Sustainable Options

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Chariot.

The kids in our new bike trailer after a morning at the park.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Freezer French Toast Sticks

So I am always looking for New Easy Healthy breakfast, lunch and snack ideas for the kids.  Also we are trying to use all the food in our fridge and not throw anything away.  Well I found a few bags of bread that was no longer great for sandwiches but was still totally edible.  So I searched around and found ideas for day old bread online.  I decided to make French Toast Sticks which the kids devoured, however I still made way to many so I found you could freeze them.


3 eggs

1/2 milk

1/4 Orange Juice

1 tbsp vanilla

Several Pieces of Day old bread cut into 1” strips

Mix eggs, milk, OJ and vanilla.  Pore over day old bread.  Heat skillet to Med High with a bit of oil or butter.  Brown on both sides.

Serve with dippers: We used apple sauce and maple syrup today.  I think yogurt would have been a good dipper as well. 

Freezer: So my kids loved them but I made way to many.  I froze them (just throw them in a freezable container) and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven (great for a quick before school breakfast).  That reminds me I have to go retrieve the one I attempted to reheat in the regular toaster and it got stuck! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reusable Snack Bags

In an effort to reduce waste and plastic of course our family has started to use reusable bags.  They are great for lunches, sandwiches, crackers, fruit and other snacks.  Anytime you would use a Ziploc you can use a reusable bag instead.   Be sure to add these to your back to school shopping list!


Check them out here:

Would you like to try them for free? 

Yes its finally giveaway time! 

The winner will get to pick a reusable bag set from reusezone!  That is one sandwich and one snack bag in the pattern of your choice!  reusablebag2

A big thanks to Jess at reusezone for sponsoring this contest!

See my FB page for giveaway directions! 

Blackberry Picking and Jam!

On Sunday we went see Grandma and Grandpa who live on a farm outside of Placerville CA. The kids love going to see their grandparents and they have so much fun there. 112_0567This weekend we spent about three hours picking blackberries. They have tons of wild blackberry bushes growing on their property and Grandma Eileen used the neighbor's tractor to clear paths so we could pick berries. After three hours we had two large buckets of very ripe blackberries.

What's a person to do with all those blackberries? Make Jam of course. (on a side note Sean and I had 112_0577never canned anything before). So we drove home put the kids to bed, I ran to the store for canning supplies and we made Jam until midnight! We were tired but it was lots of fun and so nice to eat your creation the next day for breakfast.

112_0592 We finished with 8 pint sized Jars!

Sustainable Notes: The whole process of picking, making it into Jam and canning was fun. It was great to do it together as a family. The cost of the Jam was minimal for Sugar, pectin and jars (which we will reuse). We will now be able to enjoy blackberries out of season and I may be able to talk Sean into giving some as gifts. Canning our own Jam also had minimal energy, packaging and pollution!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fun Fruity Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Rorie helped me mix up some chicken salad today. It was a great recipe for her to help with because she could add all the ingredients to the bowl and do the mixing. I thought she would be more willing to eat it after helping but she only had one bite and could not decide if she liked it or not. 112_0559

Basic Recipe:

Equal amounts: About 1/4-1/2 cup.

Raisins, Cooked shredded chicken, Diced apples, Diced celery, Walnuts, Grapes (I was out of grapes today so I skipped them)

1 small container plain whole milk yogurt

Curry (to taste)

Mix in a bowl and serve on lettuce, bread, crackers, tortillas or in a pita. Keeps for a few days.

I like this because I don’t like mayonnaise and it is a great way to use cooked chicken without having the day old poultry taste. Also you can vary the ingredients to what you have on hand. Orange Juice, Pineapple and/or mango’s (although not local) are also great additions.

Eating Local: Chicken, apples and yogurt were all local and bought at the food co op. The celery came in my CSA box (local). The walnuts and raisins were not local however I can purchase them local in the future.

Planting Carrots


Today we are starting our fall garden. Maybe a little behind schedule but we just started our summer garden a few weeks ago so better late than never (we were out of the country until the middle of July).

We used egg cartons to plant 36 carrot seeds. Hopefully a lot of them take. Our summer garden is having its ups and downs. We planted it at the end of July with maturing plants from the local nursery. We have had some trouble with aphids and spider mites on our112_0550 tomatoes but our latest pest is the biggest of all Leo! I found 4 green tomatoes that he pulled off today alone! ahhhh So if anyone has any ideas for easy organic toddler pest control let me know.

Currently we are container gardening (do to time constraints for our summer garden). However we plan on putting a raised bed in for our fall/winter garden.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Library Time

Today we took a trip the library to participate in Story Time and of course get more books. After a trip gone bad with two cranky kids to the bookstore a few months ago (think screaming child and baby eating books), I decided the library was the place for us. Where else can a kid go and pick out whatever they want to bring home with almost no limitations. Then if we bring home a few books that aren’t very good, its okay because we’re not stuck with them. I also like the lesson the kids are learning, that we can borrow books and we don’t have to buy everything and still get to enjoy it.

Don’t forget you can use the library websites just like ordering from a bookstore, except you have to go pick it up.

Now if only I had a bike seat for Leo we could ride there too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Free Toys!

This one is pretty basic, when something comes in a box, I give the box to the kids for a while to play with (until they destroy it or we need it for something else).  We also have turned empty containers and bottles into “toy food” for the kids kitchen (think ketchup, mustard, yogurt and raisin containers).  Egg cartons and strawberry containers can be turned leoinaboxinto lots of different kids crafts too. 

I like to do this because the kids get a new “toy” it is free and gives them a few minutes or hours of entertainment.  Then once it is destroyed or forgotten by them I use it for something else or recycle it. 


Monday, August 16, 2010

Dryer balls anyone????

These are my new favorite laundry thing. Ever since I started cloth diapering my daughter over 3 years ago I started using eco laundry detergent and rubber dryer balls. This was to help get the diapers clean and well rinsed so they wouldn’t stink. Well one thing I missed was fragrant smelling clothes. My clothes came out clean but with no scent.

SCENTED Wool Dryer Ball - Many available Scents to Choose

In comes wool dryer balls. These things are awesome, come in any scent you want, reusable and plastic free! Only drawback so far is you have to get your kids to stop playing with them and put them back in the dryer!

I ordered my Dryer Balls on Etsy of course, from Bare Bebe:

She got back to me quickly with a custom order and my Dryer Balls shipped out quickly. Oh and did I mention I love how they make my clothes smell!

I did not receive anything for writing this post, I just love my wool dryer balls and think more people should try them!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Carbon Footprint in the right direction…

I want to start this blog off by saying we are not a perfeDSC01980ctly sustainable family. We are just trying to get there one step at a time. I love reading about people who live off the grid, grow most of their own food and create very little waste. However at this point that is not us. We are a typical family who is trying to adjust and change our ways to be more self sufficient, healthy, reduce costs and our carbon footprint.

For the next few weeks I will attempt to blog daily about one thing we did that day that was sustainable!


We are finally composting!

or we will be tomorrow!  We bought a 50 gallon composting ball at Costco today.  My husband was going to make one but considering we still have a lot of other projects that need to be done around the house and garden, purchasing the composter seemed like a good idea.  The best thing about it is Rorie’s total curiosity about what you can compost. 

She wanted to put stuff in it tonight after they finished putting it together but I had already cleaned up the kitchen prior to buying it so I didn’t have anything to put in it.  So I told her she could help shuck the corn tomorrow and we would put green parts in the composter. 

She was so excited she ran to her dad and said “ tomorrow we are going to shuck the corn and put the green stuff in the composter, then we can feed it to our plants, we are making dirt” 

It is a great mini science lesson for Rorie and so great to see her running around the house begging to put things in the composter before bed! 

Update 2 days later: Rorie wants to look in the composter every few hours to see if it has made dirt/soil yet!  She has also started to request snacking items (like bananas) based on the amount of stuff the item will add to her compost bin! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cloth Diapers!

While most people are deciding between Pampers and Huggies, I was learning the pros & cons to pre-folds, fitted, pockets, All In Ones and All In Twos. In the end I tried them all! With my daughter pocket diapers (Fuzzi Bunz & Bum Genius) worked best for us, they are easy to put on, kept her feeling dry and had few leaks. Oh and they are so cute, lots of fun colors and prints!

On to baby number 2 and many of my diapers needed some repairs that I couldn’t make (I can’t sew) so I sold them on craigslist (its amazing how much someone will pay for a used diaper!). Then I started over with a new system (that wasn’t available when Rorie was in diapers). I found the GroBaby hybrid to be my favorite system (GroBaby changed its name recently to GroVia).

GroBaby/GroVia: 111_0348


Less Laundry!!!!!!!!!

Organic cotton soaker pads (next to baby's skin)

No Leaks!

Soft, water-proof breathable covers

Cute colors and prints

Environmentally friendly disposable inserts are also available!

I won some on Face Book and utilized sales to keep costs down!


My son takes them off if he’s not wearing shorts

Thanks to GroBaby/GroVia I have been able to continue to cloth diaper my son without the laundry making me insane!

I am writing this because I love GroBaby diapers, I have not received anything from the company for writing this post. I do hope, however that it makes other parents consider cloth diapers for their kids!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kids Eat Soup

Rorie enjoying her soup through a straw!

Trying to get my kids to eat healthy is a daily challenge. Today for lunch I made egg flower soup.

Basic Recipe: Heat: chicken stock (homemade or box), onions, frozen peas, carrots, grated ginger, salt, pepper. I used grated carrots to make them cook faster. Just before removing from heat add 1/4-1/2 cup of cold water mixed with cornstarch (I used flour today as I was out of corn starch). Remove from heat and add 2+ lightly beaten eggs while stirring. Add soy sauce, salt and pepper when serving. Other yummy additions, tomatoes, other veggies, tofu or cooked chicken.

Rorie who is 3 liked the soup! Leo who is 18 months wanted to be mister independent and would not let me feed him. So I remembered my friend Jian's trick and let the kids use a straw. Ever independent Leo wanted to hold the bowl as well so I put his in a cup with a straw. He loved it and drank it all!

Eating Local:
Chicken stock: I made the stock last week from a local Rocky Chicken ( bought at the Davis Food Co-op (
Carrots/Tomatoes (which I added that evening for my husband and my soup) were from my Farm Fresh to You CSA box.
Rock Island Eggs:

Monday, August 2, 2010

One Chicken=5 Meals

I am always looking for ways to stock the freezer with homemade ready to eat meals and the fridge with easy to fix dinners.  So I purchased a whole Rocky chicken at the Davis Food Co-op and had them cut it up for me.

1: Chicken Tacos: I put the breast and thigh meat in the slow cooker for 4 hours with onions, a teeny bit of jalapeƱo (from our garden), Chile powder and paprika.  At dinner time I shredded the meat and added it to tortillas, cheese, fresh tomatoes, avocado, etc.

2: Chicken Enchiladas: I mixed the chicken, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of salsa, Chile powder and paprika.  Then in a 8 x 8 glass dish lined with foil I layered tortillas, chicken mixture, cheese (repeat layer ending with cheese on top).  I froze this and removed it from the pan the next day wrapped in foil and I will defrost it for a quick meal and bake at 350 for 45-60 min. 

3: Burrito: I had a little enchilada mixture left over so I made a burrito from the same ingredients and froze it (my husband ate it a few days later and said it was really good). 

4: On the same day I made the tacos I took the legs and wings, seasoned them and put them in the fridge for an easy BBQ the next day. 

5: Chicken Stock: I used the back bone of the chicken in a small pot, added onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt/pepper and enough water to cover ingredients.   This simmered while the tacos were cooking and I used the stock a few days later to make egg flower soup.  (in the future, I will wait for the cooked chicken bones/skin to add more flavor to the stock).