Rachel’s Blog

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.


Thrift Shopping For Thomas

I’m not much of a thrift shopper. It is not one of my strong points and I don’t take the time to go shopping for second hand clothes. I always bought new when I could (starting out on my own). Having 5 kids, we passed the clothes down to who ever could wear them. Thomas is wearing Daniels’ clothes which were Jack’s totaling to 10 year old clothing. Of course some of those are newer as once in a while we would buy an outfit or the grand parents would buy clothes on special occasions (3 sets of grand parents), which is super helpful.

Our thoughts on second hand shopping is that the clothing is already worn out and not in great condition. Another opinion is that second hand clothing should be reserved for families with low income, those who need access to lower priced clothing. I don’t believe that anymore. There are so many second hand clothing articles, there is plenty to go around. Something we must practice. But, I am learning on this zero waste journey that second hand shopping is a great tool to use. A change of habit just like all the areas of reducing what we consume (products). I’m sure if we look we will find great clothing! If we continue to buy new all the time, new clothing will be made to replace what was bought, putting more demand on the environment. Reduce and reuse!

This Spring, I realized, for some reason, our youngest child, Thomas, did not have a spring jacket or sneakers to fit his size! I don’t know how we managed that with having the two older boys to pass on their belongings! I took this opportunity to put thrift shopping to work.

I took Thomas with me to our local thrift shop, Frenchies, and was pleased to find exactly what I was looking for in just a couple minutes! Thomas was so happy!!

Alaina’s First Communion

May 19th, Alaina’s First Communion.

Alaina my beautiful daughter
Lovely as the break of dawn
A girl full of joy
In my heart you stay
New journey’s are ahead
Always, I will stand by your side

A new dress for this girl, bought by Alaina’s Meme, Teresa. It will proudly be passed on to Julia for her First Communion in 2 years time. A funny story about this dress. Alaina had two to pick from. One was super fancy with lots of lace, gems and sparkles. The second was plain with bows on the shoulder and a simple one on the hip. She first tried on the fancy one, it sure was a looker. After she tried the second dress, her mind was made up. She loved the simplicity of the second dress and thought the other one was too fancy. What a girl! She made me proud!!!

Father George
Alaina’s teacher, Sister Marion

Alaina’s Catechism class was a total of 36 students. All receiving their First Communion! Half the Church pews where reserved for these children and their families. What a gathering! Alaina was second out of 6 to read one of the Prayers of the Faithful. What a wonderful job she did, speaking loud and clear. For weeks they have been practicing their prayers, songs and receiving Communion.

Alaina is standing top, first on the right
Alaina Top, third to the right

She received her certificate, a rosary and a special bookmark from the Church. There was a lovely reception to follow and so many pictures. Back home we had lunch and treats with family.

A piece of cake!

I did not get very many photos, I may get some more from family. I will post the best ones I have got, but my camera is not very clear. I was able to talk to the Catechism coordinator about the Church receiving donated children’s dresses/suits for these such events. It would greatly help families who can not spend money on a new dress or have to take the time to go find the right one. If the Church already had a display that could be loaned out, that would be so helpful. As I say, Reuse!!!

It was not three hours when the coordinator posted to the current class about donating dresses/suits to the church for future children at the Church. I was so happy to see that and I hope it grows!

Our walk to Church

Daniel’s Sea Bed School Project

Daniel had his first make at home school project. Grade 4 and he had to choose a habitat to write about. He also had to created the habitat. Daniel chose the Sea bed.

So we got to the beach and collected some sand (which we will return) as well as a few shells and seaweed (coral). On our walk we found some trash (fishing rope and plastic bag particle). I mentioned the idea that he could talk about the problem of plastic in the ocean and with little talk, he was on board! He knows about the issues and understands what we are doing at home.

I found a clear container for him to use to set up his display. He wanted there to be at least a window so the shorter students could peer into the box and see the display, but the clear container set the bar higher! I found a blue folder which was cut to size to fit on 3 sides of the container as water. He poured in the sand and added some ocean life, shells, rocks, seaweed (coral). Then the plastic was added. As well as some tape to help hold his props in place.

At school he did a big write up on a slide show about his habitat. I wish I could see what he wrote, but since it is on a slide show, there is nothing to bring home. At least he is learning and teaching himself and others though. He sure did a great job, and he was super happy with his project, you can tell by the smile on his face!

May Recycling Inventory Check

Every now and then I like to take inventory of what is in our blue bag. It is amazing that our family has gone from 2.5-3 blue bags of recyclable plastics to 1 a month! This time round, there are no K-Cups as my husband has switched to using the reusable cups like myself! Yay!

Here is a link to the last inventory done back in February and another in there linked to Novembers’ inventory.

Milk cartons and one large pack of toilet paper package. A tin tray that the Mc. Cain cakes used to come in, but now I think they are just plastic trays. (this one is old, was in the kids room to be reused for something  . . .  one time ).

Raspberry trays, cat food cans, soup cans, a tangled/bent up slinky, hash browns (must make my own), and a few random others.

I have been keeping any large containers, like vinegar jugs in case I need something like that someday, or if ever there is a refill station of some sort for soaps/detergents. Then I can use them or share them out to who ever needs one! I have a blue bag almost full now. I do not want to recycle them but reuse them if I can. I am also saving any strawberry clam shells as they make great storage for kids puzzles (when the box breaks enough or current bags rip). I sent some sunscreen to Grammies for Jack the other week and put the sunscreen in one of those containers for safe keeping in case it got squished and leaked. No way it will get squished in that and it was a perfect fit, No baggy needed! Sometimes I receive a grocery bag and I immediately put it into recycling, first mind thought is I don’t need this! But this time round, my second thoughts were I should keep it to reuse, so in a drawer it goes for storage.

Finished the last of the molasses as well, but I could not recycle it. It is a great container that can be reused again, probably molasses from Bulk Barn.


Unscented Soap, New Kind

Last weekend I realized that our locally made bar soap for body/hand washing is made with palm oil. I am trying to avoid that product if I can as the production of palm oil is creating a major blow to the environment. Rain forests are being destroyed to make way to plant more trees that produce palm oil, effecting the wild life in those forests. One example is the Orangutan.

I hope after you have read those two links, you are on the same page as I. That being said, I want to find a new source of soap, and come up with a nice way to talk to our local vendor about the palm oil used in the soaps. Though I will continue to purchase our Shampoo bars as they are palm oil free.

At the Farmer’s Market I went to see another vendor who also sells handmade soaps. I never felt the need to explore this one before as I felt set with the first one. Turns out, this Vendor, Kettle Grove Soapworks is very local. They make soap with local goat milk and local Irish moss! I chose to try a bar of unscented. I tried it out as a body wash and wow, is it ever soft and nourishing! More to come on it in the coming days.

Shopping With My Cloth Produce Bags

I love being able to choose the produce myself rather than grabbing a bag of pre-chosen products. I made these bags from old curtains. Just a simple project that can be done in minutes with a sewing machine or half an hour (if your me, lol) sewing by hand.

On top are bananas. We go through a lot in a week and it is just easier to put them in my bag, otherwise a bag is not needed. Next up is lettuce, a larger bag is needed to get the lettuce easily in the bag. Green onions package free. Grapes, instead of choosing a plastic bag of grapes, with a pre-chosen amount, I gently grab a bunch from two or three bags, being sure I take what I touch. This way I can choose a smaller amount provided or a larger amount, depending on the coming week and what I think we can eat. Berries are really the only plastic packaged fruit we buy. I know it is out of season where we live, but the kids really enjoy them. I would love to switch our habits to buying seasonal, more discipline required.

Bottom of cart includes a bag of Naval oranges, yet again, too many to leave rolling around in the cart. Same goes for apples. Then there is the unwrapped broccoli. Sobey’s stopped wrapping them! Two thumbs up!!


May 14th Litter Pickup

Me and the two boys went for a walk to the park this afternoon. Of course I had to take my cloth bag and cloth mits with me to pick up some litter scattered along the way. I was actually surprised that there was not a whole lot to pick up. Thomas and Jack had fun in the wagon ride and got to stretch their muscles at the park. Running, swinging, sliding, and climbing. They also helped to pick up some trash laying around.

Jack playing around
Snack time, Biodegradable!!
Jack found the first of many straws. Not very happy about that.

I like taking my cloth bag and cloth mits as they are washable and reusable. On our walk home I took a different street to see if I could find some litter and sure enough I did. Mostly along tall fences. It did not take long to fill my bag. I had to leave a huge mess behind as I had no extra bags, too much to carry having the boys and for the boys safety I could not leave them to pick up trash behind the bushes along the fence.  That is okay, I did my best and what I could manage. I will go back again on a non rainy day.

Full bag and only 1/3 done of the street.
So much trash it seemed like it got dumped here.
In front of the bushes got cleaned up but I will not leave the kids to venture further back for safety. This street is not very busy with traffic, but none the less, not taking a risk.

I am really hoping to get out with the big kids as I know they will be much more able to help with this matter. Maybe in the evenings these coming days and Summer when the little’s (Thomas and Jack) are in bed.

I know I don’t do a whole lot of picking up litter like a lot of people can due to the young kids, but that time will come. For now I can teach them to respect the Earth and put their waste in the proper place.

Scent Free Soap

Today, May 11th, I bought a bar of scent free soap from the Farmer’s Market. My face and even my back, shoulders and chest gas been broken out with acne/dry skin.

My skin has not changed to this state since switching to bar soap back in July, but it certainly has not gotten any better. I have been having issues for years and was hoping that since I switched to a more friendly option of soap, my skin would have gotten better.

I had a thought yesterday about fragrance and essential oils. Some essential oils are not what they should be, as I am learning; not true or wrong potency, not 100%. I avoid anything with fragrance/parfum too. A friend who works with doTerra Essential Oils, has been informative to me about this. So with trying all kinds of soaps for my skin (8 kinds, 6 different companies), I thought I should try one without the essential oils found in the brand I buy. Maybe that brand of essential oil is not good.

I tried the scent free when I got home and sure enough, my face did not get that burn feel. Here’s hoping the next week or so my skin clears up. (And its not the weather, its an all year round issue).

This pic does not do justice, its worse than showed, my camera is not so good sometimes.

May 16th update. While washing my face this morning, I felt a feeling I have not felt in a long time! Smooth skin on my cheeks! It was a difference for sure because I paused during rinsing knowing something was unusual. My skin was also not very inflamed after washing. Success so far!

I want to make a note as well, I did not want to seek medical help such as creams or other lotions. That would treat the symptoms but not help me discover the problem. Reducing is key not adding to the pile!

My thoughts to the problem included: Bar soap ingredients, essential oils, horomoans, chocolate, chlorine in the city water and most recently, my husband thinks I should do a fast for a few days and reintroduce some foods types slowly to see if there is a reaction, maybe a food problem. I am hoping my skin clears up more in the next few days!