Find new uses for salt

From seasoning food to warding off evil, table salt packs power into each crystal. Superstition says if you throw salt over your shoulder, you'll hit the devil in the eye - or if you sprinkle it on the chair of a mildly annoying guest, the guest won't return. And that's just the kind of multi-tasking that Handy Mom can get behind. Try these tips and see how salt can wield a mighty punch in your home, too.

Post-Picture Perfect: To fill in the holes left on walls where the kids' school pictures have hung, make a paste similar to spackling by mixing two tablespoons salt, two tablespoons cornstarch, and four tablespoons water. Fill in the holes, let it dry, touch it up with paint. Then put all the pictures away for a while so the family can admire your handiwork.

Laundry Myths: A common household hint advocates adding salt to the laundry. The allure of saving money on detergent may tempt you to dump a cup of salt in the washing machine to make colors "colorfast," but researchers at the Ohio State University Family and Consumer Sciences department have found that salt has no effect on modern clothing dyes. What does work? Salt mixed with lemon juice will help dissolve rust stains.

Sweet 'n' ...salty?: That's right. Add a pinch of salt to cocoa, oatmeal, kettle corn, or even cookie dough to enhance sweetness.

Play-Doh vs. PlayStation: Make your own salt dough with a mixture of one cup of salt, two cups of flour with 3/4 to 1 cup of lukewarm water. Let the kids choose which shades of food coloring they want to add, and presto, you've entertained them and resisted buying the latest video game for another day!

Forsooth, it soothes: Your tween, who finally persuaded you to allow ear piercings, probably received a small bottle of cleaning solution from the piercing shop. When the bottle runs out, 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of sea salt will make a saline solution that can be used to relieve piercing irritation.

Potato Babysitter: Use saltwater to babysit your potatoes while you run to the grocery store. When you've cubed a five-pound bag of Idaho spuds and realize you've run out of milk, keep them in cold water and salt until you return to stop them from turning brown. This also works for apples when you realize you're out of sugar for the pie.