Archive for April, 2012

Blog Love.

When everything seems too horrible, stressful, negative, hurtful… I can come here and know that everything here is 100% GOOD. Whether it’s dealing with people who are some of the previously mentioned problems or if it’s just life in general… There is so much peace and love to be found in writing about what’s good in the world and what kind of changes we can make to support the future of our planet. 

Last night I watched a documentary called “I AM“, by a famous movie director who has gone through some of the same mindset changes that I have. It was a deep and inspiring movie that all boils down to how we think about life, each other and the world. I loved it, and I hope more people will be inspired enough to make similar changes. 

This morning I found out that the Diva Cup was on babysteals for over 50% off. Such great news to wake up to! I have been wanting to get one of these for awhile now and just wasn’t ready to shell out the $ yet. I was able to buy 2 of them for the price of one, with shipping included. I’m a very happy lady as this is just one more step to becoming as “green” as I can! 🙂 

Tonight I watched a documentary called “Farmageddon” about small, organic, raw farms in the USA and how the FDA is trying to put them out of business. It was extremely eye opening and so sad to see these hard working, honest and eco-friendly people being put through so much hell by the government. It is so important for everyone to support their local and organic farmers and stop contributing to the massive and corrupt organizations that are polluting the world. 

Before I am tempted to write about things that are making me mad at home, I will sign off and leave you with a picture that makes me smile from the inside out ❤ Goodnight! 

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MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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IF YOU CAN DO IT AT LEAST ONE MEAL A DAY, OR A FEW DINNERS A WEEK, YOU ARE MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE. NEVER EVER LET YOURSELF THINK THAT YOU AS ONE PERSON CAN NOT MAKE A CHANGE IN THE WORLD. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I HAVE FELT IN MY JOURNEY SO FAR IS BEING TOLD THAT MY CHANGES HAVE INSPIRED OTHERS TO MAKE THEIR OWN CHANGES. EVERYTHING YOU DO EFFECTS THE PLANET AND EFFECTS OTHERS. DO GOOD AND YOU WILL SEE RESULTS ❤ 

Getting my “Crunchy” On!

In a few ways! 

Today we went crunching (and squishing!) through the woods around my neighborhood, foraging for fiddleheads 🙂 My 4 year old had a hole in her boot so we used some of the leftover plastic bags under the sink and tied them around her feet and the boots worked good as new LOL. This is a trick my mom always used to do with me as a kid. My daughter thought it was great! She was such a big helper looking for the fiddleheads and bringing me handfuls of them for our collection. We got pretty wet and muddy, but it was fun and we ended up with enough for dinner and 3 frozen batches for later use. I’m so sad that fiddlehead “season” is almost over and won’t be back again til next spring!! I hope we get a chance to go one more time in the next few days 🙂 I want as much FREE, organic, local, healthy and delicious food in my freezer for all year round use as I can possibly get!! Here’s a link (for anyone who wants to know) of a video showing you just how to get fiddleheads ready for the freezer and future use. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r89mzxs91Oc

This evening while I was getting dinner ready (Steamed swiss chard with butter, vinegar, salt/pepper and Mashed Potato/Turnip with milk, salt/pepper and Cottage Cheese and Mixed nuts on the side) I decided that there is pretty much no way to buy crackers from the store and avoid the plastic bag that contains them in the box. This bothered me a lot, because I really like crackers and cheese or salsa or peanut butter/jam or whatever. The grainier and crunchier, the better! So, I figured I’d call up my BFF Google and see how hard it is to make my own, since I have tonnes of grains already on hand. Turns out it’s super easy!! I used organic whole grain flour, ground flax, ground peppercorns, dried rosemary and thyme, sea salt, sesame, poppy and flax seeds, quinoa, an egg and a bit of water. Its pretty much the same procedure as making sugar cookies except way healthier and takes much less time! They turned out great and by request of my 4 year old, needs more rosemary in it next time lol. I feel great that I have just eliminated one more thing that comes in plastic from my life and learned a new skill! Below is a picture of the finished product, Yummmmy! 

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Staying “Green” While On Vacation

Well I’m back from my mini vacation to Harrison Hot Springs with my best friend and my 3.5 month old. It was a GREAT time and I can’t wait to go back there again. So much nature surrounding you… the air smells so clean and it’s quiet and peaceful ❤ It really made me miss the island (Comox Valley mainly)… Can’t wait to go back there in June! 

I’m proud to say that I was able to remain vegetarian while eating out at every meal while I was away. Since I’m new at this I didn’t know just how tempted I would be… especially with such few vegetarian options on the menus. Every time I thought of having something with meat or getting sad while smelling meat cooking, I thought about the movie “Earthlings” and about my blog earlier on and all the reasons to go meatless. It worked and I’m so happy!! 

While we were gone I did my best to stay “green” as much as I could. Things I did were : brought food/snacks from home to cut down on how much I’d need to buy, bring my own glass container for leftovers when eating out, only drink water from my own steel canteen, eating local food at every opportunity and asking questions about what I was being served (is it organic/local/etc), and hanging up my wet clothes/towels and re-using them rather than doing laundry or using new ones. I also picked a bunch of fiddleheads and chickweed and brought them home with me 🙂 

All in all, we had a fantastic time and indulged in lots of sweets, nature walks and relaxing. I love my best friend, she is so supportive of my changes and cares about me a lot. ❤ 

Picture below is one that I took of some fiddleheads! 

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Too much junk in the trunk!

Today was the first full day of cloth diapering! I’d say that it was mostly a success 😛 Changing poopy diapers is much more difficult and messy than it used to be tho. Hopefully it gets easier as I learn how to use the different types. I can definitely see how this is going to up my laundry duties so I am thankful that I am now wearing clothes more before washing them and that should counter-balance the amount I have to do. I must admit that I have laughed on more than one occasion at how ridiculous my baby looks with such a huge butt. She really looks like “one of those rap guy’s girlfriends” LOL. The most important thing, I suppose, is that she does not seem to be uncomfortable and is her same happy self as she was with the disposables. 🙂 

Another part of my lifestyle change has been to eat all local food (ok so it’s not 100% local but I am doing my very best)… and to make myself get used to things that I generally did not ever like before. For example, mushrooms, turnips and peppers. I have always given them dirty looks, avoided them and refused to eat them or picked them out of my food in the past. Now I am buying them on purpose and finding ways to incorporate them into my meals in ways that are not as offensive. So far it has been not that bad and I find that the green peppers are the hardest to hide the flavor. Mushrooms have always grossed me out to no end as they are fungus and I don’t like the way they smell or how they always look dirty… but I have found if I chop them up small enough, they are fairly easy to hide in food. Since there are so many wild varieties that grow in BC and I am going to take up foraging, I might as well try to like them a little bit 😛 

Speaking of foraging, I found some fiddleheads in my neighbours backyard today and grabbed them up (while my other neighbour gave me weird looks LOL) and cooked them up with dinner tonight. They were DELICIOUS! I am so excited to go looking for more and not have to pay for them in stores 🙂 Living in BC is going to pay off for foraging since there are more varieties of plants, mushrooms, berries and seaweed that are edible and wild here than in any other province! Yay BC ❤ 

Tomorrow I’m heading to Harrison Hot Springs with my best friend and my baby… it is my first “girls trip” and my first time at the hotsprings, so hopefully it goes well. I will be bringing the last of my disposables with me so that I wont have to do laundry while Im there and I wont have to waste them since my babe is quickly growing out of them. Then once I get back we will be 100% cloth from now on! I am going to do my absolute best to not buy anything with excess packing, to only drink from my steel container or glass cups at restaurants and to keep my footprint as green as possible while on holidays. Wish me luck and I’ll blog about it all when I get back on Monday 🙂 

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I’m starting to feel rather crunchy

BUT I LOVE IT! 

I would have never though, going back a year ago, that I would make all of the changes I’m making now. No way in hell did I ever think I’d become a vegetarian or give up plastics or cloth diaper my baby! But here I am, doing all that and more and feeling so wonderful about it. I keep thinking of what other ways I can effect the environment in positive ways rather than negative… it seems that the possibilities are endless.

The only things that could make this experience better would be more available $ to spend on making my home and life more green friendly and more like minded friends to share this excitement with. I have a few people who are happy with what I’m doing and share some of the same interests and ambitions, spend the time to comment on it and encourage me… but most just ignore it and probably talk about how “crazy” I am behind my back. That’s fine with me though, because I know that crazy is the farthest thing from what I’m becoming 🙂 I am proud of myself 100% for making these changes and doing everything I can to be a better person for my kids and the earth. 

My 4 year old and I have a new mission: to clean up our neighbourhood and pick up garbage wherever we go. What good does it do to just walk past the litter you see on the ground and think that someone else will deal with it? What if everyone thought that way and no one picked it up? I can’t stand how much people seem to litter around the Surrey area, it disgusts me! So, no more complaining about it 🙂 It’s time to change it as much as one person can and HOPEFULLY we will inspire others to do the same. Between walking to and from my daughter’s ballet class and storytime program yesterday and today, only 2 blocks from my house, we picked up almost 2 grocery bags full! (Don’t worry, we washed our hands directly after, both times, and were very careful not to pick up anything sharp or dangerous)

Today I have decided to stop using the “natural” babywash Burts Bees Baby as my 3 month old seems to be getting dryer and dryer skin, especially between her chubby creases. On the advice of a like-minded friend, we had a bath using organic oats and coconut oil. It felt great and I’m hoping it works if we keep it up. It sucks having to stop using even the more “natural” of the beauty products… because it smelled lovely and I thought it would be so much better than using evil Johnson & Johnsons but it’s obviously not good for her if it is giving her that kind of reaction. I was not planning on buying anymore beauty products from here on out, but I was going to use the higher quality ones that I have left until they are gone… guess I will give to give them away too! 

Also, today is the first day of our life as cloth diapering parents. I always said I’d never do it, didn’t want to deal with the extra laundry and hassle… but after hearing the horrifying statistics about how many disposables end up in the landfill every year and how long it takes them to break down… and all of the plastic packaging that goes into the diapers… and monthly costs piling up with buying them all the time… it was definitely a no brainer for me! I got a great deal off of a friend and hopefully all of this will last me until my 3 month old is potty trained some day 😀 

Below is a picture of an organic trail mix that I made today, using all bulk bin organic items! (raw sunflower seeds, roasted soy nuts, mixed nuts, dried cranberries and chocolate chips) MMMMM so good! 

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Foraging Future & Grapefruit Skin Savers!

OK so I am super pumped and excited about this website I found that has really in depth lists of berries, plants, mushrooms and seaweed that are edible and easy to find! I can’t believe I didn’t think before to “forage” for other things besides the common berries I grew up with. So many things that I see on a daily basis when I go for walks, or that I’ve seen in the woods on the island when I go for a visit… or at the beach on the shoreline! All free, all edible and good for you 😀 Can’t wait to try new things, my 4 year old is going to be elated! (Before you go warning me to make sure things are not poisonous before we eat them, do not worry, I will be extremely careful!!) Here is the website!
http://northernbushcraft.com/

After I ate a grapefruit tonight, I went to throw away the peels and thought to myself “these smell wonderful… I wonder what I can do with them rather than throw them away”… So I used my best friend google and found a few neat ideas which I will try tomorrow and the next time I eat grapefruits!

1. using it to make tea 2. make a salt skin scrub 3. using it to make household cleaner 4. making candied peels

Here’s the site: http://www.livestrong.com/article/290920-uses-for-grapefruit-peel/

Pictured below are “Black Rasberries AKA Black Caps” which I found growing around my neighbourhood last year but didn’t know what they were… They looked like a cross between a blackberry and rasberry so I was naughty and tried them… they are good and I didn’t die (obviously!! LOL) and tonight I found them on the edible plants website and confirmed what they are so am really looking forward to picking them like crazy this year!

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Easy “Green” Ideas For Around The House

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Some of these things I have been doing for a long time, some of them are new! All of them don’t cost you a thing and will save energy, money and help make your footprint a little bit greener 🙂 

1 Dont flush until the end of the day (unless you have a #2)

2 Re-use your towels a few times. I usually don’t wash my towels until they start smelling like they need a wash

3 Re-wear your clothes! This is something that I have always done around the house, since I don’t have anyone that cares here to judge me lol. If you are wearing something nice when you go out for a few hours, take it off when you get home and hang it up again. No sense washing something that was only worn for a few hours! 

4 Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth or are doing anything that does not require the water’s usage at that moment. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? See how often you catch yourself NOT turning off the tap. I am frequently having to get after my hubby for doing this!! 

5 Stop buying cleaning products and air fresheners. They are pretty much ALL horrible for your health and the health of the planet. You can clean with baking soda, vinegar, citrus fruits and lots of other things you probably already have around your house that won’t do any damage to you or the environment 🙂 

6 Eat as many “raw” meals a day as you can. It saves on power since you don’t have to cook it AND it’s really good for you. More nutrients are in raw fruits and vegetables than in pretty much anything else on the planet. There are SO many great websites and pages that have easy to do raw meal ideas! 

7 Re-use your cups, plates, utencils as much as you can. I definitely need to start doing this more! I am always just using things once and putting them in the dishwasher… making me have to run the dishwasher almost every day! No more of that for me! 

8 Always turn off your lights as much as you possibly can in the day AND in the night. You have windows, use them! PS, candles can be fun and if you have a tonne of them stockpiled in your house, definitely use them in the night on occasion. 

9 Wear an extra layer if you’re cold or grab a blanket. My hubby is HORRIBLE for cranking the heat and then guess who complains about the heating bill?! Not me, since I don’t have to pay it 😛 I’m going to keep the heat off in every room (except my kid’s at night) from now on 🙂 In the fall and winter next year we will DEFINITELY be making use of our wood burning fireplace more often than we did this past year. 

10 Dont recycle your glass jars or non plastic containers. Use them to store your food, beauty and cleaning products. They are SO much better than plastic, they look great and when they do eventually break or get thrown out, they are not harmful for the environment like plastic ones are. My 4 year old is enjoying using baby food jars (given to us by friends) as her new cups at mealtimes. 

LOTS OF OTHERS TO COME, BUT THATS A START! 

Gotta love the internet!

Here are some articles, movies and pages I’ve found helpful and informative in the past 24hrs:

While I was searching for facts about the dangers of seafood to share with a friend, I stumbled upon DHERBS.com and this article : http://dherbs.com/articles/seafood-143.html . Although I found it a tad religious and racist in a few sections and a bit over the top, it did have some good information and facts about seafood, even some I have not heard before.

Mainly, it mentioned the documentary ” Earthlings ” which I, for some crazy reason, have not heard of before. My 4 year old was down for a nap so I decided to check it out after finding it very easily on letmewatchthis.com. Here’s the link for all of you who care about animals and want to watch. http://www.1channel.ch/watch-4752-Earthlings .

I definitely bit off more than I was ready to chew at the moment with that movie… I balled my eyes out on and off for an hour and a half. That movie brings everything from behind closed doors into the light for all of the animals of the world. Not only does it cover the meat and seafood industry, it talks about animals in the pet, entertainment, clothing and research industries. It was completely heartbreaking for me and I feel SO indebted to the animals of the world for living in ignorance for the past 26 years. That movie has changed the way I view animals for the rest of my life, just like “Bag It” did with the way I view plastic. I can not imagine any decent human being watching that movie from start to finish and NOT being changed forever. I am going to try my hardest to get everyone I know to watch it… not that even half of them will, but I have to at least TRY. 

I was roaming the internet the other day and stumbled upon EvolvingWellness.com while searching for natural alternatives and factual based opinions on major corporations and eco-friendly products. Here is an article that rips the Clorox brand a new one in regards to their new line of “green” products. http://evolvingwellness.com/posts/72/maybe-natural-means-toxic-today-the-clorox-green-works-update/ Not saying that I would have taken (in my higher state of awareness, lol) their labels at face value… but a month ago, sure. I bought this crap and thought I was doing something good. *SIGH* I hate not being able to rewind and slap myself.  

On facebook last night, I stumbled upon a page called “Young and Raw” which is dedicated to being a raw vegan. http://www.facebook.com/youngandraw . Not that I’m a raw vegan, far from it. I’m just starting to becoming a vegetarian… and doing my best to make sure all of the dairy I buy is organic and not coming from horrible places as shown in the movie “Earthlings”. MAYBE someday I will end up a raw vegan… but it’s not happening anytime soon. I’m still in the “baby steps” mode of my life changes… might not seem like it to some people who are not wanting to change at all… but to the really crunchy, tree hugging, hippy dippy, eco-crazy people of the world, all of my changes so far, are probably nothing. 

While checking out this page and all of it’s beautiful pictures of raw vegan food and recipes, I found many inspiring (and some humorous) pictures and facts. Most importantly the one I’m going to insert with this post (and anyone reading this I really encourage you to write down this list and take it with you shopping and share with everyone you know!) I found a list of the food companies who use Monsanto “The GMO Giant” ingredients. I saw this list awhile back and wasn’t ready to care enough about it yet… but now after watching “The Future Of Food” and “Food Inc” and learning all about how horrible Monsanto and GMO products are, it is VITAL information. 

*JUST REMEMBER, EVERYTIME YOU GO SHOPPING YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! YOU GET TO VOTE FOR WHAT KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT TO LIVE IN. IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT TO VOTE WITH YOUR PURCHASES AS IT IS TO VOTE IN ELECTIONS! POSSIBLY EVEN MORE IMPORTANT!! * 

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Doing my best!!!

Some things I’ve done to try and reduce my negative environmental impact in the last few days:

1. Went to Science World with my 2 girls, my friend and her son. Took public transit and walked. Brought my steel canteen filled with tap water, a paper bag filled with raw nuts, organic brown rice cakes, organic fruit and veggies. Bought fries to share with my daughter, no container, and bought some popcorn to share with everyone put into my paper bag leftover from lunch. Refilled my water 2 times with tap water while we were there. In the gift shop on our way out I limited purchases so there would be no waste; a wooden stamp set and a pretty rock for my daughter. 

I was very annoyed at how big of a deal it was to ask for fries with no container. The guys behind the counter looked at me like I was insane. Is it so wrong to be less wasteful?

2. We have started feeding our guinea pigs a large amount of grass, dandelions and clovers daily in the past few weeks. They love it and it cuts down on the amount of pellets we have to buy 🙂 I also give them pretty much all of the veggie/fruit scraps that I discard since we are unable to have a compost where we live. 

Today I went grocery shopping, walked and brought the stroller with my baby in it. Brought a bunch of my fabric bags and my old plastic bulk bin bags and twist ties from the past (might as well re-use them for as long as I can before throwing them away). I bought local free range eggs in a cardboard case (I have been unable to find a local egg supplier so far, but am still looking!) and some other BC dairy products from a place in the mall. Unfortunately the dairy came in plastic containers and I have been unable to find somewhere local to get dairy in glass or metal or unpackaged. Will keep looking. I went to 2 grocery stores and bought every type of local fruit and vegetable that I could find, including the kinds I do not like as I am going to do my best to only buy local produce from now on so I might as well try to get used to what is available here in BC. I did not buy anything that was packaged (so I missed out on a few things I wanted) simply because I refuse to buy plastic packaged produce when getting it unpackaged is an option. I am looking forward to the summer months when there will be farmers markets to go to and hopefully a more exciting variety of produce. Everything that was not local that I bought, was organic (bulk bin items, salad dressing and bananas and even “Green” toilet paper). I avoided all isles except the whole foods section and the produce section, I did not want to be tempted by “regular” dairy or any meats or junk food. 

I hate feeling like even though I am trying my best, it is not enough. I hate seeing all of the garbage on the ground everywhere in Surrey. It annoys me that so many people are still using plastic bags nstead of fabric bags, even though most places charge (NOT ENOUGH!!!) for the plastic bags. It annoys me that the lady at the checkout gave me shocked looks and the man behind me was smirking when I explained my re-using of the bulk bin bags and twist ties. Why can people not be more accepting to others that WANT to do better for the world? Why not say “Good for you!” or “I never thought about that, what a great idea” ?! 

I seriously hope that the human race can make enough changes, fast enough, so that we don’t kill our planet and ourselves. 

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