Today, in addition to being Good Friday, it is Earth Day. I don't know why, but it makes sense to me that they share time. While reflecting on the cross and w hat it means to be a Christian, we can consider the ways in which we can be good stewards of this planet that God so lovingly made for us. Of course, times are busy and money is tight and the baby needs changing and life is banging on your door, so here are my "lazy mama's" tips for some greener living!
Recycle: yep, it's a no brainer if your city has curbside pickup. I read once that in our progressive town curbside recycling participation is about 30%. That's craziness! You're paying for it anyway, you may as well use it. I just wish they'd take the cardboard, why not the cardboard, Norman?
Reusable grocery bags: Another no brainer for me really. I hated having an entire cabinet filled with plastic bags. Yes, you can use them for a few things, but not in the massive quantities in which they seem to enter the house. For about $.99 you can get a good quality reusable bag at just about any grocery store and most stores (Target, Aldi, sometimes Homeland) will give you a small credit for bringing your own bag. I toss mine on the delicate cycle of the laundry every so often so they don't get yucky.
Farmers' Markets: yes, I can't say it enough, I LOVE the farmers' market. There is something about giving my children cash to hand over to the people who actually grew the food that I find so nostalgic and satisfying. Some of the food there is a bit more expensive, but some of it is way cheaper. Plus, cute kiddos are almost always offered free samples! I can't tell you how many times I have convinced my daughter to eat something completely different by saying "But this is the vegetable YOU picked out at the farmers' market." Ours has the added bonus of an amazing demonstration garden, also with some edibles, and amazing gardeners to answer questions, give tours, or offer a cold drink of water on a hot day. It's a beautiful thing, truly.
Along the "buy local" lines, I also shop at the Oklahoma Food Co-Op. In all honesty, the food is significantly more expensive. I don't buy everything from this site, but I do get all of my ground beef here. Watch Food, Inc. or do even a quick Google search on ground beef and you'll quickly see why. Really, I just want to feed my family food that is what it says it is, and is made in a reasonably humane and careful way. Also, at least one farmer always has a sell on beef and you get a discount if you buy in bulk, like 10 lbs or more.
Cloth diapering: Yes, it seems pretty radical and is not for everyone! I tried it with my daughter and it just wasn't happening. She was cranky, I was cranky, it just wasn't worth it. But I gave it another shot with my son and has been a great experience. He no longer has the terrible diaper rash that he used to and frankly, I think he looks adorable in the fun colors FuzziBunz makes. Yes, there are nights when I think "I do not want to wash a load of friggin' diapers!" So then we use disposables the next day. I'm not too picky about it. But overall, it hasn't been much different. It's not like I'm scrubbing them on the porch, they go in the laundry and come out clean just like everything else. Of course, it helps that my son has little rock hard poops that can easily be rolled into the toilet. I probably wouldn't be as happy about the whole process if I had to actually scrub the dang things. Okay, I'll stop talking about poop now. It's surprising how much time poop can occupy in the brain of a mother of two, for one reason or another. Okay, now I'm done!
Finally, I'm trying to grow some veggies again this year. Usually, this does not work out great for me but I keep trying. There is some virtue in that sort of optimism, right? Since we no longer have a dog, I am attempting tomatoes and cucumbers in the back yard. For some reason I have pretty good success with bell peppers in my front flower bed. I suspect that the neighbors think it's weird but I'm okay with that!
So that's it, easy and cheap green tips! Enjoy Earth Day, Easter, and this beautiful time of year.