Dear Heloise: Please remind people that STANDING MIXERS are powerful tools and can be dangerous!

My 6-year-old granddaughter and I were making cookies when she got her face too close to the mixing bowl and her long hair got caught in the mixer, pulling part of her hair out and twisting it on the paddle.

I had turned my back to get a measuring cup. This happened so fast! She immediately started screaming, and I pulled the plug as fast as I could. I had to cut her hair off the paddle, and it had already pulled out a chunk of her hair. -- Jan, via e-mail

Jan, this is frightening! Thank you for taking the time to share this cautionary tale. No loose clothing, hair or jewelry around the mixer or anything with fast-moving mechanical parts! It’s also a reminder that when little ones are around, a lot can happen in a few seconds. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Kelly in New Braunfels, Tex., sent a picture of her miniature rat terrier, Rambo, riding the exercise bike! Kelly’s husband, Frank, is on the bike, too, but you can only see Rambo. To see Rambo and our other Pet Pals, go to and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I just moved our litter box into a place where the sun shines, and I can see how much dusts floats into the air when the cat uses the litter box, when I scoop the litter and when I pour the litter into the box.

No. 1: Is there a type of litter that has no dust or at least a minimum amount of dust for the cat?

No. 2: If not, is there a way to get the litter from the container into the litter box without polluting the air around it so badly? -- Willie B., via e-mail

Willie, thanks for writing. Try a CLUMPING cat litter. It is manufactured to limit the amount of dust. Or, rather than pouring the litter from the container, scoop it out using a scoop or plastic cup, etc. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: For a long time, I carefully layered fragile berries like raspberries and blackberries between layers of paper towels to prevent spoilage.

I don’t know how I discovered that turning the box upside down in the refrigerator seems to accomplish the same goal. I have done it for several years, and the berries do keep amazingly well this way. -- Mary in Mount Vernon, Va.

It could be the holes on the “bottom” (that is now the top) that allow for air circulation. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I save my empty 2-liter soda bottles and large juice bottles. I cut the bottoms out and make funnels, then use them to water my plants. This is an easy way to get the water to the root of the plant. -- Roberta in Terre Haute, Ind.

Send a 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.

2012, King Features Syndicate