My Eco-Journal Year, As Promised (July '18-'19)

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

My Eco friendly journey hasn't been smooth sailing and it's still FAR from perfect. I've tried some things that have gone great and have been super successful, that I am forever proud of; I've tried other things that have failed miserably; and still others that I’m working at, slowly but surely. I committed in my Living Green: Baby Steps article to sharing the complete journal with my readers so here it is, in all of its imperfect glory.

Something to note: While this journal does document my eco-conscious, zero-waste journey, it also houses some insights into my homeschooling decision and, as always, the real life difficulties of coordinating beliefs and practices in one busy household. Keeping true to my stance on #honestparenting and #keepingitreal, this journal is true and sincere in the ups and downs of our path that has only just begun.

I hope you enjoy.

Transcribed writing from notebook to here:

July 8 2018

I am in desperate need of a routine. I need to make better time for things that matter to me so I can balance them appropriately and feel better about the way I spend my day. I want to work on making out home more eco-conscious and minimal. It will be a long, slow process but I've already got the ball rolling and I'm very happy about that.

July 9 2018

I AM going to start making much greener choices for me and my family. I also want to live more minimally. As a family of five, I think this is going to prove to be a little tricky and slow going but I feel determined and I think Shawn is on the same page (at least when it comes to living greener).

I am also going to write about his experience/transition/journey and maybe use it for a blog. I haven't fully decided yet. It depends on how the writing reads once I get a bit of them done.

I am hoping that these choices, along with some other subtle, day-to-day changes, will allow me and my family to live more fully and slowly. I could get philosophical about it and maybe I will another time, but not now.

July 10 2018

Most of the “first steps” or “easy ways” for families to live greener that I've found online cite ideas that we are already practicing like: no water bottles, recycle, compost, grow a garden, no plastic bags, etc. I need to take it a step further now to make it feel like progress. I'm going to make a list of ideas that might help:

1. Reduce, 2. Reuse, 3. Recycle - in that order!

  • Reusable straws (glass, metal, acrylic)

  • Bulk buying in BYO containers

  • Buy locally

  • Reusable wipes and diapers

  • Make our own granola bars and other items that come in wasteful packaging

  • Learn how to garden properly and efficiently

  • Beeswax wraps

  • Eco friendly dish cloths

  • Shampoo bars

July 11 2018

Today, as I was tidying and cleaning the main floor, I noticed - purposefully, as I want our green choices to be conscious and meaningful - how many of our everyday purchases come in wasteful packaging. I am going to have to brainstorm how to remedy that problem.

July 12 2018

After a conversation with a colleague, Shawn seems to be questioning whether or not we should home-school our kids. We have been toying with the option for quite a while now. He (his colleague) cited lack of socialization but refused to discuss it further which is providing me with an abundance of pressure and self doubt - because I don't have enough of those things as it is.

July 23 2018

Life gets so stupidly busy sometimes, unnecessarily so. It’s hard to focus on what truly matters.

July 27 2018

I've done a lot of cleaning around the house lately, trying to get rid of things we don't need anymore. There's still a lot to do but I feel accomplished with what I've gotten done so far. Small steps toward a more minimalist lifestyle.

Despite that, we have been having some difficulties in the household. I don't know if it is the stress of having a new (third) baby in the house but it seems like everyone is showing their roughest side lately. Very hard to keep on track with our goals.

Beginning of August:

It's been crazy busy with life and Shawn's vacation. We are all in need of some R&R but it seems a while before this busy-ness ends. I'll enjoy though! But i'm getting quite tired…

August 13 2018

So, we tried some plant based eco-straws and their great for the environment because they break down quickly BUT they're not great for some drinks because… they break down TOO quickly. We now need to decide between glass and metal straws. I have also decided to buy beeswax wrap and a mold to make old tiny crayons into new ones.

Aug 14 2018

After talking to Shawn about it, it doesn't make sense for us to get the beeswax wrap just yet because we have Costco quantities of plastic wrap that we barely ever use. What to do about that? I really don't know. What I do know is that we are going to order the metal straws. I am proud that we don't use plastic water bottles and haven't for AGES! I bought some shampoo bars from LUSH, an eco-friendly, locally sourced store, that we will start using once our other shampoo runs out. I still haven't found a convenient place to buy bulk and put food in reusable glass jars but we haven't been putting our produce into the plastic bags provided, choosing to leave them loose instead. We have also been using our tote on a regular bases so no need for grocery bags either!

I am trying to clear out the house to make it more minimal and clean and purposeful but people keep bringing more and more stuff over! They have good intentions, and I’m grateful for their love, but the stuff is totally necessary and it's frustrating me/my goals.

I need to find more ways to make green choices… I might get a book or two from the library to help me out.

Thoughts while cleaning:


yes, I know you say it’s a great deal but a good deal is only good if you actually need it. Otherwise it's just another unnecessary expenditure.”


Started typing, not writing:

Which I guess is a more eco-friendly way to document this journey so…

Aug 20 2018

So, I have been having a hard time writing in my notebook. I LOVE to write. Like, physically, hand write my notes and ideas and such while I journal and create with words but, when I find time, I haven't been able to go get the book and pen, set myself up in a space to write, and actually go about writing in the time that I've found to do so. Therefore, I am trying out this writing/typing on my phone thing instead. A friend of mine, who is a writer and has written several books in a series, does this seemingly successfully. So why not give it a try?

I have been trying to be as eco-conscious as possible lately. I am learning and trying a number of eco-friendly strategies for our family in an attempt at making baby steps toward a greener life. I want to document this journey and all that it entails for me. Unfortunately, this has to include my struggles with family life as that plays a very important role in the success and failure of these strategies.

My ego was hurt today when Shawn razzed me about throwing paper in the garbage and not in the recycling. I was, and have been having a difficult time lately. Emotionally, physically, mentally. Parenting three is taking its toll at the moment. There are a number of other circumstances going on right now that are exacerbating the situation too. So, while I was running around with two crying babies, trying to pick up stuff from the floor before someone (likely me) slips and breaks their neck, I didn't think about where I was putting said items; I just tossed them. THEN he has the nerve to say I should give HIM a break after I said - I don't even know what - because I was having a worn out, likely nasty moment (of many) … this is just another aspect of the struggles of going green with a family, I suppose.

Aug 22 2018

I have to say, I have been down in the dumps more than contented lately. And definitely rarely genuinely happy. I don't know what that means and I'd like to chat/vent/etc to someone about it but Shawn has been moody lately too and just isn't really all that receptive to me and my worries, it seems. Then there are my friends who are wonderful and would be there for me, no problem, but… they are going through stuff of their own. Worse stuff. Making my petty melancholy seem unjustified and foolhardy. Sometimes I just don't know what do some days.

I've been chatting with M about spending some time away from the kids and Shawn. She was super understanding and empathetic: “Yeah being away from the kids for a bit would be sure to help with that [feeling frazzled]. U can breathe, get out of survival mode for a bit and regain ur thoughts Haha.” I love my friends.

Aug 23 2018

My ambition to do things (clean, spend time with the kids, research eco-friendly things and implement them, sort and minimize, follow my own passions…) is very high today but it seems as though my daily/moment-to-moment happenings are so continuously frazzling that I never seem to get done what I wish I could. I know, I have been told, “this phase will pass” - and all too soon - but it doesn't make it any less difficult.

I bumped into J from the library at the market today and got her contact number. I'm hoping she can help me with making some eco-friendly choices and with just having an extra, local, mom friend around to call on. Her son is Gord’s age, a bit older (4 months, maybe), and she seems very nice and willing to communicate with other mommas readily. I hope this mom-ship works out lol.

Thoughts on reusable bags: I looked into a variety of options and read many many reviews. The conclusion I've come to in that I'm better off using the reusable containers that I already have rather than buying these reusable snack bags. Some are plastic, some aren't leak proof, some are easily broken, etc etc. My containers are predominantly glass with durable hard plastic tops. They come is various sizes and are likely reusable for longer than these supposedly Eco friendly bags.

I used plastic wrap today for my delicious, leftover, fresh-picked, Ontario corn… I felt awful using it and wished wholeheartedly that I had some beeswax wrap instead. Shawn says we have too much plastic wrap (Costco quantity) still to 'justify’ buying the beeswax wraps… I don't know. I kinda feel like I'd rather give it away to someone who doesn't care than use it myself.

I have my metal straws in my “cart” on Amazon, along with some bamboo toothbrushes. I think I'm going to order them tomorrow. Gonna look at a hardware store for the wood fiber cloths for the dishes. I wish there was a store nearby focused on providing fair priced eco-friendly, locally sourced products… sometimes I think I should be the one to create that store… Humm…

Aug 25 2018

So, here I am trying, desperately, to rid my house and myself of excess in an attempt to lead a cleaner, more relaxed lifestyle. I'm not awesome at it but.. baby steps. I'm getting better. Way better, actually. I have managed to do the whole: touch something and if it doesn't bring you purpose or joy then it goes thing pretty effectively. Then in comes stuff. People seem to love bringing our family STUFF! They mean well but I really don't want anything else brought into the house. Another way I've been practicing minimalism is to really, truly consider any items I bring into the house. I think, and think hard, before purchasing “stuff.” It's hard to clear out and go green under some of these circumstances.

Aug 26 2018

I have still yet to order my metal straws. I'm worried that Amazon will over package them… I guess the only way to know is to try. I'm ordering other, green living and baby, things too though so it should all just go in the same - compostable/reusable - box… although… how the box was made and with what material… Ugh! Moral Dilemma!

I have to take baby steps. The straws are one of those baby steps. I've used too many straws in the last week. I know this because each and every time I use a plastic straw I think about the waste and it pains me to know that I am contributing to it needlessly. That's it, I'm ordering the straws.

I'm finding it hard to balance my family and husband’s needs/wants with my desire to be eco-conscious. They agree with me but I think cutting down on waste is much like beating an addiction. You become so used to a certain way of living that giving up on trivial conveniences seems difficult. I wholeheartedly believe that once we get into a better habit of being eco-friendly, we will see those things more as INconveniences. I hope these baby steps will take me where I want to go.. and I hope I can set an example for my family and friends… I'm trying really hard. I have so many goals and responsibilities that I'm feeling pretty strung out. Let's hope I can gather myself with the coming fall. Set a routine. Stick to my plans and achieve my goals.

Crossing fingers.

Aug 27 2018

I am cleaning up the kitchen while putting away groceries and thinking about the different ways we can conserve better and changing the garbage triggered a memory. A friend told me that she doesn't mind getting the plastic bags at the supermarket because she uses them for her kitchen catcher bags. I was just tieing mine thinking that it's pretty much the same thing… I spent money on a box full of plastic bags for my garbage. I then put my little plastic bags into a bigger plastic bag to be taken to the dump. Lots of unnecessary waste. Our upstairs and living room garbages (mostly diapers) don't have bags in them… so why do we need one in the kitchen?

Simple answer: we don't.

This is the last I am buying kitchen catchers. We compost and recycle. Most of our waste is diapers ATM and the other is dry garbage that we are trying to minimize. There is no need for us to use kitchen catchers anymore. We will just clean the bin regularly like the others.

It's decided.

Aug 28 2018

Went to the bank today and they had water bottles and snacks for customers. I didn’t take any, even though I was thirsty, because I should have brought my reusable water bottle. The waste from the little chocolate bar snacks combined with my efforts to eat better were avoided too.

Our wipes are dwindling dangerously low and I still haven't set up our reusable wipe system so I really need to get on that. I also need to look into disposable diapers again too. I'm hoping that this batch or the next will be our last ones.

Still waiting on our Amazon order for the straws and such. I'm wondering how much packaging they are going to use and I plan to write them with a concern if it's too much. I'd like to find places where packaging is only done if and when absolutely necessary. I've also been thinking of buying bulk items in my counter containers from the bulk Barn instead of getting them from the grocery store in packages. I keep having to remind myself… baby steps, baby steps.

I also mean to research more places to buy local, eco-friendly things. I dream of opening my own store actually. But it's still just a dream. No concrete research done or plans made so it hasn't made it to goal status yet. Who knows. Sometimes I'm overly ambitious. But sometimes that's what it takes to do something worthwhile.

Aug 30 2018

We went to the market today and I got to meet with a few local artisans who sell handmade products and most of their ingredients are locally sourced which is nice. I didn't love their outlook on what they were doing though or at least they sort of rubbed me the wrong way when it comes to fulfilling my personal eco-objectives. Still, it put some things into perspective. One lady made her own soap, shampoo bars, and bath bombs while importing fancy sea sponges for scrubbies. It was neat and she was very local butcher products smelled fake and plastic-y. As though the scents she used weren't from their authentic source or like she added something that didn't hide but rather masked the original scent of whatever it was supposed to smell like. It turned me off, unfortunately. Her prices were better than LUSH though and, according to her, yielded the same results so… I dunno. I have yet to find a place that sells household products, not just skin, bath, and body care, that are locally sourced and eco-friendly. I need to look into the one place someone from the parent life network group on FB suggested. It's in TO but apparently they deliver and you can order online. Perhaps I'll look into that tonight since I put myself to bed early.

Addie's party is another thing that is kind of stressing me out. I want to do it outside of the home and she would like to do it at playfit. It'll be $215 for 8 kids; awesome, no issue - I don't have to entertain them or clean up after them or anything. The problem lies in the “stuff.” Not the gifts and such because I have no control over that other than requesting none or experiences over items. In the end it's up to our friends and family to gift what they'd like, if they'd like. The “stuff” I'm referring to is things like: decorations, goodie bags, plates/utensils/etc… it is VERY wasteful. I'm trying to brainstorm a way around it while still fulfilling Addie's request to have a Shimmer and Shine themed party. Oh, and another potential obstacle is that playfit provides plates and such (not decorations or cake) and doesn't give a discount if you bring your own. So even if I wanted to choose a more eco-friendly option (biodegradable, washable, etc) I would still have to pay as though I was using theirs.

We are not going to use rubber balloons because they're awful for the environment and Addie hates them anyway after too many of them popped on her poor bare body at a birthday a few years back. However, one way to theme the party would be to use the Shimmer and Shine foil balloons. I don't know their impact on the environment but I can't imagine it's great… I already have brightly coloured table cloths I've been re-using for over a year that will be suitable. Perhaps I can make my own decorations with what I have around the house? Construction paper/card stock genie bottles? Create or draw the characters on paper we already have? Is that lame? I could do a photo op section and make life sized characters!? That'd be cool, right? But will I have the time?? I have a month… perhaps.

*** foil balloons are HORRIBLE! Will not use.

My straw and toothbrush order still hasn't arrived and I thought it would have by now.. Amazon is usually faster than this, but who knows, I haven't really been home all week either so it doesn't really make a difference. I've been continuing to use my paper straws so that's good, I suppose. Shawn forgets often because he doesn't like them very much but hopefully he will like the metal ones better.

Add: just for the record, I ask myself if I'm crazy for trying to do this so many times a day. I really believe in it though. I mean, nature is so important and every little bit counts. Would it be nice for the big corporations to get their heads out of their rear-ends to make some BIG changes in the way we treat our earth? Yes, of course. But most of them aren't going to. Plain and simple. So I want and need to do my part. Is it hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? I sure as hell hope so. I don't know if we are too late or moving too slow in the recuperation of this earth but I'm not going to be a bystander in its battle for survival. In the battle for the survival of humans! Nevermind… I mean, I believe the earth will survive and likely flourish(!) With the destruction of humans but I, being a human, would prefer not to perish - thank you very much - even at the hands of our own species - ourselves… such a sad notion. Anyway, even in re-reading this process/rant/whatever I am questioning myself and my sanity. It just seems so big! So … impossible. But I have to remember that every bit counts. And I feel good for doing it. I have this little pest in my ear that says, “it's a ploy!” Or something along those lines. Some powerful person thinks it's in their best interest for people to get into the eco-friendly community and they're making propaganda to support this agenda… well, if so, they're very smart and have been working at it for a long time. I would just hate to be on the other side if/ when that crazy conspiracy theory is debunked.

Sept 4 2018

My order came pretty much later that day (above) and I was… happy. Glad we have our straws and they were packaged fine. The shipping box was typical Amazon so larger than it needed to be. I had asked for all to be shipped together for the purpose of saving packaging (I've pretty much always done that, so nothing new) but it was still far too big for the tiny items I ordered. The bamboo toothbrush packaging was disappointing for something meant to save the environment. 4 toothbrushes in their own individual boxes within another box. Granted, it's recyclable but it was still unnecessary and I'm not sure if the boxes were made of new or recycled materials.. also, I knew when I purchased but was reminded that, the bristles on the toothbrushes are nylon; yet another plastic. Mom says there's a place nearby that sells bamboo toothbrushes with alternative bristles but she couldn't remember where. I've looked, myself, so I'm skeptical, but who knows. She meets many people through her work so you never know.

Additionally, our disposable wipes are at a critically low level. This means that we will be starting to use our reusable cotton cloths instead soon. I'm a bit nervous, but also excited about that.

Just to continue this crazy eco-friendly adventure, I took the leap and spent $200 on cloth diapers today. I wound up choosing gently used diapers to save on cost and I chose the “lil’ helper” brand because it's a Canadian product. It is what's known as an "all in two" or ai2 system where you just lay inserts in the cover and the covers can be reused. I bought 20 of them for $10 a piece and the seller, a nice lady from Midland, Ontario (my hometown, more or less). The lady was very nice and covered shipping costs and also threw in some pre-folds and covers and a dirty diaper bag for free.

Sept 11 2018

Still haven't started the reusable diapers and wipes but it will happen by the end of the week, if not by choice than by necessity. Shawn is complaining about it already, “life will be even more inconvenient.” *motherly eye roll*

Some Thoughts:

  • How to do Addie's birthday party as green as possible (foil balloons are horrible apparently; they never decompose)

  • Compostable paper plates and napkins

  • Finger foods, no need for utensils? (Although we have leftover plastic utensils from previous parties…)

  • Use the paper we have to make decorations

  • Reuse tablecloths and such from previous birthdays

  • Punch jug and compostable cups OR just use the cups and glasses we already have and do the dishes?

  • DIY everything from stuff we already have and reused items (thrift stores)

  • Switching to bulk refillable jars for as many products as possible

  • Paperless kitchen?

  • ‘Make our own’ as much as possible: jarring/canning, granola bars, rice pudding/desserts, etcetera

Sept 13 2018

Today was the day! Joni officially ran out of disposable diapers so I started cloth diapering both of the babies! I kind of regret waiting to do it till one of them ran out because now I have no back ups in case of emergency… Luckily the lady threw in those pre-folds and covers as a just in case! So far, I really like these diapers. They hold the pee pretty well, it seems and the babies don't seem to mind the change. They fit both of them which is pretty awesome. Of course, Joni waited until I put her in one of the diapers with a white insert to have a nice dark purple blueberry poo… meh, gives them character.

I haven't switched the wipes yet even though I had meant to do the switch simultaneously. The reason for that is because I haven't had the time to really prep them (or cloth diapers… but that was a need thing) or the space where they will be stored. I still haven’t quite figured out how I'm going to do them but I've done loads of research. I'm leaning strongly toward keeping them dry and wetting them when needed. Prevents against mustiness and mildew. How I’m going to wet them is the things that's up in the air. Will I keep a spray bottle next to them with water? A water/soap/oil solution? Or just wet them at the sink whenever I know I need them? Hoping to figure that out by the end of this weekend.

I have had a lot on my plate lately and getting all of this sorting and prepping done is proving difficult. I have typical mom stuff like sorting through endless amounts of clothes for my three ever-growing children during the changing season, but I also have the additional challenge of being a new homeschooling momma!

Homeschooling (and not) is an additional, fun topic of discussion for parents in our community. I have gotten mixed responses from people who discover my choice of education but I have enough support to emotionally sustain me and my decision. I am very proud of my ability to stand by my morals, values, and capabilities despite naysayers attempts to deter my journey. It's actually very similar to the decision to go green. No one thinks it’s wrong, per se, but because it's challenging, people lean away from making that life changing choice.

Just as deciding what products and lifestyle changes work best for my family of five to go green, choosing and implementing the right type of curriculum for my baby (and eventually babIES) is difficult and requires a lot of research and hard work. I’m up to the challenge, though, and look forward to what the future has to hold!

Sept 15 2018

One thing I've noticed since designing, implementing, and assessing Addie's curriculum is that I'm more present and in tune with my own responses to her expressions and interactions with the world in an attempt to make her education as full and well rounded as possible. This week, having lessons on emotions has allowed me to understand how she interacts with her own emotions and the complex world around her. It's enlightening and encouraging. I have been allowing for both natural discovery and book work throughout my lesson planning and so far it seems to be going great! I've set up an abundance of resources for her learning and, as always, encourage her to ask questions and look up / research whatever we may not know about or whatever we want to learn more about.

I've decided to stick with the KISS rule for wipes, as with everything else I can. I'm keeping them dry and using tap water or water from our ever present water bottles to dampen them with each use.

We went out for the first time using cloth diapers and it was reasonably successful. We need to invest in a portable wet bag for soiled diapers and we need to get on a better change schedule so they don't wet through the shell but otherwise I'm happy with the progress of this experiential learning curve. Speaking of learning curve, I had been using both inserts for their diapers every time but now I am using only one for each of them while they're awake and two for bedtime. Changing them more often is necessary and better for their well being and makes multiple uses of the shell possible which should equal less need for laundry loads. If I can go every other evening of diaper laundry, I'll be happy. I also want them to have more free bum time if we can swing it which should help with that goal.

I sat down with Shawn and explained/taught everything I know about our cloth diapers and made sure he understood how to use them and what needs to be done to care for them (like how sun drying them also bleaches and sanitizes them naturally). I also made sure he knew that I was still figuring things out, myself, and that he may need to do some research of his own to make sure he understands it fully. In fact, I encourage it!

Our main source of waste now is product packaging, I think. I hope to cut down on that by buying bulk items in reusable jars (already started with my corn meal! Thank you BULK BARN!), Make my own granola bars, buy larger portions of things like yogurt/canned fruit/etc and separate them into portions using our reusable containers. I want to start making some things at home too like: rice pudding, and even (in the future) maybe doing some of my own jarring of my own produce from my garden! Wouldn't that be grand!

Sept 16 2018

I forgot to mention earlier that we had switched to an eco, scent free detergent for our laundry and while I trust that it's doing a good job at cleaning the clothes (they come out *looking* aok), I'm finding they don't smell like clean laundry. They don't smell dirty, per se, but they're not fresh smelling either. I'm looking up eco-friendly ways to help with that. - essential oils

Sept 17 2018

Addie party + eco-friendly

Sept 18 2018

Forgot to use peppers from garden - habit. Checked after and they weren't really ready anyway. Gotta remember to harvest/bring in squash!

Sept 20 2018

From friend J about leaky diapers - “You could try stripping the inserts (check out fluff love university for guides on how) - that might help absorbency. You might have to either pick up some hemp or bamboo soakers or layer a few more inserts in and see if that does it. I still use disposables with mine at night because I didn't want to risk waking up wet since he sleeps on me more often than not”

“Hmm if that's the case then stripping might help, or it could be a fit issue. If their onesie sits along the diaper edge then it will wick moisture out. We get that dampness sometimes too.”

“Could try putting one of your pre-folds folded in thirds in a cover for night time too.”

Sept 26 2018

There's a sense of pride one feels as they see their child recognize a pepper that's ripe, pick it, and then proceed to eat it like an apple.

Sept 29 2018

New diapers + inserts to wash + pre-folds (learn to fold them properly)

Essential oils

Addie party - crafts, reused deco, fabric...

Oct 9 2018

Still using the metal straws whenever we can. With the cooler weather we have been having hot drinks which don't use straws but they create their own waste, albeit recyclable, that we could prevent by using our mugs. We used to be really good at that and need to get back into it again.

We got new cloth diapers for Jo and they seem to work a lot better. We need a better diaper washing schedule.. we need a better laundry doing schedule. I mean, we do laundry every weekend but I never seem to get to folding them and putting them away. Same goes for the cloth diapers. They either aren't getting washed as often as I'd like or they're not being stored as conveniently as I'd like. We have been using disposables for nighttime to prevent having to change the bedding every morning but I haven't tried Jo in the new diapers overnight so I need to do that as soon as I pull my laundry socks up and get things organized.

Addie's party was a success and we had minimal waste that wasn't recyclable or compostable.

The girls are still enjoying vegetables from our garden; namely, peppers. They pick them off the stock and munch on them like apples. It makes me feel very proud and motivated to do it again, and better, for next year!

I'm going to buy my nuts, seeds, and spices in bulk and use reusable jars. I'm excited to have everything neat and tidy too! These jars look fabulous in the cupboard. Much better than crinkled bags and such.

October 23 2018

I went to a bulk, eco-friendly soap and such store with Matthew and Olivia and they had a number of cool products there. I wound up spending 35$. I got 3 dryer balls, lavender essential oil, bathroom cleaner, and room spray (peppermint, rosemary, and tea tree oils in it) that I thought might get rid of spiders and bugs (?), I dunno, it was free with a purchase of $25+ so worth a try. I like the smell anyway. I haven't tried the dryer balls yet and I don't know if I should just wait till I'm done with the sheets we have or give those away if we know the balls work or what. The lavender oil was inexpensive and I don't know if it is “pure” or whatever grade and such but it smells nice. I need to research more into quality or oils and their production footprint and such too.

I'm still trying to purge and organize but I'm finding progress slow and disheartening. Also, Shawn has a heap of things/collections that don't really help with our clutter problem. And also, I'm having a hard time sorting things with 4 littles (my 3 +1 sweetheart) running around me at all times… they drove me crazy today. I feel like I need a time out, now more than ever. I managed to keep the place relatively tidy and do the dishes and clean the powder room today. Even that was tricky.

I need to come up with a better at home routine now that the cooler weather is approaching. Something to keep them busy, productive, and engaged. I'm going to have to be more active in my daily planning than I have been lately. Come up with new and fun activities. Organize outings and DO stuff. But I also need to make sure I am caring for me because in the past I have left my own eating and downtime on the back burner and it has done me no good.

Slowly but surely working on it… a bit overwhelmed but trudging through.

Dec 14 2018

I got rid of a bunch of Joni clothes the other day but I still feel like I could get rid of more. I switched up the rooms nicely too. Gordon has his own room with the crib and everything (except decorations) set up. I'm hoping to finish his room by his first birthday. It's getting there though. Gotta sort through his clothes more carefully too cause he definitely doesn't need so many. The girls room looks more open without the crib in there too. It's nice and a good place for them to play in the morning when I don't wanna get up lol except they always need to pee and, because of Joni's age, they have the gate at the door so I need to get up anyway to let them out to pee… but it's a step in the right direction.

I've pretty much stopped cloth diapering… it wasn't on purpose… I just got super discouraged by some negative comments. Then, when I tried to reinstate them, I noticed that the kids got a small rash. So I need to strip them and make them new and fresh before I try again. I may have already ruined a few of them by letting them sit for too long but I was really down in the dumps for a while there and felt overwhelmed and could barely tread water. I'm on top of it now though and, with the help and support of Shawn, I believe I can get us to a more purposeful style living with less stressors and more mindfulness.

Our plan for Christmas to be less. Less hasn't quite been fulfilled but it's not out of hand either. We can do better, and will, in the future. I've been researching gifts for people who are minimalists and waste free and I might start asking for stuff like that in the future when people ask what I want. All I said this year was pajamas and some time to myself.. that's fair, I think lol

April 10 2019

“Remember to apply the 5 Rs in this order: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.”

August 1st 2019

Talk about leaps and jumps from one date to another lately! I need to keep better track of this journey. Life has settled down a lot more since having our third child and I have taken back some control over how we manage our household. Whereas before it was largely convenience-centred, trying to navigate the ins and outs of life with three littles; now we are focused on our family’s physical and mental health and wellness with regard to our environmental impact.

Aug 2 2019

Gonna start curriculum for the middle littles this year. C and Jo will be learning their colours and shapes perfectly and begin learning numbers and letters, among other things! They’ll have a great little mini-teacher helping too! A loves to learn and to teach (or boss… but #same). She is excited to get her hand on the new lessons I am planning for them all! Gord will be learning and having fun with the others but obviously won't have any true structure in his organic, baby-led learning.

Aug 4 2019

Sometimes the best of intentions are thwarted by people who just aren't quite on board yet… I tried to go plastic free from a fruit vendor in the Niagara region and he said he preferred that I take the bag so that he could keep the (recyclable/compostable) cardboard dohicky instead… not only did he prevent me from being more environmentally friendly but he also made my fruit less accessible so I wound up eating less of it than I would have if it wasn't at the bottom of a plastic bag.

A few updates/notes:

  • We have foregone the cloth diaper route but have successfully continued with cloth wipes

  • We have many glass containers that we use regularly for bulk items so as to reduce packaging waste

  • We rarely, if ever, use plastic bags for packing lunches and snacks - glass containers all the way

  • Metal or paper straws whenever possible

  • Reusable hot/cold cups for drinks while out… gotta do more often

  • Mending clothing, when possible; repurposing when unsalvageable; tossing only when absolutely necessary - Buying used/trading/hand-me-downs whenever possible

  • Whittling down clothes to mainly essential items, saying no to new or excess, organizing better so that things get used instead of shoved to the back of a drawer and forgotten

  • Eating in more often...not often enough

  • Decided to have NO MICROWAVE in the kitchen after our renovation this fall (will keep in basement “just in case”)

  • Shawn has finally come to the conclusion that we should do away with paper towelling (buying no more) and will use cloth napkins from now on - still gotta buy/make them as this was a new revelation

  • Hoping to purchase some lightweight white plates and multi-packs of mason jars to use at parties we host instead of paper plates and throw away cups (even though we have been using the eco/compostable plates and cups for a long while now)

  • Eldest daughter is asking more and more questions about the environment, our general health (what makes us healthy), and actively working toward no litter/keeping things tidy/and an understanding that more isn't always better (still working on that last bit but she is only four after all)

  • Garden is growing nicely. We have: cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, beets, peas, and peppers. Flowers and fairy gardens are beautiful, as always. Need to mulch and re-soil/fertilize next year.

  • Points for next time around: plant beets farther apart, less peas - better arrangement (teepee worked great!), try beans again - get good ones, plant MORE! (I want the side of the house to be all garden! My {not-so} secret garden!)

  • Hygiene: Shampoo pars, looking for a soap we like with little to no packaging and natural ingredients, looking into eco-friendly dental floss and toothbrush/paste, diva cup in the mail, paper Q-tips in the mail, Looking into natural - refillable - deodorant options as well

That's all I can think of at the moment… Always room for improvement, suggestions welcome!

If you have any questions or insights, please connect with me through the comments below or, if you'd prefer, you can email me directly from my Connect page.

Also, I encourage you to connect with me on social media where you will find all things parenting, eco-friendly, minimal, and complete parenting silliness.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please share with your friends!

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