Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Church is the Body of Christ

Lately on Sundays here we have been talking about different word pictures for the church. Today we want to look at verses that talk about the church as Christ's body. This is a pretty commonly used word picture. Let's check it out...

"He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything." Colossians 1:18

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions." Colossians 1:24

"And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Ephesians 1:22 &23

Christians are what make up this body: "Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 Explains how we are each different but no less important than another. We need each other to work together. One part is no good all by itself. And what is super important to remember is the fact that Christ is the head. That means we should all be listening to Him.

"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!" Matthew 17:5

We need to be in submission to Christ as well: "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:23 &24

We need to abide in His teaching: " Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teachings of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." 2 John 9

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4 & 5

"Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread." 1 Corinthians 10:17

 We are only supposed to have one Head - Christ. There is also only one body - The Church. It should not be full of divisiveness. We should work together to follow Christ and tell others about Him.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Woodland Nymph

 Mara was invited to go to a birthday party today. They were asked to dress up and told their would be a costume contest. Mara decided that she would go as a woodland fairy/nymph.

 The leaves are still beautiful around here (but falling fast) and Mara loves creating things with them. So she made a headwreath with leaves and flowers that we still had blooming in our gardens.
 I thought she should use woodland products to wrap her gift as well so I helped her with that. We couldn't find leaves big enough so we did have to use a under-wrapping of recycled brown paper. Then I wrapped mullein leaves around and tied them on. I finished it off with a couple of acorns and a birch tag.

Mara, ready for the party.

A side note... I am so happy that Mara is not afraid to be herself - to be different if that is what it takes. When we got to the party we found that pretty much nobody else really dressed up. But I figured Mara would do fine and she did. And yes, she won the the contest of being best dressed :-).

I included this with my Zero Waste series because I think it fits. Here's why:

  • Items like leaves and flowers can just be composted after use.
  • No plastic packaging was required for this costume or gift.
  • We used what we had instead of buying things.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A New Rag Rug

 I finished a rag rug to go by my side of the bed today.
Making rag rugs is a favorite hobby of mine as it is truly a perfect way to use up trash and turn it into something useful and beautiful. Rag Rugs can be made out of small narrow scraps, old stained garments and such like. It is fun to make a bit of a pattern that depends upon how you add in your colors.

Green and purple are the main colors we have used in our room so that is what I tried to mostly use.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Homemade Eggrolls

 This week we made egg rolls for supper. This is something I often think to make in the fall when we are bringing so much in from the garden. I tend to get fairly creative when it comes to what vegetables go in them. :-) This week I had a huge cabbage from a friend to use that got me thinking about egg rolls. I also put onions, garlic, celery, carrots, hamburger, ginger, salt and pepper in them.

 I make my own wrappers (and avoid the plastic wrapping that comes on the ones you buy) which is not that hard. I talk more about doing that in this post.  Making egg rolls is a kind of messy project but I do enjoy the results! :-)

  In the last year or so I have been frying them in tallow (that I processed from our grass fed and finished beef). I think it is a healthier and cheaper alternative (and also fairly Zero Waste).

  You might notice in the top picture that I have the egg rolls on a brown paper. That is the inside of a sugar bag that I saved for that purpose. I do not buy paper towels and generally use cloth rags instead but for this purpose I do like using paper. The bags work great. Afterwards they work good for fire starter.

  Do you make egg rolls? Making them from scratch instead of buying the frozen ones or even buying the egg roll wrappers definitely creates less trash. I made extra and froze a bunch too. I am looking forward to using them on a busy day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Broiler Pen made from Repurposed Items

 This Spring we were needing a place to put our broilers for their growing up. We didn't need anything super great as they would only need it for a few months and not through the winter. We also weren't wanted to spend a ton of money.

  So, Aaron and I went to work with trusty pallets (we had some on hand that I had collected another time).

For the shelter (that would go inside the pen that we made) we used pallets and some screws and made the lovely contraption about. Then we took a lumberyard tarp (that we get for free) and folded it in half (or maybe more times) to make it even sturdier and then we stapled it securely on our "roof".

For the actual pen we decided to use the garden fence for one side of it. Then we made pallet fences for the other 3 sides. We had to dig a few places so that they sat nice and flat with no holes underneath them. We screwed them together as we went along.

 We worked the fence through and around some brush. I cut down as little as possible as I liked the idea of the brush hiding the fence on the outside and on the inside I knew that it would provide greenery and shade for the chickens.

This is the view from inside the garden.

We used another pallet for the gate and some zip ties served as "hinges".

We found some odds and ends of wire mesh that we had and put that up on the inside of the fence down near the bottom to keep little chicks in (since there were some cracks) and predators out.
 The chickens really enjoyed their new space.

 Mara, standing by our "gate".

It was a fun project that we made without having to spend money or create waste. In fact we used up some things that would normally be wasted. And it worked! It was a successful home for our chickens until time for butchering. We thought about getting a piglet after their butchering time but that didn't happen this year. Another nice thing about this pen was that it actually looked pretty decent and especially with it being in the brush it was not an eyesore on the property. Ken really appreciated that.
Have you made things out of pallets? What have you done?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Chips" and Salsa - With Zero Waste

In the fall one of the things that I most like making from our garden is salsa. Salsa just tastes like harvest time to me. My top favorite way to eat salsa is with chips. But even in years past I have rarely bought chips. Why? First I tend to find them on the expensive side. Second I question how healthy they are for us since they are a processed food that sits in a bag for a long time. Thirdly, for quite sometime I haven't  preferred to buy things that are in lots of packaging. Chips pretty much always come in a plastic bag that isn't very reusable. So chips were just a once in a great while sort of treat.

But I have happily found a homemade substitute that I and I think all of my family likes quite well. I like it just as it is but I do have ideas for other varieties as well. What I do is make sure to make extra when I am making tortillas for a meal some day (My recipe is here) and then a day or so later I turn the leftover tortillas into chips. I lay them out on a pan, brush them with olive oil on both sides and then sprinkle them with salt. The next step is to cut them into chip shapes with a pizza cutter. Then I bake them in the oven at around 375 degrees until they are crisp. Take them out and eat them. They are really crunchy and taste wonderful dipped in salsa. 

My tortilla recipe is generally made all with wheat flour but for this purpose I do think it would be fun to make a tortilla with a lot of cornmeal in it and then make chips from it. I hope to try that soon. You could also sprinkle different spices on it to make it even more interesting.

  Do you have any ideas for variations?

That is our zero waste and frugal, chips and salsa substitute. We like it!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Avoiding Trash When Spending Time with Others

Trying to live without creating any landfill waste has been interesting. Over all it hasn't been that hard especially when I am hanging out at home but when I spend time with other people it can get more interesting.

 For instance I have discovered it is pretty common for others to bring trash to your place. Company brings things in bags and such that are normally thrown away. Music students often have snacks that are in wrappers and stuff like that. Personally I am not ready to make this big announcement "We are trying to live with Zero Waste around here (or I am - much of my family is not really ready to take that step) and would you please take care of your own trash." So we provide trash cans and sometimes I go through it later and see if any of it can be composted or recycled or reused in anyway.

This Sunday I also ended up out and about quite a bit. There was a fellowship dinner at church. We are very blessed that at church there are a lot of us who don't really like to waste so for dinners and even big events with over 100 people we still use real dishes and silverware and we wash them and use them over and over and over again. We also use fabric towels instead of paper towels. So it is easy to stay zero waste at church.

We did also go to a 4-H potluck. Even though 4-H is known for being green that isn't super obvious. :-) I did bring plates and silverware along but then I knew Aaron would be embarrassed if I pulled them out and since this was his event and since it was the cheap paper plates that I knew would compost or work for fine for fire starting I did use a paper plate. I used my own fork however and took it and Ken's plasticware home for washing. I brought our plates and programs home for using to start our fire with.  I had a water bottle in the van but forgot to bring it in at first. I thought about grabbing a disposable water bottle or a plastic cup but I refrained and went out and got my water bottle instead. It really is nicer anyway. I do need to learn to think ahead to bring it in with me places however.

 That day as well we were also invited over to some friends to play games and they offered some yummy snacks. Again disposable plates and cups were offered. Since it was just snacks I was able to avoid their use and just take a little bit at a time in my hand.

  All this stuff is in a way rather petty but it makes you think about all the ways that we can create trash through the day. Also I think about how I could easily avoid the temptation to use that trash by planning ahead a little more. It isn't that hard you just have to think about it. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Homemade Pizza

 Making homemade pizza instead of buying frozen or take out or something like that is a great way to avoid trash. It is also better for you and can taste pretty delicious as well!
 I use this pizza crust recipe and then I often put tomato sauce on it but sometimes I do alfredo sauce instead. I make the alfredo sauce by sauteing several chopped cloves of garlic in 1/4 cup butter. Then I add in around 1/2 cup of white flour. Then I add in milk and salt and stir well. Then I add in some pureed homemade ricotta goat cheese (you can also use cream cheese) and some shredded cheese. Cook until thickened. It is pretty easy.

  For this pizza I fried up some of the chicken breast from chickens that we raised. I also put on kale leaves, tomatoes and peppers from the garden. Then I topped it with some more shredded cheese. It was good but I actually forgot to put salt in my sauce this time so it wasn't as good as it could have been.

  I also made extra and I like to freeze them because they make a nice quick supper. I know this isn't a "pure" zero waster tip but I like to reuse the bags that I buy 20 lbs of white rice or pinto beans in. I wash them out and they get used over and over and over. They work great for putting a pizza in and putting it in the freezer. To freeze pizzas I usually pre-bake the crust for around 9 minutes and then I put the toppings on and then I freeze it and just finish baking it when I get it out to eat.
It may not be a perfect solution but it works well for us.

Do you ever make homemade pizza? Have you tried freezing them?

God's Flock

Have you heard God's church referred to as a flock? That is a figure of speech that is used several times in the Bible. Let's look at that today...

Acts 20:28 says: "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."

I Peter 5:1 & 2 says: "Therefore, I exhort the elders among you as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;"

We that are Christians are the sheep - Jesus is the shepherd: John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."

Another scripture that would compare us to sheep is Matthew 7:15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." Those false prophets are trying to look just like us but they are not the same. We need to be alert and see when there is someone teaching who is not truly a sheep that is following Jesus.

Jesus wants all of us - no matter what our nationality or anything else that might divide to be one flock with Him as our shepherd. John 10:16 " I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd."

Are you a part of God's flock?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Honey From the Homestead

 Today I extracted the last of our honey (I did one hive last month but didn't get to the 2nd one until today). We had a beautiful sunshiny day to do it in and I was very thankful! It looks like cooler weather is on it's way so I am glad to have gotten it done today.
This was by far the worst year I have had for honey production. I am not truly sure why though I do know that I had at least one swarm leave the hive (which I tried to get back but couldn't) this summer. I am not sure why they swarmed either as they had plenty of room. Anyway, I am hoping to do some more reading on beekeeping this winter and work at it a little harder next summer.

  But we did still get honey and I am very thankful!

 Keeping our own bees is a great way to provide zero waste sweetener for our family. We do buy and use some sugar as well but the majority of our sweetener tends to be honey from our homestead. I repurpose jars that we have collected from other things to put all our honey in. They just need to be clean and very dry. I always enjoy bottling up the honey and figuring out how many pounds we got and storing it on our pantry shelves. It can get a little sticky but it is pretty fun! :-)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Making a Whale From a Milk Jug {Kind of Zero Waste}

This is a fun project that I did earlier this summer for the little kids class at church. It kind of falls in the category of Zero Waste. It is definitely re-purposing things that otherwise would have most likely been wasted but still in the "Zero Waste World" it would have been better to refuse to buy these things in the first place. But just in case like me you already have these things on hand might as well go ahead and find a new life for them. Don't you think?

 I cut milk jugs in "Whale" shapes and then drew details on with a permanent marker. Next I colored them blue with a marker or crayon (either works). To make the tail I cut out that shape from a blue plastic lid and glued it in the neck of the jug.

  I also made little felt finger puppet Jonahs.

  I we using this with a really little kids class so I think I did most of the project ahead of time and then had them color on them. They really enjoyed having this as a take home toy.

   This project is not original with me - I have seen it many places online. But I thought it would be fun to share again as it is a pretty cute way to recycle a milk jug in my opinion.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Doing Some Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

 The last two days I have had to out and about anyway (Eye therapy for Mara yesterday and our homeschool co-op today) so I added in some food shopping expeditions. The goal this month is to find ways to get what we need without getting all the packaging that so often goes with it. It has been fun to work on.
  Yesterday I went to Harmony Food Co-op, a natural food store that we have in town. I have long known that they have items in bulk bins that you can buy and I have purchased things from them before (even as a child we would go there to buy many of our spices) but I have never taken my own containers in to use before - I have always just used the plastic bags that they provided. So my new experience there was to take jars in with me (I do want to make some cloth or netting bags for that purpose too but haven't done that yet) and I took them to the front counter and had them put the Tare (weight) on them and then I went and filled them up with the desired items.

 I bought some herbs and spices
 Some dish soap
 And some sesame sticks for a snack because Megan and Aaron were along and really wanting them.
There are quite a lot of different options of things that you can buy from the bulk bins. We do have at least one other store in town with bulk bins as well. I am not sure if the variety is much different or not.

It was pretty easy and I found it pretty fun. You do have to think ahead (unless I would store containers and bags in my van which I may start doing) but I usually plan ahead on my trips there anyway.

  Today I had lined up to go buy cows milk from a farmer that lives around my parents and then my mom told me that another (basically organic) farmer that lives in that area had a bunch of produce that he was wanting to sell. So I also went there and I bought a bunch of onions from him as well as some peppers. I was able to take my own bags along and came away with no packaging. :-) I wish I could have gotten a picture of the farmer in his lovely greenhouse of peppers and tomatoes but I was shy about asking. He was  your traditional farmer in overalls and on a tractor when we got there. His produce looks beautiful. He charges a fair price for it as well.
 Buying cows milk from the farm is going to save us a lot of packaging but to start with we had to deal with some plastic packaging anyway. The farmer has all of the people that get from him use these same jars and lids and that way we can bring empty jars which he sterilizes and fills and then we pick up full ones (but not necessarily our jars). We are quite excited about the cream that we have by buying raw  cows' milk!!! Some of the jars look like they are about 1/3 cream. We got 4 gallons of milk so that means we have around 1 gallon of cream. We love cream so we are pretty excited. I also hope to make butter and I want to try making sour cream. With the plastic packaging from the jars I do plan on making a outdoor rag rug so at least it will get used again.
 Our final (and best!) farm stop was at my parents. They have a lovely hobby farm and they bless us so often and so much by sharing the bounty of it. They keep us supplied with goats milk much of the year which is such a huge blessing! (The reason we are getting cows' milk too is because Ken doesn't care for the goats milk and then also the goats' milk doesn't have cream that separates very much and so we do love cream from the cows' milk). They also share so much from their garden and orchard. Today Mom and I picked corn and apples to bring home. They also sent some more milk with us too.
With any of the milk from farms we use glass jars which we can use over and over again. With produce from the farms we can use resusable bags, boxes, buckets, baskets, etc. No plastic packaging at all - I love it! :-)

  That is how we got some various groceries without creating waste. What options do you have where you live for buying food without packaging waste? If you start looking there may be more than you think. Also if you are willing to bring your own containers you may find that it is just fine to use those instead of the plastic bags that are provided.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Making My Own Toothpaste, Deodorant and more with Zero Waste!

For the last quite a few years I have not bought any body care products for me (Ken does still buy them for himself). I have made them instead. This allows me to use ingredients in them that I believe to be healthy and to avoid those ingredients that you have no idea what they are. It also saves money and most importantly for this month's theme - they are generally Zero Waste! Woohoo!

 I won't go into everything that I do today (I think we will save hair care at least for another day) but let's talk about tooth care.

   One thing that I have done for quite a few years now is Oil Pulling every morning. I am pretty addicted to this now and really miss it when I don't have time to do it or forget to bring my oil on trips. The concept is super simple. You take around 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth each morning (before doing anything else like brushing teeth or eating) and let it melt and then swish it around in there for around 20 minutes and then thoroughly spit it out (but not down a drain as you don't want the oil to harden in your drain). Rinse your mouth out well with water. When I first started doing this there was no way that I could do it 20 minutes so I just did it as long as I could. Now I can easily go an hour but that isn't necessary. I believe this has caused my mouth and gums to be far healthier and I think it has positively affected my over all health as well. You can google oil pulling and find a lot more information on it.

  I have also been making my own toothpaste. I tend to do a lot of experimenting here and getting a little different batch each time I make it. The batches tend to last about 6 months or so and then I try something else. :-) Overall I have been happy with them I just like experimenting and using what I have on hand. This older post of mine tells some of my reasons for making my own. Here is another post with an interesting recipe.  You can read about more toothpaste making here.

 Our latest batch I like pretty well and I used raspberry leaf, stevia leaf, black walnut hull powder, coconut oil, water, baking soda, salt, bentonite clay, activated charcoal and peppermint essential oil in it. I didn't keep track of the amounts. I used the blender to grind things up good. It seems to work well. And yes, it looks ugly! :-)

For deodorant I have stuck with the same tried and true recipe for years. I am happy with it so why change. :-) You melt 5 - 6 tablespoons of coconut oil and then stir in 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup cornstarch and some essential oil if desired (but I don't recommend peppermint oil unless you want a burning sensation in your armpits).  Put it in your old (You could wash it in boiling water first if desired) deodorant container and use as needed.

   I also make lip balm and lotion bars from time to time. You can read about that here.

  I will try to share some of the other things that I use and make another time this month. I would love to hear what you do if you make or use any natural/ homemade care products. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Making A Quilt for Mara's Birthday - And Zero Waste Wrapping for Her Gifts

   We have had some milestone birthdays around here lately. Mara turned 18 on Friday and Ken turned 40 on Sunday. It was a busy birthday time. When figuring out birthday gifts I thought it would be fun to make Mara a quilt. I made one for her room years ago (before I started blogging) but we have been wanting to make a different one for several years now. This year I decided that she and I probably weren't going to get around to making one together as she is busy with college and work and then plans to head off to a mission program next year but that it still would be nice for her to have a new quilt that she could take with her when she went. 

  So Megan agreed to work with me on her quilt and the Monday before her birthday (we are notorious for last minute plans and procrastinating around here) we started to design and work on her quilt. Her room is blue and she had made a rag rug for it in greens, purples and blues so we decided to use those colors for the quilt. Megan went through the fabric scraps that we had on hand and choose some that she wanted to use. I made patterns and we started cutting pieces out.
 Megan did most of the cutting and I did most of the sewing but we did both do the other some as well. Megan put in many hours of work and I would never have been able to get it done without her.

For the middle of the quilt (that will not be seen) we used an old blanket from my college days that had seen it's better days. It was bigger than we needed so from the extra that we cut off Megan patched the middle where there were holes.

 For the backing of the quilt we used an old sheet of ours that had gotten ripped (and a little worn) at the top of it but still seemed to be quite sturdy fabric for the rest of it. I was able to cut the ripped and worn section completely off and use the part that was left.

   We were hiding out in my bedroom to pin the quilt together, to tie it and pin binding on.

Mara was quite happy with her quilt.

I am thankful that it fits well on her double bed now but should also work on a single bed in the future.

  For the quilt we were able only use things that we already had on hand.  We were able to make something "new" and useful out of what many people would have considered trash. The tiny little cotton scraps that were created from making the quilt we were able to put in our compost to rot. Large scraps will be used for other projects and the rest of the sheet will go into a rag rug and new handkerchiefs. "Waste not, want not" :-)

  We were also able to employ Zero Waste wrapping for the birthdays lately. For large gifts (like the quilt) a table cloth makes a nice piece of "wrapping paper". I secured it with a rubber band instead of tape. Smaller pieces of fabric or a kerchief works nicely for smaller gifts. Reusable gift bags were also used for Mara's birthday and they work great.

  This is part of my series "31 Days of attempting to create Zero Waste" - for a list of others in the series go here.


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