Persimmon butter… and running a mile… and losing weight

The kids and I ran a fun run mile this morning at Josh’s work. They got 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th place!

I had big plans to beat my kids at the race!

I’ve been successfully dieting (I’ve lost 10 pounds) and exercising! I’ve been drinking the cheaper Aldi version of SlimFast and running and lifting weights every morning before the kids get up!

Even though the kids blew me away during the race, I was way faster (by 1 minute and 20 seconds) then I normally am. So that’s a win for me!

This afternoon Josh and I went on a date Persimmon Tree hunting!! And we hit the jackpot!!

We found over 5 pounds of fruit!

I decided to just make a freezer jam- meaning, I didn’t need to actually “can” it.

I washed the persimmons and pulled off the stems. Then I started boiling it down in a large pot. As it cooked down, I pulled out about a million seeds!!!

Each persimmon had 6 seeds!!!

This took forever!!! 😳

Then I took an immersion blender and blended the pulp.

Then I added 1 1/4 cups sugar and sprinkled nutmeg on it!

I’d have to say this is more like persimmon butter then anything!

These are going into the freezer for about another month cause I’m not cheating on my diet! (I’ve got 8 more pounds to go)

… but then I’m making my homemade bread and am going to enjoy this with a big cup of coffee!!! Now that’s worth waiting for!

… I also have plans to come back to this heavy loaded tree!

I’m hoping by next week these will have fallen and I can make actual Persimmon jam to can!!

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Stuffed Animal Mix UPS

We just finished our first fun sewing project in the new basement Art Studio!

We bought random stuffed animals at the Goodwill Outlet where everything is priced by weight… $0.99 a pound.

Then the kids cut the arms, legs, and heads off the animals and sewed them together to make new crazy creatures!

We had so much fun sewing together and repurposing old stuffies into HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS 🀣πŸ€ͺ!

Our Wonderful Waterways class

The kids took a class the other day at Forest Park!

They spent the morning at Missouri’s first fish hatchery. It is no longer in operation but it’s neat to think about how, so many years ago, fish 🐠 were scooped into milk jugs and transported by train πŸš‚ across the state to various lakes and ponds!

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The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Naturalist had brought nets and microscopes for the kids to use..

They spent their time catching little fish and insects.

I like how the class ended by having a sponge race! There is a small stream that has seven small waterfalls. The kids watched, cheered, and even assisted their sponge down the waterway! It was a lot like playing “Pooh Sticks”!

Spray painting wooden art chairs

The chairs in our Art Studio needed some pizzazz!

So we decided to let the kids paint their own chair.

  • First the kids lightly sanded their chair.

Then they spent two days spray painting their color scheme.

Finally- after two days of painting and letting them dry – the chairs were ready to be moved back into the Art Studio!

Simone’s Chair

Edison’s Chair

Andre’s Chair

Eli’s Chair

All ready for their first Art Lesson/Session!

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Speaking of coloring things- I guess I’m having an “After Birthday Crisis”…

I dyed my hair light brown to match my roots and cover the gray!

I do feel guilty because that is NOT zero waste- but I really had to cover my fake blonde!!

Hopefully this color is close enough to my natural color that I don’t need to color it again!

Art Studio

Yesterday was my 38th birthday! 🎈 πŸŽ‰

I had such a lovely day!!🀩

Simone had found a dead cicada weeks ago – but she saved it for me (after pranking her cousin with it) and gave it to me as a birthday gift!

I love it – it is so well preserved… you can see it’s beauty so well!!

I also got pads and wrist braces (aka body armor) so I don’t hurt myself (too badly) when I fall skateboarding!

After skating at the park, we ate at Culver’s, and shopped at IKEA and the Goodwill Outlet… to find the finishing touches for our new ART STUDIO!!

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Our basement used to be a hoarder’s paradise! It was filled with stuff we might need later and stuff we liked but couldn’t get rid of.

Well- that has changed.

We, as a family, have worked super duper hard at minimalism and decluttering – so that we can have the maximum use of our home!

The fruits of that labor are really paying off!

The majority of the laundry room no longer holds junk…

it is now the home of our ART STUDIO!

I’m choosing to name it an ART STUDIO versus a craft room.

1. The kids are older now and mostly beyond paper and crayon crafts!

2. Craft room has a “mommy” sound to it and I want everyone to feel like this is their space to create without needing to ask my permission.

3. Art Studio sounds more serious and I want there to be a serious focus on the arts.

This year in home schooling I want to emphasize famous artists, different forms of art, various art mediums, and of course try our hand at replicating different art styles and creating our own masterpieces!

Sewing Space

Storage for art supplies

I got this cool vintage hamper yesterday for $2! It holds felt!!

The kids’ great-grandma’s table is being used as a workspace! The wooden chairs we found at a thrift shop for $5 each! The kids are going to paint them today for their first art project!

Couch and chairs (and my Ikea rug) make the room feel comfortable and homey.

Other angles of the room!

The kids were shocked that I wanted to clean and organize on my birthday LOL but I was on a mission to finish last night! The room as just right at about 8:00 – just in time for cake and a movie!!

Gardening Class 🌿 πŸŒΊ

We went to a class with Gateway Greening about fall vegetables and cover crops!

The class was very informative- basically I’m not ready to plant fall plants but I do know what to do next year!

The best part of the morning was being inspired by all the garden beds within the community garden sections!

I’m not sure what kind of insect this is- but it’s the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen!

It looks like porcelain with painted flowers!

So- now I have big plans to expand my garden… for next year!

The most important thing I learned today was that I need a cover crop for the winter. That way when the frost kills the cover crop, it can be mulched back into the soil!

So much gardening to do!!! 🌸 πŸ… 🌢 🌿

Good thing homeschool doesn’t start till after labor day!!! 😁

Johnson’s Shut-ins Wet and Wild fun

The first time we took the kids to Johnson’s Shut-ins, they were strapped in life jackets and wore swim shoes. Josh and I would follow them around repeating “be careful” and “watch out”!

Oh how time has changed things.

Life jackets and swim shoes weren’t a requirement and Josh and I watched our kids and niece from various rock seats.

(It was a cool 71 degrees with mild rain 🌧– way too cold for me to get wet!!)

From the Shut-ins we went to elephant rocks 🐘 which has huge granite boulders to climb. With the rain we didn’t climb much but it’s always impressive to see!

As a fun treat we went to the ice cream shop as we drove back into the city!

My reward was buying two patches to two of my favorite Missouri State Parks!

Most children have gone back to school! Not us 😁 #longlivesummer #homeschool

Zero waste also means giving old clothes new life

Skirt # 1

I have this skirt that kept ripping at the lace seams.

One day my mother spend 1/2 hour sewing the tiny holes for me and then said, “you better wear this a lot!”

I promised her I would, and then promptly got a tear in the lace that simple mending wouldn’t fix 😳 oops!

But I love the skirt and appreciate the work my mom put into mending it for me so I decided to patch my skirt… and make it even more fabulous 😍

  1. I cut reptiles out of a piece of fabric my sister had given me (thanks Solveig!)
  2. I pinned the adorable lizards and skinks and geckos onto my skirt
  3. I sewed them on with green accent thread

Helping me model my new skirt is our bearded dragon Hagrid

Skirt # 2

I ripped my purple skirt one day (and got a nasty bruise) when it got caught on a nail.

I sewed a panda 🐼 patch on the hole, and then I sewed another one on the other side just because pandas are so cute! πŸ’•

* I also made the purple flower vest. I got it as a jacket from the goodwill outlet and I cute the arms off of it. I also stitched the side seam smaller so it would fit better.

My she-shed herbal workshop camper πŸŒΏ

About 5 years ago, my husband got me a vintage camper for my birthday! The kids helped me clean it up and it became a backyard play house!

As the years have gone by, the kids stopped playing in it and I began to dream of the possibilities…

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And this was the summer to finally remodel the camper!!

I had been successful in both creating and maintaining my herb garden and veggie garden!

I wanted a place where I can learn about herbs and their health benefits and store ingredients to homemade products. I wanted a beautiful place just to sit in and be inspired by nature!

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First, I worked on the seating in front of the camper. That was the easy part!

 

Then it was demolition time! πŸ”¨πŸ”¨πŸ”¨

 

Josh did the hard work of removing the stove and cutting pipes! He even built me two benches to cover the wheel covers!

I spent time painting, laying carpet squares, and rearranging furniture until everything became absolutely perfect!!! πŸ’•

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Last night Simone and her cousin Grace helped me harvest herbs from the garden which are now drying in the camper.

πŸ’œ lavender πŸ’œ

Basil 🌿

Simone plucked all the leaves off of the stems for me!

πŸ’š Sage πŸ’š

The sage is in the camper (dry from today’s rain) ready for the kids and I to make sage smudge stick!

I can’t wait to use this as an outdoor classroom with the kids!

There is so much homesteading to learnΒ – from successful gardening to canning and making jellies to outdoor cooking – and this seems like the perfect place to do that at!Β 

How my sister inspired me to work towards being a Zero Waste Family

Zero waste is not something that happens overnight or in a weekend or even within a month!

The idea can be overwhelming –

How can we change our lifestyle so drastically?

Will it really be worth our efforts??

Here’s how my sister inspired me to make changes at home!

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Once upon a time I had been diligent in recycling and I refused plastic bags at every store I went to.

Then I got discouraged.

The trash man would also take our recycling – I would call the waste company and get a different lie every time. This went on for about a year and I finally stopped recycling – what was the point? I started using plastic bags again- what was the point not to?

And then my sister came for a visit.

She told me about how her and her family are working towards zero waste. I was inspired!! She told me how they bought toilet paper with zero packaging, reuse glass bottles as water bottles, and are buying food at bulk stores.

Sonja also told me how she had had made HUGE changes at the hospital she works as a nurse! This is her story as told in a series of texts!

Here is the organizations website … I learned about them through a man at church who runs the nonprofits β€œlove the hungry” and I attended a SOS brunch to learn more about them. I was super nervous to attend but I thought it was going to be this small little event where they had donuts and a poster board…. boy was I wrong β€”- there was event parking and hundreds of people and a sit down brunch.

I immediatelyΒ  felt intimidated and went to the coffee station but somehow while trying to blend in and be a wallflower I ended up meeting delegations for Nigeria …. there is a picture and I ended up getting in and it was published in their newsletter…. I’ll attach the link for that ….

anyways after learning about their mission I thought – reducing trash and medical missions??? This organization was made me for me!!! Lol I spoke and met with the head lady and toured their facility and was blown away at all the medical supplies they divert from the land fills and send to those in need.

Looking over their website you can see pictures of their warehouse where they sort items and store them till they are shipped

This is the news letter where I ended up in a picture with the Nigerian delegations

I wanted to get my hospital involved because I saw first hand how much we throw away as a facility …. we discharge a patient and there are unopened materials left in their room and it will just all get thrown away!!!

But now we just wipe it down and put it in a collection bin where it can be used for good!!

Don’t get me wrong I believe that in the medical world there is some necessary waste for the sake of cross contamination but we can make efforts to decrease the waste! For example our pharmacy brings all our medications in zip lock baggies into our med room … hundreds of baggies get used for 20 minutes then thrown away…. I started a collection bin for the baggies and SOS uses them for packing material and sorting smaller items …

To help my hospital get some momentum to collect I got a grant from Thrivent Finiancial for $250… I used that money to help build awareness and to buy needed items for SOS to aid them in collecting and sending our items … there is a picture of the stuff we purchased for SOS and the trifold I made to advertise SOS …. it’s on this link

The biggest thing I think is just taking a step towards your beliefs and what you find important- it’s scary to take that first step but it can be baby step and see where it takes you- God gives us unique passions and gifts and using those we can do so much to make a difference and show Christ’s Love – I know God loves his creation because he promises to come back and redeem it all and He invites to be part of that redemptive work.

Also after learning and getting involved SOS I saw how they were able to do so much because of so many small steps of actions and it motivated me to make small steps as a family to move towards zero waste.

I saw first hand how small steps can lead to change and big impacts!

“Sonja Weber, a nurse at Baptist Health LaGrange, has helped her hospital to organize the collection of surplus supplies to be donated to SOS. Additionally she organized the use of excess funds to purchase items vital to the SOS collection process!”

MY SISTER DID THAT!! Not only did she stop usable items from going into the landfill, she sent them to another country that desperately needed them!

I’m so proud of Sonja and she encourages me to make changes in my life!

I may not be making such a large impact as Sonja has done with the medical supplies, but EVERY LITTLE CHANGE adds up to big results!

Changes we have made as a family.

1. I sewed a bunch of cloth napkins.

I’ve done be this before, but my German Shepard Daisy, kept eating them 😳 so, we were down to just a handful! I tripled our supply and found a new place to store them.

Also, now that the kids help with the laundry, wash clothes are washed the same day which means Daisy doesn’t have a chance to eat them and we always have a clean supply!

2. I sewed a whole roll of unpaper towels, complete with snaps!

3. We started recycling again and using paper trash bags.

The recycle bin is a metal vintage trash can. It’s small which requires frequent dumping into the recycle cart outside, but it gets the job done, looks cute to me, and fits in our small kitchen.

The trash can was an amazing estate sale find! The lady’s uncle had made it and a paper bag fits exactly inside! It was literally what we were looking for- and it was $1!!! (The best part is the cats can’t get into it – if there is a bag, they think they need to sleep in it LOL)

4. I made flannel toothbrush holders.

This may seem odd, but in my house toothbrushes were being wasted. They would fall by the toilet (gross- throw that away) or the toothbrush would be lost (go get a new one). Now everyone keeps their toothbrush in their little snap bag and we haven’t replaced a toothbrush since!

5. I made beeswax cloths and bags

Beeswax cloth is super easy to make… you just melt beeswax in the oven onto your fabric of choice! The beeswax makes it so the fabric is no longer breathable- so you can seal food in the cloth to keep it fresh! Bread doesn’t get stale either!! It’s awesome 😍

I even made zipper bags and only melted the beeswax into the lining of the bag! These act more like plastic baggies and are super convenient!

Those are our big changes we have currently made! No double I’ll be revisiting the Zero Waste theme often in my blog!Β 

What have you done to reduce waste? I’d love to read it in the comments!!

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