Five Grocery Tips and Tricks

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I almost got our main newsletter ready for you. It will be out Thursday:)

Today I have a quick read for you with 5 tips & tricks to help you
with your food items.

1. If you’re unsure of an egg’s freshness, see how it behaves in a
cup of water: Fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.

2. Line the bottom of your refrigerator’s crisper drawer with paper
towels. They’ll absorb the excess moisture that causes vegetables
to rot.

3.Stop cheese from drying out by spreading butter or margarine on
the cut sides to seal in moisture. This is most effective with hard
cheeses sealed in wax.

4.Stock up on butter when it’s on sale – you can store it in the
freezer for up to six months. Pack the butter in an airtight
container, so it doesn’t take on the flavor of whatever else you’re

5. Save both time and money by doing ‘once a month cooking’.

You can get more details about how to do ‘once a month cooking’

**over 70 mom-tested once a month cooking recipes
**step-by-step instructions
**lots of great forms to help you!


Yours Truly,

Adriana Lima

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Red Wine and Lipstick Stains

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(By Veronica Bettencourt)

Got some stains you need to remove on your clothes? Maybe you even have some items with stains on them stashed away somewhere in a “I will deal with it later” place but you never get to it. Well today, our panel expert, Veronica Bettencourt shares with us how to deal with two common stains: getting rid of red wine stains and lipstick stains.


Getting Rid of Red Wine Stains

Like most people, you may have had the experience of having a red or rose wine spill on your rug, clothes, or table covers. This is not good because leaving it on the fabric for too long results in a stain that can be hard to remove. Here is an easy red wine stain removal method that works.

First thing you need to do is blot the spot right away (make sure not to press into it) with a napkin, paper towel, or a dry white cloth and try to take out as much of the wine as possible.

If the stain is on your carpet, mix one teaspoon of natural dish soap (Dawn is a good brand to use) with a cup of hydrogen peroxide and pour it over the stained part and leave it to soak for a few minutes. Then watch the red wine fade away. After, you can rinse any residue with water, blot with a dry cloth or paper towel, and put some salt on the spot (salt helps remove moisture). Allow to dry few hours or all night and then vacuum the spot.

Red wine stain removal methods on fabric such as your clothing or tablecloth are a little different. First, run cold water through the back side of the stain. Some people say that pouring white wine over the stain will help remove it. I have never tried this one myself, though, but it seems a bit odd to me that a solution to red wine stain removal would be to add more wine. Of course, you can try it, then let me know if it works.

Still, if running water through the opposite end of the stain does not help remove it, then do the following: Combine 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and a little bit of dish soap in a spray bottle and apply the solution on the area. It is better that you wash your clothes immediately, so that the peroxide doesn’t have time to settle and bleach your clothing.

You can use this method of red wine stain removal on coffee and tea stains as well.


Getting Rid of Lipstick Stains

Most of the time we notice stains from lipstick a little too late, which makes it difficult to remove. The key to effective lipstick stain removal is discovering the stain as early as possible so it does not set and seep deeper into the fabric. As soon as you see the stain, make sure you use the following lipstick stain removal techniques:

First, try to take out as much of the stain by blotting it with a piece of terry cloth or tissue. Avoid rubbing because this will make the stain permeate into the fabric or make the stain larger. You’ll get most of the surface stains out this way but there will still be some stain left on the fabric.

To remove this, use a dishwashing detergent that’s meant to take off grease. Lipstick is an oil-based product and therefore, needs a stain removal solution that fights off oil or grease.

Start by moistening the stained fabric and put a little detergent on the stain. Removal of the it should be done after letting the fabric soak in the detergent for 10 minutes, and with a washcloth and by using a circular motion, work on the stain starting from the edges going towards the center of the stain.

Using alcohol is another easy and widely used lipstick stain removal method. We all have this in our homes and might even keep one in our purses, which is great for emergency stain removals when you’re not in the house.

Pour alcohol onto a clean terry cloth (not white) or cotton swab and then dab it on the lipstick stain until it is soaked in alcohol.

Apply cold water on the stain and rub in a circular motion starting from the edges, working inwards. Then, rinse thoroughly and do the steps over again until the stain is completely removed.

Last, you can also give this effective yet little-known remedy for removing lipstick stain a try – ammonia. To apply, wet a piece of cloth or cotton swab with ammonia.

Gently dab it on the stain in a circular motion starting from the edge of the stain going towards the center. To round-up the stain removal process, wash the fabric by hand in warm soapy water until the stain is totally removed.

You can also try non-conventional ways of removing a stain from lipstick. This technique involves the use of a hairspray. Start by spraying on the stain and let it stand for a few minutes. Wipe the stain with a wet washcloth and watch the stain fade away! If some stain is still remain, repeat the process and end by washing with soapy water.

It is really easy. Lipstick stain removal is a process that takes less effort once you know what to do and what you need to complete the task. A little scrubbing and a couple of ingredients from your medicine cabinet or pantry is all you need to save a dress or shirt from being ruined.

Your Thoughts?
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Focus On The Important Things On Your To-Do List

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Focus on the Important Things on Your List

(By Alicia Rockmore)

Whether you keep a running tally in your head, scratch out ideas on bits of paper, or itemize tasks in a notebook, we all wrestle with our to-do lists. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with interruptions, yet we are always reminded of what we could be or should be doing. The mantra these days seems to be about balance, but inevitably that goes out the window since one area of your life is likely to be topsy turvy one week and calmer the next. The dog needs surgery, the kids get sick, the bathroom pipes leaked into the dining room. It’s called life, and it’s always throwing you for a loop. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the “coulda,” “woulda,” and “shoulda,” but with a few ideas, it’s not that hard to tame this beast.

Sarah on “keeping your sights set on the big picture”

“You know those Russian wooden dolls that you open, only to find smaller versions inside? Well, that’s kind of how I approach tackling my to-do list – in many different layers. Each January, I create a “big picture” master list, which details my professional and personal goals for the year. Then, each week, typically on Sunday evening, I hold what I like to call a “mini strategy session” for myself. First, I grab my one sheet with my annual goals and I remind myself of the big picture. Then I look at my laundry list of to-do’s that I jot down as they occur to me in a big spiral notebook and identify the four to six things on that list that I absolutely, positively must do that week to move the needle on my big picture goals. I then actually go into my calendar and schedule specific key tasks into my calendar for the week. That way I won’t get sidetracked by a phone call or email, because when it’s an “appointment,” I turn off distractions so I can focus.”

Alicia on “keeping all the balls in the air”

“At any given time, I have three or four different notepads with varying to-do lists. I keep a running list in no particular order on those pads of everything I need to do at home, at work, and for me personally. Lately I’ve added a fourth to keep track of all the things I need to stay on top of for my ailing mother. The purpose of the master list is to make sure that as soon as a to-do task pops in my head I can transfer it to a place that it won’t get “lost” or forgotten. Then, on a day-to-day basis I work from a much shorter list. Each morning I grab all of my big pads, review everything on all of the lists, and then jot down my absolute priorities on my Buttoned Up NothingElse.pad. This allows me to focus my attention on the most important tasks from each area of my life that must get done that day. While some experts say to start with the hardest or least fun, I prefer to begin with something I am good at and enjoy. I usually get the ball rolling by jumping on sales calls. While some might put this at the bottom of their list, I love making that personal connection.”

Here are a few more ways to tackle your to do list.

1. Know What Really Matters to You.

Use the 80/20 rule and separate out what you have to do from just ordinary to-do’s. It so is easy to confuse urgency with importance. Putting out fires can take a lot of time and energy and distract you from your end goals. If you don’t see a task coordinating with your larger goals, put it aside and focus on the things that will get you where you want to be.

2. Make A Reasonable List.

Anyone can put together a list with a zillion bullets, but don’t put together a daily to do list that sets you up for failure. Limit yourself to no more than 10 items per day. Even if you have 30 things to do, figure out which 20 can wait until next week, next month, or even next year, and tackle the 10 that are most important right now.

3. Schedule Your Time & Turn Off.

Make yourself accountable for getting your tasks completed by scheduling them into your calendar. If you block out time to accomplish certain tasks, you’re more likely to get them done. Then, turn off and tune out. Nobody can get something done with interruptions from the phone, email, Tweets, etc.

4. Pat Yourself on the Back.

Reward yourself with a tally of completed tasks from the previous week. Before you start your list for the coming week, try making a list of things you did, big or small, that make you feel proud last week. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing things completed. It motivates you to keep going.

Buttoned Up is dedicated to helping stretched & stressed women get organized. Co-founders Alicia Rockmore & Sarah Welch team up with a group of Gurus to give you tips & products for all your messy, stressed needs & introduce “imperfect organization.” Visit to see which Guru matches your style & get info on Everyday Life, Life Essentials & Life Events



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The Girl Who Hated Books Review

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As a teacher and lover of books, I  am always on the lookout for books that are both enjoyable and teach some kind of important lesson for children. I have a book on my shelf that is called, “The Girl Who Hated Books” by Manjusha Pawagi and Illustrator Leanne Franson. Today I share what exactly happens in the story, my review and what what others say about the book, and finally a task that could be done after reading the book.

What Happens In The Story?

This is a story about a young girl named Meena who lived in a home full of books; and I mean books everywhere! Her parents loved reading and tried to read out loud to Meena but she just says that she hates books!

One day she tries to rescue her cat who is stuck way up high on a stack of books. She falls and all the books that were once covered in dust all come falling down with the pages opening and a whole lot of people and animals fall out of the pages. Characters like Humpty Dumpty, the 3 Little Pigs, Mother Goose, and plenty others were all over the house making a lot of noise and wreaking the house. Meena wants them to go back in the books but doesn’t know what character belongs to what book to put them back and neither did the characters. Meena had no choice but to read the books to find out. All the people and animals gather around to listen to her to read and find out where they belong. She ended up reading all her books and the creatures found out where they belonged.

Meena ended up sad when all the characters were back in the books, feeling like she was all alone and would never see them again. She soon realizes by looking around her with all the books she had, she could always be the characters whenever she wanted. In the end, mom and dad come home to discover Meena reading and enjoying a book.

My Review

This story is a really cute imaginative way to bring books and the love of reading alive. While many kids like to read there are also many others that don`t like reading. “The Girl Who Hated Books” serves as a great bedtime story for kids or better yet a good book to read before the kids go off to reading their own books as a way to get them excited about reading whatever book they are going to read.

I think this book should be on every parent`s bookshelf at home. Although children are essentially imaginative in themselves, with books this often poses a challenge. Manjusha finds a way to beautifully bridge imagination and books, making this story inspirational and a pleasure to read.

Here is what Stef, who also reviewed the book at giving it a 5 star rating had to say:

“This is a delightful book about a girl who thought she didn’t like books. My students think they can relate, but as we near the end, they realize that just like the little girl, they too would miss the amazing journeys they take when reading”.

How You Can Teach With This Story

This story is a great read for kids between kindergarten and Grade 6. For kids in kindergarten to Grade 3,  you could read the story out loud and stimulate the children`s ability to make predictions while they read. Making predictions while reading is an important reading strategy for children to develop to guide them in their understanding. While reading, pause at certain points in the book such as when Meena finds Max stacked high on a pile of books. Ask, “what do you think will happen next?”

For older children such as kids in Grades 3-6 you can use this story as a prelude to their own reading. After reading the story out loud, have the kids read their own book of choice (just right for their level) and have them read for 15-30 minutes. Once they have stopped, have them write a reading response to answer the question, “If you could be any character in the story ( or chapter just read), who would you be and why? Answering the “why” is more important then answering the “who” since it allows the child to think more critically to justify their choice. This excerise is great because they are both practicing critical thinking skills in reading along with their writing skills.

Final Thoughts

If you have children or work with children, I highly suggest you get your hands on this fun story to help stimulate reading. Far too many children are ignoring the books and taking on the video games and other electronic devices. Books are a wonderful way to feed the imagination and allow for opportunities to think critically, an essential component we need as people to live and thrive in society.







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Getting Rid of Pantry Moths

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(By Veronica Bettencourt)

Pantry moth critters. I don’t know if you have ever had the likes of pantry months in your kitchen but it could happen to you.

Do you know what pantry moths are?

They are indian moths but they exist in all parts of the world. They feed on grains and sugars and love to hang out in places where these are present.

Beware of those bulk barns. If you buy your grains from these places and you have pantry moths, this is most likely where they came from.

Pantry moths can be found in many homes. Most of us have to deal with them at some point  in our life. They get into your pantry and cupboards and slip into your food stores like rice grains, flour, nuts, cornmeal, or seeds. They can also get into your pantry by purchasing these food provisions that are already contaminated with moth larvae.

If you already have pantry moths in your kitchen, then the ideal way of dealing with it is by cleaning up your storage cabinets. Remove everything inside your shelves and vacuum every nook and cranny thoroughly. Make sure that you properly dispose of the vacuumed waste and keep it from the door or windows of your house. This is to ensure that the moths will not have access to your home and your kitchen after you’ve disposed of it.

Next, you need to wipe your cupboards with a vinegar solution using a clean rag or sponge. Now, you have to make sure that square inch of your shelving unit is covered with this vinegar solution, especially the corners. If you dislike the smell of vinegar in your pantry cabinets, you can also scrub your cabinets with soapy water. Don’t forget to wash the corners of your cabinets. Leave the cabinets to dry completely before putting anything in it.

Once you’ve made sure that your storage area is clean, you need to avoid it from getting infested again. To do this, discard all contaminated food. Don’t be troubled if you see that you have to throw away a lot of food because it is the only way to make sure that your new supplies are not contaminated by pantry moths again.

Next, store your flour, grains, seeds, and nuts in air-tight containers. Zip lock bags are not recommended because these can tear easily and pantry moths can gnaw at it. Keep aromatic herbs and oils like cinnamon, bay leaves, lavender, and lemon peel in your cabinets to repel pantry moths. As a bonus, it makes your pantry smell good! You can also place 2-3 bay leaves inside the container of your food supplies to keep pantry moths at bay.

Another thing you can do is buy pantry moth traps. These are inexpensive and non-toxic, trapping the male moths through the use of pheromones, and thus breaking the cycle of possible infestation. Not only are these quite effective, these can alert you to the presence of moths before you actually see any of them.

I suggest that you soak a cotton ball with eucalyptus oil and place it on the corners of your shelving units and cupboards. Replace it every month to keep pantry moths from infesting your pantry again.

Lastly, make certain that you are buying clean, non-infested grain, flour, and nuts by inspecting it before buying. If you suspect you may have bought a product with pantry moth larvae in it, store it in the freezer for 3 days. This will exterminate any eggs in the product.

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Better Then Artificial Sweeteners

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By Adriana Lima

I was recently in Brazil visiting the parents and every time I am with them I can’t help it but to bring to their attention something about their health and how to improve it. The last health advice was for my mother. Everyday and many times a day she drinks her coffee with some drops of artificial sweetener. Not a very good health choice for more than one reason.

Advocacy groups, such as the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest, cite studies that link some of them to cancer.Whether these findings are  true or not. There always seems to be some talk about artificial sweeteners not being a good thing.

There are new concerns that sugar substitutes may have a long-term impact on how the body registers the sweetness in food, which could make managing weight a challenge. There is growing evidence that the intensity of artificial sweeteners which is usually much sweeter than sugar can rewire taste receptors. This can essentially cause distaste for foods that are not as sweet, such as fruits and vegetables, according to David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at the Children’s Hospital in Boston.

For many of us, including my mother, we take artificial sweeteners because we think it will help us not gain weight.

Dr Hyman references a study in the Journal of Behavioral Neuroscience that shows conclusive evidence that using artificial sweeteners not only does not prevent weight gain, but induces a whole set of physiological and hormonal responses that can actually trigger weight gain.

He summarized the findings as follows:
Those doing the research proved this point by giving two different groups of rats some yogurt. One batch of yogurt was sweetened with real sugar. The other was sweetened with saccharin. They discovered that three major things happened over a very short period of time in the rats that were fed artificially sweetened yogurt.

  • First, the researchers found that the total food eaten over 14 days dramatically increased in the artificial sweetener group — meaning that the artificial sweetener stimulated their appetite and made them eat more.
  • Second, these rats gained a lot more weight and their body fat increased significantly.
  • And third (and this is very concerning) was the change in core body temperature of the rats fed the artificial sweeteners. Their core body temperature decreased, meaning their metabolism slowed down.
  • So not only did the rats eat more, gain more weight, and have more body fat, but they actually lowered their core body temperature and slowed their metabolism. As I have said many times before, all calories are not created equal …
  • The most astounding finding in the study was that even though the rats that ate the saccharin-sweetened yogurt consumed fewer calories overall than the rats that ate the sugar-sweetened yogurt, they gained more weight and body fat.

I just really want you to realize that artificial sweeteners is not a good choice for sweetness. Aside from all the information I have already pointed out, artificial sweeteners, since they are not natural, is toxic to our bodies and depending on the type of sweetener, it can cause harmful side-effects such as headaches, nervous system disorders, and plenty others.

So what is is a good choice if you are looking to sweeten up your coffee or tea?

Honey! Yes, I use it all the time. Not only is natural honey good as a sweetening alternative to artificial sweeteners,  it has other health benefits too. It can be used a cough remedy, serves a great energy booster, helps reduce pain when you are menstruating, and it can boost your immune system by helping improve the digestive system and helping you stay healthy and fight disease.These are just some of the benefits.

Now some of you may think why not just use regular sugar to sweeten up coffee or tea?

Well, yes, that would be fine but I still think honey is a better alternative. Honey does contain sugar. But unlike refined sugar, honey contains vitamins and minerals also. Normally, to digest sugar, the vitamins and minerals stored in the body are used, rendering the body devoid of these nutrients. These nutrients are essential to dissolve fats and cholesterol. Therefore when you eat too much sugar you tend to increase weight not just because of the calories but also because of the lack of vitamins and minerals. On the contrary, honey being a good source of nutrients can help you to lose weight.

It is also worth mentioning that even though a teaspoon of sugar may contain less calories (16 calories) than a teaspoon of honey(22 calories) you don’t have to worry about the calories because you will need less honey to sweeten your drink or food. If I’m using sugar, I usually use one teaspoon and with honey I only use half a teaspoon:)

So today, if you normally sweeten your food and beverages, I urge you to consider one of two action steps to improve your health this week:

1)If you use artificial sweeteners, get rid of them! Instead go with sugar or honey.

2) If you use sugar, substitute honey for some or all of your food and drinks that require sweetening.

Of course, the ideal is if we didn’t need these sweeteners, and some of you may already drink coffee or tea without them. Great! But most of us need a little sweetness in life:)


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