Depo and Donation Trip

Taking a trip to the depo to drop off refundable recyclables such as cans and the like. Normally, before consuming less products, we would have a full blue bag a month for refundables. I am not sure exactly, but I think we cut that in half. I started to use boxes to hold the cans instead of bluebags. Really, why waste a blue bag on those! A box does just fine!! Although, as you can see, there is a blue bag partially filled. I ran out of boxes! It will be reused for the other recyclables on the monthly pickup. My plan is to sew a cloth bag for the cans. That way I can just wash it and reuse it. Chris’ idea!

Since November, we have donated 40 boxes of items to The Salvation Army. I was happy to find out, everything we have donated, stays in that charity location. This means we are helping local families! Love it! Most of these items include baby toys and clothes Thomas (our youngest) out grew. Other items are clothes that do not fit the other children, shoes as well and snow gear. I have donated some kitchen items that are doubles (not necessarily needed).

There are still a number of places in the house that need a clean out! Working slowly towards those places. Master closets, broom closet, Attic, the big kids room and basement. The Garage needs help too, but that is more so Chris’ place. He knows more about what is in there than I do!

Use What you Got!

Using a mason jar to contain my coffee for my trip to the park with the kids. I did not want to take time staying home to drink it (I needed one!) but I also did not need my travel mug to keep it steaming hot. Not a fan of the travel mug we have. It’s big and bulky. Good for long travels to keep the coffee hot, but this time round, I just wanted to drink the coffee right away when I got to where we were going.

The rubber bands are being reused, and will again, to keep my fingers off the hot jar. But, like I said, it does not stay hot too long.

Not fancy, but it works!

 

Frozen Treat

After a long walk and adventure with the two boys, Jack wanted us to make popsicles. Though, I had none ready or a recipe to use, I decided to try making a snow cone or slushi.

I was talking with some friends in a trip coming up with alternatives to Freezies. I mentioned about snow cones and was advised I should uses the blender! I did and it was awesome!!

1 tray of ice at a time is plenty. Less works best in my blender. I scoop the crushed ice into cups and poured some grenadine on top. Add a spoon, and there you go!

Next, is to find syrup alternatives. Homemade or bought in bottles, not plastic bottles, like our grenadine. Years ago, I remember grenadine was in glass but they switch to plastic at some point.

Jack says he can’t wait until Julia gets home from school to try it!! I’m getting more feedback from friends to use frozen water melon, frozen banana with milk for an ice cream like treat! More to come I’m sure!

Jack
Thomas

Stripping Cloth Diapers

About a month ago, I started to use up the stash of disposable diapers I had sitting around since October of last year. I figured I had better use them up (only needs diaper at night or trips out and about). There were 43 I believe, we are down to about a dozen now. One of the reasons I switched back to using them (besides we already bought them, they need to be used by someone anyways, destined to landfill either way) was because Thomas’ cloth diapers started to repel liquids. Every morning he was wet as well as all the bedding.

I had come to realize, with help from friends on other groups, that the diapers had formed a mineral buildup (from hard water) and the laundry detergents were not getting that off the inserts. If I put water on the insert, it would not soak into the pad. It actually just stayed on top, beaded water that would slide off when the pad was tipped. I will note, he has had no rashes, the inserts and everything else have been cleaned, no problems in that area.

I really did not want to switch back to using Tide. We have eliminated it and I did not want those chemicals back, or the scent that came with it! Blah!! I visited the Fluff University site online, and read the directions for stripping. Tide was the best option. But, determined, I tried what I already had.

I soaked the cloth diapers for 7 hours in hot, oxygen bleach water with Nature Clean Powdered detergent as well as Borax. Agitated the load every hour or more. I rinsed the load and let it sit in a cold load with oxygen bleach for 30 minutes, then put them on 3 wash cycles with detergent and Borax.

Sure enough . . . they were still repelling the water. What a waste! I was disappointed! So, Chris bought some Tide for me to use, Unscented though. No way could I deal with the scents! (I was in the attic the other day going through stored clothing and I could smell the Tide off them . . . so gross when one has been away from those smells).

So I did another strip wash like the above steps, but this time with the Tide unscented. The inserts came out mostly improved. Tonight I will try one on Thomas as a test, maybe they need to soak again, but there is definitely improvement, very little repelling.

Update. Thomas was dry this morning!! Yay!!!!!

 

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-packedĀ  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!

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 MolassesĀ 
Ready for transfer
Careful
Mission complete