* If possible, pack up the ingredients and put the dish together at your destination. Be sure to ask your host/hostess ahead of time!
* Invest in a casserole dish with a tightfitting lid. For added protection, wrap the dish in aluminum foil, then several layers of newspapers for insulation. Put it into a paper or plastic bag or even a large tote.
* Place the cooler/box or tote on the flattest surface available in the car, with the least room to slide. The floorboard in the back seat is a good place.
Hope these hints help make your holidays run smoothly. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: More often than I care to admit, I have tried to quickly get through airport security and left my laptop behind. Now, I make sure the laptop goes in a bin, followed behind by my shoes in another. You may forget your laptop when rushing, but the chance of leaving your shoes behind is pretty slim. -- Gary T., via e-mail
Very smart! I have my netbook in a bright-purple soft case so I know when it comes through on the belt! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: A really cheap and fully effective air freshener or odor absorber is distilled vinegar in an open glass container. One of those glass vases we seem to collect works nicely. It takes care of the litter-box area, all the collection of garage odors, kitchen cooking smells and a long list of assorted repugnant odors. -- Dottie H., Fort Wayne, Ind.
Dottie, you are right. This is a classic Heloise hint! To help freshen the air and add moisture during winter, simmer some water on the stove with a couple of “glugs” of vinegar. Then add a little cinnamon, cloves or even lemon rinds to the pot. It will give your home a lovely, inviting holiday fragrance. Vinegar is one of my favorite cheap and versatile household products! For some of my favorite money-saving hints, order my vinegar pamphlet. To receive one, just send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Is a smell lingering on your hands after cooking fish or cutting onions? Use a little vinegar to “wash” them, rinse, and the smell will be gone! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I keep each charger separate in a zipper-top plastic bag. I mark the bag as to which item is in it, and that way, they don’t get lost and are easy to find. -- Joan K., via e-mail
Heloise’s column appears six days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
, King Features Syndicate