DEAR HELOISE: I am not a morning person, and I am always struggling to make breakfast for my family.
To try to make our mornings go more smoothly, I have started looking for things I can make the night before. One of my favorites to make is muffins. I simply make them the night before, and then just warm them in the microwave in the morning.
Hattie W., via email
DEAR HATTIE: It’s wise to plan, or at least check that you have breakfast items available, rather than finding out at 6 a.m. that there is no milk!
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Muffins, biscuits and fresh fruit are the perfect breakfast foods – tasty, nothing to cook, and they are portable! Also, snack or protein bars, a small bag with nuts, dried fruit and homemade granola travel well, too. That is one of my personal road-warrior travel hints: Always have nonperishable food in your carry bag!
DEAR HELOISE: Another travel tip for safety and convenience: I have started packing a battery-powered candle for those dark hotel/ship bathrooms. It has saved a few stubbed toes, and we can always locate the facilities in the middle of the night. A lot of baths have the “on” switch on the outside of the room; I always hate waking my roommate.
T.J., via email
DEAR READERS: Springtime means it’s time to get outside for some fresh air, sunlight (not too much!) and being around green and growing plants. A vegetable garden is one way to get your exercise and help cut down your grocery bill if you plant the right veggies. Here are a few hints to think about:
What type of garden you would like? Vegetable, herb, flower, etc.?
Where and how big will it be? My suggestion is if this is a first or second attempt, start small! Next time you can grow more. Too many gardeners don’t plan on how much produce they might end up with. Your friends and neighbors can take only so many tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, etc. Trust me on this one! I love cukes, but can’t eat a bagful in a few days.
Check the garden center or with your county extension agent about what is best for the climate and soil conditions where you live. Don’t try to grow pineapple in Philadelphia or potatoes in San Antonio. It’s not going to work!
Do mark your plants. You can see what did and didn’t work.
DEAR HELOISE: I love using coupons at the grocery store because I save money. There have been a few times I wondered whether I got credit for all of them. Now, I total up the coupons before I check out. Before I go to the store, I total the ones I hope to use, then do a quick total before checkout. If the totals are different, I ask the cashier to double-check.
Lynn, via email