Dear Sara:

I'm looking for gifts ideas for a new daughter-in-law. I'm considering family recipes, photos of her husband when he was a child and maybe an address book containing all the addresses, phone numbers and important dates for his side of the family. Is this intrusive? -- C.L., Mississippi

Dear C.L.:

I wouldn't find it intrusive, but this is something that very much depends on the recipient. Some people would find it quite intrusive and would prefer these items be given to the husband instead, if he wanted them. She might view it as if you're pawning off things she doesn't value as keepsakes and forcing her to store and be responsible for them when she isn't interested in them at all. It can make her feel as if she's solely responsible for all her husband's extended family's important dates, too. You might consider that she probably doesn't care about her husband's third cousin that she's never met quite as much as direct family members do. At least not yet, anyway.

Dear Sara:

I bought these little yellow guavas at the store the other day. When I eat them, they're soft and creamy, but the seeds are really hard. I thought the seeds were edible, but it's hard to chew them. Am I eating them wrong? -- Lilly, Illinois

Dear Lilly:

When guava is ripe, you can eat the entire fruit, including the peel/rind and the seeds. You can bite into it like an apple, but you can eat it all. Some people cut off the ends, cut the fruit in half or quarters, remove the seeds and only eat what is remaining. Some people cut them in half, scoop out the fruit center and throw away the skin.

Dear Sara:

Have you ever tried just writing the prices on the things you buy? I have heard that you should make a price book for the things you buy most often, but I'm never really sure what to include and what to leave out. Using an actual notebook was too cumbersome and time-consuming. I figure if I write on the most obvious ones with a sharpie, I'll probably just memorize the price, since I'll be using the item so often. I guess it wouldn't work if you tried to keep track of the price of everything, but it should work at least with the most common things you buy, right? -- Nishu, California

Dear Nishu:

Your idea will work, and most importantly you'll have created a system that works for you, specifically. Many of the products you buy will already have a price sticker on them, so it won't be too time-consuming for you. I prefer using a handy little notepad; some people prefer a dry-erase board or a spreadsheet, and others simply use their receipts as a reference. After a while, you do tend to memorize the best price on many products. I like to have information recorded, too, such as unit sizes and prices, dates, store name, etc. You might be interested in comparison shopping/price book apps, too, such as Pricebook, RedLaser and CompareMe Shopping Utility.

photo by tabor roeder