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Whose Kids Know How to Turn Off Lights? I got a good chuckle when I read today's first reader tip from "Dad." For a split second there, I could hear my own father asking the age-old parent/child question: Don't you know how to turn off the light when you leave the room? MOTION SENSOR …Read more. Of Pet Accidents and Malfunctioning Keurig Machines Dear Mary: I saw in your column a long while back an article about the carpet scrubber (was it Bissell?) and poo-pooed it at the time. Now I am ready to cry UNCLE since I discovered to my horror that one of my cats was shut in a bedroom and peed on …Read more. Best Holiday Gifts for Grandparents As far as gifting seasons go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. The longer you wait to make or buy gifts, the fewer options you'll have. Last minute shopping is a surefire way to run up mountains of unintentional debt. Been there, …Read more. Solutions for Stains on Shirts and Windows, Too From time to time I reach into the proverbial EC mailbag and pull out a few of your questions to answer here. My goal is to select questions I believe the answers to which will have a wide appeal. But I can tell you for sure that when the question …Read more.
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See How They Grow


Like most families, we had a special wall where we recorded our sons' growth, making marks to record their heights from time to time. When we remodeled, we cut out that section of the wall and framed it, and it hangs today as a precious visual memory. It's good, but not as great as today's first clever tip. It beats my wall a thousand times over.

GROWING BOY. I have a tradition that has brought me much joy. On my son's first birthday, I bought an extra-large T-shirt and put his initial on the front. I placed an 8-by-10 photo of him wearing the shirt in an album. I do this every year on his birthday; he wears the same T-shirt. It is fun to see how he has grown! When the shirt fits him, I will give it to him, along with the album. — Vicky F., e-mail

DISAPPEARING ACT. I tried everything to get ink off a doll's face: rubbing alcohol, magic eraser, baking soda, lemon extract and nail polish remover. Nothing worked. Then I did an Internet search and found that acne cream with 10 percent benzoyl peroxide could do the job. I dabbed it on and placed the doll in the sunlight. It worked within several hours. The ink marks, which had been there for weeks, disappeared! — Mary A., Georgia

MICROWAVE MAKEOVER. I burned popcorn in my microwave, and the smell was terrible, even after I cleaned it several times. I finally removed the odor by placing a two-cup glass dish full of white vinegar in the microwave.

Several times a day, I heated the vinegar, leaving the dish inside unless I was using the microwave to heat something else. Every other day, I changed the vinegar. After about a week, the burned-popcorn smell was completely gone. — Fran H., e-mail

SALT SCRUB. Instead of steel wool, try using salt for scrubbing pots and pans, especially iron skillets. It does a great job; it is environmentally friendly; and it is cheap. — Gigi B., California

BURN RELIEF. If you get a grease burn, relieve it quickly with mustard. Two of my teenage children work at a fast-food restaurant, and they learned that mustard brings the best pain relief. — Stephanie L., Missouri

TEAR REPAIR. If your kids are like mine, a small tear in their play clothes in the morning will be 4 inches wide by the end of the day. A stopgap measure is to put a piece of duct tape on the underside of the tear. The rip won't get any bigger on its own; the child won't be as tempted to pull on it and make it larger; and the smooth side of the tape isn't rough against the child's skin. I confess that I have made this "temporary" repair last for several wearings. — Helen M., e-mail

Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can e-mail her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 18 books, including "Debt-Proof Living" and "Tiptionary 2." To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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Mary Hunt
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