These plants are pretty…poisonous

Dear Readers: Lots of holiday celebrating can mean lots of pretty plants around. They are pretty, yes, but some are pretty POISONOUS. Here’s the lowdown:

These plants are poisonous and should never be ingested:

* chrysanthemum

* daffodil

* holly

* hyacinth

* ivy

* mistletoe

* mountain laurel

If your pet chews on any of these plants, contact your veterinarian immediately. Remove any remaining residue from the mouth, and rinse with water. You can also call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center (www.ASPCA.org/poison). The phone number is 888-426-4435. A consultation fee may be assessed. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: My family has saved all of our baby rattles, blocks, shoes and socks, and they actually make really cute tree ornaments. We jazz them up with a water-based sealer, glitter, confetti, beads, etc. We have fun decorating them each year. We have a big family — usually a new addition each year! — Becky T., Harrisburg, Pa.


Dear Heloise: I ran out of plastic bags for my kitchen trash basket, so I’m using plastic bread bags and putting them into a 2-gallon plastic pitcher and placing it into the trash basket. — John B., Long Beach, Calif.


Dear Heloise: Tons of pie baking is going on this weekend at my house. We have borrowed a couple of hints from my dear grandma. She had the flakiest crusts because she brushed the pastry (pre-baking) lightly with, get this, MILK!

Also, to make a prettier pie, a garnish is in order: a handful of blueberries, raspberries, apple slices or a twirl of lemon rind all increase the pie’s looks! — Susan S. in Florida


Dear Readers: Redoing your floors anytime soon? Save old, clean scraps of carpeting, along with clean throw rugs, scraps of cloth, blankets and towels. The city pound and the Humane Society can use them. Call to arrange a drop-off. Let’s keep the animals warm and snuggly this holiday. — Heloise


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