A Day in the (trying to be greener) Life

When Beth from Fake Plastic Fish (live life with less plastic) announced this month’s theme for the Green Moms Carnival, I quaked with fear.  See, this is from Beth, who measures all of her plastic usage weekly, and has found ingenious ways to live without using (much) plastic.  Beth is positive and lovely– the fear and guilt is wholly my own.

When I began to think about writing this post, I immediately thought of all the things I am not doing.  The silver lining?  Divine motivation.

Because of having to write this post, I have decided that we WILL NOT buy coffee in those small paper and plastic lined bags.  We drink just too much coffee, and the amount of those we were throwing away was deplorable.  So, thankfully, as I begin the “a day in the life” post, I have started buying my fair trade coffee in bulk, or in biodegradable bags I am hoping I can compost.

On a usual day, I stumble downstairs and make coffee, fast because my youngest is talking loudly a mile a minute, and I need serious help.  After caffeinating and reading stories, I start to make breakfast.  In my house, we were eating WAY too much cereal.  All those liner bags that can’t be recycled were plauging me. So, I started buying granola in bulk from the co-op.  Our oldest still joneses for the boxed cereal, but we are making the switch, fully.  Our granola (and oatmeal) in bulk is in large mason jars (no plastic).

They pour on hormone free Vermont milk, too.  Or I cook up some local eggs.  I sweeten my coffee with maple syrup (an expensive, but natural and tasty way to sweeten– you just need a little, depending on the day).

I drive about two miles to work. Yes, I could bike.  But have you ever seen what a teacher takes to and from school?  This is a growth area for me!

I bring my stainless steel travel mug full of said coffee if I’m going in early, and my steel water bottle to drink tap or well water.  If I’ve brought a lunch (no need many days, the cafeteria has many local and vegetarian options– yes, this is a public school), I pack in a no waste lunch kit, complete with a sandwich wrap.

At school, we compost at lunch, try to during snack, and recycle loads of paper.  Our school uses non-toxic cleaners and just made the building more energy efficient.  We still have lots of work to do, but there is slow and steady progress.

Once home, I play and visit with girls for about an hour.  I’ve made a big effort to limit plastic and imported toys in our house.  The girls have a wooden dollhouse, blocks, and other safer toys.  Plastic legos and other toys have ended up here too, but there aren’t that many.  I try to play mostly with them outside, if the weather is nice, in wide swathes of unstructured time. I might slather them with California Baby sunscreen and bug repellent (we’ve got the trifecta here in Vermont–deer flies, mosquitoes and black flies). 

Then I ponder dinner.  Some nights are better than others.  I try to cook whole foods, with minimal packaging and processing.  This is a constant challenge for me.  We eat lots of quesadillas, omelets, pasta, paninis, and veggie wraps.  Next steps?  Making some of the packaged stuff from scratch– like tortillas and pizza dough.  We store food in glass, compost our kitchen waste, and recycle everything we can.  We also use only non-toxic cleaners in the whole house. 

I’m constantly making strides, steps backwards, and learning.  This is a lifetime journey.  I just try to take it day to day and make the best choices I can.

What greener choices do you make with your family?  What is your day in the (greener) life?

Find the other Day in the Life Posts over at Fake Plastic Fish (live life with less plastic) for this month’s Green Moms Carnival.  It will go live on June 21th.  Get ready to be inspired! Check out Beth’s most recent post about making her own energy bars and crackers.  Rock on, Beth!

9 Responses to A Day in the (trying to be greener) Life

  1. Tatiana June 16, 2010 at 3:34 am #

    it's soo very hard to live responsibly where I live in northern NJ (right outside NY). There aren't any farmer's markets close by, the only Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is like 6 miles away and kind of expensive as far as bulk items go. We started with rice and quinoa but we have a long way to go yet. Cereal and Coffee is one of the biggies in this house too. Kudos for trying so hard! =0)

  2. Pure Mothers June 16, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    Sounds like you are doing great to me! We do about the same as you. Except I make my own granola! Your daughters may like participating by including which kinds of dried fruit or nuts to add. Maybe they won't jones over the store bought stuff if they get to help create their own granola. We also make our own pizzas with homemade pizza dough. They are the best we've ever eaten. We never go out for pizza or order takeout anymore. I still have trouble with bread. The organic versions come in plastic. That is my Green Living pet peeve – having to choose organic over plastic-free. They should go hand in hand. I would make my own but it never comes out right. Conversions and all living in London now.

  3. Katy Farber June 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Yes! I've made my own granola before– and burned loads of oats and maple syrup in the oven. So I got a bit lazy, but I will try again. And, what is your recipe for pizza dough? For some reason I am shy about the whole yeast thing, like I need to be some expert baker. Yes, I understand that with organic and plastic– like bananas (which I know are not good environmentally, even the organic ones, but I have such a hard time not buying them). Keep trying with the bread, you'll get it! I've yet to try that yet, so hats off to you. Thanks for commenting and offering support!Thanks to you too Tatiana! It can be so hard when you live in a challenging place. It sounds like you are doing well starting to get bulk food. I really need to stick with it. Keep trying, and thanks for the support!

  4. Lynn from OrganicMan June 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Katy, I laughed so hard when I read your comment about the coffee that my husband asked what I was reading! And maple syrup in coffee…how decadent. I loved your story about your day, but especially the tidbits about your school. It sounds HEAVENLY and so far ahead of where my son's "Green School" is…Thanks for your contribution to the carnival! Lynn

  5. Amber June 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm #

    I make my own pizza dough, but tortillas feel beyond me. I tried once on a trip to Mexico and I was miserably awful. Maybe I can try making my own pitas, instead. I've heard they're not hard at all.

  6. garima June 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm #

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  7. Condo Blues June 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    We gave up on eating cereal for the longest time because we didn't want to buy the affordable boxes of HFCS or layout much more money for HFCS free cereals. I started making my granola and it's a hit all the way around. I usually make on Saturday mornings, when I've got 30 minutes or so to do it. That way I have more money leftover to spend on coffee 🙂

  8. Lisa Sharp June 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Great post! Sounds like you are doing great. I'm jealous of your school, my husband is a teacher and I wish he was at a school like that. Sounds amazing!


  1. Green Moms Carnival: A Day In Their Lives :: My Plastic-free Life - November 17, 2013

    […] Most Caffeinated Teacher: Katy Farber from Non-Toxic Kids talks about the triumphs and challenges she faces as a mom, as well as how much coffee she drinks in order to function, in her post, “A Day in the (trying to be greener) Life.” […]

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