January Meeting

It was an excellent start to the new year with over 30 L2L members turning up at Blue and Cindy’s place for the first meeting of 2014. Thanks go out to the hosts for their overwhelming hospitality and for Cindy’s wonderful cooking. This garden has come together in the last four years and consists of a terraced landscape thickly coated with wood mulch. The greenhouse is Blue’s secret weapon against fruit flies and other pests and lets him grow tomatoes and other plants year round without having to use pesticides. St Andrews spiders are captured from the property and released into the greenhouse to take care of any pests that might get in.

Blue is growing a lot of Asian fruits and vegetables plus  mobs of ginger and bananas including cooking bananas.

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January 2014 Meeting

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the new year, we have a few really good meetings lined up and you will kick your self for not joining in if you miss them!

The next meeting is being hosted by Blue and Cindy next Sunday the 19th of January starting at 10.30 am. This place is amazing and is a must see, even the incredible heat that we have been having has done nothing to slow this garden down, it is booming!

Phone Greg for the Address 0411 748 325

Please bring a cup and chair, there is really good shade so people won't find it too hot.

If anyone would like to host an upcoming meeting this year or organise for us to visit something that you think would be of general interest then please get in touch with me so we can get it in the calendar.

See you all on Sunday!

Greg

Making washing powder

When I first heard of making your own washing powder, a little over a year ago, I could not think why you would bother when Crazy Clarkes had it so cheap. To be honest, I didn't do my maths properly and only lately realised that it was not such a bargain. IMG_0534

My friends who have a Vitamix were telling me that they had to grate the soap by hand, I had asked about using the Vitamix to prepare the soap and they said that it does not come apart for easy cleaning... which is not a problem for the Thermomix, Kogan or my new appliance from Honey for my birthday... a Kenwood chef pro.

So basically the recipe I found on the internet here by Wellness Mama, called for soap (using the cheap method any old soapIMG_0535 will do... if you want to limit nasty chemicals from your household- use pure soap) borax (which Honey was like OMGoodness and bought me some gloves to wear when using it) and letric soda... which goes by a few names such as washing soda, sodium carbonate or soda ash. I am using cheap soap today as Honey has heaps in storage and I prefer to use liquid bath-wash... so its a sneaky way to use it up.

To be honest when Honey found out Borax was an ingredient in the mixture, he was not too keen and wanted me to try another recipe... So far I have not been able to find one that does not use borax, but I will keep looking. With the rain, we had Mt Everest of dirty laundry that I was saving till the sun came out we could not wait any longer so my washing day started in the rain and I used every available airer to get the things dry. IMG_0536

My second problem was I had like 3 scoops of powder left and more than 3 washing piles. Ordinarily I would go find some spare shampoo for the few extra loads... but that was when I was single... there was loads of spare shampoo as I went though more conditioner than shampoo... as a married lady I have more conditioner than I know what to do with... Not such a bad problem to have, but I was not racing to the shop just for washing powder.

 

IMG_0537So I popped one load of washing in and went to work on making the home-made brew. I knew if it didn't work out, I would just wash the essentials with my 2 scoops and get some real stuff when I was shopping next.

The ratios are 2 parts Borax and sodium carbonate for one part grated soap. The websites I saw suggested grating soap in front of the TV or getting the family involved...

Making it in Mix style...

I chopped the soap into Ice-sized pieces.

Dumped it in the Bogan... as it was the nearest machine

Pressed the turbo button for 10 seconds, I noticed a change in sound around the 5 second mark, but I wanted to be sure it was a fine powder.

Measured the soap... It did not make enough powder to register on the Kogan jug so I tipped it into a measuring jug and got about 125mLs

So I added a cup of Borax and a cup of Sodium Carbonate... without using the gloves bought by Honey... Sorry, I forgot. IMG_0538

There was a slight irritation on my skin which went back to normal when I washed my hands immediately in cold water. This irritation was not much different to the irritation I get from glove powder.

Does it work?

Yes it does. I did 2 loads of washing with the powder, and the clothes smelled just as clean coming out of the machine as using a regular powder does.

As you can see from the pictures, we used Palmolive soap, and the load smelled a little like very clean kids or sunshine.

I am not sure how drying in the sun goes but compared to drying under fans the clothes feel and smell just as clean and fresh as the regular clothes. Though the soap smell is a little more pronounced in the home-made powder lot.

I should note here I deliberately use less washing powder than recommended, a tip I picked up as a teenager... Unless the clothes are particularly dirty, they do not need what the box suggests and its a way to cut back on the nasties and cost.

I will try backing off the home-made powder in my next wash (which will be bed sheets when I can convince Honey to get up)... and keep you posted. IMG_0539

Honey is up, yea to his dad for calling... the half strength powder worked a treat sheets are clean, no lingering soapy smell and reading up on borax, probably a good thing to use a half strength of 1tbs instead of the recommended 2tbs. I just reused my small laundry scoop and use the halfway mark to measure. I am also saving more money too.

I should also mention that I used one cap-full of water soluble eucalyptus oil with my second wash. It smelled nice wet, however there is no noticeable difference in the dry product. In my washes today I have added WM lavender oil instead and it has worked nicely too.

Also... I always wash my hands immediately after putting the powder in the washing machine and am very careful to open the container away from my eyes. I am using an old nappy san container... it is air-tight and best of all it's PINK.

I said goodbye to my store-bought washing powder, mixing it with my cheapie nappy sanitiser. It smells a whole lot better now, but I have not tested it to see how it changes its effectiveness.

Judie

Women's health

Honey was very reticent to have this blogged on his site, but I think it really goes hand in hand with the philosophies of L2L. Staying healthy, helping the environment and even helping a girl in Kenya to become better educated (If you buy the right brand).

I am talking about menstrual cups or MCs for short. Halfway through this year I took the plunge and am so grateful for the convenience and have not looked back.

index2 It took me about 2 years to go from what I like to call the “yeek factor” to actually trying it out. So if you are more than slightly repulsed keep reading anyway. I used to be a sales consultant for Anion (its like amway for “nasties-free” sanitary napkins)... I got a bit annoyed at wasting all my good pads showing people who did not care for a far superior product that was not the “cool brand”... so they were not interested in making a purchase. But during my time as a consultant, I did some research...

Did you know that:

  • There are many toxins in the “cool” brands we buy of pads and tampons

  • some are made from recycled pulp that is bleached and treated with harsh chemicals.

  • Most companies will not tell you what they put into their sanitary napkins, however the area down there is just as absorbent as your mouth, I believe there needs to be more transparency.

  • Buying organic tampons and pads might not be enough, many of them are not individually wrapped and if left in the box, dust, insects etc can climb in leaving germs. When you use them the blood becomes food for the germs and they multiply every 20 minutes.

  • You should not store your sanitary products next to chemicals, heat can cause the vapour in the chemicals to rise and seep into your products leaving them not so toxin free.

I must admit the pads were pretty good, but during Summer, I needed tampons again. I still had some “left over” and after a break my tampons were not “welcome”. I was rather itchy. Using organic tampons however, was nice but I was concerned about the “germ factor” and the amount of landfill etc.

Its funny a couple of times I was caught “without a spare”, and I thought how nice it would be to have a cup that you can just rinse and keep going with... I put it to the back of my mind once again with the yeek factor.

I was telling my family member about my products and she told me that she uses a Diva cup and never looked back. I was intrigued, she told me you order them on the internet and I began to do some research. I found that there were like heaps to choose from and that many people had just one, but lots of women had 3 or more.

Teenagers were using them, women who had babies, virgins, many different women with many different needs.

The first website I found recommended the Mooncup UK and the Moon cup USA, so I ordered both. The USA came just in time for my period and I found a wealth of information on youtube and particularly useful information was from a young lady called Bree. index3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xsaf10dy0Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRGqVH1cJ6k

I liked my moon cup but found that both were really quite the same, so I gave the UK to my sister when it arrived. I had quite a heavy flow and was changing it a lot, and found that the style may also have been encouraging cramps... so I bought a JuJu. Partly because Ju is actually one of my nick-names so I had an affinity with it and partly as it was larger so it held more. On a side note... It's also harder to insert. The moon cup just opens in there but the JuJu requires some practise.

Now helping a girl in Kenya, similar in style to the juju is the Ruby cup. You can get a deal if you buy 2 (one for me, one for a friend)... I don't have one yet, however I plan to get one this year. For each Ruby cup bought by someone in a developed country a Ruby cup will be given to a girl in Africa, which helps her stay in school and also to stay healthy as the alternatives available are quite unhygienic. Google it if you are game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In3I6xNaZNQ

I use a cup pretty much exclusively, one thing I have found to be a benefit of being a multi-cup-owner is I can have a night cup and a day cup. When I have used just one cup on about day 3, I find that it begins to smell. So I also checked with my other friendly cup users to see what they do... grosenvergleich-tampon-meluna

One uses cups as you would a tampon for swimming and re-usable pads for the rest of the time.

One douches, that didn't work for me

My other friend just keeps using it, ensuring she has washed it out properly. There is no odour once the cup is re-inserted.

Silicone Cups on sale

Blog notes

I recently changed jobs which has meant I needed to change how I manage the time of month (I am unable to keep my handbag with me at my new job)... Not wanting to be running out with a "bathroom emergency" I tested the tried and true form some women like... wearing my cup around my due date “just in case”. It is a practical solution, however removing the cup at the end of the day, if my "favourite aunt" hasn't arrived is tricky. For various reasons, I had been putting off getting a "light day" silicone cup... until today, I had one fight too many with my JuJu and Moon Cup.

And while I was at it I decided ordering my "spare" cup was now or never too... lucky really, as the cups I had been drooling over are on sale. You may remember from my previous blog that the cups I have wanted for months are the MeLuna and Ruby cups... mostly as they have deals for 2. For a while its been my dream to take advantage of the 2 pack deals and gift the spares to my 2 MC converts. This is what I spent... Honey skip the next 2 paragraphs...

50 euro (included 5 euro in postage) for 2 ruby cups delivered to Australia http://www.ruby-cup.com/en/ and remember when you purchase a Ruby cup a girl in Africa gets one too and it changes her life, in ways we can little but imagine.

25 euro postage inc for 2 MeLuna cups delivered to Australia http://www.meluna.org/MeLuna-menstrualcups here.

Ruby cup is on sale till 07.04.14 and comes with 2 separate bags so it's much easier to share with a friend. One size fits all and it can be ordered on a smart phone!... Found that out while my computer was doing 53mil updates... Ok it was actually 98. You also have the option of buying a beautiful pink silicone cup to microwave sterilise your cup in at the end/beginning of your cycle. Currently the cup is also on special for 10.95 Euro and one cup is going for 27.95 Euro or together for 35.95 Euro.

MeLuna comes in 2 separate sizes one size apart (with the exception of the “Mom combi-pack”) and they must be same thickness and style ie soft, classic or sport with a ball, ring, stem or basic shaped “gripper”. Also the 2 sizes are 1 size apart so you would need to agree with a friend who would have the prettier/larger one and the type you are trying. You would also need to decide who gets the bag... If one of you can sew (not me) that person might like to make a bag or you can get another bag for 5Euro.

The MeLuna double pack is geared to one person using 2 cups. This makes having a day and night cup or a heavy days and lighter days cup more affordable... providing you like the MeLuna cups. However, with a few negotiations I think you can defiantly share the pack between two women.  For more euros you can get a hot-pack teddy combination, that might be a nice gift idea for the MC loving chick.

Now the race is on... which cup will arrive on my doorstep the fastest?

Judie

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