Editor's note: This will be the final weekly installment of Tim Thompson's Tips, Tools and Tricks column. After five years of providing helpful hints and lots of ways to use duct tape, he is retiring his tip hat, reserving it for occasional special guest columns.
Gainesville has a lot of walkers and joggers. If you go out and exercise at night, you should always wear reflective gear. I'd also like to recommend that you use the iBlink earbuds. These cool earbuds, which work with most MP3 players, actually have LED lights built into them. The lights actually blink with the rhythm of the music. The iBlink comes with white, blue or pink lights and can be found at most online retailers like Amazon for $30.
For Christmas my wife bought me a Kindle. If you're not familiar with this cool gadget, it's basically a lightweight, electronic reading device. It can download books and even magazines and newspapers. The reason I'm sharing this is because of one of the really neat things you can do with it - exercise! Just set the font to the largest size and use it on either a stationary bike or treadmill. The one-touch page turning feature makes it easy to use. Caution: If you sweat a lot, consider covering the device in clear plastic wrap.
If you're not familiar with the Tech Tee T-shirt, you should be. (These T-shirts also go by the name "Dry Fit"). Instead of cotton, they're made with a polyester blend. The beauty of these shirts is that they have the ability to wick away sweat from your body to the outside of the shirt where it will evaporate. Athletes like them because they'll keep you warm and dry in the winter and cool and dry in the summer. Why do I like them so much? Because they're great to sleep in. The slick polyester material will ...
I want to start off by thanking all of you who gave me tips in 2009. Without your help, this column would not be possible. Trust me, after doing this column for five years, it's hard to come up with new tips.
If you've been reading my column for any length of time, you know that I like gadgets. I especially like kitchen gadgets. One of the neatest ones that I've seen in a while is the Spachello by Swissmar. The Spachello is basically a spatula and cutting knife combined into one tool. It is the ultimate sandwich making device. You can use the serrated knife to cut meats, breads and cheeses and then use the spatula side to apply mayo, mustard or even peanut butter. The rounded end of the Spachello allows you to scoop out the remaining peanut ...
A dishwasher is really a handy tool. In fact, if you only use your dishwasher on dishes, you're missing out. Consider using it to clean your children's toys, garden tools and even shop tools. Important: Don't use your dish washer to clean anything crystal or thermos mugs. The heat can break the crystal and will break the airtight seal on the mugs.
The Kellers Co. has been making butter products for more than 100 years. Each December they come out with their famous "Christmas Tree Butter Sculpture." It looks good and tastes good. You can find them at most Publix grocery stores.
I need to start out by apologizing to Deanna Campbell. She's a faithful reader who gave me a tip some weeks ago on a better way to cut brownies. She said a simple plastic knife will do a better job than any regular knife, and she keeps a plastic knife in one of her kitchen drawers for just this purpose. Well, I didn't believe her. I thought that there was no way that a plastic knife could cut gooey brownies without making a big mess. Well, I was wrong. I eventually got around to testing it out and ...
If you want an easy, painless way to give to charities, you need to check out CardsThatGive.org. It's a nonprofit Web site that lists greeting cards you can buy from more than 100 different charities. The proceeds from the cards help fund a lot of worthy causes. Do it. You'll feel better about yourself.
The holiday season is upon us and I know that a lot of you will be hosting parties. Here is a tip that you're not likely to find in any of the women's magazines: Make sure that have a toilet plunger in every bathroom. I'm serious about this. Toilets always seem to know when you're throwing a party and that's when they decide to back up. By having plungers in each bathroom, you can avoid a really embarrassing situation for you and your guests. (Contributed by Bryan Reksten).
Like a lot of people, I just sleep better with some white noise in the background. My wife actually uses our noisy air cleaner for that purpose. Here's a great tip if you're traveling and don't want to carry a bulky white noise machine with you - use the radio in your hotel room. Just turn the radio to a frequency between channels to get your white noise.
There has been a rash of robberies recently of people who are trying to sell their homes. The scam goes like this: Two separate people show up at the same time at an open house. One of the two will keep the owner, or agent, busy while the other person steals jewelry or financial information. If you're trying to sell your home, make sure that all of your valuables are locked up and out of sight.
I hope everybody had a great Halloween. OK, here's one more Halloween tip. (I can't help myself). If you have any candy corn left over, use it in place of chocolate chips when making cookies. It tastes good and keeps the memory of Halloween alive. (By the way, send me an e-mail and let me know if last week's tips were helpful or not).