Laundry timesaver, plus avoid missing socks and underwear

Does your household suffer from that common plight of missing socks? If you’re like me, you have a drawer full of pitiful, mateless,  mismatched halvsies.

If hunting down strays before you do the wash and sorting out all the socks and underwear drives you bonkers, read on. I read a great tip on a parenting-related blog in relation to kids. Granted, our kids have four hairy feet or fins, but some advice transcends parental status. This is something that would benefit any household of people who wear socks and/or underwear.

Chances are you fit into one or both of those categories! #nojudgement

Here it is: Keep a couple extra mesh laundry bags handy in or near your hamper. I’d avoid the great big laundry bags made to carry several loads and stick with some smaller ones designed more for delicates, like this set of 3 Ikea mesh laundry bags. Put your dirty socks and underwear this bag. If you really want to go all out in your laundry organization, have one bag for each garment type.

Come laundry day, just zip or tie up the bags and toss them in the washing machine. In case you’re wondering, yes, you can dry them right in the same bag, too. Ta da! No more missing socks, and what a time-saver come time to sort.

If you’d like to avoid the whole sorting thing, you could do like some people and just have black socks and white socks, plus a few dress socks. If that’s your sock drawer scenario, all you have to do with the clean, dry socks is dump ’em in the drawer and fuggedaboudit.

What are some of your favorite laundry tips?

How to cut onions without tears

Through the years, I’ve read all kinds of suggestions for making the process of cutting onions less tearful. People suggest everything from running the onion under cold water while you cut it (Hello! Awkward!)  to freezing it first. Some suggest slicing it only in a certain direction.

None of those methods worked for me. I really can’t stand cutting raw onions. Even when my husband’s cutting them in the kitchen while I’m in the living room, the pungent odor gives me fits. I cry, my eyes burn, and my nose hurts. I’m a wimp!

This method, though, really works! Honest and for true, pinky swear.

I first learned of it from this video. I was skeptical. But my recipe called for caramelized onions and I knew I had a lot of onions to chop. It was the perfect time to test out his claims. These were cheap, strong, yellow cooking onions…The real stinkers.

It worked!

Tonight I planned on making homemade pizza for my folks and us, this very pizza as a matter of fact:

We like onions on it, so it was to be another fun-filled, onion-intensive session in the kitchen. I didn’t want to use my old standby the food processor because it would cut them too finely. At the last minute, I grabbed my camera and set out to document the process for my blog.

To begin with, you need to work with the root end of the onion. In the center of an onion, coming up from the root end, is a bulb. It’s this bulb which contains that strong-smelling onion gas.

You want to cut the root end of the onion.

The trick is to cut the root end out, and with it, the bulb inside.

To do this, you should cut around the root end, about 1/3 of the way out from the center of the onion. Cut in at an angle so you’re making kind of a cone shape. Think of how you angle the knife when you cut a top off a Halloween pumpkin.

Cut about 1/3 of the way out from the center, slightly angled in to form a cone.

Ideally, you’ll end up with this. See that center part, joined to the roots? Throw this away. Yes, it feels wasteful. But do it, because this is one nasty, stinky little bulb in your hand. This is the cause of all that misery.  Don’t put it down your disposal, either! I’m telling you, you’ll rue the day you were born.

Ideally, you should end up with something that looks like this!

But what happens if that bulb doesn’t come out neatly in one piece? What if you chopped right into it? For the love of all things holy, what will you do? What if it looks like this one I did?

Oops, sometimes you don’t get the bulb out like you hoped.

No worries! Look deep into that rogue onion. See the little whorls that look different from the rest of the rings? Those are the parts you need to remove. Sometimes a developing bulb will split into two or three separate points. That’s what happened here. Sneaky little suckers.

No worries! See those little guys in there?

Just take the tip of your knife and gentle pry each of those little guys out of its hole. See? They come right out!

Pry those pieces out with the tip of your knife.

Ta-da! There are the troublemakers. And here they thought they could get away! This onion was way past its prime, by the way. The green you see is sprouts forming within the onion. This is not a good thing in garlic; it makes the garlic take on a bitter taste. I haven’t noticed this with onions so much, but the outer layers were beginning to go a little soft.

Those would have been troublemakers.

But I digress.

Once you’ve removed the bulb and any sneaky sidekicks that tried to hide, you’re ready to peel the outer layers off your onion and slice it up however you choose. You will be shocked at how little you smell that pungent onions smell — maybe not at all. If you do start tearing up, it means you didn’t quite get all the bulb out.

Flexible cutting mat with chopped onions

Were it not for this technique, I could not have done this without much discomfort!

But what happens if it doesn’t come out in one piece? What if you chopped right into it (like I did on this one)??picsYes, you will “waste” some onion. But if you’re like me, highly sensitive to the gas from raw onions, it’s more than a fair trade off!

I want to give a shoutout to Jack and his site The Best Sauces. He has a YouTube channel, Cooking with Jack: A Cooking Show for the Average Joe with lots of good videos about cooking!

Windows Vista help sites: My short list

With my new Toshiba Satellite A205-S4577 laptop last year came a new operating system for me as well: Windows Vista. Do I like it? Yes! Do I love it! I’d have to give it a qualified yes. This isn’t an in-depth review, but I have a few observations along with some great links for Vista users as well as anyone curious about Vista.

I think Windows Defender is overkill and have disabled it. Vista has so many confirmation windows pop up in its default installation, I see how it can be overwhelming to an inexperienced computer user. I have fielded those calls and am glad I am running Vista on at least one of our machines here at home so I can walk people through things on both XP and Vista.

I love the ease of navigation within it, though. Especially handy to me is the “breadcrumb bar“, which let you move around in the folder hierarchy very easily. Support for multimedia has been improved, too.

It’s not without its quirks, though. One stubborn issue I’m dealing with is Windows Explorer hanging. Vista does, at least, let you restart it without restarting the whole computer. Once it does restart, however, the network and volume icons are missing from the notification area of the Taskbar. Right-clicking and going to the Taskbar’s properties doesn’t help, for under Notification Are tab, those two icons are grayed out and can’t be reselected. It’s a bug a lot of people have, and I’m still digging around trying to find what’s causing it on my system.

By the way, I was amused when I learned about the Mojave Experiment. It is brilliant! Microsoft wanted to see what people thought of Windows Vista, but didn’t want people to have preconceived notions. So, they came up with a re-branded Vista, calling it Mojave, and sat people down in front of computers loaded with this  pseudonymed version loaded on the PC. People who had very negative opinions of Vista ended up liking  Mojave. Fun times!

It kind of reminds me of those old great old Palmolive commercials with Madge the Manicurist: “Dishwashing liquid?”…”You’re soaking in it!”

But I digress…I digress a lot, don’t I? If you think it’s bad here, try holding a conversation with me.  *Sigh* I have so much going on in my head and make so many random connections to things. I guess it’s the downside of having a creative, scattered mind. 😉

Okay, back on track now. The reason I started this blog entry is to share a few links that Vista users will find helpful. I found a few rockin’ Vista-related sites offering forums, tips and tricks. Here’s my shortlist:

Lucky for me, they were all listed at the WinVistaClub website. Never have I had an easier time assembling a shortlist. 😉 If you’re on the lookout for advice about Windows Vista, those sites are full of great information. I like the layout at WinVistaClub, too.

Wonder Twin powers activate: Form of e-mail comment notification!

I’m happy to report new comment notification has been activated for both this blog and The H-Man. Now, whenever you leave a comment, you’ll have the option of receiving e-mail notification when someone leaves a comment after you.

Woot! Stay in the loop! Eavesdrop when no one’s looking! Subscribe! 🙂

On another note, I’d like to thank Jack of Jacknjeannie.com for addressing the issue of WordPress not sending out email notification of new comments. I’d combed various message boards for over an hour when, suddenly, use of a slightly different search term landed me on their website. The comments notifier plug-in Jack recommended did the trick when combined with the creation and entry of two new e-mail forwarders: wordpress@domain.com, one for each of our sites.Click John Cleese for a treat!

It worked a little too well, actually, as we began receiving notification to not only directly our normal e-mail (entered in Options > General), but also via the forwarder I’d set up and entered in the plug-in’s configuration. I’ve deleted the extra e-mails and will watch to see if notifications still come through.

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…Oh, and if you want to come back later and see if you are able to unsubscribe from new comment notification, feel free. 😉