All posts tagged: How To

How To Make Breakfast More Fun

I went to a restaurant that serves “breakfast at any time”.  So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. – Steven Wright – While there are many interpretations of Breakfast, I’ve chosen to photograph the food I eat most mornings! I start with the exact right bowl. It has to be the correct size – not too big and not to small. More importantly though, it has to have a happy group of animals dancing around the rim. This one has horses, camels and elephants – quite appropriate because I bought these dishes when we lived in the Middle East! I put some fruit in the bottom of the bowl. I used bananas, but some times I use an apple, or an orange or some berries. This is the dangerous part of making breakfast  because I had to use a sharp knife to cut the bananas into the exact right thickness.  Like the bowl, the bananas can’t be too big or too small. Next, I added some cereal. I used granola  with whole grains, fruit …

How to throw a Beer Tasting Party!

I always do my best thinking over a glass of beer. Two heads are better than one. – From the Best of Bridge – Now and then I like an icy cold beer. Not a whole icy cold beer, because it is never icy cold when I get to the bottom of the bottle or glass. I just like the first few icy cold ounces. One of my son-in-laws, perhaps (but highly unlikely) thinking of his mother-in-law’s fondness for those first few cold ounces, devised an ingenious way to taste the beers of the world without having to drink an entire bottle of each. He hosts a Beer Tasting Party. He invites lots of people, and assigns each couple a country. The guests buy a half dozen or so bottles of beer that  represent that country. They pre-chill the beer, and when they arrive at the party the bottles are nestled into coolers of ice that are set out on a long table on the patio. Each person is given a glass with his or …

Duct Tape – Product with a Million Uses

One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop. – G. Weilacher – How often have you observed people’s ability to take a perfectly ordinary utilitarian product and turn it into something quite extraordinary, or at the very least unexpected? You know, things like wine bottle corks that become bulletin boards, plastic milk jugs that are made into lamps… stuff like that. Another product that is very versatile and has been used to make all sorts of things is Duct Tape. Duct Tape – I can’t picture a roll of it without thinking of The Red Green Show,  specifically the segment called  Handyman Corner. There wasn’t a thing Red couldn’t fix if he used enough rolls of Duct Tape. In one episode, he tried to duct tape the Ontario-Quebec border as a potential solution to Quebec separatism, (and who can dispute the fact that so far it has worked… ) The Car Guy and I got these wonderful duct tape gifts this year from the …

How to Go Hunting for Computer Viruses

You have just received the “Novice Hacker Virus”. As we ain’t got no programming experience, this virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files from your hard drive and manually forward this virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thanks for your cooperation. – Source – Internet – Wednesday wasn’t a real good day. I woke too early, couldn’t get back to sleep, and finally got up to begin a task that isn’t all that much fun – troubleshooting a problem with the computer. In this case, several computers, because I didn’t know which one had possibly been compromised by a Virus. Yes, I was going on a Malware hunt.  Let there be no confusion about my intent here. I was going to be armed, and I was prepared to kill. But first I had to get dressed. I pondered what to wear for this distasteful job, and finally decided on the baggy look. Comfort first is my motto. And since I had exactly four delicious muffins to potentially eat, but I …

Travel Guides – The Missing Chapter on Toilets

International Travel Guides – very handy for planning a trip. There are often several to choose from. If you are uncertain which guide is best, I would suggest you flip to the index and scroll down to see if there is a section about Toilets.  In my experience, the information contained in one short paragraph could turn out to be the best advice in the whole book. Alas, most guides omit the topic completely. So here is a bit of practical information for after you arrive at your destination. The first challenge will be knowing what to call the facility you are looking for. You might try asking where the bathroom, restroom, WC, loo, lavatory, comfort station, toilet, or washroom is. If that is met with a shrug, you are on your own. A bit of wandering will usually take you to a location that seems familiar because you are offered a choice of two doors. These will be labelled in some manner that has to do with how the equipment inside is tailored for …

How to Improve Your Cell Phone Manual

A 91 year old Moncton New Brunswick man by the name of George Williams owns two computers, an iPhone, and a new BlackBerry Playbook. “It’s always been a challenge to me,” he says “to sit down with the owner’s manuals to figure them out.” The Owners Manuals – some people read them, and some people don’t. Even the best manuals can be a challenge to decipher. Several years ago I bought a simple Unsmart Phone. It came with a 37 page manual of tiny print that was best read with a magnifying glass. The first 11 pages were filled with preliminaries, including the advice “do not use the phone when blasting is in progress”. It also suggested that the phone should be used in “normal position” and “not to touch the antenna unnecessarily.” There were health cautions too. The handy little Scroll Key could be hazardous because it “may contain nickel.” And if it does, it “should not come into prolonged contact with the skin.” I wasn’t aware of how dangerous these little devices could …

Bloggers that Post Once a Day

Happy April Fools Day, all. When we were kids, we called it April Spruce Cake. Our misinterpretation of the intent of the day was based, I guess, on our hope that there was something more to it than a few lame jokes. Totally unrelated to the day: WordPress has a Post-a-Day Challenge called Daily Post. The idea is that WordPress Bloggers post something every day, thus building a community of people who want to be more active writers, bloggers, and creators. While I admire those who can do this, I’m not sure I can keep up with doing a daily post. But it is something I am willing to try. I’ll have to find something much interesting and creative in order to post once a day. Unfortunately, I have yet to come up with the right thing. Others have, though, and here are some of the ones I’ve found. Maybe they will inspire you to start a blog of 365 things too. Or maybe you will think of something very creative that you think I …

woman lift move

How to Move Your Blog and Other Tasks

Change a Blog Address I was getting ready to move. I’d found a new place, and it was just a matter of how I’d go about moving. I’m speaking of my blog, by the way. I secured the WordPress.com URL for ‘Red House Diaries’ which was nice, because it matched the name of my blog. Now it was just a matter of packing up my stuff and moving it to my new digs. I understood there would be some glitches, depending on how I did this, but I didn’t totally understand how and what. So until the WordPress.com Happiness Engineers got back from their ‘Group Break ‘ I’d just have to wait. UPDATE: after consulting the Happiness Engineers: If you ever want to move everything in your WordPress Blog to a new URL, do not register the new URL first. No, you have to declare you want to move, and once you have invoked the Change a Blog Address Tool, you will then choose a new URL. The new URL can not be one that …

How to Go Internet Router Shopping

Have you ever read the headline “Grandma Drives Pick-up Truck INTO Electronics Store”? I came close to making that headline. I went to Toon Town on Wednesday to run a few errands. The Car Guy was using our Daily Driver, so I took the back-up vehicle, a “plow through snow drifts” Dodge Dakota 4X4 pick-up truck with a Magnaflow high performance exhaust system. I love driving it – makes me feel very tall and I like the rumbly sound it makes. One of my stops was the local Electonics store. You know, the people who sell everything from crayons to computers. I wanted a new wireless router. The router aisle had a bewildering variety of products to choose from. I wondered what to buy, and I wondered how long it would take for a sales associate (SA) to come and help me. After many minutes, I began to wonder if I had become Invisible again. It always happens when I least want it to. If I want to be left alone in a book store, …

How to Boil Water on an Induction Cooktop

It was the start of Day 3 of the installation of the new kitchen counters. It was going well, but it was not over yet. It was a bit inconvenient not being able to use the kitchen sink or the cook top. And I was always looking for the telephone, because it wasn’t where it should be on the kitchen desk. All the pots and pans were on the table in the family room. All the cookbooks were on the dining room table. Toaster, coffee maker, the knife block – all were residing in places they shouldn’t be. We ate take-away a lot. Last night, however, The Car Guy connected up the wires for the new Induction Cook top and we were ready to try out this amazing technology. We decided to start out boldly – we would Boil Water! Before you scoff, Boiling Water is actually a very complicated process. The simple act of heating water involves quite a few variables, including altitude, weather, water hardness and anything else that is in the pot …

How to Make Devilled Eggs

In a previous post, I rambled on about Religion. Today I’m going to talk about the Devil. But not very seriously, so be forewarned. In many religions and cultures, the devil is considered to be a powerful entity – evil, and the enemy of mankind. He shows up in many common phrases:  speak of the devil; the devil made me do it; between the devil and the deep blue sea; devil’s advocate; better the devil you know than the devil you don’t; the devil incarnate; devil of a job; devil may care attitude; full of the devil; give the devil his due, the devil is in the details. I’ve written this word so many times now, that it doesn’t look like it is spelled right… Do you have any idea where I am going with this discussion? Deviled Eggs Or Devilled Eggs – you can spell it either way. Lots of things can be deviled – it simply means it is highly seasoned. I made some eggs yesterday, and they are devilishly easy to  make. …

How to Plan a Gingerbread Party

PLAN A: Christmas Day, after dinner, I started The Gingerbread. My plan was to bake four houses (one for each child) and lots of cookies. These were to be decorated the next day – Boxing Day – by all our guests. This has become a tradition here at the Red House. And yes, I had left the making of the Gingerbread to the very last hours that the task could logically be completed… Usually it is traditional for several people to make the gingerbread, led by our Middle Daughter – the Baker. But this year I was on my own. It didn’t take too long to mix up the first bowl of dough. Then, ignoring the instructions to chill it for 30 minutes (remember, I had started this after dinner…), I started rolling and cutting. A house came first. I chose a Bird House this year – scaled  down quite a bit from the size recommended in my clippings file. By the end of the first bowl of dough, I had one bird house, and about a dozen …

How to make Cell Phones Safer

My Spousal Unit took the Harley into the city yesterday. He returned unscathed, but a bit shaken. A young women nearly drove him off the road. She was so busy on her cell phone, that she didn’t even see him as she changed lanes. Fortunately my husband saw her heading for him, so he sped up and moved over as far as he could go. But with another car in front of him, and a high curb on his right, he could only go so far. Fortunately his evasive actions were enough. He was philosophical about the dangers of riding a motorcycle – “It wouldn’t have mattered whether I was in a car or on the bike – she just didn’t look where she was going. The problem wasn’t what I was driving. The problem was that she was driving AND talking. Clearly she can’t do both at the same time.” So, as I see it, the biggest danger of using a cell phone is that it causes accidents. Of course, there are suggestions that cell phone overuse can …

How to Preserve and Use Grandma’s Doilies

Nostalgia – I am just one generation removed from a time when my people covered the tops of almost every piece of furniture with doilies! I don’t want to recreate that era in my home, but I would still like to display a few of these intricate pieces of art. Here are a few ways I have either done this (or might try someday): 1. Mount a doily in a metal ring. To do this, lightly spray the doily with spray starch and press flat, using a pressing cloth. Center the doily on the inside of a metal hoop that is big enough! Using crochet thread, stitch the doily to the hoop at all the points. 2. Tack a doily to a stretched piece of fabric, then frame the fabric in some manner, such as inside quilt hoops. 3. I used to make small crochet snowflakes for my Christmas Tree. I used a white glue and water mixture to stiffen them. Some of them yellowed, and some of them didn’t – don’t really know why. …

How to Use a Barnes and Noble NOOK 1st Edition in Canada

I bought a NOOK eBook Reader (1st Edition) while I was visiting in the USA. It is a Barnes & Noble product that is not available in Canada,  though I am assured by the company that I can purchase books from them while I am in Canada. I was still in the USA when I tried out my new NOOK. I had already created an account with Barnes & Noble, so all that was required when I had charged up the battery of my NOOK, was to tell my NOOK what Wi-Fi  hotspot I was using, and then register my NOOK on my account… that was after I figured out what all the buttons did, and how to navigate around… I eventually used the NOOK to go shopping on the Barnes & Noble website, and found the free e-books. I chose one to download. Barnes and Noble immediately decided it didn’t like the Canadian Address on my account, and refused to send me my free book. So I moved over to a computer, went to the B&N website, navigated …

How to Save Paint Brushes from Drying out Mid-Project

Sometimes when I am in the middle of a painting project, I don’t want to clean my paint brush until I am done. Sometimes being done means tomorrow, or the next day. Or, sometimes it is a month later if the Never Ending Reno is in progress… I’ve tried wrapping my paint brush in clingy wrap, but the other day I ran out of cling wrap. So I popped the uncleaned wet paint brush into a small heavy duty zip lock bag. I scooted the brush over to one side and  zipped up the bag as close to the handle as I could.  Then I folded the empty part of the bag around the brush as many times as it would go. Lastly I used a twist tie to secure the bag around the handle. So far I’m on my fourth week of not being done, and the brush hasn’t dried out at all. A similar process can be used for paint rollers. Lay the uncleaned wet roller on a square of cling wrap and wrap it up tightly. …

customer service

How to Stalk a Sales Associate

I don’t advocate buying a computer (or just about anything, for that matter)  from some Big Box Stores. They are fine places to browse, but I personally don’t like to reward their staffs Ageist attitudes or lack of knowledge by buying something from them. I do, however, enjoy wandering through some of these stores just to see the immense variety of new product that is available. These stores are also great places to play my favourite shopping game – Sales Associate Stalking. The rules of this game are simple. I walk into a Big Box Electronic Store, go to the computer department, stand in front of the most expensive computer they sell, look perplexed, and then see how long it takes for a sales associate to approach me. I have discovered that a grey haired lady like myself can often wait until “Hell Freezes Over” before a sales associate will approach. This is where the stalking part of the game starts. I go looking for the clump of associates who have attached themselves to the good looking blonde …

two mice

How to Prevent Mouse Fingeritis

I’m not sure there is actually a malady called Mouse Fingeritis. I’ve seen a post for plain “fingeritis” which is described as extreme pain in the finger tips, caused by typing on a too rigid keyboard. Mouse Fingeritis, then would be a pain along the length of the finger caused by a too rigid mouse. At least, that is how I would describe it. I partially solved the problem by searching around until I found a mouse that takes very little pressure to click. I also found it helped to tape the finger with elastic bandage before I started working on the computer. Apparently this reduced the incidence of inflammation, and thus reduced the pain. The elastic bandage was inconvenient and bulky, so I made a trip to the pharmacy to see what else might work. In the brace section, there were support systems for all sorts of body parts, the knee being the most popular. But nothing for fingers. So I moved over to the bandage section. There were a variety of finger splints, but these were …

The Quippery

How to Fix Your Bed so that it is a Snore Stopper

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore and you sleep alone. – Anthony Burgess – In the Inventive Uses for a 2X4 category, the most recent one I am test driving is the enticing promise that it will reduce (if not stop) a person from snoring! In our household, late at night, now and then, someone might be lying awake in bed – listening to the saw like sounds of the person who lies beside them. Enter the 2X4, a dimensional piece of wood that is actually about 1.5 by 3.5 inches. Depending on the length of the board, it could be used to poke the snorer until they woke up and quit snoring. But, we have inadvertently found that if the 2X4 is used to raise the head of the bead by 3.5 inches, snoring is reduced significantly. At least, so far the snoring is reduced. We will see what happens in the long term. We raised the head of our bed for quite another medical reason.  The jury is out as to …