Dear Heloise:

I recently went on a month-long trip and needed some way of taking a month’s supply of pills sorted by daily doses.

In the pharmacy, next to the weekly pillboxes, I found a package of 50 small (3 inches by 2 1 / 2 inches) zipper-top clear-plastic pill bags, each having a place on the outside where the date could be written with a pen. I then put the bags holding the pills into a quart-size zippered bag.

C.M. Stone in Houston

Although this sounds like a good idea, keep in mind a few points. If you are flying, the Transportation Security Administration has specific guidelines regarding prescription medications. The rule states: “TSA does not require passengers to have medications in prescription bottles, but states have individual laws regarding the labeling of prescription medication with which passengers need to comply. Passengers should inform officers of medications and separate them from other belongings before screening begins.”

So, plan to manage your medications, whatever your mode of transportation — plane, train, boat, bus or vehicle.

Dear Heloise:

What is the easiest and best way to clean the grout in my shower?

M.A., via e-mail

This is one of the most-often-asked questions that come in. To make a cheap cleaner, mix 1 / 2 cup of baking soda and 1 / 4 cup of borax. Add just enough hot water until it makes a thick paste. Put the paste mixture on the grout and scrub with a brush. Let sit for 30 minutes or so, then rinse. If the grout is really discolored, you may need to repeat the steps. To clean that pesky bathroom mildew in the shower, mix 1 tablespoon borax with 2 cups water, and apply with a sponge.

Dear Heloise:

My family loves eating pies, both store-bought and homemade. My question is, do all pies have to be refrigerated?

Gayle L., via e-mail

No, not all pies need to go in the refrigerator. Pies that contain eggs (for example: pumpkin, cream or custard pies) should be refrigerated. Fruit pies, however, don’t have to be refrigerated (unless your kitchen is on the warm side) and can be kept at room temperature for about two days, if they last that long. Most people prefer to keep all types of pies in the refrigerator.

Dear Heloise:

Sometimes I get caked-on grease and food spots on my stove top that are hard to remove. I have noticed that when I warm the oven up to bake something, it also warms the stove top a little and helps loosen the grime. It is much easier to wipe and clean off. So every time I bake cookies or other baked goods, I do a quick wipe of the stove top.

Jean in Vermont

Dear Readers:

Cleaning out my spice cabinet, I found a jar of annatto seed (also known as achiote seed) and couldn’t remember why I’d bought it! Used in Latin American and Mexican cooking, it adds rich yellow and orange colors to foods. The seeds can be added to soups and stews, and rice, pork or fish dishes, providing a peppery flavor. Try some in your next dish!

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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