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Friday, December 19, 2014, 8:59 p.m.
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Holiday cactus shines at Christmastime

posted: 12/19/2014 11:01 a.m. Discuss

The red poinsettia is a star among the plants of Christmas, but for blooms that can come back year after year, consider the holiday cactus, writes Janet B. Carson in HomeStyle.

There's a gadget for that

posted: 12/13/2014 1:56 a.m. Discuss

The way to a man's heart may be through his stomach, but this holiday season, the way to a cook's heart may be through a thoughtfully selected kitchen tool or gadget.

IN THE GARDEN

posted: 12/13/2014 1:54 a.m. Discuss

Q Could the hard freeze in early November have killed my huge Japanese maple? The leaves generally turn brilliant red but this year shriveled brown and still have not fallen. So worried.

Personal Space

posted: 12/13/2014 1:52 a.m. Discuss

Kristin Stuart Where I live: I live in west Little Rock with my husband, Bleu, sons Will (4 years) and Ben (7 months) and our new rescued dog, Tula.

Ask the Expert

posted: 12/13/2014 1:51 a.m. Discuss

As my budget continues to tighten, I am looking for ways to save money and I am focused on trying to lower my energy bill. How can I be more energy-efficient?

Tools and Toys

posted: 12/13/2014 1:51 a.m. Discuss

Swiss Diamond Naturally Nonstick Cookware What's to love: Cookware that is coated with up to 200,000 diamond crystals, which are a great conductor of heat and allow for even cooking.

Otus the Head Cat: Frat boys prank elderly swimmers with fake shark

posted: 12/13/2014 1:50 a.m. Discuss

Dear Otus, We were out of town last weekend at the big TCU-Iowa State game (we're retired out of Des Moines -- Go, Cyclones!), so we missed the hubbub over at Beaver Lake for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. I understand it even made national television. Can you fill us in? -- John Blutarsky, Bentonville

It's a myth mulch starves plants

posted: 12/13/2014 1:48 a.m. Discuss

Rumor has it that mulching your garden beds or trees and shrubs could starve your plants. It's a rumor that has circulated for the past 40 years or so, ever since mulching surged in popularity as a way to quell weeds and conserve water.

CAR TALK

posted: 12/13/2014 1:47 a.m. Discuss

DEAR CAR TALK: I live out in the sticks, where my neighbor John and I are good friends. I have a spare garage, where, out of the kindness of my heart, I allow John to park his Mini Cooper. Well, it has been cold lately, and John commutes an hour to his job. So before his trip each day, John made a habit of warming up his car in my garage, with the garage door closed. Now, my garage is no luxury accommodation, but it does have carpet on the walls (it was that way when I bought it), and it is in fairly good shape, generally speaking. I'm concerned that the emissions from John's car are gradually making the inside of my garage a grimy mess. I assume that John is concerned with getting his car warmed up as quickly as possible. I've asked John to open the garage door while he warms up his car, but he's being stubborn. Being the consummately reasonable man I am, I informed John this morning that I would submit this question to Car Talk and live by the verdict: Am I being neurotic, or is John being a jerk?

Fall garden residue a buffet for birds, refuge for insects

posted: 12/13/2014 1:46 a.m. Discuss

A stroll through Danya Miller's South Jersey garden still evokes a sweetly colorful spring, a floral blowout of summer and salad days of fall, replete with happy birds and less visible insects.

Spiral slicer on cutting edge of trendy tools

posted: 12/13/2014 1:45 a.m. Discuss

Kitchen appliances and gadgets seem to come in waves. Here's what's trending now.

Can I show you something in a Himalayan salt block?

posted: 12/13/2014 1:43 a.m. Discuss

Shopping for a cook who seems to have everything? Consider these clever tools.

Helpful Hints

posted: 12/13/2014 1:42 a.m. Discuss

DEAR HELOISE: I keep my wet/dry vacuum in the garage near the door. Instead of vacuuming floors, I vacuum grass and debris from gym shoes before coming inside. It makes a world of difference.

Horoscopes by Holiday

posted: 12/13/2014 1:42 a.m. Discuss

Happy birthday. You want to make people happy, and this year it just so happens that the things that make people happy also make a profit. Next month features a renovation.

On Christianity

posted: 12/13/2014 1:42 a.m. Discuss

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I always get letters from charities and religious organizations this time of year begging for money, and I just throw them out. I don't think they ought to keep asking for money all the time.

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