Kids Valentine’s Day Cards For School

Regardless if we were choosing zero waste, we always got the kids to make their own Valentine’s Day cards for their classmates. Even I did when I was in school, elementary. I think I can remember 1 year when my mom bought Valentine cards from the store. Awesome!

So obviously, this year was no different. Though, we made much prettier cards with scrapbook card stock I had just sitting around. Usually, we just used construction paper cut into hearts. Also, Julia who is in Kindergarten, received a Paw Patrol book for her Birthday recently, about friendship day, and it had 12 Valentine cards. So we used what we had, completely. The kids understood the reasoning and agreed it was a great move.

Daniel chose to cut his cards into heart shapes.

Alaina chose to make actual cards with her Valentine’s with a simple message. 

Julia used her ready to use cards and we had to create a couple more with the card stock, same as Alaina. A side story, Julia has a friend at school, in a different class and on her bus. But, Julia does not know the girl’s name! She was too shy to ask and forgetful. Daniel and Alaina did not know whom Julia was talking about. Our plan was to send a note to school with Julia to give to her friend, with our contact information so we could set up a play date. Valentine’s Day was the perfect time. Julia sent a lovely card to her friend with the information, and we are currently waiting for a response. We finally found out her name too! Yay!

I took the two younger boys Jack and Thomas, out to play in the snow. We have been cooped up in the house all winter. They had a blast! I dug out a path in the backyard for easier walking for Thomas, he is only 2 and has trouble getting around in the deep fluffy snow. I dug out around the swing set and slide too. Lots of fun.

Did not take long for Thomas to lose his glove!
Swinging fun!

For a Valentine’s Day treat at home, I made chocolate chip muffins with heart sprinkles on top and a unbaked cherry cheese cake for me and Chris. Two thumbs up!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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.

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!



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.

I still am in need to make my own yogurt, just did not get moving on that yet.

Dried Fruit

Interesting read! Dried fruit

I bought some dried fruit at Bulk Barn last week. I have been meaning to buy some for a while, but my son Daniel inspired me to finally do it. He has been making himself trail mixes. He uses almost everything! Almonds, peanuts, cashews, sun flower seeds, crackers X3, Cheerios, bran flakes, cornflakes, shreddies, and a few chocolate chips. But he does not like raisins. Nor is he a berry eater.

Alaina, Julia and Jack have been making their own too, inspired by Daniel. Way to go!

So I thought this may be a good opportunity to buy some dried fruit from the Bulk Barn. With my cloth bags I purchased one dried blueberries, cranberries and strawberries. I figured the other kids would like them too. I myself was not a fan of cranberries, and I never had any other dried fruit besides raisins.

We tried them together, and no one likes them but me. The strawberries taste like straberry jam! Probably because they were infused with a sweetener.

I will have to select some other fruits as well and keep an eye out for those extra sweet ones, I’d rather natural, nothing added. No need.

My next big adventure would be to dry berries and store them myself at home. Some day I would ove to have a bunch of tpes of berries and even some fuit trees. Though we need to aquire a taste for those besides apples.

Christmas Baking with the kids

This year I made the traditional Plum Pudding. My Nanny’s recipe she used for many many years. This year instead of using foil pans, which would be tossed after one use, I used my bread pans with a sheet of foil to seal the top. Minimal waste!! I buttered the pan, and the plum pudding slid out with ease!!! No sticking!!

This is a pic of before steaming. I will post a picture soon of the ready to eat stage!! Yum!

The kids helped make some sugar cookies. Everyone had their turn to roll and cut the dough to shapes they picked and sprinkle sugar to decorate before baking. It sure was nice to have that time individually!

1st up, Thomas.

2nd up, Jack.

3rd up, Julia.

4th up, Alaina.

5th up, Daniel.

Cookies sure turned out yummy!!

Next, because of little time available, I rolled and cut the ginger bread cookie dough to shape. Baked and iced them too. Though, the kids are not a fan of ginger bread cookies, I love them. The recipe is the best one I have had! Also, they were iced with icing from the Bulk Barn, no waste!!

School Ice Skate

Ice skating is one of the most fun activities with the kids. Though, I only go with the school, once a year. I am reminded this time, again, that this activity needs to be done more!

For me, skating is relaxing. Its calming. Free. And the 2 big kids can go on their own. So skating with them or around them is so much fun! Makes me feel good!  I am not a great skater myself. I can go fast and not  fall, but I dontmknow how to stop properly. I fear of falling flat on my face! Haha!! I was trying to figure it out myself, going slow, and I think I know what to do now. I got to show the kids what to do. Its great to encourage the kids and help them when needed.

Seeing them starting out clumsy, falling, and struggling to stay up and then see them on their own making their way and trying over and over to do better (and are doing better) is just awesome! What an experience!!

So far, Daniel has gone 5 times, Alaina has gone 3 and this was Julia’s first time! The four of us had a great day!!

Julia posing for her picture
Off she goes
Skating along the did not want to take my camera on the ice, just in case. Julia needed a lot of help since it was her first time.
Julia finally got one of these to help her stay up
There she goes!
Alaina. She did awesome!
Alaina on her way, and Daniel far back, in the middle, black jacket and white helmet.
Very proud of these two!! Daniel is very determined to get from one side of the rink to the other without falling, and he did!!
Amazing kiddos!!