Thursday, November 29, 2012

Disinfect and Separate That Laundry

turkey sandwich from Thanksgiving leftovers (side view)

                         photo courtesy of

The Thanksgiving leftovers were polished off or frozen.  The decorative corn stalks tossed into the compost bin.  And visiting family members returned home from their travels.  Reflections of the new holiday memories were quickly, respectfully and momentarily set aside when the kids eagerly reminded us that Christmas was right around the corner.

blue dove htt/
For the sake of my youngster's future thoughts of their own childhoods we sprang to action.  With the local radio station playing holiday favorites we journeyed into our 200 year old basement. We emerged with our traditional, and horribly spider infested decorations.  A few swats and couple flicks later we were in business and managed to trim the tree.
Our energy spent, our house up to date, we all fell asleep with a smile.  In our home, on that night there was no question those kids were dreaming of the spectacular surprises Santa might have in store for them.
Still waiting

The next morning, to my complete horror and surprise, I looked in the bathroom mirror only to be greeted with an infected spider bite.  I looked and looked and looked again.  Almost embarrassed for my own family to see it.  
I couldn't understand how it happened.  I never felt a bite.  I washed my face before bed.  The sheets were clean.  What in the world and why me and why on my face?
how it started: 30 june 2008 | 01h

I needed answers.  Not only on how to treat this wound but on where it would've come from.  I searched photos of poisoness spider bites and came up empty.  To my favor if I might add.  A poisoness spider bite is something to be feared and respected. 
I was getting a little nervous.  If this wasn't from a poisiness spider what exactly was I dealing with?  Call it trial and error, call it home remedies, call it expanding my knowledge, call it gambling with my life, I don't go to the doctor unless absolutely necessary and after I have exhausted all allotted time for natural remedies to have a crack at what's pestering  me.  This of coarse would not be possible without the Internet since I don't have a degree in medicine.  To my disgust there was a strong case of some type of bacterial cross contamination from the laundry.  I thought I was better than that.  Boy did I have a rude awakening.
Honesty is the best policy and in this case I hope to save you from the sniffles, an infection or an ugly stomach virus.  I messed up.  I was separating colors from whites and yadda yadda yadda.  But I was not separating underwear or dishtowels from the common loads of laundry.  I just always washed everything on hot and dried each load till bone dry.  Apparently there are some nasty bacterias, viruses and yeasts (spores) that are stronger than your washer and dryers hottest setting. 
Apparently people of old knew this and used to boil their clothes.  If I'm not mistaken I remember a news story from a few years back where a lady caught her house on fire microwaving her clothes in an attempt to kill germs.              
Wash Day 1917

Today we're lured into buying cold water detergents and saving energy by hanging our clothes to dry.  That really sounds wonderful and I have images of a sunny, green world when I imagine my clothes hanging from a clothes line.  But are they sanitized?  And does it matter which path is taken to achieve a presentably clean outfit?  You bet it does!

Have you ever been to a house, maybe it's yours, where the dish rags get used over and over again?  The same old hand towel hangs on the handle of the fridge for all to dry or wipe their dirty hands on?  They have a unique smell called bacteria.  It makes the nostrils curl up and die.  Imagine what kind of infection you can get if it touches an open cut or dry cracked hands. 

Our immune systems were designed to fight off dangerous bacterias and viruses.  Otherwise we'd look and feel like decomposing zombies.  Unfortunately, every once in a while a little bugger will put our bodies to the test.  But having a few tricks up your sleeve to disinfect your laundry can keep your system from hitting overdrive and avoid risking the possibility of defeat. 

1.  Separate loads in cloth bags that can be washed.
Radar in My Laundry Bag
     (Make your own!  Check out

2.  Wash UNDERWEAR separately to prevent spreading fecal matter and yeast spores.
3.  Wash DISH RAGS separately to prevent spreading staph, e-coli and salmonella.
4.  Wash TOWELS separately to prevent staph and mildew from spreading.
5.  PILLOW CASES get washed/changed daily to prevent spreading staph (lives in the nose of about 30% of population) and acne break outs.  Make more out of t-shirts!  Great for college students!
6.  From there you can separate loads based on color, fabric and durability.
7.  Never use a dirty laundry bag or basket for distributing clean clothes.
HOW TO DISINFECT YOUR LAUNDRY (Only use one chemical, additive or oil in each load of wash to prevent harmful and life threatening chemical reactions):
1.  Wash on hot.
2.  Dry in dryer till bone dry.
3.  Add one cup of bleach.
4.  Add 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil.
5.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of grapefruit seed extract.  Why?  Even hospitals use the extract to kill Staph, Strep and MRSA's.
6.  Add one cup of hydrogen peroxide.
7.  Add one cup of Pine Sol or a similar product with the same active ingredients .
8.  Add one cup of white vinegar.
9.  Add a few drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract to your Leaping Sheep Wool Dryer Balls.
10.  If you have a disinfect or sanitize cycle on your washer or dryer...use it! 

Fingers crossed these simple steps and necessary efforts will pay off for you this winter with less stomach bugs and infections.  I know we've already put a lot of these tips into practice at our home and I won't be mixing loads of blatantly contaminated fabrics with normal loads ever again.  Of coarse there are still going to be door knobs, public restrooms and desks at work and school that can't be put into a washer and dryer but when you get home wash your hands and do your laundry the sanitary way.  For an added boost of protection eat healthy, get a daily blast of fresh air and sunlight, exercise, manage your stress and let yourself laugh.  As for my infected spider bite, all is well with a little bit of my natural treatments.  And next year, we'll be storing the Christmas decorations somewhere other than our old, dusty basement.   

Written by:  Jessica Connor

Friday, November 23, 2012

Have a Laugh on Black Friday

   You may be reading this while standing in a mile long checkout line at the mall today.  Maybe you're taking a lunch break and resting your dogs after hunting down the best deals in town all morning.  Who knows?  You might be that rebel that refuses to shop on Black Friday, online or in stores.  You little rebel you.  Whoever you are and whatever you're doing you can use a good laugh.  Especially if you're the champion that cooked, cleaned and invited family and friends over for Thanksgiving yesterday. 

Joke #1:

What do you get when you cross a turkey with a centipede?

Drumsticks for everybody!

Joke courtesy of The Reader's Digest December 2012  Article:  Laughter, The Best Medicine

Joke #2:

   It was Black Friday, the morning after Thanksgiving, and the crowd was huge and getting antsy.  A small man pushed his way to the front of the line, only to be shoved back. On his second try, he was picked up and thrown to the end of the line.  On his third attempt, he was knocked to the ground, kicked, and, again, dumped in the back.
    "That does it," he murmured.  "If they hit me one more time, I won't open the store!"

Joke courtesy of The Reader's Digest December 2012  Article:  Laughter, the Best Medicine  Sent in by L.B. Weinstein, Miami Beach, Florida   

   We hope this lightened your day a little bit.  Happy Black Friday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Morning Goes From Sleepy to Dangerous to Delighted

The alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. this morning from the dresser at the edge of the room.  I jumped out of bed with my sheets tangled around my ankles and the bedroom walls mysteriously springing to action and slamming themselves against the bridge of my nose.  I bashed down on the snooze button like I had a personal vendetta with the device.  I made the seven foot journey back to bed with minimal assaults from enemy furniture and resumed my sleepy slumber. 

The alarm went off again at 4:35 this morning.  Only this time from my husband's iPhone.  I played dead.  I held my breath.  I snored.  I farted.  I gave him about a minute to admit he was awake and shut off his own ear puncturing app.  Then suddenly the sound waves jiggled my brain like a Grateful Dead concert.   I jolt of hippie dance shook through my soul and my arm shot out across his face in search of the alarm.  If I'm going to be entertained by the Grateful Dead it will not be an impersonation.  Unfortunately my elbow landed on his eye socket.  That woke him up.  I tapped the iPhone, curled up and slipped back into snooze land.  My husband glared at me with his good eye.  I have a sixth sense for that sort of thing.  I snored and farted.  He fainted.

The alarm went off for a third time at 4:40 this morning.  The culprit was the clock on the dresser.  Yes, the same one protected by the maniacal, moving walls.  Yikes.  I wasn't stumbling over there half awake again.  Trick me once, shame on you.  Trick me twice, shame on me.  I kicked the blankets off clean.  I swung my feet around a sat at the edge of the bed in a perfect 90 degree angle.  I stood up, eyes wide open, and marched straight for that black little box.  The walls had an ally.  The calico cat curled up on the carpet screeched, scratched and clawed it's way up my leg when my right foot firmly planted itself on ol' Kitty's backbone.  Kitty in tow, I nearly broke my finger when I pressed the off button.  I was officially awake.  Off was a safe bet. 

I walked into the kitchen.  Morning chores swirled in my thoughts.  Just as I was about to start coffee and packing lunches I remembered that load of laundry in the dryer.  The one that had my daughter's favorite outfit for school in it.  Oops.  I sauntered in expecting yet another wrinkle in my morning.  I opened the dryer and inspected the contents.  Behold...fluffy, wrinkle free and ready to wear threads were patiently waiting for Momma to retrieve them.  Once again Leaping Sheep Wool Dryer Balls came to the rescue, not only for the families clothing but for my morning.  It's going to be a good day.  

Written By:  Jessica Connor

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be Thankful and Relaxed This Thanksgiving

We're a week from Thanksgiving tomorrow!  It seems like everyone I talk to is giving me advice on how to make the most of the holiday.  Some of it is useless.  For instance, I don't think I'm going to stretch my stomach for maximum food capacity by eating a pound of grapes on Thanksgiving eve.  I'm also confident I won't need to hire a babysitter so I can sleep off the meal. 

I once heard of a family that used a paper table cloth, similar to the kind at a family restaurant, and let the kids color all over it while the meal was being prepared.  It keeps them in the middle of the excitement without getting too close to the stove or the desserts.  That's useful.  I'd probably add my own little design to it too, between basting the turkey and checking on the rolls.

To this day the best advice I've received on how to enjoy Thanksgiving has come from my old granny.  She told me years ago to make sure I have the television tuned in to the scheduled football games.  Of coarse I put my own spin on it.  We enjoy our meal sitting down at the dinner table, but once we're done anybody interested in putting up their feet and relaxing in front of the t.v. is more than welcome to.  As the mood lightens I hand out a trivia game about the teams playing.  I create it myself with a lot of help from the Internet since I'm not an expert on the players or the game. 

To entice the contestants, who are always half asleep by this point, I offer first, second and third place prizes.  They're won based on the combination of order of completion and most correct answers.  There is an automatic disqualification for anybody caught on the Internet.  The prizes are usually a pie, a bottle of wine or a pair of tickets to a home game.

I tie it all into the theme of Thanksgiving by requiring all participants to announce to the group what they're thankful for when they turn in their trivia sheet.  Somebody always ends up crying, usually the biggest guy in the room, and the family always ends up bonding. 

For the rest of the group that doesn't know a lick about football trivia we enjoy a game of Apples to Apples (such a great game for groups) or another card game.  Playdough and Legos are set out for the kids.  We sit and chat and snack on sweets.  We laugh till we cry and make plans to get together again. 

It all sounds easy and fun but I do get stressed out over the organized chaos of it all.  I just do my best to stay cool and keep the mood light.  It's not the time to discuss mortgages or school grades.  It's not the day of the year to wish for more stuff.  It's a day of satisfaction and gratitude. 

I hope you all can spend this next week preparing your hearts as well as your pantries and homes for Thanksgiving.  If you find yourself stressing over the responsibilities of it all just remember that whatever you're thankful for would probably bring tears to some big guys eyes.  We're all important to somebody and whatever our role in life is, no matter how big or small it feels, is huge to the people that love us.            

By: Jessica Connor 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Life's Subtle Clues

It’s not very often that you experience the combination of feelings reminiscent of your junior high school dance.  Suffering through the social vulnerability of the environment, thousands of swirling emotions cramped into an hour long adrenaline rush, stifled by the necessity to appear cool, and the onslaught of intense self-consciousness from a brief glance of a certain someone, was a rite of passage.  Of course you didn’t know that at the time.  You thought “A Night Under the Stars” was some type of medieval tradition marketed to the students as the not to be missed social event of the year by a faculty that was obviously unfazed, or distortedly entertained, by the idiosyncrasies of preteens.  In hindsight that combustible, unpredictable energy you gulped down with your Hawaiian Punch represented something big happening in your life.  


After years of memories, accomplishments, failures, good times and bad you’ve learned to foresee the future.  You don’t get so worked up when something or someone potentially good for you crosses your path.  You handle things with maturity and wisdom.  You understand that there is a balance to life that can land you on your face if it is not treated with respect.  Or do you?


Who am I kidding?  We’re all like pimple faced preteens just doing the best we can!  We try to prepare dinners that go over well with diverse and picky palates.  We secretly take a skipped opportunity for a coworker to compliment a new hairstyle as, “Wow, your hair really looks like crap.”   We cry over Folgers coffee commercials when the college cutie surprises the parents on Christmas morning because we hope our own parenting efforts will be rewarded with that type of loyalty.  We are constantly ebbing and flowing on this roller coaster called life.  But there are no crests at the top of giant, looming hills slapping us in the face with an imminent need to be fully aware of what comes next.  Man, I wish there was!


Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you got that rush in the produce aisle because the avocados were, for the first time in the history of all grocery stores, perfectly ripe for guacamole?  Or if there actually was only a single time in your life that fireworks would explode from every nerve in your body when you met your soul mate?  What if you were leaving for work but your feet froze and your gut sent you into a tizzy because you almost forgot your wallet, which was sitting right next you?  How about a good old spell of vertigo when you considered buying an adorable companion puppy for your aging parents that would grow up to be a 100 pound, hip fracturing, blood pressure raising, critter from the deep beyond?  What if your feet started dancing uncontrollably, your fist pumped the air with complete confidence, and you started yelling, “That is so AWSOME!” when you came across Leaping Sheep Wool Dryer Balls and their amazing ability to fluff your laundry without the added chemicals of dryer sheets?  Life would be a cake walk.


Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re the glass is half full type of person) life, the necessity of the emotional torment of a junior high school dance, and the health benefits of Hawaiian Punch, will always remain a mystery.  We know that not every single thing that’s good for us is going to smack us in the face like The Three Stooges.  And we’re perfectly aware that with the good comes the bad.  We just do our best and hope we don’t miss out on any subtle clues along the journey.