DIY Hacks (or Rather Fails) – by Cari Lynn Webb

There seems to be a Life Hack for every part of a person’s life these days. And I admit, I watch the videos, read the blurbs and listen to every life hack podcast that comes across my different social media feeds. I find them fascinating and I’m always hopeful each one will work. Because we all want things to be simplified, faster, easier, cleaner, better.

I’ve been on a bit of a Life Hack test trial. Unfortunately, I’ve had more fails than successes recently. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. Perhaps you’ve had better results. I fully admit that my failures could be all user error. 😊

  1. The Wooden Spoon on the Boiling Pot of Water. Here’s the hack – you place a wooden spoon on the top of a boiling pot of water. The claim is that the wooden spoon will keep the water from boiling over. This was a complete fail for me. In full disclosure, we love pasta in our house – in all forms. A pot of boiling water is on our stove almost nightly. I’ve tried this hack quite a few times with the same results. The water boiled over the edges of the pan. I have however found a solution – a lovely silicone spill stopper from Amazon. This is seriously one of my favorite things in the kitchen.
  2. Tin Foil or Saran Wrap on Banana Stems. Here’s the hack - wrap the stems on a bunch of bananas and the ripening process slows down. This was another fail. My bananas still ripened quickly and even more unappealing, I ended up with mold under the tin foil. It was like a classroom science experiment gone bad. And completely grossed out my teenage daughters. My solution – skip the tin foil and use my over-ripe bananas in these delightful Peanut Butter Chip Banana Muffins. Here’s the recipe from Hershey’s.
  3. Egg Baked in an Avocado. Here’s the idea – cut an avocado in half, add an egg and bake in the oven. Healthy and tasty breakfast for the avocado lover everywhere. And little to no clean-up. I love (LOVE) avocados and I’m always looking for quick and simple breakfast recipes. This one checks every box. Except well, in reality. My egg failed to cook in the time given then turned rubber-like and the avocado turned into something bitter and very much not like an avocado. I’m sticking to cooking eggs in a frying pan and making avocado toast on the side. I also found this recipe for Avocado Egg Salad from Pinch of Yum that I’m eager to try.
  4. Dental Floss to Cut Cake and a Plastic Knife to Cut Brownies. These are two of my favorite hacks that work great. One side note - make sure you use unflavored dental floss to cut a cake. (Sounds logical until you’ve been at a party and used the mint flavor on accident 😊). The dental floss works incredibly well. As for the plastic knife to cut brownies, this one also works really well to keep the brownies in one piece and not falling apart. I keep a stash of plastic knives in the back of my utensil drawer for brownies. (In addition to pasta, my household also likes fresh baked desserts and brownies get requested quite often.)

Now, it’s your turn. Share some of your favorite life hacks. I’m so ready to try more – good thing there’s so many more out there.

Happy Reading! Enjoy the summer sun!
Cari Lynn Webb

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You can find Cari on Facebook and Twitter. 


  1. I loved this post about the successes and mishaps of kitchen hacks, Cari! The dental floss one especially...I’m picturing my family as I unspool a line of floss at the next birthday party! :). But worth a try. One hack that works for me...when you’re uncorking a bottle of bubbly, to prevent a spillover of foam, quickly place a finger across the top. This works most of the time for me and is very important as we enjoy bubbly at every special occasion and hate to waste a drop.

  2. Thanks for the confirmation of the avocado-egg bake. I had a feeling that wasn't going to turn out and hadn't yet given it a try. I'm not sure if this is a hack, but I once prescribed herbs from a compounding Chine pharmacy. My friends and I used to call it our go-to place for bark and twigs. They had to do be boiled a certain way in glass and the first time the pot exploded and the second time I scalded my fingers. I don't remember what the remedy was for, but the fix was definitely worse than the problem. Love herbals, but now I buy them pre-prepared!

  3. Love your post, and I sure won't try any of those things that caused you angst. I guess I don't have any new fangled things I try. Fun thinking about, though.

  4. Cari, the wooden spoon works for me...and I've used the dental floss thingy, and will try the plastic knife soon!

  5. Dental floss--great idea! I'm glad you warned me before I wasted a perfectly good avocado. I've never had much luck with heating avocados. I've had good luck with adding a tablespoon of oil to a pot of pasta water to discourage boiling over. Recently we got some vented silicone lids similar to the one pictured to put over bowls in the microwave, and it's saved a lot of microwave cleaning. I've had good luck with lining a pan with parchament paper overhanging the sides when making bar cookies. Once they cool I can lift the whole slab out and cut it on a board instead of in the pan.

  6. I thought the spoon thing was supposed to be a metal spoon, not that I've tried either one. I tend to want to buy things from commercials. DON'T buy the Granite Rock frying pans. Epic fail! Loved your post.

  7. I love the dental floss idea for cutting cake.
    I saw a way to quickly peel garlic hack on Twitter. It’s amazing how fast the person was ripping through those bulbs of garlic. Unfortunately you’d have to see it to understand how to do it. I can’t explain it.

  8. Cari, I love this post. I find myself watching those life hack videos all the time too. I like the life hacks that help me "work smart, not hard". For difficult to scrub pans, I put a little dish soap and water in them and cook them on the stove to loosen all the yucky bits. Then they rinse clean. But remember to set a timer so you don't forget:-) I also tried a hack to brighten tarnished silver. Place in a bowl with vingear and aluminum foil (and perhaps some hot water?'s been a while since I did this one). Thirty seconds and bright as new!


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