Hi Reena,

I am planning to install pot lights in my newly renovated home. Are there
any guidelines as to where to place the lights? Bentley 

Dear Bentley,

Try not to place lights too close together or in rows down the center of
room, you don’t want to create an airport runway appearance. Match the
of your fixtures to how close together they can be installed. The common
rule is that 4-inch fixtures should generally be placed at least 4 feet
apart and 6-inch fixtures about 6 feet apart. If you are planning to
certain features, center recessed fixtures in front of the objects about
to 18 inches in front of the object you wish to light i.e. painting,
bookshelf, or drapery panels. Recessed lights used for reading or task
lighting should be carefully placed overhead so that light is not blocked.
When lighting a three-dimensional object such as a fireplace, art piece,
flower arrangement, it is more effective to light it from two or three
different angles.


Dear Reena,

How can I get the musty smell of old paper out of a metal filing cabinet?
The cabinet has never been exposed to moisture. The smell comes from
musty-smelling old, old papers (paper mold) that I stored in it. I emptied
the filing cabinet and got rid of most of the musty-smelling papers. I do
not want the other papers to be contaminated with the musty smell.
Therefore, I want to get rid of it before I put them back into the
Please let me know if there is a way to solve this problem. Thank you,

Hi Joyce,

Your first step is to empty and clean the entire cabinet out with plain
dish soap and water. Dry well to prevent future mold and rust formation.
Next apply a light coating of olive oil inside the cabinet, wipe away all
excess and dry well. This step is an easy way to remove foul odors as well
as preventing rust. Worst case scenario, stuff the cabinet with crumpled
newspaper, leave for three days and remove.


Dear Reena,

My mother-in law is on the way! What is the best way to clean my coffee
maker? Tania

Hi Tania,

With no time lose clean your filter, basket and carafe in the dishwasher,
never use abrasives on your coffee maker surface or heating element. Next
pour 2 cups white vinegar and 3 drops of peppermint essential oil into the
pot and fill with enough water for 10 cups of coffee. Brew as you would
coffee, not only will this solution clean out your coffee maker, but the
kitchen will smell peppermint fresh.


Dear Reena,

My boyfriend was sick with a cold and so wanting to make him feel better I
made him homemade chicken soup. This project of love turned disaster when
the soup burnt and actually set fire to the kitchen. Yes you heard me, I
burnt soup! Do you have any great chicken soup recipes? Sidney

Help is on the way Sidney!

Place one 2 or 3 pound whole chicken and 4 chopped celery stalks (with
leaves) in a pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to
minimum and simmer for 35 minutes. Remove chicken from pot. Strain the
liquid into a large pot and discard celery tops. Into the pot add 1 lb
carrots, 2 chopped onions, 2 cubes beef bouillon cubes crumbled, 2 (14.5
ounces) cans chicken broth and 1 package chicken noodle soup mix. Allow
to simmer and season with quarter tsp. of thyme, dried parsley, poultry
seasoning and dried basil. Add 5 peppercorns and 2 bay leaves. Remove
chicken from bone and cut into bite size pieces. Add meat to pot and cook
until veggies are tenders (about one and a half hours). Into the pot drop
(8 ounce pkg.) pasta. Stir and cook for 15 mins. Serve and enjoy the


Perfect Homemade Pickles:

*        When choosing pickles for pickling, pick fresh garden cucumbers
early in the morning. Immediately submerse cucumbers in ice cold water
ready to use.

*        Trim both ends of pickles.

*        Use pickling vinegar not plain white vinegar.

*        If the cucumber has started to get seeds in its “belly” it is too
big and old to use. (I always have a patch of dill- it seeds itself and is
good for salads when young – so I have never used oil of dill.)

*         After washing the dill I usually swish it in hot to boiling
temperature water (just in case there is any wildlife on it).

*        I then place some dill into a jar and slice the cucumbers into
jar tapping the jar to pack.

*        In a large pot mix: 4 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, 2 cups white
sugar, and half cup PICKLING salt. Bing to a full rolling boil and quickly
fill jars. Seal jars. Ready in 6 weeks. I have never had a jar spoil since
started using this recipe. I used well water when we lived on an acreage
now that I am in town I just use tap water. Family and others seem to love
my dills! One of my kids took peanut butter – dill pickle sandwiches to
school almost every day for a number of years! Sincerely, Jean

Thank-you to Bill Turner and guests at 880 CKLQ Brandon, MB for these
pickilicuos hints!

Reena Nerbas is a highly popular professional speaker and the author of
three national best sellers, “Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions”,
“Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets” and “Household Solutions 3
Green Alternatives”. Books and Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3
Cooking/Cleaning Gift Packs are available on-line or by calling:

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

Check out my web site! www.householdsolutions.org

For all of your home improvement needs please contact my friend Shell Busey at www.housesmartcentre.com

To read more household solutions visit: www.CanadianHomeTrends.ca

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