Dear Readers: It’s two weeks until Thanksgiving! Let’s get you and your home prepped for the big day:

● Decorating this time of year is comparatively easy: pumpkins and gourds, mums and raffia strands are all hearty, long lasting and readily available.

● Make sure all houseplants are healthy. Start now to invigorate blooms. Water and plant food will yield bright blooms and gorgeous greenery.

● Deep clean now while there’s still time. If you need a pro carpet or hardwood cleaning, schedule it this week. Check in the corners for cobwebs; microfiber towels are the best to have on hand.

● Check your kitchen for staples. Make sure all are fresh and plentiful.

Finally, take some time for yourself. Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Dear Heloise: I love to bake cookies with raisins, and I've stopped this annoying event: the raisins falling to the bottom of the batter and clumping up.

I roll the raisins lightly in flour, then mix them into the batter. This helps suspend them.

Carrie A. in San Antonio

Dear Heloise: For any recipe that lists any alcoholic beverage, I substitute apple juice. Works well every time.

Mrs. P., Columbus, Ohio

Dear Heloise: The best clothes washer that I have purchased is the one where I can set the water level wherever I want it.

It saves water and energy because it doesn't take long to fill or wash a small load. I've had my washer for about 15 years, so this isn't something new for washers.

Daphne K., via email

Dear Readers: Have you ever gotten an egg that has a double yolk? That’s considered good luck because they are rare. How do you know if you have a double yolk? Experts use a technique called candling. Used to check on the general overall health of the egg, candling shines a bright light (not a candle) through the bottom of the egg. The candler can see blood in the whites (if any), a cracked shell and other anomalies, such as a double yolk.

You can buy a carton of double-yolked eggs; an Internet search is necessary, or a call to your grocer. Double-yolked eggs make a rich and delicious hollandaise sauce.

Dear Heloise: If the hotel room refrigerator has a freezer section, I freeze a couple of water bottles instead of using ice cubes. I have icy-cold water as it melts in the bottle.

And to reduce the use of "single-use plastics," I travel with a carbon filter tumbler and refill my bottles, rather than buy a case of disposable bottles that might end up in the landfill in most states.

Elise in Bakersfield, Calif.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

2019, King Features Syndicate