Loving The Plastic Free Options

Loose oranges (not bagged), bananas and homemade bread.
Grapes, I just pick a small amount of each out of a bag or two and placed them in my cloth bags. (Take what I touch). It would be nice if these where not bagged at all, and customers chose the amount they wanted, not the pre-packed  way.
As requested at the Farmer’s Market, no bag. There are fresh carrots available at our stores, package free, tops still on. Canadian produce when in season, American produce out of season.
Apples. Many kinds sold package free.
Broccoli package free. Lettuce package free too, wrapped in a towel. More oranges underneath.
First to eat grapes from last week, single onions (yellow and red) not bagged! Some kiwi in there bought singly. Red and orange pepper, bought singly. No packaging! Yes, a tub of parmesan cheese. Looking for a plastic free option. . .

Something I want to work towards is buying only local and in season foods. I buy as much local as I can already and package free, but there is a large carbon foot print to get some of these fruits here. Sure they could be bought as a treat once in a while, but not weekly. A change of attitude and habits!

Ground coffee
Bacon, back bacon, salami and pepperoni, deli meat.
Whole chickens, chicken breast and Hamburg.
These Almond bites are great! Super crunchy.
Pretzels, pistachios, cashews, almonds, peanuts, honey roasted peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and roasted hazelnuts. I got dried fruit and shreddies as well as raisins and bran flakes to make my own “Raison Brand”. The kids love making trail mixes. Also, containers of chocolate chips in the freezer bought package free too.
Candy and chocolate
Farmer’s Market hull. Bacon, free range eggs, salami, laundry soap, Island maple syrup, Island honey, local raspberry jam, garlic and a single saucer for our cats’ wet food from second hand store. No more plastic dish for her and less hand washing, into the dishwasher it goes! $.50.

Homemade Pizza

We have started to make our own pizza and garlic fingers to cut costs. At the same time its cutting other kinds of waste too.

I buy Hamburg from the Summerside Butcher Shop plastic free, as well as salami and pepperoni from Pleasant Pork at the Summerside Farmer’s Market, plastic free. Cheese is the only thing not plastic free, still working on that.

Chris found an amazing recipe for garlic butter! This is round #2 with it. I found an amazing recipe for the dough! I was making one large garlic fingers and one large pizza, but there was too much food waste. This time round, #4, I made one large pan half pizza and half garlic fingers. I like this better, less prep and faster cooking time as I can only fit one pan in the oven at a time (to bake properly).

To be honest, the kids were not liking the garlic fingers, tweaking the cook time, temperature and amount of ingredients for them. Looking for the right pizza sauce as well. I want to make my own sauce come tomato season!

Trans Planted Some Maple Trees

Our backyard is a very sunny spot. Absolutely no shade from the Summer sun. We used to have a huge tree that would block the sun and the whole backyard was shady and cool, up until about 2 years ago.

I was cleaning up the flower beds and as always, I found some young maple trees growing. I decided that they should get planted where someday, shade would be provided.  I chose 3 as I did not want to plant too many close together. I thought this is much cheaper than buying trees, and I know it will take years for them to be helpful. Better to start now than later (Should have started one or two years ago, really).

I am worried the young kids will pull them out or walk on them. They are small, 6-8 inches tall. I tied some jute around Popsicle sticks and stuck those in the ground around the trees. By one of the fences, the neighbors peble/rocks are pouring between the planks. The kids are always into those. I took some and made a circle around the trees I planted, just to give more of a visual.

I asked the kids to be careful and treat the tiny trees like babies. Babies in our backyard who someday will provide shade. I hope it works!

School Lunches, May 2019

School lunches wrapper free!
I have many of these containers (which used to be used for homemade playdoh) and I am able to pack two days worth of lunches with them. One set being used, one set dirty. I am reusing cranberry juice bottles to give a drink for school, but these bottles tend to wear out after about 4 or 5 months. (Want to find a steel bottle that is about 250 ml of a little more, not a plastic one and must have a screw on top to prevent leaks. (I already tried the Rubbermaid juice boxes but they leak when laying down).

Packed in the lunches (Varies everyday): homemade granola bars, Breton and soda crackers (bulk packaging), pretzels, apple slices, strawberries (clam shell), grapes, carrot slices, banana, orange pepper slices, cheese (bulk packaging), cereal (bulk packaging), juice ((2/3 full) cans), and either sandwich meat like beef or leftovers such as chicken (from our Sunday roast chickens), occasional hotdog (bulk packaging). Alaina wants water everyday instead of juice except on Wednesdays! They each have a water bottle as well.

Mostly whole foods. Juice come from aluminum cans as those are more readily recycled compared to the plastic jugs. (We have switched juice intake to once a day). Water and milk are available always. I myself just eat an apple or orange if I want juice. Best ever!!!

With much feedback from friends online, the kids will have 9 oz steel bottles for school instead of the plastic ones I am reusing. I will look for second hand in the coming months, and my eyes are set on a brand online if I can not find second ones.

Julia
Daniel
Alaina

School is almost out. I would love to make some cloth snack bags for the dried goods over the Summer. That would result in less dish washing. To be honest, I get annoyed by all the plastic dishes everyday! Normally I reuse the cracker dish for the week, so 4 containers times 3 kids is 12 containers and 12 lids everyday. These are best to air dry as well, taking up space for that time. I could wash them before bed everyday, but I’m not that organized!! Most of my energy is used for the morning and afternoon. I’m out by the time supper is over! Lol!

This is what it takes stay away from prepackaged foods. A little extra work (or a lot if you don’t like washing dishes, lol) to be plastic package free and healthy lunches.

Last year, if I can remember, the lunches contained: left over chicken (which was packaged), apple (bulk packaged), berries (clam shell), fruit cup (individually packaged), granola bar (individually packaged), fruit gummies (individually packaged), fishy crackers (bulk packaging), yogurt tube or drink (individually packaged), juice box (individually packaged), occasionally Bear Paw cookie or pudding (individually packaged), Rice Cake (bulk packaging).

Wow, comparing this before list to today’s list for lunches, another great reason to switch to package free foods! I know my children are eating way more healthier now!! All that processed foods there, blah!

Molasses

We finally ran out of molasses. We only buy it once a year or so. Off to Bulk Barn I went as they sell Black Molasses and Fancy Molasses. I went with Fancy, as that is the Brand I always buy anyways. I used a yogurt tub, which was great as it has a wide mouth, making it easy to fill with the ladle provided; though sometimes it’s a good idea to bring a rag with you to clean up your container from runoff drips, I usually use one of my cloth bags and stick it in my pocket.

I wanted to recycle the old molasses container I had, but I could not. Reuse was embedded in my brain so much I felt guilty not to use it. Perfect squeeze bottle made for suspencing molasses. No reason I can not reuse it again.

Slowly but surly, I poured the molasses into the container without a mess. Next time round I will probably use a jar as I’m still learning about the nasty plastic leaching problems. One step at a time. (Reviewing the article again, I think I will just put the molasses in a jar, in the morning).

Fancy Molasses 
Ready for transfer
Careful
Mission complete

Freezing Extra Pancakes

Pancakes and waffles are great to have on hand for kids! You do not need to buy store waffles/eggos. Next time you make pancakes or waffles, make a double batch so that there leftovers. Simply let them cool and then lay them on a pan to freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a container. I reuse a cake tray I once bought (Birthday cake). Turn it upside down to turn it into a container rather than a tray!

Just pop them in the toaster and add your favourite topping!

Pancakes
Waffles

Recipe for waffles

Recipe for pancakes (need to add it to my recipe page)

 

Backyard Garden Clean Up

The Weather was beautiful for working outside and the temperature is finally staying above freezing. Time for some garden work! We do not have a bunch of trees in the backyard anymore, strong wind storms took them out over the past few years. No need to buy lawn bags very much anymore. I would love to start my own composting at home, just need to do more research into that. I don’t think the backyard with the kids is a wise thing (not when they are so young; 2 year old), the side yard does not get enough sun to give heat.

Jack, Julia and Thomas were great helpers. Pulling some weeds and clearing small branches to the compost bin for pickup. The yard needs a lot of work. I would love to add more top soil and build the flower beds back up again. But we can only do what we can, I choose to enjoy what we got and go with it. The kids really do have a great space to play in and our backyard is completely fenced in.

Pictures of the backyard and what got done this day.

Before. Walkway is lined with Hostas and Bleeding Heart plants. They are still very small.
After. Not a whole lot different!
Before. The Bee’s love these two bushes!
After. Not much different.
One little Forget Me Not plant growing on the right by the small bush. I love them but they spread like crazy! I may let it stay and spread in that bed.
Before. My small vegetable garden.
After. The area around the trees is cleaned up.
Before
After. This is where I stopped.
Before
After
Before. Hostas in here and the old tree stump. I miss that tree!
After
The kids loving playing here walking along the rocks and stump
Bleeding Heart
They are everywhere, I love them!
Lots of ferns too.
I love ferns and bleeding hearts together. Beautiful colours!
These Hostas are growing Nicly!
Little flowers!
Some of the plastic garbage I found in the gardens. Freezer wrappers mostly. Got to do better this summer with those!

Pictures of the front yard, did not clean this yet.

Hello!

Some work here.
So messy. . .

More Clothing Repairs and Jacks Teddy Pup

My clothing repair corner is getting pretty big! I have lots to do with my new sewing machine. I have not Used it very much and received it for my Birthday from my mom and step dad back in January.

I have more plans for making cloth bags and even a cloth bag to hold the refundable recyclables instead of using a blue bag or a box. Once the cloth bag for two are full, I can take them to the depo and take my bags back and wash them. Reduce and Reuse! (I just got to take the time to make them, lol)

Cotton thread, not synthetic. Will not support synthetic.
Feet pretty holy. These have been worn by Daniel and Jack.
Sewed on a patch to the inside of both feet, hoping to get one more child through these, Thomas. Surly the feet part can be replaced altogether, as the rest of these pj’s are in great condition!
Not quite sure what to do about the outside. At least there is no draft anymore! Lol
Any tips?
Julia’s pjs got a massive hole too.
Patched up.
Jacks teddy pup was in need of mending.
Fixed.
Found another hole.
Jack is happy!
Christmas bag I told my brother Scott I could fix up with the sewing machine. On one side, the seam completly let go almost down the while bag.

Grocery Trip These Days

Sobey’s Friday night trip.

Produce in cloth bags, plastic free except for a few stickers. Potatoes, Nature Clean laundry detergent, Cheerios, spaghetti, and crackers with some plastic waste. Strawberries, Nutella, syrup, toothpaste, pop and milk in recyclable packaging. Cheese, hit dog pack and chips complete wasteful packaging.

Summerside Farmer’s Market in the A.M. 

Package free carrots, bacon and back bacon, pepperoni and salami, shampoo bar and tomato plants.

Superstore

Deli meat for sandwiches and school lunches. Used my own container. I love Superstore for allowing this!
Forgot these apples for Daniel at Sobey’s last night. No produce bag needed. I carried them to the cash and placed them in my carry bag to the vehicle.

Bulk Barn.

Coffee, pretzels, graham crackers, molasses, sugar, pistachios, sunflower seeds, dried blueberries, raisins, gummy worms, peanut butter , chocolate nut bars, garlic powder, ground black pepper, walnuts and vanilla. This container if vanilla, Club House 455ml, is the only one I can find that is 100% recyclable. Other brands and sizes have a cap that is non recyclable.
I decided to reuse these elastic bands for Bulk Barn trips. I have not yet made draw strings for my cloth bags and do not really have a way to secure them close. I have never had a spill happen, but do want them secured (someday, lol). I will not store them on my key chain in the future, probably not the most sanitary place to keep them as I touch scoops for collecting products. (Picking up my keys every time I need an elastic).
Elastic bands in use.

Summerside Butcher Shop.

Two whole chickens and 1 lb lean Hamburg.

Repairing Some Sweaters

Daniel and Alaina each have a favourite sweater and they were both in need of some mending! Daniel’s sleeve cuff was coming undone and Alaina’s sweater came undone along the whole seam of a sleeve and body. I could not believe how much it was coming apart! Her sweater, which I can not remember where it came from, must have been hand made, knitting or something.

Anyways, Daniels was pretty easy to fix up, my sewing skills are slim, so it was not the prettiest job done, but the hole was mended. I also did not have black thread to match the colour. Oh well. lol.

Alaina’s sweater was a much bigger job and I took it to the sewing machine and fixed it right up.  It may be a little tighter than it was before and I did not match the colour patterns up very well, I did not even take notice as I mended it up. Though, I do not think it is very noticeable unless you look right at the seam, which is hidden under the arm anyways. Lesson learned for next time! Mistakes are good, they are lessons we learn from.