Dear Heloise:

When our teenagers got old enough to have late curfews, we found it hard to stay awake to make sure they got home on time, but it was also hard to sleep without knowing they were safe. Our solution? Leave an alarm clock set to ring at curfew at the top of the stairs. If they didn't get home in time to turn it off, we would wake up and be able to find out where they were and whether they were safe. That let us relax and sleep peacefully.

Cindy, Arlington

Loved your "wake up" hint. Children need to know the importance of following the house rules, which can only help them in their adult lives. They should allow enough time to get home and turn off the alarm! Here's to a good night's sleep for everybody.

Dear Heloise:

Recently, our daughter had all four wisdom teeth extracted. Her doctor said she should apply ice as often as possible to her swollen cheeks. Ice bags are bulky and lumpy, so my friend Freddie recommended that we take face cloths, fold them into an oblong shape, wet them, freeze them in sandwich bags and apply those. We found that partly thawing them made it more comfortable for her. They worked wonderfully!

Aly Sharman, Vienna

Dear Heloise:

Now that warmer weather is upon us, we give thought to taking our winter things to the cleaners.

Just a word of caution: Be sure to check buttons on garments to be cleaned -- especially sweaters. I took one (in particular) last year to be cleaned, and when I went to pick it up, a button was missing! The proprietor apologized and handed me a box containing many, many lost buttons and told me to pick through to see if I could find a match. No luck! I had to buy a new card of buttons and reattach a complete new set.

Just make sure the buttons are secured -- either with thin fishing line (I have found this to be quite strong) or nylon thread.

Ann Herrmann, Ocean City, Md.

Dear Heloise:

No one in my family likes the bread heels (end pieces). I found that I can slice the brown outside off a heel by using a good bread knife. The heels are usually even a little thicker than the regular slices of bread. I am glad not to be wasting those two pieces of bread on every loaf now, and even my picky kids don't know what I am doing!

Thrifty in Vienna

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.

(c)2005, King Features Syndicate