This and that

Sometimes, you guys, the day to day of our zero waste life is pretty dang dull. And when I say “sometimes,” I mean “every day.”  At least lately. You know what’s going on in my house right now? The girls are bantering back and forth in terrible English-slash-Australian accents because they’ve been locked inside this house for four straight days thanks to whatever number snowstorm we’re in at the moment. Johanna got so bored that she made chocolate chip cookies with a chocolate glaze … and trashed the kitchen. I’m brewing myself a cup of peppermint tea and pretending not to notice said mess.

Figure 1: Why wouldn’t you put a chocolate glaze on a chocolate chip cookie?

I mentioned the cookies, right?

I feel like I’m struggling a little lately, coming up with topics to write about on the zero waste front. The big exciting stuff might be over. Right now, it’s just … that boring day to day stuff.

Like:

For dinner on Tuesday, we had tamales I’ve been hoarding in the freezer. They were not on my meal plan for the week. Eric and I drove in to work together (his truck has four wheel drive, my car just has snow tires and a will to live), and when we got home, the girls immediately wanted to know what was for dinner. I was all like, our choices were leftover tacos or leftover soup, and the girls were like, tamales! Well, that did get another container out of my freezer, which is a win.

Just not a planned win.

And:

Eric made them a chore list before we went to work this morning, and one was cleaning the bathroom. Johanna wanted to know what was in my brown glass spray bottle under the kitchen sink — it’s just castille soap and water — and she told me that’s what she used to clean the mirror.

Um, I’d have used the clear glass bottle of water and vinegar for that, but hey, I didn’t have to do it, so whatever.

Abby has informed me that I need to whip up another batch of “soft scrub” because she used “a lot” to clean the toilet. Also, she apparently used “a hella lot” of washing soda in her shower, which was leftover from my homemade laundry detergent experiment.

(“Hella,” in case you don’t have a teenager in your household, means “a LOT lot.” You’re welcome.)

I don’t even want to know what my laundry room cleaner shelf looks like now. I’m purposely not going in there.

Bonus photo: Pretty Pearl.

Also:

I made the pumpkin quinoa muffins as recommended by Deb in the comments. (Hi, Deb!) I followed ol’ Bob’s Red Barn’s instructions for cooking the stuff — and you should have seen how well I rinsed it, and it must have worked because it did not taste like dirt this time — and ended up with three cups of cooked quinoa even though the recipe only called for 3/4 cup.

I was lamenting the fact that I might have yet another jar of something in the freezer when Abby suggested using it in the stir fry we’d planned to have one night this week anyway.

Having kids is really starting to pay off.

We sautéed some fresh veggies (and used local green beans and cooked chicken already in the freezer — boom!) and I made a double batch of peanut sauce because my family thinks that sauces are a food group. Then I dumped in the remainder of the quinoa (which the girls had been picking at and snacking on. Weirdos) into the pan, warmed it up, and …

… It wasn’t terrible. It was actually pretty good. I don’t know if that was the peanut sauce, the thorough washing, or what. And I can’t promise that when my jar of quinoa is outta the cupboard I’ll buy more. But it was a fairly decent meal. I even took leftovers to work the next day in jar.

Oh, and the pumpkin muffins? They’re really good — especially the day after cooking them. I’ve been taking them in my lunch for snacks, and the girls have managed to polish off the majority as they knock around the house waiting for the snow to melt and school to be back in session.

P.S. I still have uncooked quinoa in the cabinet. I was going to make the apple pie quinoa breakfast bowls that Krista recommended (hi, Krista!), but read too much ran out of time this weekend. Still on the list. I’ve got a couple others that have been recommended — salads — that look interesting too.

I’ll tell you how that goes.

FANCY.

Plus:

It just occurred to me that by commuting with Eric to work for most of the past two weeks, I’ve been saving the world from the emissions of an extra car on the road. That’s totally accidental, but we’re counting it as a win. Not really something that’s practical to keep up, as we work different hours and I need a vehicle to go out on assignment, but for now … I’m grateful we have this option.

Almost forgot:

Since we’re knee-deep in snow, I asked Eric if he had some kind of bucket that we could keep by the door to toss compostables in when we don’t have access to the actual plot. So now I have a very fancy used kitty litter ordeal that must be years old since we don’t buy that brand anymore. It has a snap-on lid and it works like a champ. I went to empty it the other day in my ankle boots despite the snow, and that did not go very well. 😉 But it sure did wake me up.

So … um, yeah, boring. And now I’m going to make myself another cup of tea (desperate times, etc.), clean my kitchen with that aforementioned soap and water concoction, start a load of laundry, and make new batches of soft scrub. Maybe have a fourth cookie. (What? I don’t want to hurt the kid’s feelings, do I?)

Next up: That is an excellent question. What do we want to talk about?


10 Responses to This and that

  1. What’s next, you say? Lets see the contents of your bin! All zero wasters love a bit of bin porn. Mine is overflowing from Christmas and New Year which gives me all the sads.

    • LOL. I’ve kind of been avoiding that on purpose because that’s the expectation for zero wasters everywhere, to fit all your trash in a thimble 😉 and I think it’s really more complicated than that — that you’re NOT a failure if you can’t because there’s so much other stuff you can do, and I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying just because there’s this unattainable “must” floating around out there. (If that makes sense.) But I was thinking actually I do need to start documenting our bins, especially since we’re closing in on 9 months. We’ve been holding steady at a bag every two weeks and a bin or less of recyclables (that really makes me excited, how our recycling has gone down too) — I have a feeling the cat litter is keeping us from going lower than that, but I have no proof. Because I should have been documenting! Ah, the irony.

  2. I think you mentioned wanting to investigate ‘low waste’ makeup options. I’d be interested to hear about that, not just specific products but the sort of thought process behind choosing something like that. I feel like a lot of zero waste advice jumps straight to DIY products make solely from bulk items, but if you don’t want to do that or it doesn’t work, how do you choose an ‘okay, but not perfect’ option?

    • That is an excellent idea! I did start researching a month or so ago and got really confused — there’s just so much out there. I will start again (I need to find a solution soon anyway as my foundation compact is running low).

    • I should have said “raging success” because even Johanna ate it, and that kid isn’t necessarily picky, but she does have some texture issues with food that makes life a little more interesting. 😉 I was pleasantly surprised!

  3. Not boring at all!

    Maybe there’s something re: zero waste prep for unexpected weather (like a million snowstorms when you don’t usually get that many)? I know I always have this internal battle between prepping for possibilities and not buying unnecessary things.

    • Great suggestion! I hate prepping because it’s so at odds with my minimalism, but it’s something I’ve been trying to be better at. I know just how I’d write that post too… You’re a genius! I’d never have thought of that topic.

  4. Pingback: A zero waste day in pictures | The Simple Year

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