Dear Heloise: I save CONTAINERS of different sizes. When condiments and lotions get low in their containers, I transfer them to smaller containers, making it easier to get them out when needed. This sometimes helps to keep items from spoiling or drying out. -- Karen in New Mexico

Karen, love this hint. Have you ever needed a small amount of an ingredient and don’t have it in your pantry or refrigerator? Don’t panic; I have compiled a pamphlet that includes lots of items that can be substituted for others, as well as recipes for homemade seasoning mixes. To receive a copy, just send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/SSS, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Did you know that a substitute for sour cream is 1 cup of plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar? This works just fine in a pinch. -- Heloise

Dear Heloise: I have a 5-year-old kitty that has had a hairball vomiting problem. I read (not in this column -- Heloise) that giving a kitty a small amount of olive oil will eliminate this problem.

After approval by the veterinarian, I started giving her some. No more painful vomiting, and her fur is soft and healthy. -- Virginia, via e-mail

It’s normal for most cats to have hairballs, especially long-haired cats, but olive oil is NOT the recommended way of dealing with them. Hairballs are caused by the cat’s hair that is swallowed as it grooms itself. There isn’t anything you can do to totally prevent hairballs, and it’s normal for most cats to have them. If your cat is coughing them up more often than normal, a visit to the veterinarian should be in order.

There are commercial products and foods made specifically for hairball issues. So, please call your veterinarian again to double-check. -- Heloise

Dear Readers: Sharon and Joe Wade of Cleveland, Tenn., sent a photo of their cat, Willie, and their toy schnauzer, Wonka, both 7 years old, sitting together on the couch. Sharon says: “These two have been raised together, and neither knows the difference between a cat and a dog. We now have added a female schnauzer named Wendy. We love our babies as family.” To see the pair, visit my Web site, www., and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise

Dear Heloise: Maintaining my enthusiasm and commitment to exercise has always been a challenge. To lessen the chances of excuses and sabotaging my good intentions, my workout clothes and gym bag with basic electronics are placed in a designated bedroom chair so they are the first thing I see in the morning. So far, so good. -- M.M. in Texas

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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