Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

December 15, 2013

Be careful feeding pets holiday goodies

ASHLAND — Dr. M.J. Wixsom, a local veterinarian, posted a warning on Facebook that some holiday foods are dangerous for pets.

Chocolate, cocoa, candy, sugarless gum that contain Xylitol, yeast bread dough, leftover fatty meat scraps and fruitcakes with raisins or currants can be lethal to animals. Ask guests to refrain from feeding your dog at the table.

What if your host has a dog or cat? Most animals are thought of as a member of the family. Remember, you are the guest and this is the pet’s home.

Wrapping it up

Now is a great time to get rid of garlands, wrapping paper and all other unwanted things from our Christmas totes. Take them to Goodwill. Someone will be happy to have them.

It’s more affordable to chip in together on gifts. If three friends go together, you can usually buy something nicer, and it doesn’t cost you as much.

Getting crafty

Running out of money? Have you had a job loss? There is an online company called Etsy that focuses on handmade items. You can start your own Etsy company, name it, photograph your product and sell products. If you have a craft you make really well, this just might be for you.

Amazon has added a Top Holiday Deal section, which now includes Groupon-type deals. Cruises are 79 percent off, and dinners, spa treatments and car detailing are 65 percent off. There’s also a parasail ride for two, a Douglas DC 3 flight, snorkeling and private helicopter lessons. The deals change hourly as they sell.

Winter hair and skin

Couponers take the top name-brand shampoos and conditioners home every month. There are lotions and creams in abundance. If your hair is drying out this winter, try washing it in a good conditioner, and don’t use shampoo. Don’t use hairspray if you can possibly do without it. It is very drying because it contains alcohol.

Wen hair care has been against shampoo for years. Wen is a conditioner you wash your hair with every day, but it is very expensive. Try using Tressemme conditioner, John Frieda or Pantene. Use only the conditioner, massage it in and rinse. You can repeat if you want. There is a new trend on Pinterest called “no poo,” which means many have quit using shampoo and use only conditioners. Chaz Dean started this several years ago. Hair seems to come alive again. If you can get past having no suds in your hair, you might love locks that shine, aren’t dry and don’t fall out from damage.

Emergency gifts

It’s a good idea to keep a few emergency gifts wrapped and under the tree for  unexpected guests who stop by to bring you a present.

What do you do if someone brings you a gift and you don’t have one to reciprocate? A “thank you” is all that’s needed.

Time for family

Family dinners are important. They are about being together, talking about problems and solving them together with people you trust.

Connecting with people you love makes the holidays special, and memories are made.

Festive workplace

Make your work area “the place to be.” Keep snacks on hand, such as a cheeseball and crackers. Serve cups of hot cocoa or spiced apple cider in disposable cups and you will have the busiest cubicle in the building. One of my favorites: spice jelly atop a block of cream cheese, served with crackers from the deli. Don’t forget paper plates and plastic knives.

Cooking smells out

If you have garlic or onion on your hands, take a metal spoon or fork and use it just like a bar of soap under running water. Wash your hands with it under cold water. In seconds, the smell will be gone.

CVS

Box candy sale: Russell Stover, Whitman’s, Reese’s, York and M&Ms. Use your coupons for a match on these sales. Candy can be frozen by putting it in freezer bags. I suggest buying good candy, wrap each piece in freezer paper and seal in a freezer bag. You can enjoy it all year long.

Tide 64 load: $11.94; $3 ExtraBucks; $2 Procter & Gamble manufacturer’s coupon; limit one.

Gillette: Spend $30, get $10 EB; use coupons on each product from P&G such as $2 off Fusion Gel or $3 off Fusion Razor. Gillette deoderant is on this deal, and there is an active store coupon for $2.50 off $12, any deoderant purchase. Stack $1 Gillette Twin Pack or Clinical manufacturer’s coupon.

Lindt candy: $1; $1 coupon; free.

Chex Mix: three for $6; $2 EB coupon; 50 cents for 2; limit one deal.

 

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