Tips and Tricks

This blogpost page features little tips and tricks I’ve learned that may help you with exercising, cleaning, cooking, recovering, starting a project, reading, navigating relationships, or just whatever. It’s home to different specks of gathered info weekly-monthly, so check back! If you have questions about anything relating to these categories, please leave a comment!


*Be sure, when buying a tent, that it includes a decent rain fly (to keep the rain out). Remember that you mostly get what you pay for. Check out Homemade Wanderlust and Dan Becker on YouTube for great reviews on everything backpacking or camping.

*Having enough of the sturdiest tent stakes is critical. The ones that are included could use some sturdier partners. (Check REI or Scheel’s)

*Purchasing a cot AND a sleeping bag that man up to the cold temps will help to add more hours of sleep to your night under the stars.


*Dicing your veggies for the week makes it easier to grab a handful from the bag and add them to omelets or salads.

*The best soy sauce is Kikkoman according to the test results from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen.

*For a low-carb breakfast, scramble 2 eggs in a bowl and set aside. Butter and heat a skillet to medium. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add chopped ham, spinach, green onion, and whatever other veggies you like to the pan and cook for 3 more minutes. Pour the eggs you scrambled earlier into the pan and cook for 2 minutes. If you like avocado as a side, slice up a half, but leave the pit in the other half for next time to prevent it from turning brown.

*For the perfect fried egg, heat its buttered or oiled pan to low-to-medium. Crack the egg into a cup to make sure it’s not rotten (seldom is it but has happened, and boy, does it stink). Gently pour the egg into the heated pan and cook it slowly. When the white part is thickened and dense, turn it on its other side for over-hard or over-medium. Leave it alone another minute for sunny side-up.

*When grilling meat, first rub it with your favorite fat (oil or butter or a combination), then season it to your heart’s content with your favorite. Bring it to room temperature before plopping it down on a 450-500 degree rack. Look up the cooking time and/or use a temperature probe if you’re not sure how long to cook it to your liking. 

*Forget the Marzetti’s and make your own coleslaw dressing: 1 cup mayo, 2 T. apple cider vinegar, either 2 T. sugar or 2 packets of Splenda sweetener, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. For a twist, add a diced tomato and 1/2 of a diced cucumber.

*To add more flavor to your canned green beans, add a tablespoon each of bacon bits and minced onion. Or try frying frozen ones in 2 T. sesame oil. Don’t forget the salt and pepper.

*If your cornbread is always dry and crumbly, add a tablespoon of flour to the batter for a more moist version.

*For more tender bacon and to eliminate spattering on your stovetop, lay it lengthwise in a rectangular baking sheet and cook it in your oven at 300 for 30 minutes. No turning needed. Cook it a little longer for a more crunch.

*Sprinkle a pinch of salt in the boiling water before you add the oatmeal. Add the brown sugar and stir just before you transfer the cooked oats from the pot to your bowl. Add some texture and health to it as well by throwing in some shelled pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. If you’ve got fresh blueberries or blackberries, toss them in there for a little extra sweetness. 

*Don’t dispose of that luscious liquid gold (brown in this case) in the bottom of your pan after browning a roast or other meat. That gorgeous rendering will take your meal to the moon if you add just a few tablespoons of red wine (that you’d drink and not cooking wine) or broth to it. Let it simmer a minute, scrape the bits off the bottom, and add to your main course. (For a thicker sauce, add a tablespoon of flour to it and let it cook a minute before adding the wine or broth.)

*If you’d like to kick your almond butter up a notch, and if you want to feel healthier, dump the newly opened jar into a bowl. Add a generous amount of chia and pumpkin seeds along with 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable protein, hemp seeds, and maybe some coconut flakes. Using a hand mixer, beat it until combined, then scoop the butter back into the jar.

*To boost the flavor of your homemade chicken noodle soup, try sautéing the cooked chicken and vegetables in butter before adding them to the broth. (After all, everything is better with butter.)

*If you cook your fresh garlic in a pan that’s too hot, or if you cook it too long before adding other ingredients, it can become bitter and will wreck the whole dish.

*Don’t want ugly guacamole? Squeeze a little lemon juice on it and gently toss to prevent it from turning brown.

*Want better tasting pasta meals? Generously salt the boiling water before adding the pasta. 



When you’re feeling the flu or a cold coming on, take 1 tablet of Sambucol Black Elderberry Cold and Flu every 4 hours. These tiny, homeopathic melt-aways can cut a possible week-long bout of misery down to only a few days.



*If you have pain in your knee, this simple exercise should keep you out of the doctor’s office a little longer: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Position yourself next to a wall or hold on to the back of a chair for support. Lift both heels off the ground so that you’re standing on the balls of your feet. Slowly lower your heels to the starting position. (2-3 sets of 10 reps)

*Set the timer on your phone to 10 minutes (or longer) and get out and walk on these nice gifted days of sun and warmer temps! When the timer goes off, turn around and head back from whence you came. 

*To improve your memory, try brushing your teeth with your non-dominate hand.

*For a little arm workout without using free weights, stand 2 feet away from the wall with your feet together. Place your hands on the wall 2 feet apart. Bring your nose to the wall, then using your arms, push your body back to the starting position. Repeat 20 times in sets of 2. (hint: Don’t rest too long in between sets.)

*To relieve lower back pain, and for a good stretch of your hamstring muscles in the back of your thighs, stand upright (hold on to the counter or a table for balance). Place one foot in front of your body with your foot flexed (your heel should be pointed toward the ceiling). Bend your other knee slightly. Gently lean forward. You should feel a good stretch in your hamstring. Repeat on the other side.



*Invest in a hair-dryer/brush combo. It’s so much easier than holding the brush in one hand and the dryer in the other. 

*The intense heat from your curling or flat-iron will smooth out those awful split ends. 

*To lengthen time between root touch-ups at the salon, use a root spray closely matching your desired root color. You’ll fool everybody, and at times, even yourself.

*Wash your hair less often to promote healthier hair. Try using a dry shampoo after a normal wash to sustain it until you have to wash it again.

*Trim those ugly spit ends every 6 weeks for healthier looking hair.

*Like your face, your hair might also need a mask every week. A hair mask will help to heal the damaged cuticle and calm unwanted frizziness. It will also moisturize and nourish the dry ends. 



*People generally love to talk about themselves. Ask that friend or love interest to explain their vocation and why they chose it. This works with hobbies as well. 

*Establish some boundaries right away so you don’t have to experience those unwanted awkward moments. 

*Be kind to those who’ve been unkind to you. Watch their unkind spirit slowly fade away.

*Those who are not loyal to you are not really for you. And those who are not for you are really acting against you.

*Give something unexpected and watch a smile appear! How about some forgiveness to start? 

*No more silent treatments. Leave those at the spa or your local library.

*In any conversation, listen without interrupting.

*If you’re talking to a friend, spouse, or a relative, ask about their day.

*Pray daily for those important people in your life, and even those with whom you aren’t in relationship. We all need it.



*Wuthering Heights is one of Emily Bronte’s most popular novels that I’ve begun to sink my teeth into. I’m currently on chapter 5 and can’t put it down. I just finished Great Epectations by Charles Dickens and was completely enamored. He had me at “my dear boy, Pip.”

*Where God Came Down is book #1 from The Bible and Archeology Speak series by Joel P. Kramer. The Bible tells of God interacting with ancient people in ancient places. While those people are gone, the places are not. This book examines the archeological evidence of the Bible.

*If I Were You by Lynn Austin is about 2 very different women and the power of friendship during World War 2. 

*My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is the best daily devotional I’ve ever read. I’ve been through it at least twice.

*The Henry Morris Study Bible is an excellent apologetics commentary with explanatory notes from the “Father of Modern Creationism.”

*A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent for $10 on Amazon. It’s been on my wish list for 4 years, so I granted it myself. Check out the 3 blogs published on my site to get the full scope of this excellent, little book.

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Suzanne Sommerville

Life Blogger

Christ-follower, daughter, mom, Mimi to 6 grandchildren, teacher, writer, and musician

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