Dear Heloise:

I was making potato soup today and came up with a way to save time while making it. Usually I cut the potatoes into fairly large chunks, boil them until tender, then drain and add the other "fixins."

My son hates the chunks, so I decided to get out my grater and shred the potatoes. I noticed that they were very tender, and I decided to cook them with the milk and other ingredients without boiling them first. It turned out great and was thicker than usual.

Another thing I put in my potato soup to help thicken it is leftover mashed potatoes, rather than flour or cornstarch. If there aren't any handy, instant potato flakes will work.

Kellee Peters

Hamilton, Ohio

Dear Heloise:

I have arthritis and have had several surgeries. It has limited me in many ways. To solve my problem with things getting pushed to the back of the refrigerator's shelves, I put cookie sheets on each shelf. If things spill, it is easier to clean up, and I can pull it out slightly to see what's at the back of the shelf.

Also, for slippery bottles, I put several rubber bands around each one so it is easier to hold on to. I find that the rubber bands you get on some fresh vegetables work the best.

Marian P., Webster, N.Y.

Dear Heloise:

I'd like to share this with your readers: Our family purchased a Web site domain and now uses this site to post vacation pictures, pets, the latest news, etc. Our family and friends across the nation can e-mail us and also post their photos to the Web site. It's really turned into an online family scrapbook.

It's very affordable and rewarding.

Mark Dodson, Dallas

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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