Ideas for a gift basket

Dear Héloïse: One of the staff who helps my disabled son is from Africa and has been here for several years. Now his wife and two young children are arriving, and I need some suggestions for what to put in a gift basket for them. Since he’s been here for several years, they don’t need any household items. Can you help? – Barbara H., Springfield, Missouri.

Barbara, they might like a variety of foods. Have you asked your staff member if a family member is allergic to certain types of food? You wouldn’t want to put cheese in the basket if someone is lactose intolerant. You can also get ideas from the different sites that sell gift baskets. Ask yourself, “What represents America? ” Barbecue sauce ? A special drink? Chocolate?

You might want to go in a different direction and include small toys for both children, depending on their age, and maybe nice things to pamper the woman, like body lotions, a bubble bath, and things of that nature.

If any of my readers have any suggestions, let us know. – Heloise


Dear Héloïse: I have a question. I need to eat something in the evening that will keep me going until the morning. What’s better and lower in calories: a bag of microwave popcorn with double butter or a medium baked potato with sour cream? Thank you. – Karen M., Hazleton, PA.

Karen, double butter popcorn? A sour cream potato? These are pretty heavy things to eat at bedtime. If you have to eat something, try some fruit or a small salad. A banana with a glass of milk can be satiating and provide you with vitamins and fiber.

Better yet, I suggest you eat a heavy dinner and not eat or drink anything before bed. There’s an ongoing debate about eating before bed, with one side arguing that your metabolism slows down at night and eating at this time leads to weight gain. The other part argues that some people lose weight because they don’t eat enough during the day and become hungrier later at night. Please consult your doctor to see what he suggests and why you cannot sleep without eating before going to bed. – Heloise


Dear Héloïse: In two of our toilets, there is a yellowish or golden ring in the intestine at the water level. It’s very noticeable, and you can even smell it. I tried everything I could think of to clean and remove it but no luck. What do you suggest? – Betty B., Brookville, Ohio

Betty, it looks to me like you have hard water. With a buildup of minerals, you will need a descaler (found in hardware and grocery stores). If you can find a type of spray descaler, follow the directions on the bottle. It may take two or even three applications, depending on the amount of buildup. But afterwards, you can use a toilet bowel cleanser with a little bleach to keep the toilet sparkling clean. – Heloise



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