Thomas’s 3rd Birthday

Thomas turns 3 years old today!

  • Cloth diapers since October of 2018
  • Temporary glasses
  • Gates off the stairs
  • Potty training very recently with success
  • Speaking sentences
  • Huge vocabulary
  • Loves the outdoors
  • Loves horses and cows, especially when we go for a drive

We kept his Bithday gifts minimum and Thomas had a great day!

  • Created a playlist on youtube with songs from Baby Shark. Played, sang and danced along with that.
  • Homemade decorations throughout the house
  • Picked up a cake from Sobeys and used my own container.
  • Local jigsaw puzzle as a gift
  • A singing Baby Shark toy. Almost bought a plush teddy just because, but thought about a baby shark toy would be more fitting! Thomas loves baby shark
  • Picked up some candy from Bulk Barn
  • Collected $5.00 worth of coins for Thomas to put into his money can
  • A few suckers, he loves them
  • Grammie and Grandad dropped off some surprises  too.

No need for a bunch of toys as we already have so much. He can start using Lego now and we have many many puzzels for him to work on! Not to mention, Christmas is coming. We tried to make the day special and I believe we succeeded. 

Black Box Waste

This day is garbage day. Every two weeks the black carts filled with disposable waste are picked up. I can proudly say it took 12 weeks to fill our watse cart! Though I am certain it could have waited another 2-4 weeks as we had to toss a mouldy box of books, which took a good chunk of space in the cart.

Our waste bins in the house are not lined with any bags. Super simple to just wipe out the garbage can’s once emptied. We do not have meat trays and nothing wet goes in the garbage cans to make smells. I buy our meat wrapped in paper (which is considered compostable on PEI, as long as it rips easily). If by chance I have a meat tray/wrapping there is a extra large garbage bag in the waste cart outside it would directly go to.

Once the waste cart is emptied on garbage day, it will sit empty until the household waste needs to go out. I take an extra large garbage bag and start filling it from the house. I set it in the waste cart untied. It will be full after about 2 more fillings from the house. For us, our household waste gets taken out every 2-3 weeks. I can fit 2 of those extra large garbage bags in the waste cart with a bit more room.

I have created a page showing most of what we buy now instead of the wasteful practices we used to buy into. It’s not complete, still a working progress. Take a look here.

  • Much of our groceries come from Bulk Barn and The Summerside Farmer’s Market.
  • By bringing your own containers and cloth bags, much waste is avoidable.
  • Making your own products and switching away from most cleaners helps your health and keeps money in your wallet.
  • Focus on reusables and use what you have.
  • Purchase in compostable packaging as much as possible
  • Purchase in non plastic packaging to stop the support to the plastic industry,  jars and metal containers.
  • Reuse the jars for food storage, vases, dry storage, body products etc . . .  (Glass is grounded up and used as aggregate on PEI for construction, not turned back into glass products).

Refuse unwanted items. Reduce your consumption of purchases. Reuse what you can. Repair your items. Purchase compostables. Recycle what you can but try and keep it minimum. Dont forget to shop second hand and purchase long lasting good quality items.

Editing to add: I strongly recommend that waste gets bagged, otherwise light plastics will be blown around by the wind or scavengers.  Whether it is by dumping the waste in your bin, the truck dumping it out of the bin, the truck driving down the roadways or at landfill, there are lots of opportunities for the plastics to litter the land and water. This is why I choose the extra large bags, I get more waste contained in them, and buying bulk is best. Instead of 8-10 small garbage bags, we use 2 garbage bags. Saves money for us as well.

Reuse Bags for Bread

Our one bread box does not seem to be enough to store our bread needs. Its fine to store the homemade bread and sub buns I make, but there is no room for bagels. Often I don’t buy bagels because there is no room at home. The other problem is that I don’t have enough counter space to give for another bread box. Today I decided to use cereal bags to store the over stocked bread items! Sometimes it is the simplest ideas that make great solutions!

I use cereal bags for litter picking when I’m outdoors. I also use them instead of  boxes for storing toys or packing donations.

Cereal we buy are Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerioes, and Corn Flakes. Recently Rice Crispies. I buy Bran Flakes and Shreddies from Bulk Barn. The kids do not eat much cereal lately, they have a lot of toast or buns instead. I like adding raisins, dried cran berries, dried blue berries and pumpkin seeds to bran Flakes for a wholesome snack.

When there is no room in the bread box for both bread loaves, the one being used will sit on top of the bread box, cut side down. It will stay fresh until it is gone or a couple days. The bread in the box will stay fresh for about 3 days after that. Normally I make bread 2 times a week, but I feel as of late, it’s been 3 times a week.

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

Hurricane Dorian, 2019

Atlantic Canada was hit hard by Hurricane Dorian September 7, 2019 after it came up from the South. Living in Summerside, we did not worry about having to store water, as the city has water towers to supply it.

Things we could have done to get ready for the storm, waste free
  • Instead of buying bottled water, fill up containers already at home
  • buy dry goods for foods and canned.
  • flashlights and candles at the ready
  • solar lights at the ready (sort of a decorative source)
  • Store away items outdoors to prevent damage/replacing
  • Wash all the cloth diapers before the storm hit (my stash lasts 36 hours, would have gone to underwear if need be, find a place to wash soiled diapers too.)
  • Pack a bag of clothes, just in case of evacuation
  • Dishes caught up as well as laundry
  • When buying groceries, not stocking up on perishable items (buy what is needed for a couple days, and use it up)

I am sure the list can grow longer.

Our home actually did not loose power. Though, we were ready for it to go out. Thomas had fallen asleep with me in the chair, so he went to bed easily. Jack on the other hand did not want to go to bed, he was too scared of the wind and noise. Even knowing the power could go out. We let him stay on the couch for as long as he needed. His bedtime is 8:30 pm, but he did not fall asleep until around 11:00pm on the couch. As Chris was working away upstairs (or playing a game), me and the 4 kids were cuddled together watching a movie, waiting for the power to go out any minute. I felt bad having Thomas upstairs, I wanted him closer as all the other kids were togther. Julia and Alaina fell asleep during the movie and I was next to go. I woke up when the movie ended, surprised the power still on. Daniel turned off the t.v and cuddled in his blanket to go to sleep. Jack was asleep by then. I was not very worried about the storm to be honest, but wondering why we did not loose power! I stayed on the couch staying cozy as possible.

Jack on the couch, Daniel in the front, Alaina in the middle and Julia at the back. They made nests on the floor with comforters . Fun night, like a slumber party!

During the movie time after Thomas went to bed, me and Chris slipped outside after realizing the two large trees by our drive way (mostly just one) had blown down on the other property next door. Though luckily, there was no damage to the building or the car parked under the tree. Our driveway, in the corner got ripped up as the roots of the tree were pulled out, and just the earth was pulled up around the corner of the garage, not damaging it.

Our van. Trees down on next property.
Two trees.
This one lifted from the ground some. After some rainfall the next day, it lifted more.
Corner of the driveway is lifted
Earth is lifted around the garage, but garage is fine.

In the backyard, one of our fences were blowing over, just a two piece partition. The wind was howling through there. We lost a large shrub which was blown over by that wind. There are two and the second one was slightly pulled the opposite way. The kids called these shrubs The Bumble Bee Trees. In the spring it is covered in yellow flowers and smells so good! In turn it is covered with bee’s, busily buzzing about from flower to flower. Bumble Bee Tree also known as Forsythia! We saved the shrub blown over and trimmed it down. We also trimmed the second one too, we will move them to another location which in turn allows more open space in the back yard.  We were planning on trimming them anyways this fall. Though I am afraid the flowers will not return next Spring, which saddens me. Extra effort to be made to leave the dandelions and put out more flowers for the bees.

Forsythia. Picture from Spring of 2019. The shrub on the left blew down to the grown. The other was pushed slightly to the house. Bumble bee tree.
After Hurricane Dorian
Base is broken.

Our roof leaked water, which is a big headache. It is an older roof in need of repairs, but the storm really pushed more than we thought it would. Long story, not going there.

Morning came and all was well. Power still on, kids happy but yet surprised of the damage around town. It was like going to go see Christmas lights, but not in a good way. Lots of “Whoa’s” and “look at that one”. I am happy no one on PEI was injured.

Quiet Day at Home

Its been a quiet day at home. Kids are in and out. Playing games and swinging outside. I got the grass cut and currently making shepard’s pie. Super yummy!! I guess I should get a recipe up for that!! Really did not do too much today, pretty lazy. Looking forward to the next few days. Hoping for some beach time with the family!

Meanwhile, I took a walk around to see what everybody was up to!

Cooking super!
This guy, sleeping with his food!!! Lol! Wrapped in so many blankets!!! How!!!?
Jack is not camera shy!
This girl, well . . . Isn’t she sweet!! Lol!
Happy go lucky Alaina!
Daniel doing his favourite thing!

 

A Waste Free Snack

Popcorn is a great snack to have at our house! Popcorn maker, package free kernels,and margarine wrapped in paper (I can not find butter not wrapped in plastic).

It used to be we bought popcorn kernels in bags and used the popcorn machine. Then we switched to prepackaged popcorn, individually wrapped, microwavable. It was convenient and more “tasty”. Then we started to cut back on plastic, and popcorn was one of the first switches after I started to go to Bulk Barn. 

We brought out the machine again! I did buy a cloth popcorn bag at the Farmer’s Market awhile back, but it did not serve us long. It did not pop the kernels well, some burnt while there were half not popped yet. It seemed to take a long while before we had enough popcorn for everyone, and the bag got super hot from microwaving so long. I was worried about a fire. We used  about a dozen times until I retired it. The machine was certainly the best option! The cloth bag, in my opinion, would be good for a single person, or single use. Not for making a big amount, for like 5 people.

So now, we use the machine popper. I melt butter in a dish in the microwave, covered with a cloth (that will be washed and reused). No garbage, no waste! I always try to eat what they don’t, later.

Our Overnight Trip Away From Home

This weekend we all went to Chris’s parents for a big family get together for a one night stay! His cousin was getting married, and lots of family came home from away!

His sister Catherine and her husband Johnny as well as their 3 kids arrived. Steve and Michael, Chris’s younger brothers also arrived. The house quickly filled up, with a norm of 3 people living there, that number grew to 17 once we arrived!

Its been a long while since everyone was together. For The night, my mom took our 3 oldest. We kept Jack and Thomas. We had plans to party, Chris and I have not been able to party together for many years! I will guess 6 or 7 for sure!

Let me start from the beginning before we left home

Before being able to commit to staying overnight on the weekend we needed to make sure our regular routine was complete. Basically, every Friday night is a simple grocery run for the items I do not get locally and/or plastic free. Saturday morning is the big grocery run where I visit many stores to complete our weekly shopping. The Summerside Farmer’s Market, Superstore, Bulk Barn and The Summerside Butcher Shop. Not only did all this shopping need to happen but pack for our overnight stay. Not just an overnight stay, a possible beach visit and we brought extra food to help make up for what our family of 7 may eat and spread out to the rest of the family there. Not only pack that but pack for 7 of us, one of which is still using cloth diapers (No disposables for special occasions, I am committed!).

I am Notorious for making lists!! I always make a list for everything that needs packing and things that need to be done. My mother in law always laughs at it. When our first born was a baby, we went on a trip to Moncton and I wrote everything we brought on a list right down to the toys and clothing! Guess what, no list this time. It would be too long!! LOL!

All the kids packed their cases with their overnight items. I had a bag of spare clothes for everyone and for towels. A bag with food. Me and Chris had a bag. A bag for diapers and another for soiled ones. A bag with a cleaner for real soiled diapers as well as sunscreen, Tylenol, heat bag (for Julia’s sore legs once in a while. We ended up needing it, glad I packed it!).  My trusty backpack with reusable dishes in case we went for ice cream.

Back left to right: Food, Diapers, Alaina and Julia’s suitcases. Front left to right: Thomas Bag, Cold food, Daniel and Jack’s suitcase.
Spare clothes and beach towels
Our own dishes for a possible surprise outing
Food. That bread is my homemade bread stored in the bag I have been saving for such an occasion.  Bag of cleaners and medical supplies.
Some good stuff to go with my oranges! Shot of Vodka with a slice of orange or two. Seriously! Beats the box/canned juice.

By the time we were packed and ready to go, it was about 2pm. Pretty good timing I think with regards to what was needing to be done. I might have completed some house chores as well. I did not want to come back home to a messy house trying to settle everybody back in and unpack! Have I mentioned I like to be organized?

Left home and traveled the hour to West Prince

What a crowd we all made! The kids were all over place, inside and outside. Catherine’s daughter, Isla, was super happy to meet her cousins again. The last time we seen Isla she was turning 2. She is turning 4 very soon! They brought a sprinkler for outdoors by which the kids loved. Our niece Bailey, her boyfriend Drake and her pup Samson were also there.  Steve, one of Chris’s younger brothers was ganged up on by the kids.  There is always that fun uncle!! After supper I took Daniel, Alaina and Julia up to my moms home, they are just a 10 minute drive away.

Outdoor fun
Waiting for the water to turn on.
There it goes
Not a big spray, got to stay close to get wet!

Gang up on Uncle Steve.
Thomas cruising, well, learning to!
Bailey and Samson

Next was time for the little to go to bed. Snack and drink and a nice nest of blankets made up on the floor in the bedroom. Jack and Thomas had everything they needed right down to their teddies. Jack was out first and Thomas after with no issues!

While we were here, Chris’s cousin was married. We were planning on going out after the reception to celebrate. First, I needed some drinks. I brought along the bottle of Vodka and some oranges. I started out with a couple shots and Bailey followed suit after. Off we went to the hall which was a 5-10 minute walking distance. While there, ordering a drink with Chris, I realized I did not bring my own cup. I felt awful! Using the single use plastic cup that was offered. I should have just passed up on the drink (Later I would have totally agreed with that statement! lol). Once my drink was gone I wondered if the bartender would refill the same cup. I totally had to find out! Sure enough it was no problem. They were happy to as it would save on the cup usage. Me and Chris reused our cups and I told the surrounding family, by which I have no idea if anyone reused. We got home later and I was out!

Night out, Pictures taken by me with Baileys phone, permission to post pictures too
Cousin Jessie, beautiful than ever!
Steve and cousin Emma, Jessies sister
Dance Floor, I am no where there!
Bailey and Drake
Me, Chris and Steve
Me and Steve
Trio brothers. Steve, Mike and Chris. Some bunny ears too!
Chris and I. We got to slow dance. Been a long time since we did that! While here at the hall, we realized its been over 10 years since we were in here! This is where we had our reception and party on our Wedding day.
Chris reusing his cup!!
I was having a blast!
Steve enjoying himself too!

 

This was one of the best days in a while. Lots of fun, family and laughter.