Deals Episodes

Handy Household Tips From 'Mother-in-Law Manual'

Deals producer Tiffany Maxian's mother-in-law, Melanie Maxian, gave her a book right before her wedding called 'A Mother-in-Law's Manual.' The book is filled with tips and tricks to tackling the household.

How many times have you gone to a formal dinner and didn't know which utensil to use first? Or have you tried to set your own table and didn't know where to start? Melanie shares a few tips from her manuel.

"I thought there were a lot of good tips in there they could probably use," said Melanie.

This former Home Ec teacher's manual is a 'deal' because it truly provides a wealth of priceless information that could take you years to discover on your own.

How to fold a fitted sheet:

To get a fitted sheet into a nice flat rectangle, the key is to have all the corners tucked into each other.

1. Lay the sheet down with the long side facing you.

2. Stick your fingers into the bottom left corner.

3. Take the opposite corner right above it and pull it over the corner in your hand.

4. Repeat on the right side: place your right hand in the bottom right corner, then pull the opposite corner over it. You'll now be holding the corners in each hand.

5. Turn the corners in your left hand over the corners you're holding in the right. Now all four corners will be on your right hand.

6. Lay down this new square and smooth it out.

7. Square off the corners as best you can.

8. Fold into rectangles.

When done it may even look like a nice, folded flat sheet!

The right way to sew a button:

1. Thread the needle.

2. Tie a knot at the end of the thread.

3. Position the button on the fabric.

4. Push the threaded needle up through the fabric and through one hole in the button. Pull the thread all the way through on each stitch.

5. Push the needle down through the next hole and through the fabric. Pull the thread all the way through.

6. Bring the needle up through the first hole (for a two-hole button) and pull the thread all the way through the fabric.

7. Repeat the sewing process enough times to make sure the button is securely in place.

8. On the last stitch, push the needle through the material, but not through a hole in the button. Pull the thread out into the area between button and material, remove the pin and pull up the button a little.

9. Wrap the thread several times around the thread between the button and the material to reinforce the shank you have created.

10. Wrap the thread around the base and tie in a knot, cut off excess.

Tip: Put a toothpick on top of the button while sewing a jacket button and put a needle on the top of your button while sewing a shirt. Once you're done sewing, remove it; this will give you the room you need when you button your jacket or your shirt.

How to set a table:

For a basic table setting, here are two great tips to help you -- or your kids.

1. Remember the order of plates and utensils. Picture the word "FORKS" -- the order, left to right, is: F for Fork, O for the Plate (the shape!), K for Knives and S for Spoons. OK, you have to forget the R, but you get the idea!

2. Holding your hands in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your forefingers to make a lowercase 'b' with your left hand and a lowercase 'd' with your right hand. This reminds you that "bread and butter" go to the left of the place setting and "drinks" go on the right. Emily Post could have used that trick -- she was often confused about which bread and butter belonged to her -- and sometimes she used her neighbor's! In which case, when it was called to her attention, she would say to the dismayed lady or gentleman, "Oh, I am always mixing them up. Here, please take mine!"

Some other things to know:
'B7 'B7Knife blades always face the plate
'B7 The napkin goes to the left of the fork, or on the plate
'B7 The bread and butter knife are optional

For more information on table settings visit

Test your baking powder:

Baking powder and baking soda are essential ingredients when it comes to baked goods. But they don't last forever - over time, they'll both lose their potency and can mess up your recipes.

Here's how to tell if baking powder and baking soda are still up to the job:

Baking Powder: How To Test It

  • Add one teaspoon of baking powder to one-third cup of hot water.
  • If the mixture immediately bubbles, the baking powder is still effective enough to use. If not, it's time to toss it.
Baking Soda: How To Test It
  • Add one teaspoon of baking soda to 3 tablespoons of vinegar.
  • If the mixture quickly fizzes up, the baking soda is still potent enough to use. Otherwise, it's time for a new box.
For more information on testing products in your pantry visit

Other useful websites:


Most Popular Photos

The Live Well Network
Knock It Off!
Live Big with Ali Vincent
My Family Recipe Rocks!
Food Rush
We Owe What?
Let's Dish
Mexico: One Plate at a Time
Home with Lisa Quinn
Hiring America
Children's Programming
The Chew
Military Makeover
The Balancing Act