Okay, so maybe 2020 hasn’t been the year you’ve always dreamed of. Let’s not try to pumpkin-coat it. We have had tensions at an all-time high with politics, racial tension, COVID-19, rules and opinions for and against wearing masks, and just recently we lost an icon in the form of Eddie Van Halen.

Q: Our first child, a boy, just turned 2. Per your advice, he is toilet trained and eating whatever I serve. Before he was born, we determined that we were not going to raise a picky eater. Our problem isn’t our son; it’s my sister-in-law, who has three kids, the youngest of which is 4. She …

There are sure signs that the heat of summer will soon be fading, and one of those signs is increased fungal activity! About a month ago, mushroom fairy rings began to appear in area lawns. Pretty soon after, mushroom hunters were finding chanterelles. Last week, I noticed a puffball mushroo…

Question: Meats sold in supermarkets today are marked “water added.” What is the reason for adding water? Is the meat weighed and priced after the water is added, and are we paying for water? (Asked by a curious consumer.)

Perhaps like good health, access to clean water is entirely underappreciated. Greenwood is fortunate that we have an excellent water resource in Lake Greenwood and the fine folks at CPW and Greenwood Metro to keep us supplied. However, as we know, we are not an island unto ourselves. The arr…

Q: In your column of last week, you referred to the “hump of toddlerhood.” Can you please explain further?

It is so much easier to see our good points than our faults. I have many faults, and some of them haunt me. I rarely share personal information about myself, but one of my biggest faults is I tend to run away from my problems rather than hit them head on. Yup, it’s true.

Q: My husband and I are not on the same page when it comes to our just-turned 4-year-old son. He thinks our son’s behavior is a phase that he will outgrow. To me, his defiance and tantrums are alarming and need to be dealt with now to prevent them from getting worse. Most recently, he has st…

“This was different. It shifted the lay of the land. Four guys, playing and singing, writing their own material…Rock ‘n” roll came to my house where there seemed to be no way out and opened up a whole world of possibilities.” — Bruce Springsteen

This week has got me thinking about thresholds. You see, once our county’s COVID-19 numbers reduce enough we will be able to welcome the public back to the office. It depends on the thresholds that have been set in our reentry plan. There are some well-known thresholds that have been set aro…

A mother in California seeks her pastor’s opinion on allowing her 15-year-old son to have a smartphone. The boy claims if he can’t use social media, he will have no friends. Mom is skeptical concerning the claim and afraid of other internet experiences the youngster might be drawn to if he h…

I am excited to say that I have a new alarm clock. What is so exciting about it, you may ask? My alarm clock doesn’t have an annoying tone, it doesn’t play music and it doesn’t have a snooze button. I don’t need a snooze button as my new morning eye-opening assistance machine wakes me up eve…

It’s time to consider what your winter roommate situation is going to be like. I’m not talking about surprise guests, although I’m sure many a home will be anxiously awaiting the return of college students for winter break. I’m talking about your tender plants. There is a 10% chance in our a…

Q: My 13-year-old son’s grades and overall respect for me and other adults — teachers, in particular — began going downhill last year (eighth grade), even before the shutdown. He began school this year with the same attitude, if not worse. In response, I have taken away most of his privilege…

One thing that I love about music is that you can dip your toe in the water sometimes and get a glimpse or a snapshot of songs, albums, or genres that other people are extremely passionate about.

A grandmother in Arkansas says her adult children have great difficulty telling their children what to do. They turn instructions — more accurately, what they think are instructions — into questions and then wonder why their kids don’t seem to appreciate their timidity.

Some foods and drinks are labeled “naturally flavored” and others “artificially flavored.” What’s the difference? (Asked by a curious culinary reader.) Reply: First, a little flavorful background. Flavor is a sensory impression of a food or other substance that is determined by the chemical …

Though you wouldn’t know it from my Polish maiden name, I am half Italian. And as most Italians do, I love garlic. I guess you could say it’s in my blood! Well, fall is an excellent time to plant garlic. You’ll need full sun and a fertile, loamy soil. If your soil is too compacted, it can hi…