Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Dog Owner Tips for Spring Cleaning the Yard

By Reena Nerbas

Repelling Spiders

Dear Reena,

I hate going into my basement for fear of seeing a spider. Do you have any tips for repelling those disgusting creatures? Thanks, Viola

Dear Viola,

Reduce the spider population in your home with the following safe, Homemade Spider Repellent. Into a spray bottle, pour 4-cups water, one-tsp. dish soap and 8 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil. Spray wherever spiders appear. Repeat as needed. Substitutes for Peppermint Essential Oil are: lavender, tea tree oil, cinnamon, orange and lemon essential oil.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Dear Reena,

I serve mashed potatoes on a regular basis, but I notice that leftover mashed potatoes are never as good as when they are made fresh. Do you have any tips for reheating the potatoes so that they taste freshly made? Thanks, Deb

Dear Deb,

Cover leftover mashed potatoes by placing plastic wrap directly onto the potatoes instead of over the top of the bowl. This prevent the potatoes from forming a hard crust. When you are ready to re-serve the potatoes, heat milk in a pot. Add potatoes and stir them into the milk or cream. The potatoes will taste fresh.  

Crazy Glue Stuck to Fingers

Dear Reena,

What is your trick to get crazy glue off fingers? Gloria

Dear Gloria,

When this happens soak (and I mean soak for at least 15 minutes) your fingers in one of the following: cola or the hottest water that you can stand or acetone. Gently pry the glue off your fingers and wash.

Feedback from Clever Contributor

Re: Storing Potatoes

Dear Reena,

If you store onions and potatoes together, the onions cause the potatoes to get old quickly. It is better to store onions in the fridge as they don’t make you tear up when you chop them. You should also cut off the eyes as soon as they start to appear. Shauna

Smart Suggestions

  • I have a solution for a quick way to sharpen your knives. Just scrape them on the bottom of a mug and the knives will get sharp. A very fast and easy solution! Gail

  • When measuring shortening or butter, dip the cup or spoon in hot water first. The grease will slide right off. Dawn

  • Sweet’n Sassy BBQ Sauce: Mix a few spoonsful of jelly into your favorite BBQ sauce. Brush over chicken or ribs towards the last few minutes of grilling. Or add jelly to bottled vinaigrette salad dressing to enhance the flavor.

Tips for Clearing Gifts That Dogs Leave in the Yard

  • Clean up regularly. If you maintain a regular schedule, the task will seem much less daunting. If you have children in the yard, it advisable to pick up the mess at least once a day.

  • Consider purchasing a separate lidded trash can for doggie doo. The smell will stay confined to one area, and the lid will not need to be lifted very often.

  • Purchase freeze dry spray for those runny excrements. The feces will quickly harden, making them easier to pick up.

  • Be careful about flushing pet waste in the toilet. Some cities have banned pet waste being flushed; instead toss it into the garbage.

  • When cleaning up waste between gravel and small stones, use a pooper scooper that opens and closes by manipulating the handle.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

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