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Mommy on a Shoestring: Double duty tips

Real snow is the key ingredient in snow cones made for her sons by Kim Treger, owner / director of Glenview's The Laughing Academy. | Photo courtesy Kim Treger
Real snow is the key ingredient in snow cones made for her sons by Kim Treger, owner / director of Glenview's The Laughing Academy. | Photo courtesy Kim Treger

Facts

We Asked, You Answered

After experiencing the Great Freeze of 2014, we asked our Facebook friends to share their best-learned wintertime tips …

“Bring soda cans and water bottles that you would typically store in your garage into your home to prevent them from freezing.” ~ Margaret M

“Don’t buy a puppy when record lows are in the forecast.” ~ Jenny L.

“Get a flu shot. I’ve been suffering for 9 days!” ~ Heitzi

“I never thought I’d even consider purchasing a Snuggie, but now I’m currently on their website.” ~ Faye

“Start your car often and run it a little while to ensure it doesn’t go flat at the crucial moment you are ready to go to O’Hare (like us).” ~ Jane

Save time and money this winter with these double-duty tips that turn ordinary household products into superheroes.

Vinegar

Sure vinegar tastes great on salads, but did you know it can help get rid of road salt residue on car carpets and mats? First remove mats from car and place in a well-ventilated area. Then fill a spray bottle with a mixture of half distilled, white vinegar and half water. Spray a generous amount of mixture on the mats and blot with a rag or towel. For extra tough salt stains, try using a scrub brush to scrub away the salty residue.

Hand Sanitizer

Keeping hand sanitizer in the car is not just good for fighting germs, but it can also be used in a pinch to help de-ice car door locks. The alcohol in hand sanitizer is similar to the ingredients in commercial deicers, which helps lower the melting temperature of water. To use, rub a little hand sanitizer on your key before working it into the lock. The ice should melt away, giving you easy access to your car on icy days.

Vanilla

Wintertime often means keeping doors and windows continuously closed, which can often leave a house smelling musty or worse. Air fresheners are fine but a few tablespoons of pure vanilla extract can also work wonders. First, pre-heat oven to 275 degrees, then pour two to three tablespoons of vanilla in an oven-safe bowl (glass, ceramic or terra cotta work best). Place bowl in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until your house is filled with a delicious vanilla smell.

Light Bulbs

To light a room and help ward off seasonal affective disorder, replace your ordinary light bulbs with brighter broad-spectrum bulbs. Although these bulbs are a little more expensive, they help mimic natural light, which is helpful on days when sunshine is a distant memory.

Snow

Okay so maybe snow is not a household product, but given this winter’s weather, I imagine it’s not far away. So next time it snows try this recipe courtesy of Kim Treger, owner / director of the The Laughing Academy (www.thelaughingacademy.com).

You need:

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4-5 cups of clean snow (more if needed)

Special add-in ingredients (such as small pieces of Butterfinger, Oreo or Graham Crackers)

Directions:

Whisk the first three ingredients together in a medium bowl and then go outside and collect fresh snow.

Slowly combine a small of snow into the milk and sugar mixture until you have a creamy consistency.

Use a fork to quickly mix-in add-in toppings.

Eat immediately or store in the freezer in an airtight container.

Read More Local Voices

Facts

We Asked, You Answered

After experiencing the Great Freeze of 2014, we asked our Facebook friends to share their best-learned wintertime tips …

“Bring soda cans and water bottles that you would typically store in your garage into your home to prevent them from freezing.” ~ Margaret M

“Don’t buy a puppy when record lows are in the forecast.” ~ Jenny L.

“Get a flu shot. I’ve been suffering for 9 days!” ~ Heitzi

“I never thought I’d even consider purchasing a Snuggie, but now I’m currently on their website.” ~ Faye

“Start your car often and run it a little while to ensure it doesn’t go flat at the crucial moment you are ready to go to O’Hare (like us).” ~ Jane

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