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How to repel mosquitoes

By on July 20, 2008

photo by Strata Chalup
lemon balm

Our yard gets a lot of mosquitoes. The city sprays to control them, but it’s a losing battle when we get heavy rain. I burn citronella candles to combat them so family and friends can enjoy our backyard without being attacked by bugs. I’m going to give the first tip a try. It’s great not only for repelling mosquitoes but it makes a great herbal tea, too. It’s much easier and cheaper than mixing water, lemon dish liquid and Listerine in a spray bottle.

BYE BUGS: Plant lemon balm to keep the mosquitoes away. Grab a handful, crush the leaves and rub onto skin, too. — earthymom, Ohio

EXTEND SHOE LIFE: When you get marks on neutral-colored suede shoes that you can’t remove, use any color shoe polish on them. You end up with a pair of smooth leather shoes. — Alice, e-mail

Whenever I get freshly cut tulips, they reach and grow. To get them to stop, take a knife and cut a little slit right under the bloom vertically. This will keep them as straight as possible and prevents them from reaching. — Natalie, forums

CAKE STENCIL: To decorate the top of a cake, use cookie cutters to make a light impression and fill the outline with icing or decorative candies. — Carrie, e-mail

CRISPY PIZZA: Buy unglazed terra-cotta tiles from a home-improvement store. Look for a 16-inch tile. Place the tile on the bottom rack in the oven, and preheat your oven while you make your dough and assemble the toppings. Roll your dough on parchment paper, add toppings and lift it all onto the tile. Bake as usual. — Sinclairwife, Missouri

Hang a shopping bag on a clothes hanger in a closet. Each bag you hang can hold gifts for each family member. You’ll know at a glance who is getting what without having to spread everything out and match up gifts. — Amanda, Georgia

APPLE-PIE SECRETS: Use a few different kinds of apples. When I make it, I use Granny Smiths, Macs and Macouns. The object is to combine sweet and tart, crisp and soft. For piecrusts, the secret is not over-rolling or over-kneading the dough. — Brandy, e-mail

I crocheted some smaller afghans, and every day, I fold them back up on the beds and there they sit, looking out of place. I thought I could put them inside of my spare pillow shams for a practical storage solution that’s pretty, too. — Jilly, e-mail

When using dishwashing liquid, pour a drop into the water and use a metal whisk to beat until frothy or sudsy. The bottle lasts much longer, too. — Staceyy, Pennsylvania

SAVE FELT SCRAPS: Use them with your nail-polish remover to get off nail polish. The abrasiveness of the felt works great! — Dee, New York

FROM-SCRATCH SHORTCUT: The secret to making pizzas and hot-pocket-style sandwiches is tortilla flour mix. It’s cheap for a five-pound bag, and it’s packaged like flour. Get the wheat flour and not the instant corn. Mix according to instructions, using 1/2 cup hot water to 2 cups mix, then knead until dough resembles play dough. You can divide the dough into two portions and make two small personal pizzas, or divide it into four portions and make hot pockets. Roll the dough flat, fill one half with fillings of choice and fold dough over to cover. Pinch and twist the edges to seal it. Bake at 425 F for about 15 minutes or until brown. If you put cheese inside, it can form dark spots on top of the dough, so put a layer of filling between cheese and crust. If you make pizza, bake at the same temperature. It might only take 10 minutes, depending on how thin the crust is. — Simon, North Carolina

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