Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gone Green With Style

I recently watched a slide show presentation about how those plastic shopping bags from every place we spend money are polluting our world. It was disturbing to think that only 20 years of them can have such an impact. You can see the slide show here:

I decided that I could handle making a move to natural fabric shopping bags - all I would have to do is keep them in my car so I had them when I needed them. It turns out that my sister-in-law makes and sells very stylish shopping bags.
I took them with me on my last shopping trip. I had 3 bags that are each purported to hold as much as 6 plastic bags worth of groceries (that's 18 bags worth altogether). Usually, after I shop, Nate and Ben make multiple trips from the car, fingers full of the plastic bags. This time, ALL my groceries (except the cases of water and soda) fit into the 3 shopping bags and 2 paper bags. Nate carried them all in on one trip. (He was very, very happy.)

I immediately went online and purchased another set. (She ships fast, so it arrived in just a couple of days). This time, I purchased one that had a liner for produce/cold goods. I'll let you know how it works out when I shop next.

I keep mine in the car, so when I drop into the drugstore, or Target, or wherever I happen to be shopping, I can grab one and go. It's easy, its stylish, and it makes me feel great to not pollute the world.

FAQs - from people in my life.

If they hold so much, aren't they prohibitively heavy? Not at all - I imagine it is a function of physics, but the wide canvas straps distribute the weight very evenly. No more squished fingers from hefting the load on a small fulcrum.

You only have a family of 3, what about larger families? I do only have a family of 3, but I only grocery shop once every 3 weeks or so. I imagine you might shop more often. I needed 6 bags to carry what I purchase when I shop. It is a small sacrifice to keep our world beautiful!

The grocery stores now sell "green bags" for a much cheaper price. I'm not saying you have to purchase from the website, there are many alternatives. I am saying that the quality between the two bags is non-comparable. Those bags in the grocery store are smaller, cheaper in quality, and will need to be replaced much more often. Find a solution that works for you.

What will I do for trash bags/lunch bags/dog-walking bags if I give up the little plastic ones? I ask many of those little plastic ones do you have stored up? I myself have well over a year's supply. Once those are gone, I can get my groceries packed in them as needed.

What will my children wear if we don't have plastic bags? This one is a total joke made by my husband about a past blog from my brother's very funny wife. (Rebie - if you hate it, I'll take it off.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Achieving Goals

I hate to set goals. I quit contracting to anything structured when I was 12 years old. That was the year that I realized that life never worked out according to plan. I hate to disappoint so I stopped setting goals with timelines.

Today, I realize that I was a little hard on myself...and others - like the YW Personal Progress people and my mom. My literal self is beginning to understand that one can adjust that timeline when obstacles get in the way.

This school year has been tough between losing a month of instruction from the hurricane and another 4 days from the apartment closing fiasco. This week has been particularly frustrating. When I had taught my heart out and the classes couldn't remember what we learned 2 days ago, I took a deep breath, pulled out my cell phone and looked at the pictorial evidence of the goal we completed yesterday. That mini-break gave me enough good energy to go again - with a smile.

Two goals Nate and I set earlier this year was to have a vegetable garden (which we have been eating out of), and a year's supply of food and finances. We achieved 8 months of food storage AND an organized method of storing it yesterday.

Those of you who remember the laundry room will see the shelves between the fridge and the dryer. Our next step is to take down those wire shelves that feel like they will fall on your head, and put up a cabinet to store the laundry and cleaning supplies.

The bulk wheat and water storage is located behind our bar - where I used to hide all the junk when company came. (The wheat is on top of the water bottles in case of flooding. Hoping that the cans will stay dry.)

I understand now why goal setting can be beneficial. It not only gives focus to activities and choices, but it can boost you in other ways as well. The mini-celebration of success can give peace in unexpected ways.