Wash your flag and outdoor furniture
Memorial Day is May 26. Get out your American flag (find your American flag, or buy a flag this weekend!). If your existing flag is dusty and dirty, soak it in warm water and Woolite if it's nylon or polyester, then machine wash, Real Simple Solutions suggests. (Cotton flags need no presoaking.) Then, of course, air-dry. If the barbecue is at your house next weekend, hose down the outdoor furniture and check the supply of charcoal or gas for the grill.
Adopt a butterfly for a good cause
Here are the gifts for people who have everything. At Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry, you can symbolically adopt a butterfly: a cassius blue ($25), monarch ($50) or tiger swallowtail ($100). The money supports educational programs and exhibits; the honoree gets a certificate and a photograph of the butterfly. Or, for those who light up your life, adopt a star ($25-$2,000) to support the new planetarium and its digital star projection system. Details are at mosi.org.
Contest winners will have it maid
A maid for life? Well, okay, not for life. But you can win a maid for a year, courtesy of Chicago's Weiman Products, makers of an array of surface wipes and cleaners. Through July 31, you can submit a 250-word essay on why you deserve free maid service every other week for a year. Five lucky households will get to say goodbye to 12 months of vacuuming, stove-cleaning and toilet-scrubbing. Enter at weiman.com/contest.
Bright idea for sports fans
Graduation and Father's Day are around the corner. For the athletes on your gift list (armchair or otherwise), how about this LED light from Lowe's? If the Yankees aren't the team you root for, the light comes in the logos of 120 pro and college teams and businesses (Coca-Cola, anyone?). The offerings include the University of Florida and Florida State. Florida Marlins, yes; Tampa Bay Rays, alas, no. The light measures 24 by 24 inches and is $129. Some are in stock, some must be special-ordered, so don't wait till the last minute.
Two figures were reversed in a chart last week showing the payback and annual savings of building components and materials. For ceiling fans, the added cost is $300; annual savings is $60; payback in years is 5. The last two figures were reversed.
Compiled by Judy Stark, Times homes and garden editor