Freezer diving

Dear Heloise: In my basement, I have a small, chest freezer where so many things I want are at the bottom. To keep my hands more comfortable, I use an old pair of driving gloves when I’m “freezer diving,” aka looking for a package of meat or veggies I want to cook for dinner. In addition, I keep a small basket near the freezer to hold items that I want to bring up to the kitchen, because I always find “treasures” that I’ve forgotten about. — Madeline, in Rutland, Vermont


Dear Heloise: To the reader who wrote in about screw-on lids versus flip-top lids, please do not assume that most people prefer a flip-top lid on toothpaste or any other product!  I find them impossible to take care of. In a perfect world, all family members would remember to close the lids. Unfortunately, all of my family seems to have bad memories. These lids require constant soaking and cleaning because they are a dried-on mess and never close shut.

Another thing: Never put a flip-top tube of anything in a purse because it will flip open and leak everywhere, even in a plastic bag. Thank goodness for screw-on lids! — Sandy, Whittier, California


Dear Heloise: I just finished reading a recent column of yours in the Republican-American in Waterbury, Connecticut. Your suggestions for cleaning out a smelly litter box were spot-on, but I’m writing to suggest an alternative to putting baking soda in cat litter. I’ve sent you this before, but it bears repeating:

Yes, baking soda does control the smell, but it can be quite dusty and dangerous to a cat if inhaled. Then there are some cats that will eat litter, and baking soda can be harmful if eaten in a too-large amount. If you do use baking soda, it should be a small amount of about 2-3 tablespoons maximum.

I’ve found the best thing to control the smell in cat litter is to go to a store that sells animal feed, such as a tractor supply store. Get a 40-pound bag of alfalfa pellets and use this as litter. It will absorb the urine and keep the smell down. Some cats will have to get used to the pellets, but after they do, it works great to keep the smell down. The wet clumps are easy to take out. — Cathy Harwinton, in Connecticut


Dear Heloise: There seems to be a lot of suggestions on how to make hard-boiled eggs. Years ago, I bought an egg cooker online that makes easy-to-peel eggs every time. This device is shaped like an egg and holds four of them. The new version requires only a jigger of water (which is provided) and takes only 9 minutes to cook in the microwave oven.

There has never been a single egg that was difficult to peel when using this cooker. I highly recommend it. I’m an avid follower of your column. — Edward, in Dayton, Ohio


Dear Heloise: This year, I’ve had many doctor visits, tests and changes in my medical information. I finally typed up a document of everything I wanted to share at new appointments and printed out a copy for each provider. It helps speed up the appointment, and I don’t forget anything.

My most recent visit was to the eye doctor, and he told me how much they appreciated the information.He said that some of my medical changes could also affect my eyes, but many people never mention these things to their eye doctor. — Shirley, Bakersfield, California

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.


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