DEAR HELOISE: Recently we had a nasty snowstorm that seemed to paralyze many places here in the southwestern United States. Pipes froze, power was out for nearly three days and people were unprepared for snow and ice.
It’s amazing how neighborhoods banded together to help one another.
We had people who went to the homes of elderly folks to make sure they had enough to eat, to see if they were OK and see if there was anything they needed. People shared what they had with neighbors who needed a flashlight, batteries, food or, in some cases, shelter.
Those of us who had a fireplace were willing to take in those who needed warmth.
I know the world can be a very cold place sometimes, but in a crisis, it warms my heart to know I can count on the kindness of my neighbors and friends. We may not be a perfect country, but in a crisis we work together and, in doing so, we strengthen our unity and become a better country.
— Shirley N., Helotes, Texas
Here are some additional uses for those silica gel packets:
• Place in a mailbox to ward off dampness.
• In a camera bag.
• In a shop drawer where you keep nails, bolts, etc.
• In plastic bags where you store winter clothing and blankets.
DEAR HELOISE: My husband always laughs at me because I buy paper plates for all sorts of things, not just picnics. I use them for catching spills under a bowl of soup, under the dog’s water bowl, as a spoon rest and more. Then I toss it in the recycle bin when done.
— Jeannie K.,
DEAR HELOISE: It won’t be long before we’re enjoying strawberries again. If you want to extend the life of your berries a little longer, place the berries in a plastic container lined with paper towels (before washing or capping) and place a paper towel between layers of berries in the plastic container. Seal the container with an airtight lid and place in the refrigerator. They’ll last a few extra days.
— Patsy G., Eau Claire, Wis.
Large paper clips
DEAR HELOISE: I was at a loss on how to close a big bag of chips while on vacation this past winter. I started to look through drawers and found a three-inch paper clip that worked well to keep food bags closed. Now I use them at home all the time.
— Jo Ann P., Skokie, Ill.
Protect your dishes
DEAR HELOISE: I learned the hard way to protect my dishes when moving. The movers told me they usually recommend plastic mesh shelf liner, cut into squares and placed between the dinner plates. Coffee filters work well too, and so do paper plates, but never ship your china without something to cushion your dinnerware. I thought since we were moving just 11 miles from our former home to a new place that all would be safe. I was wrong!
— Janet W., Omaha, Neb.