Friday, September 16, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday (a little late)

I really meant to post this early yesterday, but it has now turned into the next day due to the fact that when I left for a meeting at 10am, I had to go straight to work for 9 or so hours... and then of course I felt that I deserved the glass of wine that was offered to me after work and suddenly it was today. But if I had gotten a chance to use my computer again yesterday, this would have been post #2 for the day.

That said, let's begin, shall we?

Besides buying new flip flops, I have been crazy busy this week. My family is in back to school mode, which includes 3 kids in 2 different schools, dance 2 times a week, drumming once a week and soccer 3 times a week for 2 different kids. I also start school this Saturday myself at Alkion. Oh and I was just elected to be on my town's Energy Committee, and I am considering being a class rep for my oldest son's class (shh, don't tell anyone about this one yet). And somewhere in the mix is my full time job.
This is just the beginning, but it's certainly enough to get the point. I am getting into the swing of organizing meals and making sure there is enough food both in the house and packed for school (and after school) that works for our attempt for a zero waste life style... as well as easy and filling for these quickly growing kids.

Here is one easy fix:
Our local bagel shop has gotten used to me and now most of the staff are confident waiting on me (instead of confused). I ask them to fill my glass pyrex container full of cream cheese and my cloth (or chico) bag full of bagels. The cloth bag that you see in this picture is one of my favorites because it's a good size and seals with velcro. Sorry you can't buy one of these because my super crafty sister in law made it for me... but you can find a similar product made by mothering mother. The bagel treat itself is really for my older kids, since my youngest is gluten free and I don't think the local shop has an alternative for that one... but they can make this one themselves whenever they need a snack - and food for kids to access easily in a zero waste home is really important.

I also continue to make butter once a week. I keep back stock in the freezer since butter freezes so well. Up until now, I have been just putting the butter right into my reused glass jars... but I found some natural wax paper in my kitchen that I wanted to use up so for my last batch of butter, I decided to make sticks and freeze them wrapped in the wax paper:
I like this solution because I can just take one out and put it on my nice glass butter dish - I got the dish for free when my friend bought a church and offered me some of the oversupply of stuff that was in the basement kitchen. A butter dish was just one of those weird luxuries that I could never justify paying for, so I was oddly excited to find a nice glass butter dish among those treasures. And now have butter in the right form to use it!

Anyhow, I owe you a couple of links for the week. Due to my newly found crazy busy life, there's not too much at the moment, but here are some of the things that caught my eye this week:

In the spirit of thinking back to school and attempting to work with my kids' school to become more environmentally friendly (to be fair, they do pretty well already, we just want to do ever better), this article caught my eye as something I might pass on to others. Some of it is obvious, but I think it's good to know that there are definitely people out there doing this!

Check out how one art student took trash found in rivers and turned them into sculptures here.

I was super excited to find this newpaper brick maker - and I am totally buying one. I love the idea of turning our paper recycling into fuel for our fireplace.

And lastly, also found at Lehman's, I am thinking of getting this salad sac. There is this customer who comes through my line at work once a week and buys a ton of fresh produce and he never puts even one thing in a bag. I really like when people do this, and this guys stands out to me because of it. One day I asked him what he does with the produce when he gets home... because I sometimes find that some things still need to be put in plastic bags when I get them home (I use recycled ones that I have piled up, but I'd rather not). He said that while he is shopping, his wife gets these special bags ready for when he returns with the produce. He didn't know what they were but went home to ask her and returned the next week telling me that they were these salad sacs. Apparently, if they are kept slightly damp, then the produce actually stays fresh longer... with no plastic bag needed. I am going to buy one and test it - anyone out there ever used this product? Maybe it can be made easily... I will keep you posted.

That's all I've got for now - I'm off to enjoy this fall like day off with my youngest.

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