Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is from me. I love the new plastic bags
for veggies, fruit, cat and dog food, but the “zip” close sometimes is
hard to open. You are thinking, “What do you mean?” When it states: “Cut
here, then open,” well, I don’t know about you, but after cutting where
it says to, there is about 1/8 of an inch to try and pry open the bag!
Yes, it’s nice to be able to reseal, but then again, to open it is like
prying open the jaws of a shark. Needle-nose pliers to the rescue. But
hey, should I have to have a pair in the kitchen to open food products?
Methinks not. - Heloise
P.S.: Readers, am I alone on this? Please send your thoughts.
Dear Readers: Other uses for crochet hooks:
1. To pull torn threads of garments to the inside for mending.
2. To clean inside the tread of shoes.
3. To pull gunk out of bathroom sink drains.
4. To zip up zippers on the back of a garment.
5. To secure hair up in a bun.
No lost TV remote
Dear Heloise: My husband and I were always forgetting where we last saw
or put the TV remote. Much time was spent just trying to locate it.
To solve this problem, we purchased another one so that we each have our
own. I keep mine right where I sit, and he does the same with his.
We’ve not had to look for the remote now that we have two of them. -
Kim, via email
Kim, I’m with you! I have two remotes for each of two TVs - two for the
TV in the den, and two for the bedroom. I marked them “D” for den and
“B” for bedroom with bright-red nail polish. They don’t walk off to
another room. If one goes “missing” or I can’t find it (they should make
them red), I have the other.
Dear Heloise: I discovered that a plastic bag had melted onto my
angel-food cake pan, and I was going to use it that day. What to do
before I heat it to bake the cake?
checked online and couldn’t find anything, so I went to your website,
and it said to use laundry prewash spray to get off sticky labels, and
ALL OF IT CAME OFF!
Thank you! - Brenda O., Omaha, Neb.
Brenda, thank you for writing to say “thank you"! Please visit my
website, www.Heloise.com, for more hints and some fun photos of my pets
and travel stories. - Hugs, Heloise
Dear Heloise: Using chocolate-covered candies to teach math is a great
idea. I also taught my kids that these candies are like people:
different on the outside, all the same on the inside.
- Debbie in Waterloo, N.Y.
Debbie, wise words and a wonderful way to teach children. Thanks for
sharing. - Heloise
see what’s not there
Feb. 3, 2016
Dear Readers: Today’s
Sound Off is about grocery stores:
“Dear Heloise: I find it annoying when a store that’s temporarily out of
an item fills the space with something else. To determine whether the
item isn’t there, we have to read the shelf labels, which is difficult
for those labels that aren’t eye-level.
“One department store puts out cards stating that the product is
temporarily unavailable. This is much kinder.” - Carol F., via email
Carol, I did a quick survey in Heloise Central, and this seems to happen
only a few times. Most importantly, let management know then, not later!
Also, most companies pay a “slotting” fee, which can be very, very
expensive, to be on the shelves, so they would be unhappy to know that
another product is in their space. - Heloise
P.S.: This is a good time to “test” a new product or brand. If you don’t
like it, you can take it back!
Dear Readers: Other uses for insulated sleeves for drinks:
1. Hold loose change.
2. As a small centerpiece or vase.
3. Hold pencils, pens, ruler and scissors.
4. Protect floors from marks made by heavy furniture legs.
5. Store light bulbs to prevent breakage.
6. Small fruit protector - no bruising in lunch bags.
Remove soap scum
Dear Heloise: How do I remove soap scum from glass shower doors? I have
tried some products, like glass and all-purpose cleaners, but they don’t
do a good job.
Thanks so much. - Carey, via email
Carey, this can be a tough job. Glass cleaner cleans glass, but usually
not the gunk on shower doors. Try my longtime favorite: a bottle of
cheap shampoo and a scrubbie. Also, vinegar will cut scum buildup. After
a shower, when the walls are damp, pour cheap shampoo on a plastic or
sponge scrubbie and scrub away! Let it sit for an hour or so, rinse and
wipe off. To help you save money and time, I put all of my homemade
cleaning solutions in one place. For a copy of Heloise’s Homemade
Cleaning Solutions, send $5 and a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed,
business-size envelope to: Heloise/Cleaning Solutions, P.O. Box 795001,
San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Order online at www.Heloise.com. You can
make a 16-ounce bottle of multipurpose cleaner for pennies. Why buy
commercial products when you don’t have to? - Heloise
No lipstick on teeth
Dear Heloise: I wear lipstick, but it can be embarrassing when lipstick
gets on my teeth. Hope my hint helps other women. Once you’ve applied
lipstick, take your index finger and place it between your teeth, close
your lips then slowly pull your finger out between your lips. This
removes the lipstick from inside your lips, which is what gets on your
teeth. - Anne M. in Las Vegas
Yep! I learned this a long time ago. The universal girlfriend “signal”
is when she looks at you and acts like she is wiping something off her
teeth. - Heloise
Purse placement a problem
Jan. 27, 2016
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about garment hooks in public
Letty, via email, wrote: “I don’t understand why some public restrooms
don’t have garment hooks in the women’s restrooms. I refuse to put my
purse on that nasty floor, and have become creative in figuring out what
“One friend carries an ‘S’ hook in her purse and hooks her purse to the
door latch. How much would it cost to attach a hook inside the restroom
Letty, when is a door just a door? When it’s on a restroom stall! I may
get in trouble here, but in days of old, most public restrooms were
designed by men, who don’t carry purses or sit down as much as women do.
Yes, I, too, can hang my purse around my neck, tuck it under one arm,
balance it on the toilet-paper holder or place it on the back part of
the toilet (if there is one), and I have even wedged it between the
metal apparatus and the wall. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Other uses for breath-mint tins:
1. Store small dental supplies.
2. Hold hair accessories.
3. Hold mechanical-pencil supplies.
4. Store small change.
5. A portable sewing kit.
Dear Heloise: Tweezing my eyebrows is not one of my favorite tasks. It
was a little painful until I learned to coat my brows first with the gel
that numbs a baby’s gums. Now I can get through the ordeal with minimal
pain, or at least tolerate it! - No More Mono Brow, via text
Dear NMMB: Numbing that area does help, and some readers use an ice cube
to do so. Frankly, I don’t understand why it hurts so much. Maybe I’m
just used to doing it, but it’s not that big of a deal.
My hint is to pluck only a few hairs at a time, not do the whole job at
one time. I remove a few stray hairs in the morning when putting on
makeup, or at night when cleaning my face. It’s like a continual
rotation, removing stray eyebrow hair. - No Mono Brow Heloise
Dear Heloise: Before going on outings with our children, we review our
special family safety hints. I let them choose a “secret password” that
they will remember. If they get lost or we get separated and a person
comes up claiming to know where I am, they ask for the secret password.
If the person doesn’t know it, I’ve told them they may not be safe, and
it’s OK to run away quickly. - Tony M., via text
Your child’s safety is paramount, and in this case, it’s OK to disobey
an adult. - Heloise
Jog your memory
Dear Heloise: When I have to remember something and can’t write it down,
I place a big, loose rubber band around my wrist. Later on, when I see
it, I remember “Oh, I have to stop and get milk and bread.” It’s a sort
of visual clue. - Antoinette in Montana
Jan. 14, 2016
Dear Readers: Just a few comments about expiration dates on coupons:
Shirley G. in Alton,
Ill., wrote: “Restaurant coupons: The expiration date is in such small
print, it is very hard to read. I write it larger on the ad.” (HELOISE
HERE: Very good hint! Saves you from squinting every time you want to
check if the coupon is still valid.)
Patti in Hamilton, Ohio, wrote: “Mine is how small the expiration date
is on coupons. Between the small print and the color variations, these
are extremely difficult to read.”
Dot, via email, said her problem is “coupons, especially restaurants,
that have the expiration date in such small print that you have to get a
magnifying glass to read it, or the print is so light you can hardly see
hear you, readers; let’s hope the coupon people do. However, to be fair,
they have to get a lot of information (much of it legal) on that small
coupon. You can save a pretty sum of money using coupons wisely. Don’t
use it just to use it; use it to save on something you need or want.
Dear Readers: Fast facts to remove onion odor from hands:
Wash with a dab of toothpaste.
Rub hands on stainless steel while washing.
Wash with shaving cream.
After washing, rinse with a bit of mouthwash.
Wash with lemon or lime juice.
Tree sap on clothes
Dear Heloise: This time of year, with all the tree trimming/cutting, how
do you get tree sap out of clothes?
- Sue M., via email
Don’t be a sap with tree sap stuck on your clothing! It’s very sticky
and mostly sugar, so you need to dissolve it. Soak the garment (or just
the spot itself) in warm water. I tested this a few years ago for my
column in Good Housekeeping magazine. It takes time, but let it soak,
then rub the spot between your fingers, rinse and soak some more. It
Lots of people use rubbing alcohol, and I’ve had some luck with this.
More helpful hints are in my pamphlet on stains. To get a copy of
Heloise’s Handy Stain Guide for Clothing, send $5 and a stamped (71
cents), self-addressed, business-size envelope to: Heloise/Stain Guide;
P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or order online at
www.Heloise.com. When the sap is removed, rub with detergent and wash as
usual. - Heloise
Wedding aisle runners
Dear Heloise: At many weddings, there is a white aisle runner. Most
times, not all of the roll is used. Because it is a sturdy material and
somewhat transparent, I have used the leftover material for making
patterns or other craft copying needs. -Jackie R., Newcastle, Calif.
Or use as a runner by your door. A great hint for recycling and
repurposing the unused portion. It’s already been paid for, and the
runner in the aisle may have usable space, so look over that as well.
Produce leaves her cold
Jan. 14, 2016
Dear Readers: This week’s Soundoff is about cold, wet produce in
“Hi! Mine (Sound
Off-Heloise) is about the dripping wet, COLD produce in winter. You pick
it up and place it in the bag, and have wet, cold hands. I kept on
asking the produce people why they couldn’t keep a roll of paper towels
in the produce section. I finally talked to a supervisor, and he had a
clerk hang a roll of towels immediately! He promised me they would be
there from then on.
Sadly, they lasted only one week. This is a big national chain. How much
could it cost to keep a roll of generic paper towels in the produce
department? - Cathy in Monument, Colo.
hear you! Sometimes the head of romaine lettuce is dripping wet! I’ve
even been “caught” when the mister turns on.
All you can do is keep asking. Most stores I go to do have paper towels
handy. Last ditch is to call or write the president of the company. It
may take some effort but can help bring about good results. - Heloise
P.S. Use another produce bag to wipe your hands off.
Dear Readers: Other uses for a fishing tackle box:
1. Separate jewelry, small toy items or first aid materials.
2. For sewing, to separate loose items like buttons and zippers.
3. In an art room, for chalks, pencils, erasers, etc.
4. Fill compartments with different snacks for travels.
5. Store seldom-used items.
Dear Heloise: A friend made a cake that was delicious. She told me that
it had a “secret” ingredient. When I couldn’t guess it, she told me what
it was, and I was totally surprised. It was one of your recipes, too.
- Mallory, via email
The cake is really delicious and a total surprise when (if) you tell
people that the secret ingredient is sauerkraut! That recipe, along with
some of my mother’s favorites, are in my Heloise’s Cake Recipes
pamphlet. If you’d like a copy, send $5 and a stamped (71 cents),
self-addressed, business-size envelope to: Heloise/Cake Recipes; P.O.
Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Visit www.Heloise.com to order
online. Back in 1975, a reader asked my mother (the original Heloise)
for this recipe, and it was not in our files. Over 4,000 readers sent
one in! The quick-bake hint is to rinse and drain 1/2 cup sauerkraut,
chop it up and add to the chocolate cake batter. Bake according to the
directions on the box. Yum! - Heloise
Use of junk mail
Dear Heloise: What to do with all those stickers, mailers, fake credit
cards, etc., that come in the mail? I gave my children an oversized
envelope and the stack of unwanted “junk” mail.
They separated the mail and stuffed the envelopes, very meticulously!
They played with the envelopes for hours: taking out the items, looking
at them and even exchanging a few between them.
- Sandy W. via email.
This: Eardrops not so easy
Jan. 6, 2016
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about pet medication:
“Dear Heloise: I took my
dog for a checkup, and she had an infection in both ears. The doctor put
her on eardrops, with a follow-up. I put drops in her ears faithfully,
but at the checkup they said her ears had not improved.
“I asked if I was ‘doing it wrong,’ and the doctor then demonstrated the
procedure. Yep, I WAS DOING IT WRONG! I dropped the medication in her
ear. They showed me how I was supposed to slide the tip of the bottle
into the canal, then squeeze to release the drops.
“Here’s my question: Shouldn’t I have been shown that at the first
visit? I didn’t know there was a specific place to reach a dog’s ear
“I learned an expensive lesson. We should be shown how to administer
meds, not just ‘three drops twice a day.’ They should not assume that we
know.” - S.A., via text.
Hmm - I thought eardrops were pretty simple to administer, but
apparently they are not. Dogs’ ears are not like ours, so the drops do
need to be applied kind of far down in the canal.
Yes, ask for a demo; be sure you understand what you are to do. Twice a
day - meaning every 12 hours, or morning and evening? - Woof, woof,
Dear Readers: Hints to secure electrical cords:
1. Self-gripping fabric tape
2. Rubber bands
4. Paper-towel tubes
5. Old coil-type phone cords.
Dear Heloise: We purchased an area rug. It’s on top of wall-to-wall
carpeting. The rug walks (or crawls), requiring that we adjust its
location every two or three days.
It crawls in the same direction even though we have turned it around
several times. It does this in spite of the fact that it is under both a
heavy center table and my recliner.
Do you know of a solution? Would a rug liner work? - Robert H. in
Yes, it would. Try to buy the best one you can that fits the correct
measurement of the rug. It will make your life less stressful. -
Say something nice
Dear Heloise: I walk in the morning and pass students walking to school.
I study their faces, and many just don’t seem too happy.
make a point of smiling and saying, “Good morning, have a nice day!” I
generally can get a smile or a head nod back. You never know whose day
you may brighten! - Agnes B., Warren, Ohio
Topping off squeeze
Dear Heloise: I get your column in the Minot (N.D.) Daily News and read
it faithfully. I purchased squeeze bottles for mustard, ketchup, etc.
They didn’t come with covers.
knit and had a whole sack of caps for the ends of knitting needles. They
fit on the little “spouts” perfectly.
- June M., via email
these guests nuts?
Dec. 29, 2015
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about guests picking through a bowl
of mixed nuts:
“We entertain quite a lot, and besides the various appetizers, we offer,
together with the pre-dinner drinks, a bowl of mixed nuts.
“It makes me mad when I see some guests carefully pick out the cashew
nuts, walnuts or whatever, and leave the ‘less popular’ nuts behind.
Don’t these people realize how RUDE and BAD MANNERED this is?
“Why take the best nuts for yourself and deny them to others? If you
want nuts, take a spoonful or handful and eat what you get.” - Dixie
in Camarillo, Calif.
Well, they are guests in your home. I don’t think they are being rude
intentionally. What are the best nuts to one may be just a nut to
another person. If you know that those folks are coming over, put out of
bowl of plain peanuts! - Heloise
Dear Readers: Recycling or reusing newspaper is the right thing to do.
Here are a few hints you might not have thought about:
1. Use as place mats for children who are doing crafts at the table.
2. Put inside containers to absorb odors.
3. Line the bottom of cages for birds or other small pets.
4. Wrap food waste like potato peels or eggshells.
Dear Heloise: I frequently get hiccups, and here is something that works
for me: Take a full teaspoon of peanut butter, invert the spoon and put
the bottom of the spoon against the roof of your mouth. Then gently take
your tongue and pull the peanut butter off the spoon. DO NOT CHEW THE
Without choking, gently swallow the peanut butter. This works about 95
percent of the time. Sometimes, when the peanut butter is gone but my
mouth is still sticky, I will drink a glass of water quickly, holding my
breath, and this has always stopped them. - Judy, via email
Judy, I tried this, and it’s a little difficult to swallow, so I’d add,
“Use only a small amount of CREAMY peanut butter.” Have a glass or two
of milk or water to follow up with. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: Here’s a hint for lining a pan with foil: After I’ve
measured the foil for the pan, I put on an oven mitt and firmly press
the liner into the corners to get a good fit. No tearing holes in the
foil due to fingernails or jewelry. - Carol G. in San Antonio
Light my way
Dear Heloise: I use a cane to get around. During Halloween, our lights
went out. My son had a bicycle light meant for handlebars, and he put it
on my cane. It worked, and I could see my way around.
- Alice W., Salem, Ore.
Parked cars cause
Dec. 21, 2015
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about vehicles parked on the street.
Janice wrote: “In many neighborhoods, people use their garages for
storage, parking their cars in the driveway or street. Parked cars
reduce visibility and create a hazard for children playing and riding
bicycles. Cars left outside invite vandalism and burglary.
“I’d like to suggest that people make an effort to clean out their
garages, rent a storage unit and return garages to their intended
purpose of parking cars.” - Janice in San Antonio
This can be a problem and a safety issue, as you stated. In many areas,
cars are not supposed to be parked on the street overnight or for an
extended length of time. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Question: What can you teach a young learner with a bag of
different-colored chocolate coated candies?
1) Sort by color.
2) Count each color separately and add up to find a total.
3) Guess the next color(s) in a sequence of colors. Line them up, light
to dark or by colors: yellow, orange, red.
4) Which group has more? Less? How much more? How much less?
5) Take away a color group and determine how many are left.
Math can be fun if you make it so and start “playing” with your children
when they are young. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: I should listen to my husband more. He does have some
great hints worth sharing.
Our clock in the bathroom recently stopped working, and he was on a
mission to find another one. He found one but wasn’t completely happy
because it didn’t have a second hand.
My response: “That’s no big deal. I don’t use the second hand to
determine time.” That’s when he proceeded to tell me that he didn’t,
either. He uses the second hand to gage whether the clock is still
working or not! Who’da thunk? - Molly in California
He did! Smart guy. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Here’s a perfect hint for this time of year: One of my
Heloise Central worker bees saves different-size plastic tubs and lids.
She washes and stores them for “takeaway” goodies from a holiday
As her family gathers, there is a LOT of food prepared and shared. When
it’s cleanup time, the tubs are used for take-home containers.
This is a great way to share those delicious leftovers, and no one is
left with too much food to eat or toss. The tubs are being reused one
more time, so it’s a twofer hint, I think. - Heloise
Change for a cause
Dear Heloise: My husband and I have a large, plastic cookie container
that stores our loose change. When it’s full, we count it, for tax
purposes, and donate it to our local women’s shelter. Just a hint that I
thought was worth sharing. - Georgia H., Victoria, Texas
very good Heart Hint. Loose change can quickly add up to a substantial
amount of folding money!
Getting a better grip
Dec. 17, 2015
Dear Readers: Here’s this week’s Sound off, about slick containers:
“I am a cancer survivor,
and one of the side effects of chemotherapy is neuropathy. Dishwashing
liquid, shampoo, conditioner, shower gels, etc., are packaged in plastic
containers. The ones I like are hard to grip securely. I would suspect I
am not the only one who has this problem.
“I purchased a new cellphone, and the case has ridges, which makes it
easier to hold. I wonder if companies could use containers that are not
as slick - put dots or ridges on the containers.”
- Ann G., via email
Ann, thank you for writing, and I’m sure many people are affected by
neuropathy for various reasons. Neuropathy often can cause numbness,
mostly in hands and feet. Some say it may feel tingly, or like little
pinpricks, similar to when your foot falls asleep.
Here’s a hint for you: Put big rubber bands around the containers to
give you a good grip. Also, a wet or damp washcloth wrapped around the
slick container will allow you to pick it up more securely.
Hopefully, manufacturers will look at their packaging designs and keep
your suggestions in mind.
- Hugs, Heloise
P.S.: Readers, do you have hints you would like to share that I can pass
along to others dealing with neuropathy?
Dear Readers: Other uses for wine-bottle corks:
Cut slits and make place-card holders.
Use to “cork” open soda bottles.
Glue onto the bottom of plant pots to prevent scratching the floor.
Attach to fishing lures for bobbers.
Hold needles and pins as a pincushion.
My gnat problem
Dear Heloise: How do you get rid of gnats in your home? I have flowers,
but because of the gnats, I had to set them outside. I want the flowers
back in the house. What can I do? - Carolyn W., Birmingham, Ala.
Let’s help you bring those plants back in. Don’t overwater plants - let
water stand on the soil or collect in the saucer.
To get rid of the ones that are in the soil, use this old standby: 2
teaspoons of apple-cider (or white) vinegar, a few drops of dish soap to
a quart of water. Pour this over the soil, let sit 30 minutes, then
flush with tap water. This will kill the gnats!
Vinegar to the rescue again! There are more money-saving hints in my
vinegar pamphlet. Visit www.Heloise.com to order one, or send $5 and a
long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar,
P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. You can use vinegar and
water (50/50) to wipe off the grime and dust from the tops of plant
leaves. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: Bamboo skewers are very inexpensive, but I have found a
couple of uses for them. They can be used for cleaning mineral deposits
around faucets, or for cleaning out the holes in the shower head.
- Melanie E., via email
True customer service
Dec. 9, 2015
Dear Readers: This week’s
Sound Off is a follow-up to the reader letter complaining about American
companies being difficult to engage with. I stated that I thought
differently from the reader, and it is easier today than ever before.
From Ann T. in Keizer, Ore.: "Many companies are FINALLY learning about
pleasant customer service. I had a problem with my favorite pickle
relish, so I called the number on the jar. He (the customer
representative — Heloise) was so glad
that I had called. He even asked for the lot number on the jar so he
could notify their quality- control people. Later, he sent me a generous
coupon to replace the product. What more could I ask?"
Readers, let the companies you like know what’s right and wrong! If
you complain, don’t shout, whine or blather on and on. State the
complaint and ask for a solution. Most companies want to make a customer
happy. A negative and unhappy one causes a lot of damage.
Your friend gritches about a product or business? You will think
twice before buying that product or using that service. — Heloise
Dear Readers: Winter is here in parts of the country, and on its way
Outside POTTED PLANTS need a little attention:
1. The roots might be exposed to temperature changes.
2. Plant roots are not as strong as the plant; they freeze, the plant
3. Place pots on the ground, not on cement.
4. The bigger the better. Bigger pots hold more soil, which means
P.S.: We do not often get a prolonged freeze here in San Antonio.
When we are expecting a "HARD" freeze (it stays for many hours), I
cover as many plants as I can! I drag in the ones I can move, and have
been known to make a "tent" over a group of the ones I can’t.
Dear Heloise: What is your opinion of using rolls of parchment paper
to line the boxes that I will use to store and move old books? I’ve
heard that it helps prevent moisture accumulation. Can you help? —
Severn D., via email
Parchment paper does resist moisture, and is used in baking and
cooking. Lining the entire box would have to be done to prevent moisture
from seeping in. Or wrap each book.
The real key is to store them in an area that is DRY (no basement or
attic), cool and dark. Under a bed or in an extra closet is ideal. If
the temperature and humidity are all right for you, they probably are
perfect for stored books. — Heloise
No-mess ice cream
Dear Heloise: I love ice-cream bars on a stick, but I end up with a
mess, with the drippy stuff on my hand. I now take a coffee filter and
push the stick through it and slide the filter up to the bottom of the
bar. Now the drips land on the filter, and not on my hand. — Angie,
spitting image of grossness
Dec. 2, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is a Sound Off from Tom, about baseball players.
Baseball season may be over officially, but this is something for both
players and managers to think about:
“Dear Heloise: I love to
watch baseball on television but am on the verge of signing off because
of the continuous SPITTING, SPITTING, SPITTING. This grosses me out. It
runs down their clothes or beards. Then they slide into base in all of
that spit. And the worst of it is when they rub spit into their hands
just before batting. Ugh!” - Tom in Moorpark, Calif.
I’m with you all the way ... to home plate! It may be an old tradition,
but today, it’s not just gross, it’s unsanitary! With so many people
concerned about germs, it’s also a VERY bad example for young people
Dear Readers: Other uses for plastic lids:
Place under cans that rust.
Set small plant pots on them.
Cover pet-food cans.
Use between burger patties when freezing.
Use as a small paint palette.
Motivate me to walk
Dear Heloise: Sometimes my husband will take me with him on his way to
work. About a mile or so from the house, he will drop me off, and I will
walk back home. This helps me stay motivated. - Kelli, via email
Dear Heloise: Here’s a little money-saving hint: I’ve noticed that there
is a difference in cost between the flip-top toothpaste tubes and the
regular-top tubes. So I bought a tube with a flip-top cap. When I
finished the tube, I removed the cap, cleaned and saved it.
now buy toothpaste with the original twist-off cap and replace that cap
with the flip-top one. It’s easy and saves a little money, too. -
Cindi A., Cuero, Texas
Dear Heloise: Whoever makes the coffee in our house gets to make it the
way they like it! My husband likes his a little weak (I think), and I
like mine pretty robust (he says way too strong), so the other one has
When I make it my way, he adds some hot water to his cup until it’s just
right for him. When he makes it his way, I call it “brown water.” I add
a teaspoon or two of an espresso instant coffee I buy.
We each get coffee the way we like it, while making only one pot. When a
guest comes to visit, we meet halfway and make it “normal” for our
- Amie, originally from Baton Rouge, La., and John, originally from
Sounds like a fair way to “split the difference,” and both (or all)
parties are happy! - Heloise
Dear Readers: On a recent business trip for a personal appearance, I
observed the boarding process for the millionth time.
Don’t overstuff your carry-on bag! It must fit in the overhead
compartment or under the seat in front of you. If not, your bag will
have to be checked. - On the road again, Heloise
Two racks per room?
Nov. 27, 2015
Dear Readers: Here’s this week’s Sound Off, about luggage racks.
“Many people read your column, and I would like to make a public
request: All lodging-type establishments should provide two luggage
racks in every room.
“Many people travel alone and probably need only one, but as a
frequently traveling couple, each of us would like to have one.
“We shouldn’t have to reserve a room with two beds so that we can have
one for our luggage, but we often do.” - Pat K., Cypress, Texas
Pat, I feel your pain, because when my husband, David, and I travel, he
ends up putting his things on a chair. Sometimes I use a luggage rack,
and other times I don’t. When traveling alone, I, too, ask for two
double beds, and the second one becomes my extra desk.
Request an extra rack when you check in, or pull out the ironing board,
set it up against a wall and voila - extra space! It may depend on the
hotel/motel; generally, the lower-priced places don’t have them. It does
cost the establishment to put one in every room, and two would make the
cost of your room go up! Some “guests” will steal ANYTHING from a motel
room that is not tied or anchored down!
- Heloise (Too many miles and too many hotels!)
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for old, clean pantyhose:
In the garden to tie plants.
As a paint strainer.
To keep wrapping-paper rolls from unwinding.
Cut into circular segments and use as hair ties.
As an exercise band!
Dear Readers: It’s time for festivals, craft shows and women’s shows.
Years ago, I found a beautiful, quilted, lightweight jacket - blue,
green, sort of patchwork, with lovely beading and some netting. It
looked closely and discovered that the quilted jacket was well-lined
with a beautiful turquoise fabric, the seams were finished, and I
thought, “Hmmm.” I turned it inside out and discovered I could wear it
with the lining side out. All I did was carefully clip the tag from the
got two jackets for the price of one - great for travel! When shopping,
check handmade and commercial items. They may serve double duty. -
Dear Heloise: A friend told me about milk that doesn’t need to be
refrigerated until opened. Is the nutritional value different from
refrigerated milk? Can it be used in place of regular milk? - Betty F.,
Yes, it can. It’s been around a long time; you may just now be hearing
about it. Packaged in a special container, it can sit on the shelf for
up to six months. After opening, it needs to be refrigerated and used
within 10 to 14 days. And yes, it does have the same nutritional value
as “regular milk.” - Heloise
Dear Heloise: When I repot plants, I cut up a foam egg carton and put
the pieces in the bottom. No extra weight. - Green Thumb, via email