Wrapping it up part I

I’m looking over my New Year’s Resolutions list (generally my resolution is not to make any, which works out pretty well) to see how I’m doing with that — I mean, we’re five months in so there should be some progress, right? The first: Continue researching zero waste and low waste options for products we use. Well, that’s always in progress. I guess I wanted to start with an easy one.

Second: Continue to “zero waste” my bathroom supplies. This has actually been going pretty well — I’ve gotten through 95 percent of the packaged products that had been mouldering in the cupboard, got a couple of low waste makeup products (love the foundation, hate the mascara — it’s got no staying power), and found a cardboard-wrapped soap that everyone seems to like (although Johanna has been using an unwrapped unscented soap — girl after my own heart). I also added coconut oil instead of olive oil to my face wash and decided I am a big fan of that — it’s more solid.

I don’t really have art for this post, so here’s a photo of dandelions at my favorite warm-weather lunch spot.

Third: Help Eric and the girls with their bathroom supplies. Whoops. Forgot about that one. No progress at all.

Fourth: Figure out ways to be more zero waste at work. I found some of those ring clips in a package … and bought them … so now I have a recycled paper reporters notebook that I love and adore. And it’s never ending because my supply of used paper is constant. There’s still more I can do, though. That’s just my biggest area of waste.

Fifth: Continue to work towards a zero waste pantry and refrigerator. This is going pretty well — I love opening my pantry because it’s (mostly) glass jars, and the refrigerator is beginning to reflect that as well. We still have too many condiments in the side, but I’m not entirely sure what to do about that.

Sixth: Continue to zero waste my recipe collection. Uh, forgot about this one, too. It’s kind of a given, though, because of what’s in the pantry.

Seventh: Write to companies and encourage them to reduce packaging. Nope, haven’t done that either.

Eighth: Research environmental groups to support. Bingo! I have done this — and decided that going local with my time and energy was the way to go.

Ninth: Rethink shopping habits (make secondhand my first choice). I’m getting better about this, although in our town, there aren’t a lot of secondhand options. I think what’s made the biggest difference is looking at what I have as being mine for the long haul instead of donating items when I get tired of them and replacing them with something else, new or old.

I obviously didn’t number my resolutions or I’d never have stopped at nine. 😉


A couple of stories from the home front:

Johanna and I did our weekly shopping on Saturday. Our first stop was the first farmers’ market of the year downtown, in which we scored salad turnips and lettuce from a local farm. (Fun fact: I don’t like turnips, but I love salad turnips. I am a complicated woman.) Those went into a reusable bag. Next we went to the corner bakery, where the kid behind the counter thanked me for bringing in a reusable bag for my weekly loaf. Thank you for letting me, I said, and she looked shocked. Of course! she said, like everyone was allowing reusable bags to cross the counter and it was no big deal. It warms my heart when zero waste anything is normalized. Our last stop was the grocery store. I had Johanna bag for me — I figure that’s a life skill, and really, what’s a semi-crushed loaf of bread in the long run? (Especially if it’s Eric’s. HA!) Unfortunately, I need to teach her some bagging etiquette. I’m not sure what she did, but my jar of rice cracked and spilled — there was some still in the jar, but I ended up dumping all of it in the compost heap because shards of glass in our intestines isn’t something I’m willing to chance.

My menu planning has been, shall we say, a little hit or miss lately because we haven’t had long stretches of time at home for me to plan and prep. This weekend I did have time to do that — as well as start on Abby’s grad party spring cleaning and dessert making. We’ve finally settled on a menu for her party: Sandwich trays, lots of fruit and veggies, salads and random desserts, the last of which I can start making now and store the the freezer for the big day. My mother-in-law has my back on reusables of all sorts. My mother is bringing her snow-cone machine. I’m feeling like maybe I can actually do this. One stop on my list, though, is to the rental center just to see what they have on the party front.

Anyway, our menus this week revolve around using what’s already in the pantry and freezer. With farmers’ market season upon us, it’ll soon be time to refresh the supply.

My lovely parents invited us to dinner Saturday night, and my mother was like, hey, Dad really likes your idea of storing foods in glass jars, and then told me how he’s been packing snacks in jars instead of bags. They taste better, Dad said, and I was like, you guys are amazing. It was like a big ol’ bonus to an already pretty awesome day.

Johanna’s artistic endeavors cover a wide range, and she found a recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream — without an ice cream maker — that she wanted to try. I actually have an ice cream maker, but hey, whatever. So we got the 2-cup carton of heavy whipping cream (which I can now recycle!) and a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (also recyclable), added a healthy splash of my homemade vanilla, and presto! I’m not sure if this is better than just buying a carton of ice cream, but it kept her entertained, so hey, win. (Oh, wait, recipe: Whip the cream, fold in the milk, add vanilla and freeze for six hours.)

Next up: More wrapping up. V, I have one last email out to answer the tomato question, so keep your fingers crossed.