DEAR HELOISE: After an airline trip, I was in the parking garage and happened to notice a woman taking a photo (with her cellphone) of the number and letter of the parking space.
I thought that was a wonderful idea, as I have gotten lost in a parking garage, and it took several hours to finally find my car!
DEAR JAMIE: This is a favorite hint in Heloise Central! It works in all kinds of situations, such as stadiums, shopping at outlet malls, amusement parks and college campuses.
DEAR HELOISE: I remember reading in your column the Heloise Vienna Coffee recipe. Can you please reprint it?
DEAR FRANKIE: Frankie Ellen, I would be happy to reprint this often-asked-for Heloise recipe.
To make it, you will need:
1/2 cup instant coffee granules
2/3 cup granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
2/3 cup powdered milk or coffee creamer (nonfat can be used)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together and store in a container with a tight-fitting lid. To make a cup, fill a 6- to 8-ounce mug with boiling water and 2 tablespoons of the flavored coffee. With cooler weather, a cup of hot coffee or tea sounds delicious, doesn't it?
For more mixes, send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Coffee and Tea, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
You also can add a pinch of nutmeg or allspice for a different taste.
DEAR HELOISE: I've been a fan and avid reader of your column, and now I can add my 2 cents:
When cleaning lampshades, I found that using a sticky lint roller does an excellent job of picking up the dust, dirt and pet hair that seem to continuously float in the air. It certainly beats using a brush or vacuum attachment, and with no scattering of the dust.
My husband wears only black socks (always the same brand), and it's impossible to match old with new when laundering them. Now I use colored thread to sew a few stitches at the heel of each pair of socks. Every three-pack has a different color. Makes matching those black socks very easy. I hope you find these hints useful.
DEAR HELOISE: To keep kids busy, I find craft projects for them. I found a box filled with small seashells we had discovered at the beach during our summer vacation. I came up with the idea of making them into magnets for the fridge.
We washed the shells, bought small, round magnets and, using my glue gun, we glued magnets onto all of the shells. Every time I see the shells, it reminds me of our wonderful vacation!
DEAR HELOISE: If you have an indoor cat (or cats), invest in a heavy-duty litter scoop. I purchased one that is larger than the typical plastic one. It is made of metal, with a rubberized material on the handle. It provides a better grip and is larger and longer, so you don't have to bend down quite so far. The metal does not flex like plastic does, making the scooping easier. It will last forever and is money well-spent.
DEAR HELOISE: Recently, after washing some place mats, I realized I could not put them in the dryer.
Thinking about how I could dry them flat, my cooling racks came to mind. I spread the mats out on top of the racks, and by the end of the day, they were dry. Perfect! So many uses for those cooling racks.
DEAR HELOISE: What exactly are capers, and how are they used in cooking?
DEAR AMANDA: A staple in many Mediterranean meals, capers are actually pickled flower buds harvested from bushes. They are interesting little round, green balls, found in jars in the olive section of most grocery stores.
The smaller, or nonpareil, caper is most commonly used in chicken piccata and pasta dishes, adding salty flavor.
Another hint: Capers will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. Just make sure to store them in the brine they are packed in. Take out only the capers needed, and leave behind the rest in the remaining brine.
DEAR READERS: After opening a container of cottage cheese, store it in the refrigerator on a low shelf (not in the door or in a drawer). After spooning out the amount you need, smooth the surface to cut down on liquid formation and possible separation. Or try this Heloise hint: Store the cottage cheese upside-down with the lid on tight, on a plate. This makes it last longer because it creates a seal.