egg smile

photo by Dru Bloomfield
Ever crack an egg and the shell falls into the bowl? The first tip is an easy solution to that problem. You won't have to fish the shell out with a spoon or your finger. Add eggshells to your kitchen compost, too. They can be used in the garden.

EGG TIPS: Always crack your eggs into a separate bowl first before you add them to other ingredients. It saves your ingredients if you have an egg that's not so fresh; plus, it's easier to catch eggshells if you accidentally have some stragglers. Remember that eggshells act as magnets to other eggshells. Use a bigger piece of eggshell to get a small bit out. -- Erika, Florida

REUSE BREAD BAGS: I throw a few in the camper for wet clothes or for carsickness. -- Ali, Indiana

CARPET TIPS: Married to the flooring business here, so I do have a few tips. Don't ever use powdered odor removers on carpet. Invest in a good vacuum, and vacuum daily. The stretching damage is far outweighed by the damage the sand does to the fibers. You can have someone restretch your carpet for way cheaper than replacing one that's been damaged by dirt. If you are getting new carpeting, invest in a quality pad. Some carpets with a glue-based backing for holding the fibers in place are ruined quickly by steam cleaners. Know what you have before you start cleaning it. If you don't know what it is, get a company to clean it for you. Spot clean when something spills on the carpet, and quickly blot up spills. Do not leave carpets wet or damp. -- Missy, Colorado

REPLICATE: My best friend's son is turning 10 this week, and he loves ice fishing. In a popular catalog, I found a tackle box filled with gummy worms and fish and so on. It was $20, well over my budget. In the city I live in, we have a dollar store. I found a girls' bead box in blue (looks just like a tackle box), and I'll go to the candy store to get the gummy worms. I'm very happy that I could re-create this at a fraction of the cost. -- Steph, Maine

SOAP SLIVERS: I put them in the bottom of my hamper to keep it a little fresher. I also stick the slivers between the towels and washcloths in the linen cabinet, also to keep them smelling fresh. -- Joyce P., e-mail

RECYCLE SOCKS: When my socks get holes in them, a great second use is to just slip my hand into one and wipe my TV screens and computer screen to get the dust off. They're also great for small cleanups on mirrors and windows. -- Rosalind, Kentucky

FRUIT FLIES: I poured a little balsamic vinegar into a juice glass, squirted a drop of soap into it, and left it on the counter for a few days. Fruit flies are attracted to the balsamic, and the soap breaks the surface tension, so once they are in, they cannot get back out. I must have gotten 75 that way! -- Missy, Ohio

CHICKEN SOUP: When I make chicken wings, I cut off the tips, since there is no real meat on them, and they take up space when I bake them in the oven. I package them for the freezer in quart bags and use them to make stock for soup. -- W.M., South Carolina