Life without Plastic

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Tree: Zero-waste and (Almost) Plastic-free

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

Thanksgiving was a delightful holiday, small but good with Mr. Greenie, UG1, UG3, and me for dinner. All was homemade from scratch except for the pies. We have many more meals coming from our turkey and all was eaten up otherwise.

We have already put up our reusable Christmas tree with lights from two years ago and I replaced a incandescent bulb that came with the string of lights. Batteries Plus apparently recycles incandescents among many other kinds. I'll be taking our bulbs there until we transition to LED Christmas lights. Apparently, you can't just use LED bulbs with incandescent strings.

After our tomato plant died off with a frost, I brought the cage inside and turned it upside down. It makes a great plastic free/ zero-waste tree that we can use year after year, is dual purpose and can be used for several months of the year rather than one.

We still have to string popcorn closer to Christmas to finish decorating. The lights and many of the ornaments are plastic, but all the ornaments are from my childhood and the lights will get their full use and be properly recycled. We plan on giving UG1 and UG3 their own ornaments each year from the thrift store to build their own collections for their future households.

We are currently selling some stuff in a online garage sale for those in the SLC area. I hope to sell all of the movies and replace them with their used book counterparts.

We are so blessed and are plowing right towards a great year with almost two-thirds of our Winter supplement fund ready and much work to look forward to. Though we are very happy with our little homestead, we can't help but look forward to our bigger dream homestead with room and income to support all our ideas.

Here's to a zero-waste and plastic-free Christmas season!
Little Urban Greenie

Friday, November 18, 2016

R.I.P. & Progressing in Phase 3

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

This week has been fairly busy with the holidays rolling on in. Mr. Greenie has been working full-time and a half. I've started my diastasis workout over now that I was able to download the full 12 week PDF and I'm just finishing up Week 3.

UG1 and UG3 have officially gotten over their colds. UG1 is learning new kitchen skills and I've been teaching her based on a resource from Kitchen Stewardship. She might be reading soon, I'm going to start her and she if she is ready for it once Phonics Pathways and Book of Mormon Little Books curricula arrives. She's only 3 1/2, but seems to be showing signs of readiness , so here we go.

Kombucha has now become a staple in our home and I've gradually increased how much I make to see how much we really need. I started with a quart, then a half gallon, and now we're up to 3/4 of a gallon for next Kombucha Thursday, with Maté in its own quart jar and the other half gallon still raised in nettle tea. Dr. SCOBY and a root beer experiment I'm trying out should be ready this weekend.

I made some Kimchee with our tiny cabbage harvest and green onions from FNB. It wasn't much, so I'll need a much bigger harvest next year.

I made homemade sour risen pizza from scratch this week as well. We also changed our butter over to organic pastured butter, and we've started taking fermented cod liver oil as part of our small changes to a more traditional foods/Weston A. Price diet. Mr. Greenie is already working in the sun all day, and doesn't need a supplement.

We've added a 2 year old cat to our homestead for his all-natural, plastic-free, zero-waste mousing abilities and is actually becoming a beloved family pet. O will be an indoor/outdoor cat once he has adjusted to our family in another week or so. For now, he has caught two mice on his 3rd night here.

He uses a secondhand litter box, 100% wheat litter in a cardboard box, and we'll be working out bulk cat food as soon as we can. Since O is a skilled mouser, we have been keeping sugar glider E in the bathroom where he can't get her. This morning she was found to have died of some sort of health issue, not cat related.

R.I.P. sugar glider E,
Little Urban Greenie


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Zero-waste Diapers and Preschool Homeschool

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

After a nice Zero-waste Halloween, frost has finally come to Utah. Many of our tomatoes got stuck as green tomatoes, so I picked them and last few peppers this week. I made some green tomato ketchup and I will be making some Salsa Verde once I get some spare time.

Made my second batch of Kombucha soda that I lovingly call Dr. SCOBY, as it tastes similar to Dr. Pepper but with a slight vinegary tang all of its own. I've now learned that my family loves kombucha enough to justify making a whole half-gallon batch. One quart becomes soda and the other is just for drinking straight. I make mine with nettle tea vs black/green tea.

Here is the link to my recipes page. 

We're starting to get to the end of some of our diapers, and we don't have much in our budget to buy more. While we are also using Natural Infant Hygiene, we still use plenty of diapers. So I'm planning on buying a treadle sewing machine as soon as we have saved up enough and using old cotton clothing to attempt to sew my own zero-waste and plastic-free diapers.

Here's what the "end" of a cloth diaper's life looks like:
And here's what we do with it:
Composting in the worm bin and the diaper gets new life as black gold to feed our family garden.

Mainly I've been taking care of UG1 and UG3 with their colds and homeschooling UG1. We changed up her preschool a bit this week and switched her phonics work for a free LDS preschool curriculum. I print off one printable a day on the backside of old one-sided paper. She seems to be enjoying school more and is quite good with learning handwriting skills.

Here's to a healthier pantry, zero-waste diapering, and happier zero-waste preschool!
Little Urban Greenie

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Zero-waste, Plastic-free Healthy Halloween

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

This year we tried having a Harvest Feast to celebrate Halloween, instead of the more recent traditional commercial holiday. We skipped the heavily packaged and bad for us candy, cheap plastic (polyester) costumes, and the plastic decorations. It turned out fairly great, but it was very hard with two little girls.

UG1, UG3, and me spent the day cooking and watching Halloween movies. We saw Berserk and The Blob on our antenna onetime "cable" purchase and watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; Hocus Pocus; and Ghostbusters we own.  We made Butterbeer with Kombucha Cream soda, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin with butter, a barely meat-loaf with leftover lentils and rice, and pumpkin mini-muffins. See Recipes for more ideas and these. I used my first batch of Kombucha that I made from a SCOBY a FNB acquaintance gave me!

Overall, everything was delicious and I seem to have won Mr. Greenie over to skipping the trick-or-treating. It helps that no one seems interested in trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. I will definitely cook more ahead next year though, as it was incredibly hard to cook everything with UG1 and UG3. Pumpkin pie, whipped cream, and muffins could all be made the day before, with the pie crust started two days earlier for proper soaking.

Just having uncut pumpkins on the porch to smash open on Halloween day, homemade egg carton bats (Tightwad Gazette), and a Venus flytrap for indoors worked great for Halloween decorations. We spent very little on the food, about $10 extra including one pumpkin we got at a pumpkin patch. Big budget saving this holiday!

Here's to a zero-waste, plastic-free, healthy Halloween!

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