Dear Readers: When you purchase a house, getting the right insurance is key, so take your time and do extensive research. This will help you become informed about exactly what you will need to protect your home. Go online for data and information. Then contact your agent. And do shop around. Experts recommend getting estimates from at least three different insurance companies, so you will have a basis of comparison, before you decide. If you still have questions, contact the Insurance Information Institute: www.iii.org. — Heloise

Photographing your home

Dear Heloise: Take photos of the outside and the interior of your house, so that you and your children will have them years later. I took photos like this many years ago. We sold the house after our children were adults. Recently, we went back to look at the house that held so many happy memories, only to find very sadly, the house had been torn down and replaced. At least we have the lovely photos I had taken years ago. — Barbara, Washington, D.C.

Barbara, this is so true. Our homes represent our lives and our memories. — Heloise

Roses symbolism

Dear Readers: We love to send flowers for special occasions, and roses are often the beautiful flower that we choose. The color of the rose imparts a special message. Red roses symbolize love. Yellow roses signify friendship, and white roses indicate innocence.

I love roses and have antique roses growing in my yard. When you receive a bouquet of roses, you want to keep it fresh for as long as you can. Here is how to do it. Snip the bottom of the stems and take off any leaves that will be under the water line. Put them in a vase with warm water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 3 tablespoons of sugar to a quart of water. — Heloise

No more bugs

Dear Heloise: It must be my good Dutch blood. The bugs love me. A paste of baking powder helps, but when it dries up, it becomes messy. The perfect solution? Dab it with vinegar. It really helps. — Jacob Groothof, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jacob, yes, vinegar is versatile and has many uses. White household vinegar helps to stop itching from insect bites, pain from wasp stings and skin irritations.

Vinegar is essential in every home! There are so many ways it can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and cooking, so I've put together a six-page pamphlet full of vinegar uses that you can have by visiting www.Heloise.com or by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (75 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001.

FYI: You can wipe mini-blinds with a mixture of half water and half vinegar to remove grease and dust. — Heloise

Coffee filters/pickles

Dear Heloise: Here's another good use for coffee filters. I use filters to line the bottom of my pots before I put in the soil and the plants. Also, I use the coffee in the filter, after the coffee has been brewed, to fertilize our lawn and plants. To alleviate the pain of burns, I either dip the area (finger) into a bowl of cold pickle juice, or I put a pickle chip on the affected area. Instant relief! — D.G., Chino Hills, Calif. 

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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