Dear Heloise: Because of social distancing rules, birthday parties for my young kids have been put on hold. However, we found a fun way to acknowledge each child’s birthday.

I ask everyone I know to send a birthday card in the mail, the old-fashioned way! It’s a fun learning experience for my children to practice reading all the cards, discuss the postage stamps and how the letter gets delivered. Most everybody is thrilled to participate, and we get dozens of cards. — Mary T. in Colorado

Mary, such a wonderful, teachable idea! So much fun to open each envelope, and those postage stamps — some are works of art! — Heloise

Packing dishes

Dear Heloise: I have been saving padded envelopes I get in the mail to reuse. When I was packing to move, I used them for my dishes — a lot of padding with little effort. — Marnie R. in Louisiana

Rustic wrapping

Dear Heloise: When wrapping a gift, I use twine, along with flowers and succulents from my garden. I place the gift in a recycled gift bag or box and simply use the twine in lieu of ribbon. I then tie in the flowers and/or succulents.

I’ve also used brown paper lunch bags, folding over the top, adding holes with a hole puncher, then threading the twine or ribbon through the holes. — Lisa W., Huntington Beach, California

Lisa, how creative and unique! It would be such fun to receive one of your gifts! — Heloise

Deodorant stains

Dear Heloise: My deodorant can leave stains in the underarm area of my shirts. Is there a safe way to remove the stains, or at least lessen them? — Carrie in New Hampshire

Carrie, there sure is, and it’s one of my favorite go-tos — vinegar! To remove most fresh deodorant and antiperspirant stains, rub the stain with undiluted white vinegar, then launder as usual, using the hottest water safe for the fabric. Vinegar is a workhorse in the home. Safe, cheap and readily available, I’ve reached for it time and time again. I’ve compiled my favorite vinegar hints, helps and recipes into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It’s easy!

Visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send a long, self-addressed, stamped (70c) envelope with $5 to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 5001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001. Stock up on gallon-sized bottles of vinegar, and grab some baking soda, too! — Heloise

Onion hints

Dear Heloise: To prevent onion odor from permeating the refrigerator and especially the crisper drawer, I use a resealable (zip-type) sandwich bag, and no more smells.

Also, to reduce time and simplify cleanup for cutting boards, when I cut onions I put a vegetable drying towel (a tea-towel or similar) on the cutting board and slice and chop onions right on the towel. As long as it’s not a serrated blade the towel doesn’t get cut and I just toss it into the laundry basket when dry to wash. — Peter B., via email

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