Dear Readers: When we take holiday trips, our vehicles are packed with gifts, food and plenty of luggage. If you are staying in a hotel, safety experts recommend that you remove everything from the car, including your belongings and luggage, and take it to your room. Your vehicle could be stolen or robbed. And it is possible that you might not recover any of these special items.

— Heloise

Books smelly?

Dear Readers: If you have stored books in the basement where there is lots of moisture, your books can get a mildewy smell. It’s always best to store books in a dry area, such as the attic. Here’s how to try to remove this odor. 

First, air out the books by fanning them open a couple of times, then put them in the sun for a while. Second, if they still have a smell, sprinkle baking soda over the pages and allow it to remain on them for several days. Third, if you still smell mildew on them, put a book in a zip-top plastic bag, but do not shut it, and place in the freezer to kill the mildew. Repeat with the remaining books.

FYI: If your child’s teddy bear needs to be refreshed and it can’t be put in the washer, sprinkle baking soda on it and let it sit for a bit. Then carefully brush off.

— Heloise

Dealing with crazy morning rush

Dear Readers: Our daily morning rush is filled with getting family members fed and ready to go to school or work on time. It’s often rushed and frantic. Organizing everything the night before can help lessen the stress.

• Set the breakfast table and put out food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

• Choose and set out clothes for younger kids to wear to avoid last-minute morning indecision.

• Make sure homework, important papers, laptops and cellphones are near or in backpacks before going to bed.

— Heloise

Need a dessert

 in a hurry?

Dear Readers: Mix equal parts of chocolate pudding and cherry pie filling for a modest substitute for Black Forest pudding. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

— Heloise

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