Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Kitchen Helpers

By Reena Nerbas

Threading a Needle

Dear Reena,

I have never had difficulty threading a needle before; however, recently I started having trouble seeing the eye of the needle. Do you have any simple tricks for this? Kennedy

Dear Kennedy,

A magnifying glass can help with this challenge. Here is a hack that works like magic: place the thread across the palm of your open hand. Lay the eye of the needle on top of the thread. Vigorously move the eye of the needle back and forth on the thread; the thread will eventually move into to eye of the needle. Pull the thread, and begin sewing. This takes a few tries to master but will get easier after you get the hang of it.

Keeping Bats Out

Dear Reena,

Can you tell me the best way to keep bats out of my house (attic and basement)? Will mothballs work? Paul

Dear Paul,

Bats living in a home is a health hazard; therefore, you are wise to take action. It is not recommended to use chemicals such as mothballs to deter bats. While bats do not like the smell of mothballs, the large number of mothballs needed to repel them will likely be hazardous to other people living in the home. Begin by figuring out where the bats are entering your home. Contact animal control to properly and safely remove them from inside. Use caulk to seal all small holes. Attach mesh wire to all openings.

Kitchen Helpers

  • I like to place a bowl or plastic container (already dirtied, of course) in the sink and fill it with warm soapy water. As I prep. and cook, any utensils, small tools and little bowls go straight into the sink; when I’m done with them. By the time I’ve finished, they’ve had a good soak and are ready for the dishwasher. Also, it may sound obvious, but I always teach that the right side of the sink is for rinsed/scraped dishes only – that way I can just load them right into the dishwasher really quickly. Submitted by: Kate

  • To recycle food scraps and biodegradable waste I use ordinary paper lunch bags that are much cheaper than the heavy-duty ones sold for this specific purpose. I use 2 bags, one inside the other, and have bought a metal container from the dollar store that I keep the bags in beside my kitchen sink. As they fill up quickly, you end up putting them in the green bin frequently, reducing the possibility of smell. The only drawback – what you put in them should not be overly wet, as the bags would soak through and tear when you go to dispose of them. If you develop a problem with fruit flies in the summer months, a simple chip clip applied over the folded top of the bags will keep them sealed. Hope you can use this tip! Submitted by: Dale

  • Keep bananas fresher longer by wrapping the stem with aluminum foil. Submitted by: Laura

  • When a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, don’t waste an entire lemon by cutting it in half. Poke the lemon with a metal skewer and squeeze out the amount of lemon juice that the recipe requires. Submitted by: Laura

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

, ,