Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Natural Ear Cleaning

For the last few weeks, my ears have been feeling really clogged up and I've been having some difficulty hearing. I stopped using Ear Buds (Q Tips) about two years ago. Any Google search will tell you about how bad they are for causing impacted wax in your ears.
However, I still feel like my ears don't get rid of the wax adequately and I was feeling like I had a build up. So I went on the hunt for a natural alternative to cleaning out your ears, using things I had on hand, in my kitchen. The following method worked great for me. 

Natural Ear Cleaning Technique

Cold Pressed Olive Oil
Warm Water

Tip your head to the side, with one ear facing the straight up. 
Suck up some Olive Oil in an eye dropper (I used a pipette, which was left over from kids panadol). Alternatively just pour the oil on in. 
I used about 10 drops, until I felt like my ear was full. 
Keep head tilted for 20 mins to soften the wax. I recommend lying down and reading. Its quite relaxing. 
After 20 minutes, walk awkwardly to the bathroom sink with your head tilted.
Tip your head and allow the oil to pour out into the sink. 
Mix the salt in the warm water until no more will dissolve. You want the water to be saturated with salt.
Syringe the salt water into your ear to flush out the remaining oil. This is where any chunks of ear wax will make their appearance. As suspected, I did have a slight build up of wax. 
Repeat the procedure with the other side. 

Important: The water must be warm to adequately flush the oil out of your ear. If you don't get all the oil out, it feels weird, and its probably not good for you. 

My ears felt better immediately and my hearing was much better. I'm going to repeat this procedure again in two days and then probably every month. It was easy and pretty relaxing. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Lip Balm

The second item I am in desperate need of is Lip Balm. August is when the Westerly Winds hit and being the middle of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, its also very dry.

This recipe is a combination of a few floating around the internet. I had to modify it to use what I had on hand.

Natural Lip Balm

3 tablespoons of GRATED Natural Beeswax
3 tablespoons of Cocoa Butter
2 teaspoons of  Vitamin E oil
2 teaspoons of RAW Honey
2 teaspoons of Coconut Oil 
5 drops of essential oils

Add all ingredients (except essential oils) to a small saucepan. Heat on low over the stove. Once all ingredients are melted, add the essential oils. Pour into your containers. 

As I was making lip balm for a few different people, I added the lip balm mixture to the containers, THEN added the Essential Oils. My mum wanted lemon-scented, I wanted rosemary and my friend just wanted plain, because she loves the smell of beeswax. The amounts above have made about a years worth of lip balm for each of us.

Home Made Beauty Products

Part of my life-goals is to be more self-sufficient, reduce the amount of stuff I buy and to reduce chemicals in my home. A few years ago, I made a pledge to buy only 'natural' beauty products, and switched over to Sukin Organics

Let me tell you, they are pretty good. I had the face wash, moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner, Rose Hip Oil, Face Mist, Spray on deodorant. I loved everything that I tried. However, its not exactly frugal and it still contained a few ingredients with long un-pronounceable names. So a few months ago, I decided that once I was out of a product, I would not buy more, I'd just replace it with a homemade, natural product.

Therefore, my goal for the weekend just gone was to set about making myself some home-made, chemical free, all natural Beauty Products. I visited Handmade Naturals by Corinne in West End, Brisbane to stock up on ingredients. Its a bit of a distance to travel from my Small Town, but WOW is it worth it. I spent $90 and I have 6 months to 1 years worth of ingredients.

The first thing I needed was Shampoo and Conditioner. I've been experimenting with Bicarb Shampoo and Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Conditioner. However my hair is very curly and prone to frizz. So it often ended up pretty dry and 'static-y'. Also, I've read several articles floating around on the internet about how important it is to maintain the natural pH of your hair and not force it up and down with shampoo and then conditioner. I found this recipe over at Thank Your Body  and I love it!

I've changed the recipe a little for MY hair (curly/ dry/ shoulder length)

pH Balanced Shampoo Recipe

3/4 Cup of Coconut Milk
1 Cup Pure Aloe Vera Gel
1 teaspoon of Vitamin E Oil
essential oils (optional- I used lavender because I wash my hair before bed and I only used 3 drops)

Add everything to a bowl and whisk together to combine. Pour mixture into ice-cube trays and allow to set in freezer. Once frozen transfer ice-cube shampoos into a container and store in freezer. 

The reason it needs to be kept in the freezer is because the shelf life is only about 1 week. This batch makes between 3-6 months worth, depending on how often you wash your hair and how much you use. I use about half a ice-cube and wash my hair 1-2 times a week. I've only used it once, but my hair is MUCH nicer than the bicarb/ACV mix. it already feels softer and more moisturised. I didn't

even need to bother with conditioner!

My Verdict: I LOVE THIS SHAMPOO!!!!!!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Our Goats- A story of Life, Death and Birth.

At about 11, I asked my parents if I could have some pet goats. Sure enough, Fluffy and Blackie arrived a few months later. A few weeks after they had arrived, we were surprised to discover they'd given birth during the night- Bobby and Buddy. Sadly, Blackie was mauled by our one of our dogs and a few months later Fluffy was mauled by the other one.

Gigi watching over the goats prior to the arrival of kids

In a short space of time, I went from two goats, to four goats and back to two goats. Sadly the dogs had to be put down. It was a hard lesson for me about life and death that comes with the responsibility of pets.
After the dog/goat episode my parents bought another 4 or 5 goats. When Bobby and Buddy were old enough, they started to breed.

Over the years a few more goats have been added to the herd- some bought, some born; and we've lost some in the herd- some have died from sickness, others from old age, others sold on.

Fast forward 15 years and as of last Friday, the goat herd numbered 19, some descended from the original two goats purchased back in 1999. Over the weekend we have had a baby goat explosion. 13 kids have been born and there is still one nanny yet to kid.

The first arrivals- Twins!

It hasn't been smooth sailing though. One of the nannies gave birth to a stillborn, which wasn't fully formed. I had the unpleasant job of having to bury the poor thing. One of the first time mums gave birth and just walked away, she obviously had no idea what to do. Her kid was found lying in the shelter almost dead. After a day of being wrapped up in blankets and being fed via a pipette the kid miraculously bounced back to life.  Another nanny had triplets and abandoned the runt. So now Gigi and I are bottle-feeding two little female kids.

The bottle fed babies- Dora and Josie

Gigi loves the goats. She loves going out into the paddock to visit them, she loves feeding them and she loves walking around the paddock looking for the baby goats. She especially loves the 'rejected' baby goats. Gigi always wants to help bottle feeding them and loves it when they follow her around.


Helping Nana to bottle feed Dora

Having goats during my childhood and into adulthood has been wonderful learning curve for me, one full of hard lessons and happy times. Over the years I have learned to love the funny little personalities each goat has. I'm grateful that my parents gave me the opportunity to have pets of my own and I'm proud to be able to offer the same opportunity to Gigi.

Saying hello to Black Betty