Saturday, September 13, 2014

10 Benefits of Oil Pulling

Recently, my kids and I have been looking for a way to whiten our teeth without the unnecessary costs. Most treatments reach well into the hundred dollar mark and for a family our size, that just wasn't an option. Not to mention that they tend to be loaded with bleach and other chemicals.

Then I remembered oil pulling. I had discovered it years ago as a way of treating mouth and tooth infections and new it had whitening benefits as well.

Oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of oil around your mouth, forcing it between your teeth, for ten to fifteen minutes and then spitting it out. It is recommended that you brush your teeth before and after for maximum results. It is also recommended to do it in a morning on an empty stomach as the oil pulling will stir up some toxins and can cause weird or bad dreams if done before bed.

Grossness aside, oil pulling has many more benefits than just teeth whitening.

10 Benefits of Oil Pulling

  1. White, bright teeth
  2. Healthy gums
  3. Fresher breath
  4. Increased energy - something we all strive for
  5. Clearer mind and decreased headaches
  6. Clearer sinuses, reduction of infections and alleviated allergies
  7. Better sleep
  8. Clearer Skin
  9. Regulated menstrual cycle and alleviated PMS symptoms
  10. Improved lymphatic system

I couldn't believe it, but after just one week of oil pulling every day for 10 minutes, my skin was clearer, my teeth were whiter and my allergies were almost non-existent. The kids were seeing great results as well.

As well as these amazing benefits, oil pulling can also reduce the instances of illness and infections throughout the body, which is a definite plus in my book.

Recommended Oils

  • Coconut Oil - you can melt it first or just let it melt on your tongue. The smell and taste may be too much for some, in which case I suggest buying the version that has been processed to remove flavour.
  • Sunflower/Vegetable Oil - This is what we have been using and have seen amazing results, but from a health perspective we will be switching to coconut oil.
  • Grapeseed Oil - We have also tried this one and it works just as well as the Sunflower oil.

Beware of peanut, canola, soy, corn and cotton seed oils. These tend to be highly processed and genetically or chemically altered.

Olive Oil, although a great oil, is not recommended for oil pulling as it can leave a green tinge on your teeth.

If you would like to read more about the wonders of Oil Pulling, you can check out Wellness Mamas awesome post here and Delicious Obsessions post all about oil pulling with Coconut Oil here

Monday, August 11, 2014

5 Easy Ways To Make Your Products Last Longer

A great way to save money on your groceries is to make the most of the products you buy. Often we use more of a product than necessary or we throw away a container that still has product left in it.
Here are a few tips to make the most of those products and really get your money's worth.

1. Only use 2Tbs of washing powder per load. The clothes will come out just as clean but your washing powder will last twice as long or longer.

2. Use a Foamy bottle for your face wash and hand wash. A foamy bottle allows you to mix a small amount of product with water and as you press down on the pump, it combines the two into a foam. The foam is plenty soapy to wash what needs washing while extending the life of your product by 3 or 4 times.

3. Use a pump bottle for your shampoo and conditioner. When pouring our hair care products out, while in the shower, it is easy to pour out way too much (especially the kids). By using a pump pack you can limit how much product is used each time (unless you have a serial pumper, in which case it probably wont make much difference). If you find that the pump still gives out too much, you can wrap a rubber band around the bottle under the pump. This will prevent the pump from going all the way down and reduce the amount of product delivered.

4. Use a tube squeezer for your toothpaste and creams. This product slides on the end of your tube and squeezes any remaining product to the top of the tube as you slide it along. They are only a few dollars for a pack of 2, but if that's out of your budget, or you are feeling thrifty, you can use a bulldog clip in a similar way or just lay the tube down on a flat surface and push the remaining product towards the top with your hand or the back of a comb etc.

5. Extend the life of your vinegar, which can be used as a fabric softener or household cleaner, by diluting it with water. I mix mine the same way I used to do with cordial. I can make about 8 2 litre bottles of vinegar from 1 2 litre bottle by diluting it. Once you've diluted it, just store it in a cupboard to strengthen up. I've been doing this for about 8 years without any problems.

Extending Your Household Products

*This post contains affiliate links, these links allow me to earn a small amount of money to help keep this blog running and to allow me to trial and test the great hints and tips that I provide*

Monday, July 14, 2014

I love a review that totally sucks, in a good way of course ~ Dyson review

I have been so excited and nervous about writing this post. You see I love doing reviews. There is something wonderful about trying out a new product or service and seeing how well it fits your family’s needs and I love sharing what I find with others.

But I worry about being one of those blogs that has too many reviews. When making a purchase, large or small, I always do my research. It’s a pain in the butt to spend your hard earned money only to get a product that doesn't live up to its expectations and so I check out what others have to say on blogs and in forums.

This time I was lucky enough to trial some new products from a favourite company of mine, Dyson. After years of using an Electrolux barrel vac, we finally bit the bullet about 5 years ago bought a Dyson. After having a play with them in store, we decided to get an upright model which was completely foreign to me, as I’d been raised using barrel vacs.

We were instantly in love and it became a fight over who got to use it, which made a nice change from fighting over who had to do the vacuuming. So when Dyson offered me this review, I jumped at the chance even though I didn't think they could get much better than my DC14.

Boy was I wrong. The first little goodie to arrive was the Dyson Digital Slim DC59 which is the latest in their cordless range and I will admit I have been coveting one of these for a while. I figured they would not only be brilliant for those quick clean ups like biscuit crumbs and pencil sharpening’s but would be great for giving the car a go over as well.

This vacuum has so many great uses. We used it for getting the cobwebs near the ceiling (yes I have cobwebs on my ceiling – out of site out of mind), cleaned the exhaust fan in the bathroom, vacuumed behind hard to reach furniture, doing the quick clean ups I’d envisioned, getting the dust off the vent of the heater, cleaning out the car and we even used it to remove the fluff and stuff from our fitted couch covers, meaning less washing on my part (total bonus).

Now for the technical stuff. DC59 Animal is powered by the Dyson digital motor V6. This 350W motor has 2 Tier Radial™ cyclones and a re-engineered nickel manganese cobalt battery combined to provide powerful suction. The latest motorised head with carbon fibre filaments aids in achieving high dust removal. Together these four technologies enable DC59 to remove as much dust as a mains-powered vacuum cleaner. With 20 minutes of powerful suction, DC59 is light and easy to manoeuvre between high, low and hard to reach spaces. No more fiddling about with plugs or tripping over cords. Simply remove from the docking station and go.

This awesome little vacuum is a must for anyone with kids or pets. Now that I’ve raved about its benefits here are the things that weren’t so great. Like all Dyson machines, it’s loud and because of the close proximity when using it, the vents blow air at your face but I am willing to forgive those due to how great it is.

So after falling completely in love with the DC59 I didn’t think Dyson could further impress me, but OMG!!! The DC41 blew me away. One thing we noticed when we first bought our Dyson was how well our carpets came up and considering they were original to our circa 1971 house, that was something. 

The DC41 does an even better job on removing built in dirt and fluffing up carpet that is long past its use by date. The carpet may look clean but you can actually hear the DC41 sucking up all the tiny bits of dirt and crap as it goes. My carpets have never looked better and the easy manoeuvrability makes it so much easier to get into those awkward and hard to reach areas.

One of the great things about Dyson, is all the awesome accessories that are available for their machines. These attachments are compatible with the different models which made it fun to try out some of the cool bits and pieces on the DC59 cordless like the soft dusting brush (great for the dashboard in the car) and the up top tool for getting on top of door frames and hard to reach cupboards and shelves.

Thanks to my lovely model Georgia for demonstrating how the soft dusting brush works.

See? I told you I had cobwebs :)

One of the things I love most about the DC41 is the multi floor feature. With the click of a switch I can go from the carpeted areas to the hardwood without any drama and the suction is so powerful it gets all the dirt and crumbs that like to hide in the grooves of my floorboards. In fact the suction is so good that you can see the surrounding dirt and crumbs being drawn towards the vacuum head.

So what makes the DC41 Animal so good?

Radial Cyclone™ technology.  Other cleaners still rely on bags, losing suction over time.  Dyson continues to invest in research and development, refining and improving its cyclone technology since inventing it more than 20 years ago.  A mesh shroud helps separate large debris, with inner cyclones generating powerful centrifugal forces.  Every angle of each airway is honed to ensure the microscopic particles like pollen and mould are captured (this is why my allergies and asthma have reduced).
It has the highest suction power at the cleaner head and turns on a dime.  In addition to the motor and filter, ducting, valves and the stand have been engineered into the ball, making it even easier to turn the tightest of corners. It took three years of intensive research and development and over 5,000 prototypes to create DC41.  A myriad of tests were developed to understand maneuverability in order to make the DC41 as easy to handle as it is.

What were the negatives? Again the motor is quite loud but since I'm used to that from my DC14, it's not a big deal and having grown up with barrel vacs I still find the wand a little awkward to use since it doesn't pull apart or have the bend like a barrel vac.

Since having the two of these Dyson's at my disposal, my cleaning time has reduced as they do such a thorough job and eliminate the need for other cleaning methods (extra washing of couch covers etc) and have been a sanity saver due to being able to do a quick clean up of spills, especially after having already done a full clean (because this is naturally when the kids will make a mess). And the funky purple colour (a favourite in this house) doesn't hurt at all.

If you would like to get yourself one of these awesome Dyson Animal vacuum cleaners they retail for $949 for the Dyson DC41 Animal and $649 for the Dyson DC59 Animal and are well worth the investment.

*Disclosure – I was sent both of these vacuum cleaners by Dyson to trial and review and was so impressed with them that we decided to purchase them both *

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hope for Accreta

Having a baby should be one of the most beautiful and magical times in your life, but as I and many others know from experience, this is not always the case.
Today I am joined by Christina Mathewson who would like to share her story and help raise awareness and funds for those who have suffered complications from placenta previa, like accreta and precreta.

12 months ago, on the 20th of June, my life was hanging in the balance. I had delivered my baby 2 days prior. When they were prepping me for the emergency c-section, I didn’t know that it would be 5 days before I would see my baby or my family.  In the photo below, my baby is 2 days old, and the nurses and doctors didn’t think I would make it and were trying everything to get me through.  Due to the belief that I probably wasn’t going to make it, the NICU nurse brought my baby down and put her on my chest, so that we could have some time together before I died, and my family and baby would have some memento to remember me by.  The moment that they put her on my chest I responded, I rubbed my chin on the top of her head, and that is when I started to improve.

I had placenta previa and an undiagnosed precreta, which is the worst form of a pregnancy condition called Accreta. Accreta is where the placenta grows too deeply in the uterus wall. Well mine didn’t just grow too deeply it went right through, and then attached to major blood vessels, my bladder and urethra.  All of this caused major blood loss, I was dying on the table, as fast as they could put blood in I was losing it.  The doctors explained that blood was everywhere making it hard for them to find where my placenta ended and I began.

I had 23 hours of surgery, a full hysterectomy, bladder and urethra repair, and  a massive blood donation of 54 units and 80 blood products. 

This was a really trying time for my family that almost cost them a wife, mother and friend.  I am very glad to be here today to be able to tell my story.  Since coming home from hospital and starting to move on with my life I have become the President of the Australian Chapter of the Hope for Accreta Foundation. Through which I am helping many women and families that are going through a similar experience.  Now the Hope for Accreta foundation is holding it’s first ever international Conference with the Survivors, Top doctors and Researchers speaking. I hope to go to this conference and learn as much as I can and bring that information back to Australia to continue helping people.  To  be able to go I need to raise $4500.  I am currently 24% of the way to that goal and will very soon be holding an online fundraising Auction, selling some beautiful items that have been donated to me.

The Auction will open on the 18th of June, my babies birthday, and will close on the 24th of June the day when I was finally well enough to come of life support and properly meet my baby for the first time.

You can read Christina's full story on how she survived Percreta over on her blog The Joy of the Home.
If you would like to show your support for Christina and other Accreta and Precreta survivors, you can head over to her facebook auction and grab yourself one of the many beautiful items available and don't forget to show your support by liking the Hope for Accreta page and sharing it with your friends and family.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

8 Tips to Help You Be Prepared for an Emergency

This week has certainly put us through our paces. I don't profess to be super organised and some days are complete chaos, but this week we learned the importance of being prepared for an emergency.
I won't go into great detail, but suffice it to say, what started out as a normal Wednesday, ended with Mr Pete going into surgery and me not making it home for several hours.
We are fortunate enough to have 3 very capable teens still living at home, which made dealing with this sudden change to our routine much easier, but here are some tips to help you be prepared for when the unexpected happens.

8 Tips for Being Prepared for an Emergency

1. Try to have at least a couple of nights worth of dinners precooked in the freezer. This means they can easily be thrown in the oven or microwave, saving you the hassle of having to cook or the expense of buying Take Away. Another option is to have simple freezer or packet meals on hand like pies, pizza, tinned soup, baked beans or pasta and sauce meals. I know these aren't everyone's cup of tea, but they can be a sanity saver in an emergency.

2. Make sure you have your mobile (cell) phone charged. I charge mine overnight so I know that every morning it is fully charged for the day but it's definitely worth either taking your charger with you (especially if you are unsure of how long you'll be away from home) or buying a quick charge device to give your phone a boost until you can recharge it.

3. Make sure your phone has the contact info for babysitters or family and friends who can help out in a pinch. I was fortunate that I had one of the teens home for the day so that she could watch Ollie and I was able to call the other two and fill them in so that they were prepared when they got home.

4. Make sure you have fuel in your car. I know there are times when you are running low and know you should get some but think bugger it you'll do it tomorrow. Thanks to Murphy's Law, these will be the times you need to have plenty of fuel in the car, because the last thing you want to be worrying about is running out or having to stop and get some.

5. Have an emergency fund. Thankfully, in Australia, hospital care is free under our current Medicare system but there are other unexpected expenses that can pop up in an emergency and it helps to know you have some funds on hand.

6. Keep a packed bag in the boot of your car. Some emergencies are going to require an overnight stay or the need for clothes and toiletries (especially in the case of evacuations), so it is a good idea to keep a bag in the car with a change of clothes for each family member, a toiletries case, any medication that is required (unless it needs refrigeration), a couple of towels and spare phone chargers.

7. Take your medications and monitors etc with you. It's not always possible to carry all of your necessary medications and monitors (blood glucose etc) with you but if you can carry a days worth it can make a huge difference if you are stranded away from home. Keep a list of medications, doses and Dr's details in your purse or wallet so if you are caught out it will be easier to obtain medication quickly.
If you have a serious condition or are pregnant, it is a good idea to carry your necessary medical records with you as this will make treatment easier should it be needed.

8. If you have a baby that is bottle fed it is a good idea to make sure you have a well stocked nappy (diaper) bag with spare bottles, formula and dummy's (pacifiers). This one I can speak from experience on. When Jake was a newborn we came home to find our street evacuated and although we had our nappy bag with us we were down to our last bottle and police would not allow us inside to get more. Thankfully we had a friend nearby who was able to help out, but it made me more prepared in the future.

I hope that none of you are ever in the position to need these measures but having them in place will help ease some of the burden if you do.
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