· Bright Ideas · “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” – Part Three

“Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” – Part Three

Why Didn't I Think Of That? An easy guide on how to make a delicious birthday cake.

Here on my blog, I strive to share simple, everyday tips and tricks that can help make life a little bit easier. But sometimes, the tips that I want to share aren’t something I can write a whole blog post about, so I tuck them away to use at a later date.

I’ve built up quite a catalog of these quick tips and tricks, and I’m sharing another batch of them today! To explore other installments in this series, visit the “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” series archive.

Check out the videos throughout this post to see some of these brilliant hacks in action!

Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Use Baking Soda Twice

When it’s time to replace that box of baking soda in your fridge, don’t throw it out! You can still use that baking soda for its abrasiveness to clean things like countertops, sinks, bathtubs, and toilets.

Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Use Bread To Keep Leftover Cake Moist

When you’re finished serving cake and want to save the rest for later, here’s an easy trick to keep the cut edges from drying out. Simply use a couple of toothpicks to secure a piece of bread to the cut edges. The bread will become stale over time, but the cake behind it will stay moist and delicious!

YouTube video
Two slices of bread is a small price to pay for soft, moist leftover cake!
Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Use A Muffin Tin As A Cooling Rack

Don’t have a cooling rack, or find yourself in need of an extra one? Use your muffin tin! Just flip it upside down and rest whatever you’re cooling on top. The spaces between the cups will allow for enough air flow that it will work as a cooling rack in a pinch!

Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Use A Dish Towel As A Placemat

Having a messy meal (or maybe you just have messy eaters)? A dish towel makes a great placemat in a pinch, since they’re easy to toss in the laundry afterwards. You can even use some dish towels as a placemat for two people sitting opposite each other, if you place it across your table.

Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Mix Almost Anything In A Blender Bottle

That blender bottle in your cupboard isn’t just good for mixing up protein shakes; it can also be a versatile kitchen tool! Use it to mix up salad dressings, pancake batter, scrambled eggs, and more.

Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Serve Treats In A Cereal Box

If you’re taking baked goods to a neighbor or a Bake Sale, you don’t have to give away or keep track of your storage containers! Just cut the front face off of a cereal box, line it with some parchment paper, and use that to serve or deliver your delicious treats.

YouTube video
DIY, disposable cupcake (or cake) carrier. No more worrying about getting your storage containers back.
Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Keep Your Picnic Blanket Dry With A Shower Curtain

Spring and fall provide perfect temperatures for heading outside for a picnic, but the ground can often be damp from rain or dew. Keep your blanket (and your behinds!) dry by placing a cheap shower curtain liner under your blanket. It’s a simple fix, and only costs a few bucks! Plus, this makes it so  you can use any blanket in your house as a picnic blanket. Even this super soft faux-fur throw blanket from our studio! :-)

YouTube video
Even your most luxurious blankets can be used outdoors with this trick!
Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Make Giant Ice Cubes In A Muffin Tin

When you’re serving a beverage or punch at a party, it’s a pain to keep adding more ice as it melts. You can make ice that will melt much slower by freezing water in a muffin tin or a silicone mold with larger cavities. Or, go all out and freeze one large ice cube in a bundt pan!

Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Wrap A Cake Without Ruining The Frosting

Wrapping up cake and cupcakes without ruining the frosting seems like an impossible task. But it’s easy to do with a few toothpicks or skewers! Just stick them into your cake or cupcakes, and drape the plastic wrap over the top. No more pulling off all that good frosting when removing the plastic wrap!

YouTube video
How to protect a decorated cake AND keep it fresh!
Why Didn't I Think of That? - Part 3

Make Salad Dressing In A Mayo Container

When your mayo container is mostly empty, you can get one last bit of life out of it by making a quick, creamy dressing right in the container. Just add some olive oil, vinegar, and herbs of your choice, and shake it up really well. Delicious!

YouTube video
Quick and easy salad dressing for one (or two!)

The “Why Didn’t I Think Of That?” Series

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • My dad told us to tie large piece of plastic covering in knots to keep it small in a waste paper can. For example, tie knots in the plastic bags from the cleaners and the plastic covering rolls of toilet paper or paper towels. The plastic stays small and doesn’t fill up the trash can.

    • Actually, folding it flat before trashing it will also save space. My first grade teacher taught us that beck in the early 50’s about waste paper so as not to fill the trash can with crumpled paper.

  • My sister’s family uses wash clothes in instead of napkins. She also has young kids. I occasionally use the regular unused baking soda for tough laundry stains with Dawn and Peroxide to pre- treat. I occasionally will put 1/2 cup in a load of towels if they’re really stinky.

  • I really love the tip about using muffin tins as cooling racks. I’ve heard this one before but keep forgetting about it. Thank you for all your tips!!

  • You can actually also just use an old plastic tarp under picnic blankets. My dad when it’s the end of growing season will take the tomatoes that are left , pick them and wrap them in newspaper. Then he puts them in a bucket and checks periodically. He keeps it in our sunroom or garage.It’s great. Just have to be patient.

  • Re using baking soda was fun for my little boy in winter. He loved going outside bringing his hot wheels in the snow. But some days were just toooo wet & ikky. So we pulled out the old baking soda from the frig & dumped it on the carpet. It stays cold awhile & the 3 yr old is content. Just vacuum up or pour into cat box!

  • Use hairspray to get ink stains out of clothes. Spray a goodly amount of it on the stain. Then just wash the clothing as usual.

    It was many years later that I needed a red and white checkered shirt for a Halloween costume. My father had one but he complained that the ink never came out of the pocket. Imagine his surprise when I got all of it out.

  • Great ideas Jillee. I’m definitely using the giant ice cube idea and the mayo (we use vegenaise) container dressing idea. Here’s another idea for a cooling rack. I use a couple of satin nickel trivets. I place them side by side to make one large cooling rack. Here’s the link to the trivets I’m describing http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/spectrum-trade-euro-satin-nickel-trivet/1014715568?Keyword=trivets . Now you get double-duty from your trivets.

  • this is for your why didnt i think of that blog everyone has or should have an oval baking pan .you know the ones that were blue spatter enamel ware mine is ss. but anyway they make the absolute best spaghetti cooker all the noodles get cooked at the same time and it doesnt require as much water i fill my pan about half way. let it come to a boil drop the noodles in stir them a little (i use my tongs) and wala cooked noodles in half the time

    • I use the plastic containers from ordering Chinese won ton soup to pour out my pancake mix for as many or as little pancakes. Put lid on and store in refrigerator or freezer when I make a large supply. Works great when unexpected company comes to visit.

  • Save the plastic “spacers” from carry-out pizza, wash and use to keep plastic wrap off cupcakes, brownies or bundt cakes! Just wrap plastic wrap over them and the icing won’t stick to the wrap

  • Ordinarily, I enjoy Jillee’s ideas and consider implementing them. Some of these seem terribly fussy, though, and not attractive. Who wants a piece of birthday cake from a cereal box?

    The idea about not throwing out baking soda is a good thing. I did not think of the abrasive use — just throw some in the washing machine with the clothes. The clothes will be none the wiser about the baking soda having been in the fridge.

  • If your picnic (or kid’s sports event) has a sudden shower, the four tallest people handy each take a corner of that shower curtain – instant tent for all the team gear, etc.

  • Excellent tips, Jillee! I use shower liners from the dollar store to cover my table when I’m crafting – or any $1 vinyl tablecloth. I also recycle brown Kraft paper that often comes in large boxes for shipping. I flatten it out and use it over the cheap vinyl tablecloth to catch paint, glue, etc. when I’m crafting. The vinyl cloth lasts even longer!

  • If you don’t have enough time to deal with those end of the season tomatoes. Throw the ripe ones in freezer bags and throw them in the freezer until you have time to process them. Remember to cut off bad spots and the stem end on the tops of tomatoes first before you freeze them. I’ve done this for years. When you take them out of the freezer cut them up and put them in the blender skins and all or you can wait till they partially thaw and the skins will peel off easily before you put them in the blender. Then cook down the tomatoes and freeze or can the sauce or use it for cooking.

  • Ice idea: Here in the UK I freeze a 1-litre carton of cranberry drink in a bundt cake pan and float it in a punch bowl containing a litre each of orange juice, pineapple juice, and ginger ale. My “Red Iceberg Punch.” It looks so pretty as it slowly melts and deepens the colour, and adults like it as much as kids. The ginger ale adds a sophisticated flavour that appeals to everyone. You don’t need to use liter cartons obviously, just keep the amounts of each ingredient equal.

  • I use leftover baking soda plus a couple of peppermint tea bags ground up and mix it with the baking soda and put into an empty spice jar or empty parm. cheese container and sprinkle my mattresses rugs couch cushions leave on for 5 min. then vacuum it up and it will have a great scent in your rooms.

  • For teachers–I mark the original I’m copying with fluorescent yellow highlighter. It’s invisible to the copier and keeps me from having to print new “originals” or getting those horrible-looking copies of copies.

    • My Mother used to do this, but I had forgotten about it. She would stash the wrappers in the fridge behind the bottles and jars on the door shelves until she needed them. Thanks for reminding me of something I hadn’t thought of in many years!

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