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DEAR HELOISE: There are a growing number of people who like to make their own dog food, but they need to keep something in mind. A homemade dog food may be high in protein but lacking in vitamins. If you do make your own dog food, ask your vet about vitamins you can grind up and put in their food. If your veterinarian makes recommendations on your dog's diet, it would be wise to listen.

-- Larry in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: I use stray socks for cleaning and dusting, but I just realized, it's better to turn the sock inside out first. The inside of the sock has loopy fibers that are more absorbent and better to clean with.

-- Carole in Nevada

DEAR HELOISE: We eat out frequently. One thing that bothers me a lot is the strength of the closures on the restroom doors. I have to use a walker, and many times my wife has to wait outside the door because I cannot open the door by myself. A person with a wheelchair would have the same problem.

A second pet peeve is when having a warm meal, the butter is so cold that you cannot spread it on the toast, pancakes, etc. And when you do get it on your food in chunks, it cools down what is supposed to be a hot meal.

A third issue is that sausage links and patties need to be cooked to 165 degrees in order to make them safe for eating, but many restaurants allow their chefs or cooks to cook them to death and you lose most of the flavor.

-- Gene via email

DEAR READER: Two healthy things to do together. Kudos!

DEAR HELOISE: Ladling the remaining soup or stew from a stock pot into a leftover container takes forever, and trying to pour it in can make a splattered mess.

I put my container in the sink and then dump in the contents of the pot. The splatter stays in the sink!

-- Christina,

San Antonio, Texas

DEAR READERS: Spend 30 minutes cleaning out and organizing your bathroom drawers and under the sink. Take inventory and make a shopping list. You'll realize what you have and what you need.

Properly dispose of outdated medications.

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

[email protected]

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