Our day was pretty quiet. No school and dad was home from work as it was Good Friday. I must say, part of her present was a major help tidying her bedroom. Its been needing a pickup for a long while. We found some surprising items that got lost and misplaced such as gifts from Christmas. Chris spent most of the day with Alaina, such a great help! Xx
For her Birthday she wanted homemade cupcakes and the new whipped icing, this time flavoured with cocoa. She was unsure about what she wanted for her Birthday. Summertime PJ’s were mentioned (purple and gold colour) as well as a bike. She has outgrown hers and has been using Daniels’ bike last year.
We kept it simple, as it should be. She got the bike and a new hat. I could not find Pj’s that were not covered in sparkles or plastic disks. So sad! There were some summer pj tops but thick polyester shorts. Really! Ridiculously crazy! Choices are hard, and when they are, I refuse! I will shop else where or online if I have to. She and Daniel also got an upgrade on their computers to there are no more glitches when they play online together. Perfect add on to the day!
As for the party, we had another Fiver party. She invited 15 classmates of which 7 came. We decided to stick around home and rent a movie. Much cheaper and more selection than the movie theatre. We rented The Song of the Sea.
First off, the girls and boys wanted to do their own thing. I set up Minecraft for 2 players. Set on normal difficulty and survival mode with monsters (mob). Two kids would play day and night only until morning or get defeated by a mob then give their turn to another player. Great fun the boys had! The girls did what girls do, chat! Lol.
We had snacks provided such as fruit and cheese and crackers. Alaina wanted a cake for the party, so I made a bundt cake with my homemade whipped icing. I cut the cake in half and put a layer of icing in there too. Great idea! Alaina wanted vanilla icing and chocolate icing if I could add that.
I am still experimenting with my icing bag I got for Christmas. Maybe I need to look for tutorials! Lol!! Though, I think cupcakes are a must for parties. Too much cake goes un-eaten. I felt sad about scraping some off dish after dish. Believe me, the cake tasted awesome, I find kids are not a big fan of cake these days.
We used our own dishes and I must say, with 14 of us, we used all of our plates! Just enough too! During the movie, I made a huge bowl of popcorn, could have made more, and divided it up into 12 bowls, that was tricky!! Everyone got a chocolate egg to go with it and water to drink. I had to wash cups as they were used for cake time, but really, it only took a couple minutes while the popcorn was popping. No time wasted.
When the movie ended, the party came to a close and the kids were given a treat of Fun Dip as a thank you for coming to the party. Just a paper package. Simple, yet the kids were so happy to receive it! Jaws drop and eyes widen, every one of them! So much Better than a bag full of breakable, use once toys from the party aisle you find at the stores.
All the gifts came plastic waste free, just $5.00 so Alaina can put that money towards something she really wants. A Great way for her to learn money management.
Happy Birthday Alaina!
2 cups of white sugar
1 + ¾ cup of flour
¾ cup of cocoa
1 + ½ tsp of baking powder
1 + ½ tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup of milk
½ cup of veg. oil
2 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of boiling water
For the cake, I use a bunt pan, bake at 350 for 52 minutes!
For 2, 9″ pan cakes, bake at 350 for 33 minutes!
Find my whipping cream icing on the Recipe page! So yummy!
¼ cup water
½ cup cocoa
¾ cup white sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
Back in 2013 I think, I bought Chris our first Keurig machine. It was so convienent and there were many flavoured options to choose from. We did not think about the amount of trash we were creating. Blinders.
During my pregnancy with our 4th child, Jack who was born late in the year 2014, I started to drink coffee. Twice the amount of waste, and still did not care about the trash.
sometime in the 2 years after we bought that keurig, it suddenly stopped drawing water. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure Chris tried to fix it with no luck. Hooked with the convienence, we bought another Keurig without a second thought. I can remember my mom giving us a reusable pod to fill with coffee grounds, but we never did used it. It just was not something we wanted to do, lazy I guess. I really don’t know what to say about it! (I shake my head now!).
In the year 2018, July, I made the switch to the resable pods to avoid the plastic waste. My eyes were finally opened. Shortly after, the Keurig, once again stopped drawing water just like our other one. Chris managed to get it working again for a day or two but it would not go any longer. I thought about switching to a different method for coffee (A French Press was mentioned to me), but Chris was not ready for that change and I had the reusable pods. I was not interested in having two setups for coffee making either, only so much counter space. So we bought another machine.
So, today, April 14th 2019, Chris had his last disposable coffee pod! Yup! He is making the switch as I did last year and using the reusable pods! I’m so happy and impressed! I knew he would eventually and I did not pressure him into it, much. I know he has to make these decisions for himself, no forcing it on him. Last month I bought ground coffee in the flavour he likes so he could try it with the reusable pods. That is where it started, just a little nudge.
From Bulk barn, I bought him German Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Hazelnut Cream and Hazelnut Cream. These are very similar to what he used to get.
Here is a visual about how I disposed of the K-Cups. We only bought the kind that were “recyclable”. Yes they had a #5 recycling symbol, but you had to do some work to make it actually recyclable. The top of the pod had the coffee filter glued to it. One can not simply peel the top off and recycle it as the instructions on the box indicate.
Isn’t that better than throwing the whole pod in the trash destined for landfill? At least now, the recyclable bit has a chance to be recycled. One can do this if switching to a reusable method is not in the picture . . . yet.
I keep a bowl by the sink to hold the used pods, so that when it is full I can clean them all at once in a bulk amount. I’ve never had any mold grow leaving them there for 5 or 6 days. But now, with the reusable pods, I can and will need to clean them dailey, which is great, less clutter on the counter!
Next I collect whatever containers I need for my shopping trip.
- A couple for the Farmer’s Market for bacon and kolbassa. I repack an empty egg carton go bring back to the vendor for more fresh local eggs. When I have a bunch of elastics, they come with me to be returned to another vendor at the Farmer’s Market for reuse.
- I pack an extra container to take to Superstore to buy deli meat, plastic free. I just got permission last week! Yay!!
- On my Bulk Barn list, I circle the items that need a container, like powders and coffee or peanut butter. My cloth bags are all ready for anything else for the trip in my Bulk Barn bag.
- A blue thermos bag is used to pick up our meat from The Butcher Shop. If there is a mess, the bag is super easy to sanitize!
First stop is Murphy’s Pharmacy if need be for any medical supplies. Next the bank for cash then the Farmer’s Market. These 3 places are very close together, walking distance when the weather warms up for sure!
At the Farmer’s Market I first drop off the empty egg carton, I will go there last to pick up our eggs.
Next is Pleasant Pork for our plastic free bacon and kolbassa in my dishes.
Next is Clohossey Farms for plastic free carrots and turnip.
Next, The Farmer’s Wife for soaps. Hand soap, shampoo bar and Laundry soap. There are so many products to choose from and more! The laundry soap is amazing! Locally made, chemical free (the bad stuff) and you can take the container back to be reused with a discount on the next purchase of laundry soap! Yay!
I was buying local apples as well from Brady’s Farm, but they are out of season for now.
I have found local honey and maple syrup in glass too!
Last but not least, I pick up the eggs and head out.
From here I go uptown and go to Superstore for deli meat. They are very happy to see me and take my container to fill! It feels so natural! If need be, Wal-Mart is next stop, but we rarely shop there anymore! Maybe once a month and only for items we can not get anywhere else.
Next is Bulk Barn. I love seeing others there shopping with their own containers! I was talking to the manager today, Bill, and he said that before, he would go days between seeing someone go in with containers for products. Now its every hour! Isn’t that amazing!! I’m so happy!
Last stop is The Summerside Butcher Shop. I go in and straight to the back door and ask for the order I called in. Its usually all ready to go and I pay at the cash. The usual is 2 whole chickens (they are small), 4 chicken breasts and 1 lb if Hamburg or 1 lb stir fry beef strips. I have not had any messes as of yet. When I am home, I transfer the meat to my own containers and refridgerate and freeze what is needed. I actually believe the meat stays fresher in these containers rather than wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam! Any uncooked meat in the fridge (beef strips) do not turn brown after a few days. Stays that red colour! I was surprised yesterday because that situation happened. I thought the bit of raw meat I had left would be gone bad, but it looked and smelled just as fresh as the day I bought it!
After lunch, its cuddle time with Thomas do he can nap and I can out my feet up!
Friday evenings is my grocery night at Sobey’s. I buy here what I can not anywhere else, for now. Fruit, veggies, dairy, crackers, the little amount of juice we drink. Spaghetti and sauce and some chips/pop. The family has cut back a lot on those two items! Also any other miscellaneous items. I must say, the grocery list for Sobey’s has been cut in half or more to go plastic free, but I think it is for the better as I am supporting a lot of local families.
update: Re-reading this, I realize it is more plastic free than I thought! This trip had 2 elastic bands (which will be returned for reuse) and 5 price stickers. That would be it except a trip to Wal-Mart for some rarely bought items like batteries, underwear for a child, pink eye solution (Murphy’s Pharmacies) and a Brita water filter cartridge. Pretty good I must say!
I am hoping this apple scrap vinegar from the Zero Waste Chef will be the switch we can make to get away from the containers.
I have been saving apple peelings and most recently apples that have not been eaten entirely by the kids. Just popped them into the freezer in a container. The large jar came from my Mother-in-law. Its the perfect size for this project. I was very much delayed in trying to make vinegar because I had no large container to use.
I started this project April 6th and it could take up to 2 weeks to finish, April 20th or so.
Recommended by Zero Waste Chef, I placed a cloth on top to let the oxygen in, otherwise I would have to open the cover periodically to let the gasses out. Don’t need an exploded jar! The cloth is held by an elastic band I am reusing from The Farmer’s Market.
For fruit fly season, my plan will be to have a separate dish next to this jar yo try and deter the flies there. If the fruit flies become to much to handle, then I may have to make this project throughout the winter and stick up then for the rest if the year. This vinegar should last a year, with periodic “burping” to let the gasses out. I will need another jar or two I think.
I will keep track how long I go through my next jug of vinegar to get a rough time frame and know how much I need to get by with homemade.
Day 1- Apple scraps + 1 Tbsp sugar + water to cover the apples (I think I put more than that, the apple scraps float, haha).
Day 2- Fizzy bubbles are present!
Day 3 and 4- no bubbles. Watching for mold now. Not sure what to expect. I did not let the water sit to for the chlorine to disapate (I did not think there is very much in our water). If this does not work out, I already have some apple cores stored for the next batch. An apple crisp would be delicious any day too! (For the apple peels).
Day 5- Fizzy bubbles are back like it was on day 2, fingers crossed
Day 6- More fizzy, yay!
For the next several days (April 13-20) stir once a day until bubbling has stopped.
Plastic free party at Cineplex Theatre this weekend!
Its party time!! I did not take the time to take pictures of the party, but I can give a few pictures before we left and a briefing.
I called to set up the party at Cineplex Theatre. We got the premium deal, which includes a hot dog, 2 bottles of a drink, plates, cups and utensils (paper/plastic). For the show, popcorn, drink and candy.
For the Party Room:
- Foil wrapped Hot dogs- foil was actually plastic foil (waste). Oops. Ask for not wrapped next time, they will comply.
- 2 bottles of drink- bring in 2 juice jugs (no plastic waste), pop and fruitopia.
- Paper plates and cups- compostable, so they say.
- Plastic utensils- did not need them!
- Plastic condoment packets- I did not think about that! Bring my own ketchup next time
- Brought homemade cupcakes
- Brought some rags and a kitchen towel in case of spills.
Sadly, there was just a one garbage bin for all trash, compostable and waste combined. I should have sorted it myself and found a proper place to dispose of the trash.
For the Movie:
- Boxed popcorn- compostable
- Plastic wrapped candy- brought our own from Bulk Barn in our own containers.
- Drink in plastic cup, lid and straw- Refilled our juice containers and filled our juice bottles to the kids liking, pop or fruitopia. I filled my water bottle too for Chris and I to share.
After the movie, compostable were put in the compost bin provided.
The movie available, Wonder Park, was playing in 3D. So we had to get the 3D glasses. They were wrapped in #4 recyclable plastic. They were dropped off in a recyclable box designated for these glasses. Not too sure what happens to them.
The plastic waste talley:
- 11 3D glasses and wrappers
- 9 hotdog wrappers
- 2 ketchup packets
- I’m not sure about the “paper” cups and plates. They were shiny/colour coated. I did not like them the moment I saw them. Bringing my own next time. They had the table set for 12 I think; 12 cups and 12 plates.
Plastic waste not created
- 11 plastic forks
- 9 plastic packaged candy
- 9 cups
- 9 lids
- 9 straws
- Reusing cake trays to transport homemade cupcakes
- No party favours
- No excessive gifts/wrapping/packaging
Our party was themed as a Fiver Party. In the invitations sent out, I wrote the theme and asked the invited to send $5.00 instead of a gift. There are many benefits to this and one guest was amazed by the amount of money Daniel got for his Birthday.
- No packaging waste
- No non-interested gifts
- No double gifts
- Easier to afford for the guest to come to the party
- The Birthday boy/girl puts the money towards something they want or need; a bike, a desk, a computer chair, hobby, the list goes on!
Our walk took us to the nearby park. It was not wet like I thought it would be. I was expecting large puddles all over from the melting snow, but we got their on a good day! The boys swung on the swings, tried out the slide a bit. We did not stay too long as the wind was cold in the open area.
I could did not pick up any more trash on the way home. I decided the bag was full enough and the boys needed me. I felt bad walking past garbage, but a person can only do so much. At least I did some.
Later I emptied most of the trash from the bag. Lots of coffee cups and grocery bags. Lots of little broken plastic pieces too. the reusable bag got a good shake out and thrown in the wash for our next walk.
I feel great when I pick my own produce plastic free. Choose the ones I want! I usually go for the single bananas, as I think most people grab a bunch, I know I used too! Less food waste. I take some grapes out of the plastic bags and place them in my cloth bag. Usually 3 bunches worth. How lovely it would be to see naked grapes; no bags needed. Use your own bag or container (Check to see if the container can have the weight tared).
my grocery run at Sobey’s is getting smaller and smaller!
These are the main plastic packaged items we go through in a week. 3 or 4 milk cartons, as well as a usual Chocolate milk too (have enough from last week already to do us). Coffee cream, cheese, sour cream, sandwich meats, hotdogs and some berries (we cut back quite a bit on berries and this is the first pack of hotdogs in 2 weeks, those are getting a kick too). Crackers, pizza bites (One of Chris’ favourites), Vaseline is good to have on hand for minor issues, taco spice and chips. We have not found a taco spice replacement yet and chips are becoming less common and popcorn more so which is package free at Bulk Barn. Got some reusable K-Cup pods as Chris is making the switch at months end from the disposable kinds. Yay!! We won’t be replacing the Keurig machine anytime soon as it is only about 6 months old.
Potatoes, mostly plastic free (small amount of mesh for air circulation), parkay margarine squares, Lindt chocolate bars, Dr. Bonners bar soap (another experiment for my facial issues; acne/ezema/dry skin . . . I dont know). Grapes, bananas, Gala apples for Chris, cat food for Sparta (only 4 cans, usually 7 but I already had some on hand). 4 large cans of Fruitopia; no cardboard or plastic wrap, cheaper than regular size cans and cartons. Juice intake at home has been cut to one glass a day or for school (the two youngest rarely have any juice anymore). Usually there would be oranges and Granny Smith apples, but we already had some on hand. 10% cleaning vinegar was not needed this week either
Last week it dawned on me how much we have stopped buying groceries at large grocery stores. I shop the produce section heavily and skip the bakery as I make our own bread and baked goods. Sometimes, if I get to Sobey’s early enough, I will purchase some bagels from the bin for Daniel, using my cloth bag. I Skip the meat department almost all together (except sandwich meats and occasionally hotdogs). Milk products are a must in our family as well as cheese, sour cream and margarine squares. Yogurt and juice cartons are skipped. The only frozen foods we buy are french fries and occasional ice cream. Juice cans are an occasional pickup item. Next are chips and pop, but those have probably been reduced by almost half already. The middle aisles have been slimmed down to spaghetti and sauce, taco spice pack and salsa, canned soups, condiments in can or glass and chocolate bars in foil and paper only. Corn flakes and Cheerios (not sold at Bulk Barn). Cat food cans, dry cat food, cat litter in a cardboard box and cat treats in a recyclable container (not the plastic waste bag). Facial tissues in single boxes, not bulk in plastic wrap. Toilet paper and rarely paper towel. Can you believe we used to go through a double roll of paper towel a day! Unbelievable! Thank goodness for cleaning rags and cloth wipes for kids! Occasional razor blades, shaving cream and medicine as needed. No shampoo, body washes and lotions, nor menstrual pads, diapers or baby wipes. I buy extra large blue bags, which at this point, a box of 12 should last us about 9 months. Compost bags in bulk amount, 125. Our compost waste has slimmed down to about a bag every two days. So again, that box should last us 9 months+.
I do buy extra large garbage bags to fit the waste cart outside. No more bags in the house. But, since I am buying our meat package free, I do not necessarily need those bags in the cart. (Meat packages would go to the cart after use so our indoor waste would not get smelly within a day. We empty our household waste every 16 days or so). So those extra large bags will actually last a long time. I estimate 8-10 weeks to fill one. I may stop using these bags, for now, and store our indoor waste in a smaller bin lined with chip bags, cereal bags, French true bags etc . . . I believe plastic waste needs to be contained so it does not get lost by wind, dumping, handling and such. If it is contained it can be disposed of properly without littering our communities, parks, trails, beaches, rivers, lakes and oceans.
When out for a walk, camping exploring . . . bring your garbage home. Do not depend on the public trash cans to dispose of your trash for you. Most likely, bins that are labeled for sorting compost and waste, get thrown out together. If animals or the wind knock these bins over, that loose trash gets spread all over the place. Best dispose of it where you know it will be properly taken cared of, at home. I will be carrying a cloth bag with handles to pick up trash this year on my walks. Not depending on plastic grocery bags and the cloth bag can be washed once emptied over and over!
Next stop on Saturday morning is the Summerside Farmer’s Market.
Pleasant Pork has many great options! Today I picked up 2 lbs bacon, 6 slices of back bacon to try (Chris’ request), kolbassa sausage and some other sausage that I can not remember the name of. Oh dear!
I brought our empty egg carton back and got a dozen more local eggs. Spot on!
The Farmer’s Wife has a great selection of soaps. I bought a small jug of her laundry soap to try. The best part besides made locally is that she will take the empty container back for reuse and you get a small discount for doing do! Very encouraging! I picked up some more bar soap too. No packaging!
Clohossey Farm’s had some mini red potatoes waiting for me plastic free upon my request online the night before. They are so accomodating! They have a table set up with produce package free. I picked up a bundle of carrots (bundled with an elastic band which I will return) and a single turnip.
Brady’s Farm had their last day with apples until the coming season. 1 bag purchased. Will be patiently waiting for August to come with fresh apples again.
I stopped by Inspire Essential Oil Heatable Bags to let the lady know our popcorn bag was working much better with the smaller popcorn kernels. I was using a jumbo kind and they were taking too long to pop in the microwave resulting in nearly burnt popcorn. I now buy the gourmet white popcorn at Bulk Barn. 3 minutes and 45 seconds in the microwave with 1/4 or 1/3 cup popcorn kernels. Remove the popped popcorn and microwave the seeds again for 3 minutes. Remove the popped popcorn and repeat another time. This will get you the most popcorn. When using a popcorn machine, the already popped popcorn is blown out of the machine to allow the other kernels to pop and not get burned. Though the microwave method my take longer, I do not need to keep the bulky machine. The bag is easy to clean as well; just put it in the wash! My only concern is that after 2 times in the microwave, the bag gets really hot. If I need to make a bug batch of popcorn, then it may be worth while to have 2 of these bags. It would still take less room to store and just as easy to clean.
Next stop, Bulk Barn!
I did not need to pick up very much here. We have lots of nuts and cereal on hand as well as baking supplies. So this week consisted on refilling our chocolate stash (we love chocolates!), parmesan cheese, coffee, peanut butter, honey roasted peanuts, hazelnuts, pretzels and trying out 2 kinds of granola. I am having a problem with trying to make all my own recipes, granola one of them. I have not had time to make granola and I don’t think I have the time. So, Bulk Barn has it available to me, different kinds too, so I should take advantage of it! A good reminder that not all things need to be made by you to cut out waste. Look at your options.
A stop at Superstore as I know I can get broccoli there package free. I don’t understand why Sobey’s broccoli is wrapped in plastic and Superstores’ is not. I talked to the deli meat department manager about using my own containers for deli meat. I expressed that I did not want the packaging and that the department does not even have to handle my container. I can hold it while they load it! Also, I mentioned that maybe they could use butcher paper instead of the plastic to handle the deli meat as they weigh it. The manager was really interested in what I had to say, and agreed that it would be great if we could use our containers. But, she needs permission from above her to do so, and asked me to call her on Monday-Wednesday to hear about an answer. Fingers crossed!
I also purchase here Down East laundry soap and Nature Clean dishwasher detergent. Also Oxygen Bleach by Nature Clean.
Last stop was The Summerside Butcher Shop. I had called in the morning and gave my order and asked for it to be wrapped in paper. 2 whole chickens, 4 chicken breasts and 1 lb of lean Hamburg. I had asked about the lining in the butcher paper, but the employees did not really know what it was. I will have to call and ask the manager another time.
Another tip I came up with is this:
When I leave the stickers off my produce and come to the cashier, sometimes it’s a new person who does not know the number. Sometimes there is a line-up behind me and the cashier is trying to be as efficient as can be, but there is no number on the produce I have chosen. I slow down the line, make it awkward, force the cashier to learn the numbers faster, which is good. So I take one of those stickers and stick it to my wallet! That way I have the number on hand at the cash! Those produce numbers are a universal number for that specific food item. So far I only have 2. My collection should have about 8 stickers.
I also carry with me a water bottle. There are no fountains to get a drink when I’m thirsty and I do not want to be dehydrated shopping. I did that a while ago and it sucked!
As you can see, with a bit of effort, many items are package free! Speak up and ask, change stores if need be! I am not travelling very far either. All these stores are not very far apart. Living in town has good opportunities to live with less waste. When living in rural areas, one should make an appointment trip once a week with a list handy of the stops needed and products. Planning ahead is best and also a great way to avoid spending on other products not essentially needed or wanted in the first place.
Take a look at our progress since July of 2018 on my page Managing Our Waste at Home!