Sunday, 9 December 2012

A Glimpse Inside The Womb

 A visual diary from within the womb.
Have you ever rested your hand on your belly and wished you could see what's going on in there? It's your lucky day! From conception to birth, these colour images from inside the womb tell a remarkable story of new life.

Your pregnancy officially starts on the first day of your last menstrual cycle. About half way through your menstrual cycle you're body releases hormones which cause ovulation; an ova matures and is released from the oviaries where it travels down the fallopian tubes to await a companion. 

It's a fascinating process in its own right but let's not get into the science behind it, let's just enjoy the picture show.

Sperm are viable for an average of three days (depending on your "donor" they can survive for up to seven days). They can traverse up the fallopian tube within a few hours. Male sperm tend to swim harder and faster than their female counterparts but burn out quickly. The female sperm are more durable and more likely to survive the acidic conditions of the vagina.

 This is the moment life begins....when those two individual cells cease to be and their union generates a new and distinct organism.

Two Weeks
Within days, the cells divide themselves into groupings. The inner cell mass will become your baby while the outer cells will become the amniotic sac and placenta.

 It takes about three days for the egg to travel down the fallopian tube and into the uterus.

 The blastocyst then sheds it protective casing in a process called "hatching" and burrows down into the lush uterine wall.

Four Weeks

Your baby is the size as a sesame seed. The cells which once made up the blastocyst have begun organising and changing, giving shape to your baby and forming primitive organs. The brain and spinal column are visible through the translucent skin.

Six Weeks

By five weeks, the circulatory system also forms and his heart begins to beat. Your baby is drawing nutrients & oxygen through the newly formed placenta and umbilical cord.

At six weeks, his limbs and fingers are budding and his face his starting to take shape.

Eight Weeks

By week nine, the embryonic tail has gone and your baby and your baby is looking more human everyday. 

With protruding limbs and fingers, a defined nose, eyes mouth and tiny ear lobes  your new resident is about the size of a grape. 

I just blows my mind. As mothers we all know how utterly incredible it feels to be responsible for a new life but that little life is doing amazing this within just a few weeks, a tiny ova has become a tiny person. How miraculous is that!? 

Twelve Weeks

By twelve weeks your embryo has become a foetus. His facial features are even more defined and his tooth buds are forming. Over the next few weeks, his tissues and organ will rapidly grow and mature. The webbing has gone from between his fingers and toes. His nails and finger prints are developing.

You're baby can open and close his fists and curl his toes. Thanks to his developing muscles & reflexes he's now moving his limbs. If you lie on your back in the middle of the night, you might be able to feel his butterfly like movements in your tummy.

Through his translucent skin his vital organs are visible and functioning organs including his developing brain, nervous system, intestine and liver. The liver is making blood cells now in place of the disappearing yolk sac.

The umbilical  cord is working hard now. One vein is delivering oxygen & vitamin rich blood to your baby while two arteries are carrying the spent blood away. 

Fourteen Weeks

By week fourteen your baby's eyes and ears have moved into place. He can squint frown and grimace but he can't open his eyelids.

The kidneys have started producing urine which your baby will soon start excreting into the amniotic fluid. He'll swallow the fluid (which is why it's so important to drink lots of water & dilute this fluid) and the process will begin again.

Sixteen Weeks

Between 15 and twenty weeks your baby will more than double in size.
His nervous system is rapidly maturing. His nerves are connecting  his brain to the rest of his body,  through the brain stem and down his spine, beginning to extend into his torso & limbs.

Your baby's skeleton is changing too. The soft cartilage is transforming into bone beginning with his arms and thighs. Sensory development is picking up speed, your baby's brain is designating areas to smell, taste, vision, hearing and touch.  

By eighteen weeks you'll start to experience one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy... your babys movements.

Twenty Weeks

Foetal yawning; it's hard work growing up so fast! Yawning is great practise for his lungs. At this stage, your baby is also starting to develop a wake/sleep pattern. Finger nails cover his finger tips and he's starting to develop pigment in his skin.

Twenty Two Weeks

By 22 weeks your baby  your baby sense of touch is developing along with his unique fingerprints. When you rub of gently press on your belly, you may feel your baby kick out in response. He can feel his own face & body by now, can reach out and grab his umbilical cord (or anything within grasp) and enjoys sucking on his thumb.

Around twenty three weeks your baby can swallow and you might feel him hiccups's common for him to get the hiccups several times each day. His lungs are also forming millions of tiny branches called bronchioles. Incredibly your baby is already practising breathing by inhaling and moving tiny amounts of amniotic fluids in & out of his lungs

Twenty Four Weeks

By twenty four weeks your baby is capable of surviving outside the womb (with a lot of medical help)  His eyes have developed though the irises still lack pigment. His skin, however, is starting to form pigment.

Around twenty three weeks your baby can swallow and you might feel him hiccups's common for him to get the hiccups several times each day. His lungs are also forming millions of tiny branches called bronchioles.

Incredibly your baby is already practising breathing by inhaling and moving tiny amounts of amniotic fluids in & out of his lungs

By 28 weeks your baby's eyelids may open as a reflex but he can't see yet. His lips are formed and he now has tiny taste buds on his tongue.  Just one more trimester to go.

Twenty Eight Weeks

 Your baby now has the same body proportions as a newborn just much smaller and thinner. He's triple his weight between now & his birth developing a layer of fat which will keep him warm outside the womb. Your babys skeleton is hardening, the bones in his head haven't quite forming (allowing for some wiggle room as he passes through the birth canal.

Millions of nerve cells are firing in your babys brain creating vital connections that will help him learn both inside and outside the womb. Your baby can open his eyes now and recognise the light coming through your womb. He can hear now too, so go ahead and talk or sing.

As your due date nears, your baby will shed some of the vernix, the white cheesy substance that covers his body & protects his skin. Your baby swallows some of these bits (along with other secretions) which pass through his digestive system to become his first bowel movement.

Thirty Six Weeks

At thirty seven weeks his skin is pink and soft. He's looking more like a newborn baby every day and he's gaining a ounce every day.

He's now considered full term.

In preparation for birth, he'll turn face down with his head in you pelvic area as he awaits the right time to join to the world.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Rebecca's Birthing Story (And Amazing Pictures)

This is Rebecca's story - an outspoken and well informed Mama from New Zealand who delivered twins via caesarean. We've also got some absolutely incredible photo's of the birth. There are valuable lessons that expectant mothers can glean from this story. 

Ask questions. 
Make well informed decisions. 
Be prepared to advocate your choices.

Rebecca's Birthing Story
I had a c-section with twins. My story is one about struggling to do what is best for mama and babies within the confines of hospital setting.It is also a story about not being afraid to advocate for what you want in spite of a medical system designed to protect doctors and nurses at the expense of mamas and babies. 

I put on 80 pounds during my pregnancy but walked at least 2 miles every day up until the day of the delivery. The doctors kept saying i should stop being active-but I felt this would be a sentence to high blood pressure, diabetes, and bed rest for sure. 

They heavily monitored my pregnancy, having me in weekly for scans and constantly threatened early delivery and bed rest, which did not make me want to show up for the scheduled appointments at all.

Torn between wanting to be sure everything was going well, and wanting to be left alone completely, I always showed up. At my 30 week appointment, they did not let me leave, and admitted me for delivery. I was very angry and felt it was unfounded (it was based on one doctor's impression that a doppler reading was too high). 

None of the nurses on the floor could understand why I was there once I told them the doctor was threatening to deliver my babies so early based on one doppler reading. (Doppler readings display the blood flow from baby to placenta, and can vary day to day. 

I had offered to come back the following day for another test, and i t was then he said I could not leave). Though I was admitted and stayed overnight, the next day the supervising doctor came in and apologized for having kept me there against my will based on the other doctor's assessment and released me home. 

That doctor was taken off my birthing team and I was given a new one. All the nurses stopped in before I left to congratulate my on my successful avoidance of such an early delivery.

I had always wanted a home birth, but once we found out it was twins I knew that most likely I was doomed to a hospital setting. The scheduled me for a c-section at 36 weeks, and this was a battle I was not willing to fight.

One thing I knew I wouldn't compromise on was breastfeeding my babies, no matter what. I considered myself lucky because we were in New Zealand, where there are midwives AND nurses on staff. Once they were delivered, eyes wide open, one still in the cull, I was able to give skin to skin. They were not put in NICU at all, thanks to the midwives advocating for us (and my stubborn disposition), and we went straight to our room together. There was an incubator to keep them warm since they were only 4 and 5 pounds each.

Once the morphine wore off I realized the nurses were coming in and force feeding formula to my babies through nose tubes. I explained I was only going to breastfeed my babies, and that at the hospital's request, I had pumped a lot of colostrum that was in the fridge in case the nurses needed it. I was told what they were doing was standard practice and that I could breastfeed after they formula fed.

I was livid, knowing that I would lose my supply if the babies weren't allowed to nurse on demand. The midwives were keen to my concerns and let me breastfeed instead of formula feed when the nurses were not on shift. When the night nurse realized what was happening, she got very angry and ordered an emergency glucose test on both babies, telling me my milk could not support their needs and I was hurting them by allowing them to nurse for longer than 20 minutes at a time, because if I had enough milk, they would not need to nurse for longer than that.

The tests, done at 3 am, came back fine. She left my room crying, so upset that she had caused me such stress and because I made her feel extremely bad for questioning such a natural process by explaining that though the hospital may have protocols to follow, I was not so sure that everyone would thrive under their protocols. 

Her supervisor came in for a visit and I successfully lobbied to have the nurses who wanted to formula feed through nose tubes banned from my room, the nose tubes removed, and was able to breastfeed my babies on demand, undisturbed. The midwives were thrilled, and many of them stopped in to thank me for being such a vocal advocate for breastfeeding. 

Instead of being made to feel bad for being so argumentative, they told me they wished more mamas would be firm in their desires for skin to skin and for nursing. We left the hospital 4 days later with the babies in tow. We took a train from the hospital to town and walked home. This too, of course, was against the hospital's best advice. I am glad I trusted my body and my intuition- because the pregnancy was trouble free and the babies healthy, despite an early delivery at 36 weeks. 

I understand that the medical community is there to ensure everyone survives, but I also think they assume there are problems when there may not be. My babies came out alert and healthy, rooting for the breast. 

I think it is a sad myth that babies born by c-section cannot breastfeed, or that the mama won't have milk. I hope that women everywhere can feel empowered enough to advocate for what they want for them and their babies. 

Please don't be afraid to argue and speak up for yourself and your babies!

This is AMAZING!! Sitting Indian style after having a caesarean! Phew, that Mama has guts! 
Amazing birthing photo of Rebecca's newborn twin still inside the caul. 

Rebecca has some skin on skin time.

How you feel about Rebecca's story? Could you have spoken up the way she did? 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Things I Want To Tell New Parents

I tend to learn things the hard way. I have three kids. I'm not the most experienced mother in the world and I'm still learning new things every day. Just when I think "I've got this, this is a piece of cake," hormones kick in, they become teenagers and the rules change all over again. 

When I see first time parents fussing over the latest piece of baby plastic or talking about their ideal child rearing methods I can't help but shake my head. Was I really that naive? 

Psst.... Heads up!!

Everybody - and I mean everybody - from your mother-in-law to your electrician to the occasional stranger wearing a tea-cosie on their head will offer you advice about raising your baby. Even your childless friends will know more about raising children than you do! Smile, nod your head and then do whatever the hell you want.
They've had their chance to stuff up a kid, now it's your turn.

When you're on your third consecutive day without sleep and you've finally got your baby settled you'll be tempted to turn the telly down and tip-toe around. Don't do it! A lot of first time parents make this mistake and inadvertently train their baby to be noise sensitive. The moment your neighbours dog barks, when someone knocks on your front door or you accidentally drop your teaspoon in the sink you'll be contending with a crying baby all over again.

Think about when your grandparents were young: there were 10 kids in the house and the baby used to sleep (very soundly) in the bassinet on the kitchen table amongst all the noise. I was the youngest of three kids, I had two raucous brothers bouncing off the walls and my mother could vacuum under my cot without waking me. So you can tip toe around... or you can train your sleeping baby to ignore disturbing noises by leaving some white noise (music, the telly, the washing machine, etc) on in the background.

Men will be counting down the six weeks from when you had the baby. Why? Don't pretend you don't know, you were there when the Doctor said it. If you're bundle of joy was born at 2am in the morning then you can expect a tap on the shoulder in the early hours exactly 42 days after that joyous event. I mean, come on! Sure he loves you but that was one of the reasons he settled down and married you: so he could have sex on tap.

I have a bone to pick with Doctors about this. They cause these problems with their "six weeks until sex" pronouncements. They'd be a lot less marital strain if they would just be honest about when the sex tap is really going to be turned back on. Instead of lying to our husbands about it they should would be saying something like "Once the baby is sleeping through, when teething has finished, after your wife is back to a size 10 and once you've helped with the dishes." Then both parties would know where they stand.

Don't wait until your baby is cutting a tooth at midnight before stocking your fridge with drugs. Kids have an uncanny habit of reaching their pain threshold within a few minutes of the chemist closing for a long weekend. Make sure you've got a decent supply of pain killers and teething gels on hand before you need them. And some phenergan. Babies can't use it until they're two but it's not for them, is it. PS, if you're struggling with SIX he probably wouldn't even notice if you put one into his cuppa. Just sayin'.

It's a common held belief that using the telly as a babysitter is bad parenting. Poppycock! Teaching your child to roll their own and blow smoke rings is bad parenting. Sitting your child down in front of  Sesame Street so you can go to the toilet all by yourself is like having an immunisation boosting  syringe full of sanity. You could also use the telly-sitter for other things throughout the day: making that important phone call, cooking dinner, having a shower, housework, gardening or having an afternoon cocktail with the girls.

Forget everything you've ever known about the perfect nursery. You're baby isn't going to appreciate it and probably isn't even going to use it so don't base your nursery designs on something you've seen on Hollywood. Here's a shocker: movies aren't real. And here's another thing: they have a budget of millions. You don't.

There are so many things that you've been pre-conditioned to think you need....that you don't. A bed makes a great change table (but change baby on your partners side in case there's leakage). A flat plug in the laundry sink makes a great bath until they're big enough to use the real deal. Buy the bare minimum essentials for your nursery and get the rest of it when and if you need it.

All the trimmings are not going to make you a better parents. It's not going to make your job easier. It's not going to make your baby sleep better. It's not going to make your experience more enjoyable. Buying the latest-to-be-declared-essential pieces of moulded plastic will only strain your purse strings, vastly diminishing your alcohol budget. Plus, a cluttered nursery means more stubbed toes.

My Scottish Grandfather used to say "Refuse nothing but blows." Meaning "if it's free, take it...unless it's a punch in the throat."  If somebody offers you their childs outgrown clothes, accept them.  It's not being cheap, it's recycling. Considering how quickly children - especially the smaller variety - outgrow their clothes it's also common sense.

You don't have to use everything. Just pick out the nice things and pass the rest on to another friend or give it to the Salvos. Most importantly, the money you save by using hand me down clothes can pay for more and better alcohol. And don't kid yourself.... you will be needing alcohol, that's why I keep bringing it up.

Did you learn anything here today? Maybe you have some things that you would like to tell first time parents? 
I'ld love to read your comments, leave them in the box below. 

Have you heard? Bumpalicious is taking 25% off all our maternity clothing when you pre-order in time for Christmas. You can find us on Facebook for all the details. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Hands Up If You Feel Like A Beached Whale?

Pregnancy is a trying time on your body for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is waddling around like Gloria from Happy Feet (without quite so much class), rolling out of bed like a beached whale and substituting your regular wardrobe for circus tents.  Those kind of changes can really take their toll on our self esteem.  

There's a lot of pressure on women to maintain a certain figure in order to be beautiful and although we have a free pass during pregnancy be warned.... that pressure returns with a vengeance when it's time to lose the baby weight.

We thought we would take a moment to remind you that being bumpalicious isn't about being gorgeous on the outside. It's about carrying yourself with confidence and beauty from within. It's about being there for your family and friends in times of need. It's about handling yourself with a quiet dignity and a bit of class. It's about enjoying the time you have while you have it. 

So when it's all said and done, when you've brought your precious child into this world and when you're standing in front of a mirror frowning at your post-baby body we'd like you to keep this story in mind.

A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was “This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?”

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way:

“Dear people, 
Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, seals, curious humans), they are sexually active and raise their children with great tenderness.

They entertain like crazy with dolphins and eat lots of prawns. They swim all day and travel to fantastic places like Patagonia, the Barents Sea or the coral reefs of Polynesia.

They sing incredibly well and sometimes even are on cds. They are impressive and dearly loved animals, which everyone defends and admires.

Mermaids do not exist.

But if they existed, they would line up to see a psychologist because of a problem of split personality: woman or fish?

They would have no sex life and could not bear children.

Yes, they would be lovely, but lonely and sad.

And, who wants a girl that smells like fish by his side?

Without a doubt, I’d rather be a whale.

At a time when the media tells us that only thin is beautiful, I prefer to eat ice cream with my kids, to have dinner with my husband, to eat and drink and have fun with my friends.

We women, we gain weight because we accumulate so much wisdom and knowledge that there isn’t enough space in our heads, and it spreads all over our bodies.

We are not fat, we are greatly cultivated.Every time I see my curves in the mirror, I tell myself: “How amazing am I ?! “

Green Cleaning: Homemade Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

You'll save a fortune on cleaning products around
the home with this multi-purpose citrus scented enzyme cleaner

Bumpalicious Fashions are going green! We're continuing our Back To Basics month with this homemade citrus enzyme cleaner. 

This homemade citrus enzyme cleaner is one of the easiest green cleaning products that you can make.  It's safe to use on chopping boards and around food preparation surfaces. It's very easy on the purse strings costing about $2 for 4Litres. It's eco-friendly so you can feel good about doing your little bit for the environment. 

Perhaps my favourite reason for going green and making my own cleaning products is that I can give it to the kids and tell them to go crazy! It's completely child safe. Far from "keeping out of reach of children" I can give this to my kids and make them clean up after themselves. 

Think about that for a minute.... you can give your little "helper" (in want of a better word) a sponge and some spray then put them to work on your cupboards and tables with complete peace of mind. 

You can thank me later. 

  • It's cost effective
  • Its a child friendly cleaning product (so you can train them young)
  • It's food safe (unlike spray & wipe chemical cleaners) so you can use it on chopping boards and high chairs
  • It hasn't been linked to a rise in asthma & allergies, unlike chemical based cleaners
  • It's environmentally friendly
  • It has antibacterial properties
  • It's easy
  • And it actually works. This stuff really is effective. 

Take your time. Spray it on and let it rest for a few minutes. The naturally occurring enzymes in the citrus and the vinegar will do the heavy lifting for you. If it's really stubborn (like greasy stovetops and scum bathroom sinks) then sprinkle a little bicarb soda onto the stain then spray the citrus vinegar on. The kids will love watching it sizzle away... you'll have then washing sinks and showers in no time!

For makeup stains around the bathroom, for stubborn messes and greasy ovens you can make your own Gumption out of this homemade citrus cleaner. Take a small container (preferably something with a lid that you can seal) and fill it with bicarb soda. 

Slowly pour a little citrus cleaner into the jar until it's a thick porridge-like consistency. Smear it onto your most stubborn messes and let it rest for a few moments before spraying with the citrus cleaner and wiping away. 

Some inspiring thoughts about changing bodies & baby weight as well as more fun food ideas for fussy kids. We've dedicated the whole month to getting Back to Basics with green cleaning tips, homemade gifts and money saving ideas. If you haven't already found us on Facebook we'd love to see you over there. 

Read on for more inspiring ideas about how to use vinegar around the home.

Verstile Vinegar
Vinegar is one of the most useful and most affordable products you can bring into your home. Check out just a few ways you can use vinegar around the home...and think of the money you can save by using vinegar instead of buying:

  • fridge deodorisers
  • fabric softeners
  • DVD cleaning products
  • shower cleaning products
  • Anti dandruff shampoos
  • jewellery cleaners
  • and more!
Cleaner for Gold Jewelry (Winner of June 2007 Vinegar Online Use Contest)Use one cup apple cider vinegar.  Submerge solid gold jewelry item in vinegar for 15 minutes.  Remove and dry with cloth.
Worn DVDs:
If you have a worn DVD that has begun to stick or suffers from the occasional freeze-frame, wipe it down with white distilled vinegar applied to a soft cloth.  Ensure the DVD is completely dry before re-inserting in the DVD player.  (Note:  This only works on DVDs that are scratched of dirty through normal wear.)
Frosted windows:
For those rare winter mornings when there is frost on the car, wipe the windows the night before with a solution of one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar.  They won’t frost over.
Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth.  Try in an inconspicuous place first.
Removing stickers:
To remove bumper sticker residue, try cleaning with vinegar. Wipe the surface repeatedly with white distilled vinegar until it is soaked. In a few minutes, it should peel off easily. Test on a small invisible area of the car to ensure there will be no damage to the paint.
Keep Cut Flowers LongerKeep flowers fresh longer.  Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar in a 1-quart vase of water.  Trim stems and change water every five days.
Ant deterrent:
Ant invasions can sometimes be deterred by washing counter tops, cabinets and floors with white distilled vinegar.

Coffee maker cleaner (automatic):
White distilled vinegar can help to dissolve mineral deposits that collect in automatic drip coffee makers from hard water. Fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly with water when the cycle is finished. (Be sure to check the owner’s manual for specific instructions.)
Clean the microwave:
Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Will loosen splattered on food and deodorize.
Deodorize the kitchen drain:
Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Let stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.
Clean the refrigerator:
Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

Cleaning Stainless Steel AppliancesCleaning with vinegar makes it easier to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. Apply vinegar with a soft cloth.  Try in an inconspicuous place first.
Cleaner Dishes and Glasses:Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap.  Wash full cycle. 
Remove Refrigerator Smells:
Place 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in refrigerator.  Within 2 days, any smell is gone!.

Bathtub film:
Bathtub film can be removed by wiping with white distilled vinegar and then with soda. Rinse clean with water.
Shower doors:
Rub down shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar to remove soap residue.
Toilet bowl cleaner:
Stubborn stains can be removed from the toilet by cleaning with white distilled vinegar and brushing vigorously. The bowl may be deodorized by adding 3 cups of white distilled vinegar. Allow it to remain for a half hour, then flush.
Unclog the showerhead:
Corrosion may be removed from showerheads or faucets by soaking them in white distilled vinegar overnight. This may be easily accomplished by saturating a terry cloth towel in vinegar and wrapping it around the showerhead or faucet.

Freshen baby clothes:
The addition of 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to each load of baby clothes during the rinse cycle will naturally break down uric acid and soapy residue leaving the clothes soft and fresh.
Clothes washing magic:
Vinegar is an all natural fabric softer. Clothes will rinse better if 1 cup of white distilled vinegar is added to the last rinse water. The acid in vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, but strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. 
Blanket renewal:
Cotton and wool blankets become soft, fluffy and free of soap odor if 2 cups of white distilled vinegar are added to the rinse cycle of the wash.
Keeping colors fast:
To hold colors in fabrics, which tend to run, soak them for a few minutes in white distilled vinegar before washing.

Leather cleaning:
Leather articles can be cleaned with a mixture of white distilled vinegar and linseed oil. Rub the mixture into the leather and then polish with a soft cloth.

Scorch marks: Lightly rub white distilled vinegar on fabric that has been slightly scorched. Wipe with a clean cloth.

Pet accidents on the carpet:
Test the color fastness of the carpet with white distilled vinegar in an inconspicuous place. Then sprinkle distilled vinegar over the fresh pet accident. Wait a few minutes and sponge from the center outward. Blot up with a dry cloth. This procedure may need to be repeated for stubborn stains.
Get Rid of Odor on a Smelly Dog
Wet the dog down with fresh water.  Use a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 2 gallons water.  Saturate the dog’s coat with this solution.  Dry the dog off without rinsing the solution.  The smell will be gone!

Relief from Heartburn:
For relief of heartburn or acid indigestion, take one or two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting:
Douse with vinegar. It will soothe irritation and relieve itching.
Relieve sunburn:
Lightly rub white distilled or cider vinegar on skin. Reapply as needed.
Relieve dry and itchy skin:
Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your bath water.
Fight dandruff:
After shampooing, rinse with a solution of ½ cup vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
Soothe a sore throat:
Put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle, then swallow. For another great gargle: 1 cup hot water, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vinegar, gargle then drink.
Treat sinus infections and chest colds:
Add 1/4 cup or more vinegar to the vaporizer. (Be sure to check vaporizer instructions for additional water measurement.)
Skin burns: 
Apply ice-cold vinegar right away for fast relief. Will prevent burn blisters.
Chest congestion:
To clear up respiratory congestion, inhale a vapor mist from steaming pot containing water and several spoonfuls of vinegar.
Toenail fungus:
Soak toes in a solution of vinegar and water, using 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, 15 minutes per day.
Arthritis Relief:
Mix a teaspoon of half apple cider vinegar, half honey in a glass of water with a teaspoon of orange flavored Knox gelatin.
Natural Remedy for Morning Sickness:
Sweeten a little apple cider vinegar mixed into a glass of water. This concoction can help calm a queasy stomach.
Stop Itching:
Apply a paste made from vinegar and cornstarch.  Keep on until itch disappears. 
Cleaning Heavily Soiled Hands:
Moisten cornmeal with apple cider vinegar.  Scrub hands, rinse in cold water and pat dry. 
Soft Feet:
Combine 1 cup white distilled vinegar to 2 gallons warm water.  Soak feet for 45 minutes then use a pumice stone or file to remove dead skin from heels and callused areas of feet.
Wart Remover:
Mix lukewarm/warm water with a cup of white distilled vinegar.  Immerse area with wart and soak 20 minutes everyday until wart disappears. 
Bug Spray:
Combine equal amounts of water, white distilled vinegar and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.  Use on skin, as needed. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

$2 Laundry Liquid (Back To Bascis)

How much money do you spend on laundry detergent each month? We're continuing our Back To Basics month with homemade laundry liquid. This laundry liquid is free of nasty chemicals, safe for the environment, safe for young sensitive skin and budget friendly....coming in at around $2 per TEN LITRES.

Seriously, if you can make 2min Maggi noodles then you can make this homemade laundry liquid. From start to finish (from washing your bottles to filling them with detergent) it takes about half an hour. And best of all, it works out to about TWENTY CENTS PER LITRE.  You can always half the recipe and make 5Ltrs for your first time.

Once upon a time I used to spend $10 per Litre on Dynamo. A few years ago, my mother started working as a Moderator in one of these "going green in the suburbs" forums that have been popping up in recent years and she started hinting that there were things around the home that I would benefit from doing differently.

I heard...but I didn't really listen. It took almost three long years before the penny finally dropped. I've gone from spending a fortune on cleaning products (Dynamo, Spray & Wipe, shower cleaners, toilet cleaners, etc, etc) to spending about $10-$15 per month on a few ingredients that I use to make my own cleaning products. 

I've also drastically cut the amount of chemicals that my children are exposed to. Have you ever taken the time to read the label on a bottle of Spray & Wipe? Notice the poisons warnings? The instructions that tell us to "consult a doctor immediately" if the product is ingested? So why do we clean our bench tops and cutting boards with it?! 

Todays post is the first of many that might have you re-thinking the cleaning products you bring into your home.


2 cup Lux Flakes
½ cup washing soda
½ cup bicarb soda
Essential oils (optional)
½ cup Borax (optional) 
 Borax is added to give your detergent even more dirt busting power. There are some serious nasties in Borax. If you want to re-use your grey water leave the Borax out. If you have hard water, then you'll probably need to add some. If your baby has skin allergies or you're trying to go green then replace the Borax will Bicarb Soda.

You'll also need:
  • A pot
  • A bucket
  • A funnel
  • And 10 litres worth of bottles to store your detergent in.
Step 1 - In the Kitchen
Put 1.5 litres of water in a pot & add the soap (flakes or grated), the bicarb, Borax and washing soda. Bring the pot to a gentle boil, stirring regularly. Keep boiling until the soap flakes have completely disoved and you're left with a lump free liquid soap.  

Step 2 - In the Laundry
Most mop buckets are about 9Ltrs - fill your bucket with cold water and add the pot of liquid soap. Stir thoroughly.  If you'd like to scent your laundry liquid then add a few drops of your favourite essential oils at this stage. 

Step 3 - Storing Your Laundry Liquid
Use a funnel to carefully fill prewashed bottles with the laundry liquid. There you have it! TEN LITRES of  effective laundry liquid for about $2 worth of ingredients. 

Step 4 - Using Your Laundry Liquid
This detergent does settle and seperate over time so remember to give the bottle a good shake before adding it to the washing machine. This liquid is safe to use in front & top loader washing machines. 

DIRECTIONS: 1/4cup of liquid per wash

For Your Information
Washing Soda is not baking or bicarb soda. You can find it in the laundry detergent aisle at most local supermarkets.

For more information about this and other green cleaning recipes check out the Grandmother of Going Green and renowned author Rhonda Hetzel's Down To Earth Blog or visit the Down To Earth Forum 

Budget friendly & chemical free cleaners. How to make your own citrus cleaner (ideal for bench tops, toilets & everything in between) out of old orange peels.