I was dragging today *big time*
I. mean. BIG. time.
So I tried something new. I stopped at the cute little gas station by the school and picked up a fountain drink in my glass jar. I walked up to the counter, acting like I do this daily and the lady smiled and would not take my money. I tried to explain that I would pay full price I just do not want the styrofoam. She said, “No, really…It is on us. Have a good day.”
Now, it might have been the caffeine but I really think it was the kindness that put a little more kick into my day and helped me plow through a large project this afternoon.
Damn, sometimes I feel so lucky to live in this world!
Tiny House, Trash-Free Food Challenge, Trash-Free Kitchen, Trash-Free Little Ones, Trash-Free Shopping
After many distractions this week, we finally made it to our favorite bulk food store! We stocked up on our staples including lots of chocolate!
We love food!
I think my sidekicks ate more than they picked!
The box we carried our goodies home is compostable. We returned the small plastic containers to be reused.
Cheers to the sweetness of summer!
I am not a shopper.
Never have been and chances are, never will be.
So how did I end up at on The Magnificent Mile, in Chicago?
Well, first I needed to experience riding on the Amtrak. The year 2016 is all about pushing myself outside my comfort zone, so I am planning something every month that makes me nervous! I realized I had never ridden on the train despite it running through the town where I presently live. If given enough time the train could take me to a zillion cities in the country but I choose Chicago for my February adventure because it is close enough to ride up and return in one day…one very long day. So that is why I bought a ticket and jumped aboard.
Secondly, my 1000 Places to See Before You Die book told me this was going to be worth my time. I have been highlighting every place I have traveled to for years and making note of the date and who went with me.
This is how I was able to stubble across 3 stores selling goodies in bulk!
So cheers to adventures,
cheers to stumbling across some trash-free gems,
and cheers to purposely pushing myself into a state of joyous nervousness.
Oh what a lovely year this is going to shape out to be!
I have this little game I like to play…I realize I start a lot of stories this way…but this is my world and I love it. So, here is how the game goes…
Every time I receive an item in the mail it…obviously…comes in a box or large envelop. This transporting material could be considered trash.
Most people use it once and toss it.
But here is where I insert the fun.
For every package I receive I must then turn around and fill it with an unexpected surprise for someone else! I do not have a “rule” as to what the surprise needs to be other than it can not be frugal, liquid or potentially hazardous, contain lithium batteries or perfume. Most of the time it is something I made or something silly I found that reminds me of the friend. I always slip a note in saying they absolutely do not need to keep this item and to feel free to pass it along when the time comes.
No object guilt will come from me.
This month I received two packages, both things I needed…but this means I have two surprises to plan!
Just the thought of planning a surprise makes me giddy!
Cheers to mailbox surprises.
Cheers to reusing my trash.
Cheers to the silly games I find myself playing!
Triumphantly, I walked… no, I bounced… out of the local antique store with past-your-elbows-high GOLD gloves, purse and lipstick tube holder thingy…with a mirror.
Santa can not bring something handmade to a magic-believing 6 year old fashion girl.
Five dollars shorter and so proud of my find, I showed it off to anyone and everyone before I reached home.
I get kinda pumped when I hit the jackpot, especially when I walk in without the plan of striking it.
For those who know Cubby, they know that this has her name written all over it!
By the time I got home I realized that Santa could not get all the credit for this one. I wrapped it up in lace and put it “under” the tree from me.
The real me.
I ate a cookie or two, slept, called in reinforcements, and headed back out for Santa, this time with elves who like to shop local,
like to shop second hand,
elves who may not know it yet but,
hate contributing to the production of more waste by buying new plastic things.
Elves who surprisingly look a lot like me.
But this time- what do my wondering eyes should appear…
But a dress,
just the right size,
loaded with purls and shiny things!
Oh happy dance, as I pranced to the counter with my find.
I also handed over 3 books and set of pens and spiral drawing thingys that she specifically asked for after playing with an identical set at After School Care.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
They just jumped out at me when I walked by the booth marked 30% off.
Ask me if I have any idea how to create the intricate designs described in the inside cover of the box.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
…but one of my elves knows how, and cannot wait to show her.
Ask me how I was so lucky shopping second hand for Santa.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
Ask me how I handed the clerk $20 for all this loveliness and received money back.
I HAVE NO IDEA!
It must be the holiday magic.
Seriously, this kind of shopping is so much more fun than chainstore shopping, where everything is wrapped in plastic packaging.
When I arrived back home I hid my findings in the last built-in hiding spot in the tiny house that Cubby has not found. I also pulled out the two month old gem that
I HAVE NO IDEA
how I kept a secret from her for so long.
It is the big girl gift.
Wrapped in lace under the tree.
Two from me and three from Santa, totaling under $30. Christmas does not have to be about a million presents under the tree. It can be just about you and me and the excitement we share when we find the perfect surprise.
One step at a time.
Reducing our waste and finding beauty and joy in the process.
Cheers to using this next trip around the sun, to focus on caring for our planet a little more deeply.
Cheers to a fresh.new.year.
I’ll let you in on a little secret.Making produce bags chill me out.
When I am upset, I make produce bags.
When I am frustrated that my body can’t move as fast as my mind, I make produce bags.
When it rains, I make produce bags.
I give them as gifts for friends.
I give them as gifts to strangers.
I give them as gifts to myself.
They can hold produce from the store, obviously.
They can also hold bread from the bakery.
They can hold cookies from the cookie store.
They can hold a handful of odds and ends.
When I realize that I have to much to carry from the car to the house in one trip, they come to the rescue.
They can hold toys.
They can hold crayons.
They can hold special rocks and leaves gathered on hikes.
The best part about my handmade, reusable produce bags, is at the end of the day, you can just throw them in the washing machine.
Then they are ready for the next adventure.
I make a local hardware store my first stop when looking for supplies to maintain or improve the Tiny House. Not just because it is locally owned, or because the employees make a point of remembering you, but because they have a lovely supply of unpackaged odds and ends.
Nails, screws, hooks and brackets, have all been purchased from their bulk bins. One time I needed a drain plug for the sink and the boys found one without a package! They know I am an anti-trashtarian, so they do not even suggest options that come in packages when I come in with a “How Would I Do This” question.
I am sure my little town is not the only place that offers trash-free options, but you do have to search. Your best chance is to find a locally owned store, instead of rushing to the nearest chain store.
Cheers to projects! …projects …and more projects! I wouldn’t have life any other way.
One of the lovely things about being from a large family, is the cousins. Cousins are built-in friends. I have a collection of close cousins and many distant cousins, each unique and lovable in their own way.
Growing up we saw each other regularly. We played sports together, we played pranks together, we went swimming, canoeing, skating and sledding together, we were in clubs and theater plays together, and we got into trouble together…sometimes lots of trouble together.
We also passed clothes down to each other, back in the day when we were growing so fast that we were in a new size every year.
Because our family is so large we have a vast age difference between my oldest cousin and my youngest cousin. A few of my younger cousins are closer to Cubby in age, then I am to them.
She loves them.
Every time we see them they shower her with a batch of outgrown clothes, dress up accessories and other small toys they have outgrown and think she will like.
For awhile, Cubby wore them with everything. Probably, in part because they were a gift, and “new” to her and also because she is into everything “fashionable” as she calls it, wondering out loud if this or that makes her look older.
While running errands and admiring the clicking noise they make on the floor of every smooth surface, the heal and sole of one boot came completely detached. At first my mind just accepted that they were trash. What a pity it was going to be, to add them to a landfill for eternity.
Then my mother reminded me of the shoe repair store in the neighboring county. I had never thought to repair a shoe, I just bought a new pair when I needed too. I did not realize I had another option!
Oh silly me!
I am sure just one or two generations ago, a shoe repair business was a common profession and the first thought when a shoe was deamed unwearable.
So cheers to family and sharing,
boots and local businesses
and of course,
cheers to saving one more thing from entering a landfill before its time.
Well, first, 96 rolls of toilet paper make wonderful building materials! However, next time I purchase this much toilet paper I will remember to lay down the ground rules with Cubby that forts and castles can not be made before the sun comes up on a Saturday morning. Oh but it was fun, even if my tummy did growl for breakfast the whole time!
1. Buying in bulk is much cheaper.
2. I hate shopping. I mean I really hate shopping, especially for things like toilet paper. The fact that these rolls can be ordered online and shipped to my doorstep is a huge bonus and simplifies my life.
3. I love lists, but I hate shopping lists. Now, I never have to put toilet paper on my list. I don’t even have to think about toilet paper for at least 2 years. What will I do with with all this extra think time?
Look out world.
4. Because I only order every 2-3 years, I have a relatively lower carbon footprint, at least when it comes to toilet paper. If I ordered toilet paper every 2 months, more fuel would be used for shipping. So, I bought the biggest box. Hey, these little things add up.
5. This brand makes their product from 100% recycled paper and can be safely composted in my compostable toilet!
6. They make great gifts. You think I am joking. I’ll let you think I am joking. I have saved the day, more than once.
7. This company does not bleach their paper. My butt thanks you.
8. They use absolutely no plastic packaging! Each roll is wrapped in white compostable paper. Plastic-wrapped butt paper, just looks…well…trashy.
9. AND…They come in a GREAT BIG BOX! Need I say more?
One of the last, super happy moments I had with my dear friend, Tiffany, was laughing and joking about where I was going to put 96 rolls of toilet paper in a tiny house! Over wine and cards we decided the best solution was to always buy the paper in the fall, use it to insulate the house and then slowly by spring, our house would be able to breath again. Oh, I miss her so.
Believe it or not, I did find room in the tiny house to store 80 of the 96 rolls of toilet paper out of sight.
The rest were donated to my parents.