My last Tips and Tricks blog seemed to go over very well. I received a few emails from other blind individuals sharing their own helpful pointers. So, today I would like to share tips I received from readers, as well as a few more of my own.
Let’s start in the kitchen again. One reader sent me a few different tricks that he uses when baking. He suggests using parchment paper or aluminum foil to cover baking sheets as things don’t stick as much, and it makes clean up easier. I have also heard this from other sources, and I can attest that it works wonders. Though, you do still need to grease the surface when using aluminum foil. I forgot to do this once, and it resulted in me picking foil off my cake and losing big chunks of the cake as a result.
Another tip this reader sent me was in regards to frosting a cake. Frosting a cake can be a messy business so he developed an alternative technique. Instead of making the traditional icing and attempting to slather it on the bunt cake he was making, he added about 2 tablespoons of sugar to the bunt pan before the batter. He shook the pan to get it coated evenly, and then poured in the batter. This produced a nice shiny glaze to the bunt cake when it was done. Personally, I think this is an awesome idea. I recently had an icing disaster resulting in more icing on the counter than the cake. It all worked out in the end, but next time I think I will give this technique a try.
Another reader had a good tip for socks using safety pins, or Sock Locks to attach her socks together when putting them in the dirty laundry, so they always stay matched. I have tried this before, but kept forgetting to pin them together before washing them, so I just bought all the same socks so that wasn’t an issue. Now however, I love fun, crazy socks, and I do not have a single pair of socks that looks like the other, so I might go back to using this technique. It would also be a good trick to use on my son’s socks. When he was a baby I just left his socks balled up when washing them, because they didn’t really get dirty. But now that he is up running around and getting his socks stinky and dirty, I’ve not been able to do that and have had trouble matching them. It was definitely a good reminder for me that this option was out there. So, thank you to the reader who sent me this email.
This reader also told me her tip on how to apply toothpaste to a toothbrush. I’ve heard of many different techniques blind people use when brushing their teeth. She squeezes a bit of toothpaste on her tongue, and then scoops it up with the toothbrush. I’ve also heard that some people squeeze the toothpaste into their mouth’s and bite it off. I do it a different way. I hold the head of the toothbrush and squeeze the toothpaste on that way. It usually gets my fingers a bit sticky, but I am able to feel how much I put on, and it works for me. Applying toothpaste seems to be a very versatile endeavor. There are many ways to do it, and there is no right way. For me, figuring out how to put the toothpaste on was very difficult. It took me a long time to figure out when I first went blind, so I think however it gets accomplished is the best way to brush.
Another thing that I personally had trouble with when I first went blind was telling the shampoo and the conditioner apart. Initially I put them on opposite sides of the shower. But what happens if they fall or get mixed up some how. At that time I wasn’t able to easily tell that the shampoo was sudsier than the conditioner, so I put a hair tie on the lid of my conditioner. Another option is to buy different sized bottles- maybe buy a smaller shampoo and a bigger conditioner etc. Now that I know the difference in the textures of shampoo and conditioner, it makes purchasing them and getting them into the shower easier. I used to have to put them in separate bags, and try to remember that the shampoo is with the granola bars, and the conditioner is with the peanutbutter and so on. Now I can just squirt a little in my hands before putting them in the shower to see if it is sudsy or creamy.
Another reader recommends putting bells on the shoes of your toddler, so you can always find them. This is an amazing idea! Unfortunately, my son never left his shoes on, and still doesn’t. I can’t really blame him though, I am always barefoot, so I can’t really expect him to keep shoes on. So for those children who leave their shoes on, bells work wonders. She also said that her child runs up and down the stairs, but now he is pretty loud, so she knows where he is at.
My last tip for you today, is something that I have been doing a lot of lately: SHOVELING! We have gotten at least a foot of snow in the past week where I live. I shoveled four times in 24 hours the other day. Needless to say, I’m becoming a pro in the shoveling department. Shoveling sidewalks is pretty straight forward, they are not very wide, so you can pretty much just scoop and toss to one side or another. Driveways however, they are a little trickier, especially if the driveway is double wide or bigger. So, the first thing I do, is to become familiar with my space and develop a plan of attack. I need to know how long and how wide the driveway is, and where to toss the snow. Since my driveway is wide enough for two cars, I start in the middle and push the snow to one side first. I do that all the way down on that side. I don’t always go super straight, but since I know that I’m not super good at staying straight, every couple of passes I walk back over what I thing I have shoveled… This is something new that I learned. I used to just keep shoveling so as not to miss something. When I walk over what I thought I shoveled, I can feel the snow under my feet in the spots that I missed. This is much easier, and less time consuming than just shoveling until I think I got it all. When I am done with the first side, then I do the second side and push the snow over to the other side of the driveway. After I have checked an gotten the driveway cleared, I move on to the sidewalks. Depending on how much snow we got, the sidewalk can be kind of hard to find, so getting the driveway clear first helps to find the sidewalk. I don’t own a snow blower, so I don’t have any tips for that, but I am sure it can be done.
I hope these tips and tricks have been enlightening. If anyone has more to share, feel free to send them to me, I enjoy reading them, and would like to share them with others. You can email me at email@example.com.