Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Homemade Spice Jars

By Reena Nerbas

Permanent Mark on Wood Table

Dear Reena,

I have a dark, real wood coffee table. A hot plate was placed on it and now there’s a white spot. Can you please tell me what to do? Valerie

Dear Valerie,

The first and easiest solution is to apply mayonnaise or non-gel, non-bleach toothpaste to the wood. Leave for 30 minutes and wipe. If the stain remains, cover the mark with a white cloth. Using the steam setting on your clothing iron, wave the iron overtop of the cloth making sure that you do not set the iron on one area. With a little patience, the mark will disappear.

Covering Surfaces Before Painting

Dear Reena,

I am starting an interior home painting business and need some advice. Normally I tape off areas such as backsplashes and toilet tank but the paint still splatters onto surfaces. Is there a trick to cover surfaces better? Landon

Dear Landon,

Using a drop cloth is number one. And here is a trick that is fast, easy and best of all inexpensive. Purchase a roll of Press’n Seal paper, it is similar to plastic wrap and found in the kitchen departments of most stores. Press’n Seal paper is used to seal containers to keep food fresh. Before painting, cover surfaces such as backsplashes and striker plates with the paper, it’s amazing!

Great Pancakes

Dear Reena,

What are some tips for making great pancakes every time? Adam

Dear Adam,

The number one rule is, don’t over stir the batter. During cooking, when you see bubbles forming, that’s the sign that it’s time to flip (the pancake, not yourself). For a perfect size pancake, use a one quarter cup measure so that all pancakes are uniform. Keep your heat low to medium so that the pancake cooks slowly and does not burn. Grease the pan well so that the pancake is easy to flip and does not stick to the pan. For a rich flavor add a little vanilla to the batter and substitute milk or water with buttermilk. Extra tidbit: Shake things up at home by pulling out your old forgotten family recipes for: Potato, apple, pumpkin, blueberry or chocolate pancakes. Yum!

Cleaning Woodstove Window

Dear Reena,

Can you please give me a tip for cleaning the window of my woodstove? The black on the inside of the window might need scraping with a knife because it looks as though it is practically painted onto the window. Blaine

Dear Blaine,

When the stove is cool, crumple up a sheet of wet newspaper. Dip the newspaper into the ashes of the stove. Wipe the window with the newspaper. The caked-on residue quickly disappears.

Best Tips of the Week

  • I collect empty baby food jars and paint the lids with chalkboard paint. I purchase spices in bags and fill the baby food jars with the spices. I label each jar with chalk and store the remaining spices in the freezer. I store all my spices in a kitchen drawer, the chalkboard labels keep me organized. Submitted By: Jody
  • I keep a fabric softener sheet in the pocket of my winter jacket. After removing my toque, I simply run the fabric softener sheet over my hair, and static is no longer a problem. Submitted By: Kelly
  • Fill holes in your drywall with white toothpaste. It will dry and you can paint right over it. Submitted By: Andy
  • Keep your cheese fresher, much longer; place the open cheese block inside a sealable bag. Stores much longer than plastic wrap or foil. Submitted by: Kristi

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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