DEAR HELOISE: I'm tired of so much plastic floating in our oceans and waterways. There is plastic trash all over this country in parks, roads and everywhere imaginable. When is Congress going to do something about outlawing plastic grocery bags?
We have so many great minds in this country that surely we must have someone who can come up with better products that won't harm animals, clog our oceans with plastic junk and trash our national parks and forests.
When I was a kid, so many toys were made of wood or metal. We stored food in glass containers. So, perhaps if the government offered rewards for people who invent a better idea for these things, ideas for products that break down in a short time and don't harm people, animals or the land, we might present a better world to our children and grandchildren.
-- Lowell and Francine M., Fresno, Calif.
DEAR READERS: I agree! This planet is covered in plastic garbage. I advocate recycling and reusing items all the time, but we, as a nation, are drowning in plastic. It needs to stop. I urge you to write to your senator and representative and ask for their help in eliminating or limiting plastic usage. We are the custodians of this planet, and it's up to each of us to take better care of our world.
DEAR READERS: What to do with an old birdbath:
• Update it by painting it or making a mosaic with broken china or tiles.
• Plant flowers in it.
• Wrap in tiny garden lights and make a garden feature out of it.
DEAR HELOISE: My son loves to draw, but he was drawing on everything. I heard about chalkboard paint, so I got a gallon, taped off a fairly large section on his bedroom wall and gave it two coats of paint. Now my 4-year-old has a place to be an artist, and my other walls are free of his crayons and ink.
-- Ella S., New Rochelle, N.Y.
DEAR READER: What a great idea. Encourage his talent but keep the house neat.
DEAR HELOISE: We want to sell our home, but I know it needs to have curb appeal. The inside is clean and neat, but the front yard is so blah! What can we do to spruce it up a bit?
-- Angie T., Red Wing, Minn.
DEAR READER: First get rid of any clutter, broken pots, toys, etc. Start with a clean slate. If possible, add flowers near the entrance. Hanging baskets always help to cheer up a home. Does your house or its trim need painting? If so, find neutral colors to freshen up the look. Or perhaps you just need to power wash a few exterior areas of your house. Make sure every window is polished and sparkling and the front door is spotless.
If you aren't sure where to start, ask a friend what they think of your house. Sometimes someone else sees our homes in a different light than we do.
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