Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

SOLUTIONS: A mint suggestion for solving mouse problem

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QUESTION: We have found mice nests under the hood of our car. Can you suggest a solution apart from shaving cream on cotton balls? We would sure like to give this a try. Thanks in advance for any help you can give us. Joan (Winnipeg)

ANSWER: To prevent future infestations, seal off any openings with silicone or foam insulation because mice are able to squeeze through the tiniest openings. Some people put a few mothballs under the air cleaner cover in the engine of their car. However, be advised mothballs contain poisons and can make people sick. Mice are also repelled by the smell of mint, so hanging a mint air freshener in your vehicle may be effective. Or make your own peppermint air freshener by sprinkling peppermint essential oil onto a piece of cardboard and placing it inside your vehicle. Or shave Irish Spring bar soap and sprinkle it in your car as mice don't like that smell either.

QUESTION: I use the recipe on the back of the Chipits bag to make chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate chip cookies that I bake always come out of the oven hard and not chewy like I would like. What am I doing wrong? Steph (Grunthal)

ANSWER: The instructions on the back of the bag recommend baking cookies at 375 degrees. Turn your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies just until the outside edge is slightly brown. The cookies will feel soft but will set when they cool.

QUESTION: My boyfriend chews with his mouth open. It doesn't matter where we are, even at fancy restaurants. It makes me sick and I feel like gagging but I don't want to say anything to him since he isn't a little kid. Should I dump him? Carlota (Richer)

ANSWER: Whoa! If you are deciding between dumping the guy and politely asking him to close his mouth while he chews, I would choose the latter. If it bothers you now, imagine how much it will bother you in 10 years. This may be easily fixable with a few loving words.

QUESTION: I once read in the newspaper a remedy of something to put on concrete walks and steps to keep them free of ice. I would like to find out what this was as we have a big problem with ice on our front step. Thank you for your assistance. Elaine (Winnipeg)

ANSWER: When rock salt is not an option, some people pour plain Dawn dish soap onto their steps or sidewalk. The theory behind this is because of the high alcohol content, the dish soap will not freeze. I have heard both positive and negative reviews on this technique. Another option is to sprinkle non-clumping cat litter onto slippery steps to offer traction as you walk.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can't remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my videos/blog/website: reena.ca!

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 7, 2013 F5

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