Christmas Baking with the kids

This year I made the traditional Plum Pudding. My Nanny’s recipe she used for many many years. This year instead of using foil pans, which would be tossed after one use, I used my bread pans with a sheet of foil to seal the top. Minimal waste!! I buttered the pan, and the plum pudding slid out with ease!!! No sticking!!

This is a pic of before steaming. I will post a picture soon of the ready to eat stage!! Yum!

The kids helped make some sugar cookies. Everyone had their turn to roll and cut the dough to shapes they picked and sprinkle sugar to decorate before baking. It sure was nice to have that time individually!

1st up, Thomas.

2nd up, Jack.

3rd up, Julia.

4th up, Alaina.

5th up, Daniel.

Cookies sure turned out yummy!!

Next, because of little time available, I rolled and cut the ginger bread cookie dough to shape. Baked and iced them too. Though, the kids are not a fan of ginger bread cookies, I love them. The recipe is the best one I have had! Also, they were iced with icing from the Bulk Barn, no waste!!

School Ice Skate

Ice skating is one of the most fun activities with the kids. Though, I only go with the school, once a year. I am reminded this time, again, that this activity needs to be done more!

For me, skating is relaxing. Its calming. Free. And the 2 big kids can go on their own. So skating with them or around them is so much fun! Makes me feel good!  I am not a great skater myself. I can go fast and not  fall, but I dontmknow how to stop properly. I fear of falling flat on my face! Haha!! I was trying to figure it out myself, going slow, and I think I know what to do now. I got to show the kids what to do. Its great to encourage the kids and help them when needed.

Seeing them starting out clumsy, falling, and struggling to stay up and then see them on their own making their way and trying over and over to do better (and are doing better) is just awesome! What an experience!!

So far, Daniel has gone 5 times, Alaina has gone 3 and this was Julia’s first time! The four of us had a great day!!

Julia posing for her picture
Off she goes
Skating along the did not want to take my camera on the ice, just in case. Julia needed a lot of help since it was her first time.
Julia finally got one of these to help her stay up
There she goes!
Alaina. She did awesome!
Alaina on her way, and Daniel far back, in the middle, black jacket and white helmet.
Very proud of these two!! Daniel is very determined to get from one side of the rink to the other without falling, and he did!!
Amazing kiddos!!

Home Made Christmas Wrapping

This year for Christmas we decided we would take the extra step and avoid plastic waste as much as possible with wrapping gifts. Though, here in Summerside, PEI, plain wrapping paper is compostable. Even the tape is allowed to go into the compost.

I have been saving brown packing paper from shipments and gave them to the kids to colour and make our own wrapping paper. Cost=$0.00! To replace the tape, we used jute twine!

Firstly, lets take a step back.

The kids’ school hosts a Christmas Flea Market. Parents and students donate toys/book/decorations/jewelry/wrapping paper etc . . . These are bought by students for $1.00 each. Volunteers are set up to help students wrap the gifts and write tags. It’s a very wise move, reusing household items and giving them new homes. Affordable gifts for family. Everyone gets included.

This year, I wanted to avoid the gift wrapping and use what we had here at home. So I sent the children to school with two of my produce bags each. They knew to put the gifts in those instead of wrapping, and I left a note in their agendas for the teachers.

When the kids got home from school I was happy to see they used my bags for the most part. The gifts they picked added up and not everything fit in the bags. Some items did get wrapped (so other siblings could not see the gift). Some items were not wrapped but placed in their backpacks or were carried by hand.

Daniel says that some of his friends and volunteers asked why he had the bag instead of getting the gifts wrapped. He just said that his mom is doing less waste at home. His reply was dismissed with “okay”.  I don’t think many of them caught on to what we are doing. Our youngest did not use the cloth bag and had everything wrapped. I don’t blame her. She probably forgot the bags in the excitment! That’s okay!

Daniel and Alaina coloured some paper to their own liking. Julia did some too. I saved a sheet for Jack, as he is away to Grammies for a night. I coloured one too myself!

We cut the paper to size for the gifts as one would normally with regular wrapping paper. Instead of tape, together we held the paper in place and wrapped some jute around then tied it in place. Worked wonderfully!!! The kids liked it and so did Chris!!!



Christmas Tree

Chris got the tree!!! Smells soo good!!!!!
Decorating coming soon!
December 18th

The kids have no idea what they are waking up to in the morning!!

December 19th:
Jack was the first one up! His jaw was slightly dropped. He stomped to the tree and looked at it. Turned and looked at the positions of the moved furnature. And smiled! Daniel, Alaina and Julia were excited. Thomas was quiet and curious. He quickly warmed up to the tree!!

December 20th:
Decorating time. This can be a chaotic time, everyone we decorating at the same time. Chris took charge and we had a quiet fun evening taking turns one or two at a time, picking an ornament and hanging it on the tree. So well behaved and quiet. Fun and smiles the whole time!!


A few short days later, Julia decided to play hide and seek. And guess what!? She hid behind the tree, accidentally knocking it down. Ooops!! This would be Julia’s second time knocking the Christmas tree down. The first time happened when I was pregnant with Jack. She would have been just under 2 years old. What funny memories!!

Pictures around Christmas time.

Nature Clean Laundry Powder

We have been using Tide Cold Water liquid laundry detergent for always!

I want to switch to a environmentally friendly detergent chemical wise. Looking at my options at the natural aisle at the store, I found Down East (made in Nova Scotia) and Nature Clean (made in Ontario).

First I went with Down East liquid laundry detergent. I was very cautious and worried about switching as I really did not want to ruin our clothes or cause a skin reaction with the household. I wonder why I thought switching detergents would do that, but that is what was on my mind.

So Down East detergent worked very well! I was pleased with it! Though, of course, the cloth diapers still had a bit of “barn smell”, so of course, bleach would be used now and then. (I made a switch to that too). So basically same cleaning power as Tide.

This past weekend I switched to Nature Clean laundry powder, in a box! Yay! Oh my! The clothes come out smelling like a breath if fresh air! Amazing! Even the inserts for the cloth diapers feel cleaner and smell fresh! Hey, if the cloth diapers are coming out clean, so is everything else!!

I just make sure to run the washer with the detergent for a minute before adding clothes. Gets good and sudsy!

And I only use cold water!

As for the bleach, I wanted a less chemical approach. Powdered formula too. There is Oxiclean, but in a plastic container. So I switched to Nature Clean Oxygen bleach. It works great too. No strong chemicals anymore!!

On the Environmental Working Group these products are listed:

Tide cold Water liquid detergent is rated an F.

Nature Clean laundry powder is rated an A.

Clorox regular bleach is rated an an F.

Nature Clean Oxygen bleach is rated an A.

Oxiclean is rated a B.

I also switch our dish soap. We used Original Dawn. I now use Down East. My hands were so dry and cracking. I always blamed the cool weather, but after I started using Down East, my hands are so much better!! No more dry feeling and reddness! 100% happy, and knowing that it is chemical free!

Dawn dish Soap is rated a C-D

Down East is not yet in the database.

Seriously! Switch your cleaners!!!! My home is almost chemical free (cleaners)! Finishing off a aerosol air freshener (in the basement area), and 2.5 jugs of Finish dishwasher detergent. I know there are some smelly candles to finish/dispose of. We don’t burn much of those any ways. Only if the power goes out.

So, yay! Another detergent plastic bottle out the door!


Nature Clean Dishwasher Powder

Not only am I trying to go zero waste at home, but also chemical free.

We use Finish dishwasher liquid detergent. Probably one  1.6L jug every 7-8 days.

For the last month or more, I have been washing dishes by hand, to avoid using the detergent as much as possible. The more detergent used means more plastic used.

Luckily, someone reminded me to search for powdered detergents in box board. Totally right!! Sometimes we just need a little nudge!

With powdered detergent in my mind, I was also thinking about a plant based product, no harmful chemicals.

In the Natural Aisle at the store, I found Down East (made in Nova Scotia.) and Nature Clean (made in Ontario). I chose Nature clean as it was the only one in a powder form and a box. I have been looking up products in the Environmental Working Group, EWG. Products are rated from A to F, A being the best. It lists the ingredients and each if their own rating.

Finish is rated a D. But if you look closer, at the ingredient list ratings, the top one is an F. Sulfuric Acid.

Nature Clean dishwasher powder is not listed, but the dishwasher pods are listed as an A. I trust Nature Clean dishwasher powder is very much alike.

If you are wondering  about your products, just type them into the search and find out. Protect yourself, family and the environment!

Use what you got if you can, and switch the next time you need to pick up a new cleaner. I got 2.5 jugs of finish to use. Nature Clean is leaving my dishes clean and not foggy! Also, there is no strong smell!! No chemicals to breath in! Win win!