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DEAR READERS: Do your kids or grandkids ask to borrow your car? Establishing rules for them is a good idea. Here are some hints:

• No cellphone use, including talking (except hands-free), no texting and no taking pictures or shooting video while driving.

• Make sure insurance policies are up to date and other drivers are covered.

• Let them know they need to bring the car back as clean as they found it.

mSmoking should be a no-no.

• Keep the radio volume low; hearing emergency vehicles and other sounds of the street is necessary.

• Teach your kids to be responsible drivers. Driving is a privilege; it is not a right.

DEAR READERS: I live alone, so I often find myself talking to myself out loud. It seems to help me focus on what I'm doing at that moment, so that I tread carefully over the throw rug in the den, and remember to lock the doors, turn off the stove or shut off the sprinkler.

-- Helen in California

DEAR READER: We all talk to ourselves at times. I'm for whatever it takes to keep our lives running smoothly.

DEAR READERS: If you're wondering how to turn kitchen scraps into beneficial mulch for your yard or garden, a compost pile is the answer.

An easy way to begin is to think about layers and to remember: alternate BROWN and GREEN. In a small spot in the yard, start off with a layer of fruit peels and vegetable trimmings. Then add a brown layer of soil, then eggshells, coffee grounds and used tea bags. Moisten with a small amount of water.

Next, a green layer: grass clippings and pulled weeds. Now, back to brown: cardboard boxes, wood chips and more of the brown items listed above. Continue layering.

After about two weeks, turn the pile with a pitchfork. When it looks like mulch, it's ready for the flowerbed, garden and around the trees.

P.S.: What doesn't go into the compost pile? Meat, bones, grease and dairy.

DEAR HELOISE: I run a soap sliver over the runners of my kitchen drawers if they get slow or sticky.

-- Pamela in Maryland

DEAR READERS: An old candle will work, too.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

[email protected]

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