Me going green … and dragging my family with me, kicking and screaming!

Baby steps toward self sufficience and greenocity

Food packaging reduction lady strikes again! March 30, 2008

Filed under: cooking,frugal living,green living,recycling — razberiswrl @ 2:49 pm
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I guess my kitchen witchery is showing.  I have, yet again, found a way to make my own version of a common household item, thereby reducing my waste.

 TACO SEASONING!!!

I know, it’s not all THAT big a deal, but I won’t be throwing any little packets in the trash anymore (we use taco seasoning ALL the time) OR ingesting this common source of MSG.  I made a double batch, put a little more garlic powder and a little less cayenne (my kids are weenies, E still complained about it being too spicy), dumped it all in a jar I had saved from some artichoke hearts (I KNEW that would come in handy!), and used 2 tb of the mixture in ~1 lb of ground beef for them.  I used 1 tb  of the mix with my Morningstar Farm grilled “chik-n” strips.  To both pans I added a slurry of 1tsp corn starch and 1/4-1/3c water.  This is to get that thick sauce texture that the packets deliver.  This is the first time A has liked the DIY version BETTER than the packaged version.  SCORE!

Of course, you may be thinking “How is she reducing waste if she has to buy more containers of spices more often???”

Easy!  1) plastic and glass containers in which spices typically are packaged are recyclable, those packets typically are not.  2) spices are available in bulk at some stores, I can (and do when possible) buy little baggies to refill my existing bottles.

I think I’ve become a little obsessed about reducing my landfill waste.  Last week, we only filled 1 regular trash bag plus 1 grocery store bag (still not remembering to bring my reusable ones with me …) between Monday and Thursday.  That’s for a family of FIVE.  I’m pretty impressed!  If only I had the wherewithal to recycle our paper and compost our table scraps, we might get down to 1 bag every full week … yeah, uhh, maybe next year.

 

Totally off topic: Some asshole shot up my house with paintballs tonight!!! March 26, 2008

Filed under: drive by — razberiswrl @ 10:18 pm
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What the hell??? Freaking shitwads with their trashcan muffler! I’ll put the pics up tomorrow. They got at least 2 other houses in the hood too.

Here’s my Woot! DNW pic of my house all shot up.

 

What is it with spiders and clothes lines???

It is FINALLY warm enough to hang some clothes out today! 61 and sunny with a gentle breeze. Perfect! Until I saw the spiders.

Now, I’m typically a rational person, I KNOW these little pea sized arachnids can’t hurt me, but day-ummmn!!! I HATE SPIDERS! Can’t a girl have an irrational fear of bugs??? I killed one on my shirt in my dancing/swatting fit of terror, ran from another, and in an incredibly brave move, flung a clothes pin that was acting as spider perch half way across the yard to get rid of another. That was only while hanging the clothes. Imagine how many will have gathered when I go back out there in an hour or so to collect the clothes … I don’t even want to think about it.

I’m all itchy …

 

Randomness, spring, gardening … March 17, 2008

I made ketchup and bbq sauce today caz we were just about out.  I was going to make laundry detergent too, but ran out of time.  I’ll get to that tomorrow.

I’d like to start hanging clothes out on the line to dry.  I probably could have done some light weight stuff today, it was 50 and sunny with a breeze.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.  Figures.  I should be able to try for it on Wednesday though–62 with rain in the evening.  There’s always a catch though.  I HATE the way line dried clothes smell and feel …  I’m going to see if I can ‘get used’ to it though.

Spring is in the air, and I’m ready to get out in the garden.  I have a teensy problem though … my black thumb.  If killing plants was a competitive sport, I’d be a world champion.  I still like to try though, and I’m going to try my hand at organic gardening again this year.  Now that the kids are 8, 7 and almost 5yrs old, I think I can utilize the free labor a little more.  The last time I tried a garden was 2 years ago, and they sort of just stomped all over everything!

I can’t put anything into the ground for at least 3-4 more weeks, but I’m thinking about starting some seeds indoors.  That will also be a great thing to involve the kids in.  I’ll have to figure out where to put the starter cups though!  I could probably clear off the  top of the entertainment center …

What should I plant???

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

Zucchini (my fav!)

Yellow summer squash

Basil

Rosemary

Dill

Cilantro

A melon of some sort?

and I intend to put 2 blueberry bushes in.

Is that too much though?  I have a tendency for being too ambitious … I think that’s why I kill everything.  Then again, I have better free labor these days.  My kids haven’t pulled a tenth of the weeds I had pulled by the time I was their age (not to mention walking 8 miles one way, barefoot in snow up to my eyebrows …), I think it’s definitely time for them to start paying their dues.   I think I’ll put the herbs in all the pots I ganked from the last rental place we stayed in, lol, and keep them in the front yard, maybe by the front door.

We shall see …

 

Can’t. Take. Much. More … March 9, 2008

Filed under: cleaning,green living — razberiswrl @ 10:44 pm
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Dear sweet Jeebus.  I don’t know how much longer I can do this.  The dishes, I mean …

I’d rather scrub base boards, ya know?  I’d rather, umm, anything … I’ve been feeling a STRONG urge to buy paper plates and bowls.  My hands are so dry!!!  I never remember to use lotion (and when I DO use lotion, I have to be real careful not to touch my face, neck or upper chest area, lest I turn beet red and itch like crazy …), I’ve got cracked skin on all my second knuckles, my nails look like shit … I’m CONVINCED it’s from all this dish washing.  I hate it!!!  I HATE IT!!!!!!!

Is it really worth it to me to save a measly dollar a day?  How much do I really care about those several bags of trash I do not cart to the curb a week?

I don’t know …

 

What’s so hard about dropping it in the smaller can right NEXT to the bigger can??? March 2, 2008

That was my question to A when I got home from work yesterday.

This is the part of my blog where *dragging my family kicking and screaming* comes into play…

So, I’ve been really happy with myself for having the resolve (and memory) to take the recycling bin to the curb for the last couple of Thursday nights, and finding an unused small trash bin to hold recyclables in the kitchen for once daily dumping into the larger can outside.  Last night I got home to find spaghetti o’s cans in the regular trash can.  I pulled them out while screeching  …  well, re-read the title … that’s what I screeched at A.  It’s not as if the smaller ‘recyclables’ can was full …  WTF???  His response?  “Look, you’re the only one in this house that actually CARES about this crap.”

Nice.  Real nice.

So I trash picked the cans, a huge (well, 64oz) juice bottle, and a couple other random things.  The recyclables internment can was full, so I made E take it outside.  What was so hard about that???  Child labor is free A!  Don’t be a big jerk!!!

 

Getting rid of crap without filling the landfill

Filed under: cleaning,frugal living,green living — razberiswrl @ 12:26 pm
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I thought *I* was always the last to know about cool things, but just about every time I mention FreeCycle to people, I get blank stares.  So check it out!  There are groups all over the country (and world), so there’s bound to be one near you.  The point of the FreeCycle network is to keep usable goods out of the landfills.  Think about it … how many times have we all thought “I don’t want/need this anymore–I’ll put it in this here bag, and take it to Goodwill when I get a chance …” and then had said bag sit around collecting dust and wasting space for months and months only to be thrown out on the curb on trash day in a fit of frustration?  I can only speak for myself, but the answer is A LOT!  FreeCycle rocks because people COME TO ME to get my crap!!!  YAYAYAYYYY!!!  So far I’ve gotten rid of a xmas tree skirt, 3 bags of toys and 50 or so hot wheel type cars (we still have over 100).

Of course, getting RID of stuff isn’t the only benefit of FreeCycle.  You can take other people’s unwanted stuff too!  I got a coffee table FOR FREE!  WOOT!  And M will be getting a brand new looking Barbie acoustic guitar for her birthday.  The only thing it’s gonna cost is a new set of strings, and Uncle T is taking care of that.

Totally cool.