Valley City Times-Record

Hints From Heloise



Dear Readers: Between festive activities and family gatherings, the holiday season can get hectic and rushed. So take note of these important fire safety hints that every family member should know.

1. Establish a fire emergency plan so family members know what to do.

2. Never leave candles burning unattended in any room of the house.

3. Don't place candles in greenery arrangemen­ts or on the Christmas tree.

4. Arrange candles away from traffic flow or where they could be tipped over.

5. Don't burn wrapping paper or evergreens in the fireplace.

6. Check the fire in the fireplace to be sure it's completely out before you go to bed.

7. Test Christmas lights and wiring. If cords are frayed, discard them. Plug in strings to see if they are all working. Replace lights that are burned out. Don't overload sockets or extension cords.

8. Never leave food cooking or baking in the kitchen without checking or watching it. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: As we know, our children live on their computers, smartphone­s and tech gadgets, so put them to work during the holidays. For example, they can create place cards or invitation­s on their computers. Have your teens take pictures during the party and then email the best photos after the party or print them out. They can also post chosen photos on family Facebook pages. Finally, have them come up with a music playlist for the party. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: When you host a party, it can be difficult to judge how much food to buy. Of course, it depends on how many people are attending, the time and the occasion of the event, as well as how hungry your guests are. It is better to have too much food than not enough. You can always freeze the leftovers or give doggie bags to your guests to take home. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: If the inside of plastic dishes or bowls smells bad, here's how to remove the odor. Get out the baking soda and make a paste of baking soda and water. Rub this all over the inside surfaces and let sit overnight. The next day, wash with hot, soapy water, rinse well and dry thoroughly. -- Heloise. QUICK COOKIE TREAT Dear Readers: If you need a tasty dessert in a hurry, try this maple-nut candy recipe. Use a 2-quart saucepan to heat one 16-ounce container of pre-made vanilla frosting with 3/4 teaspoon of maple flavoring. As this consistenc­y thins, add 1/2 cup of toasted, chopped pecans. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and drop same-size teaspoonfu­ls of the mixture onto it. Refrigerat­e until firm. Then you'll have ready-to-eat treats! Store in a sealed container. -- Heloise

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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