Top drawer Joyce Clark Hicks finds the best for your home and garden

Top Drawer

CorrepondentJune 21, 2013 

FOOD FAM-NTR-KIDSMEALS TB

When it's your turn to deliver the post game refreshment at your child's soccer game, remember that there are healthy, easy-to-prepare and delivery snacks that kids will actually eat, like grapes.

BILL HOGAN — MCT

Best for zippers

Do you have a stubborn zipper that refuses to budge? The Budget Savvy Diva site says you can rub a candle along the teeth of both sides of the zipper to fix it fast. “This should smooth out the path and allow the zipper to move freely again,” according to the site. Find this and other household tips at budgetsavvydiva.com/.

Best for summertime snacks

A creative mom over at the Little Penelope Lane blogspot has a great idea for keeping healthy, ready-to-go treats on hand for summertime snacking. One day a week, blogger Sarah shops for enough snacks to last for seven days. These usually include an assortment of crackers, pretzels, grapes, carrots, apples, string cheese, individual packs of hummus, hard-boiled eggs, edamame, cantaloupe and such. She then chops or portions the goodies into plastic containers or zip-top bags and organizes them in a larger container in the refrigerator or pantry where family members can easily find them.

It helps her pull school lunches together quickly, too.We think pre-packaged snacks would be a great way to encourage pre-teens and teens to help themselves to healthy treats over summer break. See this tip and more at: littlepenelopelane.blogspot.com

Best keepsake

With graduation season just behind us, we love this idea for recording milestones and gifting a child with money on graduation day.

The Two Naps by Noon blogger, a military mom, came up with an idea to write her baby daughter a letter on a select date each year (birthday, holiday, etc.) and to include a monetary gift with each letter. The letters serve to record special milestones and memories. She places the letters in an envelope marked, “Do Not Open Until Graduation,” along with a set amount of money.

“On the 17 or 18 days leading up to graduation, give your child one letter a day,” she writes. “I’m adding $25 to each envelope, which means that by the time Lizzie opens her 18th envelope on graduation day, she will have received $450 total for graduation.”

This would be a great grandparent or godparent idea too.

Learn more about this graduation keepsake at http://tinyurl.com/mcsaa4a.

Designer’s best

The folks at House Beautiful use an area rug instead of a bath mat in the bathroom. “It was made to withstand a lot more wear than the occasional wet foot.” Plus, the right rug can really up the oomph factor in an often drab room.

Reader’s best

Sheila Dupree of Raleigh wrote in to share an organizing tip. She says 5-by-7-inch “plastic envelopes have almost unlimited uses to keep small papers and cards visible, neat and the contents easily accessible. They are perfect for holding bank deposit slips and envelopes. Your car insurance and registration cards stay neat and are easily retrieved from your glove compartment. Great for stamps and address labels in your desk drawer.”

Best 4-ingredient appetizer

Raleigh reader Barbara Snead wrote in to share her daughter Susan’s go-to recipe for “Chip Beef Dip.”

• 4 1/2 ounces dried beef, cut up in small pieces

• 8 ounces cream cheese

• 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Mix ingredients together and add a touch of water. Serve with Townhouse crackers.

Seeking your best 5-ingredient or less recipe

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we’re often hard pressed to get a tasty meal, appetizer or dessert to the table for mealtimes. With that in mind, we’re seeking your best recipes involving five ingredients or less. You can send them to topdrawer@newsobserver.com. Be sure to include your name, street address and city for a chance to be entered in our quarterly gift drawing. Put “best recipe” in the subject line.

Best of the tube

On HGTV

Home office for two: Designer Genevieve Gorder tackles a cramped and cluttered home office in a rental apartment and works overtime to create an inspiring, functional and stylish work space. She accomplishes this feat using modular furniture built on casters, a lavender area rug and an orange-feathered juju hat. “Dear Genevieve” airs at 9 a.m. Monday.

On DIY

Basement renovation: Transplanted New York actors Mark Nelson and Shelly O’Neill bought a Midwest home with a huge backyard. The home has a lot of charm, but they need another bedroom for housing out-of-town guests. They have a $15,000 budget, so they may have to stretch their DIY skills to new heights. Can they get it all done? Find out at 11 a.m. Thursday on “Sweat Equity.”

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