Readers' Tips

40th Birthday Party Ideas

You should definitely have a potluck lunch/dinner! You can supply the paper products, beverages, and meat and then let friends and family supply the rest of the sides! Or get the culinary students from your local community college involved in creating and serving a great spread! Maybe you know of someone who would bake a cake or some pies in lieu of bringing a covered dish? Perhaps have a balloon release for loved ones who are no longer in this physical world. Create a homemade photo booth, complete with fun and crazy props for guests to wear! Rent a bouncy house for those young at heart! Google "40th birthday party ideas" and you will have millions of ideas!
Connie (via Facebook)

editor's note: Visit here for more 40th birthday party ideas.

Stretch Marks

Vitamin E is one way to hide stretch marks. It will heal them fast. You must remember that these came about with time and they will heal with time. They won't go away, but they will fade. The following mixture of oils may help. Your skin will love it too because it will become very soft.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
10 vitamin E caplets - prick & drain into mixture
5 vitamin A caplets - prick & drain into mixture

Mix all of the above together and store in the refrigerator.
B & L

Additional TDS Resource: More on removing stretch marks

Easy Garden Mulch

I'm a big believer in mulch. It makes it harder for weeds to grow and saves water, too. The best and cheapest mulch I've ever used is newspaper. In my veggie garden, I put sections of newspaper between rows. A sprinkling of dirt holds the paper down. In short order, the newspaper begins to disintegrate. By the end of gardening season, the paper is all gone. I get a year's worth of mulch without spending a penny!

Additional TDS Resource: More on making your own mulch

The Cheapest Wrinkle Releaser

Recently, I was going to get the wrinkles out of a blouse by putting it in the dryer for a few minutes. Before tossing it in, I sprayed it with plain water. Before my eyes, the wrinkles disappeared! I didn't even need to put the blouse in the dryer.

I've found that it works on all cotton items and some blends. Occasionally I'll need just a bit of the "official" wrinkle releaser, but my bottle is lasting much longer now that I mainly use water.

Protect Your Garden

My neighbor's cat loves my garden, and I wish he didn't! It was becoming a problem until I placed a bunch of pine cones in the garden. I don't know why, but it seems that cats don't like them.

While You're Grillin'

While you have the grill in action this holiday weekend (or anytime), grill enough meat for the next week or two! It's very quick and easy to grill brats, burgers, hotdogs, and other goodies that you can then pop in the fridge or freezer. Then you have your entree ready to warm up in the microwave while you throw together a side dish and or salad. Slash the cost of grilling by taking advantage of the hot coals you've already got going and save time later in the week while preserving that great barbecue taste and aroma!
JD in St Louis

Catnip Hack

Want to refresh the catnip in your cat toys? Simply put the item in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. (Be sure there is no metal in the toy.) Or, you can put the item in warm water a few minutes and let it dry. The heat allows the oils to recirculate.

I just put one in the microwave and couldn't believe how my cat now spends a lot of time with it.
Shirley M. in Fenton, Michigan

Additional TDS Resource: More articles on cat savings

Kid & Pet Safe Weed Killer

Don't use toxic chemicals on your weeds. Put ordinary white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the weeds. Within three to five days, the weeds will be dead.

Natural Flea Treatment

Want to get rid of fleas naturally? The answer is eucalyptus leaves. You can get them at any craft store. For some reason, the fleas don't like the smell of it. I used this for many years when I lived in California. I had a dog, two cats, and a toddler! It's safe for the kids and the environment.

Additional TDS Resource: More on natural flea prevention

My Vacation Memories

The vacations we took when I was a child still bring back wonderful memories. I encourage my girls do to what I did, which is to keep a trip notebook. We buy a small bound notebook before the trip. Along with it, we take a package that includes a glue stick, a few different colored pens and markers, and a small pair of child-safe scissors.

They add receipts from the stores we visit, boarding passes, ticket stubs, business cards, or anything else that will remind them of the places we visited. They'll also write a sentence or two of something memorable that happened. They can work on it while we drive, while we're waiting in an airport, or in the hotel in the evening.

Not only are they building a memory, but also they're thinking about the experiences as they happen and even learning a few writing skills!

Soured Plastic Containers

We all have food storage containers that have picked up foul odors. I used to throw them out because I couldn't get rid of the smell. Then I learned that a piece of crumpled up newspaper tucked inside of a closed container will soak up much of the odor in a few days. It also works for your plastic picnic coolers!

Additional TDS Resource: More on storing and finding plastic food containers


Our family vacation usually includes a car trip (actually a SUV). We always look for states' welcome centers and local chambers of commerce. They're full of travel folders for the area. Many of them have coupons for discounts. We've found many interesting places that we didn't know about by doing this. Last year, one of these places was the best part of our vacation!

Additional TDS Resource: More on finding affordable vacation attractions

Too Hot To Sleep?

We're trying to keep our every rising electric bill from killing us, so we turned up the air conditioner. Now, I'm having trouble getting to sleep at night. We have a ceiling fan and it helps, but I still sweat all night. A friend at work suggested that I take a damp towel, put it on my chest, and let the fan blow down on it. It's almost like standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open! Now, I sleep much better!

Baby Shower Games

I just had a baby shower for my sister. We played baby bingo, which involved having blank squares (4x4) on a sheet of paper. Each guest filled in the blanks with items they thought might be in the gifts that the mother-to-be opened. Then as the gifts were opened, the guests crossed off those gifts that matched what they wrote. We gave the first five people gifts (prizes).

Another game was filling a basket with baby items (we had approximately 25 small things). We held up each item. Then guests listed in two to three minutes all the items they could remember that were in the basket. The guest with the most received a prize. The mother-to-be received the items for her baby.

Additional TDS Resource: More on baby shower games

Traveling Abroad?

If you travel out of the country, you've probably heard the horror stories of people who have a passport lost or stolen. It can be a real nightmare. You can make things simpler if you register with the STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). You just register your trip with the government here. If something happens, the nearest embassy or consulate will already have all of your information available.

Car Odors

My boyfriend just bought a used car. The car was a real bargain and runs great, but the previous owner was a smoker, so the car smells. We tried a few things, but nothing seemed to work until we put an unused dryer sheet under the front seats. It was cheaper than those things that hang from your mirror, and it smells better!

Additional TDS Resource: More about removing smoke odors from your car

Do you have a money or time-saving tip you'd like to share? Just click here to submit your suggestion. If we use your tip in any of our publications, we'll send you the next three issues of our print newsletter as a thank you!

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