 

The problem was, there was not ONE of these ideas that didn’t require me to spend a bunch of time working tangles out of a doll’s hair with a plastic comb.

doll4

Not exactly something I want to spend a TON of time on, you know?

I got started with the easier doll, the brunette Barbie. I think she’s “Teresa”?

I dipped the comb in the Downy water and combed her hair. It was boring. I lost interest halfway through and the extremely FRESH!!! scent of the fabric softener started to make me feel sick. Still, she didn’t come out looking too bad.

Then I pulled Jasmine out of her Downy dunk.

doll2

Does she look like she’s enjoying a spa day, or being drowned? I’m not sure…

Her hair still looked AWFUL. I mean, this doll has one giant dreadlock on the back of her head. The only difference now was that her hair was dripping blue FRESHNESS!!! all over the place. Ugh.

doll3

I halfheartedly combed the edges of Jasmine’s hair.

She stared at me drunkenly. Or maybe it was the Downy FRESH!!! fumes. 

Then I gave up. I have better things to do here. 

Like, I don’t know…ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING!

Hair Tutorials

Some of the “hair tutorials” on pinterest are pretty complicated.

Classic Updo Hair Tutorial
longhairstleshowto.com

I tried this one Sunday morning.

One thing I noticed right away: There’s a reason I’m not a model.

That blonde above manages to look pretty good even with hair in her face.

hair2

Me…not so much.

Still, although the instructions were complicated, I was able to follow them. Mostly.

hair3

Here I am at the halfway point.

Here is the final result.

photo (1)

My husband took this is the Japanese garden at our church. He was very proud of his composition, so I am respectfully not cropping the image. 

Even though I was thinking, Didn’t you realize the photo was supposed to be of my HAIR, not the BUSHES?!

He did say this was my best side, though. Should I be flattered?

Getting More Space Out of a Flat Rate Envelope

Can you turn a flat rate envelope into a pouch to increase the capacity? It holds more than a small flat rate box ($5.80) and about as much as a medium ($12.35) for only $5.60. So worth it! I do this all the time! Just fold the bottom both ways, and flatten it out from the inside, folding the corners and taping them up into a rectangular bottom. Secure with lots of tape. Happy shipping!
image from pinterest.com

I saw this tip on pinterest. Here in Hawaii we use a lot of flat rate mailing boxes (regular packages take three weeks by boat), so any ideas to get more use out of these things is appreciated.

But..WILL IT WORK?

My oldest daughter just went back to the mainland after Christmas and she (of course) left a few things that she wants back IMMEDIATELY.

I tried to stuff the three things (one shirt and two computer games) into a small flat rate box.

photo 2

No dice.

So I pulled up the photo on top from pinterest and made a pouch.

photo 3

The instructions (by which I mean the pictured steps–there was no link to this image) were not too difficult, and everything fit in pretty well.

photo 4

The real question is: Will the post office accept this weird lumpy thing?

photo 5

I’m going to find out tomorrow… STAY TUNED!!!

UPDATE: 7 January 2014

SUCCESS!!! The post office clerk accepted the pouch without question!

After I waited in line for half an hour.

That Bucket-Filling Tip

I keep seeing this tip on pinterest for filling big buckets.

:)

I finally decided to try it. Here;s the setup.

Photo_B0BA45E3-C752-86AF-42A9-3A5F389B8CF9

The first problem I noticed is that my dustpan has a hole in the handle (for hanging it up).

In fact, I believe every dustpan I’ve ever seen has a hole in the handle. 

Anyways, I switched on the water to try it.

Photo_AF152726-88B9-093C-91CA-05F09CB24D26

It turned out the water just filled the dustpan and flowed backwards onto the back of the sink instead of out through the handle. This is due to the fact that my sink is not sloped downwards.

I’ll bet no one else’s sink is sloped downwards is either. Because the point of a sink is to HOLD WATER IN, not dump it on the floor.

So I tried to figure out how to prop the dustpan up so that IT would slope downwards.

I jammed a plastic cup under the dustpan and tried turning on the water again.

Surprise! This actually worked.

Photo_D0840D7B-644E-3D5C-3EAB-BCB985CCAF15

So the verdict is: This tip works, with some minor modification, but I think it’s more effort than really necessary.