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. 

Switched Oils

As much as I looked, I could not find vegetable oil in glass or refill style for the recipes that I use at home, mainly bread. I decided that I would try using sunflower oil, it is in glass, but more expensive than vegetable oil. I will have to ask around at the farmer’s market and see if anyone makes oils, or maybe see if anyone is interested!

Changing oils did not make any noticeable changes in the bread flavour or texture. It’s all the same in my eyes! I will keep the bottles as someday I hope there to be liquid refill stations for products. They would make cute vases too. If ever I make fermented drinks or re start apple cider vinegar, they will make good storage options. Glass on PEI gets recycled by means of crushing and reusing as aggregate for construction. I believe we need to focuse on reusing a product as is, rather than adding more energy to its process or making it unreusable indefinitely.

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

Refundable Recyclable Reusable Bag

I have had a plan for months to cut out blue bags for one part of our waste sorting. The types of recyclables that you pay a deposit for, in return recieve a small refund. On PEI aluminum cans for pop, juice and liquor are refundable. Also, juice cartons, kids juice boxes, and sport drink containers. All of which are single use items unfortunately. We have cut back much of these items, keeping in mind aluminum has a higher probability to be recycled compared to the other cartons.

I’m not sure why, but I have always stored these items in blue bags. Any bag would due! As of late, I have been using boxes to store these items. I get the box back to reload once I visit the recycling depot. My master plan was to sew cloth bags to house the recyclables destined for the depot. Once emptied, the bag can be washed, unlike the cardboard boxes I have been using.

Our refundable recyclables include pop and juice aluminium cans. Once in a while the kids will bring home a sports drink bottle or other plastic drink container. We reuse them for a while, but eventually they must go. We do not drink much juice. We have cut down from over 2 litres a day to a cup a day each basically. And not everyday either. I do not drink juice or pop, Chris rarely drinks juice, and Daniel will have a pop once a week or so. Our bag used to fill up within a month, now it takes 2-3 months to fill, which is great! Reduce what you can.

I grabbed a piece of old sheet that I have already took pieces from and made 2 good size bags, basically large pillow cases. So easy! I made a pocket around the top to put in a drawstring to close the bag once full. The drawstring was a narrow piece of another sheet of different colour I cut and used. At first I used the same sheet for this purpose, but the drawstring blended in too much.

Cut to size, Thomas is helping.
Sewing machine is set
Two made, that’s all I need.
One full, the other not so much.
Drawstrings cut.
Tied into a straw, the tap is there to stop the drawstring from slipping off while pushing it through the bag pocket.
Ta-da!

 

Zero Waste Night Market Event

Yesterday me and Chris went to our first zero waste markets, which was held in Charlottetown at The Riverview Country Market and Cafe. Hosted by the Market, Urban Daisy and Forest Child Natural Beauty. Little did I know, it was an outside event and we were not dressed for the outdoors, oops! Next time, pack a coat just in case! Chris’ mom came down to our place to watch the kids with help from our niece as well. That’s right, we got away child free! Thank you Jean and Bailey! Xx

Sad to say, I did not take any pictures of the market, too busy going from vendor to vendor and holding our mugs of hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Yup, I packed mugs so we did not need a disposable, even if it was a paper cup. But I did take pictures of our products when we got home. It was so nice to finally put faces to names I knew from other online groups and companies. Some of the vendors put in a lot of work into what they make and truly recycling products into new fashions. I met up with the owners of Unpacked, which will be opening in Charlottetown next month, the Island’s first zero waste store.

First off was my new bamboo toothbrush. The Bristles are made of castor bean oil and the whole toothbrush is compostable. I heard of some people using the stick as a fire started once the brush has come to the end of its life, which I am told it should last as long a regular toothbrush before it needs replacing. Moonsnail Soapworks is where I got the toothbrush, $7.50. I also bought toothpaste tabs/bites which are fluoride free, but also plastic free. LUXE Beauty Bar sells it by the ounce, which in turn is about $6.00 for a couple weeks. May be pricey, but compared to other savings made in the long run, it makes up. Also, like I said, plastic free. I tried these out when I got home, and I was surprised with the toothbrush. Works great, does a great job cleaning and the size is perfect. Also, the bristles are so soft. The toothpaste bites, will take some time getting used to, but I’m down with that!

Chris bought a safety razor!!! He has been looking for quite some time and never seen one for sale until now! It was a pricey purchase, but in the long run, no more buying disposables. I’d say it will pay for itself within a year. (Sorry, also can not remember the vendor’s name, I try to find out)

This vendor, Nellie and Gabe really astonished me. Everything she sold was handcrafted by her and mostly came from products she recycled into her own new product. This bracelet is made from hemp, and the beads are reused from her thrift shopping trips. Can not get much more zero waste there, two thumbs up!

Chris convinced me to buy this sea sponge from Freckles and Porcelain. I always used to use the plastic bath sponges, but mine become unusable a while ago. Since then I just wast with my hands or a facecloth, but I found I could not scrub or reach areas very well. I thought someday I would find a loofa sponge, but I have not seen any for sale as of yet. So, sea sponge it was. I used it today and it works well and is so soft!

Great event, looking forward to more in the following months. I encourage you all to go to events in your area and support your local shops, they are counting on you.

Re-purposing Cloth

Today I cut up some old clothes to make handkerchiefs, that time of year is coming. I have a stash in both bathrooms and one in the kitchen/dining room. slowly, the stash is growing and I will be able to have more spread about the house to other rooms.

I also made some no sew cloth bags out of a few old T-shirts. Too worn out to fix or donate, but still kind of special to cut up into handkerchiefs. So I tried making some bags and it was so easy!! I will see how they hold up when I go shopping. I don’t think they will hold heavy items, like milk cartons for example.

I have a bunch of Jeans I want to re-purpose. I just need to take some time and look up some how to’s and make bags from them. I have a couple that I got a while ago and they are so nice and sturdy! One of them is my purse bag.

I have some old sheets as well, I want to make a bag for our refundable cans, no blue plastic bags for that. This way I can just wash the cloth bag and reuse it over and over. I have had this plan for a good long while now, just have not acted on it yet. Currently I am using boxes to house the cans and I will reuse them.

I also have some old towels, I want to cut them up for rags around the house as well. I know I can not just cut them and use as is, they will fray and fall apart pretty quickly, making a big mess. I just need to take some time and re-sew the edges.

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.

Cloth Diapers

Soon time to wash the diaper stash.

We switched our youngest child, Thomas, to cloth diapers back in October of 2018. We had some difficulty in the beginning but got on board soon after. I’d say (with potty training for 3 months in between the time) we saved about 1000 disposable diapers from landfill since then.

My regret is that we did not switch with child #1. We put 4 children plus (Thomas)1.5 years through disposable diapers. I had the idea and curiosity back with child #4 to switch to cloth to save money. But I did not have the will (ick factor).

I remember the first time with cloth diapers, using reusable liners, I thought to myself, what am I getting myself into!!? But you know, it’s not that bad! Really! You get used to it, and it becomes the new normal. You do what you got to do. Having access to soap and water makes it all a breeze (not of fresh air though, lol!). You get used to that too!

This is how extreme the other way I was before jumping to cloth diapers:

If one of the younger kids had a #2 accident, I would lay them on the floor, cut the underwear off them, peel it off like a diaper and toss it. No way was I making a mess trying to get underwear off or even touching or cleaning them! The blinders on me were huge! I would not even think about how I would possibly clean them! Such a waste!!!

Routine
  • Dirty diapers sit in a container, inserts taken out so they can be easily washed of course. Poo diapers, recently, I just rinse off on the toilet bowl. I used to use the bathtub (after putting the poo down the toilet) to rinse the liner and reusable wipes, but the whole bathtub would then need a good cleaning. The toilet bowl is much smaller, there is already water in it (less water usage in my opinion), and it can always use a cleaning anyways. Though I must say, its not nice in the winter, the water is freezing.
  • Once most of the diapers are used up I put them in the washer for a rinse cycle. I use cold water for this and on a medium load.
  • After the rinse cycle, I fill the washer with hot water. I add some detergent such as liquid Tide unscented. I tried other detergents and even the lovley laundry soap from the farmer’s market, but I end up with a mineral build up and the liners do not absorb liquids anymore. Diapers stop holding the pee, and it’s a constant mess. The Tide liquid was bought as a slight emergency and a powdered version was not thought of at the time. Once the container is empty, I will switch to the powdered version, Super store has it in a box.
  • I also add about .5 cup of Borax and 1 cup of liquid Oxygen Bleach. I do not want to use Oxi Clean as there are too many chemicals I am uncomfortable with for using, even the smallest amount. I also can not find it in a box form in Summerside, just the plastic container.
  • I run this on the longest aggitation cycle with just the one hot water cycle. The second part of the wash is cold water and I finish with an extra rinse.
  • Because I only have 13 cloth diapers, and I wait for almost all of them to be used before washing, I stick them in the dryer on low heat for about 45 minutes with wool dryer balls. I’m not set up with a clothes line, though I really really want one. The younger kids will not respect it and clothes will be on the ground. Pick our battles!
  • I wash the diapers about every 36 hours.
  • I pre fold them once dry, 2 inserts each and the reusable liner. Wipes get stored ready to refill the wipe container once empty.
Reusable Wipes

The  wipes I use are from am old sheet, though polyester. It’s what I had and used when I made them 10 months ago. Not ideal type of fabric, but I’m using what I had and saving money spent on other material. I started out using scraps of cotton fabric, but I felt they did not hold up to a good job wiping. Flannel would probably be better (fabric knowledge is not strong with me, yet).

So I cut the sheet to wipe size pieces. I have a long container by which I fill with about 3 cups of warm water, about 3 Tbsp of Down East dish soap and a drop of tea tree oil. I used to add coconut oil, but I don’t think it is necessary. I mix the water solution up and full it with the wipes. Now and then I flip the wipes in the box as the bottom ones are super soaked. They will drain to soak the now dryer bottom ones. Rotation. These wipes get washed with the diapers as well.

Our stash
Liners, polyester wicks away moisture. I tried cotton the first two days and Thomas got a sever bum burn! I wonder if natural wool would work, not the fake polyester wool!
Wipes
Thomas’ first time trying out the diapers! Would you know, he made me jump into the deep end by having a poo right away! Not an easy to clean pee, a poo! I was so off guard, the first and only liner that got tossed!! Lol!!

 

Compostable Items

I just got off the phone with our Island Waste Management asking about two items I have been wondering about for disposal.

Coffee cups, like Tim Horton’s. In lots of news feed I see that they are lined with plastic. When I look at these cups, yes there is a shiny material coating the inside, but the cup rips easily. I was once told by IWMC that if the item rips, compost it. Plastic does not too easily, take a produce sticker for example or cling wrap. On PEI, coffee cups are compostable. It’s the lid that is the main problem. (Also, in my opinion any material single use is a problem, but at least the cup is compostable). I wonder if facilities across the country have a harder time composting them, hence the bad feedback about “plastic lined cups”.

Ice cream containers. ADL and Scotsburn for example, used to come in plastic recyclable containers. They have switched to cardboard a while ago. I always thought it strange because of the shiny coating, I put it in waste. I asked IWMC about these containers, as the other day out of curiosity, I ripped it! According to IWMC, these are compostable too. Though, the cover has a plastic ring which must go to waste. I take the time (20 seconds or less) to remove the cardboard off the ring and compost as much as I can. I’m actually keeping the rings (some at least) for the kids to craft with or use as a stencil. I imagine there will be other uses to come up with too.

All Summer we have been saving ice cream at home for needed days so we do not go through a bunch of wasteful containers. Can I go back in time with this knowledge? 😂

Update: Kate commented the rings should be cut before placed into the waste bin, which is absolutely correct in case an animal gets stuck in it. Thanks for pointing that out Kate!

It is very important to contact your Waste Management Team about proper disposal.

Shampoo Bar Users

Chris has finally finished off the commercial shampoo and conditioner soaps!! It has been almost a year since I stopped using them, Chris said he would continue using them until they ran out. He has used the shampoo bar a couple times now, and he seems to like it. Nice lather to it for him!

Shampoo Bar

Daniel, Alaina, Julia and Jack also use the shampoo bar. They made the switch a couple months after I did. Thomas still uses the Loreal Kids Tear Free shampoo. He has not learned to keep his head up while I rinse the soap off his hair, and the shampoo bar soap really stings the eyes. Since I already had the tear free shampoo, I thought it be best it gets used, but by the right individuals, which is Thomas. In the last couple of weeks, Thomas has made great progress while I rinse his hair. The shampoo bottle is almost empty and by the time it is, Thomas will be ready for the shampoo bar. By switching everyone away from that bottle, it gave Thomas enough time to adjust to rinsing his hair properly without soap in his eyes and the product did not get wasted.My trick for Thomas that I have learned was to ask him where are the stars, or the moon or the plane. He would look up at the hanging basket of toys pointing and talking about where they are. I would continue asking where they are as I can not see them. He has learned what I am doing, and keeps his chin up so the water rinses nicely down his back. I used to just say look at the stars and point to the ceiling. That only worked for a short time period, my new way is awesome! So by making talk about the subject, I got more progress.

I will save the bottles as they seem like a good fit to something non food wise. Someday, I will find a bulk something and these will be perfect for reusing. The labels peeled off very nicely showing off a red and white bottle.