pet bowl

photo by n1nj4

If you have a cat or dog, you've probably encountered water spills whenever it drinks from its bowl. Or maybe your pet tips the entire bowl over. Small spills are easy to wipe up with a towel. But maybe you want to keep the floor dry. You can place the bowl on top of a towel, place it inside a plastic dish tub, or buy a weighted bowl or one that has a lip or wider rim on it. The first reader tip shares another idea.


My friend used $1 store boot mats that had a small lip. She also used a deeper bowl with less food or water in it. This worked well for both her cats and dog. -- Libby, Canada


Two days ago, I forgot about a pot of rice that was on the stove and ended up with a burned-on mess in the bottom of the pot. I let the pot soak overnight, but nothing would come off. It's a good pot, so chucking it wasn't an option. But I also hate wasting time scrubbing pots, and I don't want to spend money on pot cleaner. Then I remembered my thrifty pot-cleaning trick. I put 2 tablespoons of baking soda into the pot and poured in 2 cups of water. I brought the mixture to a boil, then turned off the heat and let the water and baking soda cool. I took the pot to the sink and the black, burned-on rice came off with no trouble at all! -- T.S., Canada


I read your article on the problem of keeping brown sugar moist, and I've found the best method is to put several marshmallows in the bag of sugar and seal the bag well. I buy the cheapest and smallest marshmallows, and every now and then, I add a few more to the sugar and it stays moist for a long time. I don't use it that often. -- Janet S., e-mail


The next time you clean your fireplace, sprinkle coffee grounds over the ashes so that you can keep the dust down and remove the ashes more easily. -- T.S., Canada


Remove food odors from your microwave without the use of toxic, expensive cleaning products. The next time you're eating oranges, save a couple of peels and pop them straight into your microwave oven. Microwave the peels for about one minute, and the smell of leftover stew, onion soup, spaghetti sauce or whatever it was that stunk up your microwave will have disappeared. -- T.S., Canada

I love to add dried orange peel when I brew a cup of tea, but I also use saved citrus zest to add to compound butters, marinades, scones and veggies. I basically add it as needed to jazz things up. -- Hestlauss, California


Clothes are a big part of budgeting and one of the easiest areas in which to overspend. First of all, take it slow. Before you throw anything out, keep things as they are and change just one thing. Face all of the clothes hangers in the same direction. When you return any item to the closet, turn the hanger the opposite way. Do this for the year. When you get to the end of a season, look at what clothes you wore. These are the keepers. We wear just 20 percent of our clothing 80 percent of the time. -- Karen, U.K.