The first cut isn’t enough


Feb. 10, 2016


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.

Fast facts

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.

- Heloise


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.

- Heloise


Prewash spray

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?

I 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,, for more hints and some fun photos of my pets and travel stories. - Hugs, Heloise


Candy lesson

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


Can’t 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!


Fast Facts

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.

- Heloise


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 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 restrooms.

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 to do.

“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 door?”


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

Fast Facts

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.

-- Heloise


Tweezing eyebrows

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


Password protection

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

Expiration exasperation!
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 it.”

I 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. - Heloise


Fast facts

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.

- Heloise


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 works!

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 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. - Heloise


Produce leaves her cold
Jan. 14, 2016

Dear Readers: This week’s Soundoff is about cold, wet produce in supermarkets:

“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.

I 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.


Fast facts

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.

- Heloise


Cake recipes

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 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.


Hear 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 canal!

“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, Heloise


Fast facts

Dear Readers: Hints to secure electrical cords:

1. Self-gripping fabric tape

2. Rubber bands

3. Shoelaces

4. Paper-towel tubes

5. Old coil-type phone cords.

- Heloise


Crawling rug

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 Houston


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. - Heloise


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.

I 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 bottles

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.

I 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


Are 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


Fast Facts

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.

- Heloise


Harnessing hiccups

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 PEANUT BUTTER.

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


Foolproof lining

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 visible problem
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


Fast Facts

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


Second hand

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


Recycling tubs

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 gathering.

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


A very good Heart Hint. Loose change can quickly add up to a substantial amount of folding money!
- Heloise

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?


Fast Facts

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.

- Heloise


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 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


Bamboo skewers

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

No-freeze plants

Dear Readers: Winter is here in parts of the country, and on its way in others.

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 dies.

3. Place pots on the ground, not on cement.

4. The bigger the better. Bigger pots hold more soil, which means more insulation.

— Heloise

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.

Storing books

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, via email

A 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 watching.


Fast facts

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.

- Heloise


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


Flip-top caps

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.

I 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


Coffee makers

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 to adjust.

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 guest.
- Amie, originally from Baton Rouge, La., and John, originally from Ames, Iowa


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!)


Fast facts

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!

- Heloise


Versatile jacket

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 screamed “Me!”

I 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 neck area.

I got two jackets for the price of one - great for travel! When shopping, check handmade and commercial items. They may serve double duty. - Heloise


Shelf milk

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., Victoria, Texas

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


Repot plants

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









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