Dear Heloise: I've discovered meditation — just 10 to 20 minutes a day, once in the morning and once at night; no television, cellphone, computer or music. It can bring a bit of peace into my life. I'm free to think clearly!
In today's world, we are all overscheduled and subject to too much information, all the time. Taking a break helps me manage my day, work for my family and feel calm. — Jennifer J. in Houston
Jennifer, it's so nice that you've found a twice-daily minivacation. My mother, the original Heloise (1919-1977), always would advocate for people to take care of themselves, especially if they are running a household, and she didn't even have a cellphone or a computer! Thanks for writing. — Heloise
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Dear Heloise: I love your column; I read it in the (Salem, Ore.) Statesman Journal. I have six solid-colored cotton knit shirts with grease stains, some of which I'd already laundered and dried.
As a last resort, I worked a small amount of pumice-based hand cleaner into the stains. Hurray! The stains are gone, and I see no damage to the shirts.
I will only use this as a last resort, though! — Cindy U., Salem, Ore.
Dear Heloise: I often see hints that require sudsy ammonia. Is there a way to make regular ammonia sudsy? — C.M., via email
Sudsy ammonia is merely ammonia that has had a bit of detergent added to it. You can add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to 1/2 cup regular ammonia and 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol — be sure the dishwashing liquid does not contain bleach — to make one of my favorite all-purpose cleaners.
Ammonia is a wonderful, cost-effective household cleaner, and sudsy ammonia is good for dirty, grimy jobs and greasy surfaces, such as stovetops. Sudsy ammonia is not good for cleaning mirrors and windows, though; it can streak. Use regular ammonia for this task.
I've combined my favorite homemade cleaning solutions into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? Visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, business-size envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/HCS, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Label all homemade cleaners with the ingredients and the date it was made. Use these quickly, because their efficacy can dwindle over time. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I saw the hint about saving manuals. I go one step further: I staple the receipt to the inside of the cover and write the model and serial number on the front.
This can be helpful if you are calling for technical support or if you are a victim of theft, like we were. The insurance company needed this information. — Lisa Z., Waco, Texas
Dear Readers: When you are moving about your home, pause a moment before you take a step and look down. You never know what could be underfoot. Taking a moment can prevent a devastating fall. — Heloise
Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.