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Bite the Bullet  

The first thing to do is a don’t do — do not scratch a mosquito bite within the first few minutes after being bitten

All bug bites are different, and each person reacts differently to them. The first thing to do is a don’t do — do not scratch a mosquito bite within the first few minutes after being bitten, because that will cause the bite to spread.

Here are a few products that will soothe most mosquito bites:

Aveeno Anti-Itch cream: Aveeno makes an anti-itch cream with cortisone and one without. Both do the job. $10.00 on Amazon

Mint-flavored toothpaste: This isn’t just a camp hack, it really helps. It’s the menthol ingredient that halts the itching, so don’t try this with bubble-gum flavored toothpaste.

Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Cooling Spray: We use this product liberally every summer. $7.00 on Amazon or in pharmacies.

Bites also benefit from ice; the cold reduces swelling and irritation.

If you have a bite from an unknown source, and it seems to be growing, draw a line around it with a pen so you can track it, and if need be, get it checked by a doctor.

Sticky Situations

I’ve always been a huge fan of Goo-Gone. It’s one of the best products out there for removing the residue from stickers. I use it all the time on items that need to be toiveled. Recently, I discovered the pen form. It’s great for gum, stains, and crayon. Just be careful not to use it on granite or stone; I made that mistake, and the finish was never the same.

Goo Gone on the Go: $4.89 on Amazon.

Similar product: Scotch Sticker and Marker Remover $13.00 on Amazon.

Did You Hear?

Do you spend far too many mornings running to the doctor’s office with children tugging at their ears? Tylenol created the SmartCheck Digital Ear Scope. It’s an otoscope on a clamp that attaches to your phone so you can take a video of the inside of a child’s ear.  The video can then be sent to a doctor so he can determine if the child has an ear infection. It’s recommended for children over a year, but you can ask your doctor about using it for babies aged six to twelve months.

$79.99 at Walmart, Target, and many pharmacies.

Fire Away

Firepits are always fun. Imagine if you could color the flames and watch them dance colorfully and magically for around an hour. Enter Magic Flames. Throw an unopened package into the fire and the flames will change color, putting on a show for you. While this is sure to delight kids, use caution, and be sure they’re at a safe distance from the flames.

$9.98 for a ten-pack on Amazon.

On the Move

Moving? Here are some tips to streamline the packing process:

  1. Organize and pack at the same time. If you want to corral items into containers, use them in place of boxes. Large containers, smaller bins, and under-the-bed bins are all good ideas.
  2. Color code your boxes by room. Buy colorful washi tape, or used colored markers on white stickers. For more clarity, number them as well, e.g. yellow is the kitchen, box 48 is milchig pots.
  3. Keep a master list of what’s in each box — and make sure not to pack it!
  4. Saran Wrap your breakables. Wrap your plates tightly together in a few layers of plastic wrap, and then place carefully in a padded box.
How many boxes?

If you’re moving from a…

One-bedroom house: 20 –40 boxes

Two-bedroom house: 40 – 60 boxes

Three-bedroom house: 80 – 100 boxes

You’ll likely need 50 percent medium boxes (for heavy compact items), 20 percent large boxes (for bulky items that are medium weight), 30 percent extra-large boxes (for large, bulky, lightweight items).

Banish Summer Stains

Every season has its own stains — and summer brings a plethora of stubborn ones. Fear not, we’ve got you covered!

Grass stains: The ones that only seem to happen to your kid’s favorite pair of Shabbos pants! Mix equal parts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of dish soap and soak the clothing in that solution for a few hours. Wash as normal.

Bloody noses and skinned knees are par for the course during summer months. Here’s the best way to get bloodstains out of clothing: First soak the item in cold water. Then mix one part Borax with three parts water.  Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and gently dab at the bloodstain until it’s gone. Wash as normal.

I’m sure you have all encountered the ever-dreaded cherry stains. First run the garment under cold water. Then make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and apply as thickly as possible to the stain. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes to dry. Using lukewarm water, rinse the paste off. Before washing the item in the machine, rub a few drops of detergent directly onto the stain.

Last but most definitely not least, mud stains! First, use a dull knife to scrape off as much of the mud as possible. The less mud that penetrates into the fibers of the clothing, the more chance you have of removing the stains. Mud reacts well to most laundry pretreatments, such as Oxi Clean or De-solv-it. Spray the item of clothing on both sides, making sure to completely soak the stain in the solution. Let sit for half hour before washing on the hottest temperature recommended for that item.

Always make sure to check the item once it’s washed to ensure that the stains are removed, since putting a stained item in the dryer sets the stain, making it almost impossible to remove.

Tip: If you are out of the house and won’t be near your cleaning supplies for a while, pour some Coca-Cola on the stain. It works like magic.

–Balabusta Boss


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 802)

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