Basking in the Glow

February 1, 2010

How is it possible that it is February? I really feel as though we were just talking about the holidays, welcoming in the new year, and making resolutions for 2010. Wow, time moves fast.

Our January change for the One Small Change challenge went so-so. Looking at cutting plastic out of our home completely was really tough, and it made me feel so frustrated with the reliance that we have on it.

At the first part of the month, we evaluated everything in our home that was made of plastic; laundry detergents, condiments, packaging, shampoos, etc. We were able to almost completely eliminate the food items that were packaged in plastic containers, either by choosing a different brand that was made from glass, or by bringing our own containers to the store to be filled. The only place that I got a little stumped with was yogurt, because my children only eat soy yogurt, so we cut it out until I can figure out how to make it at home.

Now here is where the hard part comes in. When we went to eliminate plastic jars for such products as shampoos and detergents, not only could we not find anything in glass containers, but making our own products proved to be a stumbling block, because all of the ingredients that we would need to make these items ourselves are packaged in plastic. This month, I made all of our own detergents, soaps, lip balms, bath products, etc, but for the most part, I could see no reduction in plastic consumption, and unfortunately at times it actually increased.

So, this is where we are, and we have a lot more thinking to do on the subject, and how we can find a way to continue to reduce the plastic that we use. If any of you have been down this road, I would love to hear suggestions that you may have.

For February’s challenge, we are following in the footstep of Linda’s family, and turning off our lights for an entire month. Let me qualify this by saying that we will be using 2 watt night lights in our children’s room, instead of a candle, in order to ensure their safety.

Going a step further, we have mapped out all of the plugs throughout the house, and the appliances that can be unplugged, when not in use. My husband has a lab in our basement, with about 6 computers in it that are almost always on. We talked the other day about how much he really uses each of those at one time, and if it was necessary to keep them all on. Once we got into the discussion, we realized how many appliances are left plugged in, even if in use (or even turned on), and how much electrical waste occurs. I know that it will be tough to do, but we are going to see if we can find a way to unplug everything, and then only plug in when necessary.

So candle light/low light it is. To mark the transition, the boys and I sat down yesterday to decorate votive candle holders. On Saturday night, we had gone out to celebrate my husband’s birthday with a group of friends, and I fell in love with the candle holders that were on our table. Dark red glass, frosted, and sprinkled with what looked like rock salt. It gave a winter snowy effect, and I really wanted to take them home along with our boxed up California rolls. My mind started turning on how to recreate them, and this was our attempt.

We took glue, a clear glass votive candle holder, two jars of colored rock sugar (yep, packaged in plastic, and left over from the holidays. I am thinking that I will have to make my own for the future), a paint brush, and the tops from the last set of yogurt containers that we had before we began the challenge (you don’t need these, just something to pour your glue onto for painting).

This is a super simple project, and each votive takes about 5 minutes start to finish.

Simply paint your votive holder with glue. I prefer an all purpose glue that does not dry clear, which helps to give the glass a frosted look.

Carefully sprinkle the desired amount of colored sugar onto the glue colored votive, and set down to dry.

We had yellow, orange, green and pink sugar, and the boys remarked that they looked like Easter eggs. I suppose that my mind is already gearing up for springtime, and at the rate that time in moving, it should be here any moment.

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