1. Save time removing silk from corn cobs by holding the ear under running water, then brushing back and forth with a clean toothbrush.
Place the corn in your microwave for 10 seconds, turn cob upside and shake--the silk will just fall right off.
2. Put a layer of ice in the bottom of the cooler, then add the food, packed in sealed containers or plastic food bags. Top with frozen gel or juice packs or water bottles seven-eighths full and frozen. These will thaw, keep the food cool, and be icy to drink!
3. A reminder to have everyone dust their feet with baby powder or baking soda to remove all sand before getting into the car or walking into the house.
4. Remove sunscreen and summer gunk with baby oil or light cooking oil — it's cheap and safe!
5. To soothe a bee sting, make a thick paste of baking soda and water and apply to the reddened area to soothe.
6. Nourish household plants with leftover water used for cooking or cleaning vegetables.
7. To remove grease spills on tablecloths, pour baby powder or flour onto the spill or rub a piece of white chalk right into it. Let sit a bit, then shake off (outside) before you launder.
8. To freshen sleeping bags--after washing and drying, place several fabric softener sheets inside the bag, then roll it up. When you need it for your next camping trip, it will smell nice and fresh!
9. To clean patio furniture and remove stains, mix 3/4 cup household bleach and 1 tablespoon liquid laundry detergent with 1 gallon water. Wear rubber gloves and scrub the mixture over stained surfaces (but test it first on a hidden area to be sure the plastic doesn't discolor), then let it stay on the chair for 5 to 15 minutes. Rinse well.
10. To freshen smelly beach towels, shake out sand and debris, then wash in the hottest water that's safe for the fabric as soon as you come inside--you do not need detergent--just 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda. Don't cram the washing machine or dryer too full because towels can't get clean or dry properly. If you can't wash them right away, hang towels to air-dry.
11. Reuse plastic tableware-- put sturdy plastic silverware or plates in the dishwasher or clean by hand and use again for summer gatherings. If plastic food containers are stained or smelly, scrub with a paste of baking soda and water. If they are still smelly, fill with crumpled newspaper to absorb odors, then seal with the lids and leave for a couple of days. Wash again.
12. Garden smarter--fill a rolling garbage can with shovels, rakes, hoes, and other tools that you need and hang small ones on S-hooks on the rim. You will have everything you need for gardening or pruning right at your fingertips.
13. Clean your grill by scrunching up a wad of aluminum foil to wipe off grease and debris. Wash in hot, soapy water and dry. Rub with a little cooking oil.
14. Don't thaw food on the counter or let it sit outside the refrigerator for more than two hours. In summer heat of 85 degrees or more, food should not be left out for more than an hour, especially at the beach, a picnic, or barbecue.