No deposit, just return


March 14, 2018


Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about grocery-store customers. - Heloise


“Dear Heloise: Why do customers take a product off the shelves, then later decide they don’t want it and place that item in another part of the store? We often find melting ice cream or defrosting meats in various aisles where they don’t belong. Please return those items to their proper place, or hand them to the checkout clerk, and he or she will take care of it. Remember, store loss means higher prices to make up for that loss.

“Also, the store is not a playground, and children all too often get hurt when running through the store. Please keep an eye on your children to keep them safe from injury and ‘stranger dangers.’”
- Andrea V., Boca Raton, Fla.


Fast Facts

Dear Heloise: I’ve got several kitchen timers around the house, as they can be used for various tasks:

- Use a timer in the bathroom to help kids remember to keep brushing their teeth.

- Use at the gym to time yourself on the equipment.

- Use a timer to limit phone conversations.

- Got a small water heater? Limit shower time with a kitchen timer.

- Linda Y., Wheeling, W.Va.


Hard-water deposits

Dear Heloise: My shower head is clogged with hard-water deposits. How do I remove the deposits?
- Denise A. in San Antonio

Denise, you can remove the shower head and soak it in full-strength vinegar overnight, or fill a plastic bag with vinegar and slip it up over the shower head so that it is totally submerged in vinegar. Let it soak overnight, and in the morning, remove the bag and scrub the head with a clean brush. There’s nothing like the full force of a shower to wake you up in the morning. If you like this hint, I have many more uses for vinegar in my Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More pamphlet. To order a copy, send $5, along with a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order online at www. Pour the vinegar from the plastic bag into the toilet to freshen the bowl. Leave it for about five minutes, then flush. - Heloise


Toilet brush

Dear Heloise: To avoid having cleaning chemicals drip into my toilet-brush holder, I keep the brush in the toilet and flush a couple of times to sort of clean it before placing it back in the holder.
- Georgia H., Kona, Hawaii


Wedding-bell blues

Dear Heloise: If you want to have a beautiful wedding but are on a tight budget, set the amount you can spend, and don’t go over it. Figure out how much you’ll need for flowers, food, clothes and other things, then start cutting back if you don’t have the funds. When the wedding is over and all the excitement dies down, you’ll be glad you stuck to your budget! It’s better to have a small, intimate wedding and have money left to put down on a house than to go into debt to have a splashy affair. - Lara G. in Miami


Casual country?
March 7, 2018

Dear Readers: Today's Sound Off is about the American casual way of living. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: Why don't Americans dress up anymore? You rarely see people in most parts of the country get dressed up to go out to dinner, or for special occasions. I recently noticed a couple of young women wearing jeans and a T-shirts in church. I miss the days when women dressed stylishly in beautiful dresses when they went out for dinner in a nice restaurant, or to the opera. Now, so many women throw on sloppy attire and consider themselves dressed for the day. It's as though our national pride in ourselves has gone.” - Wallace T., Brandywine, Del.

Fast Facts

Dear Heloise: My husband and I received several lovely picture frames as wedding gifts. We've used some of them for things other than just framing photographs:

- I put a copy of my wedding invitation in a beautiful frame.

- There is a poem my husband wrote to me in another one.

- Pressed flowers (a hobby of mine) are in one.

- I put a recipe card in one from the night my husband cooked dinner for me and asked me to marry him.

- Ashley G., Tupelo, Miss.


This takes the cake

Dear Heloise: Some of us ladies here in Texas have found numerous ways to reuse the clear, plastic covers on store-bought cakes. You can store paper plates in the larger ones, mix a salad in them, cut up fresh fruit in one, or in a pinch they can be used as a washbasin for dirty little hands and faces.
- Eighties Ladies in Abilene, Texas


Discolored nails

Dear Heloise: After using red nail polish on my nails, they began to yellow. I used a whitening toothpaste on them to remove the yellow. I rubbed it on each nail, let it sit for 10 minutes, and my nails were much whiter. To prevent that yellow color, I found out you have to use a clear coat of nail polish on your nails before you put any color on them. - Jen H., Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii


Zipper idea

Dear Heloise: I have trouble using a zipper on clothing due to arthritis, so my husband took a large paper clip and attached it to each zipper, and that made it much easier to hold, which helps me dress myself.
- Ruth D., Findlay, Ohio


Return on your investment

Dear Heloise: As an artist, I carry samples of my work with me when I visit a client. Somehow I managed to leave my work in a cabbie's trunk while in a large city. About a week later, the portfolio, with all my samples, was mailed back to me because I had put my name and address on it. It's a good idea to label all important items. - Ken S., Paterson, N.J.

Pets on the inside
Feb. 28, 2018

Dear Readers: Today's Sound Off is about the treatment of family pets:

“Dear Heloise: Over this past winter, I've noticed far too many people who leave their dogs or cats outside in freezing temperatures. I'm not talking about a chow or a husky - dogs that are bred for colder climates - but dogs that have a short coat or are very small. A doghouse offers little protection from the cold unless it's heated. Our pets need to be inside in any extreme weather condition, whether it's a hot summer day or a cold winter night. A dog or cat is a family member and needs to be treated as such.”
- Anita S., Milford, Conn.


Anita, you make a very valid point. Dogs and cats are domesticated animals and need to be kept indoors, fed regularly and kept clean. - Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for the plastic scoops that come in large coffee cans:

- Keep one in each canister containing flour, sugar, salt, etc.

- Keep one in the container of bath salts in the bathroom.

- Scoop out just enough fertilizer to sprinkle around a plant.

- Scoop up a dead bug or snail in the garden.

- Heloise


Freezer bag freeze-up

Dear Heloise: I put meat in freezer bags and place them in my freezer, but I have a problem with the bags sticking to the freezer itself. How can I avoid this? - Wendy S., Stratton, Ohio


Wendy, if you are not using bags that are designed specifically for the freezer, you'll experience sticking problems. The thinner sandwich bags or plastic wrap will not work as well as proper freezer bags. Make sure the bags are dry on the outside. - Heloise


Give floppy boots the boot!

Dear Heloise: I put bottles in my winter boots to keep them upright. You can use liter water bottles, wine bottles, etc., whether empty or filled. Just make sure the bottles are clean and capped to prevent leakage.
- Mary H., Arlington, Va.


That’s using your head

Dear Heloise: Save the worn heads of your electric toothbrush. You can use them to turn the brush into a mini powered scrub brush, perfect for cleaning around faucets and drains. - Dan in Alexandria, Va.


Dan, it's also a great way to clean grout lines and jewelry. - Heloise


Defining a goal

Dear Heloise: Writing down a goal on paper helps me achieve it. Leaving a note on my cellphone is not the same thing. The tactile feeling of writing makes me commit to a project and a goal!
- Julian H., age 17, Fort Wayne, Ind.

The need to read for children
Feb. 22, 2018

Dear Readers: Today's Sound Off is about people who don't read to their children or encourage their children to read. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: Study after study has found that parents should read aloud to their children from the time they're born through elementary school. Having taught school for over 22 years, I've noticed that children who were read aloud to at home developed better verbal skills, better writing skills and a larger vocabulary.

“Unfortunately, many parents today don't read to their children. I've heard adults say they don't have time to read to their children, but they need to turn off the TV and make time. Your children are the only thing you'll leave behind of any real and lasting importance, so start reading aloud to them, and make them read aloud to you to improve their communication skills.” - Mary Beth M., Amherst, N.H.


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Before you throw away that older lemon, here are some uses for it:

- After cutting an onion, just rub your hands with half a lemon to remove the odor.

- Want to bring out the shine in your hair? Use the juice of one lemon in a cup of water to do the final rinse on your hair after washing it.

- Take half of a lemon dipped in coarse salt on the cut side and, in a circular motion, clean the bottom of copper pots to remove tarnish.

- Garbage disposal smell musty? Cut a lemon into quarters and grind it up in your disposal.

- Heloise


Taking her name

Dear Heloise: Although it is traditional for a woman to take a husband's name, my fiancé and I have come to an agreement on a last name: He never liked his last name, so he wants to take my last name after we are married. His mother keeps telling me that it's not legal, but in fact, a woman taking a husband's last name is nothing more than tradition, and a marriage is legal no matter what surname you use.
- Ashley N., Bloomfield, N.J.


Ashley, you also can hyphenate your last names, or combine the two surnames into a new last name, but no matter what you do, your marriage's legal status is not in danger if your husband wants to take your last name. - Heloise


Rubbey gelatin

Dear Heloise: To avoid rubbery gelatin, especially on the bottom, add one capful of vinegar to the mixture after you boil the water. You won't taste it, and it keeps the gelatin from forming that rubbery substance on the bottom. - Karen H., Kinston, N.C.


Happy Hour

Dear Heloise: I like to serve cocktails before a dinner party, but I limit the “happy hour” to only 45 to 60 minutes before dinner. This way, people can mingle and chat, but not overindulge in alcohol before they eat. A long cocktail hour on an empty stomach usually makes people sleepy, sick or inebriated.
 - Laura W., Holyoke, Mass.

Contain that garbage!
Feb. 14, 2018

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound On is about nursing homes. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: My father is in a nursing home and needs around-the-clock care. The nursing staff takes excellent care of him and provides the cheer and warmth I wish I could provide but can’t since I’m working full time. As a single mother, I have no choice except to hold down a full-time job.

“Many of these unsung heroes go about their daily tasks without expecting praise or acknowledgement, but without their help, life for my father would be very difficult. They keep him engaged in activities, bathe him, feed him and see to it that he takes his medications. Even though my sons and I spend as much time with him as we can, it’s still not enough. I’m grateful for the caring staff at his nursing home who provide so much and ask for so little in return.” - Susan J., Spokane, Wash.

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for plastic grocery bags:

- Wrap shoes in them when traveling.

- Cut through the handles and use as a child’s bib.

- Stuff cloth dolls or homemade teddy bears with old plastic bags.

- Use during cooking to put food scraps, bones, etc., in and then take out to the trash.

- Return to a recycling center.

- Heloise

Beating the winter blahs

Dear Heloise: This is the time of year when people can become a little sad or depressed because of overcast days and the early darkness of night. It’s at times like this that a “mood booster” helps to dispel the feeling that winter will never end. Here are some suggestions:

1.) Open the blinds and curtains, and get as much natural light in your home as you can. Use bright colors (or a bright white) on your walls and upholstery. Get rid of all clutter, and make sure your place is clean.

2.) As soon as you get up in the morning, make your bed. You’ll feel as though you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

3.) Stay active. Go for walks, sign up for a dance class of some kind, go to the gym or try some new activity. Exercise always helps boost a person’s mood.

4.) Stay in contact with friends and family, and don’t be afraid to ask for their support and encouragement on dark days. A phone call, a chat over hot cocoa, a handwritten letter, or a text or an email can help you stay connected.

5.) Eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and limit the amount of caffeine you drink. Pamper yourself with a long, hot shower, or a pedicure, or maybe a facial.

- Lorraine C. in Illinois

Pop-up problems
Feb. 7, 2018

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about pop-up ads and banners on computers:

“Dear Heloise: I’m sick of all the ads that pop up on computers and the huge banner ads at the top of the page. I pay my internet providers to supply me with news and mail and allow me to look for articles on the internet. But every page is loaded with ads, which are garbage, misleading and for items I have NO interest in purchasing. I called my provider and was told that there is nothing they can do about the company’s advertising policies.” - G.T. in Detroit

G.T., I don’t care for the pop-up ads either. Readers, what do the rest of you think about ads that crowd the computer screen? - Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for three-ring binders:

- Store extra photographs in them, in plastic sheets.

- Use sheet protectors to keep everything from news articles to birth certificates.

- Keep special birthday and anniversary cards, theater tickets, etc., in one.

- Heloise


Boxes for Packing

Dear Heloise: While packing for a major move, I got the idea to ask liquor stores and grocery stores for their empty boxes. Most were very helpful, and the ones that came from the liquor store even had dividers, which was great for packing stemware! - Connie K., Morgantown, W.Va.

On the road again

Dear Heloise: My husband and I love to travel by RV. During our trips, I discovered that a rolled-up washcloth or towel makes a great buffer to protect glassware. You even can use the smaller tissue boxes to put glassware inside and keep it safe. - Sandy W., via email

Drown those pests

Dear Heloise: Help! I’ve got gnats everywhere! I keep a clean house, and I don’t have fruit or any food left out on my counters, yet I have gnats. My husband feels certain they’re breeding in our pipes, which also might be true of the mosquitoes that become a problem in summer. - Terry B., Kenner, La.

Terry, plug the sinks, then pour in very hot water, about 2 or 3 inches, and add a cup of vinegar. With a set of sturdy tongs, pull the plug and let the water wash away any pests lurking in your pipes and drains.
- Heloise

Leaving with leftovers

Dear Heloise: We have very large family gatherings, and there’s always a lot of leftovers. Instead of using plastic storage containers, we use large plastic bags to take home leftovers. Even liquid things like chili and stew work well in plastic bags that have a secure locking top. - Candice H., Adams Mill, Ind.


Soft soles

Dear Heloise: I’m forever filing down my rough heels, but I found a way to keep my feet looking nice for warm-weather sandals: After I file down the rough edges, I rub a heavy mineral oil or petroleum jelly into my feet and put on a pair of cotton socks. I sleep with the socks on all night, and in the morning my feet are soft and smooth. - Kelly A., Tucson, Ariz.

Contain that garbage!
Jan. 31, 2018

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about people who don’t bag their garbage:

“Dear Heloise: My pet peeve is people who dump loose garbage into their cans instead of placing it in a tied bag. When the garbage gets dumped by the garbage trucks, all the loose papers fly out as the truck leaves. Now the ditches are filled with trash.” - Roberta, via email

Roberta, you can call your city’s refuse-collection department and ask them to send a letter to the neighbors who don’t bag their trash, requesting that they do so in the future. Many cities won’t pick up someone’s trash unless it is bagged, and if they continue to ignore the warnings, they won’t get their trash picked up until they comply. - Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some uses for old tires:

- Spray-paint an old tire in a nice color, fill with dirt and use as a planter.

- Paint the outside, then stuff a large pillow inside in the middle for a pet bed.

- Suspend from a tree with a heavy-duty rope for a tire swing.

- Attach to an exterior wall and use it to hold your garden hose.

- Heloise


Readers speak out!

Dear Readers: Apparently, the reader who wrote in about people who leave their garbage cans out in front of the house struck a nerve with many of you. Here are a few comments. - Heloise

Richard G.: “I took an interest in the garbage receptacle location at my residence, and will look at my place for other avenues of storage. Yes! They are unsightly in our area.”

Lottie R.: “You were right on the money about garbage cans being a tacky thing to leave out in front of a house. Put those cans in your garage, where they belong!”

Bill: “My wife and I are both 75, and we both have severe physical problems, so we leave our garbage cans out because moving them is too difficult for us. Instead of complaining, maybe the neighbors should volunteer to move the garbage cans for an elderly person.”

Marla H.: “Contact the city clerk to inquire about an ordinance that prevents display of trash cans after pickup day. Ask the city clerk, ‘What is the procedure to enact or enforce such an ordinance to protect property values?’”


Cleaning cup holders

Dear Heloise: To clean the cup holders in my car, I put a little warm water in each one and then put in a denture-cleaning tablet. After 10-15 minutes, I take a sponge and soak up the water, and then dry it out.
- Gail S., Spokane Valley, Wash.


Bathing while camping

Dear Heloise: I love to go camping, but after a week (or less), we all need a bath. I take a small, plastic, inflatable child’s swimming pool that I can blow up with a small hand pump, and fill it with a little water from a pump or stream. Then I bathe in my tent. - Michael H., American Fork, Utah

Donate your anniversary
Jan. 24, 2018

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound On is about a nice couple who had a great idea for celebrating their 50th anniversary:

"Dear Heloise: A few years ago, my husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. On our invitations to a great and large party, we stated ‘PLEASE NO GIFTS.’ We asked for them to bring pet food and pet supplies. We received hundreds of pounds of pet food (cat and dog), towels, paper towels, blankets, litter and everything possible to help two different shelters.

“Maybe we can do it again on our 60th anniversary!” - Barbara P., via email

Barbara, what a wonderful idea! Animal shelters need all kinds of donations, from money to food to blankets.  Maybe other people should try this clever way to help animal shelters in their area. - Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Heloise: My husband loves those little mints that come in metal cans, and since they’re cute tins, I hate to throw them away. So, I found some uses for them:

- I keep sewing needles in one, and that way they never get lost.

- I store very small beads in them.

- I keep paper clips in one small tin and carry it in my purse.

- I have toothpicks in one that I always carry with me.

- Carrie G., Meriden, Conn.

Dialing for dollars

Dear Heloise: My daughter and son-in-law got married at a “destination” wedding in California. She stated on her website that they didn’t want gifts, but would rather have gifts of money to pay for their honeymoon. We put out a card box, but she received only four cards with money, of which one was from me and one from her sister. They were very disappointed. I told her to contact everyone and ask if they put a gift in the gift box in case something got lost. What do you think? - LaVerne E., via email

LaVerne, I’ve gotten letters from guests who don’t like being asked to fund weddings or honeymoons, and here are my thoughts: (1) Have a wedding and honeymoon you can afford. Do not go into debt, and certainly NEVER ask a guest to fund your wedding plans. Can’t afford a big honeymoon? Then wait and save up until you can. (2) A guest is invited for the pleasure of his or her company and to help celebrate a very special occasion. Guests don’t have to give you a gift. (3) Give what you are comfortable giving.
- Heloise

The answer is ‘no’

Dear Heloise: My mother said it was inappropriate to wear white to someone else’s wedding, but I would like to wear a white dress that I have to a friend’s wedding. Is it OK to wear white if I’m not the bride?
 - Lacy R., Cherry Hill, Va.

Lacy, only the bride wears white at a wedding. The guests may wear any other color, but never white.
- Heloise

Federal funding?
Jan. 17, 2018

Dear Heloise: “We recently read a request in an obituary for CONTRIBUTIONS to be given to the children or grandchildren of the deceased for their education. Also, requests are made to send contributions to the funeral home to defray the cost of the funeral. I’ve seen this a few times, and it seems new to me.”
- Gin, Lewistown, Pa.

Gin, a lot may depend on the family’s circumstances or customs. Most importantly, do what YOU feel is right. Many notices will have that in place of flowers, donations be made to an organization, such as a medical one, or an animal rescue or other group. However, if you are uncomfortable with that, send a nice card with a handwritten note. It will mean a lot, I promise! - Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for masking tape:

- Remove pet hair from clothing, lampshades, sofas, chairs, etc.

- Tag computer wires for an easier installation after a move.

- Use as nameplates for jars and shelves.

- Label the containers when freezing foods.

- Heloise


A sweet scent

Dear Heloise: “I have another use for those perfume and cologne strips in magazines: If you cut the strips from the magazines without opening them, they make great bookmarks for your latest novel or magazine article. You get a whiff of the fragrance each time you open your books.” - Kelly M., Gerrardstown, W.Va.

It’s certainly a nice way to open a book. However, please don’t use this on very old or antique books, as it may harm the paper. - Heloise

P.S. I tear the ads out and save them. Then when it’s time to reline the bathroom wastebasket, I open the scent part and squish the whole page down into the bottom. It seems nice for some time, and when I empty the trash can, I dump the whole thing. No mess on the bottom, either. A double-duty hint!

Readers, what do you do with these lovely scented inserts? Oh, if you don’t like them, most magazines can send you a magazine that does not contain any.


Wash your hands

Dear Heloise: “Please tell your readers to wash their hands BEFORE they put away their groceries. They’ve used a cart with a handle that several people have touched; handled money, which is filthy; and handled boxes that were stacked by someone else. This is especially important during flu and cold season.” - Gloria M., Bellingham, Wash.

Yuck! However, you are correct. If you can’t wash your hands, do use a hand sanitizer. I keep a small one in my purse and find myself using it several times a day when out and about. - Heloise

The thief in the lunchroom
Jan. 10, 2018

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about stealing people’s lunches from the employee refrigerator:

“Dear Heloise: I work in a large office where we bring our own lunch. We either write a name on the lunch or we tag it so it’s identifiable. Someone has been taking food that doesn’t belong to them. Two employees found that someone had taken their lunches the other day. We can’t seem to catch the person responsible. Any suggestions?” - Lois L., Bonne Terre, Mo.

Oh my, the old “Who took my lunch?” dilemma. This is not new at all. Try to keep a close eye on the lunchroom, and mention it in an employee meeting. Posting a sign on the refrigerator might help.

I was at a radio station in Washington, D.C., once and commented to the program director that the “break room” was the cleanest I had ever seen in a radio/TV station. His reply was that since they had put in a camera to prevent items from “going missing,” employees were cleaning up after themselves! Maybe ask management to do the same. It can’t hurt! - Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some uses for old blankets:

- Local pet shelters need them.

- Keep in the trunk of your car for an emergency.

- Use to keep dirt off when storing furniture.

- Use to cover a bed in the guest room. No pet hair!

- Heloise


The American Dream

Dear Heloise: I’ve read that the American dream is dead for most young people. By “American dream” I mean owning a home, having children, sending the kids to college, building a retirement fund, things like that. - F.W. in California

Floyd, the “American dream,” as it’s called, isn’t slipping away, but it is changing. Instead of big homes, many are opting for smaller homes that require less work and less expense. There also is a trend of multigenerational homes. It’s a different time. - Heloise

Clean lint filter

Dear Heloise: I may be the last male on Earth to know this, but I use a used dyer sheet to clean the dryer lint filter. Much better than a wet finger! - L.H., Bedford, Texas

It’s amazing that what is new to you is old hat to others. Readers, please be sure to clean the lint filter EVERY time the dryer is used. Also, check the exhaust hose. You would be shocked about how many home fires are started by a lint buildup. - Heloise

P.S. DON’T put the clothes in the dryer and then run a quick errand! Oh, by the way, when I visited the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear submarine docked at Pearl Harbor, I learned this hint from them: When they do laundry, someone ALWAYS stays in that room while the dryer is on. Fire on a submarine is very dangerous. Learn from them.

The moving trash can

Dear Heloise: My trash can would slide when we stepped on the lid release, so I purchased a small pet food mat. I use it under the trash can, and no more sliding! - Lynn D., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Thoughts on a new year
Jan. 2, 2018

Dear Readers: As 2018 begins, my wish for you is to think about the coming new year and let’s all HOPE FOR THE BEST!

This space usually is reserved for a reader “Sound Off” about stores not posting operating hours large enough to read, packaging that is difficult to open, or online sites that are not legit.

It’s my turn for a “Sound On” today. Thank you for taking time to write me. Your input (and, many times, negative comments or suggestions about a recent hint) is what keeps this column going. Please know that Heloise Central (what I call my office/assistants) does its best to research and TEST hints before printing them.

Heloise Hint: Just because it’s on the internet or someone forwarded a hint via email, you can’t trust everything you read that is on the internet. Take a moment to consider the source. Does it sound plausible or just plain dumb? Wow, lose 10 pounds in five days, look younger with this cream or buy these “rare” coins as an investment - REALLY?

This column is here for you, and know that you can trust me to tell you the truth. You may not like it, or maybe your mother or father always did it this way, or a friend told you. However, put on your Heloise hat and ask: Is it safe? Will it work? Does it sound like old advice? Is it good for the environment? What would Heloise think about this? See below, where I explained why the reader “hint” may not be safe or work.
- A big hug, Heloise

P.S. Take a little time to reflect on last year, and look forward to set some reasonable goals, NOT resolutions. My New Year’s resolution is to NOT make them!

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Other uses for yogurt containers:

- Use to hold loose change (especially for tolls or doing laundry).

- Fill with dirt and start seedlings.

- Use for small portions of food for a lunch bag or lunchbox.

- Use as a scoop for dry dog food.

- Heloise


Names on clothing

Dear Heloise: Please rethink the advice not to put children’s names on clothing and lunchboxes! So many items go missing throughout the year. Names can be placed on the inside so strangers can’t see them.
- Karen J., a kindergarten teacher, Los Alamitos, Calif.

Karen, good point. Any identifying information should be put inside a lunchbox or clothing. This is especially true for a backpack. - Heloise

Purse in a shopping cart?

Dear Heloise: I read your column about not leaving your purse in a grocery cart. I close my purse, place it in the child’s seat, then use the straps and wrap them around the purse handle several times and snap shut. - Linda L., via email

Linda, this may be true, but anyone can unzip your purse or cut the straps and steal your wallet in a second. Carry your purse with you, or take just your wallet and coupons. - Heloise

A holiday message
Dec. 27, 2017

Dear Readers: It’s the HOLIDAY SEASON, and many of us are with family and friends, or you might be by yourself. Whatever your situation, please know that I send you my warmest and happiest greetings!

Here are a few short hints from me, your friend Heloise:

- DO try to enjoy yourself and take some time for YOU.

- DO use care when in the kitchen. Watch food on or in the stove, or in the microwave.

- DO keep an eye on pets and small children so they don’t get into mischief.

- DON’T light a lot of candles around your home and walk out of the room!

- DON’T burn wrapping paper in a fireplace!

- DON’T put sharp knives in the dishwater - it’s easy to get cut.

My wish for you today? If it can wait, LET IT WAIT! Dust, dirt and leaves will be there tomorrow!

Big holiday hug! - Heloise

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for “sticky notes”:

- Stick one on a bathroom mirror to remind you of your hair/dental/doctor appointment date and time.

- If you’re going somewhere, put one on the back of the door by which you leave to tell yourself what you need to take with you.

- Label clothing by color if colorblind.

- If you have a list of errands you need to get done, write them out on a sticky note and attach it to the car’s steering wheel.

- Heloise


All bottled up

Dear Heloise: When traveling by air, there’s one thing you really need in your carry-on bag: an empty water bottle. After going through security, you can fill it up at a water fountain. Many times I’ve been on a rough flight where refreshments were not served, and it came in handy. - Kathy P., Port Charlotte, Fla.


Keeping in touch

Dear Heloise: Most of us have friends who, for many reasons, have drifted away. A couple of years ago, some of my friends and I started to reconnect, and we decided to get together once a month. We choose a restaurant using the alphabet: first month the letter A, the second month the letter B and so on. Sometimes we travel out of our community, and sometimes we meet close by, but we always have fun and stay in touch with each other. - S.D.J.B., via email


To eat or not to eat

Dear Heloise: Is household paraffin wax edible? Nowhere on the box does it say “edible.” - Janice P., via email

Janice, paraffin is used as an ingredient in making chocolate, especially chocolates that are given shapes, such as Easter Bunnies or Santas. A little wax is mixed in to make the chocolate hold its shape and to add shine. Paraffin wax is actually non-digestible, which means it passes through the body without being absorbed. However, eating a large amount of paraffin is dangerous and can lead to intestinal blockage, which can be very serious! - Heloise

Be cautious with a pet gift
Dec. 20, 2017

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about gifting an animal for Christmas. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: Please advise your readers to think twice about giving an animal, such as a dog or cat, as a Christmas gift. A pet should be given ONLY if the recipient has requested a particular pet and is above 12 years of age. It’s better to allow the recipient to select the pet rather than to pick one out for him or her. However, if the pet is for a child, it must be understood that the child needs to feed it, water it and play with it. All too many children lose interest in the pet after the newness wears off, so think carefully. It’s a living, breathing, feeling creature, NOT A TOY.” - Angela in Detroit

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for a potato peeler:

- Cut thin slices of cheese with it.

- Sharpen pencils.

- Shave chocolate to make chocolate curls.

- Carefully remove fuzzy sweater balls from sweaters.

- Heloise


Cleaning gravestones

Dear Heloise: Do you have a hint for cleaning gravestone markers? I would like to remove enough grime to make them legible. - Jack in San Antonio


Jack, you didn’t mention what materials the markers were made of; however, never use a stiff-bristled brush on a grave marker. Avoid pressure washing and bleach, and do not use a regular household cleaner on any marker.

- Granite headstone: Use a nonionic detergent, by mixing 1 ounce of detergent with 1 gallon of water. Using a soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the marker.

- Marble or limestone markers: Clean with a cup of ammonium hydroxide in a gallon of water to kill such things as moss, algae and lichen. Again, use only a soft-bristled brush.

- Bronze marker: The cleaning tip for granite markers also applies to bronze markers. Do not try to remove the green patina that comes with time from bronze. It adds an aged beauty to the marker.

- Heloise


Teaching kids about money

Dear Heloise: I found a great way to teach my kids about money: I gave my son $20 and told him he had to figure out a dinner that would feed a family of four, then I had him come with me to the grocery store. The things he learned were (1) $20 doesn’t go very far; (2) you can’t do impulse buying when shopping for dinner on $20; and (3) you need to look for bargains!

He made spaghetti with a meat sauce, tossed salad and heat-and-serve rolls. Dessert was a sherbet that was on sale. There was 11 cents left over from the $20. He’s had a greater appreciation of money ever since. - A Reader, via email


Contact list

Dear Heloise: When I add a contact to my cellphone, I always list the person’s relationship to me - I have probably five or six “Jennifers” in my phone, and I need to be sure I am speed-dialing the correct one!
- Maria F., Tallahassee, Fla.









Milwaukee events  |  Waukesha events  |  Washington Co. events Ozaukee Co. events Milwaukee news  |  Waukesha Co. news Washington Co. News   |  Waukesha Freeman  |  West Bend Daily News  |  Waukesha Freeman | Ozaukee Co. News Graphic | Oconomowoc Enterprise