Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm going to vent...

We forgot to put away the new stick of butter from the table after dinner last night. I found part of it in the hall. Thanks, dog.

We are very short on money right now. I went shopping to get just a few things to cover simple dinners for the next couple of days. I decided to splurge on one item. Challah bread, that we could snack on and have with soup for the next couple of days. When we got home Fiona had to go to the bathroom. When I get back to the kitchen only half of the loaf is left and it is covered with teeth marks. Thanks, dog.

I started making dinner. No onions for the soup. I added a couple of bouillon cubes and some hard cheese to add some flavor. I pulled out the greens I had just bought. I hadn't checked them when I bought them. I was rather distracted. There were THREE different kind of bugs all over the undersides of every leaf. I just couldn't handle it. I will throw some parsley in the soup for a bit of green and some flavor.

Now, I know that every one of these things is my fault, but I am so very, very frustrated. It makes it feel as if the day has been a waste. But it hasn't.

I was driving by a consignment shop and saw a toy organization shelf/basket combination. It was $30. I didn't know where the money would come from. Then I remembered we had a collection of coins sitting in the linen cupboard. We took them and turned them in at the store. There was $47. We went and bought the shelf.

The co-op we shop at gives a coupon once a month for 10% off. You can save the coupon and bring in the receipt with the highest value. I had neglected using these for three months. I turned those in at the grocery store and only had to pay $7 cash for the groceries I bought today.

My neighbor brought over some rhubarb bars she baked. So, we have something for dessert.

I told a friend that I was thinking of making a doll for a friend's child, and I asked if I could have her coupon for 40% off at the fabric store. She said she had some fabrics I could use. She brought them over. I mentioned I was thinking of going to the thrift store to try and find some funky fabric. She said she was going to drop a bag of stuff off. I offered to take it. When I went to put the groceries in the trunk, the bag had fallen over and I saw some cloth napkins that I liked. I called and left a message asking if it would be ok if I kept them.

So it was a bad day and a good day.

My hold on The Tightwad Gazette came in the other day, and I've been reading that the last couple of nights. I also joined the Riot for Austerity. I won't make 90%, but I'm working on reducing.

Monday, August 13, 2007


I was sitting here looking at my Bloglines feed and wanting to read more, but I've read everything. I realized that maybe I should post.

I've been very busy this last month. About a month and a half ago I found an article about plastic and just how awful it is for the environment and people. Amazingly, I was able to find it again to link to it here. I think I originally was pointed to the article by Causabon's Book via Little Jenny Wren. In one of the posts on Causabon's Book there was a mention of a woman who is trying to live plastic free for one year. The woman who writes Causabon's Book also writes a lot about peak oil. I had a general idea before of what it meant, but now have a much greater understanding. All of these things started me thinking about what I could do to change how we live so that the world would be better off.

I decided that we were going to avoid plastic as much as possible. I would occasionally forget my tote bags at home when I went grocery shopping in the past. I haven't forgotten since I've actively started working on eliminating plastics. I am not buying processed, prepackaged food if at all possible. We are vegetarians so, even though tofu, tempeh and seitan are all packaged in plastic I will still buy them. We used to go through two loaves of bread a week, but I buy only one now. I'm trying to bake bread, but I'm making lots of changes at once so I'm giving myself a break here and there. We are lucky to have a wonderful co-op grocery store that focuses on organic foods. They also have a great bulk foods section. We've been taking glass containers or plastic containers that we already have so that we can take advantage of the bulk foods. I've been doing meal planning for a whole week. We are also only going to the grocery store once a week. We used to go several times a week. We aren't ordering take-out. I'm not going to Starbucks three to four times a week. I still go once a week as a treat. We shop at the local farmer's market first then go to the grocery store. That way I know that we are supporting local organic agriculture as much as possible and filling in the gaps at the store. I bought a used deep freeze with the idea of freezing some things such as local organic fruits and vegetables for use through the winter and spring. I've been washing out our plastic milk jugs and filling them with water and putting them in the freezer. They will keep the freezer operating most efficiently and we will have an emergency supply of water if we ever need one.

The Idyllic

The Reality

More specifically on the energy saving front, Monday is a no drive day for me. We've also been hanging out the laundry to dry. I've only used the dryer twice in the last month and a half. This coming from someone who has never hung out a load of clothes to dry, except while on vacation in France, is a pretty big accomplishment.

I found a book at the library called Not Buying It. It is about a woman who didn't purchase anything but the necessities for a year. There were parts I liked and parts I didn't, but one of the things that popped out at me was that her friends kept asking her how much money she saved. One day when I was feeling down about all of this work I sat down to write in my journal. I decided to figure out how much we were saving. I was shocked. By week two, we had saved $274 by meal planning, not eating out and not going to Starbucks. I'm sure we are saving a bit more on gas because I'm not constantly going out and "running errands."

About a week ago I noticed that some of my pants felt more loose. I asked a friend if I could use her scale. I don't know exactly where I started weight-wise, but I've lost somewhere between eight and ten pounds. It is amazing, and it isn't. We used to have ice cream most nights for dessert and the multiple trips to Starbucks didn't help. In my new way of doing things, I have baked cookies at home and made homemade jam for the first time.

Let me tell you, homemade raspberry jam is so very incredible. I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I haven't necessarily cut back on the quantity of food, but I have changed the type of food I'm eating.

One day Fiona came out of her room with a random assortment of toys. She informed me that she was Mama and I was Fiona, and that I could help her bake tea cookies. After she finished baking the cookies and serving them all around she said she was going to make risotto for dinner. That made me so happy. She was emulating me and it was a positive thing.

I love that so many positives come out of these changes.

It has been difficult in one way I hadn't anticipated. Fiona and I stay home a lot more. She wants to be entertained and played with more than before. I know it is because we would hop in the car to go run errands at the drop of a hat. During the second week of all of these changes Fiona said, "Mama, let's go to the store." She didn't need anything or want anything. She had already figured out that when you are bored you go shopping. I guess it is being nipped in the bud, but it was pretty distressing to realize that I had taught her that.