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Repost About Chiggers

Physical Therapy has been going really well and one of their goal is to get me to be able to be outside for a bit. So I tried that for a bit yesterday. Unfortunately, the bug killer on the gravel driveway had faded away without me knowing and I now have 13 chigger bites. I slept most of yesterday via the glory of Benadryl and decided that today might be a good day to repost about the nasty little buggers since it’s been a few years. So here’s an informational post for all of us that get to suffer from these literal suckers. 🙂

To kick it off I want to introduce you to the exciting excruciating life of a chigger. For those that haven’t been to the Midwest or Southern areas of the beautiful USA I’m going to give you the heebie-jeebies, so settle in. You’ve been warned. *evil grin* A chigger is simply a mite that is virtually invisible to the naked eye. They love to live in the grass, but especially longer vegetation, although apparently they can infest vehicles and homes even. (It gets better, or worse, depending how you look at it.) I’m not going to go into the scientific stuff with you, so I’m going to give it to you Midwest style. *teasing smile* Basically, when the chigger is in the larval stage they eat skin cells. It was originally believed that the chigger burrowed under the skin, causing a “bite”. However, due to the amazing nerds in lab coats (you rock!), we now know that they actually inject an enzyme into the host (you or I in this instance) which starts to break down the tissue and they feed on that lovely goo of decomp. The really fun part is that they prefer warm and damp areas (think about that for a second), so elbows, knees, where your socks are cinched around your ankle, armpits, skin folds (*ahem* lol), and the groin are prime feeding spots. After they’ve attached and inject that enzyme into you, the spot becomes a nice little feeding tube for the larva. They fall off when they’re done and become nymphs, which later develop into adult chiggers. Thankfully it’s only the larva that cause such a problem, otherwise I’d be screaming to set the whole area on fire and that the land can’t be inhabited. *grin* The Brooksville Garden Club (no longer an active link) very kindly put some informative pictures on their site, so I’m sharing two of their pics so you can get a mental image. To top it off I added a nice little close up rendering of them feeding that I found on Wikipedia.

The chigger life cycle

The chigger life cycle

The larval chigger working some magic

The larval chigger working some magic

Chigger larva "biting" host

Chigger larva “biting” host

This little feeding area becomes extremely irritated, as in one of the most intense itches you will ever have in your life.  There are tons of products on the market to supposedly heal thy chigger bite, but lots are just a placebo effect.   We’ll look into prevention first and then some treatments to try.

Well, you could always use lawn treatment that is indicated for chiggers, but what if you have a nice safe lawn and step out into your driveway, not noticing that some weeds or grass has pushed up through the gravel (remember my mentioning I was in the gravel driveway?)? You might consider a secondary treatment. Now this is tried and true, but doesn’t come with a 100% guarantee. Take a shower as quickly as possible and wash with the original or orange (antibacterial, which is the preferred choice) versions of Dawn Dish Soap (works wonderfully for getting poison ivy’s oils off of your skin, too!). If you can, follow up the soap with some exfoliation, although some vigorous towel rubbing seems to work just as well, but you’ll miss out on a chance to linger in that soothing lukewarm to cool cascade of water. If it’s just not possible to take that shower, after all you might not be THAT close to your friend that you can say you’re going to go jump in their shower, then a “spit wash” usually works just as well if you don’t need to do a large portion of the body. If you’ve just been walking, then usually washing your legs off is adequate enough, so suds up a washcloth or paper towel, scrub well, and then do a “rinsing” towel afterward. Anyone that is a super supporter of all natural stuff please close your eyes and scroll down a few lines riiiiight now. If you know you’re headed outside use a good repellent with Deet, but make sure it lists that it works against chiggers, since not all Deet ones do. Plan to look like an über weirdo and tuck your pant legs into your socks for even more protection. The evil little buggers can’t climb up your leg then, usually. I’m a big fan of Off Deep Woods combined with the dish soap scrub. (Always follow product instructions and medical advice, yada yada.) I seldom ever do the pant tucking because when it’s chigger weather in the Midwest it’s usually pretty toasty and humid, so you won’t catch me in full length pants usually. lol

Say company stopped by and you ended up spontaneously having a chat in that slightly overgrown and untreated driveway. You didn’t really have a chance to take any preventative measures, didn’t realize that the bug stuff wasn’t treating the ground anymore, and a couple of days (or hours if you’re extra unlucky) later you’re suddenly itching in spots that would most likely embarrass your mother to see you scratching. Skip all of the items that claim they help chigger bites. (You’ll still want to do a healthy rub to make sure that the larva is no longer on the skin before you apply treatments.) Instead, try a little of the good ole Vicks VapoRub. (Side note: who do I talk to at Vicks to get them to become my sponsor since I give a lot of marketing for off label uses of their products? *grin*) VapoRub has healthy concentrations of menthol and camphor, which are the main ingredients that clear your sinuses out when you rub it on your chest. (And also can help with some muscle pain, since those two ingredients are topical analgesics, but make sure you cover with something that you don’t mind getting stained up, since it’ll totally mess up cloth.) Dab some of the Rub over the horrendous lump you’ve developed and you may just find some relief.

Since everyone is different, something else might work for you. If that’s the case, try some anbesol/Orajel if you have it on hand. These often help people overcome that intense itch and also works great for mosquito bites, so I take a tiny tube with me when camping. Ivarest, an expensive yet awesome little tube of treatment for poison ivy, may help you too and rubs right into the skin.

You can also try a soothing bath with some Epsom Salts. Remember a long time ago when I mentioned a lot of awesome benefits to Epsom or maybe that tips and handy info tab on my website that talks about the believed benefits of it? Anyway, the Epsom will usually help heal some of that inflammation from the lovely tube of rotting muck stuck in you and may even help to shrink that little puppy up. Next you can stay in the same line and apply a little skin benefiting oil (like sweet almond) to the spot and pat some plain table salt over the badge of summer honor. This will not only help to dry it up, but it may also keep air from the spot. The problem with this is that you have to lay or sit around while letting the salt dry, and once it’s dry it will start to fall off as you are active, which can get weird and uncomfortable. Although I’d say you have a high tolerance for the uncomfortable if you’re able to lay in a compromising position naked with salt and oil drying on you, anyway, since most are in those areas that must not be mentioned. lol Still in the same concept you can also apply a simple baking soda paste to the spots, much like you can for other topical allergens.

Lastly, you might stick with the original old wives’ tale of covering the spot in clear nail polish. We know that we’re not suffocating the evil little cell suckers, but the polish seals the area off from the air, which is usually part of what is making you itch, scientists believe. However, most scientists also think this is totally bunk, so whatever floats your boat and works for you.

I’ve read varying reports about the ability for these little guys to fall off of you when they’re done feeding and carry out their life cycle right there in your home or vehicle. If you have more than one (and seriously, who usually ever gets just one?! They’re like freaking potato chips!), and you didn’t get them off, then you never know. You might just get them inside. (Yet again, I’ve read contradictory research on this, so don’t quote me. lol) Why not just try to make sure it’s not a possibility no matter what?

Oh, and in case you haven’t seen what a “bite” can look like, it can vary widely depending on how a person’s immune system responds.  We have small red spots, angry welts, or even nasty blisters in response to these feeding tubes.  MedlinePlus has a nice pic of the blistering version:

Chigger bite blisters MedlinePlus

Chigger bite blisters

The Mayo Clinic has a picture of a typical collection of “bites” on their slideshow:

Scabbed chigger bites Mayo Clinic

Scabbed chigger bites
Mayo Clinic

If you have immune system issues they often become huge welts that are about three to four times as big as the scabbed ones in the Mayo Clinic picture, plus they develop a nice dark ring around the affected area as the blood decides to come to the surface. I’m not showing you pictures of my summer “war” wounds. I was wearing a dress, so no polite ankle bites to show. Meh.

All of the doctors agree that you shouldn’t scratch chigger bites due to the risk of infection.  I don’t know a single person that’s ever managed to avoid doing it at least a few times, especially in their sleep.  You might decide to cover the area with a bandage or even plastic wrap (no weirder than a spa treatment) after you’ve found the treatment that works for you.  For me I have to live a little dangerously.  I rub or scratch lightly around the raised center to make sure the larval vamp is detached, take some antihistamines, and use an analgesic.  With my condition I have an issue with hyper responses and stimulations, so what should be the size of a period on a piece of paper will rapidly swell to match a quarter.  Due to this I have to combat the inflammation from both sides (which is contraindicated usually, so do all of the legal stuff to keep yourself safe, because I am often noncompliant since my body never acts “normally”) and work on the inflammatory response.

Hopefully if you’re suffering from chiggers right now and that jar of Chigarid or Chiggerex Plus isn’t doing much good, you’ll give one or more of these home treatments a whirl and see if something unconventional will work for you, too. I hope you find some relief. If you’re now terrified to ever enter these areas of the States that have chiggers, at least now you know about them, how to prevent them, and some treatment options if they decide that your cell buffet is the best in town. They’re just a nuisance, so don’t let them discourage you from exploring. If you have found other home remedies that work for you or others that you know, please feel free to include them in the comments. You might just save someone else some misery!


I’ve had a bit of a sidetrack on my recovery journey, due to some health stuff, but I’m proud to say that at my psychiatry appointment on Friday I surpassed her expectations and the goals set at my last session. *happy dance*

Last time she helped me look at the failed adoption as a miscarriage and the goals were to grieve and let go of the grief that I will never have the life I had planned for since I was a child. It hit me one day that I’ve had to adapt almost all expectations of my life all ready, due to my illness, so realistically not having children in our life together is just one more expectation to change. He and I still make a family, with the relatives and friends that support and love us as the bubble of family around us. A child isn’t a requirement to be a family. It still hurts at times to be missing out on the special moments and to not have the parenting aspect to share, but this different path gives us other opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have, such as traveling and exploring other educational avenues.

Another goal that tied in to everything was to learn to value myself. To stand up for my needs, demand respect, and let go of toxic influences. One huge lesson was to stop trying to obtain verbal praise and validation from others for what I had done/achieved or for my personal growth. I realized that I have sought that my entire life, especially from male figures, and is also probably part of what made me an easy target for my ex. It also held me back in a lot of ways. So I’m learning to embrace my inner badass, which is a comment that my psych loved hearing. I’m a complex, flawed person, but I’m a survivor and I’m stronger for that. So yeah, I won’t use a more polite term. I’m embracing my inner badass. *grin*

In realizing that I value myself and my personal journey, it was an epiphany to me that I have sought L’s verbal validation for about 20 years, yet he’s always shown me that he values me. It’s just not his style and not an empowering way to show me that he values me, so I felt like I was lacking for years because I was so lost in trying to find that validation of value. He became friends with, admired, and married a strong woman; there isn’t a higher vote of confidence than that, really.

That realization made me feel even stronger and a few days ago I actually unpacked the adoption tote. In my immediate grief I boxed everything I possibly could that we didn’t send to Kid via the social worker. I hid that tote under a pile in the back of a closet. Last week I took the label off, threw out some of the items that can’t be donated or are too personal to share, and sorted the rest. I then packed a box for my friend to give to a couple that she knows is adopting. I even sent along my adoption tee and all of my adoption necklaces, which I wore instead of my cross throughout most of the adoption journey. It wasn’t as hard as I expected, honestly. It mostly was bittersweet to see and touch all of these tokens of hope. I seriously love that I’m able to share these with others that are holding that hope inside as well and that the items might help them through the tough times during their journey.

While sitting next to the box I realized that I was staring at the joint bookcase for Kid and I, which I had filled with some of the keepsakes I had always planned to pass down, along with my literature keepsakes. It dawned on me that I don’t have a child to pass my little treasures to, but I have loved ones that I can, so after checking with their mom that it would be okay, I also boxed up some of my book collections, like the Anne of Green Gables and Emily sets. I have three large mailing boxes to send all ready. LOL I know that my nieces will find as much joy and wonder in the books as I did, and my friend knows how much these books mean to me (they’re some of the few possessions that I truly value and wanted to pass on), so it makes me so incredibly happy to be passing my beloved books on to them. I don’t have to throw out or donate them for a library fundraiser, and know that they’ll still find life, so to speak, in the hands of much loved avid readers.

I also wrote an addendum to my will, which I’ll need to get witnessed, for the remaining treasures like fossils and collector items to be passed on to them and other kids/young adults. I’m not sure when my illness will overtake me and it is utterly heart lifting to realize that I can still pass on the few material things I treasure. I’ve always thought that passing down those little things are an incredibly meaningful way of saying “I love you”, especially if receiving gifts is part of their love language, so this all was a huge step in processing and leaving the other fork in the road behind. This progress left both my psych and I with red eyes after discussing all of it. I didn’t need that validation anymore, but the joy and hug meant a lot. So I straightened my imaginary superhero cape and walked out to L with a huge smile on my face, followed by a big thank you for showing me all of this time how much he values and supports me.

I hope this vulnerable post, and blogging this difficult journey, helps you find and celebrate your value, too, especially if you find yourself on a wildly different path than you ever wanted or dreamed of.

Tapeworm Education

Today’s post is going to obviously be about tapeworms, so if you’re squeamish or not interested, please pass this post by. I totally would have myself in the past if I hadn’t gone through an experience with them.

For context, I’m going to be providing information on the type of tapeworm that cats and dogs get from fleas, not the type from raw meat like eating raw rodents and such or contracted usually by trappers (even I couldn’t handle any of that research). Back in October we adopted twin stray nearly solid black kittens to make things all the more lively with having two older cats all ready. Zane and Izzy are now almost a year old and although I may slip and call them “the kittens”, they’re really not anymore. Just a heads up on that.

Anyway, one day as we prepared for bed (we are day sleepers since he works overnight), we noticed what looked like white rice around the backside on Zane. L held Zane and I removed them with a tissue, and promptly freaked out when one moved. Although it was way whiter than the following picture shows, here is an example.

We thought it was mucus or something until the bugger moved. Thankfully on a black cat they’re extremely noticeable and one of the few times I’m thankful that the twins tend to moon us frequently instead of keeping that tail lower. LOL After it moved L looked closer and said he thought it looked like a tapeworm, but maybe he was wrong and it was a different kind of worm. He was certain it was a worm, so I jumped into researching. After a few hours of research I discovered a lot of contradictory and even downright false information, but confirmed that the three were indeed involved with having a tapeworm. So, I wanted to provide the correct information here in the hopes that it helps someone.

Let’s start with getting to know the truth about the tapeworm itself. Usually your cat has only one infecting it and by the time they are mature, they average between 5-8″ inside the intestine, with the head latched onto the intestine. It is made up of three parts: the head that connects to poor kitty, the neck, and a long body of segments. This picture gives a great example.

Now, this worm tends to be difficult for the vet to detect unless segments have detached and the owner finds them, since it’s not detectable in a blood test and is really tough to test for in a standard fecal exam (unless the segments are breaking off). Now comes the creepy, crawly part. That segment that breaks off and passes through is actually an egg sac. First they’re a bit lively when they’re freshly out of kitty (or pup) and the nasty buggers have the ability to move around to find a host. You can even see them snake their way out of the anus sometimes (insert gagging). After exposure to the air and lack of finding an immediate host, they drop off and dehydrate.

You can find these anywhere the cat has walked, played, or slept. At this point they will not move and are waiting for a host. The important thing to know now is that tapeworms need an intermediary host, such as this variety needing to be ingested by flea larvae, which then grow into infected fleas. (Note: the dry segments/egg sacs, break open and the eggs are released, which the larvae can then infest.) The sacs can not infect you or your pet directly, even those nasty crawling ones, and they’re not going to go back into kitty’s backside. If your cat roams the house freely, you have a high chance of finding these dehydrated sacs in your own bedding as well, so don’t freak out if you see these tiny, really weird gold looking, sesame seed-like, hard sacs.

Here are the top keys to taking care of this. First, make sure that kitty is treated with a flea preventative, preferably one that kills fleas and larvae ASAP. Contact your vet and buy tapeworm anti-parasitic treatment from them (oral or liquid application, so whichever you’re more comfortable with. Since we use the liquid flea treatment, it made since to use the same for the other), and thoroughly clean anywhere kitty has been or where fleas could have gone, especially vacuuming anywhere possible. Now, I am not addressing a heavy flea infestation with this, but instead the random type. If you have an infestation, contact your vet and follow their recommendations to the “T”. Also, it is worth the extra cost of buying the tapeworm treatment from your vet instead of an OTC version, because the OTC isn’t usually as strong and sometimes doesn’t kill the worm itself, so you may get this issue all over again once that worm is at a reproduction stage again. Now, poor kitty may spend a lot of time in the litter box trying to get the irritating matter to pass like fecal matter (which won’t happen, so the poor thing is just getting kinda tortured trying to care for itself) and every so often, although it’s more common in dogs than cats, they may scoot on the carpet to remove what is irritating their backside. Thankfully Zane didn’t do that or I’d have probably set fire to that area of the carpet and just dealt with L’s anger later. *laugh*

Now, those infected larvae grow into fleas and kitty either eats one while grooming or while nipping at the itch of fleas biting, and ingests it then. Within three weeks of eating the infected flea (most vets seem to agree that the flea can still be infected even if it is dead and the cat grooms up that dead flea), the worm living inside the flea then attaches to the intestinal wall. Note: the worm MUST go through the flea to complete the life cycle, according to our vet and most documents I found written by actual vets.

If you use a good flea treatment, then all traces of fleas on them, even the larvae, will be dead within 24 hours. Your vet will let you know how soon after the flea treatment that you can administer the parasitic treatment. The good thing is that a prescription based tapeworm treatment will kill the whole thing within 12 hours and only needs the one treatment! (Again, this is not the case in a heavily flea-infested environment or if your pet is able to go outside, since their exposure possibilities are nearly endless outside. Your vet will be your best instructor on this. Do NOT rely on the internet for guidance on this, please!! A LOT of the information people post is so wrong.) Also, make sure you clean the litter boxes often, just as an in-case preventative, especially while in the possible “something might still be alive” window.

At this point it is a good idea to clean thoroughly again, especially since there will be dry sacs and dead fleas in your linens and carpet. There’s contradictory information, but you can also use a cleaning spray solution such as Lysol or a bleach or borax and water solution, and spray anywhere you can’t reach with other cleaning methods. The jury is out on the safety of Lysol around cats, however, thankfully mine hate it and stay away from any wet spray, and they won’t lick dry spots either. With having a compromised immune system, Lysol helps give me an extra peace of mind, knowing that it’s killing any other germs or bacteria that may be hiding and can affect my system later, as well as making me feel confident that this is DONE.

A few more key notes now. It is extremely rare for humans to get this type of tapeworm. Basic hygiene should prevent this. You have to ingest an infected flea in order for the possibility of getting infected, so, in normal circumstances, you have nothing to worry about, even if you have a compromised immune system. Next, most vets all agree on only giving the tapeworm treatment to those that show they have been infected. As our twins have a tendency of sharing their grooming (blech!), we all agreed it was probably best to treat Izzy too, while the flea treatment was done on all four. And now the biggest thing to know. You must continue to use flea preventative all year long to prevent this from happening again, even if you have a foot of snow, since one can hitch a ride from a house that has fleas on something they bring over or on their clothing, or something of that nature, thereby bringing the infection into your house. It seems insane to treat even when the ground is frozen, everything outside is dead, and there’s snow everywhere, but if you never want to deal with these nasty buggers, it’s worth the cost of treatment. One last note that I almost forgot – if your pets roam your house freely, make sure to also vacuum your mattress pad while your linens are in the wash (warmest temps for washing and drying that the manufacturer recommends)! I don’t know how they can get around like that, but I found dry sacs on the mattress pad itself, despite us using several layers of blankets and sheets, so don’t half-ass clean (excuse the language please). For something without a brain, they’re very creative and goal oriented.

It’s up to you what flea preventative you want to use, but make sure it can also kill the larvae. Our vet actually recommends the new Revolution Plus, since it prevents a lot of other issues too that may affect kitty.

The only signs now that we had an issue is that I need to brush the twins’ fur where they had the treatment applied, since they have some funny fur patterns from the dried solution on the back of their necks, my house is way cleaner than it has been in a long time and all laundry got washed including anything the cats could have laid on, and I am out of energy spoons for the foreseeable future. *laugh* However, I was really upset that something common and so easily treatable didn’t have accurate information easily handy, despite the availability of information on the internet! I felt an obligation to help provide some accurate knowledge about this as a result. If you would like to read an actual trustworthy article, click HERE for the site that our own vet trusts.

So, other than a step back with my recovery due to using up too much energy and getting a little injured during the cleaning, and some irritated cats that hate getting their monthly treatment, life is returning to normal for our little menagerie. Zane is catching up on missed sleep from when he was kept up by his issues, the others are enjoying fresh bedding and a new heated cat bed, and all of them are super affectionate right now for some reason. I truly hope you never have to deal with this, but if you do, hopefully this helps prevent you from freaking out like I did, and also gives you a solid base of information to get this under control. Our key take away is that we will be giving year long flea preventatives with treats afterward and never dealing with this again. (And in case you wonder, nope, we didn’t have a single flea found on the pets or in the house. A great way to find out if you have an issue is to walk around wearing white socks. It’s easier to see them jumping on you and getting tangled in the material before making their way toward their food source and gives you a good idea of how bad of a flea situation you’re dealing with. With my immune issues, if there is a flea around, typically it comes after me and I react with a big red bite, or a series of them if I enter a place that has an infestation.)

Anyway, sorry for such an icky topic, but I really hope that it’s helpful, even if it’s just education to keep in the back of your mind for “just in case” purposes. In the meantime, happy pampering and please do a little extra for me, since I’m too tired to even get out of bed right now. 😀

Christmas shopping

I did a search and couldn’t find that I mentioned this right before we lost the internet, so I’m hoping this is new information from you.  You’ve probably heard of the Wish app, where you shop vendors at really low prices, pay almost an even amount for shipping, and wait a long time to get these little packages from China.  I learned about another app, Joom, that has no shipping charges and their items have been a lot better quality than most Wish ones, so far, in my opinion.


Now, I know some are going to be like “seriously, Christmas shopping in September?!  That’s going too far!”.  Stay with me here though.  For $30 I got a bunch of stocking stuffers (which have some of my best purchases for people usually).  Then try to forget about it and the packages slowly come in.  Due to the massive delays, I’d advise you check it out as soon as possible if you’re interested in some interesting, cost effective little items!


I do have a few bits of advise though.  One, the sizes are usually incredibly off on the clothing, so read reviews or may the odds be with you.  Two, use the app if possible – the website is much harder to navigate in my opinion.  In addition, the app immediately checks that you want to pay in US dollars instead of other currencies, so it’s a LOT less frustrating.  Three, if you’re considering makeup, see if there is a screenshot or list of ingredients, because knock offs sometimes have some bad chemicals mixed in, so just be aware (goes for any outlet type shopping).


They even have a section where you can enter a lottery for select items for that day, to get them for just $0.10, with the caveat that you need to do a photograph-containing review on the item.  I haven’t won all week, but I’m noticing that I kind of set myself up for loss anyway.  I was selecting items that a lot of people were in the raffle for, so I’m watching that number of other entries more now.  We’ll see if I might get a fun and wild wig or piece of jewelry this way.  *laugh*


So, I definitely recommend you at least take a look and see if anything appeals to you.  I even found a bunch of business items that are really inspiring me (unfortunately the most inspiring item is not here and it’s been almost two months – see, that’s why you need to order early!).  The only really bad side I’ve found so far is that it’s incredibly addictive.  That thrill of getting a great deal is almost nonstop, especially with “item of the hour” flash sales with things for $1 or such.  *grin* Hopefully this will help some people have a more cost effective holiday while still having lots of fun (check out the Harry Potter alloy wands if you have a Potterhead to shop for; looks so pretty but is a phenomenal price!).


This is definitely one of my favorite apps.  Makes for a rather random blog post, but that’s what makes me interesting, right?  *laugh* Who knows what the next one will be about, but for now, happy pampering (and shopping!)! 🙂

A Few New Favorite Things

After being a lot sicker than usual for five months I started thinking about what could be playing with the Fibro to make me even more susceptible to illnesses. I dusted (I admit that I suck at staying on top of that), I used baking soda in the carpet, stayed away from my business shelves in case I had developed an issue with an ingredient…I tested a lot of things. My ability to grip things is getting worse, but caught even me by surprise when I couldn’t hold onto my drink while sitting in bed watching GMM on my phone. (Since my body is irritated by straight water right now, I’ve had to get creative with findings things to drink and Frappuccino became one, unfortunately. Lol) I knew my comforter would need to be washed to get the milk out. I stripped the bed and did a quick half fix to get us by until I built up another spoon to make the bed fully again. When I went to properly make the bed I truly saw the state of our pillow top and it was embarrassing. We had a foam insert inside the pillow top, so I knew that it had to be bad, as well.

I started thinking and realized that we bought the Sleep Number bed with pillow top and foam around 13 years ago. The Sleep Number and bedding was such a blessing as my Fibro pains began, and I truly think the combo gave me a little more time to enjoy having a career and a more active lifestyle. Years later I’m looking down at the bedding and thinking about what has probably developed in bedding that we didn’t realize was so old. With his help we went to straight onto the mattress with a fitted sheet and I knew this wasn’t going to work. Once we got our taxes done and knew we would be covered, I spent a few days researching mattress pads and pillow tops. During all this I realized that my congestion had improved dramatically and that although I was hurting more, I was actually getting better rest (which any Spoonie knows is nearly impossible). Something inside of our old set had gotten bad enough to compromise my system further. I was floored.

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday and five boxes from the mail man, with one being incredibly heavy so he brought it in for me, and a new bed was born. Lol They really need to put warnings on pillow top bags that states there may be an explosion upon exposing to air…I cut open the bag and literally got knocked over as this cushion exploded out and tripled in size immediately. It’s now funny, but was quite startling and irritating. *grin*

I then had to wrestle the mattress pad out of the big and heavy box. It was literally a wrestling match. It won several rounds. After I was pouring sweat and breathing harder than when I box, I managed to get the pad partially up onto a crafting table to air out. It was full on the hardest workout I have ever done. *laugh* As I collapsed into my recliner and stared at the 2″ pad draped over the table in front of me I realized that it was hanging unevenly. Dude. You suck. I kept staring at it while trying to catch my breath, but my OCD started screaming inside of my head. I can’t stand when things aren’t even. Sides have to line up if I can see them (I can’t see his side of the bed from where I am, so our bedding can be high for fun sized me and low for tall him without bothering me thankfully). The right side was at least 6″ longer. When I managed to get back up and try to even it out the doggone table tried to collapse!! L was still sleeping, so I knew I had an hour with this nightmare, and found that if I leaned onto the arm of my recliner with my phone at eye level, watching YouTube, it was all out of sight and my mind could quiet down. But seriously…a freaking piece of bedding got the better of me! After the brother knocked me on my bottom all ready!

Thankfully L got up and drug everything into the bedroom, and we made our revived bed. When we crawled in for a nap before he had to get ready for his shift it was so worth the beat down. There’s a little firmness, but for the most it just cradles all of my trigger points. And I woke up without trying to hack up a lung, too! It took about five minutes to convince ourselves to get out of the cloud of happiness. *grin*

I also ordered a germ guardian air purifier, but just got that running, so I’ll have to give it a thumbs up later on if it proves itself worthy. In the meantime I want to share the links for these two incredible pieces of bedding that quite quickly eased a lot of the extra pain I’ve been suffering from lately.

The gel memory foam mattress topper is by Milliard and set us back $124 for the king size.

The pillow top was a hard one for me to decide on honestly. I had a really difficult time deciding between the three I had narrowed it down to, but decided that the hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties, plus being overfilled if I’m honest, were the winning features. The Leisure Town Mattress Pad Cover was $80.

These are Amazon member prices, of course, and the free shipping for such heavy items is so worth the membership, let alone the sales and shipping frenzy during the holidays, in my opinion.

Kiddo’s room is still the most incredible in our house, but our bed feels like the one I slept in at a Marriott. We got her an incredible bed set, but I have to say, I won’t hesitate to order if she asks for the topper and foam. A two hour nap all ready convinced me (at the time of the writing…I’ll schedule this to post in the morning while I’m still sighing happily in my fluffy bed. *laugh*). These are definitely going to be on my list of favorite things!

Before I go, I want to mention one other thing. I’m hoping that the links I embedded for you actually go to If you haven’t heard about it, a portion of sales from Amazon, when ordered through the sister site of, go to charity. There’s a place in your account where you can pick the charity that you would like to have your percentage donated to. I totally respect that you may have a favorite charity that you would like to support. If you do not, though, it would be absolutely amazing if you would consider helping raise money for KCSL, who is the company Adopt Kansas Kids, our adoption agency, is under. KCSL supports a lot of different areas of the process, including fostering, adoption, training, and parent assistance. I embedded the link if you’d like to read their fast facts and hopefully look around their site a bit. Part of the reason our adoption has had a lot of delays is because there aren’t enough resources to process the less urgent parts quickly. It would mean a lot if we could help raise more for them and help more children who need all of us to advocate for them, not just an overburdened system. Here’s a quick view of the charity screen, although I marked out our part, especially since I don’t need L to see and figure up how much I’ve spent on Amazon. *grin* (Not really; we are open with each other about finances. We are private with public consumption though.)

There are a lot of charities being helped, although a lot of people don’t know about it. Although the heavy hitter charities are very worthy, it would be an incredible blessing if you would consider choosing KCSL for your charity. It does nothing for our adoption journey, but every bit truly helps take care of the children. “It takes a village to raise a child” as the proverb goes. I’d be so honored if just one in “my village” will help the children.

Okay, I’m done with the sentimental moment for the week. *grin* If you’d like more information about the products, Smile, or KCSL/Adopt KS Kids, please don’t hesitate to write a comment or email!

Happy pampering (and yes, a comfy bed is totally under the pampering umbrella!)! 🙂

Short and Helpful

Today has been filled with medical stuff, so I wasn’t able to write and schedule the morning post as I have been. Since it’s a rough evening for me and two new sedatives are about to knock me out, I thought I’d make this is short, but wanted to provide some helpful info.

While doing research and prep for any emotional issues our adopted daughter may have I found tons of great worksheets on the internet and Pinterest. Some are even provided by social workers for this. Since it’s been a bit difficult to keep waiting on the adoption to progress when I’m an impatient person *grin*, plus the new health issues that cropped up that we’re trying to pin down, I decided to try a few of the forms and see if they truly are helpful. I swear to you that it really helped me put things into a more positive light, not be so judgmental of myself, and actually took a lot of the stress away once I looked at things differently. If you’re unable to save and print out the pics of the forms from my post, hit my Pinterest board for Teenage Adoption for access to the originals. I do not take credit for these, didn’t create them, and am not totally sure who even came up with a bunch of the others that I’m not including on here. I actually just wrote my responses in a lined notebook and did different topics, so I could use the same original, so no completed worksheets for you to peek at. *teasing smile* Anyway, I hope you consider trying at least one out when things get overwhelming or emotional. Tomorrow I’ll try to have a clearer-minded post for you!! Lol

(The Self-Talk is my favorite one)

I Picked New Habits

Instead of picking resolutions for this year, I decided to develop new habits. I’ll share a few later on, but for now I’d like to share this incredible post that was sent to me. I think it’s a much healthier perspective and will definitely help me for a lot longer than any resolution. Hopefully it may help a few of you as well.

Please read Miss Mustard Seed’s Nurturing Habits. Once I’ve healed from my recent falls I plan to be less inspirational and write more of my long-winded random posts, I promise (or threaten, if you prefer the usual randomness *teasing grin*). Until then, I wish you success developing your new habits for this year!!

Something To Think About

Today the post is going to be short, because I want to share a quoted lecture that I was sent, and it was very profound. It is truly changing how I handle some of my fears and thoughts. I hope it helps at least a few of you, dear readers, and helps you start this year with a much better way of handling what life throws at us. The picture’s print is small, so be prepared to enlarge your screen. I’m sorry about that!

My Favorite Things, Part 2

Today’s post is going to get somewhat nerdy, so push the glasses into place and get prepared for some electronics.  *grin* I can’t help it; if I’m going to talk about my favorite things, there must be some tech toys!  I promise that all of mine are in the affordable range though, so they truly are favorite things, instead of things I daydream of.  😉


 I have several different fans to help cool my heavy duty gaming laptop and I really love my Opolar LC05 Laptop Cooler with Vacuum Fan.  It has several different silicone shrouds for best fit over the exhaust vent, a neat little set up for attaching the unit to the laptop, and boy does it work!  Even at just the second wind speed (out of 13) it will take my laptop from being a bit scalding to the palm to almost cool, in a mere minute! At $25.99 on Amazon Prime it’s a pretty cost effective cooling option, especially for people that need a second (technically third, if you count the on board, of course) source of cooling for gaming laptops.


Hold onto your hat, because this next one will probably really surprise you…Tracey Mallett’s The Booty Barre Beginners & Beyond DVD is my next favorite thing.  Despite the belief that people with disabling chronic illnesses just want to lay around, most of us spend a lot of time (plus effort, energy, and money!) trying to find exercises and stretches that work with our limitations.  It’s super easy to get discouraged when five minutes on an exercise bike causes you to be in massive pain and unable to walk for the next 6 days, or ten minutes of learning tai chi causes your muscles to give out and you fall to the floor (let’s not discuss how many injuries one can get from such a small fall! *shaking head*), or a ton of other similar scenarios.  We really miss being able to do things, and (really, really, really) want to lose the weight our medications and limited activity has caused us to gain, but it’s difficult.  I found Tracey Mallett’s work out techniques completely by accident.  She was featured on Hallmark’s Home & Family Show and what was so impressive is that she talked about adjustments that can be made for people that aren’t able to do the regular moves.  She created workouts that she had previously incorporated the Ballet Barre for and made them doable for the home user, but then also gave options such as doing leg exercises from the floor on your hands-and-knees instead of trying to balance on one leg while exercising the other.  Those with limitations really need to utilize the ole timer method when starting this though, because it is so easy to get caught up in the routine and overdo it.  (It’s recommended that we set timers so that we stop our activity and rest, so that we don’t cause damage or extra pain, and we’re supposed to rest for an equal amount of time as the exercise, then.)  Ms. Mallett is encouraging, yet not all excessively excited like most exercise hosts.  Those chirpy folks make me want to strangle them and say very unladylike things to the television.  *laugh* The DVD mentioned is only $16.99 on Amazon, but she also currently has some free examples on YouTube.  It’s definitely worth a shot, especially if you are looking for exercises and stretches that allow accommodations.  And especially if you dream of a little less jiggle when you wiggle.  *wink*

booty barre

These two items are grouped together since they are both Amazon products.  Thankfully I bought both on sale, but they were both worth the investments for me.  First, I have a lot of fun with my Amazon Echo.  We wanted a Bluetooth speaker since I listen to a lot of music and books, plus I stream a lot of programs on my devices, and after a lot of research and discussion we decided that a multiuse workhorse like the Echo was the perfect choice for me.  Yeah, I wrote us first, but realistically, she’s my gadget.  *grin* I love the different skills that are always improving, it’s super handy to have a voice activated device that can give me measurement conversions and timers when my hands are busy or covered in product when I’m making soaps and lotions, and she is actually a really great Bluetooth speaker.  I can move her all over the house easily and it’s a breeze to sync her with nearly every device I own.  I don’t really care for having her wake name being set as “Alexa”, but they’re supposed to do an update  someday that allows people to change the name.  She incorrectly hears activation every few days from other words that have an “x” in them and I really hate that the television commercial for the product  can activate her (especially when they had all of the Baldwin commercials for the product leading up to the Super Bowl), so suddenly I’m startled by some disembodied voice right beside me saying that she doesn’t understand what I’m asking.  Meh.  She’s a bit expensive at the current price of $179.99, but most of the decent to good Bluetooth speakers are just as expensive if not way higher.  Moving on, I also got an Amazon Fire e-reader/tablet.  For being so light it has a great processor, a lot of storage (and can be expanded via microSD), and so many freebies compatible with it!  I was a loyal Nook user, with multiple versions of Nooks, until this little guy came into my life at Christmas, and I find that I seldom ever pick up my Nook anymore unless it’s to read a book I have on it all ready.  Everything new is being loaded onto the Fire and there are way more books available for free for Amazon than the Nook, at least in the genres I’m interested in.  The picture is so gorgeous that I love to play games on it when it’s too painful to have my laptop rest on my legs and boy howdy can it access the library’s e-books fast!  I actually did a comparison between it and my newest Nook, and I was all ready reading a book’s description on the Fire before my Nook was able to finish logging me in.  I am still very fond of my Nook, so please don’t take this little status change as a total desertion from the brand.  *smile* I’m just really impressed with this little tablet, especially if you can catch it when it’s on sale!  And I must mention, if you’re a Prime member you even get to select a book for a group of new titles that haven’t even hit the market yet.   It’s a great way to get introduced to new-t0-you authors and some great possible future bestsellers without the bigger cost of a new release or bestseller. 


Tying in with the Fire and Nook I’d like to mention a service that I really love called BookBub.  It’s a free service that you can sign up for where you mark what types of books you enjoy and which reading platforms you have, and every day you get an email with a list of books ranging from free to $1.99 in the categories you specified (I believe you can even change it to once weekly, but I’m not positive and I’m not going to hit change to see, since I love my daily setting *grin*).  My TBR list is so long I can get bored scrolling and I have found some new incredible favorite authors, since many authors offer their first book in a series for free.  They even added another service recently that will send you notifications when favorite authors have new releases or sales.  I may have one email every two weeks where it’s all misses, but there’s an average of about three books a day from my list that I’m interested in.  If you love to read, this saves you time from trolling websites or the digital bookstore to see what free books are currently available, so you have more time to actually read.  It’s such an awesome service and by the way, if you love to hoard cookbooks like me, they can even be added to the service’s list!  *happy dance!


This part is going to be about a couple of television shows.  I have a lot of options for watching videos (extended satellite, Amazon Video streaming, Netflix, YouTube, and Roku channels), so I don’t buy DVDs very often, but I bought these in box sets.  There are a couple of sets of older television shows that I’d like to recommend for you to look into, if you haven’t had the chance to experience them yet.  The Vicar of Dibley is an English comedy that we thoroughly love and actually watch certain episodes several times a year.  Sadly many of the episodes have been pulled from Netflix and it’s getting harder and harder to find some of the episodes (and it’s not available on Acorn TV’s streaming service either), so the box set had to be in my life.  Another show that is slowly slipping away is Eureka.  Granted, I think the last two seasons aren’t nearly as awesome as the earlier ones, but it’s still one of my favorite shows, and I got several season box sets for Christmas since I’m so obsessed with the series.  (Yep, I had an incredible, tech filled Christmas this past year!! *grin*) Larry is more of a good ol’ country boy instead of a nerd, yet I got him into the series, so that should give an extra vote for the series!  I also got him into Scorpion and The Big Bang Theory.  We finally stopped collecting box sets on TBBT, but we have the first few and still crack up at those early episodes.  Scorpion is definitely a darker themed drama, but there is enough action and MacGyver-like moments to keep him interested, and enough intellectual and personality highlights to make me love the show enough to watch episodes repeatedly, despite having so many other new videos available to me.  Despite everything that’s available, these two are my favorites.  I even have the Eureka ringtone.  I’m that girl.  *laugh*


The last item I want to mention is an online 3D virtual world called Second Life (SL).  In the simplest of descriptions, it’s like online chat and the Sims game joined together.  It’s an interactive world that is created by the users, so most interests are represented and you can always find something interesting to do or explore if you are willing to try.  You can shop to improve your avatar or SL home, you can hunt for free gifts from designers, you can go listen to music and hang out at a club, or you can hang out at your home with a few friends and play board games together.  There are so many fascinating places that users have created!  I’ve parachuted off of the Eiffel Tower, gone to a formal dance on a replica of the Titanic, participated in support group meetings for my illness, floated on a star in space, explored beautiful recreations of castles in Scotland, and even explored the incredibly creepy halls of a haunted insane asylum.  The possibilities and the creativity are endless.  I have gone to a variety of conventions, several memorials, and even went to a few RP sims (where I learned that I am just not that good at creating a fake persona for myself *laugh*).  On the usual night I’ll visit a few of my favorite shopping spots to watch for good deals or freebies, then join my roommates/friends at our house to play some games together while chatting.  I even have some virtual cats to play with, some crafting furniture to represent my real life (RL) interests, and I even have a library!  *grin* I love to decorate our little home (okay, I went a little nuts and splurged on a mansion I found, but it is SO amazing that I couldn’t resist, and it has the perfect living room with overlooking sitting room for displaying a Christmas tree with lights and presents that I did!  *shakes head and realizes I’m seriously fangirling my SL home* Anyway…) It’s a fun and interesting online world, but it’s also a great resource for disabled people or even people that need some socialization but aren’t able to in regular life.  There are support groups for most any ailment, there are sims that provide information about resources available, and there are even volunteers at some places that are happy to just emotionally supportive for you if you’re struggling.  I’ve met so many people in my years on SL who also have invisible diseases and it brings me to tears sometimes to see, and experience, the incredible support we all give one another, and this awesome resource that allows the homebound to just be normal for a bit.  I like to think that my avatar is the representation of the inner me.  She’s a lot skinnier, with a much better wardrobe and better hair, but she’s not a movie star clone.  She’s more like the girl next door and more often than not she’s sporting a very nerdy t shirt or smexy Tetris nail polish.  My second life is part of my real life and I’m actually a happier person for it, because it has truly helped me to cope while also giving me a creative outlet that helps to distract me from my issues, as well.  I met some of my best friends in SL and would never have had the chance to meet in RL, so I’ll always be thankful for having my second life.  I hope you’ll take a look at their site if this sounds like a good fit for you and if you decide to join, please don’t hesitate to send me an email or text, and I’ll happily share my SL name with you so I can help you get acquainted with, and enjoy, your second life.  🙂

My Favorite Things Part 1

Hi there!  I have been coping with some emotional and medical issues, and honestly tend to become even more introverted when dealing with things, so I tend to opt for things that distract me, and blogging makes me WAY too reflective to be considered a distraction.  *grin* I’m doing a little better today, so I wanted to take this opportunity to write.  J  In light of everything I thought I’d keep things light today and wanted to share some of my favorite things.  I don’t believe I’ve ever done that, other than recipes, so prepare yourself for an eclectic collection of items. I added the links to Amazon for what items that I could, in case you’d like to check them out, so just click the hyperlink and it should give you a new window with Amazon instead of steering you away from the post.  (I divided this into two posts with home and organizing being first and next with be electronics and entertainment.)


First up, I’m absolutely obsessed with all things Command related.  Hooks, bins, and picture frame strips; you name it, I have them all!  *grin* I especially love the cord hooks, wire hooks, and the all-purpose 3 lb. hooksI have a hanging shoe organizer on a door with all of my extra cords, label maker, candle melts, and other knickknacks, but dedicated an entire row to command products so that I always have a variety on hand when I spontaneously decide to organize things. I even have one of the bins on the wall beside the couch holding both of my e-readers in easy reach, yet safe from the animals, and still able to charge.  I’m tickled by the simplest things sometimes.  *laugh*


Second, although there are a few features that are definitely missed, I love the performance of my Shark Navigator Deluxe VacuumIt auto adjusts to carpet pile, which is my favorite feature, and picks up kitty litter really well, which is actually very rare.  I wish it had a light, a spot for all of the tools to attach, and an edger, but it’s a powerful workhorse at just $123.99.  It is super light and moves so easily, which means I can vacuum without causing myself more pain.  (Seriously, it is so effortless that people will keep vacuuming when I have them test it out, instead of doing just a push or two!)  Despite missing a few features that I like, I honestly wouldn’t trade this for a different brand.



My absolute favorite kitchen gadget, which I have even given as gifts because I love it so much, is the simplest piece of plastic that is seriously handy.  The Jokari Baggy Rack Storage Bag Opener and Holder quite simply has clips that hold your zip bag open so both hands are free for filling the bag.  I know that you’re probably thinking I am the laziest person in the world to need and love this little device, but think of how many times a zip bag has folded in on itself as you tried to put leftovers or some meat in?  Or what about when you try to pour something with some sauce on it?  Or had it fold as you were trying to spoon corn into the bag with one hand and holding your pot in the other, and those evil little kernels of deliciousness found their way under the edge of the cabinet, under your mixer, or made a wet path across the counter?  I especially love it for when I’m doing meat prep, like chicken strips, and then I can even pour marinade in without worry (my wild, unexpected movements cause enough messes, so I need every bit of help available *laugh*).  The holder works really well when pouring bagged ingredients in, too, like making your own trail mix.  At $6.78 for a single unit and $10 for two, it’s a very cost effective gift that will be priceless for the recipient for years to come.

baggy holder

We bought a gas meat smoker and have been learning different techniques, etc., which brought on our first attempt to spatchcock poultry.  Prior to this we always bought broke down birds and we figured I should use what little energy I have on other tasks instead of trying to break down whole birds.  No shortcuts are allowed when smoking a whole turkey, though, so we did our research and bought the OXO Good Grips Spring-Loaded Poultry Shears (at an investment of $24.95).  According to the “Man of the Smoker” (yep, that’s my nickname for him when he messes with the smoker) it’s pretty easy to spatchcock a thawed turkey with these shears, although it would be a little more difficult for someone with less hand strength (like me).  They work so well in most food prep, though!  They cut chicken into pieces easy enough that I prep a lot more chicken than ever before, they make short prep work when used on vegetables such as broccoli, and can even cut hunks of clingy fat that some of my knives have trouble with.  The best part (for the one that has to do the dishes *laugh*) is that they come apart and are a breeze to completely clean. 


Another often used kitchen gadget is my professional SaladShooter.  I bought this through Walmart’s website years ago, so I have no idea what I paid back then, but I found one that looks almost identical to my unit and attachments here for $44.66.  We mainly use it for cheeses, since we’re kind of obsessed with cheese and it’s a lot cheaper to buy a block at Sam’s Club.  We had a lot of problems with packaged shredded cheese molding quickly too, especially during our humid, hot summers, but only shredding a few cups at a time when we want it on hand, and covering up the rest of the block until the next time, has massively cut down on waste.  To top it all off it is running perfectly over 5 years later!  If you buy one, make sure to keep an old toothbrush (dedicated to this task) with your kitchen washing items, since that’s the most effective way to get the cheese grime off of the grids and out of the grater holes. 



Lastly, I thought I’d throw in one of my favorite desserts.  The best part is that it’s a diet ice cream that tastes and feels just like the real deal in our opinion.  Edy’s Slow Churned Ice Cream has several flavors with that awesome slow churned texture, yet they have half the fat and a third of the calories of regular ice cream (depending on what you eat, of course).  I actually prefer this ice cream over regular ice cream, now!  It can sometimes be difficult to find some of the flavors in the Midwest, but even plain ole vanilla floats my boat.  *grin*  I am a big sucker for the Mint Chocolate Chip though and it helps cool down my GERD, too, so I almost always have a legitimate excuse to eat ice cream whenever I’m wanting it without anyone making me feel like I’m just being a pig.  *biiiiig grin* Yeah, I’m shameless sometimes. 


Tune in tomorrow for the other half, when I totally get my nerd flag flying.  Until then, happy pampering!






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