Sunday, April 25, 2010

What are you doing?

I read a quote last night that speaks so strongly to me and I wanted to share it with you. It got me thinking about the efforts many of us make; and when, sometimes, we fall off the wagon...

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena: whose face is marred by the dust and sweat... Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." Teddy Roosevelt.

So what are you doing? Are you trying to be healthier, but couch-potatoe it with a bag of chips more often than not? Are you trying to be more environmentally friendly but hate having to wash out the tin cans in order to recycle them? Are you trying to eat more local, but it seems more trouble than it is worth? Are you trying to be kinder to all who cross your path, but cringe inside when you encounter 'certain people'?
Well, at least you are trying. And so am I.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I don't know how you are going to feel about this...

but I bought something new! I just got back from Walmart. I wondered through the aisles touching all the new stuff; imagining having this and having that; quickly justifying in my head why I could have this or have that. I flipped through the magazines, pretended to know what I was doing looking at seeds (are McKenzie Organic or McKenzie Heirloom better? Is 2.99 a pack a good price?) I checked out the lastest color trends in the summer accessories aisle and tried not to focus very long in the arts and crafts/scrapbooking aisles. For a few instances it was like being a kid in the candy aisle! I haven't really been in a non-grocery store for months! But I got a hold of myself and had our challenge uppermost in my mind.

But I had gone there with a specific purpose in mind. Glue. Mod Podge glue. (LOVE their site - so many great ideas it feeds my creativity daily)(and no, Mod Podge isn't paying me to say this or sending me free glue! haha) I am starting an Etsy site (a site to sell vintage or homemade items) with some cool things from yester-year as well as some of my own creations if I can ever get to it. One of the things I am very passionate about is keeping good usable, beautiful things out of the landfill. And if it takes a pot of Mod Podge to upcycle something, I believe the trade off is fair.
What do you think?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Muddy Boot Dreams

Muddy Boot Dreams has posted a blog about Nothing New Nothing Wasted. She is funny and gracious and her enthusiasm and encouragement is heartening. Go check her out! I posted a link in the 'interviews and blogs' section.

A dime's worth of time for a nickle's worth of cash...

A good point has been brought up by a comment made by 'Manganic' under the post 'So much for that'.
"A dime's worth of time for a nickle's worth of cash" may not be good value."
And certainly this is true - if our main purpose was to save cash. We have many reasons for this challenge, only one of which is saving money. Our main focus is to teach not only ourselves, but more importantly our children, the value of a dollar, delayed gratification and reevaluating our needs and wants as well as how to meet them.
Our situation may not be the same as everyone's - as a stay at home mom, I have the time to research what works best for our family. Being married to Jamie is also a great gift as he is uber handy, talented and open to thinking outside the box. I don't know how well this challenge would work if we both weren't on the same page. We also have the benefit of our children being young and impressionable - either by us, or consumerism.
I had to smile as big as a cheshire cat the other night. Jamie and Andrew (8 year old son) were watching a commercial for some fishing lures - 'the newest and greatest the market has ever seen'! Jamie and his boys are big fishermen. While Jamie was oohing and aahing over the lures and how he has always wanted them and how great they were, Andrew calmly said, 'but remember our challenge dad'?
Aahh... maybe the point IS being passed on. I am not concerned if there are people out there who 'don't get it', all that matters to me, is that my 8 year old does. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

So much for that!

While watching the interview with Nothing New Nothing Wasted on Global National news tonight it dawned on my husband and I that it was quiet in the house. Too quiet. And with 3 little boys in the house 'quiet' is synonomous with 'up-to-something'!!
Sure enough they were!
A friend had decluttered her kids toys and had given me this 'make a plastic frog' craft thingy. It looked cool, in good shape, and not really used. My plan was to give it to my 4 turning 5 year old for his birthday in 3 weeks. Well now I need a new plan, because, you guessed it, they found it! I will give them kudos for playing quietly and cooperatively with each other though.

Global National

We are so surprised at how much attention our challenge is having. Global National phoned this morning to set up an interview for 1.5 hours later. Jamie and I are getting really good at cleaning the house really fast! haha
So check out the interview tonight (Monday, 19th) at 5:30. I wonder if the camera will add 10 pounds to my nose again?!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Calgary Herald newspaper

TGIF!! Not only is it a gorgeous day in the neighbourhood, but an article came out in the Calgary Herald today. I have posted a link in the 'interviews and blogs' section. Another side note - the article starts off with reporting that we are 'against buying anything new'... it is not that we are 'against' buying anything new; it is that we are making a conscious decision to go to the other end of the buying spectrum so that next year when we start buying again, we will be able to know where the middle is for OUR family. As have been proven this year, we aren't against new brakes, toothbrushes or underware! haha

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Global T.V.

For those of you who missed it, I put a link in the 'interviews and blogs' section if you would like to see the short T.V. segment. Gil Tucker and his camera man Tom were so nice, friendly, and personable.

Western Wheel

Check out the 'interviews and blogs' section for an article that came out in our local paper - The Western Wheel. There is a quote in there of me saying that 'the world doesn't need to make anymore shoes and that there are enough shoes in the world'... I had to laugh, as I figured I would get some flack from that. Just to let you know, that isn't quite what I said. The world CAN keep making shoes, it is just that it doesn't need to make a new pair for me all the time as I can find some second hand that I would be more than happy with. It is hard for reporters to transcribe an interview over the phone, so it is understandable that miscommunications take place from time to time. I am unconcerned about it, but just thought I'd clarify before I got a bunch of understandably confused responses! haha

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In the newspaper

Another update. We were also interviewed by the Calgary Herald and the article is coming out this Friday (I believe) in the Real Life - Green Guide section. So Keep an eye out for it, but I will also post a link when it is available.

On T.V.

Today started off interesting. We received a phone call from Gil Tucker of Global Calgary News. We made arrangements to meet at a local thrift store to talk about the challenge. Gil and Tom (the camera man) were so nice and friendly and laid back. I however was nervous and probably came across as a little confused! haha Hopefully they are brilliant editors and can find some usable tape in there! If you want to check it out, the segment should be on tonight at 6:55 pm or maybe first thing tomorrow morning or at lunch tomorrow. I will post a link once it is available to watch online.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lighten up a little!

That is what I need to do anyway! This journey of caring for ourselves and the earth and its bounties doesn't need to be a stifling burden, a lesson in deprevation or overly complicated.
(I tend to make things complicated. Always have; like the time I considered not marrying my husband if he squeezed his toothpaste in the middle - I mean, how annoying is that?! How could a person live with THAT for time and eternity?! (I only just recently, after 10 years and 3 little boys got my own tube of toothpaste - talk about liberating!)
ANYWAY!... I called my mom the other day talking about what to plant in the garden (my first garden ever, and what we planned to live the summer months on) when I froze... I had vowed to not buy anything new this year (other then groceries and such) ... how can I buy seeds?! My mind raced as I thought about asking people for their old seeds, but not knowing if they were still viable or not. I thought about plants that I could transplant from other people. As I was freaking out, my mom calmly said, 'Jessica... seeds count as food.'
Right!! Sometimes I can't see the forest through the trees. Sometimes I am so rigid that I can't think outside the box; and I know by the comments of some other people about what we are trying to do this year, that there are others who can't either.
We have a glorious opportunity to not only reduce, reuse, and recycle, but to rethink, renew, and rewrite the future. Try not looking at this like a burden (more to worry about) or that something has been taken away from you, (shopping) or that you can't make a difference, (does one leaf on the tree really matter?) or that you don't know where to start. (so many important options) Have fun with it! Let creativity, open-mindedness and non-judgement (of yourself and others) be the first ingrediants in your green journey. I know I need to! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More IS more... sometimes.

I have a boeing 747 getting ready for take off in the kitchen. Oh wait... that is my dishwasher. We bought it 3 years ago. We bought a lower priced one. It worked well for the first little bit, but as friends and family can attest they haven't drunk from a clean dishwasher washed glass in years. I just tell them that it is sterilized gunk! Every time I 'wash' the dishes and open the door to put them away I want to go postal!! They are anything but the sparkling specimens I see on commercials. (and yes, we have tried the Jet Dry's and what not)
We have been given some flack in the media about ruining the economy by not buying anything new - our entire capitalistic system is going to self destruck!! (in 5 seconds... LOVE Inspector Gadget... wish he was on the case of planned obselescence - he and Penny would figure out how to make products last longer then the warranty!)
Well, let me say this... when we DO go back to buying, we will be making more informed choices, where the bottom dollar isn't always the guiding force. Sometimes you can't get more for less. Sometimes you have to spend more to get more.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dollar Store Distraction

I walked by a dollar store yesterday - lots of colorful stuff hanging in the windows and sale signs beckoning my arrival. My initial thought was, 'I should go in there after.' (doing my errand). It was an automatic thought. I don't NEED a blessed thing from The Dollar Store. So that got me thinking about how many times I used to go in a store 'just to look around', 'just to kill time' (don't like the term 'kill time' by the way... we should be 'living' our time, not 'killing it', but anyways...) 'see if I need anything', and other such justifications of why I should enter a store.
Now I have no good excuse to enter a store unless it is the grocery store, or the occaisional second hand store if we do discover something we need.
So I asked myself 'how do I feel about that?'... I laughed and realized that I felt completely fine!! Almost free. Still had a little niggle to 'just go and see', but at least I was concious of it this time, and was able to make a thoughtful decision.
So I smiled and got back in the van and drove home.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I would just like to shout out to San Grewal and the Toronto Star as they mailed us 5 hard copies of the newspaper artical that started all this!!
He had said he would send me some copies, but I never really expected him too - I know reporters are busy and things slip their minds, and after all, we are just one little story on one day of the year.
His thoughtfulness is a breath of fresh air!

Monday, April 5, 2010

to buy or not to buy?

One thing I didn't count on when I naively created this challenge for our family was the destructive curiosity of the 3 little boys! Our two year old has stuffed a bunch of tooth brushes down the sink. Easy fix you may be thinking - just unscrew the pipe below and they will fall out. And they would have, if the fellow who installed the sink 14 some years ago didn't make the steel pipe too long! Now the plastic peice won't slide down far enough. We will have to cut it off. The long and short of it is, one pipe is too long, and one is too short! It will probably cost only a few dollars to fix; but a challenge is a challenge. So. What to do now? Post on freecyle or kijiji that I need a plastic pipe thingy for under the sink? (because everyone will know what I am talking about right?! lol) or drive to the hardware store (five mins away)(Hmmm... or maybe bike there!) and buy a brand new one? Or drive across the city (45 mins) to the Habitat for Humanity Restore on the off chance that they have what we are looking for?
You may be thinking that I am over thinking.
And you are right!
That is what this challenge is all about. Thinking. Making conscious choices.
We never planned on making these choices with so many people watching our every move and ready to critize us. (read some of the comments from the Toronto Star article)
So I will put an attempt on freecyle or kijiji if someone knows what the heck I am talking about, and will gladly take it if it is local, and we don't have to wait too long for a response. Failing that, I WILL go 5 mins to the local hardware store and buy a BRAND new one. Why? 'cause the point of this isn't to be so rigid that we lose our common sense, and because another point of this is to make the right choices for not just our wallets, but for the environment. Driving across the city to 'maybe' find what we need just to be rigid in our challenge and cocky in our report to the blog isn't a wise move either.
And I guess we will need new toothbrushes...

feels the pressure...

self-inflicted pressure mind you! I feel like I need to be blogging more and have dreams at night about not having written that day and getting in trouble! I was feeling like no one was even reading it so why feel the burden to write often, but then heard from 3 different people that they check it daily and were sad to not have any new fodder to mull over! So here I am babbling on not even too sure if anyone is following! haha

Friday, April 2, 2010

I should have paid more attention...

when my parents tried to teach me how to garden, (and my husband would add, cook!) but I was too busy being a teenager who thought she knew everything, and thought that gardening, cooking, knitting, baking and the like were things that 'old' people did. Now I am 35 and don't know how to make a turkey dinner, bake buns or shortbread from scratch, pickle cucumbers or hem pants.
Sigh... well... I guess I am 'old' now as I find myself (some would say 'finally') drawn toward the domestic arts! Some times I frantically phone my mother with questions such as, 'how do I hard boil eggs... step by step?', or 'how do I wash the afghan you gave me for my 18th birthday?', and the question of today... 'can I take out last years leaves from the flower beds (because it looks messy) or do I have to leave them in there to provide mulch'? (and how do I make that look nice... or is the trick to change my mind about what looks good?)
Mom didn't answer the phone. So I abandoned my rakes, shovels, hoes, scrappers and thingymabobs and called it a day.
I'll work on my green thumb tomorrow.