Dear Sara:

I'm looking for a Halloween costume idea for a preschool-age boy. Any ideas? -- Paige, Ohio

Dear Paige:

How about dressing him up as a juice box? Cut arm and head openings out of a cardboard box. Decorate the outside of the box to look like a juice box. You can buy plumbing tubing at your local hardware store to make the straw. You could make a facial tissue box costume along the same lines. Decorate a cardboard box to look like a box of tissues, then use tissue paper to create large facial tissues. Or how about painting a cardboard box to look like a Rubik's cube? You can make a Lego brick costume out of a box, too. Cut holes for arms and head. Glue or tape red or blue Solo plastic cups to the box and paint the entire box the same color as the cups. The child can wear a hoodie that matches the color, or make a small Lego hat. For more costume ideas, visit

Dear Sara:

I need a very small gift idea for multiple co-workers. I want the gifts to be all the same, but cost no more than $5. I need something quick and easy -- the gifts aren't for a holiday or special occasion; I just want to give something little as a morale-booster. -- Kathi, Texas

Dear Kathi:

How about a flowering bulb in a tiny burlap sack? You can wrap it in a tiny gift bag or clear cellophane. Or how about a cookie cutter with a recipe card attached? You can fill a mason jar with loose (wrapped or unwrapped) candies or dollar-store items such as lip balm, facial tissue or lotion, or fill it with popcorn kernels or coffee beans. You could give large-sized candy bars or boxed theater-type candy, too. Small sections of giftwrap can be used as decorative wrappers (rather than wrapping the entire bar or box, simply wrap around and leave the ends exposed), then add a little bow.

Dear Sara:

How do I store green onions/scallions? I buy them at Wal-Mart in a sealed plastic bag, but after I open them and use a couple, they go bad quickly. I love fresh green onions, but it can sure be a waste! -- Sue, Texas

Dear Sue:

You can stand them upright in a couple of inches of water in a mason jar and place in the fridge or on a counter. Cut off what you need and watch them regrow within a few weeks. Be sure to change or top off the water every couple of days. Or, use what you need now and chop and freeze the rest to use for cooked recipes, not raw.

Dear Sara:

I tried making cupcake cones. I filled the cones with batter and baked them, but it was messy. Some of them exploded over the sides of the cone. What did I do wrong? -- Tina, Illinois

Dear Tina:

You probably overfilled the cones. Fill the cones about 3/4 full (roughly 3 tablespoons). Another method is to use cupcake liners in your pan, fill them 3/4 with batter, then insert the cone on top of the batter and bake. Once baked, simple remove the liner and frost. The cake won't fill the cone using this method, though. Sometimes I like to make cupcake cones with a very flat top (fill less then 3/4 full before baking). Instead of frosting them, I can add a scoop of ice cream to the top.

photo by bargainmoose