Ways To Use Fabric Softener That Have Nothing To Do With Laundry









Cleaning & Organization

Who knew?!





You might have your favorite brand. You may even make your own. It makes your favorite shirt even softer and your sheets smell amazing. But did you know you can use fabric softener for more than just laundry? Check out these creative, convenient, alternative ways to use this household staple.

Help Floors Shine

Dull vinyl or linoleum floors are a dud. After sweeping and mopping as you normally would, mop with a cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Then, give it a final once-over with a fabric softener/water mixture for a glowing finish. This method is not recommended for hardwood floors.





Eliminate Burned-On Food

Scorched pans can be a pain to get clean. The next time you find yourself trying to scrub away burnt food remnants, try this approach from One Good Thing instead. Fill the pan with water and bring it to a boil. Add a tablespoon of fabric softener, let it soak overnight and wash it away the next day.

scorched pan photo
Flickr | rmkoske

Eradicate Scum

A water-stained glass shower door looks grungy. According to Tipnut, you can loosen soap scum by washing the glass with a half cup of fabric softener mixed with about a cup of warm water. When you rinse off the mixture, the soap scum will rinse away, too.

cleaning shower photo
Flickr | Carissa GoodNCrazy

Pick Up Pet Hair

Having a dog or cat can make you happier and even healthier. However, having animal hair all over your home is not quite as awesome. Try spraying fur-covered areas with a mixture of fabric softener and water, according to Tips.net. Once it’s dry, you should be able to brush or vacuum the hair away.

cat laundry photo
Flickr | joannapoe

Remove Car Sticker Residue

Equal parts water and fabric softener can loosen the adhesive left by stickers on car windows and other glass surfaces. Start by peeling or scraping off the sticker as best you can. Soak it with soapy water before spraying on a mixture of fabric softener and hot water.

stickers on car window photo
Getty Images | Matt Cardy

Soften Carpet

Whether your carpet is brand new or well-used, it can feel stiffer than you would like. The Dollar Stretcher recommends mixing hot water and fabric softener and using it as the solution for a steam carpet cleaner. Rinse and extract well to remove as much of the solution as possible and enjoy soft, fresh-smelling floors.

Unsplash | Picsea

Detangle Doll Hair

If Barbie or Baby Alive’s locks are looking rough, blogger Ashley Hackshaw says fabric softener can help. Soak the doll’s hair in equal parts water and fabric softener. Brush out tangles and rinse with vinegar and water.





Pixabay | Alexas_Fotos

Wash Woodwork

If you have wood-paneled walls, baseboards or other surfaces, it can be tough to keep them clean. Try washing them down with fabric softener. It can remove grime without damaging the finish — and it will make the room smell fantastic.

wood panels photo
Flickr | Guttorm Flatabø

Make Homemade Febreze

Freshen up linens, drapes or furnishings with the scent of your favorite fabric softener. Add a little baking soda and some softener to a spray bottle. Fill the container with water, shake it up and spritz away. Find the complete recipe here from Spend with Pennies.

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Ward Off Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying, they can carry deadly diseases, as well. Switching up the measurements of the DIY fabric freshener above can transform some fabric softener, baking soda and water into mosquito repellent with a soft, clean scent.

mosquito photo
Flickr | DFAT photo library

Have you found any creative ways to use fabric softener?

3 Easy Ways To Fight Negative Thinking And Boost Your Mood









Everyone can benefit from these three steps.





Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley?”

He would look into the mirror and remark, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And, doggone-it, people like me!”

He was all about giving yourself a “check-up from the neck up.”

Doctor Kristen Abraham — Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Detroit Mercy – says if negative thoughts are weighing you down, she recommends three steps to train your brain out of that pattern.

“What we’re looking for is balanced thinking,” she said.





1. Think Realistically

“The research suggests that for people with low self-esteem when they repeat to themselves, ‘I am a lovable person,’ that they actually feel worse, and it makes them feel less like doing things they enjoy,” explained Dr. Abraham. “We think that the reason is because they simply don’t believe it. And thinking more realistically is something most people can actually relate to.”

Dr. Abraham said in order to think realistically, it’s helpful to ask yourself three questions: What’s the best thing that can happen? What’s the worst thing that can happen? And what would I do to deal with it?

Working through your options will help you feel prepared.

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2. Take Action

When wrestling with negative thoughts in your head, don’t let those voices hold you back. Dr. Abraham said you should take action!

“Those [negative] thoughts are there, but I’m not going to let them get in the way of doing things with people I care about, getting to work, volunteering in my community or picking up a hobby I love,” she said.

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3. Practice Gratitude

Dr. Abraham said the third way to train your brain away from negative thinking is to practice gratitude. She said one easy way for people to do this is to keep a gratitude journal.

“They sit down every night, and they list 5 or 10 things that they’re grateful for. And the research consistently shows that this helps us to feel better, improves our well-being, and it improves our overall life satisfaction,” said Dr. Abraham.

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So maybe you’re thankful for the person who helped you with project at work…or held the door for you at the coffee shop.





Or maybe you’re thankful for a good night’s sleep … or quality time with the kids.

Whatever it might be, wrapping your mind around what’s going well in your life and realistically tackling what’s not … will help you boost your mood and find balance.

Of course, if negative thoughts get in the way of your ability to do your job or relate to other people, Dr. Abraham said you might be dealing with depression.

If that’s the case, you should seek help from a psychologist or mental health professional.

Your primary care doctor can give you a referral.

The good news is depression is treatable. But most everybody can benefit from these three steps to re-train how you think.

Written by Alicia Smith for WXYZ.

Copyright 2018 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This Lemony 7Up Cake Tastes Just Like The Soda









Food & Recipes

Yum!





If you’re a fan of lemon-flavored desserts, you have to check out this recipe for a lemony 7Up Pound Cake. Yep, it incorporates the lemon-lime soda and it’s pretty simple to make. There are several variations of this recipe available on the internet, so you can mix and match until you find the combination that’s perfect for you.

This version from Culinary Hill uses a boxed mix, so it’s super simple. It’s made in a bundt pan and topped with a divine lemon glaze that makes it look fancier than it really is. The blog’s author, Meggan Hill, says you can really use any lemon-lime soda of your choosing, so Sprite and Sierra Mist would work as well.





Culinary HIll

Another version of this cake comes from All Things Mamma. This recipe relies on a boxed mix as well, but it incorporates a little something extra that the blogger promises will transform all baked goods you make from a box. She also says you could try making this cake with Cherry 7Up but notes that she hasn’t tried it yet. That does sound like a yummy twist!

All Things Mamma

If lemon-lime is not your flavor of choice, there are other soda-based treats out there that might be more appealing, including root beer float-inspired desserts such as this pie by A Kitchen Addiction. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream to get the true float experience.

A Kitchen Addiction

If you’re more of a Coke person, how about this Coca-Cola chocolate cake from Brown Eyed Baker? It uses a full can of Coke in both the batter and the frosting. Although this cake is definitely high in sugar, it looks delicious for when you’re looking to indulge a little.

Brown Eyed Baker

Coca-Cola also offers a recipe for cake using the soda on its website, and it looks just as yummy.





Do you have a favorite dessert recipe that incorporates soda?

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Make Your Holiday Dinner Prep A Breeze With This Simple Rolls Recipe









Food & Recipes

Flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls, yes please!





No holiday meal would be complete without light, buttery dinner rolls. But before you reach for a tube of Pillsbury crescent rolls or drop a pretty penny on mass-produced rolls from the grocery store, consider this simple recipe for dinner rolls. It requires no yeast and no kneading, but the rolls still manage to be fluffy and delicious.

The recipe for these Momma’s Easy No Yeast Dinner Rolls calls for only five ingredients, and they are most likely things you already have in your pantry and fridge. Requiring just 15 minutes to bake, these dinner rolls are a one-bowl delight that make both prep and clean-up a breeze.





Homemaking

Feast and Farm offers an equally simple dinner rolls recipe, except this recipe calls for just four ingredients (that are also likely be items you already have on hand). Rachel Ballard of Feast and Farm suggests delicious ways to make your rolls even more delightful, such as by adding shredded mozzarella and jalapenos, or Italian seasoning and cheddar. Find the full recipe here.

Feast and Farm

Now, if you are looking for a dinner roll recipe that is a bit more decadent, look no further than this recipe for flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth dinner rolls from Modern Honey. The recipe does use yeast and requires kneading, however, Melissa Stadler at Modern Honey offers some creative ways to cut down on this work.

Modern Honey

First, she advises that you use a stand mixer and allow the mixer to do the kneading for you. Yes, a stand mixer can actually knead for you (though you won’t get that great arm workout from hand-kneading). Second, she suggests allowing your bread dough to rise in a warm oven, as this will cut the rising time in half (as opposed to letting the dough rise on the counter).





And there you have it. Homemade dinner rolls that will impress your family and friends without making you lose your cool on Thanksgiving Day.

These Cranberry Brie Bites Are Going To Be Your New Favorite Appetizer









Food & Recipes

Wow these sound delicious!





Serving a crowd can be quite the challenge, but if your guests have something yummy to eat from the moment they arrive, they’ll be much more agreeable throughout the entire visit. Food has a way of bringing out the best in people. So, if you can serve up this easy appetizer and time it just right, no one will notice your last-minute scrambling to make sure the main course is ready.

These cranberry brie bites from The Country Cook are not only simple to throw together, they’re also the perfect way to start a Thanksgiving feast. So, if you’re hosting the meal on Nov. 22 this year — go ahead and add these ingredients to your grocery list.

You only need a can of crescent dough, brie cheese, cranberry sauce and a rosemary sprig for garnish to make these tasty meal-starters. You’ll use a muffin tin to give them their easy-to-bite shape that’s just as good for eating as it is for making a gorgeous centerpiece on your table.





After a few minutes in the oven, these bites will be ready to serve:

The Country Cook

Your guests are sure to love this warm, cheesy appetizer!

Even if you aren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year, these flavors are relevant all season long, so you can serve it up on any occasion this fall — not just on Turkey Day.

These bites aren’t the only way to whip up a cranberry and brie appetizer, either. Instead of using crescent rolls, opt for mini tart shells, a baguette or no bread at all.

This recipe from Fox and Briar shows how you can use mini phyllo cups to create an appetizer that’s almost too pretty to eat:





Fox and Briar

This version from NeighborFood uses a baguette to serve the cranberries and brie, and admittedly does require a little more prep work, but in the end you’re left with an appetizer that’s oh-so-chic and delicious. You’ll be the talk of the neighborhood with an appetizer this good.

NeighborFood

If you’d rather try this in dip form, simply skip the bread and phyllo cups and warm the cheese and cranberries to create a centerpiece for dipping crackers and more, as this recipe from Goodie Godmother explains.

Goodie Godmother

So, bring on the fall get-togethers because you’ve got the sweet and creamy appetizers all sorted!

This Site Tells You Exactly Where All Of Your Taxes Go









Ever wonder how your tax dollars are actually being used?





The one question everyone wonders come tax season is: where does all of my money go? And now, there’s a tool that will give you a breakdown to let you know how much of your money is going to health programs, Social Security and more.

The Where Do My Taxes Go website gathers information such as how much you make each year, which state you file taxes in, etc. to come up with an itemized look at where your money will be going based on the proposed 2019 federal budget.

For instance, here’s a look at how your money would be allocated if you made $100,000 a year and filed taxes in New York:





Screengrab/Where Do My Taxes Go

In this scenario, approximately $4,440.69 would go to Social Security while $2,534.92 would go to the Department of Defense.

Of course, this will vary depending on how much you make each year.

This calculation is for federal taxes and doesn’t include local taxes based on where you live, so this isn’t an exact breakdown of where every single penny of your money is going, but it’s certainly in-depth enough to give you a good idea of how those tax dollars are being put to use. The site also tells you a lump sum estimation of how much you can expect to pay in state taxes, since those vary wildly.

While it varies from state to state, most state taxes go towards education and health care programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. There’s also some money allocated to transportation, corrections facilities and public assistance programs, the outlet reports.





If you’re already curious about how much money you’ll owe when you file taxes for the year 2018, there are also tools that will give an estimate at how much you should expect to receive back from the IRS or owe the IRS. An example of this is the tax calculator from efile.com:

elfie.com

All you have to do is answer some general questions about your marital status, your deductions, your salary and a few other things for efile.com to generate an idea of how much you’ll owe or what your tax return amount might look like.

It’s always a good idea to be aware of what you’ll have to pay or be owed by the IRS, and knowing exactly how your money’s put to use will make paying your taxes even easier. Consider it your due diligence in being an informed citizen.

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7 Mistakes People Make When Cooking Stuffing—and How To Avoid Them









Food & Recipes

Here’s how to avoid them.





Stuffing is a classic Thanksgiving side dish that’s a must for any holiday spread. You can take this comfort food staple in many directions, and while it can be argued that there’s no “wrong” way to make stuffing, there are some common missteps that can leave you a little underwhelmed with the results.

Here are seven mistakes people often make when preparing stuffing and how you can avoid them, guaranteeing you’ll make the perfect dish with which to wow your guests this Thanksgiving.

1. Not Drying Out The Bread

Starting your stuffing out with bread that’s completely dry is essential for your stuffing’s taste and texture. A lot of recipes recommend using stale bread for this reason, but you can actually oven-dry your bread for the same effect in a lot less time. Serious Eats recommends toasting a white sandwich-style loaf at 275 degrees for about 45 minutes.





white bread photo
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

2. Actually Stuffing The Bird

It’s called stuffing because you’re supposed to stuff the turkey with it, right? While that may be where the term comes from, it also makes it a lot more difficult to properly cook the turkey. Instead, just serve it on the side.

“So I always do it in buttered baked dishes and cover it with foil for most of the cooking … usually about 30 to 40 minutes until it’s warm, and then take off the foil so the top can crisp up, and it’s absolutely delicious,” Jack Bishop, editorial director of “America’s Test Kitchen,” told NPR of his method for making perfect stuffing.

stuffing photo
Flickr | NEPMET

3. Not Cooking Your Vegetables

There’s more to stuff besides bread. To really maximize the flavor of your stuffing, you should add aromatic vegetables like onions and celery. But don’t just add them in their raw state. Make sure to cook them in a bit of butter first.

cook onions photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

4. Soggy Stuffing

If you end up with soggy stuffing despite your best efforts, it may come down to your cooking method. A good way to end up with crispy stuffing every time is to turn your stuffing into muffins. Check out this recipe for make-ahead stuffing muffins from Chew Out Loud.

Chew Out Loud

5. Not Using Enough Butter

While cutting down on fat and calorie-laden ingredients like butter may seem like a great way to lighten up a recipe, when it comes to stuffing, skimping on butter may spell disaster. Using plenty of butter is the key to moist, yet crispy stuffing. Your diet can start on Friday.





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6. Overcooking It

Perfect stuffing needs to be cooked just right. Overcook it and your stuffing will be dry. Undercook it and it will be soggy. It can be difficult to get it just right, so if you’re bringing stuffing as part of a potluck, undercook it slightly at home so that when you arrive at your destination, you can finish it in the oven in just a few minutes.

thanksgiving stuffing photo
Flickr | danxoneil

7. Adding The Stock All At Once

If you haven’t learned this already, the key to perfect stuffing is a delicate balance. Adding the right amount of stock to the stuffing is essential to getting an ideal texture, but so is how and when you add it. Add about a half cup to a cup at a time to give the bread time to soak up the broth before you add more.

chicken stock photo
Getty Images | Monica Schipper

Time to get cooking!

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If You’ve Ever Thought About Adopting A Greyhound, The End Of 2020 May Be The Time To Do It









The fate of over 5,000 greyhounds is uncertain. Here’s how you can help.





If you’ve ever considered adopting a greyhound dog, you may want to do so at the end of 2020.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters in Florida approved an animal safety ballot initiative that would ban greyhound racing in the state in the next two years. The measure, Amendment 13, received more than 5.3 million votes — or 69 percent — securing its passage and thrilling animal rights activists.

As a result, between 5,000 and 7,000 greyhounds will be in need of a home once the majority of dog racing tracks in Florida close for business by Dec. 31, 2020.





greyhound photo
Getty Images | Julian Herbert

“They’re amazing pets, so gentle and sweet,” Kate MacFall, Florida state director of the Humane Society of the United States, told NBC News. “They really are gentle giants.”

MacFall said that the Humane Society, which organized behind the Amendment 13 effort, is providing support to groups working to place greyhounds now and after the measure takes full effect. But some adoption groups are concerned that, even with the gradual closures of Florida’s 11 dog racing tracks, there may not be enough families to adopt the orphaned greyhounds.

“This will be a burden. We’re mobilizing now,” Brooke Stumpf, president of the adoption group GreytHounds of Eastern Michigan, told NBC News. “We’ll do the best we can. Some of these dogs might end up at shelters and they’re not all no-kill. That’s the scary part.”

greyhound photo
Getty Images | Scott Barbour

Although Amendment 13’s passage is being lauded by animal rights groups, greyhound trainers are now in a panic about their future job prospects. Jennifer Newcome, chairman of the Committee to Support Greyhounds, told USA Today that the ballot measure would trigger a wave of job losses.

Hundreds of trainers, she said, will have “a difficult time” finding new work once the ban takes effect.





“A lot are third-generation trainers and have been in the business since they were born,” Newcome told USA Today. “These people did not pursue a college education or (look) for other work.”

greyhound trainer photo
Getty Images | Ryan Pierse

Not all trainers will be out of work immediately. Though some racetracks may close as of Jan. 1, others won’t shutter until the ban takes effect in two years. In the meantime, greyhound trainers have turned to the Humane Society and other national advocacy groups for help, Newcome told USA Today.

“The people who took care of the dogs just lost everything,” she said. “Now the people who put this on the ballot should share some responsibility [in adoption].”

Facebook Messenger Will Soon Let You ‘Unsend’ A Message









Here’s what we know so far. Have you ever sent a message you wished you could ‚unsend‘?





Picture this: It’s 3 a.m. You’re tired but can’t sleep. You’ve decided to click around Wikipedia and you learn about the fascinating mating habits of penguins. With your newfound trivia knowledge, you decide to send a tidbit to your best friend via Facebook Messenger.

Instead, you message your former grad school professor.





Soon, your weird early morning messages could be a thing of the past. That’s because Facebook has introduced a feature that will allow you to remove a message up to 10 minutes after you first hit “send.”

Facebook Messenger app
Flickr | Janitors

With Facebook Messenger’s “unsend” feature, within the 10-minute window, you will be able to delete any unintended message or note you wish you had never sent in the first place. This could include that GIF you sent to your ex accidentally, an incorrect address you shared with your book club or the note you forwarded to the completely wrong thread.

Facebook first introduced the tool back in April, after the social media platform was caught quietly deleting messages sent by its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The feature, though, is not yet active — it was only listed as “coming soon” in the release notes for the newest Messenger app update on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Getty Images

Yet, while the new tool may excite Facebook users, some have also raised concerns over its implications. Tech experts back in April warned that the feature may be used to erase evidence of harassment and abuse and, in turn, encourage an uptick in offensive behavior online.





Still, even with the possibility of nefarious use, Messenger’s “unsend” feature will be heaven-sent for users who send accidental messages more than they care to admit.

So, if you had the tool handy, what messages would you delete?

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This Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole Sounds Delicious And So Easy To Make









Food & Recipes

Yum!





Since 1917, home cooks have been adding marshmallows to their sweet potato dishes during the Thanksgiving season. It all started when marshmallow company Angelus Marshmallows hired a cook to help them develop a recipe which would encourage housewives to use marshmallow in their recipes on a more regular basis.

Clever marketing gimmick or not, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows has now become a holiday staple that both kids and adults look forward to each year.

Pillsbury

But did you know that you can use your slow cooker to make this festive sweet potato casserole? Not only does it free up space in your oven, but this cooking method also makes it easier if you are traveling to someone else’s home for the holidays or if you are bringing a dish into the office for a holiday potluck.





There are many different recipes for slow-cooker sweet potato casserole. Pillsbury’s recipe recommends that you first microwave a sauce comprised of brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, butter, salt and water, and then pour it over peeled and cubed sweet potatoes in a slow-cooker. Let it cook for a few hours and then top with mini marshmallows.

Watch the simple preparation here:

Other recipes offer clever and tasty variations, like Delish’s suggestion of adding pecans for a salty crunch.

Over at Baking Beauty, Krystle makes her slow cooker sweet potato casserole extra-decadent by using heavy cream and candied nuts.





Baking Beauty

And at Chelsea’s Messy Apron, Chelsea keeps it simple by using canned sweet potatoes and adding orange juice to deepen the sweet flavor. She opts to top her casserole with brown sugar and vanilla extract, rather than mini marshmallows, but you can also add those in as the last step if you so desire.

Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Sweet potatoes are more than just a seasonal delight. This nearly fat-free vegetable is chock-full of important vitamins, including vitamin A (just one sweet potato contains over 100 percent of your daily needs), vitamin C, vitamins B5 and B6, potassium and fiber. So you can enjoy this sweet dish with little to no guilt. Happy Thanksgiving!

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