It's Easy Being a Green Mama

It’s not easy being green-during a hurricane
September 18, 2017, 12:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, the past two weeks, since I wrote my last blog post, have been nuts.  We had a hurricane.  We survived, I’ve come out the other side intact, my house mostly the same (with a little more water and a few more holes than before), and most importantly, my friends and family safe.

Image result for hurricane irma satellite beach

I made my pledge to not buy groceries with the hurricane on the radar.  At the time, we didn’t have a good idea which way it was headed, and I was optimistic that it was not coming towards our home.  I fully intended not to get any food even if we did get a hurricane.  Living in hurricane alley, I’ve been through my share of natural disasters.  The first few days of that week pledge, it was helpful to not be buying any groceries anyway, because I wanted, if the storm was coming, to use up all of my perishable food so that it wouldn’t get wasted when the storm came.

As Irma got closer, I broke down.  I caved.  It started with bottled water.  You know how I feel about bottled water.  I got some partly to send to Texas for Harvey relief, and also a case for our family.  A few days later, it looked like we were in the cone of uncertainty.  We’d started boarding up our house, and talking about if we would leave.  I started looking at our pantry, figuring out what we could eat if we lost power.  In 2004, when the eyes of two hurricanes passed through our county two weeks apart, we were without power for about a month.  I ended up at the grocery store like everyone else, stocking up on canned goods; shelf stable milk, the most processed bread you can imagine, nut butter, squeezable jelly, and all kinds of granola bars.  I did not comparison shop or clip coupons.  I also stocked up on disposable diapers.  And I forgot my reusable grocery bags.

We ended up driving north to a relative’s house, and staying there for the duration of the hurricane, and returned home in awful traffic not long after the worst had passed.  We were very blessed when we got home, we had power and running water.  There hasn’t even been a boil water notice.  However, we are conserving water until our city water is back up to normal, so our youngest is still not back in cloth diapers.  And we’ve been drinking lots of bottled water.

I feel awful about my lack of green-ness.  There are certain things I did do, like not eat meat, but I did eat a lot of processed food.  A LOT.  And I have no excuse about forgetting my reusable bags.  If I had prepared earlier, thought ahead, I know I could have had gotten or made healthier choices for the food I packed.

Every year in our state of Florida, we have hurricane days just before hurricane season begins when they drop sales tax on items that you might need during a hurricane, like generators.  I decided that next year, in an effort to be more green, I will stock up on GREEN hurricane supplies.  For example, I can get or make less processed food that will still keep.  Some of the food items that I bought that was as upset about were lara bars, dried mango,  and Rx bars.  I could have made all of these items.   Next hurricane season, I’m definitely just going to spend a weekend making a bunch of these kinds of things, and then if we don’t get a hurricane, I’ll have lots of snacks.

The night before we evacuated, we had a hurricane feast, where I prepared just about everything left in our refrigerator and freezer, and the family tried to eat as much as we could.  Even so, we still ended up throwing away a bunch of things the first trash day we’ve had.  I hate wasting food.  I went to the grocery store and got all kinds of fruit and vegetables, and it was so exciting to cook a meal and have fresh food.

One thing that is still going on here is a lack of gasoline.  It’s getting better, but can be a bit tricky to find.  Today was my first day going more than a mile from our house in any direction.  I have had a full tank for several days, but between traffic lights being out and me not wanting to have to find gas if I use up a full tank, I have been staying close by.  So my challenge for this week is not to use more than half a tank of gas.  School starts again on Monday, so I’ll be doing school pick-up and drop-off, but I plan to stay local.  Walk and ride bikes whenever possible.  I certainly spent enough time in the car the last week.

How the Green Mama survived no restaurant food
September 4, 2017, 12:58 am
Filed under: Not eating out, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

I didn’t want to write about completing my challenge, not eating out for a week, until I was done, so I could make sure I really did it.  It was a bit hard, but not terrible.  The hardest part, for me, was lunch time.  I was really tempted to just grab a quick lunch because it was easier with the kids than making them wait.  But I did it.  I did pack the equivalent of four lunches every day, whether I planned to be out during lunch time or not, just in case.

Besides packing more food to take with me, I did plan my meals a bit differently.  Usually I try to plan for four or five dinners when menu planning, thinking I can grab something if I need to or have leftovers.  This time, I felt like I needed to really make sure I had a lot of things to make.  I cooked a big pot of beans, and used them multiple times.

There was one night that we planned to feed the kids pizza from the school, as part of a fundraiser and community event, and they had run out.   For the adults, we had already decided we would eat dinner at home.   The kids were very disappointed, but we had lots of leftover taco ingredients, so what to feed them was no big deal.  For the kids, especially my oldest, it was the thrill of eating something I hadn’t made her that mattered.  I think she had her heart set on that.

I did find myself visiting the grocery store more than usual.  I stocked up on Monday, going to Aldi and making sure I had a lot of things.  And while I do love Aldi, my husband had requested a few items that I couldn’t find there, and I had to go to Publix.  And then since I wasn’t going out to eat, I went back to my favorite local market for a few things.  I did resist getting one of their sandwiches, which I usually love.

Overall, it didn’t feel as much of a sacrifice as I thought.  Lunch was tricky a few times, but by the end of the week I had gotten used to it.  I made a big batch of bean burgers on Monday and got some really good pretzel buns, I thought they were amazing with my favorite pickles and sauerkraut.

I did make me think more and more about what I consume.  I would love to be a minimalist, but I don’t know if that’s realistic for me in this season of life.  I  heard about Project 333, where you seal up every piece of fashion except 33 items for 3 months.  Maybe some day in the future I could work up to that. For now, I decided to not buy any new clothes, jewelry, bags or shoes for myself for six months.  Maybe at the end of that six months I’ll be able to minimize my wardrobe.  I do think more about quality rather than quantity.  I don’t want to contribute to fast fashion, and I’ve been trying to avoid doing that.

Since I noticed that when not eating out I tend to grocery shop more, I decided this week I won’t be any groceries.  I will make meals out of the food we have on hand.  When I’m not being lazy, I will look at what I have and make a meal out of it.   It probably means for me that I can’t wait until last minute to plan dinner.  No running out to the store to grab a missing ingredient.

I also have plans for some bigger challenges soon!   I need to do some research before I’m ready to tackle some bigger things.  I hope my kids are absorbing some of the things I have been doing lately.  I’ve been trying to talk with them about it.  I want them to be green too!

Read more about Project 333 here: