Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

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The End is Not the End

April 2016

I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but here is one more blog post.

I was sitting here wasting time on Facebook (it’s amazing how much time I can lose just clicking on the garbage that comes up on my newsfeed) when I could be doing something more productive. Like writing. Or like not using electricity at all. Like reading.

While I’ve been on mat leave I’ve been reading a lot. I recently read the Mitch Albom book “The First Phone call from Heaven”. In the story, one of the characters mentions the phrase “The End is not the End” in reference to heaven, and is also apparently a House of Heros song.


I’ve also been trying to wean LM. I’ve decided I’m just done. He’s almost 9 months. It’s ok. I did my best. He’s going to be ok either way. Just when I think we’re done, we’re not. He asks for me (he does a little bobbing bird on my chest when he wants the boob. It’s kind of sweet. 🙂  When he’s really hungry he doesn’t care where the food comes from as long as it comes fast!). And I can’t believe I only have three months of mat leave left  😦

It’s time I put this blog to bed and move on. The amount of electricity I’ve used researching and writing this blog is not lost on me. My family needs me. I need me. And as much as I love blogging, it’s taking up more time than I can put into it to make it the way I want it. I’m too hard on myself for not posting or tweeting regularly, or making timely posts related to current events. I often feel rushed when doing a post and I make mistakes.

My plan was to go back to each post, add tags, edit grammar and spelling, add links for interesting things I’ve found out since I wrote the original post, update my progress, etc.  But lets be realistic – as they say “ain’t no one got time for that”!

And I’ve realized, just like I’m not perfect, just like we don’t parent perfectly or the way we might like too, this blog isn’t going to be perfect. So what if it’s not written like a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Just like parenthood, it’s raw and its real. So why change it now?

I started this blog for New Year’s 2014. Today, my 35th birthday, seems like a good day to finish it off.

So as a final post, here are some things I wanted to write about. I’ve been trying to clean out my e-mail accounts, where I e-mail my blog ideas to myself, and I just seem to have so many green ideas I want to write about while incorporating them into events in my life.  I didn’t want to be one of those websites that just lists a bunch of tips without actually trying them myself. But I want to share them for my readers anyway. Who knows, maybe some day I will try them. I guess I can always go back to this list. And some of them just made me laugh.

For each of you who reads this blog, try out a green challenge from the list below. In this way, the blog has no end.

Here they are, by category/topic/tag:

Waste Reduction

How did a sea turtle get a straw up its nose?

Worms could help reduce waste

101 uses for Mason Jars! (well actually just 18, but who’s counting;-) )

The Destiny of Restaurant Crayons

The Unintended Consequences of Banning Bottled Water

Waste Reduction on Campus


Repurposing an Old Toothbrush


Food Security/Waste

Tax Break for businesses that donate food

Just Eat it Restaurant Waste Video

Use it don’t lose it!

denHaan Greenhouses – local source for tomatoes and cucumbers

Fair Trade Recipes

French Law Bans Food Waste

Ugly Food!


I was going to participate in the National Geographic Hashtag challenge, but as with a great many things I ran out of time. So here’s the photo




Sustainable Seafood – Loblaws


Infant Feeding

Breastfeeding Dairy Free

Lactose Overload

Breastfeeding & Alcohol Consumption

Formula FYI

Pump & Dump


Sustainable Diapering

The Diaper Divide

7th Generation Training Pants


Environmentally Friendly Sanitary Pads

Now that Aunt Flo is back in my life I’ve been thinking about this a little more.

The Honest Company

Goodbye Diva Cup


Environmentally Friendly Funerals/Burials/Estate Planning (not that I plan on trying these any time soon – for all the right reasons!)


Burial Pods



Our kitty has recently had some health problems, which got me thinking about this even more

Ethically Sourced Pet Food

Crystal Cat Litter

Silica Cat Litter

Ecofriendly Cat Litter

Homemade Cat Litter

Homemade Cat food

More Homemade Cat Litter



Natural Pest/Weed Control



Water Conservation/Pollution

Drugs in Drinking Water

The Surfrider Foundation

Gold in Sewage

Water used to grow favourite foods

Microbeads Banned


Eco-friendly Shopping

The True Cost of Clothing

Germs in Cloth Bags

The Green Mom Review

Toxic Items at Dollar Stores

Chemicals in Dollar Store Products

Dollar Store Product Contaminants



Advice to Fathers

The Most Expensive 2-hour Nap

A Day at Home with a Newborn

10 things kids should see their parents doing

Journey from Anti-Vaxx to Science

Please don’t visit my Newborn

10 ways to really help someone with a new baby


As I’ve said before, through this blog, I’ve learned that as with every thing in life, we have to make decisions. Just like we can’t always be that perfect parent, we can’t be the perfect environmentalist. But we try. We try and we hope it’s enough.

And then there’s this guy. Am I him? I don’t think I want to be him. If you can’t follow my blog, follow the frog.




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Sweet Sixteen

February  2015

Well we’ve made it through to the magic 15/16 week mark, and while the fatigue I’m experiencing is nothing like I’ve ever encountered, I am feeling better than I have in weeks. I am feeling relief at hearing our baby’s heartbeat and that most of our family and friends now know the secret. I also was able to tell my boss. I was terrified at first, having only been in this new job (which I love) for about four months, but he said it was “terrific news”.

And I feel far more physically comfortable in maternity clothes! Honoring my commitment not to buy new clothes (Week 44), I have unpacked and am reusing a lot of clothes from last time, and picked up a few “new to me” items at Value Village.

It’s also my daughter’s birthday, and I’ve tried to use homemade goodies as much as possible, and reusable items for the goody bags. For example, since we were doing a camping theme, I used a do-rag with bubbles, notebooks, and glow sticks. I know, glow sticks. I tried to find flashlights, honest! Maybe they’ll at least be reused as a craft (see my Green Craft Corner).

One `green` thing I would like to try to do is stop shopping at the Dollar Store. Sure they`re convenient, they often have what I`m looking for, and the price is right for sure. But so many of their goods are made overseas, likely in poor working conditions and to questionable standards (e.g. lead content), and the cheap prices encourage consumerism when we could be reusing or “making do“ with what we have on hand. I tend to limit my purchases to stationary and craft supplies (stickers, paper, cards) and organizational items (bakets); I would never buy children`s items or food. Even so, I seem to be going there a lot lately, so I`ll aim to cut back. And since our household bills are likely to increase in a few months, it won`t hurt our budget either.

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Week # 31 – Water Woes, Broken Toes and other Adventures in Greening

August 30, 2014

Wow this summer went by fast. I was afraid it would. But you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. And while I haven’t been blogging as faithfully, I did manage to keep up on a few of my green challenges.

The second wedding this summer, at the end of last month, went off without a hitch. I was able to wear the silver dress I had hoped to (with the help of some strategically placed undergarments), and we had our hair done at an Aveda certified spa. The wedding was beautiful 🙂

I definitely indulged a bit more than I should have though, driving too much, buying to much bulk chocolate, bought a new book rather than waiting for it to come out from the library. But I just couldn’t resist picking up Diana Gabaldon’s new release, and it saw me through the whole summer.

One of our drives did involve my grandfather’s 90th birthday, and we took a detour to Jost Vineyards, picking up a bottle for ourselves and my parents.

I did start taking the bus to the library and then walked back (instead of working-out inside). I’d been meaning to start that challenge for a while. Usually I would drive to the Canada Games Centre every Tuesday for yoga, but I’d make a point of parking in one place and walking to do other errands, like getting gas, picking up groceries, banking, and dropping off and picking up books at the library, so the trip (and CO2 emissions) wasn’t completely in vain. I also picked up a “Share the road” bumper magnet for our car. Which we lost, ironically enough, when my husband put the car through a car wash. Replacing that is on the top of the list for this fall.

As sad as I am to see the end of summer, I do enjoy the foods of this season. It seems like the green peppers I started back in the spring haven’t grown any in height, but the gourds, tomatoes and turnip have really taken off. And I continue to do battle with the Japanese Knotweed.

To keep the garden watered I’ve been using rainwater collected in two buckets at the end of our front. This is not a new challenge for me. I did research more stylish rainwater collectors, but they run a bit out of my budget compared with the buckets I have which work perfectly well. I also used water from my daughter’s kiddie pool to do my watering. And I’ve decided that if I am nominated for the now famous Ice Bucket Challenge I’ll stand in the garden to do so.

Dealing with misplaced water seems to be a regular issue for me. From the time we moved into this house we’ve had water problems, from a leak in the basement the previous owners failed to disclose, to a drip through the kitchen ceiling which required gutting the bathroom. More recently, this past winter we ended up replacing our hot water heater (which, luckily, is leased) when it suddenly began spouting excess water onto the basement floor. While replacing the tank allowed us to upgrade to a (supposedly) more efficient model and gave me the opportunity to turn down the thermostat on the water heater, it did not fix the problem of coming home to pools of luke-warm water on our basement floor. So, a few weeks later, a plumber installed an expansion tank. Which probably wouldn’t have been necessary if the city wasn’t constantly replacing the piping under all the streets in our neighbourhood and messing with the local water pressure. But that is a necessary evil compared with the alternative.

I’ve also started using my daughter’s leftover bathwater to shave my legs, and water from boiled vegetables (such as corn on the cob, plentiful this time of year) to water the house plants.

Lastly, I need to start taking shorter, colder showers. I’ve been putting this challenge off for a long time. I’m famous for long, hot showers – another by-product of giving birth – showers were the only alone time I got in the early days after my daughter was born. In addition to the alone time, the heat not only relaxed my ravaged body, it also helped my milk let-down. But four years later I think it’s time to break old habits.

Now you’ll excuse me while I go back to drying out our camping gear from our latest camping adventure, cut short by a ill-timed rainstorm, and mending my broken toe (the result of a 4am game of musical beds. And no I don’t want to write about it now.).


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Week # 25 – Plants and Seeds and Things that Grow

July 5th 2014

It’s wedding season! Last weekend I attended a wedding for a good friend from high school. Her wedding theme was “Nova Scotia” and it was beautiful! The ceremony took place near a beach with a lighthouse, all of the food served at the dinner was local, and as favours everyone was given a jar of Cranberry Kitchen sauce or salsa from Terra Beata farms in Lunenburg NS.

My daughter, who is growing like the Japanese Knotweed still in our backyard, needed a new dress that fit properly to wear to this wedding. In the past I may have gone to the mall to find something on the sale rack (I’m not much of a shopper and won’t spend a lot of money on clothes). I committed that this time I would get a thrift store dress. So off I went to Value Village, and after just half an hour – success! I found a beautiful pink and white dress, a size larger so she’ll be able to wear it for another year at least. And it’s machine washable – very important for toddlers!

I also looked for something for myself, without much luck. I have one dress that is appropriate for a wedding, but I’d need to lose about 10 pounds to fit into it. Another dress I’m just bored of, so on to dress number three – a little black number that suited the event just fine. And I looked pretty good it in if I do say so myself. I’ll probably be back to the thrift store in a week or two to look again. We have another wedding at the end of the month, and somehow I think the weight is not going to come off. I’ve worn the black and print dresses to other weddings with the same family members so I don’t want to wear them again. Maybe that’s just silly.

It’s hard to get out for a run when I’ve been busy in the garden. The turnip I planted are doing great, but not so much the peppers. We’ve also been doing some spring cleaning and rearranging things around the house. A couple of weekends ago we participated in our neighbourhood’s annual yard sale. Any items that weren’t sold we donated to charity. A few times a year we will go through our closets and donate items, so I don’t really consider this a “new” green challenge. But, with all the rearranging we’ve stumbled upon a need for a proper nightstand in the guest room. After my experience earlier in the month with the chair, I’ve committed to only procuring hand-made, hand-me-down or thrift/re-claimed furniture. So off to the thrift store I went again, but no luck yet.

Speaking of clothes, though we go through our own closets, I’m still hesitant to give away the baby things, in hopes we might still have another child. And while I’m trying to lose weight to fit into that other dress for the next wedding later this month, I’m secretly hoping that it won’t fit – but for all the right reasons.


~My daughter’s favourite book – Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go!~

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Week # 24 – Lazy Summer

I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit since the weather has finally turned nice and I’ve been really busy with work, the garden and home renovations. But I haven’t stopped my weekly challenges (I just took a hiatus from writing about them!). An inside day awaiting a tropical storm has given me the opportunity to get caught up.

Back in May we inherited a new-to-us lazy boy recliner from my in-laws. In my husband’s laws of the universe, this meant the old one had to go. I posted it on Kijiji for a month, with no takers.

It really was still a good chair. The reclining mechanism was still functional, and it was super comfy. The leather was still in really good shape too, except for the arm rests where it was quite worn, and both my daughter and cat had exacerbated the situation. Then my husband in his infinite wisdom decided to cover the worn bits with duck tape. Even so, I didn’t have the heart to put a perfectly good piece of furniture on the curb on garbage day, despite the rantings of my spaceophobe husband.

So I posted the brown leather beast on the electronic bulletin board at work, and started calling around to several different charities. No takers at work, and I was told by the charities that if it had any worn bits they didn’t want it. I was promptly informed that their clientele has “higher standards”. Hmmm. I asked a few more questions, and learned that items are actually sold in thrift stores and not given directly to needy families. Point taken.

I was getting so frustrated I called the city to find out if any materials from furniture are recycled after pick up. They said no. In fact, I think the dispatcher even chuckled at me under his breath.

Finally, as a last ditch effort, I remembered I still had an account with Freecycle. I posted the ad before leaving for work one morning, and by that evening – success! It was picked up by someone looking for a gaming chair for their basement.

While I am thankful I was able to help someone repurpose the chair, it did get me thinking about why there isn’t a furniture recycling program for items that can’t be donated. For all the work put into diverting waste from overflowing landfills, there must be ways the wood, metals and textiles in furniture could be recycled. For example, could the wood be chopped up and used for biomass energy? Could the textiles be chopped and turned into rugs? Or, in our case, why can’t the leather be repaired? Well, I’m in the process of sending out some e-mails to find out exactly that. When (if) I hear back I’ll post the responses here.

Or at the very least I’ll let you know how nuts everyone thinks I am!