Saturday Share - Baking Soda in the Kitchen

Good morning! It's a hot, sunny summer Saturday here in Texas.

I'm sharing more tips for using baking soda in your home. 

If you missed my previous posts about baking soda, here are a few of them:

12 Reasons to Keep Baking Soda Handy

10 Thrifty Tips to Save Money

Natural Air Freshener

5 Organic Air Fresheners.

Baking Soda in the Kitchen

1. If your dishclothes still smell funky even after washing, prepare a bowl of cold water with a couple tablespoons of baking soda and soak the dishcloths in the mixture for a couple of hours. Rinse the cloths and toss in the dryer. They should smell much better.

2. Hate the smell of raw fish? Soak the fix in a mixture of baking soda and cold water for an hour. Refrigerate while doing so. When you're ready to cook, simply rinse the fish first.

3. Does your dishwasher smell a little stale? Add a tablespoon of baking soda to your cycle. It will soften the water, make the dishes come out cleaner, and make your dishwasher smell better.

4. Like to keep a vase of fresh flowers in your kitchen? I do. I cut flowers and place them at the kitchen window over the sink. I put a teaspoon of baking soda in the water in the vase, and the flowers stay fresh longer.

5. Have a litter box in the laundry room next to the kitchen? Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the litter box to reduce odor.

6. Remember my tip about cleaning the drains? Do that  once a week to the kitchen drain. Run the water until it's hot then pour a couple of spoonfuls of baking soda down the drain. Flush with plenty of hot water.

7. Most coffeemakers advise you to run white vinegar through them at least once a month. If you think it takes a lot of rinsing to get the vinegar smell out, make a slurry of a few teaspoons of baking soda and 4-6 cups of water. Run that through the coffeemaker. Rinse thoroughly before brewing coffee.

By the way, I use baking soda regularly. Rather than buy the little box at the grocery store, I order it in bulk. You can get a trio of 1-pound boxes at Amazon, with Prime shipping, for only $11.42.

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes the tips from our grandmothers work as well as commercial products—for a lot less money. 

Joan participates in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.


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5 Friday Fun Facts About Back to School

School started here last week. If you drive through a school zone, do NOT speed and do NOT use your cell phone.

Pay attention to the kids on the street because there are still many who walk or bike to a nearby school.

5 Fun Facts About Back to School Time

1. From kindergarten to college, there are more that 78 million kids who head back to school every fall.

2. There are more than 8 million teachers in the United States.

3. The fear of going to school is called Didaskaleinophobia.

4. Even though school buses started running in the early part of the 20th century, the bright yellow color wasn’t adopted until 1939.

5. If you still use pencils, you'll be glad to know a pencil can be sharpened 17 times.

By the way, I still use pencils. There's something satisfying about writing and drawing with a pencil.

I bought an X-ACTO KS Manual Pencil Sharpener to sharpen my pencils to a fine point—just like I did in elementary school.

As I wrote this, the sharpener I bought is on sale for much less than what I paid—$13.30. Get it before it goes back to regular price.

Takeaway Truth

I guess I should have waited until back to school sale days to buy my pencil sharpener.

Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon.
She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.


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Review—Lone Star Law on Max

If you have Max, you have a free ticket to binge watch Lone Star Law, a series from Animal Planet that is fascinating for so many reasons.

We started watching because of its title—Lone Star Law. It turns out that the law in question is Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens.

The cases they work are surprising, the scenery is stunning, and the human nature on display is equally stunning.

I'm amazed by how many people don't bother getting hunting and fishing licenses and horrified by those who think it's okay to go out and kill an animal just to be killing it for kicks.

It's one thing to hunt an animal to harvest it for food. It's quite another to "thrill kill" and leave the dead carcass lying in a field.

Then there are the boaters who think nothing of inhaling a 6-pack of beer—or more—then getting out on a lake in a boat full of family and friends.

Boating while intoxicated is a real thing and very common. So is lack of completing boaters ed, the on the water equivalent of driver's ed, failure to have a life jacket for each person aboard, and failure to have "live" fire extinguishers.

Wardens make drug arrests in the great outdoors and battle the cartels who try to sneak in and cut down old-growth trees in the dense woods in order to sow marijuana fields.

Wow, how the world has changed.


Lone Star Law debuted on June 2, 2016, on Animal Planet, and there are now 11 seasons available. Set in Texas, the reality show is unscripted and follows numerous game wardens of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department from various regions of the state.

The Intro to each episode, A Texas Game Warden's Job, is spoken by Warden Randolph McGee.

About Lone Star Law

Texas Game Wardens are an elite force of law enforcement professionals who have the same powers as State Police—and then some! 

They protect and patrol more than a quarter million square miles of the state’s natural resources—plants, animals including snakes, alligators, birds, and fish.

Those quarter million square miles are filled with deserts, lakes, piney woods, bayous, plains, and the Gulf Coast.

They investigate poaching, relocate alligators and other wildlife that threaten encroaching homes, write citations, save flood victims, bust up illegal smuggling rings, rescue injured wildlife, make drug arrests, and do all the things State Police do. The episodes are composed of multiple stories that jump from one county to another, sometimes thousands of miles apart.

Takeaway Truth

This series is fascinating, and it gave me a new appreciation of game wardens whose mission is to protect the plants, animals, and the environment of my state from those who would abuse and/or destroy it.

Hit Songs of Summer for Last 10 Years

In the Summertime, the music is fine. Each generation has its own list of most popular songs of summer.

Here are the most popular songs from the last 10 years that hit it big in the Summer.

2013 —  Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell — YouTube Video

2014 —  Fancy by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX — YouTube Video

2015 — Bad Blood by Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar — YouTube Video

2016 — One Dance by Drake featuring WizKid and Kyla — YouTube Video

2017 — Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber — YouTube Video

2018 — In My Feelings by Drake — YouTube Video

2019 — Old Town Road – Remix by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus — YouTube Video

2020 — Savage Remix by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé — YouTube Video

2021 —  Butter by BTS — YouTube Video

2022 — As It Was by Harry Styles — YouTube Video

2023 — WATATI by Karol G, featuring Aldo Ranks. Barbie Movie Album YouTube Video


Of course these are not my favorite songs from the summers of the last 10 years. Most of the summer songs I love are fun rather than angsty, and most have the word summer in the title. 

These may not be your favorites either, but have some fun and look your favorites up on YouTube and enjoy them all over again. 

Takeaway Truth

Music is a time machine. Listen to a song you love and chances are you'll be swept back in time to when you first heard it. 


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Summer Heat by the Numbers

How hot is it?

Well, so far, 2023 is the 3rd hottest year on record through July. According to Climate Central, July was the hottest year on record.

Considering August has been even hotter, I can't wait to see those stats!

Through July, Global temperatures were 2.32° F. (1.29°C) above the baseline established from 1881-1910.

I guess we can blame this extreme heat on El Niño which kicked on in May. El Niño years get an extra increase in heat because the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern.

According to everything I've read from climatologists, the earth is in a warming phase. The disagreement seems to be about why. I've read a lot about this subject and there seems to be much evidence that carbon fuels aren't the problem.

Anyone know about HAARP, the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program? I saw a documentary about it several years ago on Discovery I believe. It was scary.

I must admit those who think these HAARP research programs carried on by our country and Russia may have a point that the bombardment of the upper atmosphere with ultra-high frequency radio waves created climate change.

Russia began their high-frequecy experiments first, and the U. S. followed. Russia allegedly shut theirs down in 2008, and the U. S. military's research program was shut down in 2014.

If you don't believe me, just do a Google search for HAARP. You'll find several documentaries about it and just as many alarmist views of it. 

Takeaway Truth

I'm reminded of an episode of Stargate SG-1 in which a planet had a device that controlled the weather. Without that device, all hell broke loose with the weather. 

5 Friday Facts About Hot August

Is it hot enough for you? Yikes, it's been triple digit temperatures herre every day since July. I'm wishing and hoping for rain, but so far, no joy.

Did You Know...

1. August is when we have the Dog Days of summer because this month is the hottest and most humid. 

Why Dog Days? Because this month is when the "Dog Star" Sirius is closest to the earth.

2. August originally named Sextilis, or 6th month, because it was the 6th month under the Roman calendar, and it did not have 31 days then. In the Julian and Gregorian calendars, August is the 8th month. 

3. The Perseid Meteor Shower, associated with the Swift-Tuttle comet and named Perseids  because they appear from the general direction of the constellation Perseus, occurs in August. If you weren't watching the sky between August 12 and 13th, you missed it.

4. The full moon in August has many names specific to various cultures. The Celts called it the Grain Moon or the Dispute Moon. Grain Moon because that was when they harvested grain, and Dispute Moon because that's when they settled disputes. 

Each of our Native American Nations had a specific name for each month's full moon. I think the Tunica-Biloxi nation of Louisiana appropriately called it the Hot Moon.

5. August is, of course, named for the Roman Emperor Augustus, which in Latin means inspiring reverence or admiration.

Takeaway Truth

Be careful out in the heat and stay hydrated.


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Review: Suits on Netflix

I'm probably the last person on the planet to watch the TV series Suits, an American legal drama that premiered on the USA Network in 2011.

As I told you before, I spent the summer sick and mostly watching TV shows and movies on our big flat screen.

My Blurb

I sampled a little of everything including TV series that have made their way onto streaming services. One of these was Suits, an engaging train-wreck of a legal series with charismatic characters who make one bad decision after another and with each leading to complications and other bad decisions.

 The Official Blurb

Set at a fictional New York City law firm, Suits follows Mike Ross (played by Patrick J. Adams), who uses his photographic memory to talk his way into a job as an associate working for successful "closer" attorney Harvey Specter (compellingly portrayed by Gabriel Macht).

But Mike is a college dropout who never attended law school. (He did pass the LSAT multiple times as an illegal proxy, and that's the backstory and conflict playing throughout the series).

Suits focuses on Harvey and Mike who win lawsuits and close cases—always struggling to keep Mike's secret. 

The other characters who populate the firm are Jessica Pearson, the firm's managing partner (the fabulous Gina Torres), manipulative Louis Litt (the always good Rick Hoffman), and the awesome Donna Paulsen, Harvey's legal secretary and confidante (awesome Sarah Rafferty).

Meghan Markle (yes, now Duchess of Sussex) is Rachel Zane, an ambitious, skilled paralegal, and Ross's love interest.

This series which ran from its 2011 debut through September 2019, has great writing which produced the drama, humor, and compelling stories that make for great television.


Suits was created by Aaron Korsh who wrote the first episode and another couple of dozen too. There are dozens of writers in various classifications for this show that ran 134 episodes.  I'd like to mention them all, but that would make a really long post. 

My 2 Cents

I love this show, but I did get tired of the constant arguments between characters as well as their inability to rise above their respective emotional baggages and "grow" as characters.

Yet, once I tune in to an episode, I can't not watch another episode and another so be warned that it's a time suck if you have other things you should be doing.

I'll confess my favorite character is Donna who sees all, hears all, and knows all. Ms. Rafferty made her character completely memorable.

Takeaway Truth

Suits broke streaming records for a TV series. I watched it on Netflix, but they currently don't have the 9th and final season. Suits also streams on Peacock so I'll check there for season 9.


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When to Use DoFollow or NoFollow Link

Do you know the difference between a NoFollow Link and a DoFollow Link?

Knowing the difference determines which one to use when you link to something from your websight.

Nofollow links are hyperlinks that begin with a rel=nofollow tag. 

A No Follow link does not influence the search engine rankings of the destination URL (the website the link points to) because Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across them. Google doesn't even crawl the nofollowed link.

That means DoFollow Links transfer your authority or PageRank to the destination URL. On Blogger, as on most platforms I think, the default is dofollow which means you must choose to make the link a nofollow attribute. On Blogger, you just put a check in the box that says, "Add 'rel=nofollow' attribute." 

On Blogger, if you want to know more, you'll see a hot link for Learn More after the check box to make the link a nofollow.

Takeaway Truth

Of course this means you want DoFollow links from other websites to point to your website thereby transferring some of their authority to you. Also, be careful about linking to sketchy websites with which you might not want to be associated.

Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.


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Saturday Share: Best Kitchen Purchase This Year

I'm not one to buy things for my kitchen unless they have multiple uses. I've bought specific use itms before, used them a couple of times, and then tossed each into a drawer. 

However, I discovered something that is so great I snagged it even though it serves only 1 need.

I'm talking about a rack that holds plastic freezer bags like Ziploc bags so they can be filled quickly and easily.

Ruibo Baggy Rack Holder for Food Prep comes in a 4 Pack and makes pouring spaghetti  sauce or chili into a Ziploc Freezer bag so easy. They're perfect for liquid ingredients but also great when you need to divide a large package of chicken or steak into individual bags. 

The "arms" of the holder adjust up or down so you can use bags in a range of sizes.

The clips hold the bag open, and the base grips the counter.

Reviews give it 4.7 out of 5 stars, and that's from 16,114 ratings! Best of all, these fold up so they take up little space in a drawer—and they're only $10.99 with Prime free shipping for subscribers.

Takeaway Truth

No matter what you want to place inside a plastic freezer bag, these cunning rack holders eliminate the messy part of doing that.

Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.


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The Power of Fonts

I'm always looking for new fonts. I buy them from various sources. Last night I was cruising through DaFont and saw some new script fonts that were really lovely.

I think all of them are free for personal use, but I want them for book covers which means I buy a commercial license or make a donation to the creator if that's what he/she wants.

The font shown above, at left, Bartleen, is really pretty, and a commercial license for Bartleen Script by Cut Story was on sale last night for only $8.00. 

I didn't buy at the time because I wanted to keep looking and found myself browsing CreativeFabrica, a website with some incredible fonts.

Bellarin is a free font offered by  CreativeFabrica.

Why Use Custom Fonts

1. Buy a custom font, or typeface as it's properly called, and you can use it so the design becomes synonymous with your brand.

2. Everyone who has a computer can recognize the standard fonts that come with Windows. Using one of those for book covers kind of shouts, "Amateur" to many people. Pick a custom font or one that's not often used.

3. Fonts can create an atmosphere or mood which means it can give a visual clue to what's "beneath" the font whether that's a book cover, website, video, movie, music album, etc. 

With documents, fonts can guide the eye in reading, i.e., bold face, italics, etc. show which parts are of specific importance. 

Learn more about the power of fonts with this  book: Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students by Ellen Lupton

Even though it was published nearly 20 years ago, it's still #1 in Desktop Publishing, #2 in Design History, and #6 in Typography (Books).

Get the print edition if you can because it's chock full of illustrations naturally, and they never really show up well in an ebook.

Takeaway Truth

Fonts, or typefaces, are more than a print element. They're another way to create an emotional response in the reader.

Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.


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Review: Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

During the 2 months I was sick, I read a lot until I reached the point that I was too physically tired to read.

Then I watched the best—and the worst—that video streaming offers. From a YouTube video, I learned about a book that may help those plagued by procrastination.

Solving the Procrastination Puzzle by Timothy A. Pychyl is a rather short book, but it may have a big impact on your life. It's available from Amazon in ebook, Paperback, Audio, and Paperback.

I think procrastination is the challenge most people face. If you'd like to break free from this self-destructive habit, this book has specific strategies to help you do that.

The author, Dr. Timothy Pychyl is an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa. He's been researching and writing about procrastination for almost 30 years. He offers practical tips to help you drop procrastination like the bad habit it is.

Takeaway Truth

Take action today. Get unstuck! Get—and read—Solving the Procrastination Puzzle.

Joan participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, affiliate advertising designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to products on Amazon. She may receive a small commision at no extra cost to you.


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Dear Blog—I'm Back!

I'm tempted to use the Mark Twain quote: "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated," but I don't think anyone has said I died.

I was just so sick I thought I might. LOL

For the first time in my life, I was sick. I guess I've led a blessed life because other than the occasional cold or sinus infection, I've never been really sick.

Some how, somewhere during our travels at the end of May for graduations and birthday parties, I contracted—wait for it—an unknown pathogen.

It was weird. One day I was find. The next day I thought I was going to die, and that continued until mid-July.

At first I thought I had food poisoning, but after 2 weeks of being violently ill, I knew it was more than that. Lab tests followed. What I discovered is the lab has to know what you have in order to test for it. So lab tests resulted in "unknown pathogen."

Just when I was at my lowest physically (lost almost 15 pounds in a month) and emotionally, I finally started to get better. The only problem is my physical self seems to be over it, but my energy level is still flat-lined.

The worst part of the ordeal is that I still don't know what caused it, and thinking it may return scares me.

It's going to take a while to get my energy back, but at least I can now sit at the computer. Starting today, I'm trying to do a few things—like this blog post—but I'm going to be patient because being sick really sucks.

Like Nelson Mandela once said, "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Takeaway Truth

I fell. I've picked myself up. I'll see you tomorrow.