Friday, July 25, 2014

Green and Thrifty

This one I call 'Decorating With Weeds'. The ivy and the rosemary are both plotting to overtake the driveway. When I stand on the front steps I can feel them looking at me. In a considering kind of way... so I rip them up by the roots and  decorate the house with them. No plant plots at me and gets away with it. 

In the green and thrifty category this week, wait for it, I .... sewed on a button. I know, I work so hard at being an eco warrior. BUT, sewing on this button, a job that I have been putting off for weeks now, increased Rosy's stock of school shirts from two to three, which means no more emergency late night washes and tumble dries when she runs out of school uniform. A win for make do and mend, and also for the button jar, which nearly always comes through. Whenever I have to throw out an unsalvageable piece of clothing, I always cut off the buttons. And then generally Posy uses them for 'craft'. But sometimes there is a suitable one left over.

On the cooking front, I have been experimenting with sugar-free baking. Today, at Posy's request, I made blueberry scones, using the last of the frozen PYO blueberries from last summer. Scones traditionally contain no sugar, but then you eat them with jam and cream. In ours, the blueberries contained enough of a hint of sweetness, so we ate them hot with butter. Posy, her friend, her friend's sister, her friend's mum, Rosy, The Girl and myself all declared them a winner. Unfortunately we have now run out of blueberries until January, but a vote was taken to try date scones next week.

On advice from lovely commenters Judy and Miss Maudy from the last post, I made some granola without sugar. I used this recipe of The Girl's, which has always been successful and highly sweet. I left out the golden syrup and brown sugar, and increased the coconut oil to 3Tbs, and guess what? It is fantastic. It doesn't clump together without the sugar, and instead of a sweet hit, it is buttery/salty/nutty/datey (that would be from the dates I suppose). You know, without that knockout blast of sweet that is in so many daily foods, I think I am beginning to actually TASTE a lot of subtle notes in foods that I didn't really notice before..

My green and thrifty triumph in the kitchen this week has been to ban all processed cereals from the breakfast cupboard. The children ate the last of the rice bubbles and cornflakes and then I declared I wasn't buying any more. Firstly because they are highly processed, and not nutritious, second because they are so tasteless the children always add honey to them anyway, third, because they are ridiculously expensive for what is essentially a nutritional filler. Now the cereal containers are all filled with porridge oats, rice and lentils. I also moved the jars of ingredients for granola into the breakfast cupboard so it looks like there is actually something to eat in there. Incidentally Posy wept and raged for two days at this further instance of her mother's inhumanity and general evilness, but I ignored her.

Posy's new favourite breakfast, when she actually consents to eat something, is an egg pancake - an egg whisked up with cream, poured into a frying pan that is sizzling with a knob of butter, and left to set for a minute, then flipped. It is essentially scrambled eggs that haven't been scrambled. In fact, that is how it came to be a 'thing' in our house. Mummy set out to scramble an egg and got slightly distracted. 'Oops, sorry darling, your scrambled eggs... aren't. Oooh, look, Mummy made you a lovely egg pancake.'

In other news, the sun has been shining all week, and I have dried all the washing outside, including three sets of sheets and all the towels. Freezing sunshine. Takes two days on the line to dry, and comes in smelling of cold AND sunshine. Not sure how that is possible, and quite likely I am imagining it, but it makes me happy not to have a houseful of draped laundry. And saved three loads of tumble drying, because I still haven't worked out how to dry sheets inside when it is raining.

I made arrangements to car pool hockey practice with another family. So I will only have to freeze half to death at practice once a fortnight now. Unfortunately there is still some child-engendered expectation that I be present at all the games. Sigh.

Oh, and I know you'll love this one. Today, for the first time ever, I walked to the gym. Yes, outrageous I know. Took me six minutes. I cringe every time I drive to the gym. It is so wrong on every level. In my defence, my gym buddy and I usually arrive at the gym at six in the morning, when it is dark, and have to be home post-haste afterwards to get the children out of bed for school. However, gym hour has now been officially moved to the middle of the day, and so now I can add 14 minutes a day of brisk walking to all that weightlifting (yes, I know that maths doesn't add up, well spotted, but walking home it is all up hill. And I am a bit tired..)

Then, oh the shame, this is my could-do-better confession. While I was on a roll with timing things, I timed my shower. Twenty minutes of lovely, lovely hot water. I realise this is BAD. VERY BAD. Not only will I deplete the world of its limited hot water resources, but I will get very wrinkly. Or wrinklier, as Posy would no doubt point out. Being as I never venture into actual sunshine, I have to conclude that all current wrinkles stem from my hot water habit. But hot water is so lovely, and cures most ills of the mind, body and soul. And there are no children arguing near me in the shower. In fact, the only drawback to showers that I can think of, apart from the skin damage of course, is that you can't read under one. But you can declaim poetry loudly. Should you want to. Still, all very bad, and must do better. So next week I ought to be able to report an improvement. Maybe 19 minutes? Updates to follow.

Over to you, my lovelies. Tell me about the highs and lows of your thrifty green week.







11 comments:

Linda said...

Loved your post - but then I always do! Being green and thrifty again later today when I patch my little granddaughter's worn out play jeans for the 4th time. First knee had a lovely pink patchwork flower patch appliquéd by Granny. A week later the other knee got the same treatment - another pink flower, different fabric! A while later the area underneath the first knee patch was wearing thin, so a larger flower was appliquéd over the original flower and the further worn part. Now they are back again, for a similar treatment on the second knee! Annalise thinks having flowers on her knees is really cool and it saves a few more of Mummy's pennies.

Jo said...

Oh, I love the flowery pants mending. I bet she looks adorable in them, and I bet she loves having flower patches made by granny. I remember my mum doing that to my pants hen I was small. It was the 1970s however, and I remember orange flowers on brown cords:)

anexactinglife.com said...

I was wondering why cereal had been banished! I had to laugh at your shower story. We just got a new 40 gallon hot water tank. The shower uses 2.5 gallons per minute, so that gives 16 minutes of hot water...for two of us to shower in the morning! Looks like we need to switch to a lower-flow shower head.

Bek said...

I confess to also being a long shower person. I don't know exactly how long, never having been brave enough to time myself, but I'd guess somewhere between 15-20 minutes. I excuse it on the basis that I only have one long shower like this a week, and other showers are all short (which for me is under 5 minutes). And I have a water efficient spandangled shower head. Dutch comfort perhaps, but anyhoo.

lucindasans said...

You are so virtuous that I think you can have long, hot showers as I or one weakness.

I have quick showers but occasionally have a bath, in a very big bath tub. And while we're on confessions: the last two Pilates classes I drove to even though it is a 10 minute walk, or less.

But on the doing better side, I have cut alcohol on Mondays to Thursdays - well, for the last two weeks. How's that for virtuous?

missmaudy said...

I'm a long shower person in my head - but ten years of drought, and a long shower is now 10ish minutes no matter how hard I try! We even have continuous hot water so I can stay as long as I like. I do my best thinking in the shower, too.

My cunning plan to save a few bucks (anywhere from $8 to $22 a day, depending where I park)is to NOT pay for parking and put the money I 'save' toward new sneakers (money not spent is saved, right?). But, two for two times last week - had to go get a kid from school on the days I parked 15 minutes away from work! And on Friday, had to pay for parking anyway, darn it. This week is another week though.

And I also finally dragged Sir Reg through umpteen white goods shops to replace my 13 year old clothes dryer. It was a two star one way back in 2001, but it used 796kw/h!!!!!!!!!!!! The one I have my eye on is the same size as my machine, and only 350kw/h. Win!

e / dig in hobart said...

another wonderful post :-)
i am trying to have shorter showers - but i never had 20 minute ones, oooh-la! i'm also trying to not turn the heater on until i need it - that is, not to put it on automatically. will see how the next electricity bill goes..

CJ said...

Quite inspirational, I especially love the end of the processed breakfast food, I'd like to do that here too. I'm happy to have found your lovely blog (via Free Our Kids), I'm looking forward to following along.

CJ said...

Quite inspirational, I especially love the end of the processed breakfast food, I'd like to do that here too. I'm happy to have found your lovely blog (via Free Our Kids), I'm looking forward to following along.

Jen's Busy Days said...

Totally with you on the packaged cereals but I can justify the muesli type ones withe the fact that I could almost make them myself, still a lot of sugar in them I bet. :-(

Frugality here is displayed as menu planning so that I don't end up with fast food or jars and packets for dinner. They can really add up.

Did a roast rolled pork shoulder in the crock pot the other day. With Dad not here that means 3 meals covered. Yay! We love hot gravy roast meat rolls. One of the few times I will eat white bread. :-)

Keep it up Jo, every little bit counts. BTW long or short, my showers are never peaceful. My boys still haven't learned that "leave mum alone" bit very well. Mine are about 6 minutes long (had to time them for 2 weeks for Uni).

Good luck,
Jen in NSW

Jo said...

Dar, there is a great story, no doubt apocryphal, about a nutrition study done with rats, where the rats eating the cornflakes died before the rats being fed the cardboard box the cornflakes came in..
I think in your household I would always be first up!
Bek, I also have a low flow shower head, but I'm not sure how much that counts:) Impressed with your 5 min efforts.
Dear Lucinda, no, many weaknesses, working on them one at a time! Super impressed at your reduced alcohol consumption. Also means you are saving water - all those extra glasses you don't have to wash.
Miss Maudy, I love your 'another week' comment. I am constantly having to invoke the 'Maybe next week' clause.
Dear e, you are an eco-warrior. Although there are not many moments in Hobart in mid-winter that it is not necessary to have a heater on..
CJ, lovely to see you here. Love that Hattie. She is so energetic and dedicated to making her kids' lives brilliant.
Jen, yes, menu planning. I try, I try:) And I hear you on the shower interruptions. It is only in the last couple of years that I can rely on a peaceful shower. One day it will happen for you:)

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