Some ideas can help with the household chores

Friends are friends. Emails are emails. And friends with emails produce information you may never have thought of otherwise.

One of the latest missives from my friend Janet Schiltz out in Arizona provides a number of ideas for helping out around the home. It might have been easier explaining some of them using photos, but since that’s not possible, you’ll just have to think about it.

Ideas such as:

Take an old CD spindle and turn it into a bagel tote. It would look like a mini covered cake pan.

Freeze green grapes to chill white wine without watering it down.

Put a wooden spoon across the top of a boiling pot of water to keep it from boiling over.

Good sandwich guide: Instead of overlapping two pieces of lunch meat, cut both in half and lay the flat edges next to the edges of the bread. That way, all parts of the bread are covered with lunch meat.

Turn on the seat warmer in your car to keep the pizza warm while driving home.

For an inexpensive cookbook holder, use a pants hanger and hang it from the cupboard door handle.

Doritos are great for kindling in a campfire if you can’t find any wood.

Use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a barbecue. This also helps cut down on dishwashing.

Put pancake mix in a clean ketchup bottle for a no-drip experience. (Likely, you could mix it up before going camping and just shake it thoroughly before using.)

Use unscented dental floss to cut jelly rolls, cheeses and other soft foods perfectly. (Then you’d have dental floss at hand if something got wedged in your teeth.)

Turn crusty bread upside down and cut it on the soft side, which saves the bread from being squished.

Put the straw through the tab of your soda can to keep it from rising out of the can.

If you’re preparing a lot of corn, use an electric knife to cut off the kernels. You can use a bundt cake pan to hold the corn as you cut and to catch the kernels.

Cut ice cream with a knife for easier serving to large groups. (Of course, you’ve got to open the package first.)

For crunchy taco shells, turn your muffin tin upside down, spray with cooking oil, press tortilla shells into the open spaces. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. This gives you golden brown fluted taco cups.

Hold Oreos with a fork stuck into the cream so your fingers don’t get messy when dunking the cookie in milk. Which is a good idea, but then you wouldn’t get to lick the dripping milk off your fingers. See, there’s always a downside.

This kind of list always makes me wonder who has the time, or even the inclination, to collect such information and pass it around to others.

Now, if I were making a list of helpful ideas, first on that list would be to find some other person willing to do all that stuff for you while you sit and read.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, former lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at