Monday, February 13, 2017

Zero Waste - How and Why

I find myself becoming more hippie every day. It was never a goal of mine, partially because there are aspects of the hippie lifestyle that I don't condone, but the granola, tree-hugging, natural-living life appeals to me greatly. This is true for several reasons. First, I am a steward of the earth, and I feel that responsibility strongly. Secondly, I love the art of keeping home, and that involves living more slowly, simply, and naturally - at least it does for me. Lastly, I believe it to be healthier and more beneficial for my family. First I adopted the practice of using natural cleaners and hygiene products, then minimalism, then my family went paper free. It seemed natural that a zero waste lifestyle would follow.

What is a zero waste lifestyle? Put simply, it is the practice of eliminating single-use products from your life and trying to limit your waste to infinitely recyclable or compostable items. For us, this meant getting a compost bin for our home, buying local products we can put in our own containers, and limiting the other things we buy to things in glass, metal, or paper packaging. I find it to be a fun process, and we're getting to know our area better as a result.

Because we're doing a no-spend, right now, we've decided to only purchase on a replacement basis, which is what most zero-wasters do anyway. We did make an exception for the composting bin. We've found a local place to get meat and dairy, another to get grains, and we're still looking for options for produce. I'm working through my list of things to replace items like shampoo and tinfoil. I'm deciding what we'll give up instead of finding an alternative or trying to make ourselves.

To me it's an exciting process. I think my husband finds it stressful, right now, though that will hopefully become less as we become used to the new routines. We've been doing it for a couple weeks, and in the past week have only take out one bag of trash. That's pretty good, considering we don't have our compost bin, yet, and are still getting through single-use products we had before this new venture started. I look forward to seeing how it simplifies and betters our home.

If you're interested in more information, you can check out this website. It includes links to videos, if you would prefer that kind of information.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Adventures in Napping

I am a mother of two.

It's crazy to think about, really. Just three months ago, I was chasing a toddler. Now I'm chasing that same toddler with a chunky, three month old baby in my arms. And I love it. My daughter dotes on her little brother, always wanting to be close to him, letting me know when he's crying (as though I can't hear it), and constantly chattering to him while he stares at her, taking in every word. It's incredibly precious.

One thing I wasn't exactly prepared for, after having a new baby, was the numerous regressions that took place in my toddler after her brother was born. I was prepared for jealousy. Didn't happen. I was prepared for aggression. Didn't happen. What did happen were three different regressions, one of which I didn't know could happen: eating, sleeping, and pottying.

Friday, September 30, 2016

High Needs Toddler & Pregnancy

Having a high needs toddler is no joke. My daughter is just as unpredictable in her mood and temper as when she was a tiny baby. Although things do improve with vocabulary and gentle communication, there are still all those high need characteristics to deal with.

Right now, I'm 36 weeks pregnant, and going through almost the entire pregnancy with my toddler, I've had to change some of my expectations (of myself and my toddler), and I've had to adapt. If you are in the same boat I have been in, I know your frustrations and your desires. Here are some tips for getting through pregnancy while raising a high needs toddler with grace.

Friday, September 16, 2016

No-Spend 3 Years

As many have probably realized, my husband and I don't do things halfway.

My husband was talking to me, about a month ago, and asked me exactly how committed I was to paying off debt, because he really wanted to be able to pay it off in ten years, and he got the feeling I wasn't super invested. I wasn't hurt or offended by this comment, as I could see how it could look that way. I believe in investment purchasing, which means the purchases we make tend to be larger than a lot of people might pay ($90 for a dress that will last me forever, for example). I admitted to him that I had a “secret” goal of paying off all our debt by the time I'm 30, which will happen in about three years.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Five Reasons My Home is Always Clean

We live in a life that is incredibly understanding of women who can't get everything done, and I love that, because I certainly don't get it all done; however, I do keep a spic and span home. Various people do this in different ways because people live different lives. Here are some of the ways I keep my home clean:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Why I Make My Toddler Wear Sunglasses

People ask me fairly often why my daughter wears sunglasses. Is there something wrong with her eyes? No. Does she like to wear them? Not particularly. Is it because it's so cute? That's good incentive, but it's not the main reason. I make her wear them, and she isn't allowed to take them off when we're outside, because I don't want her eyes to be damaged by sunlight. 

It's amazing to me; I'll see parents slathering sunscreen on their kids, putting on hats for good measure, and completely neglected those precious jewels. I'm guessing it's mostly out of ignorance, as whenever I explain, people tell me how much sense it makes. Of course they need protection. Many adults put on sunglasses because brightness hurts their own eyes and don't think to put them on children because there's no way for the child to communicate discomfort. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Spinach Meatballs: Gluten, Dairy & Egg free

I don't usually post recipes, but this one was special. As I've said many times, I do a lot of hosting, and one part of hosting is cooking for people with allergies and dietary restrictions. I recently hosted a family with a lot of allergies and dietary restrictions to deal with, and I loved the challenge of creating something for them that was delectable. You shouldn't feel like you're missing out!

I mention in the recipe that you can use any ground meat. I happened to have a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground turkey on hand, so I combined those. This is very different than my usual meatball recipe, but I think it's just as delicious without feeling like a compromise.

I used garlic and onion powders rather than chopping those ingredients up partly because my husband has an issue with onion texture and also because it's a little faster. Feel free to substitute and adjust amounts accordingly.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

How many meatballs you make depends on the size. I shaped my meatballs about the size of a golf ball and ended up with 33.

Spinach Meatballs

2 lbs. ground meat (turkey, beef, sausage, etc., or a mixture of any of these)
1 lb. frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. parsley

Combine all ingredients and form into meatballs. Place on cookie sheet about an inch apart. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes or until done through center. Can serve over garlic and herb rice (essentially rice with the same herbs and spices used in this recipe).