home life, natural living, school, working

Zero Waste

I mentioned the Zero Waste Home on my Inspiration link up, but only wrote a blip about the site. When I discovered it back in 2010, it really affected my thinking and my lifestyle. I was really into blogs back then, following friends and personal blogs and lifestyle blogs, and I even followed some fashion bloggers, believe it or not! These were more alternative bloggers who bought from thrift stores or had capsule wardrobes or did 30 day challenges… Attainable fashion, basically. Even those sold out, though some have come back pretty level-headed. But I digress.

The Zero Waste Home made me conscious of what I used and how I disposed of it. Since then, I have noticed how much trash I bring home from the grocery store in terms of packaging. And how much paper schools waste with busy work or “art” just to have something to show, to keep the kids busy, or to hit numbers and create “meaningful” data. It’s all pretty disgusting, but it’s hard to keep it away.

I wrote about Valentine’s cards and how I thought they were wasteful, but what can you do? Everything about consumerism and waste is so mainstream, so ingrained in everything, that it’s hard to break free. I sometimes still feel societal pressure about things as an adult, so I certainly don’t want my son to feel uncomfortable or mocked because his mom hates recycling the art papers that are sent home with him, or anything along those lines.

Going Zero Waste within the home is easy enough – we are keeping track of our trash vs our recycling and seeing how much we get rid of each week. We are trying to cut down on what we bring in in the first place. And I think it’s important to speak up and tell others we don’t want what they are offering us, like a free plastic toothbrush at the dentist when we buy our own compostable toothbrushes. But in a setting like school, or the workplace, things get a bit harder.

Do you have this problem with your workplace or at your kids’ school? How do you work around it? Are you vocal and just hope your kids go with it? Do you consider working at home and/or homeschooling your kids as an alternative?

Let’s get deep on the last letter of the alphabet, hm?

food, home life, natural living

Yeast

Both of my grandmothers used to make sourdough bread every week. One would make crusty loaves, and one made tray after tray of rolls to take to all of her social functions. My mom would occasionally borrow a cup of the starter to make loaves and rolls for our family. Sometimes she even made homemade cinnamon rolls – yum!

When I was in my 20s, soon after I bought my house, I decided I wanted to make bread, too. It seemed so domestic, but also I loved the taste of the bread so I wanted to have the power of making it for myself! I made the starter based on my grandmother’s instructions, and fed it every week, and made bread every week. At the time I had a great job and my coworkers were all like family, so I would make bread for myself, then take all the rest to them. They loved the rolls and would often ask when I would be making the next batch.

I stopped not long after I met my husband, because it was a lot to keep up with, and I wasn’t eating the bread anymore. I love making bread for others and making them happy through food, but it was too much effort. Not long after that I had a tough pregnancy and then had a kid, so making bread hasn’t really happened since then.

My husband found a recipe for ice cream bread and made that once, but it was too dense and dry for me. Lately I’ve found myself craving the fluffy, moist, crusty sourdough I used to make. I want the habit of feeding and making bread again, too, but I also know I can’t really take on a new “chore” with everything going on right now. I might have to find a different recipe, a bread I can make once a month instead of having to maintain weekly.

Do you have a favorite bread recipe?

home life, natural living

X

X… is this always the hardest letter? I know there are words that start with X that you can pull out in Scrabble or toss into an academic paper to blow your professor away (or convince them that you are using a thesaurus…), but X words to base a blog post around?

All I can think of is X marks the spot. Buried treasure? Maybe. Someday. Eventually. Right now, it’s just an X over the round little area where we planted our first garden.

ximage

 

money, shopping

Wedding Flowers

My thoughts on weddings could fill a very opinionated, very unreadable book. So I’ll keep them to myself, at least until I can form them into cohesive “Green Wedding” posts.

For now, I wanted to share my wedding flowers. I love daffodils and my mom loves crocheting, so she found and tweaked a pattern and made me these gorgeous blooms so I can have my favorite flower year-round. I’m lucky that she’s so talented, because knitted and crocheted bouquets on etsy don’t look as good and cost way more.

I carried them as my wedding bouquet because I wanted daffodils, but the day before my spring wedding trip, we had an un-Memphis-like snowstorm. Adding in an 8 hour drive (made longer by the road conditions), I didn’t think fresh daffodils, if I could find any under the snow, would survive the trip.

This bouquet was perfect, and it looked pretty and quirky in the wedding photos. And it still looks pretty darn good sitting next to my couch!

home life, natural living

Vinegar

My grandmother had The Vinegar Book, actually a booklet, for as long as I can remember. It’s now mine, and I love remembering her as I thumb through the pages.

Seven years ago I went “no poo”, meaning I used baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair. That works when it’s long, but with my short haircut I found it didn’t work as well. I’m growing my hair out now, so I’m eager to try again. It cuts down on expenses a lot – not that shampoo is too expensive, but it can be if your hair is long! Also, I always have baking soda and vinegar around, so I’m never in danger of running out of shampoo.

I use vinegar to clean pretty much everything. It’s great to clean off kitchen counters without using harsh bleach-based cleaners. I soak my menstrual cup in vinegar to clean it between uses. I add a few drops of essential oil to vinegar and water and use it as the “wet” solution for my Swiffer mop. My mom crocheted a reusable pad that I dip in the cleaning mixture before mopping my kitchen floors. Then just rinse it out and throw it in with your next load of laundry.

I used to drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water every morning. You can drink it cold or mix it with warm water and honey and sip it like a tea. I’ve tried both and they both seemed to help me feel better in the mornings; I felt more alert and my joints moved more smoothly. I tried the capsules for awhile because it was easier to pop a pill than sip a drink, but I never reordered when I ran out. I should probably go back to drinking it – I always felt the benefits immediately.

There are plenty of other uses and benefits of vinegar in my grandmother’s booklet; I need to look over them all and see how I can incorporate them into my daily life to go more natural. How do you use vinegar?

fun, home life

Underneath

Writing 26 blog posts has been hard. Blogging used to be easy for me; I typically wrote 12 posts a month, which is way less than 26, but way more than… what have I been averaging lately… 2? That might be a little generous.

It’s interesting, though. I like pushing myself to write every day, and to write on a topic, however loose that topic may be. I journal 3 pages every morning, but this is different. I feel like I’m getting back to my old blogging self, which might also sound weird… I feel like most people don’t think blogging is hard, or something that takes merit or talent. But I feel like it does, if you’re really doing it. Don’t get me started on “big” bloggers with sponsored posts all over the place. But blogging like how it actually started way back when? That’s fun. And I think it takes drive and talent to do it and keep at it and engage readers.

But it’s been so different than what my writing and creative life have been for the past four years. So I have been trying to write ahead a bit, and take a break. Like my Reading post. Or breathing with Spring.

underneath2

And now. With playing underneath a homemade tent with my son. The killer klowns are after us, but we can shoot them with his fart blaster and they go away. So I’m off to help fight the good fight.

(And yes, we had to anchor them to the drawers with underpants. Another U!)

fun, home life, money, shopping

Tax Refund!

Before we even did our taxes, my husband asked what I wanted to spend our tax refund on. He wanted a new grill, and probably some other things. I, of course, wanted to put it into savings. And probably still will. But it made me daydream about…

An upgraded camera body

A macro lens

A home studio setup

New books to read

A trip to somewhere relax

A camping trip

New tattoos

A fancy, delicious dinner out

A fun evening bowling, snacking, drinking, eating

 

Did you get a tax refund this year?