Home & Decor

Solutions & Substitutions Column for Jan. 29th, 2010

Dear Reena,

Any tips on how to keep my potatoes fresh for a long period of time? I am tired of throwing out potatoes. Thanks, Borcan


Hi Borcan,

When purchasing potatoes choose ones that are firm and free of sprouts, green skin or spots. Green potatoes may contain a substance called solanine, which is bitter and can be toxic. If potatoes have turned green, trim off the green areas before using. To prevent potatoes from greening, they should be stored in a dark, cool place that is well ventilated. Potato sprouts are poisonous; cut off the sprouts and they are fine for eating. Store an apple with potatoes to prevent sprouting. When a potato grows an ‘eye’ the potato starts to shrivel. This means the potato shrinks and the outside skin gets old…just like people. Next time you see a potato growing an “eye” and looking up at you, take a knife and cut the eye off. The potato will not shrivel up as quickly. Avoid storing potatoes with onions because; when close together, they produce gases that spoil both.


No need to throw potatoes or potato peels into the garbage, they are easy to compost. In the winter collect leftover fruits and veggies into an empty ice cream bucket and leave outside to freeze. When spring arrives; dump the contents of your buckets into your compost pile.


Super Spudlicious Tips: 1) Use boiled potato water to kill weeds or to make yummy tasting gravy. 2) After you empty the water out from boiled potatoes, place the saucepan over low heat back onto the stove and shake them a few times. This prevents potatoes from sticking and keeps them fluffy. 3) Instead of boiling potatoes for just one meal; boil additional potatoes with their jackets on. Once cooked store them in the fridge, next time you decide to make potato casserole, potato soup or potato salad, prep. is a cinch. Taken from: Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets


Hi Reena,

I need a suggestion for a painless way to remove bandages. My eight year old screams every time I begin to pull the bandage off. All the best, Vanessa


Hi Vanessa,

Dip a cotton ball or cotton swab in oil (olive or baby) and rub it against the bandage, this will allow the bandage to fall off. Another option is to remove the bandage after she has taken a warm bath; water and warmth helps loosen the glue that holds bandages onto skin.


Dear Reena,

How can I prevent my ballpoint ink pens from drying out? It seems that in the winter they stop working after only 3 or 4 uses. Love your books, Mariam


Dear Mariam,

The ballpoint pen has replaced the fountain pen as the most popular tool for everyday writing, due to its reliability and convenience. When it comes to most things in life you often get what you pay for, ballpoint ink pens are no exception. One hint is to secure lids on pens when not in use. A homeschooling teacher once told me that she always keeps ball point ink pens in sealable bags when not in use to keep them working longer.


Dear Reena,

I am a seamstress and often use velvet ribbon for finishing edges of dresses and blouses. Often the ribbon frays, unravels and curls up, leaving the ends unfinished looking. Your input would be much appreciated! Thank-you, Mavis


Hello Mavis,

Good for you for keeping up the art of handmade apparel! When you prepare velvet ribbon for cutting, run a bead of clear nail polish across the ends. After it dries, cut through the coated area. Your edges will no longer fray, ravel or curl.

Feedback from Fabulous Readers:

I recently received this little anonymous gem on my voice mail:

Hi Reena,

Just want to let you know that last week I noticed ballpoint ink on my leather couch. I used non-bleach, non-gel toothpaste on the area and the ink came out instantly!

Handy Tips of the Week:

  • When using paint trays for household painting jobs, try slipping an empty (and very clean) plastic bag over the paint tray before pouring paint. Instead of having a paint tray to clean up, it’s a simple job to remove the plastic bag and discard.
  • Buff out scuffs on suede using a cardboard emery board or a piece of light sandpaper. Proceed gently making sure not to damage suede. Or place the affected area of the suede over steam from a kettle of boiling water to raise the nap and then carefully brush out with a suede brush.
  • Before filling a garden or household plant container with potting soil, first lay a coffee filter on the bottom inside of the pot and then add the soil on top. This will keep the soil from draining out the pot’s drainage holes when you water the plant.

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 with Green Alternatives”. Books and Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3 Cooking/Cleaning Gift Packs are available on-line or by calling: 204-320-2757.

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

By: Reena Nerbas

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Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.