Dear Heloise: I need help with a very annoying problem. My front-entry garden has been used by a neighborhood CAT for his litter box. I have not been able to remove this odor. Do you have a solution for this problem? -- Barbara, via e-mail
Barbara, here are a few things to help remove the odor. Take the top 1/2 inch of soil off and replace it, if you can. Then mix a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water, and spray directly on the soil. This will help neutralize the odor and hopefully will deter the cat.
The important thing is to keep the cat from continuing to use your garden as its litter box. Throw citrus peels around the garden, or, if you can, place pine cones over the soil. Cats will no longer have easy access, but you still will be able to water. -- Heloise
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Dear Heloise: My family is quite large, and on birthdays and holidays, we always buy sheet cakes (large, rectangular one-layer cake -- Heloise). The plastic boxes they come in make good storage boxes. You can see what you have stored, and they stack well on shelves in closets. I also discovered that the clear plastic tops work well to cover food at barbecues. -- Paula C., Bakersfield, Calif.
Dear Heloise: I am going on a trip in a few weeks with my 1-year-old. Do you have any hints for childproofing a hotel room? -- Wanda in Virginia
Wanda, traveling with a toddler can be stressful without having to worry about your hotel room! Here is some advice on childproofing while traveling:
* Pack outlet plugs. They are small and don’t take up a lot of space.
* If there is a window or sliding door, make sure it locks securely.
* Tie up loose cords, such as curtain pulls. Hair ties work well for this.
* Unplug and store electrical appliances. Most hotels provide hair dryers and coffeemakers. Store them out of reach when not in use.
* Cover sharp edges with washcloths and tape.
Remember, children are curious, and a hotel room is a new place to explore! Get down on their level to scope out any other potential hazards. Check with your hotel. Some now offer childproofing kits for use while there. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: To avoid wrinkles or fold lines in felt-backed, vinyl tablecloths, put up to three of the same size, one atop the others, on the table where they are used. They easily can be switched for the season or holiday. As a bonus, this saves storage space. -- Fran H., Roswell, N.M.
Dear Heloise: After using up a bottle of liquid hand-washing soap, I save the dispenser bottle and reuse it by mixing equal parts of any dishwashing liquid and water. These bottles usually will last through two to four fillings, and you have an economical hand soap. -- Martha B. in North Carolina
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