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Makeshift household tool is handy

By Heloise - Hints From Heloise | Jun 15, 2024

Dear Heloise: I designed a very simple and handy tool that I use around the house and yard. It is an old wooden broomstick. At one end, I attached a larger-sized cup hook. (I think it’s 1 inch.) It easily screws into the end of the broomstick. I use it to reach items such as wind chimes, hummingbird feeders, and decorative light strings that are hung up by the eaves. I don’t need to use a ladder, and I can easily remove and hang such items. Hope this helps! — Dixie Duncan, Redondo Beach, California

SEAT-BELTING FOOD

Dear Heloise: When we don’t feel like cooking, but also don’t feel like getting cleaned up and dressed for dinner, it is my wife’s job to place the order for takeout. It is my job to drive to the restaurant for pickup. Most restaurants pack the order well so it rides safely in the passenger seat. But it only takes a quick stop to make the order fly all over the floor and ruin dinner.

If I think about it beforehand, I try to bring a box or a basket with me, but I forget sometimes. It is unsafe to drive with one hand and hold the food with the other. So, I started putting a seat belt across the food bundle, just like it was my passenger, and it worked perfectly! — Johnny, in Ohio

BAKING TIP

Dear Heloise: Since summer is nearly here, I try to bake early in the morning. I lay all the ingredients out on the counter the night before getting the baking pans prepared, so I’m all ready. It saves the house from getting hot, and it also saves on electricity. — Corrinne Berkland, Universal City, Texas

CAKE LIDS

Dear Heloise: If you order a sheet cake from a store, you can use the clear, plastic lid as a seed starter. Simply fill 6 plastic cups with dirt and plant seeds. Then arrange the cups in two rows and cover them with the cake lid. I started two dozen tomato plants this way. — Doug Benn, via email

LITTER BOX ODOR

Dear Heloise: Just read a letter from your column in the San Antonio Express-News about the lady with five cats and litter box odors. Your suggestion was spot-on, but you left out the most important part for a permanent solution: Change the litter box more frequently! We have two cats, and we change our two litter boxes twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. There are no odors in our house. You wouldn’t flush your toilets every two to three days, would you? — A.L., via email

POTATO SALAD SEASON

Dear Heloise: It’s potato salad season again, so I thought I’d share my tip for an easy and quick dressing. After assembling my ingredients, I simply combine equal parts mayonnaise and salad dressing (like Miracle Whip), then add a good dollop of yellow mustard to taste. That’s it! It doesn’t need anything more besides salt and pepper.

Also, if you accidentally overcook the potatoes, don’t worry. Use them anyway and call it “Smashed Potato Salad.” It will still taste great! I had a friend who always made it with mashed potatoes, and I always looked for it at get-togethers. On the other hand, there’s really nothing worse than undercooked, hard potatoes in the salad! Happy potato-ing! — Jan, in Kinsman, Ohio

PET PAL

Dear Heloise: Kitty Bumpkins is doing her favorite thing (soaking up the sunshine) to celebrate International Cat Day! — Susan Forrester, via email

Readers, to see Kitty Bumpkins and our other Pet Pals, go to Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Do you have a furry friend to share with our readers? Send a photo and a brief description to Heloise@Heloise.com. — Heloise

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