Help your child relax after a minor boo boo

I burned my finger this morning trying to get a pastry out of the toaster.

I’m pretty sure it’s blistered, and it hurt like the dickens!

Here’s how I fix these kinds of boo-boos in my house, and they work just as good for the little’uns as the big’uns.

As soon as I realized I did it, I got that finger under running water in the sink. Maybe 2 seconds after. I took another couple seconds to realize the faucet¬†wasn’t shifted all the way to the cold side, so then I did that with my other hand.

The water wasn’t getting cold enough to stop the burning sensation, so I filled a glass with cold water with my right hand, keeping my left hand with the burned finger still under the water.

Then I put my finger into the glass and carried it to the fridge where I grabbed some ice and put that into the glass. Then I got sweet relief! For the next 30 minutes, I just sat down and kept my burned finger in the glass, and whenever I needed to, I swirled it to up the cooling sensation. Note, I didn’t “ice” my finger, as that is too much cold. I used the ice to create cold pockets of water in the glass that I could swirl my finger in.

This works great for the wee ones who can’t stand having their burned finger held in the stream, which is more painful. Next, I took a few minutes to do something I like –pinterest! Great distraction to take my focus off the pain while I was sitting for my 30 minutes. For a child, this might be a good time to put on a favorite cartoon and snuggle with momma, or read a favorite book together. Just keep that sore finger in the cool water.

As the pain subsided, I took a few minutes to think about what actually happened and the thoughts that went through my mind as I was getting the pastry and right up to the point of getting burned. I kept swirling my finger in the cold water in the glass, and then I took a nice deep breath and held it for a second, then really slowly let it exhale.

That’s what triggered my relaxation and started to help the pain really go down! Just going back into the moments before and then doing the deep breathing and slow exhale helped me release the stuck, “Oh I’m hurt!” feelings.

With kids, you can practice having them do it by making the S sound, pretending to be Sammy the Ssssssnake, or Susie the Ssssssssssnake. Put the teeth together and really slowing the exhale helps to calm the body and kick in the relaxation system, (the parasympathetic nervous system) instead of staying stuck in the active, fight/flight/freeze response to getting burned (the sympathetic nervous system).

Once the slowed exhale has helped calm things down, and the helpful distraction takes the mind off the burn, the stinging starts to go away pretty fast, until you take the finger out of the cool water. But once it starts up, you can do the slow breathing again and it will fade out.

The last thing I did, was to get over my fear of using my finger. Guess how I did that?

I got on my keyboard and started typing up this post. ūüôā ¬†Yes, it hurt to use that finger for about 30 seconds, but then I got into what I was doing and forgot all about it. And that is what I have the kiddoes do too. We get the legos, or the barbies, the cars or whatever they really love to play with that requires finger dexterity.

The goal is to get them over the hump of not wanting to use that finger normally. It takes a few seconds, but once they get into the enjoyment of playing, especially when momma takes a greater than usual interest, it quickly appears that they can use the finger as if it never happened.

Now that I’ve explained how I handle the basics¬†for minor injuries in my home,¬†I need to say that¬†if you or your child experiences a burn, you will want to seek qualified first aid. My story is provided for your information and education only, and I do not intend it to be used as medical advice, nor it is my intention to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition. Please, if you need medical attention, seek out the services of a qualified professional.

I also encourage you to become proficient in first aid yourself. Check with your local fire department to see who offers courses in your area.

I share my story in the hopes of helping share ideas to comfort and bring peace and relaxation to a person in need so they can feel better faster.



PS. My finger completely stopped hurting before I started typing, started again, and then stopped before I published this post!


Daydream Hack #2: Clean the house

image credit:

Once you have gotten good at feeling motivated to get out of bed, then you are ready to do a new daydream hack. This time, we’ll use visualization to get motivated to clean the house.

This visualization is for when you’ve gotten up and you can’t see to get moving. You’re in front of the tv and you know the housework is there, it needs to be done and it’s your job to do it, but you just can’t get going¬†on it.

First, notice what time it is when you start.

While you’re sitting down and relaxed, close your eyes and picture the chore you are least excited about. For me, that’s usually doing the dishes, so I’ll pick that one.

Imagine the dishes going into the water in the sink. See the gunk and goo rinsing off. They are shiny and wet now, sparkling clean. I have a dishwasher, so I picture my hands getting all wet and feeling the water running over them as I reach into the sink and grab the dishes and then move them over into the dishwasher.

I hear the clink and clack of the dishes as I put them in; the tinny sound of utensils as I drop them into the basket. I focus on the sound of the water splashing on the sink and going down the drain.

Once all the dishes are loaded, I open the dish detergent and notice the smell of lemons and cleaner. It’s a sharp smell and reminds me of clean. I put the soap into the machine and close the door. I feel the pressure of the door again my hands until the sound of a click lets me know it’s really shut. Then I grab the dial and turn it, feeling the resistance in my fingers, listening for the sound of the water going in.

Then I imagine the sound of the machine for a second, swooshing water around and then silence. Now it’s time to empty it because it’s done. I open it up and the heat rushes out. I feel the steam against my face for a second and then I easily grab out the dishes and start putting them away. I see them all lined up and shiny clean in their spaces. My whole kitchen feels like it’s so much bigger and cleaner already just by doing my dishes.

Now, just keep going with the details until you feel motivated enough to go and start the chore you imagined. Once you’re ready to start, notice the time. How many minutes did that take? Repeat this same visualization daily for this same chore, noticing how many minutes it takes to generate your motivation each time.

How many days does it take until you don’t need to do it anymore because it’s automatic? Once you get there, you can do this one again for the next chore that needs a boost. Pretty soon, if you keep going, you will find that you actually build momentum as you go and the other household chores are easier to do and you naturally build a routine that lets you get it all done quickly and regularly.



Hack your daydream ability to get going in the morning

Here are a couple daydream hacks to help you get going first thing in the morning when all you want to do is sleep.

#1 The Get out of bed daydream

This one is for those morning when you wake up but you just don’t want to get up.

First, notice how much you don’t want to get up. Is it because your body is tired and you actually need more sleep? Or is it more that you aren’t looking forward to your day? Maybe even dreading it?

Next, notice what time is it? Hold onto that. Now, without falling back asleep, picture yourself getting out of bed, putting your feet on the floor, and walking to the bathroom. Turn on the light in your mind and grab your toothbrush. Splash some water on it. Put your toothpaste on the brush, and then put it in your mouth. Imagine the taste as your brush your teeth a bit.

Look in the mirror. See your face. Wow! You look cute! So bedhead cute! Spit out the toothpaste and rinse. Splash a little water on that cute face, feeling the wetness as it wakes up your face. Grab the towel, and feel the fibers against your skin.

Picture yourself getting in the shower. The water feels perfect. Let it run over your head a second as you put shampoo in your hand. Smell that clean, fresh smell that you love. Feel your hair in your hands as you wash and rinse your hair. Get your soap on and then rinse it off. Feel how your clean skin is awake now.

See yourself hopping out of the shower, grabbing a towel and getting dry fast. Wrap up your hair and grab some lotion. Smell that wonderful fragrance as you smooth it all over your soft skin. Now you smell just lovely! Is it cool on your warm skin or warm on your cool skin? Whichever feels best, imagine that.

Do you love the silence in the morning or have music? Put it on, whichever. Now listen to it for a second in your mind. Enjoy that. Now imagine picking out your clothes: pull it on, slide it up, fasten it, straighten, smooth it out.

Picture your shoes, boots, flipflops or slippers…whichever you want to put on. See them on your feet, fastened. Listen again to the sounds of your morning. Smell the lotion on your skin. Taste the flavor in your mouth. See yourself dressed and put together. Feel your damp hair in your hands as you dry it the rest of the way, ready to be styled how you like.

Keep going with the details until you actually get motivated and get out of bed. Notice what time it is…… How many minutes did that take? ¬†Repeat daily and see how many minutes it takes each time. How many times does it take before it becomes automatic?

3 days? 5? 7? Once it is, you are ready for daydream #2, Clean the house.

This is one of my personal favorites, so I’d love to hear how this visualization works out for you.



DIY Clean-rinsing hand soap

I’m a fan of homemade soap, and I’ve done research and actually made my own liquid soap using several different recipes over the past year.

Even though I enjoyed the process, and the results were great, I found on¬†several occasions¬†when I was running out and it was really time to grind out¬†make another batch, I just didn’t have the initiative.

My time was more valuable to me, so I ended up just buying something and calling it good. And honestly, that’s ok. Time is valuable, and sometimes it’s just worth it to buy a commercial bottle and have a few extra hours to yourself!

Along with having more time, I also really enjoy some of the commercially available scents that I have not been able to replicate through my own diy efforts.

Last year, I was buying this really wonderful-smelling liquid hand soap at Bath & Body Works, and like so many of their products, once I fell in love with it, they discontinued it. Boo.

I happened to get 3 or 4 bottles on a super sale, and I was slowly using them, trying to make them last as long as I could, because yes… I was addicted to the smell!

I got to a point where I was adding water and then more  water and so on, trying to eek out the last bit. As the soap thinned out, I actually loved it even more because it rinsed a little easier than the heavy gel consistency it was when I first bought it.

When there was nothing left to pump, I didn’t want to throw the bottles out because they still smelled amazing, and I also didn’t want to just go¬†buy¬†another kind. I just wasn’t willing to keep going through the cycle of finding something I loved, only to be crushed when I couldn’t find it.

And to be honest, I like to recycle or re-use commercial packaging if I can.

Then, one day I remembered a post about making liquid soap at home. That gave me an idea. And that idea led me to finding my all-time favorite hand soap! Here are just a few reasons why this is my new go-to for hand cleaning:

  1. cost savings
  2. re-use commercial packaging
  3. water conservation
  4. effective cleaning
  5. diy satisfaction

1. Cost Savings

Feeling defeated but still needing hand soap, I went ahead and bought some Ivory soap bars. I like Ivory for cleaning my hands: The ph is a bit alkaline, so it does a good job. And since the cost of the bars was like $0.16 each versus about $4.99 for the BBW hand soap, I was pleased about saving money.

But… The messy bar on the sink is not my favorite thing. And lathering up a slippery bar. And running water the whole time. And the bar getting itty bitty and breaking into pieces. All these were negatives for me.

2. Re-use Commercial Packaging

As I was cleaning out under my sink, I found one of my empty-but-still-amazing-smelling hand soap dispensers that I had saved, unable to toss that delicious smell into the trash bin.

I took one, filled it up with as hot of water as I could get out of the tap, then I dropped in the broken pieces of Ivory bar soap that were piled up on the sink and in the shower, probably about half a bar altogether.

And then I walked away.

A few hours later when I needed to wash my hands, I came back into the bathroom and remembered that I had left it sitting there. I shook it up a bit and then pumped some into my dry hands.

3. Water Conservation

The pump worked great, even though it was made for a much thicker liquid. The soap  was watery, but for me that was a PLUS. It means that I could start washing my hands right away without running the water. Two pumps gave me enough soapy liquid to puddle in my cupped palms and then I just did my 20 seconds of rubbing and scrubbing to make sure my hands were good and clean. Then I turned on the water and WOW!

I only had to use a trickle of water to get them clean! This is really important to me both because of the cost of water, and because I always try to conserve water.

4. Effective Cleaning

My hands rinsed clean immediately! No rinsing and rinsing to get the slippery feeling off. The soap just slicked off, and my hands felt squeaky clean with zero residue. After I finished rinsing my hands, the water beaded and dried off quickly and easily, so even the hand towel I use was less wet.

Usually when I wash my hands, it’s a matter of wanting to clean off bacteria, versus actual visible dirt. So I did kind of wonder if the soap was as powerful as the bar after I put it into water.

My hubs works with hydraulic fluid and other black, grease-heavy products and we share a sink and a hand towel. He’s also been using the hand soap and guess what? I’m not seeing streaks of black on the towel, so I know it’s working for cleaning even really dirty hands.

5. DIY Satisfaction

I saved the best for last: My super clean hands didn’t smell like Ivory soap when I was done; they smelled exactly like the super-awesome smelling hand soap that had been in the dispenser!

Finally I had found a way to replicate the experience of washing my hands with the scent I loved, but without the heavy, slippery feeling that required tons of water to rinse off.

So, here are my top 5 reasons why this is my favorite hand soap:

  1. I re-used a container I purchased commercially
  2. I get to diy and save money (bar soap $0.08 a bottle vs $4.99)
  3. I get to save water
  4. I get squeaky clean hands that feel good
  5. I get to keep using a scent I love that’s not available

So, going forward I plan to keep using my dispenser to hold dissolved Ivory bar soap as my bathroom hand cleaner. If my hands ever get dried out, which could happen over time, I plan to use a drop of olive oil to restore them. That’s what I do whenever I have to use harsh cleaners around the house, in the yard, or on the vehicles.

As I have continued using the hand soap, I thought that this method would be a great way to use up any bar soap. If you have a bar soap that you love the scent of, try putting it into a clean dispenser full of really hot water, and leaving it to dissolve over time. Just don’t cap it until it’s cooled off!

I hope my idea gives you an idea too!




Tea tree for cold sore part 3

so this is the end of day 7 and I’m very happy with how well tea tree oil worked on my cold sore:

Day 7 of Tee Tree Oil and my lip is all healed up!
Day 7 of Tea Tree Oil and my lip is all healed up!

By now it’s mostly healed up, and just slightly tender. I believe it’ll be completely healed by tomorrow night.

I will be using Tea Tree Oil as my go to method from now on!

A couple notes from this experience:

1. I waited to start applying tea tree until late in the day after I felt my lip getting buzzy/fat feeling. Normally, my lip gets tender the day before the buzzy starts. Like, where if I accidentally scrape my tooth across it, it hurts a bit.

That is my first real sign of a cold sore, and from now on, instead of ignoring that pain and hoping it goes away without blowing out into a sore, I will treat that like a 3-alarm fire and get some tea tree oil on it pronto!

I believe that Tea Tree’s antiviral properties kill the virus so the sooner I can get it on, the less damage the virus can do to my lip. And it’s the damage (blister) that’s such a pain *literally* to deal with!

2. I went out in the sun & pool two days in a row for hours, which effectively re-activated the virus and increased the damage to my lip. Once I stayed inside or in the shade with total UV block for my face, the healing progressed quickly.

Going forward, if I cannot prevent a blister from forming (note 1) then I will at least keep it covered and limit exposure to sun/water. Once the blister got wet, it was really hard to keep it adhered to my lip –which I try to do to keep my lip from bleeding, because that starts a cracking/drying cycle that takes longer to heal.

My lip did bleed a couple times after the outer blister slid off, but putting tea tree oil on helped to reform a barrier quickly.

3. I’m quite used to the feeling of TTO because I use it all the time on my nose and face. If I was new to it though, there’s a good chance it might sting, especially if I put on a lip raw from a cold sore. In that case, I’d mix it into a carrier oil, like maybe coconut oil since it’ll be close to my mouth and I’ll possibly swallow some.

4. The cost of the 1oz bottle I use was $9-ish, and I used 1 drop about 5 times a day, for 7 days. (So barely any) not sure how much that works out to be, but I imagine it’s pennies. That makes me very happy!

This is not medical advice for anyone. I shared my story for educational purposes only. Consult your own healthcare provider regarding your situation. I am not a doctor. 

Tea Tree oil for cold sore – part 2

on the second day of my erupted cold sore, third day since I first felt it tingling, I saw that this one had huge potential to get infected.

I had a hunch it was going to be bad because of the combo of sunshine + sun Burn + mega stress. In the past, I’ve had to take antibiotics for cold sores that had the swelling I was seeing in my lip.

But as you can see from my photos, the tea tree oil seems to have halted the virus quickly, and the whole day I was gently dabbing away crystals and sloughing off damaged skin.

I took care to keep a balm on my lips, and I really like the Burts Bees one, as it is thick and not liquid. A liquid has more chance to spread the virus. But I do make sure and warm it a bit in my hand before I apply it.

Morning of the next day РI dabbed some Tea Tree Oil on (gently) right after I snapped this.

I have to also acknowledge that, despite knowing the consequences, I had to go back to the pool and swim for a few hours. I wore a hat and faithfully reapplied my sunscreen and lip balm, but my lip still absorbed more UV.

Morning of Day 3, after spending the day before at the pool and applying Tea Tree Oil
Morning of Day 3, after spending the day before at the pool and applying Tea Tree Oil

So a blister did form at the end of the day, making it a bit harder to treat. I kept applying TTO but there was some pain from the blister. I put some aloe after sun gel with lidocaine on it and felt instant relief. The aloe formed a layer of blue over the top that I had to gently peel off later.

The biggest challenge is in keeping the blister on my lip as long as possible to keep the raw nerves protected. And so I just tap the oil on using my ring finger instead of rubbing it in.

I bought my tea tree oil locally, and Walgreens doesn’t sell it online, but Amazon does.

image of bottle of Tea Tree Oil
My little bottle of Tea Tree Oil is worth more than gold

And this is what I use over the oil to help protect my lip from more UV:


My trusty tube of lip balm
My trusty tube of lip balm

I had to go swimming on day 3 as well, and even though I took care again with a hat, shade and heavy-duty sunblock, just having a blister get wet makes it far less stable as a cover on my really raw cold sore:

End of third day of visible sore, and after 2 days of sun, swimming and Tea Tree Oil
End of third day of visible sore, and after 2 days of sun, swimming and Tea Tree Oil. It looked bad and felt worse, but it had stopped swelling and buzzing.

I’m pleased with how the oil has worked to speed the healing of my lip, even as I made it worse by going into the sun and a pool for 4 hours two days in a row.

On day 4 I stayed home and avoided going to the pool because my blister had come loose and my lip was bleeding a little. I just didn’t want to expose that fragile area to more UV and heat.

Now I’m on day five, stayed in again and all the swelling is gone. There is a slight scab where my lip bled yesterday, but it’s small enough I could cover it with lipstick now.

Going out in the sun was a bad idea. I honestly believe if I had stayed in on days two & three, the tea tree oil would have shrunk the sore without breaking the skin. (That’s my goal every time since it heals much faster.)

Tea Tree Oil for Cold Sores

image of cold sore on lip day 1

So I love the sun, and have been indulging a bit the last couple weeks with extra pool time. Except I have been lazy about putting sunblock on where I need it most: my lips!

Add to that a heavy dose of ex-husband child custody drama and you can imagine how not surprised I was to feel that oh-too-familiar buzzy, almost painful, “fat” feeling in my lower lip yesterday that means I’m totally getting a cold sore.

Darn. I was less than thrilled. See, when these little buggers get started, well they sorta take root. And then they can spread, or what my momma calls “going to seed.” And I’ve had that! Oh my, yes yes. Summertime, Ft Sill, OK, and I must’ve had 30 going on. Looked like gangrene. Seriously awful!

Being a lifelong cold sore sufferer, I truly have tried everything under the sun to prevent or shorten the agony, including suppressive doses of acyclovir and other pharmas, alcohol, bleach, campho phenique (will totally spread), Carmex, blistex, abreva, kanka, and lysine, just to name a few.

This time, I tried a new idea. And compared to everything else I’ve tried, if it works like I’m hoping, it might just be the trinity of “Good, Fast, & Cheap”!

I was out driving when I first got the buzzing in my lip, so I just put a little Burt’s Bees Chapstick on. I carry a tube of SPF 20 in my purse. Yeah, I know. An ounce of prevention. (I already confessed to being lazy.)

As soon as I got home, I grabbed an ice cube and held it on my lip for about a minute. I couldn’t take it longer. ¬†Then I ran up to my bathroom and grabbed some tea tree oil (TTO) and put it straight on my lip.

I already use it regularly for my nose as I’m sun sensitive due to having Sj√∂grens Syndrome, so I’m used to the smell, fumes, etc. (it’s a bit strong if you’re not used to it.) I buy it at Walgreens for about $10 for a small bottle and its 100%. I don’t use a carrier oil.

I’ve had great success using TTO on several rough patches on my arms, nose, cheeks and chest in the past. I kept remembering about the studies I read that convinced me it would work, and keeping a positive mind about an outcome is 80% of success. So it’s my first go to for skin, especially for infection.

When I woke up today, I jumped out of bed (a lie–I more or less rolled over to hubs side so as to shorten the distance to the loo) and checked the mirror. The buzzing had blown out to a blister, so I rubbed more oil in. Gently though, cause it’s tender! And I went about my day. Every time I went to the bathroom, I dabbed some on.

When I was out driving again, I kept Burts Bees balm on my lip to keep it from drying out. And I tried not to mess with it–but my tongue gets curious and I found it licking my lip a few times.

Anyway, I went ahead and rubbed more in after dinner and at bedtime, which is when I put it on my nose too. I really rub it in, not to where it hurts, but enough that I feel like I’m getting it down into the cells more than laying it on the surface.

I took a pic to show how the blister looks today, the first day of a visible blister.

image of cold sore on lip day 1
First visible day, before treating with Tea Tree Oil

I’ll take another tomorrow night to see how the TTO is working out.