Charlottetown Event With CBC

CBC will be holding a public screening about  “reducing the consumption of single use plastic”, in Charlottetown at The Guild Theatre, February 5th at 7:00pm. Doors open at 6:30. There is limited seating to 140.

“Guest panellists Rachel Willcock, an innovative stay-at-home mom from Summerside, PEI Environment Minister Richard Brown and Ocean Devotion Producer Jane Adey.”

The audience is “encouraged to comment, ask questions and share their own ideas about reducing consumption of single use plastics.”

 

 

 

Bulk Barn Trip

Large trip to Bulk Barn! About 18 cloth bags and several containers.

Some great goods, shreddies, Cheerios, pretzels, so many kinds of nuts.

Lots of treat like items too. Great alternative to wrapped chocolate bars. Cravings settled with a simple amount, not too much, not too little. This amount will last is a good while! Don’t forget the hot chocolate!

Baking needs, salt, baking soda, honey, garlic powder. Can’t forget the coffee! Smells so good! Dried cranberries, a great add to trail mixes.

 

 

Refuse!

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. The three R’s. But don’t forget Refuse! That is what I did tonight!

Our 2 year year old, Thomas, is potty training. Today was the first day. We only had 6 pairs of underwear and that was not cutting it!! Lets just say our laundry is caught up for the week! Tomorrow will be a waste of water and energy if I have to wash a couple pairs of wet clothing at a time just to have fresh underwear and pants for Thomas.

I decided at bedtimes I had to go out to buy more. I went to Wal-Mart and picked up 2 packs of 4. I really did not want the plastic packaging. It was not even recyclable. I came up with a plan.

After paying for the items and refusing a bag, I unpacked the underwear, and handed the plastic packages to the cashier. I told her that “I wanted to make a statement to Wal-Mart, not you personally.” I don’t want the packaging.

The  cashier kindly took the packages and asked how are the items supposed to be packaged, together. I replied that “Wal-Mart will find a way, there are other alternatives. Other clothing is not packaged on the shelves like shirts and pants”.

The cashier nodded and we went our separate ways. I did notice the cashier went to see the person in charge, but did not hear the conversation as I went out the door.

Walking out I felt very proud! I think we all need to do this more! Companies of all sorts need reminders, even if they say they are working on goals for the future to be more environmentally friendly. Action needs to take place, now!

From Cloth Diapers To Potty Training

On October 7th, Thomas was introduced to cloth diapers. Its been a great adventure, zero waste diapers. Even the liners and wipes are reusable.  From that date to this date we saved approximately 570 diapers from landfill. (114 days x 5 diapers per day). Give or take the number.

So today I decided to pull out the underwear for Thomas’s size from the attic. After a wash and dry, we will be starting. Day 1 January 29th.

Chris has been trying to encourage me to make the the switch with Thomas for a little while. He is right. Thomas is ready and he is super smart. He is talking so much more and asks for things. Tells us, most if the time if he has a dirty diaper.

Also, he has gotten some sores, which is not healing very fast. First irritation since we started cloth diapering. I figure as well, being out of the diaper environment, he will heal much faster. This was the final push to start potty training.

Update, February 7, 2019

Thomas is doing really good!!! His sore and rash are gone, probably from an amnonia buildup in the diapers (Racheal, in the comments below, stated it may have been the problem. I believe she is correct). Since then, they have been stripped and Thomas is feeling quite well!

Here is a picture of his chart to show progress.

Dishwasher

So, recently I have switched to using Nature Clean Dishwasher powder detergent. I have been fining the dishes have a residue. So I tried a little less detergent. That seemed to help some, but not so much in the glasses. Though I don’t find it is getting worse.

I also found that the dishes were not coming out clean. Dried foods bits, like potatoes, were still there. Our dish washer is old. The water pressure is not great with it and there are other issues in this old house. So I was not sure to blame the dishwasher or the detergent. The detergent seemed to work fine when I tried it as a trial for a few days about month or two ago.

Today as I was unloading the dishes, I noticed there was still some detergent left in the dispenser. Also a one dish was not at all clean and it was facing down, where the water surly would spray it. No doubt about that. But it was still completely dirty.

So I decided to take the dishwasher apart a little. I did not want to go to far, as I think, I may loose my way. Haha. I only really found the the bottom of the door was super dirty. I got that cleaned up. Put it back together as I thought, me and Chris can tackle the rest another time in the evening.

I through in a bunch of vinegar and baking soda. Set the washer to quick rinse with the dirty dish inside. And yes, it got rinsed! Yay. But, when I opened the door mid waymthe cycle, I noticed the water was not spraying out of the spinning blades very much. Maybe a couple inches high. And the rotating blade on top was not moving fast either.

So there you have it. We seen this before, took the washer apart right down and gave it a good cleaning. Worked fine until recently. And when I think about it, I can remember hearing the water spurting around the washer, loud, like it should be.

I’m happy to learn that I don’t necessarily need to switch detergents!!!

I was trying to use vinegar in the rinse aid, but I think it is plugged. Not sure how to clean that or even empty it. I’m not even sure where the rinse aid comes out of during the rinse cycle. I did find a bunch of plugged up holes (vents?) on the bottom of the door. Not sure if that is the area for the rinse aid to come out of . . .

Anyways, deep clean coming soon to our washer.

Oh yea, and, I found a tsp and 2 plastic spoons Thomas used to use (not for the past 8 months or so) trying to fit their way down the slotted drain. Oh dear!!

Julia’s 6th Birthday

Julia just celebrated her 6th Birthday. Time sure is flying!!! This year she got to have a Birthday Party with her friends from kindergarten! 5 of them showed up! What excitement!!

I must say, with 10 kids in the house you would think we were the noisiest house around. Except we were not!! Our household was very quiet and everyone stayed well behaved!! If any problems were starting, Chris re-directed everyone to a new task.

I’m super happy Julia got to experience her own party with friends. Much different environment from school.

So how did we do with zero waste?

For her Birthday she got some much needed pants and a couple tops. Not second hand, as I did not time my shopping around to do that. (A new habit to form still). She also got a couple treats from Bulk Barn, no plastic packaging. A new book as well, An Elephant and Piggy. It was a Bulk purchase 1 book with 5 stories. If I bought 5 single books it would have been about $50.00. I got this one for $20.00. It will be a great help for Julia when she starts to read on her own, and it is hilarious!

We used gift bags we already had. No tissue paper, so I just used a dish towel to cover the gift in the bag.

Decorations were coloured construction paper, cut in a single stroke in a circular motion, to make twirly streamers. I already had paper fans made from previous parties. All these put together and up with my homemade glue: mix together 1 Tbsp each if corn starch and flour with 25 ml cold water. Add 100 ml boiling water and mix. Your is good to go and should last a few days. The smell will tell you when its done! Even the Happy Birthday banners were put up with glue, no tape required.

3 Paper fans glued together
Nearly 10 year old Birthday banner X3
Some streamers.
homemade glue

I did not have time to make a cake, so I bought an Ice cream one. The container will be reused for home baked goods and even bread rolls or bagels. My bread box is not big enough to hold what I bake for bread/subs, nor the extra I get without packaging at the grocery store bakery. A good alternative.

For the party, I continued with the homemade streamers. I set out crackers and cheese. Strawberries halved, blueberries and grapes. Cashews and Almonds and some juice. Cashews, almonds and grapes were package free. (I just take a bunch of grapes so from a bag at the store and put it in my cloth produce bag. This way I get the amount I want and no plastic!). The juice come from cans. I believe cans have a higher recycling rate than plastic juice bottles. (We buy minute Maid Apple Juice, Five Alive and Fruitopia).

I did not tell the guest’s parents we were a zero waste family. I did not feel comfortable to say that about gifts they may or not bring. I’m not sure how to put it exactly . . . Yet. For the invitations, I just used some card stock that was on hand, and wrote the party details. Simple yet effective.

We did not accumulate much plastic anyways, which was great!

For a cake, again, I was pressed for time, bought one from the store. I will also be reusing the cake tray. (If you put the cake tray upside down, after the cake is gone of course, haha, it makes a great dish with a cover. A layer of peanut butter on the glue under the label, let it sit 12 hours or so, and it should wash off with warm soapy water. No sticky dish this way. Works great on jars too, like spaghetti and salsa jars!

We used our own dishes and utensils for everyone. After lunch, I just washed the plates for reuse at cake time. No big deal at all. After the kids are lunch, they got to go play for 5 minutes while we washed the plates and got the cake ready. No rush!

All in all, not a zero waste party 100%, but I did my best for the time. Next party will be in March. Daniel turns 10!

 

 

Storing Bulk Ketchup

I have been thinking about alternatives for keptchup packaging. We normally buy the plastic 1 L container.

Looking at the ketchup packed in the glass containers looked very appealing, except the price. I was not sure if that was the right commitment as there are also 2.84 L cans, at a much cheaper price. Bulk items usually are.

So my next question was, how do I store the excess ketchup? Heating it back up to preserved in my own mason jars would probably ruin the consistency of ketchup. I read good and bad reviews about freezing. I’m not sure how well the ketchup will keep put in my own jars in the fridge for storage either.

So I jumped on board and bought a can anyways, 2.84 L. I decided I would try both, freezing one jar and storing the rest in the fridge. I think we would go through this stash in about a year.

First sanitize the area. I washed out the old ketchup bottle to be reused. I don’t have a funnel designed for small openings so I used a 1/4 tsp to fill up the container. It actually did not take long. I did not time it, but probably less than 10 minutes, and not much mess. 

Next, with a 1/4 cup, I filled 3 mason jars (left) to the top for the fridge and 1 more jar (right) only about 3/4 full for the freezer. Its very important to leave room for expansion when freezing!! A rule to follow is to keep the product below the curve of the jar.

So, I will see how this process works out when our ketchup bottle runs out. Fingers crossed!

Also, if someone you know wants to share a can of ketchup instead of buying a new plastic container for themselves, that would be a great help!!!!

Reduce and share, or split. Haha.

Making your own would be the best, if one had the time.

Smooth Yogurt Drinks

I started to make yogurt drinks (vanilla) in jars instead of using the blender. This only works with yogurt and milk, as any fruit/veg needs to be blended.

Some benefits to just using a jar include:
1. Less to wash and easy to wash.
2. No foam so the drink is smooth all the way!
3. Easy to store leftovers in the fridge as a jar seals shut!

Even Julia likes them now! Im super happy!!

To fit in a regular size mason jar, add 1 cup of yogurt (or 8 heaping Tbsp) and 1/2 cup milk. Seal the jar and shake 10 ish seconds. Pour and serve!

To fit a spagetti sauce jar, like Ragu brand, add 1 1/2 cup of yogurt (or 12 heaping Tbsp) and 3/4 cup of milk.

My ratio is 1/2 cup of yogurt for every 1/4 of milk.

Daniel and Jack like having chia seeds added to their drinks. I get these at Bulk Barn too.