Nilla that is Neverending: Day 12

Today I worked on creating a simple “canning” item for the pantry.  I found some organic whole vanilla beans at the Piggly Wiggly.  (oink)

Located organic vodka on the shelves of a specialty store.

Used cleaned bottles from my Ginger Ale my children once consumed in under an hour.

Purchased these reusable bottle wine stoppers.

And did this easy peasy recipe for Vanilla Extract:

  • Vanilla Bean in bottle
  • Add Vodka
  • Plug with wine stopper.
  • Let sit for at least 8 weeks, but 6-12 months is ideal.
  • Use vanilla extract. (Yum.)
  • When bottle is empty, add more Vodka or rum.

Pina Colada Feet–Day 10

Even though I recently started down the path of zero waste, I still have had tons of product to use that are in environmentally unfriendly packaging and figure I might as well use them to the very end.

Today however I was at a crossroads with my poor feet.  A few weeks ago I cancelled all future pedicures due to the chemicals and packaging, and with the harsh cold winters here my toenails and feet were looking every bit of rough (read: quite gross).

I spent a while buffing the white out of my nails which was caused by keeping nail polish on there at all times.  Most of it came out.  I also buffed at the dead skin on the bottom of my feet.  So gross.

A bit later I did some research on how to get my feet in better shape and what I might have in the kitchen that would provide some natural remedies.  I ended up with a large pot of hot water with 1 c. of honey added, and 1 c. of milk added.  I soaked for a while, then used a pumice stone to soften and buff the skin.  It didn’t get all of it, but it did get most of it and I think if I give it consistent TLC and don’t go barefoot as often, my feet will be back in prime condition in no time.

I finished off putting Coconut Oil on followed by soft socks.  Thus the Pina Colada feet with milk, honey, and coconut.

My first real homemade beauty remedy.  Not so bad.

I have historically used some harsh chemicals that they don’t even really sell in stores as it’s beauty supply store grade.

So I am kind of proud of myself for navigating this first road with a beauty and health need.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if I end up with even better skin after changing these habits?  So much money, time, and energy may be saved.

It certainly smells better than my former chemical laden alternative solution.

Saying goodbye to Autoship: Day 8


Oh my goodness. How do we even start on this?   Truthfully, it’s kind of amazing to have the very specific things that my kids will eat that is healthy brought right to my door.

It’s a luxury, I know.

Is there anything anymore representative of American consumerism than Amazon one-click shipping?  I am a prolific Amazon Prime member, because we live in the middle of nowhere with harsh winters.  Do you notice the justifications just oozing right out of my mouth?

My beasties to overcome are:  Amazon (obviously), Vitacost, Thrive Market, and Daily Harvest Smoothies.  I love you Chocolate Blueberry: I really do.

So today I began the process of unclicking my autoships.  The waste is abundant–packaging, shipping boxes, plastics, and if I am honest with myself my kids eat an abundance of “healthy” junk food in the name of convenience.

Then there is the cost.  Gulp.  I may or may not be known to adjust my budget categories each month to take from somewhere else because of these autoshipped foods.

So today it was goodbye to most of these things.  I say most because some I need to work on substitutes for in the meantime.  Hopefully by next month, they will all be gone.

My family adores those boxes showing up on our porch.  It’s like a junk food manna that comes from UPS.  This is going to be a big adjustment as the pantry becomes more…real.

We can hang though because we have a vision for something better.  That vision makes these changes not only possible, but necessary.

A little bit of ebay shopping: Day 6

Today I spent some time shopping on Ebay for some lightly used items to help me along in my zero waste endeavors.  Here’s what I found:

  • A lot of super cute handmade produce bags.  Told ya’ that magazine money would come in handy.  🙂
  • A lot of colorful vintage hankies to replace tissues.  I have seen them displayed in glass jars on some zero waste websites and that seems like a great way to get in the hankie habit.
  • A gently used copy of the Prepper’s Canning Guide by Daisy Luther.   Yep, I’m a prepper.  She’s a prepper.  Wouldn’t you like to be a prepper too?  (I know. I’m a nerd.)
  • A ridic number number of used books by Rosemary Gladstar.  If I am going to end up making my own products as I go along, I need some of these.  She is a world renowned herbal expert and has numerous books on creating your own health and beauty products for your family out of herbs.

So far so good on finding things gently used.  Gently used gives new life and purpose to something someone is done consuming.  As an former Amazon one click addict, it is going to take a bit of getting used to in order to take that time and track down exactly what I need.  Especially since I live so far away from suburbia (a good hour and half), but most of these changes are more about mind set than work, so I just have to get used to asking Do I really need this?  And if the answer is Yes, then see if I can find it where it’s already been purchased by someone else.


And you too magazines! Day 5

My next step was to go for the next stack in my mail which was magazines.  I NEVER ever ever read magazines; not even the ones I like because I never have the time.  Not only that, but I don’t even have a coffee table to display them on.   While I remember my grandmother had a magazine rack neatly next to the toilet, as an adult I find that rather gross.  Do I really want to be looking at the magazine that people where holding when they….. ? No, I really don’t.

Somehow getting rid of magazines though is a little bit more emotional than catalogs though.  Catalogs are just obviously a market beast trying to lure you in to buy their products, but magazines are sneakier and they feel like a tiny little slash to your identity.  For me it’s Southern Living, Cooking Light, and several christian magazines.  Am I southernly?  Absolutely!  Do I want to try new recipes?  Sure!  Am I a christian woman?  Yes!  But I don’t need these magazines cluttering up my life to remind me once a month, that I am a southern christian woman who likes to cook.  When I want to find a new recipe that will yet again use butter, pork, or buttermilk in whole new and exciting ways, I will be back on pinterest like every other southern, christian woman who wants to cook, but often orders pizza because she spent too much time on pinterest.

So I opened up my magazines to find the teeny tiny little customer service phone number to cancel the subscriptions that I had paid for and guess what??  I am getting a refund!  One of which is going to be a whooping $0.67.  Since postage is going up this month to $0.50 I feel pathetic on my zero waste endeavors there, but I was talking to India and sometimes you just have to say “Thank you.  I will take my $0.67.”  I was totally surprised to learn that I got a refund though on all of my magazines.  When all is said and done I will probably get about $20 bucks.  Sweet!  That’ll pay for my zero waste produce bags.  wink, wink.