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Substitute and Solve - Keeping brown sugar soft, keeping cats off furniture

Hello Reena,

My problem is that I cannot keep my packet of brown sugar soft. It always goes hard and lumpy and I have to throw it away. I keep it carefully closed and sealed,and in a dry cupboard. I seem to remember my mother saying to put something in with it to prevent hardening, but can’t recall what she advised. Carol

Dear Carol,

The most common solutions are to store pieces of bread, or halved apples with brown sugar to prevent future hardening. But the best little gadget for this softening is a little piece of moistened clay. These can be purchased at most stores who sell household items. Extra Tip: In order to soften brown sugar, put it in a container and place it in the microwave with a small bowl full of water beside it. Microwave for about one minute. If it is still hard, microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat until sugar is soft, being careful not to burn the sugar.

Dear Reena,

Saw the blurb about using used coffee grounds to keep cats away from the Christmas tree. Will this work to keep cats from scratching furniture? Do the grounds have to be kept moist or can they be dry?Heather

Dear Heather,

The mere aroma of dry coffee grounds has the capacity to keep some cats away, while other don’t mind the smell. Positioning a cat scratching tree near the furniture is another great deterrent for cats who like to scratch. Or spray the cats with a spray bottle filled with water and say the word "no" — repetition is key. If cats tend to jump on furniture while you are away, lay strips of aluminum foil on furniture or cut up plastic computer floor mats and place them on the furniture with the spikes up. Cats won`t like the feeling on their cute little paws.

Reader Feedback:

Re: Cleaning computer and television screens

Coatings on computer and TV screens are similar to eyeglass coatings, so we recommend using eyeglass cleaning wipes. Liquid eyeglass cleaner is also OK, as long as it is sprayed onto a cloth rather than directly on the screen. Erik, IT Manager

Christmas Is Coming!

Here is a really cool Christmas project that anyone can take part in. Purchase clear plastic ball Christmas tree ornaments that open when pulled apart. Take the paper off of a crayon. Place the crayon inside the ball and close the ball. Hold a hair dryer on hot setting towards the ball. The crayon melts inside the ball and makes an interesting design.

Harness the power of words!

"Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not!" ~ Author Unknown

Reena Nerbas is a rural Manitoba home economist is a lab coat - and she’s not afraid to use it. Keep your questions coming:

» householdsolutions@mts.net

(204) 320-2757

reena.ca

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 19, 2013

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Hello Reena,

My problem is that I cannot keep my packet of brown sugar soft. It always goes hard and lumpy and I have to throw it away. I keep it carefully closed and sealed,and in a dry cupboard. I seem to remember my mother saying to put something in with it to prevent hardening, but can’t recall what she advised. Carol

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Hello Reena,

My problem is that I cannot keep my packet of brown sugar soft. It always goes hard and lumpy and I have to throw it away. I keep it carefully closed and sealed,and in a dry cupboard. I seem to remember my mother saying to put something in with it to prevent hardening, but can’t recall what she advised. Carol

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