Dear Heloise: My husband stumbled on a great way to keep our 13-month-old grandson from getting into the kitchen drawers without having to install drawer SAFETY LATCHES. He purchased 24-inch extra-long shoehorns. They were inexpensive and plastic.

He slid the shoehorn with the hook so that it grabs the drawer handle on the first drawer and slides down through the rest of them. Depending on the number of drawers in a set we want to secure, he cuts the shoehorn to the desired length. I usually make sure the bottom drawers are safe ones so my grandson can get into them — his favorite place to play.

Small downside: His little hands can sneak in on the sides, but he can’t really get into the drawer. -- Lynda H., Boerne, Tex.

Lynda, this is an inexpensive solution, but it’s wise to invest in the right safety locks. You don’t want to take a chance that a little one could get into trouble. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: J.P. McGiffin of Bedford, N.H., sent a photo of her cat, Armani. She says this handsome boy knows how to keep warm or cool because he always wears his gray suit. To see Armani in his suit, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: When I get a new prescription, I write on the bottle four days before the refill date as a reminder when to order the next refill. -- Bruce Cammack, Lubbock, Tex.


Dear Heloise: To make mashed potatoes a bit healthier, use half potatoes and half cabbage. Cut the cabbage into chunks and cook it with the potatoes until soft, drain well and mash or whip, adding whatever you normally add (like butter, cream, salt and pepper).

My son discovered this one day when he didn’t have enough potatoes on hand. He remembered how much he used to like the combination of cabbage and potatoes when I boiled them with corned beef, so he thought he’d try them mashed together. It worked! You wouldn’t think so, but the cabbage flavor blended right in.

Try it, Heloise. I like it even better than plain mashed potatoes. -- Laverne Wiles, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I am a bird breeder, hand-feeder and retailer of birds at a shop. It is important to do research before buying any pet. I suggest that readers buy from someone who educates as well as sells. There are many products that eliminate the mess birds make. There are products that can be bought that keep the food inside the cage instead of falling everywhere. -- A Reader in South Carolina


Dear Heloise: The lights were out in the men’s restroom at work recently, and the light from my cellphone saved the day. Hey, it worked! -- E.G., via e-mail

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.

, King Features Syndicate