Saturday, 27 June 2015

Domestic Engineering; #2 How to clean your washing machine NATURALLY.

Answer me honestly, how often do you clean your washing machine? And yes, it does need to be cleaned!
I normally deep clean my machine once every month or so and wipe down the visible surfaces of it about once a week/fortnight - pretty much whenever I am washing my cleaning cloths, I wipe the machine & my laundry benches over first. 
For the sake of this blog post I let my machine get dirty - real dirty, I let it go about a month longer than normal between cleans.
A lot of washing machine cleaning tutorials online include bleach, I have used bleach to clean this machine before at our previous home, but the house we own now has a "grey water system" and apparently if you use bleach (or too much of it) the system loses its mind. So this method of cleaning is a natural way, a way that is safe for a grey water system.
This method is also for a top loader, I never have owned a front loader so I am not sure on how to clean those - sorry!

Before we start, a few reasons why it's important to regularly clean your machine...
  • Firstly a clean machine is a machine that smells good. This is a machine that holds water, obviously over time mould & mildew can build up inside it, therefore creating a smell and that smell can come off on your clean clothes.
  • Hard water can cause a buildup of limescale & pretty much just gunk in the pipes & parts of the machine, causing it not to work as good. 
  • Sometimes dirt & soap can splash up onto higher parts of the machine, leaving gunk & grime on the agitator (if you have one) & wash barrel above the water line. 
  • If your machine like mine, is in a garage or outdoor area it is more prone to dust & dirt.
  • Like anything in life, the better you take care of them the better they work & last. Washing machines are no different. 
So as I mentioned in this new house my laundry is in my garage, not ideally where I would like my laundry, but it's better than our first home where it was situated in a little outdoor room. (Our first home was a post war home, very cute & old) 
Anyway, being in the garage means my laundry is much more susceptible to dust & dirt. Which is why I very regularly wipe my machine over, just so it looks cleaner & it gets rid of the dust which blows in when the garage door is open.  

Now I am kind of mortified to show these photos, it's been killing me not to clean this machine over the past few weeks, but I needed it to get dirty so I could demonstrate how to clean & show before & after photos. I was even going to let it go a little longer than this, but I had a huge load of whites to wash & there was no way in the world I was going to do a load of white clothes in my machine while it was in that state! 
Before....  That is disgusting & pretty much the worst it's EVER looked. This photos make me so embarrassed! 
To clean your washing machine naturally you will need;
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda (bi-carb soda) 
  • Eucalyptus Oil (optional) 
  • A stiff bristle brush
  • A cloth
That's it.
The vinegar is a brilliant product to clean with. Vinegar disinfects, helps to kill mildew & mould, the acidity of the vinegar helps to break down the soap residue in the wash barrel, it can also help dissolve the lime scale built up in the pipes. The baking soda helps to clean soap scum & freshens the machine. The eucalyptus oil is a powerful disinfectant that can move grease, dirt & grime, it also can remove & prevent mould & will also leave a lovely freshly cleaned smell. 
I love using eucalyptus oil for cleaning! 
  1. Remove the lint collectors, clean them out and place them in the bottom of the machine. (All machines will have these in different places, mine are on the sides of the drum) 
    This is absolutely disgusting, I didn't think it was that bad I nearly died when I pulled it out. Those few extra weeks of not being cleaned clearly was a few weeks too much! 
  2. Set your washing machine to fill up to the highest level with hot water. (This cycle is to clean the machine, so do not add in any clothes or detergents!) 
    For my machine I set it on a heavy duty load, filled it at EXTRA HIGH & on the HOT temperature.
  3. Once full, add in 4-5 cups of white vinegar. 
  4. Close the lid & let the machine run for about a minute to swirl the vinegar around.
  5. Add in 1/2 - 1 cup of baking soda. 
  6. Close lid and let machine agitate again to swirl the baking soda & vinegar together.
  7. Add in a small capful or 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water mix.
  8. Close lid again for just a few seconds and let the machine swirl everything together so it is all evenly dispersed. 
    You can see the gunk & grime already coming away from the barrel. GROSS!!! 
  9. Stop the washing machine now, if yours can be paused for a 1/2 hour - hour that is great, mine doesn't like to be left paused so I just switch mine off. 
  10. Let the water sit for 1/2 - 1 hour. 
  11. During this time dip a cloth in the water and wipe down the entire machine, remembering all the corners & removable bits. 
    Make sure you remember to flush out bits like this part. A few cups of the water/vinegar mix flushed through these parts cleans them well.
  12. Clean the lip under the lid where powder can build up, I find a stiff bristled brush is helpful at this stage for dislodging and moving it. Then I pour a few cup fulls of the water mixture down into it to flush it out. (Make sure that it is safe to do so, I know mine is as this part just flows back into the machine, not into any electronic parts)
    Much better!! Looking cleaner already!
  13. While waiting you can also clean the rest of your laundry, wipe down the benches, clean the sink (vinegar & baking soda are a great sink cleaning combo, especially for drains), remove any rubbish and just tidy up. 
  14. Wipe over your dryer & remove lint from the lint collector. 
  15. Once an hour is up, let the wash cycle continue so the water drains away. I just set mine to spin cycle. 
    On my machine I just selected the standard cycle, then only set the spin speed - LOW, so that the dirty water would drain out. 
  16. Once the water is all drained out, restart the machine for another full cycle that includes hot water & let it run through completely. This will help push out all the gunk & grime that has been dislodged and just give it a good flush out. For my machine I reset it to the original heavy duty, extra high water level & hot/cold temperature setting I had to start with. 
  17. After this cycle has finished wipe down the barrel of the machine to remove any dirt/scum that maybe left behind.
  18. You have finished & your washing machine is now naturally clean. 
Super clean!!
A nice clean laundry to go along with my nice clean machine!!

Repeat this process every few months or when you feel your machine needs a clean.
Here are some tips for keeping your machine clean in-between cleans;
  • I always leave the lid of my machine open so it can dry out and prevents mould & mildew.
  • Clean the lint collectors in your machine regularly as well as your dryer. 
  • Wipe down the outer surfaces of your machine every time you wash your cleaning cloths, this only takes a minute and can make your laundry look cleaner. 
I hope you found this post informative & helpful. If you have any requests for future posts or any questions please contact me either on my social media accounts listed below or leave me a comment! 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Mess free, inside friendly toddler activity. {HOW TO}

So Winter is here which means more days inside & less messy (fun) activities outside. During the Summer LuLu loved painting outside and it was so easy & simple, we would paint & eat fruit then hose off & then jump in the pool. Well, yesterday was rainy & very cold & I don't see us having days where we can have lots of messy fun outside for another month or so - I've been testing out craft activities that can be done inside - so without the mess, so no need for a hose off. So I've been Pinteresting away searching for fun ideas.
This is one idea I found, I also did my own spin on it as well. I like this craft because the mess is contained - it looks messy & is fun - but there is no mess!

Ok, to start off with you need a few basic supplies & most people would have these laying around especially if you do craft with your kids...
  • Large ziplock bag (27cmx33cm)
  • A4 piece of paper
  • 2 (or more) different colours of paint
  • Masking tape
Yep, that's it. 
Now I did this 2 different ways as I saw it done both ways online. 
The first time we did it I didn't slip the paper in, so it was just bag & paint and I stupidly added glitter. If you want to add glitter make sure it is super super fine - dust like glitter. The glitter I used was a bit sharp and ended up piercing the bag towards the end. I like having the piece of paper in there. But if you wanted to tape the bag to a window/glass surface I would leave the paper out so the light could shine through better. 

The steps for both simple;
  1. Get ziplock bag, if you are using a piece of paper - slip it in.
  2. Squirt paint in puddles on one side.
  3. Seal bag.
  4. Tape to flat surface.
  5. Have fun!
2 different ways - LuLu enjoyed both!
Also just an additional note you will also want to make sure your child's nails have been trimmed, sharp little nails could pierce the bag and result in paint leaking. 
LuLu really enjoyed this, she loved squishing the paint around and we drew patterns and talked about the red & blue colour and how when they mixed together they turned purple. 
This craft is super basic & clean up is as simple as untaping the bag and tossing it away. 
Towards the end LuLu enjoyed scribbling over the bag with a blunt crayon - it created lines & patterns. She loves to draw so she enjoyed this after the novelty of the activity wore off. 

My own version of this craft that I decided to try is more of a colour sensory bag. Basically I made a basic goopy glue type substance and added in a bunch of fun craft pieces (pom poms, felt shapes etc).
For this craft you'll need;
  • Boiling water
  • Cornflour
  • Jug or bowl
  • Whisk
  • Ziplock bag (22cmx22cm)
  • Craft decorations or anything you wish to add into the bag - I made sure what I was adding in I didn't care about and could be just thrown away at the end.
  • Masking tape. 
I picked up all these items for just a few dollars from the cheap shop. I like keeping odd craft materials on hand as I never know what we might be up to! 
Now the steps for this one are just a little more time consuming, but still super basic & it is even something you can whip up while your little love naps or watches a short TV show. (Now I apologise for the fact I have not recorded actual measurements, I kind of just kept adding water/cornflour until I got the correct consistency & amount) 
  1. Add cornflour to your jug/bowl. I was using a Pyrex jug & I just tipped in the cornflour to about just under the 100ml line. (Once again sorry I didn't measure it correctly) 
  2. Add in boiling water & whisk away.
  3. Whisk & add water until you reach a fairly smooth, whitish goopy substance.
  4. I found about 350ml was a good amount for a 22cmx22cm bag.
  5. Pop jug into fridge for about 5-10 minutes just to cool the mixture slightly.
  6. Once cooled pour into bag, taking care as the goopy liquid may still be hot. 
  7. Add in fun craft items. 
  8. Tape to a flat surface.
  9. Have fun!
What you add in your bag is totally up to you! Whatever you have is fine.
With this activity LuLu once again had a lot of fun, she liked pushing the little balls around & discovering the felt shapes under the glue. It was a spur of the moment decision to colour in the masking tape border (which is why it isn't very neat!) and then we started organising the craft items in colour coded groups next to the colour on the border. Once they were in the groups & in the right area I would ask LuLu where certain colours were, she is getting very good at identifying colours. 
But that is the way a lot of our craft activities go - we start off we the basic idea and then just go with whatever happens & change it/add to it what suits us. 
Discovering all the fun things hidden in the squishy liquid!
Craft activity turned colour lesson! 
To change up this activity you could add in food dye at step 2-3 for a colourful liquid. But only add a small amount as you don't want it to become too opaque. Even some glitter at step 7 (I did this). This is the same mixture I use when making homemade paint. You can really add in anything to the bag but I really must stress to make sure it has no pointy/sharp edges as it will pierce the bag.
Also this bag stayed taped to the play table for almost a week and almost every morning she would pop out to the sunroom playroom to have a play with it & push all the stuff around. 

Both of these activities are great for toddlers, LuLu really enjoyed them. They are fun but at the same time if you sit down & do the craft with them you can discuss colours & textures, so it is also educational & also a sensory activity. But if you just let your little love do it themselves it is still fun & can be a great activity for them to do while you are making dinner or doing some work!
Like I said, I am a huge fan of this activity for the cooler months. Painting inside when it is cold is difficult, but by doing this LuLu still gets to have fun with her paints & colours but the mess is contained & clean up is very simple. 

What activities do you in the cooler months? I would love to hear your suggestions. 
The weather was absolutely dreadful here yesterday, cold & rainy - not that I am complaining I actually like days like that. But keeping an active toddler who wants to play outside all the time entertained inside is challenging sometimes, so I hope this simple & clean idea gave you some inspiration! 
My garden yesterday. Very cold & wet.
Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday Series; Why do I believe in God. {Q&A}

Sunday Series...
Welcome back...
I haven't done one of these in a little while...
But I thought I would get back to basics.
Answer some really real & simple questions, questions that I have had put to me at one point or another either directly or indirectly...
Why? Why do you believe in God?
Short answer, because I do and it makes perfect sense to me.
Long answer... How can I not believe in God? Every single second of the day there is evidence of God. My daughter is the best example I have of our great God, I prayed every day for a couple of long & very trying years for her & now that we have her I thank Him every day. I guess it depends on your mindset though, but I constantly see God. It might be a beautiful sunrise or sunset, it maybe a random kookaburra when I am driving somewhere (that bird holds special meaning to me), it may just be something goes my way or something doesn't go my way and then eventually I realise why it didn't. There are endless examples of God to me. But it is how I choose to look at the world.
I don't claim to be perfect & I sure know I am not the "perfect Christian" - but I do certainly try. But I am a normal sinner like everyone else in this world, I know I fail & am not always a good person, but I know our Lord Jesus Christ loves me & died for my sins. I know sometimes I probably make God shake his head & probably put his head in hands in disbelief at what I have done or sometimes do, but it is part of being human - we all make wrong calls, we all sin, we all are imperfect people - but we are perfectly us and everything we do is for a reason and is part of a greater plan. But that is my belief. 
Basically, I believe in God because I can. Because to me it makes sense, I would prefer to live a life believing in God than get to heaven & have lived my life as someone who never accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and realise I am not getting into heaven. 
I believe because I can't go a day without seeing some form of evidence that our God exists. I believe because in my soul & heart - it feels right. There is no hard evidence I can give you, but there is no evidence you can give me that proves he doesn't exist.

Great if you believe, but why do you openly speak about it so much? Aren't you a hypocrite because you aren't a perfect Christian? 
This one confuses & frustrates me a lot! 
I've never once, ever claimed to be a perfect person. I will be the first to throw my hand in the air and admit I am flawed. Heck, I have a temper, I swear, I like to drink every now & then and our good Lord knows all that and more. He knows every single part of me, the good, the bad & the downright dreadful. Every awful thought and every good deed - he knows it all. And why shouldn't I use the platform I've been given to talk about my belief in religion? About what being a Christian means to me. I think me being ridiculed & called hypocritical is fairly low. 
At the end of the day what God knows about me is infinitely more important than what other people think of me. So I just don't really care about the negative opinions of others, especially if they are because I am proud of my faith.
I feel it is also biblical to be proud of being a Christian, it states in the bible that we are to go into the world & proclaim God's word. (Mark 16:15) It doesn't matter though if that is only speaking to a friend or using a platform that we are given to talk about God, it comes down to your own interpretation. 
At the end of the day, I am not ashamed of believing in God & I don't know why I would be. I almost question how serious some people are in their beliefs if they are too ashamed to openly speak about Jesus.
I been told by people that they don't speak about Jesus Christ because they find the people who preach the gospel hypocrites because they aren't perfect Christians. My very simple response to that is if we were sitting around waiting for a perfect Christian to spread the word of God we would be waiting forever. As I previously said I am not perfect nor is anyone else walking this earth.
I don't write posts about religion to offend people, that isn't my goal here. My goal is just to show I am proud of my beliefs & to simply maybe change 1 persons outlook on being a Christian or help someone else be proud of the way they feel. I try to explain why I feel the way I do, to explain situations I face & how I deal with them and just be honest about my faith. If this isn't for you that is fine. But don't ridicule me for it. 

Why believe now? I knew you back when you were a young adult & you didn't seem to believe then?
Fair call to an extent... I attended a catholic school for pretty much the first 9 years of my schooling life, so I have always had knowledge about religion & did study it. I also did alter serving at the church we attended. So I've always known there was a God & believed. I had some serious doubts when I was about 12 & my Pop passed away. I've now matured and have a totally different outlook on death, which we can discuss another day. But no, I didn't openly believe in God when I was younger, I believed but it wasn't something I spoke about or acted on. It has taken me a few years to get where I am today. A lot of it started by meeting Trent. Not saying he changed me or made me this way. It was more to do with the idea of getting married. I see marriage as a very special & religious act and when we were starting to prepare for our wedding & starting a family I became a lot more interested in my faith. It has just grown from there & the more I devote myself to learning & devoting myself to God the more confident I am to openly speak about my faith. 
I love this. It can be interpreted in a few ways, but for this post I think it is very meaningful - I am not ashamed about talking about God or my faith because my heart is full of belief.  
Right, well I still don't believe.
That is totally fine & your call. I pass no judgement on you for that but in return I expect that you should pass no judgement on me. I pray one day you want to accept Jesus Christ as your saviour and into your heart & if you ever want to have a chat about faith make sure you remember I am here.
I love this verse & find it so motivating & special. 

Have a blessed Sunday friends.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A box full of beauty. {Review}

This product talk is brought to you by Nuffnang & bellabox. 
Ok, lets be honest for a few minutes, I love being a Mum, I do - it is my calling, it is my passion - I adore my life. But sometimes and just for the tiniest split second I miss having more alone time, I normally feel this way when I am buying the same beauty products because I know "what works" & I just don't have the energy or desire to try & test out a bunch of new things with a toddler. I miss being able to walk up and down the aisle of the beauty stores leisurely & at my own pace, testing out all different products, finding new & exciting releases and walking away with a nice little haul. 
LuLu is a great little shopping companion, but understandably she isn't fussed on waiting around for me while I sniff, spray & test out new products she isn't allowed to touch - heck Trent even gets annoyed when I take to long looking at beauty products. But I have found away to get my fix for testing out new products without even leaving my house!
That's right, without leaving my house. Testing new beauty products in the comfort of my pjs while sipping tea. That's right there is a saviour for all of us time poor beauty lovin' Mummas, let me show you the light girls... 
In case you've been living under a rock & have never heard of this genius idea, let me tell you about bellabox.

bellabox is Australia's #1 monthly beauty box, it is a subscription service that is delivered to your door jam packed full of specially selected beauty goodies for you! Some are full size & some are sample size. I love this idea, this is brilliant for people who can't always get to the shops & simply who don't have the time to waste in the beauty aisles, like me. You get these products to test out at your own time & if you love what you've got, you can repurchase them when you are ready.
Now what you get in your bellabox is normally built for you from your profile, but this month they are offering a special deal. You can get the exact same box as I have, which I absolutely love. 
I really honestly do like this box & I got 3 full sized items and they are great quality. In my opinion receiving 3 full-sized products from a monthly subscription service is pretty rare, so I am over the moon at this. 
This offer is only available until June 17th 2015 and is only for new members. The cost is $17.95 (includes P&H). 
Normally the bellabox is an adorable turquoise coloured spotty box, but in June it will posted out in a very sweet slightly larger brown box only due to the fact that the bodywash is such a large size they had to use bigger packaging!
 For $17.95 you get 3 really nice & full size beauty products & 2 sample sized products. 
All wrapped up pretty. 
My wonderful little treat of beauty goodies!!
  • Universal Beauty Cosmetics Tint Stick (This product is full sized and vegetarian friendly & cruelty free. I got the colour Nude Pink which hopefully is easily wearable, it says that it has 10 hours of anti-feathering wear and is transfer proof. Keep an eye on my Instagram for a mini-review.)
  • Original Source Body Wash (This is another full sized sample & a vegan product. I received the watermelon & jojoba oil skin quench one & it smells delightful!!) 
  • Burt's Bees Lip Balm (I love this product, I actually was just kicking myself the other day for forgetting to pick a new one up at the store, thankfully I got one today in my bellabox!) 
  • Aveda Damage Remedy hair treatment. (There are no directions on this sample sized tube but after some research this is a treatment that you leave in your hair for 2-5 minutes and then wash out. I love hair treatments & am excited to try this one, but I have a lot of hair so hopefully this tube is enough for at least 1 treatment!)
  • Jean Patou 1000 Eau De Parfum sample. 

I am super happy with this box, it has 5 great products in it and is a great starting box for anyone interested in starting to receive monthly a bellabox. Please note this specific box is only available for a limited time & is only available to new members & only available by the link found on this page.
So if you would love to receive this exact box check out bellabox.
This is product is also a wonderful gift idea, especially for a new Mum, because who wouldn't want a box of really nice beauty goodies showing up on your doorstep once a month. But hey Mumma friends treat yo' self, buy it for you because you deserve it - getting this adorable little blue box once a month is like giving yourself a monthly present and you deserve a monthly present & everyone loves getting mail that isn't bills & is a parcel! 
Please note that this is a monthly subscription service that costs $17.95 (includes P&H) a month & you get at least 5 amazing beauty related products each month from local & international brands delivered to your door for you to try in the comfort of your own home & at your own time. You can cancel the subscription at anytime. After this month the products you receive will be specially selected for you based on your profile. To sign up for bellabox you do need a credit card or PayPal (I always use PayPal when shopping online) but you can cancel at anytime! 

Please stay connected with ModernWifeLife31 & bellabox on social media on the following links;

Enjoy your week. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A quick hello & Winter has arrived!

Sorry... Once again it's been a bit of time between blog posts... When life gets busy it gets busy!! 
But I'm trying to work on my schedule/time management. My biggest struggle with this blog is giving myself the time to sit down and write. I always find something that I should be doing at home or with LuLu instead of just writing. I currently am typing this while LuLu has her afternoon nap. I made sure I got all my jobs I normally do while she naps done while she was awake, so I could sit down and say "HI"! while she was asleep. 
I struggle with finding the time to write a post purely because my computer is in my study which is in the opposite end of the house from LuLu's bedroom and play rooms. (I am not a fan of writing posts on my phone) I like being near her & interacting with her all day & when I'm not with her I am normally keeping our home presentable, cooking or we are out & about. But I think it is important for me & well all Mummas to take time to do things we enjoy. So I am trying to force myself to have more time for this. 
Writing this blog is something that brings me so much joy, I love getting messages & emails from my friends & readers saying they love the content & they enjoy reading this. And I want to continue doing so, I am so incredibly thankful for my ever so patient readers. I am aiming to do at least a blog post a week from here on in, aiming/hoping/trying... Even if it is a simple post - I am going to try!
Two of my upcoming posts that are almost ready to go are the much requested baby/toddler food recipes & a mess free/indoor craft for toddlers. 
I don't think I know everything about parenting but I truly enjoy inspiring other parents with new ideas for their little loves! I am no expert, but I do love being a Mumma & a wife - to me it is my calling. Everyone has different paths in life and I respect that but this is mine & I am so thankful for it. Being a stay at home Mum & a housewife truly makes me happy & I love to write, so combing the 2 is a really wonderful past time for me. (I also love shooting & getting to hunt, so slipping that in occasionally also makes me happy!)

So anyway while I am here I should do a bit of a catch up... 
Life is currently flat out crazy busy & chaotic, as always! LuLu is now 19 months & cutting 2 molars - my poor little love, but she is handling it like a trooper most of the time. Trent just was on days off & is now back on day shift. Winter is here & I love it! I braved the cold this morning to duck out and get some photos of the beautiful frost. (Beautiful but annoying because it killed off a few of my succulents!!)
I am in love with that last photo!! Tiny bit proud of it... 
I love Winter time - do you? I love the fashion... I love being bundled up & I love bundling up my little LuLu!
One day, one day I dream of having a white christmas! I feel so Christmassy when it gets cold... 
Anyway friends I thought I would quickly post this just to say hi & I am working on some future posts. Like I said I am aiming for at least 1 post a week from here on in! 
Of course I would love to hear what you want to read, so please leave any blog post requests or questions below, or on Facebook, Twitter or email me! :)
Thank you & have a great afternoon!