Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A drop in the bucket

Ahh the Bucket list.  There are so many ways to get started with this list that I find myself at a loss. How should I begin? I could start with the goals that I find most challenging or start listing things that are easier to accomplish and work my way up. I think however, I should start at the beginning. A very good place to start.

Well, at least that's one thing you can learn from watching musicals. Where are we now, and where do we want to be 5, 10, even 15 years from now?

First is what we have already accomplished. We already do what (hopefully) most Americans do. We recycle. If you aren't recycling, for shame. Really people it's not that hard. Put the cardboard/paper/plastic in the little blue bin and send it to the curb with the rest of your garbage.

But that's really nothing to most crunchy mama's. We can definitely do better. Let's start by reducing our waste in general. Here is where the bucket list really starts.

1. Reduce over all waste
This is really a big part of going green and there are many, many subsets of this. More on reducing waste in blogs to come.
2. Grow my own vegetables
3. Raise chickens for eggs and eventually meat
4. Have at least one goat for milk
5. Make my own eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning supplies
6. Make my own all-natural toiletries
7. Use Re-usable items whenever possible i.e. cloth towels or rags for cleaning instead of paper, swiffer, etc.

As the title suggests, this list could really go on and be divided so many more times, but I think the over all idea here is to get started somewhere. We will probably never become fully sustainable and we won't be giving up our T.V. but hopefully these steps will start taking us in the right direction. In the following blogs I will write about my experiences as I fumble through this journey. I'm sure there will be some amusing foibles along the way. Next up... To cloth, or not to cloth. Diaper, that is.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The notion that started it all

It's not like I've been crunchy all of my life. Far from being crunchy in fact, I've lived a life of excessive consumerism. Piling thousands and thousands of dollars back into the never ending cycle of buy, consume and discard, giving no thought to where it was going or why I actually needed it. It's exhausting really. Too many times to count I got myself in a situation where I had to be bailed out of a financial hole. Why? Because I had purchased too much. Where all that money went, I still don't know. For lack of a better term it was down the drain.

Enter my dear Husband. An immigrant from Taiwan with a much different view on life. Not because he had less. He actually had MORE because he had less. More money to spend on the things that are important in life. Like saving for retirement. Seriously people, you really need to be doing this!  Traveling is important to us as well, and because we made sacrifices, we were able to take some amazing trips. But of course this really isn't about that. It's about the lessons he taught me.
Phuket, Thailand. A photo from our first Trip together.

Long before we ever decided to "Go Green". Long before our daughter was even a hint in our imaginations. My husband began to teach me how to save my money. I saved begrudgingly of course, having always lived a life of instant gratification and indulgence. I know my parents tried to teach me along the way somewhere, but who really listens to their parents anyways.... yeah I didn't. I mean, why not spend a hundred dollars on a shirt I would ask, quality over quantity right? I kept telling myself that as my designer threads unraveled within months. Parents never know what they are talking about....(if you missed the sarcasm here I beg you to stop reading my blog from now on... it's not going to get easier).

Then came our daughter, and of course as most mothers can attest, I no longer wanted to spend money on myself. I wanted to spend it on her. Lots of it. OK, so I'm getting to the point. The point is, I don't work any more. I don't have a lot of money to spend on her. Much less myself. What has become apparent as I have been forced to make decisions as to what I actually want to spend my money on, is that most of it is so temporary I've barely had a chance to use it before it's no longer useful to me, or her.Case in point. Clothing. Have you seen how fast a baby grows. I have boxes full of little baby clothes that were only worn once or twice at the most. Case closed.

 So, my husband in his ultimate wisdom declares that I should just learn to sew and make all of Monkey's clothes. Genius! I did want to learn how to sew. All of those adorable ruffly, girly clothes for pennies on the dollar and a little bit of work. I'm in! Now comes the part where I have to figure out what to do without so I can buy a sewing machine. I'm still working on that. I am learning to knit though, a fairly inexpensive hobby to start. Maybe one day I'll be able to make some of her wool diaper covers instead of spending forty dollars a pop on them. Maybe. Enter the bucket list.... that's the next post.

Monday, July 2, 2012


The fact of the matter is I've started a blog before. I think I made about 3 posts before hanging up the towel. Or is it hanging up my hat or.... throwing in the towel. I think that's how it goes...anyways, Truth be told, I just didn't have the energy to care for a newborn and come up with a million witty phrases about how cute she was on a regular basis. She was/ and still is amazingly cute.... but I digress. This blog is not about my amazingly gorgeous daughter. Rather about all three of us , and our journey towards becoming a mostly green/sustainable/crunchy/granola family. However you describe it, what it simply is , is a return to our "roots" so to speak. A desire to free ourselves from the over-stimulating, consumer driven America we call home.

We have no problems with being Americans. We love America. But, we've come to realize as we have grown into our little family that the things we find most important are not inherently "American" values. At least not anymore. So, we're joining a quickly growing national effort to change the way things are done. Will we be models of sustainable living? Probably not. Probably far from it. After all, regardless of the fact that I use it to transport five adults and one baby on a regular basis, I still drive an SUV. At least it has "ECO drive". Yeah I know, that doesn't count. We will however strive to do what we can when we can, and I guess that's all we can ask of anyone, after all.

Gardening, although it's hight on my priority list is not possible in the immediate future due to our living situation, so until we are in a home of our own that won't be happening. I've debated on whether or not to make a "bucket list" of greening. Dare I list all the things I would like to eventually change in our home to get us closer to living the most simple life possible? I might be here all night, and it is already Eleven. Way past this tired mama's bed time. Perhaps I will save that for another entry. Besides, I have to keep you hooked somehow right? RIGHT!?

So, here is my promise to you, if you actually kept reading up until this point. I will at least try to keep up with this blog on a weekly basis. Note the word Try. I do after all have a 14 month old. I have lots of fun things to share so stay tuned and stay crunchy! Oh and because I can't resist, here is a photo of the monkey in her cloth diaper helping us sweep the floor.