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More Questions For Reena – for Sep. 1, 2011

Hi Reena,

I am planning to install pot lights in my newly renovated home. Are there any guidelines as to where to place the lights?

Dear Bentley, Try not to place lights too close together or in rows down the centre of the room. You don’t want to create an airport runway appearance. Match the size of your fixtures to how close together they can be installed. The common rule is that four-inch fixtures should generally be placed at least four feet apart and six-inch fixtures about six feet apart. If you are planning to accent certain features, centre recessed fixtures in front of the objects about 12 to 18 inches in front of the object you wish to light i.e. painting, bookshelf or drapery panels. Recessed lights used for reading or task lighting should be carefully placed overhead so that light is not blocked. When lighting a three-dimensional object such as a fireplace, art piece or flower arrangement, it is more effective to light it from two or three different angles.

Dear Reena,

How can I get the musty smell of old paper out of a metal filing cabinet? The cabinet has never been exposed to moisture. The smell comes from musty-smelling old, old papers (paper mould) that I stored in it. I emptied the filing cabinet and got rid of most of the musty-smelling papers. I do not want the other papers to be contaminated with the musty smell. Therefore, I want to get rid of it before I put them back into the cabinet. Please let me know

if there is a way to solve this problem. Thank you. – Joyce

Hi Joyce,

Your first step is to empty and clean the entire cabinet out with plain old dish soap and water. Dry well to prevent future mould and rust formation. Next apply a light coating of olive oil inside the cabinet. Wipe away all excess and dry well. This step is an easy way to remove foul odours as well as preventing rust. Worst-case scenario, stuff the cabinet with crumpled-up newspaper, leave for three days and remove.

Dear Reena,

My mother-in-law is on the way! What is the best way to clean my coffee maker?

– Tania

Hi Tania,

With no time to lose clean your filter, basket and carafe in the dishwasher. Never use abrasives on your coffee maker surface or heating element. Next pour 2 cups white vinegar and 3 drops of peppermint essential oil into the pot and fill with enough water for 10 cups of coffee. Brew as you would coffee. Not only will this solution clean out your coffee maker, but the kitchen will smell peppermint fresh.

Dear Reena,

My boyfriend was sick with a cold, and so wanting to make him feel better, I made him homemade chicken soup. This project of love turned disaster when the soup burned and actually set fire to the kitchen. Yes you heard me, I burned soup! Do you have any great chicken soup recipes? – Sidney Help is on the way Sidney!

Place one 2-or 3-pound whole chicken and 4 chopped celery stalks (with leaves) in a pot and cover it with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to minimum and simmer for 35 minutes. Remove chicken from pot. Strain the liquid into a large pot and discard celery tops. Into the pot add 1 lb. baby carrots, 2 chopped onions, 2 cubes beef bouillon cubes crumbled, 2 (14.5 ounces) cans chicken broth and 1 package chicken noodle soup mix. Allow this to simmer and season with 1/4 tsp. of thyme, dried parsley, poultry seasoning and dried basil. Add 5 peppercorns and 2 bay leaves. Remove chicken from bone and cut into bite-size pieces. Add meat to pot and cook until veggies are tender (about 1-1/2 hours). Into the pot drop 1 (8-ounce pkg.) pasta. Stir and cook for 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy the compliments.

Tips of the week:

Immediate relief for a wasp sting can be attained from applying a paste made of meat tenderizer and a little water. Leaving this on for at least a half-hour will take away pain and itch. When part of a stinger remains in the skin, apply a poultice to safely draw the stinger out (such as stale bread wetted with milk); repeat if necessary. Look out for a rash or swelling that gets worse instead of better. If this happens, contact a doctor.

Perfect homemade pickles:

When choosing pickles for pickling, pick fresh garden cucumbers early in the morning. Immediately submerge cucumbers in ice cold water until ready to use.

Trim both ends of pickles.

Use pickling vinegar not plain white vinegar.

If the cucumber has started to get seeds in its “belly” it is too big and old to use. (I always have a patch of dill – it seeds itself and is good for salads when young – so I have never used oil of dill.)

After washing the dill I usually swish it in hot to boiling temperature water (just in case there is any wildlife on it).

I then place some dill into a jar and slice the cucumbers into each jar tapping the jar to pack.

In a large pot mix: 4 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, 2 cups white sugar, and 1/2 cup PICKLING salt. Bring to a full rolling boil and quickly fill jars. Seal jars. Ready in six weeks. I have never had a jar spoil since I started using this recipe. I used well water when we lived on an acreage and now that I am in town I just use tap water. Family and others seem to love my dills! One of my kids took peanut butter-dill pickle sandwiches to school almost every day for a number of years! – Sincerely, Jean

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

Check out my website

Reena Nerbas is a highly popular professional speaker and the author of

three national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions,

Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives. Books and

Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3 Cooking/ Cleaning Gift Packs are available online or by calling: 204-320-2757.

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