Halloween of 2019

Happy Halloween!

Our household decorations are very simple. We did not decorate outdoors this year, just inside. We reused decorations from previous years. I cut up some streamers from construction paper which can be reused next year. The kids made some ghosts with Google eyes which were repurposed from other crafts. If need be, we can reuse them again. We used masking tape for hanging decorations, on PEI masking tape is compostable. We also used my homemade glue, still going strong since I made it back in March of 2019 or before then. I got the recipe from Bea Johnston, here is a version online I found. It is found in her book too, Zero Waste Home. The only difference I do, is take some of the water from the measurements, and mix it with the dry ingredients first before heat is added. No clumps this way!

Our kids got their face painted for Halloween at school this morning. Tonight as well for trick or treating. Last year I found that coconut oil is a great product to use to get the face paint off! The paint just smears off with so much ease! I get mine from Bulk Barn. I did buy more face paint, which will last us a long time. I want to find more natural paints, I really did not like buying into these fake paints.

Usually we are out trick or treating, so there is no need to stock up on give away treats. Though it’s good to have some on hand. This year I chose treats wrapped in foil from Bulk Barm, not Nestle brand. Next year I need to get more creative, I feel like I fell off the ball.

I sent some homemade cookies with the school kids to school. I had to make 2 batches yesterday! Decorated with falls leaf sugar sprinkles.

Daniel dressed the same as last year basically, Zombie. Home outfit.
Alaina dressed as The Joker, though she doesn’t really know who The joker actually is 😉. Home outfit.
Julia dressed as a vampire. Already had the outfit.
Jack is going as Spider-man. Already had the costume.
Thomas is, well, he does not want to dress up! I have a traditional dragon costume everyone used when they were young and he did not want it! Nor a skeleton. I guess maybe paint his face a tiny bit?

We got some pumpkins yesterday. We were very late getting pumpkins this year. One farm had none, the stores had none. The last place did, thank goodness! Though, they did not have the traditional round orange pumpkin we normally try to get. Instead, they had different kinds, weird shapes and different colors! Instead of stressing out trying to find the 7 best ones (one pumpkin for everybody), I decided we would have funky pumpkins! Not one alike, all strange looking! I love the look of it! We carved them up after supper, though me and Chris were too tired to carve ours. Mine looks good as is anyways, it’s full of bumps and looks creepy without added decoration. Chris’s pumpkin is wacky! I don’t think it is really carvable! Again, it looks good as it is!

The night of carving went so fast and we were so tired, I didn’t even think to stop Chris when he took out the compost to save seeds. It was my plan all along, but I totally forgot until this morning. I’m not going through our compost bin now, but, oops! I’m going to ask some farmers from the Summerside Farmer’s Market on Saturday to see if anyone wants our pumpkins for the animals. Composting is great, but if we can feed some farm animals that would be awesome. Even if we went for a little drive and throw the pumpkins in the woods for the wild animals.

Thomas and his “warty” pumpkin
Jack and his pumpkin, one of my favourites! Yellow with orange stripes!
Julia! Dark orange/red pumpkin.
Alaina and her white pumpkin. Guess what colour the insides were? Green!
Daniel chose the regular pumpkin, though it is not orange!
My pumpkin, super bumpy all over!
Chris’s pumpkin, I love its design!
Thomas
Jack
Julia
Alaina
Daniel, Minecraft Creeper

Vampire Julia, Joker Alaina and Zombie Daniel
Me and my Earth face. Love the Earth!

 

Trick or Treating Time!

Daniel went out with one of his friends so Chris and I  took the other 4 out and about. Thomas finally let us put the dragon costume on, I was so exited! The costume was handed down from my cousin and all our 5 kids wore it in the past 6 years!

We did not go too far. Maybe about 30 houses. The young boys had enough and I stayed home with them while Chris took the girls out for another half hour.  It was raining a bit when we started, then tapered off to a bit if a mist. By the time Chris and the girls got back it was training pretty good. It was not cold, which really made a big difference staying out, forecast called for 15 deg. celcius. The kids had a great time!

While sorting the candies and undoing the treat bags, a thought came across me. I always rip the treat bags to empty the treats inside. This time, I untied the ones with twist ties and set aside the good treat bags. They can be re used next year or for something else!

Thomas as dragon
He likes it now!
Jack as Spider-man!
Shooting webs!
Julia as a vampire! Scary!
Alsina as The Joker. “Why so serious! “
Hahahahaha!
Daniel as a zombie.
Treat bags to be saved for reuse, plus 4 more from Daniel’s take home.

We had about 15 visitors to our home, more than usual.

Reparing the Elastic Belt in Kids Pants

My husband Chris took a leap today and fixed our daughters pants! Her Jeans have somehow lost the elastic belt, which made the waist way too big for little Julia. Chris asked if we had some old pants with an elastic belt around, and sure enough I did. Julia had two pairs of pants that had become worn out on the back, and i could nkt throw them out. I had plans to repurpose them somehow, like a bag or something.

Chris removed the elastic band from the old pants gently. Cut it to size to fit the good pants. I hand sewed the end so it would not fray. Chris put the band into place and now Julia’s pants fit just right around the waist!

1 pair of pants partially repurposed, and another saved to be continually used. Love my man!

Old pair, elastic belt removed.
Old elastic belt repurposed into this good pair of Jeans

Make Smart Choices

Often times while shopping, we are presented with products packaged with plastic. Single use plastic most times. Whether its recyclable or not, any plastic is not a good choice. We buy in plastic, another one comes to take its place. Our dollars vote for what we want available, right!

Scan the whole shelf. Look for options of the same product in a diffeent package. Plastic container vs jar, can or a box. We must demand for better packaging not just with our voice or social media, but with our daily actions as well. Often times one must switch brands or even stores!

My featured picture is of construction paper. At Walmart there were two choices: paper sold loose without packaging or a bigger bundle wrapped in plastic. This choice is easy to make. Another example is laundry soap. Choose powders over liquid. Look for refillable options, such as Down East Cleaning Products. If you can not find plastic free options, choose bulk options if available. As a last resort, I choose recyclable options over non recyclable options, at least there is a chance the packaging can stay out of landfill.

Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Repair. Rot. Recycle.

Grocery Trip This Week

Now and then I like to share our shopping products. This time around, I did buy multiples of items as they were on sale, such as the flour, we go through quite a bit. The first picture is our most wasteful trip, regular grocery store. Not everybody in this house has cut back all plastic waste packaging. Together we are working on it, I can not control everything. Just like we as individuals are on a slightly different path on the zero waste journey, so are our family members. I got to give respect and patience to those, as they do great in other areas of the zero waste practice.

Sobey’s trip. I started to purchase Nutella again, unhappily.  But I found it available in glass jars. We reuse the jars for drinking glasses or for starting new plants from our Christmas Cactus. Still looking for the right recipe!
Flour was on sale, grabbed a couple bags.
The Summerside Butcher Shop. Everything wrapped in paper as requested.
Superstore trip. Dishwasher detergent in box. Sandwich meat in my own container and some casseroles in my own containers to take to a family potluck.
Bulk Barn trip. Lots of goodies in the pic. I did pick up some peanut free chocolates for Halloween, wrapped in foil; better than wrapped in plastic (no to new/recycled plastics).
The Summerside Farmer’s Market trip. Barnsoap and lip balm in a tin can from The Farmer’s Wife. Apples and carrots. Bacon and hot dogs. Eggs and an Aloe Vera Plant! Also stopped at Staples for white paper, wrapped in paper.

Latly I have been thinking about how Bulk Barn recieves their products. For example, cornstarch. I can buy it in compostable packaging at the grocery store. Does Bulk Barn get it in paper bags or plastic bags? There are some unknown factors that I want to get to the bottom of. I realize that even though I can get cornstarch in a box at the grocery store, the pallet of that item is probably wrapped up in plastic anyways. Food for thought!

 

Refundable Recyclable Reusable Bag

I have had a plan for months to cut out blue bags for one part of our waste sorting. The types of recyclables that you pay a deposit for, in return recieve a small refund. On PEI aluminum cans for pop, juice and liquor are refundable. Also, juice cartons, kids juice boxes, and sport drink containers. All of which are single use items unfortunately. We have cut back much of these items, keeping in mind aluminum has a higher probability to be recycled compared to the other cartons.

I’m not sure why, but I have always stored these items in blue bags. Any bag would due! As of late, I have been using boxes to store these items. I get the box back to reload once I visit the recycling depot. My master plan was to sew cloth bags to house the recyclables destined for the depot. Once emptied, the bag can be washed, unlike the cardboard boxes I have been using.

Our refundable recyclables include pop and juice aluminium cans. Once in a while the kids will bring home a sports drink bottle or other plastic drink container. We reuse them for a while, but eventually they must go. We do not drink much juice. We have cut down from over 2 litres a day to a cup a day each basically. And not everyday either. I do not drink juice or pop, Chris rarely drinks juice, and Daniel will have a pop once a week or so. Our bag used to fill up within a month, now it takes 2-3 months to fill, which is great! Reduce what you can.

I grabbed a piece of old sheet that I have already took pieces from and made 2 good size bags, basically large pillow cases. So easy! I made a pocket around the top to put in a drawstring to close the bag once full. The drawstring was a narrow piece of another sheet of different colour I cut and used. At first I used the same sheet for this purpose, but the drawstring blended in too much.

Cut to size, Thomas is helping.
Sewing machine is set
Two made, that’s all I need.
One full, the other not so much.
Drawstrings cut.
Tied into a straw, the tap is there to stop the drawstring from slipping off while pushing it through the bag pocket.
Ta-da!

 

Zero Waste Night Market Event

Yesterday me and Chris went to our first zero waste markets, which was held in Charlottetown at The Riverview Country Market and Cafe. Hosted by the Market, Urban Daisy and Forest Child Natural Beauty. Little did I know, it was an outside event and we were not dressed for the outdoors, oops! Next time, pack a coat just in case! Chris’ mom came down to our place to watch the kids with help from our niece as well. That’s right, we got away child free! Thank you Jean and Bailey! Xx

Sad to say, I did not take any pictures of the market, too busy going from vendor to vendor and holding our mugs of hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Yup, I packed mugs so we did not need a disposable, even if it was a paper cup. But I did take pictures of our products when we got home. It was so nice to finally put faces to names I knew from other online groups and companies. Some of the vendors put in a lot of work into what they make and truly recycling products into new fashions. I met up with the owners of Unpacked, which will be opening in Charlottetown next month, the Island’s first zero waste store.

First off was my new bamboo toothbrush. The Bristles are made of castor bean oil and the whole toothbrush is compostable. I heard of some people using the stick as a fire started once the brush has come to the end of its life, which I am told it should last as long a regular toothbrush before it needs replacing. Moonsnail Soapworks is where I got the toothbrush, $7.50. I also bought toothpaste tabs/bites which are fluoride free, but also plastic free. LUXE Beauty Bar sells it by the ounce, which in turn is about $6.00 for a couple weeks. May be pricey, but compared to other savings made in the long run, it makes up. Also, like I said, plastic free. I tried these out when I got home, and I was surprised with the toothbrush. Works great, does a great job cleaning and the size is perfect. Also, the bristles are so soft. The toothpaste bites, will take some time getting used to, but I’m down with that!

Chris bought a safety razor!!! He has been looking for quite some time and never seen one for sale until now! It was a pricey purchase, but in the long run, no more buying disposables. I’d say it will pay for itself within a year. (Sorry, also can not remember the vendor’s name, I try to find out)

This vendor, Nellie and Gabe really astonished me. Everything she sold was handcrafted by her and mostly came from products she recycled into her own new product. This bracelet is made from hemp, and the beads are reused from her thrift shopping trips. Can not get much more zero waste there, two thumbs up!

Chris convinced me to buy this sea sponge from Freckles and Porcelain. I always used to use the plastic bath sponges, but mine become unusable a while ago. Since then I just wast with my hands or a facecloth, but I found I could not scrub or reach areas very well. I thought someday I would find a loofa sponge, but I have not seen any for sale as of yet. So, sea sponge it was. I used it today and it works well and is so soft!

Great event, looking forward to more in the following months. I encourage you all to go to events in your area and support your local shops, they are counting on you.

Washing the Laundry

Washing clothes can be next to zero waste. There are options available to help homeowners switch away from jugs of detergents.

  • Find a refillable option, such as Down East laundry detergent. You can easily contact this company to find the nearest location to you. All you got to do is bring a container, get it tared at the store, fill up with as much detergent you need and pay for it. No waste created. The closest store to me is in Charlottetown at Riverview Country Market and Cafe.
  • Buy powder detergents in box packages. I believe most packages come with a scoop, usually made of plastic, but it’s much less compared to a whole plastic jug! I opt for Tide unscented. I use it for cloth diapers solely. I found the product at Atlantic Superstore.
  • The laundry detergent I do use comes from a local maker, The Farmer’s Wife. It’s called Laundry Soap. All you need is a cap full per load of laundry, 1 bottle will last us 3 weeks for $14. Once the jug is empty, I return it for a dollar discount and the jug will get cleaned and reused! You can find the Farmer’s Wife at The Summerside Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s or order online here.
  • Fabric softener can be switched to Vinegar, and it does not leave a smell on your clothes! I find I do not even need to use it myself.
  • Washing Soda helps with boosting detergents as well. I mainly use it for towels as they are more dirty than clothing.
  • Borax is used for cloth diapers in my home. It helps stop mineral buildup on the diapers, otherwise they become liquid proof and carry a bad smell.
  • Oxygen Bleach is much better to use instead of Clorox. It is more natural and not so harsh. I mainly use oxygen bleach for cloth diapers as well, just to help pull the dirt away. Sometimes I will use it for some towels or sheets, if they are really in need of a good cleaning.
Regular everyday laundry. Washing soda and laundry soap. I am reusing an old cap from another detergent jug for my scoop with the washing soda. It equals out to hold 1/2 cup which is what is directed on the box. The laundry soap is measured by it’s own cap, nothing more is needed.
Ingredient list if anyone is interested.
Cloth diaper cleaners. Borax, I use a half cup per load. Oxygen Bleach, the one wasteful container I do use. I can not find its form in a powder box form. Currently I am reusing some containers as buckets. The cap there measures to a 1/2 cup. A full cup is directed in the instructions. Tide unscented powder cones with a scooping it’s own, not sure what I will do with the scoop once the box is empty.

Re-purposing Cloth

Today I cut up some old clothes to make handkerchiefs, that time of year is coming. I have a stash in both bathrooms and one in the kitchen/dining room. slowly, the stash is growing and I will be able to have more spread about the house to other rooms.

I also made some no sew cloth bags out of a few old T-shirts. Too worn out to fix or donate, but still kind of special to cut up into handkerchiefs. So I tried making some bags and it was so easy!! I will see how they hold up when I go shopping. I don’t think they will hold heavy items, like milk cartons for example.

I have a bunch of Jeans I want to re-purpose. I just need to take some time and look up some how to’s and make bags from them. I have a couple that I got a while ago and they are so nice and sturdy! One of them is my purse bag.

I have some old sheets as well, I want to make a bag for our refundable cans, no blue plastic bags for that. This way I can just wash the cloth bag and reuse it over and over. I have had this plan for a good long while now, just have not acted on it yet. Currently I am using boxes to house the cans and I will reuse them.

I also have some old towels, I want to cut them up for rags around the house as well. I know I can not just cut them and use as is, they will fray and fall apart pretty quickly, making a big mess. I just need to take some time and re-sew the edges.