Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pelargonium Pandemonium

The International Herb Association has announced the scented geranium as the “2006 herb of the year.” They’re not true geraniums, of course, but in the genus Pelargonium. Don’t expect them to fill your garden or windowsill with flowering aromas – it’s the underside of the leaves that bear the scent glands. A little rubbing will tell you a lot about the flavor. Scented geraniums are grown for culinary use and as filler for gardens. There are many different fragrances – from rose to peppermint to orange.

Try before you buy, though. Some varieties may not smell as good as hoped (camphor, for instance). And when cooking or brewing teas, be sure you know which kind will work in what recipe. Here are a few more tips on scented geraniums.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tile a Deck in a Day

Non do-it-yourselfers were very excited when interlocking tile systems began making an appearance at home improvement centers. The commercials promised an indoor floor area could be completed in a day – or less – and just in time to throw a terrific party in the evening.

Now, there are tiles for the deck. They operate on the same premise – just lay and lock. No mess and certainly not much expertise needed. The wood is a teak-like hardwood that will withstand the elements. Check it out at

Friday, August 18, 2006

Don't Be a Drip

Summertime means frozen treats – and for kids the messy, melty, juicy kind. Whether you make them at home or purchase them, they’ll still leave a notoriously sticky mess on faces and clothing. While you may still have to wipe a few chins and cheeks, now there’s a way to reduce the need to do laundry after each dessert. They’re called Dripcatchers (patent pending). Made of safe cellulose they slide on the stick and begin to expand as they absorb the drips. Fun for kids and even better for adults!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What's In Your Bottled Water?

What’s in your bottled water? Probably nothing. However, studies show that tap water is tested more than 100 times each month to be sure there is not a single trace of fecal coliform bacteria. A great percentage of bottled water is tested weekly – that’s about four times per month. Now, which would you prefer?

If you don’t like the taste from the tap, purchase a filter. They make all the difference in the world. Even better, refrigerators with the front service panels and interior filtering system will also improve the taste.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sponge Grunge

When cleaning up the kitchen, do you grab a sponge and get to work? Think twice about that. Sponges are notorious harbingers of bacteria. You wipe up a few spills, rinse, and set it on the sink, setting up the perfect environment for spreading some very bad things around the next time you take a swipe.

The experts recommend getting rid of those nasty sponges (or at least saving them for bathroom chores). Purchase some inexpensive dishcloths (try a discount/dollar store) – in fact, buy a couple dozen or so. Each time you clean up, use one and toss it in the laundry basket for the next hot water cycle. Remember – a dishwasher or microwave is not the ideal solution to killing sponge bacteria so just forgeddaboutit.