Thursday, July 23, 2015

What To Watch When You Don’t Have Cable

Life Without Cable - Blog Photo - 2015-07-22 As renters, we always had cable and internet included in our rental costs. Now as condo owners, we have to pay for those services ourselves. And let me tell you, it’s expensive! I had no idea how much internet and cable costs were until April last year, and I wrote a post about that experience. The condo we live in is set up with fibre optics, which is faster, but it ties us to either Rogers or Bell as other ISPs can’t run on these fibre optics*. Our decision was to go without cable television and just pay for internet. When people find out we don’t have cable their response is “What do you watch??…” or “Do you have a TV?”. The answers are “Lots of stuff!” and “um.. yes (Duh…)” Just kidding on that last part. I used to think the same thing when I found out people didn’t have cable. So if you’re curious what we do at Casa Watson, here it is!

http://www.straight.com/files/v3/2014/10/Netflix_Canada-300x200.png

We’ve been subscribers to Netflix.ca (for about $8/month) since 2009… long before we knew anyone else using it and back when it was all grainy off-brand movies from the 90’s. It has come a LONG way since then. There are lots of lists online on what to watch, like this one by the Huffington Post. My husband and I are currently watching Orange Is The New Black season 3, but he’s watching a bunch of other shows, like House of Cards, and House of Lies. Also, the movie selections are great, as is Netflix Kids, but Benjamin is a bit too young for section.

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YouTube has blown up in the last few years. I remember going on it and posting a few videos back in 2007 when there was a 3-minute limit. Now people have very successful careers being professional YouTubers! I watch a variety of channels from daily vloggers, to makeup gurus, to news-y reporters, to comic videos. If there’s something you want to learn, someone has made a video about it on YouTube. It is very easy to get caught up in a YouTube black hole. I suggest disabling the “auto-play” feature so that you have more control. Here are a few of my current favourite channels:

 

Network TV logos

A lot of people don’t know this, but tv stations have a LOT of shows available to stream (for free) on their websites. So in terms of Canadian stations, I’m talking about Global TV, CityTV, CTV, MTV Canada, HGTV, etc. Just look around and you’ll see what I mean. I use these stations to watch most of my cable shows that I’m “missing” by not having a traditional cable subscription. The only caveat is that you can’t watch them live. Sometimes they’re available the same day, but mostly I watch these shows the following day. Also, they’re not available online forever. Some only stay available for one week, some for a few weeks. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Using this method I watch shows like:

DVDs

Kevin owns a few hundred movies on DVD. I have a few TV series on DVD. We watch them sparingly.

What We’re Missing..

Kevin loves Game of Thrones and sports. He’ll get GoT episode downloads from others and he watches sports at our parents houses when he’s there, but we don’t make special trips for it.

***Tip!***

My biggest tip to streaming online is to download an ad blocker. It has completely changed my streaming experience! I use AdBlock Plus and it’s available on Chrome and Firefox. I cannot recommend this enough as it removes all the ads at the beginning of YouTube Videos and all the commercials from the network TV sites. Even if you’re not streaming, this removes ads from other websites. I love it.

Additionally, I have a computer tower set up to our TV. Basically our TV is acting as a giant computer monitor, so when I turn on the computer the TV opens up to my desktop. I have a wireless keyboard and mouse so I sit on my couch to do everything computer related. It’s awesome. Whenever anyone comes over they think it’s a SmartTV, but it’s just a basic flat screen.

I hope this helps you expand your knowledge of tv/video watching options outside of traditional cable! What’s available in Canada versus the U.S. varies greatly (it seems like our options are more limited) so if you’re a Canuck and have another option I’ve missed here, please feel free to share it!

*After I finished writing this post, I read a news article that says the CRTC is forcing the country’s big ISPs to allow competitors access to their fibre optic lines.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Life Updates

Hello? Anyone out there???

 

What a long blogging break, eh? I’ve missed blogging! I’m back today to let you all know what I’ve been up to lately!

 

I use Windows Live Writer for blogging and kept getting an error message when I tried to log into it. With a bit of trouble shooting today, I finally figured out how to reset my password. So yay for that! Also, typing a blog post is a lot harder these days. I’m literally typing this with one hand while holding my keyboard over my head with the other hand lol. Benjamin loves to crawl all over me. I always thought I’d blog regularly when he was napping but I’m usually running around the condo trying to get other stuff done. I really want to try to commit to a weekly blog post but it’ll probably continue to be an annual event knowing me :P

 

So, I have a 10 month old! Benjamin is 10 months old today. Kevin and I spent a good long while looking through my Instagram post yesterday and marvelling at how fast Benjamin has changed. The last few months have been a blur. It feels like time is flying and going by so slowly too. I’ve made a few friends in the past year (mom-friends, if you wanna call them that) for which I’m thankful! Specifically Jeanette, from This Dusty House! Conveniently she lives a few houses down so we hang out a couple times a week. Isabel is Benjamin’s bestie!!

2015-06-17 Benjamin and Isabel having a play date

We moved into the condo last August. I can’t believe we’ve been here for almost a year!! I haven’t lived anywhere for more than 2 years in the last 15 years, which just seems crazy to me. For a while I was feeling like a transient hobo and it was really getting me down. I was feeling so uninspired to decorate our last 2 places. We kept everything in boxes in our last apartment and slept with the mattress on the floor (in anticipation of the condo being completed). Eventually I told Kevin that we had to put the bed together because I couldn’t get up off the floor anymore with my huge belly. Frankly, we haven’t done much to the condo either. We had some deficiencies, one of which was a crooked wall that they came to fix, so all we’ve really done is move our furniture in and that’s it. I rearranged things in here about a dozen times, but I think it takes a while to find what works. I’m still working on furniture placement (shhh.. don’t tell Kevin).

 Kevin and Benjamin at Nana's house

I’ve been out of full-time work for over 2 years as well! After my last full time job ended I thought I’d get back into work quickly, but it never did happen. That’s another reason for the lack of decor inspiration. We’re using what money we have a lot more carefully. Once I’m back at work I think we’ll work on making this place more personalized!

 

So anyhow, that’s what’s up with me these days… Hopefully I’ll be back here before 2016 :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Benjamin's Birth Story

I gave birth to Benjamin in September and had a crazy, whirlwind delivery. When I was pregnant, I obsessively read other women’s birth stories. I found them fascinating and felt like they would help me prepare for labour myself. In hindsight, they didn’t prepare me at all.. I don’t think anything can. But I still wanted to put down the events of the day in writing so I could remember it. Here goes! This this not concise in at ALL. I’m writing this more for me and future Benjamin than anyone else, so that’s why I’ve included all the details. Congratulations if you can read through this whole thing lol
P.S. My experience with midwives was amazing I would recommend midwifery care to anyone!

*****

On Thursday September 4th, I had an appointment with my midwife. I was 2 days overdue and she suggested we do a “stretch and sweep”. She had talked to me about it at my previous appointment and I had no desire to do it because I trusted my baby would come on his own when he was ready and because I have a horribly sensitive cervix and I didn’t want to put myself through unnecessary pain. We talked a bit more about the procedure and I ended up agreeing to do it. It was painful and I cried. Like ugly, red faced, huffing and puffing crying. She wasn’t even able to do it properly because I couldn’t relax at all, so it was all for NOTHING! Ultimately she was able to deduce that I was not dilated at all, 0% effaced, and my cervix wasn’t even facing the right direction. She told me I wouldn’t be going into labour in the next 24 hours and very unlikely would it be that weekend.

On Saturday September 6th I went to get a pedicure with my mom and sister. The guy doing mine said I looked HUGE (uhh thanks jackass), but he gave me a nice strong foot and leg massage that felt awesome, so I forgave him. Later that day I went grocery shopping with my sister and did an extra large shop. I forgot to get bagels so I walked back across the length of the store to get back to the bakery section. The walk back to the bakery section completely winded me, but like the aesthetician said, I was huge and the extra 35lbs was really weighing me (literally).

When I got home from grocery shopping, I ate a bunch of pineapple and hung out with Kevin. I really felt like crap (tired and achy) so I decided to take a bath. I sat in the tub for maybe 10 minutes and it wasn’t helping me at all, so I went to bed early. This was about 9pm. I woke up on 3 different occasions with splashing acid reflux. The third time I actually ran to the bathroom because I thought I was going to throw up from coughing so hard. Kevin had been watching TV at that point but came in to check on me. I gave up on sleep at this point and asked him if we could watch Hitch. It was after midnight. I felt little twinges when we settled on the couch to watch the movie, but I had been feeling twinges for weeks, so I ignored them and didn’t say anything to Kevin. At 1:30am I was having a harder time concentrating on the movie so I told Kevin I thought I was having contractions. He was excited. I kind of was too, but the anticipation scared me. I told him at this point that I wanted to wait until at least 6am before calling the midwife.

Side note:
In my previous appointments, I had said I would like to try to have a natural (drug-free) hospital birth. I had also said I would like to labour in the comfort of my home as long as possible. The midwives said that was fine and waiting up until 7cm was safe. After that point it’s hard to relocate because then you’re starting the transition phase of labour, which is the shortest, but most intense, painful part. They told me if I hadn’t asked for an epidural by that point, that I would by the time I reached the transition phase. They said that most women will react pretty strongly to the transition phase – crying, vomiting, diarrea, etc. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to it, but I really appreciated my midwife’s honesty during that conversation. While I like to be mentally prepared, NOTHING could have prepared me for labour.

So back to the story, I pulled out my big yoga ball and was rocking back and forth on that. By 2:30, I was surprised by how much pain I was in. Things got pretty crazy after that. At the beginning of each contraction, I would literally jump up and run from room to room wailing/screaming. My cat was freaking the F out. I’d jump in the tub (I hadn’t drained the water from earlier) and back out again. I felt like I couldn’t get ahead of the pain. Kevin tried timing my contractions but they were all over the place. At 4:30am, I threw up and Kevin called my midwife. My secondary midwife (Esther) was available so she said she’d make her way over. She got to our place at about 5am. I was on the bed, naked, on all fours, rocking back and forth in the middle of a contraction when she arrived. I immediately said, “I’m going to need to go to the hospital as soon as possible to get the epidural!!” She said that was fine and she’d have to check me first. She did an internal exam (which was painful… ugh damn cervix!!) and her face said it all. I didn’t even need to hear her say, “You’re barely dilated…” I was crushed. Stella, my primary midwife, had told me at an earlier appointment that women generally dilate a half centimetre every hour. Esther didn’t tell me how far dilated I was and I didn’t ask, but I knew it was less than 4 because that’s how far you need to be to be admitted to the hospital. Later on she told me I was 2cm when she checked me.

So then Esther sat on the side of the bed and told me to lay down on my side. She’d put her hand on the top of my belly when a contraction would start and would coach me to say “whoooooooooo. whooooooooooo. whooooooooo” and then would let me know when the contraction had reached its peak. I found her presence to be extremely comforting. Kevin was trying to rub my leg while Esther was there, but I didn’t want him to touch me at all lol. I can’t really explain why I found Esther to be so comforting, but she was authoritative and caring and she’d gone through labour herself before so I really felt like she could help me through it. She coached me through contractions for about an hour, then said she was leaving. She said to call her in a couple of hours or if my mucus plug came out or if my water broke.

After she left I tried to take little cat naps between contractions but it was so difficult to rest. I ended up getting up and sitting backwards on the toilet. At 7:30am I noticed I was bleeding and I was SO FREAKING EXCITED. I never thought I’d be so excited to see blood, but it meant progress and meant that we could call Esther back! Yay!! I’d barely even processed the thought before another contraction started and I heard a huge SPLASH in the toilet. It legitimately sounded like someone dropped a brick in the toilet bowl and there was splash back all over the toilet and floor. I yelled out to Kevin that my mucus plug came out and my water broke and that there was meconium in the water. Note: there wasn’t meconium in the water. It was super murky looking because I’m gross and hadn’t flushed the toilet after my mucus plug came out lol.

Esther told us to get to the hospital and she’d meet us there at 8am. We live just over 1km from the hospital and can see it from our condo, but it took us over half an hour to get there because my contractions were extremely intense after my water broke and I couldn’t help but push. Every time a contraction would start, I’d have to stop and press up with my hand. I’d been told that pushing before you’re 10cm can cause your cervix to tear so I was freaking out inside. In my head I thought I was 4-5cm dilated and all that kept me going was knowing that I was going to be at the hospital soon where I could get an epidural because if it hurt this much already, there was NO WAY I was going to make it through the transition phase drug-free.

When we arrived at the hospital, Kevin parked the car in the ER lot and we rushed through the doors. I had a contraction in the ER waiting room lol I seriously felt like I was being ridiculous but it was so painful. I had my dress hiked up around my waist, my hand pressed upward on my crotch, while I was on my knees screaming in pain. (I’m laughing while I’m writing this, but it was super intense at the time). A nurse came out to check out what was going on and told us how to get to Labour and Delivery. We ended up taking a wrong turn and another nurse found me  (I kid you not) shaking and trying to break through a set of locked doors like I was the Hulk. She said she’d get us a wheelchair and I said I didn’t want to wait and could we please run there if you don’t mind??? When we got up to Labour and Delivery, another nurse came up to us and immediately was like, “They didn’t give you a wheelchair?! Hold on!” She grabbed a wheely office chair, told me to sit down, then ran down the hall dragging me on the chair behind her while I was wailing and knocking into the walls and carts in the hallway. We must’ve looked ridiculous but I didn’t care.

When we got to the room (at 8:12am) I could barely keep my eyes open. I noticed a few women I didn’t recognize and I said, “I have a midwife! Where’s Esther??” She said, “I’m right in front of you. Open your eyes” lol I didn’t realize my eyes were closed. I hopped up off the chair and said, “I’m going to need that epidural right now!! What do I need to do?” She told me to get undressed and get onto the bed so she could examine me. I stripped down in about 5 seconds and while I was doing that I told Kevin to go pay for a parking pass because I didn’t want to get a ticket or have our car towed. LOLOLOL! He obediently ran out of the room. Not even 20 seconds later, Esther takes one look at me and says, shocked, “omg you’re crowning!! The baby is coming NOW! Someone get Kevin back here or he’s going to miss it!!” I couldn’t believe I’d gone from 2-10cm in 2 hours. I’d just sent Kevin to go pay for parking. They were telling me the baby was coming RIGHT NOW. And there was no time for an epidural. Esther gave one of the other midwives (who had just finished attending another birth) her phone and they called Kevin and told him to get back ASAP. Poor hubby… he told me later he ran back through the hospital as fast as he could. All I was thinking when I started pushing was, “If Kevin misses the birth of his child because I told him to pay for parking, he will never forgive me!” He got back to the room just as I started pushing. I had one midwife on each side of me and I had one foot resting on each of their hips. Pushing felt AMAZING. The relief I felt once I was able to start pushing was fantastic. Three contractions in and Benjamin was born! It was 8:22am, 10 minutes after we arrived in the room. I didn’t know it at the time, but his cord was wrapped tightly around his neck so they had to cut his cord when only his head was out. And then he did a poo-splosion all over me on the way out. Because of this, they took him away to examine him for a minute. I was overwhelmed by the amazing relief I felt when he came out and there was no more pressure - I just fell back in (no joke) complete bliss. When Benjamin let out his first cry that’s when I realized they’d taken him to the examination station a few feet away and I just lost it. I started sobbing uncontrollably. The experience was so amazing. Esther put him on my chest and he immediately found my nipple and started sucking. I was surprised at how strong his latch was. Kevin called our families at this point to tell them we had the baby. They were all so shocked. We had agreed earlier that we wanted it to just be me and him at the hospital and I’m so glad we did. As it turned out, we barely made it to the hospital ourselves so we wouldn’t have been able to have our families there even if we’d wanted them there.

When Benjamin was born, we were still deciding between two names. Naming a person is HARD! Ultimately we ended up naming him Benjamin Joseph. He weighed in at 8lbs 8oz with a head full of hair and dark grey eyes. The whole time I was in labour I kept saying to Kevin that I wouldn’t be able to have another child because it was so painful. Then literally the moment he was born I thought, “That wasn’t so bad! I could totally do that again”

And about the drug-free part… I’m happy I got to experience a drug-free birth. Even though I asked for an epidural a few times, I wasn’t able to get any kind of pain relief – not even a Tylenol! I had a difficult time getting ahead of the pain and when we were on our way to the hospital, the thought of pain relief via epidural is what kept me going. Little did I know this guy was already making his way down. If I can make a comparison, it’s like running a marathon and feeling like you can’t make it, but the finish line is just around the corner. You just can’t see it. Also, birth was so incredibly different than I thought it would be! My recovery was slow as molasses, but I felt so great immediately afterwards. Also, we packed a hospital bag and didn’t even open it lol. I thought I would be walking during the contractions and using the whirlpool tub, but as it was, I didn’t even get a hospital gown LOL I just delivered naked with the midwives holding my legs. I even packed my DSLR, but the whole thing was over with so fast that we didn’t get any labour photos at all!


Hopefully my story helps someone out there, or at least entertains a few :) If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section down below!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Experiences of a First-Time Pregnant Lady – Part 2: Preparing for Labour

Preparing for Labour - Blog Post Header

As we all know, the culmination of nine months of pregnancy comes to a close with labour. Dun dun duuuuun! I’m in the third trimester now, and with this being my first pregnancy, I've been reading up on ways I can prepare myself for that grand moment and wanted to share this with my readers. Note: I'm a healthy individual having a normal pregnancy. I'm no expert and am not dispensing medical advise. Please consult with your primary care practitioner before trying any of the following.

Nutrition

Water water water!

Before getting pregnant, I would rarely drink water. I'd have a cup of tea in the morning and another in the afternoon. I rarely felt thirsty, but one look at my skin (or pee colour lol) and you could tell I was dehydrated. Now I drink about 6 cups of water/non-caffeinated drinks per day, which still probably isn't enough, but my skin, hair, and nails, have never looked better! I'm working on upping my water intake because being properly hydrated has so many benefits to pregnant ladies, all of which will be useful come labour time: 

  • Increased energy
  • Reduces muscle cramps
  • Improves circulation
  • Keeps you regular
  • Reduces fluid retention

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

I first heard about Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (RRLT) on a mommy vlog on YouTube. It's an herbal, non-caffeinated tea that is most commonly used in pregnancy for the purposes of increasing uterine tone. What does that mean?? Supposedly, it may help women to have stronger, more effective contractions, which may make labour shorter. I asked my midwife about it and she said it was safe to take and she has heard that the loose leaf versions are more effective than the sachets. I initially bought a pack of 20 sachets from Shoppers Drug Mart for $6.99, but then found a loose leaf version at The Tea Emporium on the Danforth for $14 for 100g. I'm a bit skeptical, but I love tea, so thought I'd give it a try. I drink 1 cup a day after letting it steep for 10 minutes.

 

Skin Care

Water water water

There's no denying that there's a lot of stretching that goes on in pregnancy and delivery. On top of the good things all this H20 is doing for my insides, it's also helping prepare my skin!

Coconut oil

This tip is more for vanity than actual labour: I have been using coconut oil exclusively to moisturize my body for at least a year and I can't ever see myself going back to regular lotion. The brand I use is Carrington Farms Organic Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil (bought from Costco for less than $20 for 1.6L) and I love it. I got stretch marks in my teen years on my legs, butt, and boobs, and am really really trying my best to avoid getting any new ones. I don't have any new ones yet and this is what I've been doing:

  1. Every time I shower I lather up my body using exfoliating gloves. Focus on areas you don't want any (new) stretch marks.
  2. Once done showering, I very lightly pat myself dry. The key is to still be quite damp.
  3. Apply coconut oil on my body from the neck down! Bonus points if you can spend a few minutes really massaging it in to those areas prone to stretch marks!

Physical Exercises

Kegels

I used to think that strong ab muscles were the key to pushing effectively during labour, but have heard countless times since getting pregnant that it's all about the kegels. I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me to do them. Kevin likes to yell out, “Kegel Time!” every time he hears my alarm lol I do 5 sets of 20 and hold each one for 3-5 seconds, depending on how much time I have. Keeping these muscles strong helps avoid any stress bladder leakage, and helps with post-partum recovery as it increases blood flow to that area.

Squats

Squats and kegels go hand in hand! I've been reading over and over that staying mobile is one of the best things you can do to speed up labour. Lying on your back is apparently one of the worst. A lot of labouring positions engage your leg muscles, so it's suggested to do squats to increase your muscle tone so that you don't fatigue yourself early in labour. I aim to do 20 squats every time my kegel alarm goes off, but it's a lot harder to stop and do a bunch of squats if you're in public.

I'm So Crafty, I Make People Pregnancy Jokes

Pre-natal yoga

My leg flexibility is pathetic. And I'm also not good at breathing deeply. I'm a shallow breather with lots of intermittent sighing. This is where yoga comes in! I found a pre-natal yoga series by Body Talk Daily on YouTube. Each video is 10-12 minutes and there are 5 of them so it's very easy to do a few times a week.

Walking

Walking is a great cardio exercise for pregnant women! I set a goal in May of walking 100 miles before this baby makes its debut at the end of summer. I'm about 25% done and may not complete 100 miles, but the point was to set a goal (using the RunKeeper app) to motivate me to get outside! Walking in the third trimester is supposed to help the baby get into the best positioning for birth as well. My tips for walking:

  1. Bring water with you
  2. Wear comfortable shoes
  3. Sunscreen and a hat are also a good idea. During pregnancy, your skin can get more sensitive, causing you to burn more easily.
  4. If you'll be walking for a while, do a little research to find where the bathrooms are on your route. I've cut a few walks short for not having planned ahead

Sleeping

Everyone says, “sleep now because you won't be able to once the baby gets here!”, but unfortunately it's been proven over and over again that you can't “catch up” or “store” sleep. At various points in this pregnancy, sleep has eluded me for a variety of reasons: weird dreams, bathroom breaks, heartburn, etc. Labour is (usually) a long process and I want to be well-rested for it! I've let Kevin and my family know that if they see me passed out on the couch, just leave me be. Kevin's woken me up from the couch before to tell me to go to bed – he had good intentions and thought I'd be more comfortable in bed – but then I couldn't fall asleep once I went to the bedroom! My tips for sleeping:

  1. As it can be difficult to get comfortable, catch your zzz's wherever you can. Ask those around you not to wake you up unless necessary.
  2. Avoid eating before going to sleep
  3. If you're experiencing acid reflux, prop yourself up with pillows so you're sleeping in a more upright position
  4. Put a pillow between your knees if you're sleeping on your side. I used to be a stomach sleeper pre-pregnancy, and once I got to the point where I had to start sleeping on my side, it was giving me achy hips. A pillow between my knees made all the difference! I bought this one from Ikea for $4.99 and saved myself the added cost of the expensive body pillows that are highly advertised towards pregnant women.

Mental Exercises

Tune People Out

So this might sound counter intuitive because I'm writing a blog post about labour, but I really feel like one of the most important things I've done is to tune people out. Since getting pregnant, I have found that people are downright fascinated by pregnancy. And as such, they start actin' a fool. I've had a lot of people, almost all women and almost all mothers, say and do some very insensitive things to me. I don't want to hear about your horrific back labour, or your friend's emergency C-section, or about your stage 3 episiotomy. I don't want you to tell me my ass looks fat, or that I look like I'm about to blow, or that being pregnant in the summer is the worst. These are all things that have been said to me. I've found the best way to avoid getting unsolicited advice is to not talk too openly to people about my pregnancy. I think the more information you give to people, the more opinions you get back.

Getting In The Right Mindset

I’ve watched a few documentaries (ie: The Business of Being Born, which was awesome!) about birth and it’s so interesting to learn about the different views on birth in different cultures. In Western culture there seems to be a lot of fear surrounding birth (watch this TedTalks video, Reducing Fear of Birth in U.S. Culture by Ina May Gaskin), and there are proven linkages between fear and pain. Watching these documentaries made me feel empowered!

And I had a conversation with my mom's friend, who has 2 children under 2. She said listening to the hypnobirthing app on her phone while labouring was immensely helpful in helping her relax. I aspire to feel relaxed during labour! We talked about a bunch of stuff, but I immediately went home and downloaded a couple free hypnobirthing apps to hear what they sounded like and they were SO relaxing and gave me really positive feelings about labour! I want to feel empowered and calm about labour so I'm adding listening to the hypnobirthing tracks a few times a week to my pregnancy regime. Anything that can make me feel good about pregnancy and labouring is a huge plus in my books!

I'd love to hear how you prepared yourself for labour! What worked for you? What didn't? What surprised you about labour? Spill the beans!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DIY: Natural Multipurpose Cleaner

Since becoming pregnant, I’ve taken a closer look at some of the chemicals that are part of my daily life and have done some reassessing – I’m talking to you, nail polish!… which is apparently really really bad for you :( I switched over to a homemade cleaner a few years ago and haven’t looked back. Sure, I have to put in a tiny bit more elbow grease, but I’m fine with that. I need the exercise anyway. The one thing I miss from my all purpose cleaner is a “fresh” smell. Most store bought cleaners have a synthesized fresh smell of pine or citrus.. but I was wondering if there was a natural and affordable way I could add the smell of lemons to my vinegar solution so that my house  didn’t smell like salt and vinegar chips. Granted, the vinegar-y smell dries off fairly quickly, but wouldn’t lemon-infused vinegar be so much better?? After a bit of internet sleuthing, I found what I was looking for!

DIY Natural Multipurpose Cleaner

To make this:

  1. Cut up a whole lemon and remove the flesh from the rind*
  2. Add the rind to a lidded jar and pour vinegar over the rind until your jar is full
  3. Put the lid on the jar and store in a cupboard for about 2 days for the lemon to infuse the vinegar
  4. Once infused, strain the infused vinegar into a spray bottle
  5. Optional: Compost the lemon rind :)

*Add the lemon flesh to a pitcher of water to make yourself a refreshing summery drink!

To do a test-run I used the lemon infused vinegar, along with about 2 tbsp of baking soda, to clean the bathtub… it worked like a charm and the smell was great too :)

For cleaning my house, I use a variety of ingredients, all of which can be found in the grocery store, and most of which you can ingest no problem!

Typical ingredients:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen Peroxide

Occasional ingredients:

  • Lemons/Lemon juice (if I have them and they’re cheap/in season)
  • Alcohol
  • Olive oil (a drop or two will help shine up wood surfaces!)

Do you have any go-to natural solutions for cleaning? I like to hear what other people use!

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