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?

fun, home life, money, natural living, school

Nature

Nature is beautiful. And interesting. And so much fun to explore.

And, it’s FREE.

There is nothing better than to take your restless kids outside and see what they do.

My son loves to be outside. He will run around in the yard. He will ask to go on walks. He will swing on our porch swing. He will hop up and down the steps. He will blow dandelion fluff. He will pick up rocks. He will dig in the dirt. He will ask to plant flowers. He will pick flowers and present them to me: “I found something beautiful for ya.” (He will melt my heart.)

I am lucky that my kid is full of imagination. He will go outside with nothing and be playing in no time. He will amuse himself, which is great because I love being outside too. But when I’m outside, I’m usually doing something. I am taking care of the yard or the garden. I am hanging clothes on the clothesline.

Or I am taking pictures.

Nature photography is probably my favorite, right up there with portraits. I love capturing people’s personalities in portraits, but I also believe it’s possible to capture nature’s personalities, too. I submitted some daffodil photos (not the one above) to a competition and laughed when I saw one of the categories was “Portraits”, but it makes sense…

I love being outside. I love being outside with my kid. I love taking a break from those chores I mentioned, and putting my camera down, and taking a deep breath of fresh air, and appreciating nature.

fun, money, reading, school, working

Library Love

(Double letter score!)

If you know me at all, you know I love libraries. I have always wanted to be a librarian. I have always loved to check books out from the library. I’ve had a library card as long as I can remember, and it’s usually maxed out (25 books at a time is not enough!).

Libraries are awesome because they are becoming community centers. You can go and get books for free. Most libraries offer ebooks for free, and you don’t even have to go to the library! I can’t count how many times I have finished a library book at 9p, gotten frustrated about what to read next, then reached for my Kindle to check out an ebook and start reading it immediately. Plus – if you want a book and the library doesn’t have it, they’ll often order it on your suggestion!

Libraries have movies and music for rent – often free, sometimes not, depending on your system. A lot of libraries are eliminating fines, because accruing fines prevents a lot of people, especially poor people who need the library, from coming back.

Libraries have events and programs. I was a Teen Services Librarian and loved planning programs with the teens to get them into the library after school and just have fun with them and connect with them. I’ve gone to a lot of library programs and events, ranging from learning new things to hearing a speaker or an author.

Our Central library has an awesome CLOUD 901 center for teens, and a lot of larger libraries are offering media centers like this. Even rural libraries are offering diverse programs (I wrote a STEM curriculum for special ed high school students to be held at a public rural library).

If you don’t visit your local library or know much about it, check it out online and in person and see what it has to offer.