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Things to clean in 15 minutes or less, and more ‘quick tips’ to make life easier

Like butter on your vegetables, but don’t need the calories?  Try browning the butter; it only takes half as much for seasoning/flavoring, and has half the calories. It’s said that a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water with a bit of honey added for flavor will take the edge off of your appetite. If sauerkraut is too salty, you can rinse it in cold water and add a little bit of brown sugar while cooking it. If you don’t own a cooling rack, simply pull out your broiler pan, cover it with a clean towel and use it instead. 1/2 pound of cheese equals 2 cups shredded cheese (sometimes blocks of cheese are cheaper than bags of shredded). Cheese can be shredded and frozen in freezer zip-type bags until needed. At times you can find block cheese on sale near the end of the ‘sell by’ dates.  You can buy it cheap, take it home and shred it and freeze it in one and two cup bags. My kids love homemade pizza, and this is the only way I can afford to put cheese on the tops. The pointy end of your potato peeler can be used to take seeds out of fresh cherries. You can usually just push the peeler into the stem end, give a little twist and pull out the seed. An old...

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Do-It-Yourself quilt and other helpful tips

WIPER MAGIC: Before you pitch those old windshield wiper blades, try using some rubbing alcohol on an old piece of terry cloth or a microfiber cloth.  Sometimes, they aren’t really worn out, but just full of roadway gunk and a good cleaning is all they need.  A bottle of rubbing alcohol is under a dollar and can clean a lot of wipers. Check it out! NEEDLE SENSE If you do a lot of sewing, please remember to change the needle in your machine after every 2 or 3 garments.  The new fabrics with the polyester, stretch, and other coatings on the thread will dull the needle and it starts to skip stitches, break thread. (Don’t take it to the repair shop for an expensive once-over when there is nothing wrong with it – except for a dull needle!) CENTS-OFF-SAVINGS A reader wrote: If you use the cents-off coupons in your grocery store, or purchase something on sale, take those extra pennies, quarters, etc. and put them in a fruit jar.  When the jar is half-full, take it to the bank and start a savings account for next Christmas. I’ve been doing this for several years and my Christmas is all paid for from using those 25 cents off coupons. (I’m with her – I don’t use many coupons because I use very few ‘box’ food items, but this does make...

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Good Ideas for Young Farmers and Ranchers

Sound advice for young farmers and ranchers from industry professionals Advice from successful farm and ranch operators.  “Build up something. Watch the debt thing. Learn how to build. Get as much machinery as you can. Get by. Use old equipment. Start with old cows and bum lambs. Watch the capital expense. The wife makes a difference. “Don’t expect to start out where Dad left off. Don’t go too far in debt. Make the improvements you know you can handle. Start with used machinery. Think out your moves. Avoid easy credit.” “Don’t over borrow. Build gradually. Start slowly. Build as you go. Don’t start out with the biggest and the best. Live within your means.” “Look around your community for an older farmer who is well thought of and respected. Learn from him. Use him as a measuring stick. Seek advice. Use his knowledge.” “Work hard. You’ve got to produce. Live within your means.” “Both partners need to be involved. They should know exactly what they owe and their assets. You have to know every phase the operation. Plan things out.”   Advice from a lender on how to avoid debt. Being from cattle country, he cautioned against big machinery, fancy horses, gooseneck trailers, exotic cattle, big trips, new pickups, fancy saddles and expensive rodeo hobbies. “Good cattle prices are a pickup dealer’s heyday.” He noted the peer pressure in...

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Halloween costumes for cheap, and the Halloween Fairy!

With the economy sitting in the ditch, this is not the time to spend megabucks on a costume the kid will wear once in his or her lifetime. Now is the time to challenge the kids to improvise with what is found in the old clothes bin, in a thrift store or purchased at a yard sale for 50 cents. A princess outfit can be made from an old prom dress, cut off with scissors to length so the kids don’t trip.  I used the trimmings for the sash to hold the dress on the kid. (it was a little big!) We made a magic wand with a piece of dowel covered with foil and glued on a glittery cardboard star The boys wore their own blue jeans, a cowboy shirt and one of Dad’s old hats, and tied on some old spurs for clink effect. A ghost costume was made for a 3-year-old out of an old pillowcase. Eye holes were cut with scissors and outlined with a black marker. Arm holes were cut and decorated the same, and a piece of clothesline rope held the thing in place. Give the kids some plastic trash bags, a roll of cheap foil, some cardboard tubes from wrapping paper, some recycled wrapping paper, a roll of tape and see what they can come up with. A ten year old made a ghost...

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Health Care Mandates Occuring Now!

Q: We heard a lot about health care reform a few years back but we haven’t heard anything recently. Are we still going to go a national health care program or is this whole movement been stymied by the recent political events? Is this something we need to be concerned about? –Health Scare Over? Dear Health Scare: Being as national health care was voted into law a few years back, the march is still on to have a fully functioning national health care system by the year 2015 or 2016. A lot of this depends on how the coming elections go and which party, if any, will be in the majority. If President Obama gets reelected, then he can veto any legislation to change the national health care program. If he is not reelected, but there is not a majority vote to change this law, there will be a national health care program. If a majority vote of new congressman elected can overturn the health care program, then it we may not have a national health care program. Currently, there are seven states that have banded together to declare the move to a national health care program is unconstitutional and, therefore, should be struck down. This has been moving through the court systems and will likely end up at the Supreme Court somewhere down the road. North Dakota is...

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