Dear Heloise: As a follow-up to your column about helping ease kids into kindergarten, here are some more hints:
Call the school to see if you can stop by the classroom with your child a few days before school begins. Teachers are there to set up during this time, and you may meet the teacher and look around the classroom.
I also kissed my children's palms, so they could hold the kiss in case they needed it during the day. All three of my kids said they used the kiss! (They are in their 30s now!) — Nana Ruth, via fax
Nana Ruth, wonderful! Here are even more hints to get kids ready for kindergarten. Practice with your child so she or he can read some words, identify shapes, sort items by color, use scissors properly, listen to and talk about a story, name what letter a particular item starts with ("L" for "lamp"). — Heloise
Dear Heloise: When my favorite lipstick has run its course, I use a strong toothpick to reach down and circle the tube, then gently lift out the remaining lipstick.
I like to use a contact-lens case to give the leftover lipstick new life; it enables two different colors to choose from, or to get a new color by mixing them together. — M.L., Omaha, Neb.
Dear Heloise: Years ago, my kids used to hover around the kitchen wanting snacks while I cooked supper. I started putting out a plate of raw veggies and dip for them to eat. It was a win-win-win!
The kids were happy, I was able to cook and they ate massive amounts of vegetables. They are now veggie-loving adults, and they have thanked me again and again for raising them with healthy eating habits! — Marianna C., LaGrange, Ga.
Dear Heloise: A fun summertime project for me involves cheap clay terra-cotta pots, available anywhere. I seal and paint them, and then I plant in them.
There are many plants and ivies that are hardy and easy to grow. I read the included instructions, make sure the soil is rich, gently break apart the roots when transplanting and water the plants correctly.
I like to add pretty rocks, shells, marbles or moss on top of the soil. They make the plants prettier.
I talk to my plants, too. I think it helps them grow — positive affirmation! — Julie W., Devine, Texas
Julie, you've got a green thumb! There is some research to suggest that vibration may benefit plant growth, and sound is essentially vibration, so talking to your plants may help them.
Ultimately, water, light and good soil are the best tools for growth for your plants. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I'm unable to use my perfume bottle without first spraying the room. There should be a bright color to distinguish the opening. — A reader, via email
Dab a bit of bright nail polish just below the opening so you can see it. — Heloise