THIS MONTH'S QUESTION
How Do You Preserve Your Vacation Memories?

KEEP A JOURNAL
Scrapbooking intimidates me, so I started a family journal instead—a no-pressure place to jot funny stories and sweet moments. My kids help too. I ask them to draw a picture, or I ask them questions and write down their answers.
—Michelle Derrow, Longwood, Florida

SCAVENGE THE SHORE
Every time I set foot on the beach, I bring a little something home with me. On my mantel, I have shells and stones from beaches all over the world.
—Jennifer Padgett, Chevy Chase, Maryland

CREATE A SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER
Burn a DVD of your favorite pictures. Add songs you love. Then invite family and friends over for a movie night.
—Riley Tant, Birmingham, Alabama

START A ROCK BOX
When our son Liam was quite young, he was fascinated with rocks wherever we went. We decided to make a special box called LIAM ROCKS! We spent the afternoon decorating it, and from then on we would collect one rock from each place we'd go. We carry Sharpies in the car and write the name of the place and the date on the rock. When we get home, the rock goes in the box. Every now and then he plays with all the rocks, and he can tell you where each one came from.
—Samantha Goodowens, Winter Park, Florida

MAP IT OUT
I collect and save maps to show where we have gone. On each map, I add four or five small pictures that we've taken. Then I frame this to put on display in our house.
—Susan Miga, Mentor, Ohio

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY TRADITION?
E-mail country@peoplemag.com and let us know. If we use your answer, we'll send you a free CD!

MAKE LIFE EASIER
Reader-Tested Tips

KEEPING TOMATOES ON THE UP AND UP
Use nylons to tie tomato plants to stakes. Unlike string, the nylons allow the plant to move without cutting into the stalk.
—Pam Hagen, Cullman, Alabama

SPLINTER SMARTS
Instead of going the tweezer route, dab some household glue on the area and let dry. When you peel off the wad of glue, the splinter should come with it!
—David Mider, Austin, Texas

SAND MAGIC
Pour used motor oil into a container of sand (just enough to moisten) and dip dirty garden tools in the mixture. The abrasiveness of the sand does a great job of cleaning, and the oil protects against rust.
—Dorothy Jaenisch, Louisville, Kentucky

CAT TRAINING
Our cat Eddie kept waking us during the night looking for attention. Experts say to discourage bad behavior by responding with a noise the cat hates. Eddie hates the doorbell. So I took ours off the door and put it by the bed. When he jumped up to wake us, we hit the doorbell and "Pow!" he was gone. After just three nights, he no longer wakes us!
—Nancy Kruh, Dallas, Texas

TO KEEP YOUR BOUQUETS FRESHER, LONGER...
I cut the stems at an angle to help the flowers absorb water. Then I add a couple of tablespoons of both vinegar and sugar to the water.
—Jennie Thede, Portland, Oregon

GOT A GOOD TIP?
We'd love to hear all about it. Send your best stuff to country@peoplemag.com. If we use your tip, we'll send you a free CD!

WHY IT WORKS
The acid in vinegar curbs bacterial growth while the sugar acts as a food source.

FUNNY TRUE-LIFE STORIES
Have a Laugh!

TAKE TWO ASPIRIN AND CALL A BABYSITTER IN THE MORNING
My 6-year-old son wasn't feeling well, so he went to see the school nurse. When she asked him if anyone else in our family was sick, he quickly replied, "Yeah, my mom said she's sick of me and my brother!"
—Dan Truitt, Decatur, Alabama

PET PHOTO OF THE MONTH!

My parents, suffering from empty nest syndrome when my sister and I went to college, decided to pretend our Sheltie Gidget was their third "daughter" who was studying at home.
—Jessica Crous, Keller, Texas

AT LEAST HE KNOWS HIS COLORS
My 6-year-old grandson saw a kitten and asked me if it was a boy or a girl. When I told him I wasn't sure, he said, "Let me turn it over and see if it's pink or blue!"
—Joann Carr, Cullman, Alabama

KEEP AN EYE ON THOSE GRAHAM CRACKERS AND CHOCOLATE
I got home from work one night and saw that our family dog appeared to be foaming at the mouth. Panicked, I raced to call the vet just as my son walked in the room holding the empty bag of marshmallows the dog had just gotten into.
—Liz Eisenberg, Westfield, New Jersey

MOMMY'S LITTLE HELPER
I was having a crazy day trying to cook, clean and do laundry, so I figured it might be a good time to get my 7-year-old son involved in the housework. "Honey, can you go check the dryer?" I asked. "Sure," he said rushing off to the laundry room. Thirty seconds later he was back: "Don't worry, Mom. It's still there."
—Alma del Castillo, San Antonio, Texas

SHARE YOUR FUNNY PHOTOS AND STORIES!
Got a funny story or photo? Send your best stuff to country@peoplemag.com. If we use it, we'll send you a free CD!