Dear Readers: Warm springtime weather can put us in the mood to give back. How about volunteering with your kids or grandkids? Teaching children about volunteering can benefit them in so many ways:
• Kids learn it feels good to share and give back; they are less likely to put value on material things.
• Time away from the TV, cellphone and computer is always good.
• Kids can develop a heightened sense of self-worth by volunteering, and these “feel-good” feelings can lower stress.
What are some good volunteer activities? Visiting kids in a hospital with toys and homemade cards; reaching out to kids whose parents are deployed or away from home; putting together care packages for kids and moms at homeless shelters; and there are tons of opportunities to volunteer at animal shelters.
What’s the definition of ‘natural’?
Dear Heloise: I’m reading the label of a bottle of “grape soda,” and it’s interesting. No grape juice. Fine. But how does the grape flavor come to be? “Natural flavors,” the label reads. I called the company, which was helpful.
The representative said the grape flavor comes from essential oils and extracts, which include fruits, spices, vegetables, herbs, roots and bark. So “natural” doesn’t mean “healthy,” but it also doesn’t mean “unsafe.”
— Roberta S. in Ohio
Good for you for asking the questions! A Heloise high-five for you.
Flashing yellow light
Dear Heloise: I’m so confused! What does the flashing yellow traffic light mean?
— A Reader in Pennsylvania
Flashing lights can be concerning. The flashing yellow light means slow down and be particularly alert and careful in the intersection. You don’t have to stop at a flashing yellow light.
The flashing yellow arrow indicates that you can turn left, but you must yield to oncoming traffic. A solid yellow light means prepare to slow down. It does not mean speed up through the intersection!
Dear Heloise: Cash boxes at weddings are popular for gifts of cash, checks and gift cards. I saw on the news that a man “crashed” a wedding (he was dressed up, so he blended in with the other guests), and he snuck over to the gift table, tucked the cash box (a decorated shoebox) under his jacket and walked out the door!
No telling how much money he took! The news station offered these hints:
“Hire” a guest or a kid of a guest to watch the cash box.
Use a large object to hold the monied envelopes: a large birdcage or lidded aquarium, for example.
Make sure the venue has cameras.
— Doreen T. in Arizona