Why you should book a DIY Party with Jayne!

20140617-150121-54081862.jpg

So I wanted to write a piece that explains why I choose the business model that I do, and why I think YOU should book a DIY Party with me!

If you are following my blog, you must already have an interest in making your own products. So if I’m preaching to the choir here, I apologize. But here it goes: What are some motivators for learning to make your own products, and for hiring Jayne to help you?

1). Save money. This one is so important to so many of us, that I will repeat it again, with emphasis: Save yourself TONS OF MONEY! I mean it. Making your own products with my simple recipes is CHEAP. Most of my products use very easy to source ingredients that can be purchased very cheaply. You will save lots of money in the long run by learning to DIY. For example, a 120 ml container of my toothpaste costs around $1 to make, compared to $6-$7 for a tube of “natural” toothpaste, that may still be harboring certain toxins. Which leads me to…..

2). Avoid toxins. Many commercially made products are loaded with toxins that are harmful for your health. I always source the least toxic, most natural ingredients possible for all of my recipes. Nearly all of what I use is organic and non-GMO, and I can provide these sources for you to purchase the same quality ingredients when making your own products.

3). Reduce your carbon footprint. Commercial products use a ridiculous amount of packaging, and much of it is non-recyclable in many municipalities. By purchasing individual products rather than making your own and buying your ingredients in bulk, you are contributing to a massive amount of unnecessary waste being sent to our landfill. Go green and learn to DIY today!

4). Get some HANDS ON experience, with troubleshooting right there for you. It can be a lot easier to begin to DIY certain products when you have someone there to coach you through it. Jayne has long term experience tweaking recipes to get the consistency & functionality just right for you. If you aren’t sure whether your finished product looks like it should, Jayne is right there to answer all of your questions. No more searching through endless forums trying to figure out what you should be doing to get your recipe right!

5). Feel empowered. It can feel pretty good to purchase products you know are less toxic alternatives, but it can feel even BETTER to make these products yourself. YOU are in control of what you are putting in your recipes, on your body, and in your home. It’s a fabulous feeling to know you can take control of this part of your life.

6). Have FUN with your favourite people! A DIY party is a unique and fun filled idea for a get together. Share the learning experience with friends, family, or coworkers, and have fun doing it! Laugh along with each other as you embark on your DIY journey. It’s a lot more exciting than googling recipes! And what a better way to convince others to DIY that might not be 100% on board with the idea? Sometimes it helps your loved ones to hear it coming from someone else to give them the jumpstart they need.

7). Support a local, stay-at-home Mom. By using Jayne’s services, you are supporting a local Mama looking to reduce the carbon footprint in her community, and engage in an ethical business that can truly make a difference in the lives of others.

So what are you waiting for? Book your DIY Party today and save money, avoid toxins, reduce your carbon footprint, get some hands on experience, feel empowered, have FUN……and support a local business!

Check out my pricing and party package options HERE.

“Beauty” Regimens I No Longer Perform

20140528-215510-78910454.jpg…….because it’s unnecessary, and I don’t care what “you” think. That’s right, I said it. I really don’t care what you think, and I don’t think anyone should have to care about it. And if it bothers you that I don’t do these things, well, I think you are sweating the small stuff, baby πŸ˜‰ Let loose, and check out what I don’t worry about in terms of my beautiful body anymore:

Shaving. Yup, I don’t shave. Anywhere. I personally think it’s ridiculously unnecessary. Sure, if you have hair somewhere that is functionally or hygienically getting in your way, take it off. Like a beard, for example – I get that. It gets food in it. It hangs in yours or your girlfriend’s mouth, yeah. If I had a beard I would probably trim or shave from time to time so it didn’t get out of control. If you are a championship swimmer and you want to cut a few millisecs off your time – raze away. But do I need to spend countless hours of my lifetime stripping minor, non-irritating hair from my pits and legs? And other uncomfortable areas? God, NO! My hubs does NOT care (really, he really really doesn’t) and I don’t think he should. My legs are actually softer without shaving, and I certainly don’t have stinky armpits. In fact, the hair actually binds to my deodorant to make it more effective, IMO. Be strong and resist the brainwashing, ladies! We don’t need to be hairless.

Styling my hair with product. I keep my hair on the short side, although I am waffling on the style lately. My hair has very little volume, and has a lot of weird little flicks and waves in it. But I am NOT spending my time putting product in it anymore. 1). Because I can’t get behind using the kinds of toxic products that it takes to give my limp hair more shape, 2). I can’t be bothered to waste my time making alternative products for it, because I don’t care. If it’s clean and brushed, it is soooo not my problem if you think it looks ‘weird.’ It’s hair. It’s unique. It doesn’t need to look like the overly coiffed hair in commercials. But just FYI, I will eventually be posting a recipe for chia hair gel. It is pretty cool stuff…and fun to make with the kids. Stay tuned.

Applying make-up. So you may have noticed I don’t have any make-up recipes on the site yet. I confess, it’s because I don’t wear it. Ever. My complexion loves me for it. No pimples, no problems. Why do we need to look like dolls? Why? Make-up is super time consuming and annoying to apply (especially eyeliner, holy hell), and creates a vicious cycle of clogged pores and irritated skin cells that fight back and then need to be squelched again under another layer. I really don’t get the whole make-up thing. Well, okay, I do, I guess, maybe you want to impress someone….and I will probably figure out some basic recipes for those of you who may need it. But I am not rushing on that, because I really don’t think you need it. And I will probably only go as far as lip tint, rouge and mascara. I would be more thrilled if y’all would just let your natural loveliness out πŸ™‚

For fun, check out this article on “How to Liberate Yourself From Make-up”.

Dying my hair. So I think it goes without saying that if I am not styling my hair with product, I am certainly not dying it. Dying your hair is an incredibly toxic process (Don’t believe me? Read THIS). It was fun in my youth to play around with crazy colours, but that is soooo done. And I am not interested in covering my grey, which has actually started to come in, by the way (hmmmm, maybe kids really do give you grey hair). You know, I actually kind of like it! I look at it as my wisdom and experience shining through. I earned that grey. And I wouldn’t cover it up for a minute. I think we need to remember that we can age gracefully and without shame. Be proud of your grey – it’s who you are, and it’s beautiful.

So okay, maybe I am extra crunchy for being this way. Then CRUNCH AWAY, I say. Take control of what is really important in your life, like eating healthy, staying active, respecting the earth we live on, being mindful and present, and enjoying each moment and person in your life like this is your last day on earth. And lastly, being kind and compassionate to one another, and teaching our children to do the same. When you think about how important all of these things are, make-up and hair dye seem a little ridiculous, don’t they?

What parts of your beauty routine have you thrown to the curb?

Busting Odours In Your Home….Naturally!

20140504-211301.jpg

Although many families turn to commercial odour fighting products like Febreze, Glade plugins, and the like, I often stop to wonder how many consider the negative impact of these kinds of products? Advertising makes these solutions look borderline miraculous. Yet, solutions that appear miraculous often come with a price. And in this case, like many others, the price is your health.

Of course, don’t take my word for it. Take a look at THIS article on Care2 listing some of the very toxic ingredients in Febreze, and THIS article speaking to the concerns surrounding Glade. And these are just common brands. For a breakdown of the general risks surrounding commercial air fresheners, seeTHIS excellent article.

Anyway, now that we’ve spoken to the dangers of these popular chemical deodorizers, what alternatives do we have? Of course, as you know by now, that’s what I’m all about. So here we go!

Keep your home clean. For goodness sake, this is number one. If you think you can cheat and just mask odours by spritzing something that smells nice on top of them, well, you’re in for a wake up call. The most important step to eliminating odours in your home is regular cleaning (with natural products, please). Take the trash and compost out regularly, and clean your pet’s litter box daily. Don’t let spoiled food sit in your fridge. This should all hopefully be commonsensical, but I feel I need to say it!

Open your windows regularly. Allow regular air circulation in your home. Stale air can really add to the problem. If you get the air moving, you will notice a lot less odour problems!

Use baking soda in your deodorizing routine. Sprinkle some (and allow to sit for a time) on your carpets, couches, and pet beds before vacuuming. Keep a shaker of it to add to your cat’s litter box after cleaning. Keep an open box / bowl / mason jar with cheesecloth on top in your fridge or in other problem areas (you can even add several drops of essential oil to your baking soda to give it an extra scent). And you can sprinkle it into stinky shoes or work boots, nasty gym or hockey bags.

Soak problem items in vinegar. For items that will tolerate being soaked in a solution of vinegar and water, let them sit for a few hours prior to washing. If you choose to soak them in your washing machine, make sure you drain the water before adding your detergent, or the vinegar may cancel out its cleansing effects.

Rub lemon on problematic surfaces. If you have stinky cutting boards or countertops, or pans that are holding a stank, slice open a lemon and rub it on. Let it sit for a bit, wash it off, and you should be good to go. You can even use raw lemon as a natural personal deodorant!

Keep natural, essential oil based scented oil reed diffusers in your bathroom and other problem areas. You can make your own oil diffusers by adding 10-20 drops of the essential oil of your choosing (citronella, lemon, rosemary, and orange oils are the most potent varieties) into 1/4 cup of a carrier oil (sitting in the bottom of a small jar) like olive or grapeseed. Place some bamboo barbecue skewers in the jar with the oil, fan them out, and voila. The skewers will absorb the oil and diffuse it into the air naturally. Refresh every two weeks to a month or so.

If you are looking for a scent burst, fill a small spritzer bottle with water and some essential oil. A good rule is about 10-20 drops per half cup of water. Lightly spray your mixture into your bathroom after a BM, on your bedsheets or pillow to freshen them up, or anywhere you need an extra scent lift. Keep in mind this IS water, so it will dampen material a bit. Don’t go crazy with it.

If you really want a strong, consistent blast of scent, consider purchasing an Aroma Diffuser like THIS one from Young Living. You add essential oils to it, and it puffs out a constant stream of water vapour infused with the oil. Most of them come with timers that have an auto shut-off. These diffusers are also helpful to have when using essential oils therapeutically, like eucalyptus for a cold – so this would be a purchase with multiple benefits.

You can also prepare a stovetop air freshener by simmering herbs and spices in water, in a pot on low heat. We all know how fresh baked goods can add a delicious scent to your home – this technique applies a similar strategy. A great recipe uses lemon rinds (or whole lemon slices) along with fresh rosemary branches in enough water to cover them. Keep adding water as it simmers down. Don’t let it burn out on your stove!! Keep a timer going if you are likely to forget.

Consider adding some indoor plants to your household. Plants keep the air fresh in your home. Not a green thumb? Don’t worry, there are lots of easy to take care of plants available. I personally love the philodendron family. Ask your local garden centre for plants that need minimal care.

Add a sachet of lavender blossoms to your car rearview mirror. You can also purchase natural deodorizing sachets, or make your own simple hanging freshener with essential oils like THIS one. You can use these same sachets in your underwear and sock drawers, or hang them in your closet. Another sachet idea is using a coffee filter with a string tied around it to contain baking soda with essential oils added.

And there you go, folks, a big list of great alternatives for you to use instead of the chemical laden commercial deodorizing products. Do you have any other natural stank fighting tricks you use in your home?

Check out my DIY Air Freshener & Deodorizer Pinterest board HERE for a bunch of other unique air freshening ideas!

Saying goodbye to suds

20140429-125452.jpg

As I’ve been sorting through some of my recipes, I’ve been compelled to write about one characteristic that is missing from some of them, compared to their store-bought counterparts: SUDS! Bubbles, lather, foaming action, whatever you want to call it, some of my recipes do lack this frothy bubbly stuff that many of us attribute to the effectiveness of a product.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use traditional soap in some recipes, which can produce a fair amount of bubbles and lather. It is this lathering action that can be really helpful for physically getting dirt and grime off your hands and other surfaces. But in some cases, the excessive amount of suds that you get with commercial products are just simply not necessary. And if you are looking for truly natural, non-toxic solutions, I hate to be the bearer of difficult news, but you may have to let go of the suds a bit.

The reason behind this is because chemical surfactants (the things that give your products their sudsy action, above and beyond what a typical soap might do) are one of the most toxic ingredients in many cleaning and bath products. And to my knowledge, other than mixing egg whites in with a recipe (ummm, which would not be advisable if you are looking to disinfect), I have not found any super bubbly non toxic alternatives that I am comfortable with.

(See this article for more information on toxic surfactants and other chemicals in your home.)

One of the products I’ve had to give up on the suds with is my dish soap. My dish soap recipe became a solid if I wanted it to have more suds, and then eventually would lose its sudsiness fairly quickly. I was not into using the solid version (too difficult to mix in with the water), so I liquified the recipe and there is not much suds at all now. It still has soap in it, but it doesn’t lather much when diluting it with the sink water. And you know what? It still cleans my dishes really, really well. And in conjunction with the vinegar rinse, actually probably sanitizes them superiorly to regular dish soap. And it doubles as a kitchen de-greasing spray.

I also gave up suds on my hair. I could not find a shampoo alternative that would not be drying, that involved natural suds (ie. soap). It took a bit of getting used to, but I am now completely comfortable with my “no poo.” The only time I find I need suds in my hair is after a haircut – and then I just use my body wash (which is essentially castille soap, glycerin and water).

You know what else I gave up? Bubble baths for my kid. There was nothing available that was satisfyingly benign to me (short of adding egg whites to my recipe, again, which I am not comfortable with and doesn’t seem very practical to me) and I figured, why the heck does he need bubble baths anyway? He has tons of fun just splashing in the water with his bath toys. So we don’t do bubble baths anymore.

And you know what? We are all clean and happy. It took a bit of adjusting for my hubs with the dish soap and no-poo thing, but now he is completely content with them. Especially because it is so much cheaper ;). The sans bubble bath is probably more an adjustment for the grandparents, really, am I right?

You really don’t always need suds to get clean, and when they so often come with a toxic load, I am very happy to say ‘goodbye to suds’ in certain arenas. Do we still wash our bodies with soap? Yuuuppp. I am a firm believer in plain, vegetable oil based soap. Dr. Bronner’s is amazing stuff. But you don’t need bubbles for everything! I say it’s time to let go of the need for so much lather. What about you?

PS: Stay tuned for “sanitizing your home without bleach or alcohol.”.

Also, check out THIS great read by Crunchy Betty on ditching bubble bath.

DIY your own Natural Sunscreen EASILY and CHEAPLY!

20140407-150843.jpg

UPDATE: (July 21, 2014) I have now posted a preferred sunscreen recipe for you HERE. I have found that the recipe below, although providing adequate sun protection, does not reliably emulsify every time, and sometimes develops a grittiness or chunky quality over time. Apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

So it’s that time of year again where we may think about starting to reach for the sunscreen when spending long periods of time outside. As many of us have now realized, most traditional sunscreen is quite toxic, and (ironically) contains many carcinogens. And if you know this, you know that the natural alternatives are NOT cheap. You are looking at twenty to thirty bucks a bottle for some of the store-bought alternatives.

Now, this wasn’t acceptable to me, so I thought, hey, why don’t I try making my own? Understandably, it is one of those ‘riskier’ DIY exploits to jump on. I felt like, man, if I screw this up, I might end up with a wicked sunburn. Yikes! And myself and my immediate family members (including my two year old), are pasty white.

BUT, after some substantial research, I decided it was worth a shot. So, last year, I whipped up a batch and tried it out. And it worked AMAZING. I was overjoyed to find that neither myself, my husband, or my son burned while wearing it. That being said, we weren’t spending all day on the beach in Florida. We are looking at a couple hours at a water park with moderate amounts of clothing on. I am one for everything in moderation, and I include my sun exposure in that category – I am just not one for baking in the sun all day.

BUT, I do know of some Moms who use very similar recipes and find it is also pretty good for heavier sun exposure. That also being said, just know that I am not PERSONALLY attesting to this.

My recipe relies on two active ingredients that are said to provide a physical barrier to harmful UV exposure. These ingredients are zinc oxide and extra virgin coconut oil. Some folks use just the coconut oil with decent success, but since my pasty skin is so vulnerable, I really felt I needed to add in the zinc oxide as well.

You do need to source the zinc oxide in an unusual location, as it is not something that is widely available in most stores. You can buy zinc oxide online HERE at New Directions Aromatics, or locally at The Soap Dispensary or another similar soap making shop. Please make sure that the zinc oxide you use is non-nano, which basically means it is not readily absorbing through your skin into your bloodstream. While it is a less toxic alternative, it is not completely benign, and should not be used internally or inhaled.

Alternatively if you just cannot source the zinc oxide powder, I have a suggestion (not as toxin free, mind you, as it includes petroleum products) using diaper cream below – wait for it :). Not my first choice, but an option!

Anyways, after that lengthy introduction, here is my recipe for sunscreen that supposedly results in around 20-25 SPF:

1 part non-nano zinc oxide powder
1 part food grade aloe vera gel
4 parts extra virgin coconut oil
OPTIONAL: Add 10 drops per half cup of sunscreen citronella essential oil to make your sunscreen double as a mosquito repellent.

IMPORTANT: Mix in a well ventilated area, with a mask on. Once mixed, the zinc oxide is fine, but it is NOT to be inhaled as it can accumulate in your lungs. Not to scare you, but just wear a mask like this one and you will not only look wicked awesome, but you will be perfectly fine πŸ™‚

20140407-151024.jpg

PROCESS UPDATED ON MARCH 4, 2014:

Start by melting your coconut oil in a double boiler (see my FAQ for an explanation). Add your zinc oxide, and mix well until there is not much left stuck on the bottom of your bowl. Next, transfer this mixture to a food processor (the sunscreen is REALLY hard to clean out of the processor afterwards, so if your budget allows it, I would have a separate food processor for your body products), and blend for at least five minutes.

Add your aloe vera gel (I personally like Lily of the Desert’s products) and citronella. Blend for another five minutes. The aloe vera is in there to be soothing to sun exposed skin, as well as acting as a bit of a liquefier for our mixture. It is not 100% necessary to functionality of the recipe, so if need be, you can omit it. I just find it is a nicer product with it included. The citronella acts as a natural mosquito repellent – and it smells nice, too πŸ™‚

NOTE: It is not advisable to hand mix this recipe, as the zinc oxide tends to just separate if not mixed very vigorously with a processor. If you find that, when applied, your sunscreen contains a lot of white flecks, rather than being more uniformly white, you may need to process it longer.

*If you absolutely cannot find zinc oxide powder, you can use Penaten or some other zinc oxide based diaper rash ointment, and mix in double or triple the amount you would have used if you had the zinc oxide powder. I don’t recommend this health wise, as there are petroleum products in these creams, and the zinc is not likely to be non nano, but if you need to, it’s still better than the toxic regular sunscreen, and a LOT cheaper than the store bought naturals!

And there you have it! This sunscreen will go on a bit white-ish (especially if you use the diaper rash cream) but I find that to be the case with most store bought natural sunscreen as well. This recipe also is not waterproof. You WILL need to reapply after a swim or spending a lot of time in a water park. You just can’t make a waterproof sunscreen that is satisfyingly free of major toxins. So keep this in mind! And it IS greasy. That is just the nature of pretty much all natural, physical barrier sunscreen. I haven’t found any, storebought or not, that is not greasy to some extent.

If you find you get a burn using this sunscreen, either consider upping the amount of zinc oxide you use (just stir in some more into your current batch if you need to), or apply it more often. Another problem could be that you are applying the lotion “too thin” – you want to make sure you have a thicker layer on, as this is a BARRIER sunscreen, not a chemical based one.

I hope this recipe works for your family, and saves you some money too!

Get your ‘Green’ on WITHOUT the toxins!

20140317-095844.jpg

I know it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon of all the fun green coloured treats on St. Patty’s Day. But did you know that food colouring can be quite toxic to your body, especially yellow colouring (which is often mixed with blue to make your lovely green hues)?

There have been studies done which demonstrate not only carcinogenic and disruption of certain natural functions in animals, but ADHD like tendencies in children exposed to drinks containing food colouring. (Please do some basic research on the topic if you have the time, it’s best not to blindly trust my blogger opinion). So, if you are overloading on these colourants on holidays like today, you could be dealing with toxic bods and some hyperactive kids to boot. Doesn’t sound very celebratory to me!

Never fear, though, as always, I have some alternatives for you!

Today, for breakfast, we made “green eggs” (minus the ham) simply by adding some pureed kale to our scramble. You can add pureed kale to a lot of dishes (including just a bowl of yogurt) to green it up! It really doesn’t add a lot of flavour (or texture, if you puree it fine enough) and you are adding lots of great vitamins and minerals instead of yucky toxins. Spinach also works, but I find kale to be slightly superior if you have the option! If you want a burst of flavour, add some pesto!

Apparently matcha (a kind of green tea) can also be sprinkled into icings and sauces to add a green hue without much flavour. You can buy a box of the tea bags, and just rip one open when you need it – or make the tea and use the water (although you might get a little more of a yellowish hue this way).

If you are making a milkshake or a dip, you can also add avocado for a mild flavour and a decent colour burst. Make sure you add some lemon juice as well so your avocado doesn’t brown as fast! Or just serve up some fresh guacamole as a dish on its own πŸ™‚

If you want to keep it even more simple, just serve some foods that are naturally green, such as those listed above, or: cucumber, celery, green salads, zucchini, grapes (pleeeeeease make sure these are organic), green apples, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and seaweed. Serve up some minty cocktails if you are wanting an alcoholic drink (mojitos, anyone)? The leaves are so vibrantly green you shouldn’t need a colorant to add more!

So we’re keeping it safe by lowering our toxins (green should really be a healthful food option, should it not?). BUT, please also remember to keep it safe this St. Patty’s Day by NOT drinking and driving – find a safe way home by deciding on a designated driver, taking transit, calling a cab, or a volunteer designated driver service. Plan ahead so you aren’t stuck with a difficult decision!

Greening your Home: Reduce Waste!

20140305-222316.jpg

Due to some recent health complications, and some time constraints due to moving, I have unfortunately had to bow out of the Queen of Green’s springtime volunteer green coaching project. I am super bummed to not be able to contribute to the level that I wanted to, but I thought I would blog on my personal journey with waste reduction this week, to complement the module the current green coaches are taking their families through.

Let’s take a journey through my ideas for waste reduction in the home, as well as some of my future aspirations!

Ways I currently reduce waste in my home:

Ahem….this first one is obvious: I DIY my household cleaning and body products, reducing and eliminating a LOT of plastic waste.
I do not use paper towel or other disposable cleaning products. I use washcloths, towels, and a microfiber mop.
I used cloth diapers for my son.
I use washable menstrual pads.
I use cloth napkins at the dinner table.
I bring my own cloth bags to the store, and I do not put my produce in plastic bags. I have reusable plastic bags at home that I store my produce in. I have had the same bags for many, many years now. If I don’t remember to bring my own bags to the store, I ask for paper bags, fill them right up, and use them to line my under the sink compost container.
I use compostable bags for any of the garbage I DO put out to the curb. Yes, I buy them. No, they aren’t cheap. But I do it!
I try when I can remember to bring my own containers for leftovers to restaurants.
I do not use plastic wrap, and I wash my plastic bags when I do use them. You can wash plastic bags hundreds of times over if you are careful! I store most food in reusable containers.
I do not buy bottled water, instead I have a wonderful countertop filtration system from Aquasmart which I LOVE. Only problem with this is the disposal of the filters after they are done. I could work on this….
When I can find what I need, I buy clothing and household items secondhand. I am a huge fan of thrift stores and craigslist!
I buy clothing only when I need it. Read: a current item is breaking apart and un-mendable, or I have changed size drastically. I do not shop for fashion, unless I REALLY have to attend a fancy dress event (most of my wardrobe is casual and practical). I try to buy mostly cotton or other natural fibers.
I donate used household / baby items and clothing or sell them on craigslist.
I tell others about my aversion to plastic and buying everything new to discourage them from buying me anything in that vein!
I carefully consider the packaging whenever I am shopping for a new item, or when buying groceries. Anita’s Organic packages most of their products in paper. I love their flours, grains and popcorn!
I buy durable, quality items, instead of cheaping out. I make sure I am buying something that will last, and at the very least is made out of biodegradable, sustainable materials when possible. No use sending something for recycling or to the trash sooner than it needs to go.
I do not rush out to buy the latest electronic gadget. I use my cell phones, cameras, and the like until they are DONE (ie. broken, or unusable due to software requirements). I was the longest of any of my friends to convert to a touchscreen phone, and I only did so when mine was garbage. This was after several large mishaps that I managed to salvage it from.
I recycle as much as possible from the items I do buy with packaging. I wash ALL of my food containers and recycle them, no matter how nasty the contents. No trashing just because I don’t feel like dealing with spoiled food. I seek out options for recycling items my curbside collection won’t take.
I have had to momentarily stop personally composting, but for the time being am adding 100% of my food waste to my municipal yard waste bin. Find out if your city will take your food scraps! Most are on board with this now.
I grow many of my own vegetables seasonally, reducing the packaging required to ship / deliver them to the store.
I bake a lot of take along snacks, to reduce the need to grab for a wrapped granola bar or the like.
I do not giftwrap, and choose to buy green gifts when I can. If I absolutely need to wrap something, I will use one of my coveted gift bags that I have collected from gifts from others, or I will drape some sort of cloth or blanket over it that I take home with me afterwards. This works great for kids.
Some of you may groan at the next one, but I maintain the belief that it’s okay to let it mellow if it’s yellow, and flush it down when it’s brown. Why do I need to flush away every pee? Especially my hubby’s or son’s that don’t even accompany any TP? I really think that folks should get on board with this, to save a TON of water.

Finally, when shopping, I consider “Do I really need this?” when making decisions, and try to curb the desire to buy for the sake of a deal, promotion, or novelty. I think about whether I can use something at home in a similar way, borrow something from a friend or family member, or just do away with the idea altogether.

The list likely could go on, but let’s call it a day there! Hopefully some of my habits have given you a few suggestions!

Some of the things I would like to improve upon:

I want to replace tissue with reusable hankies. I have been lazy in getting around to sewing up some hankies in appropriate, nose friendly fabric.
There are a select few things I cook wrapped in aluminum foil. I just have not found a way around it that I have found an acceptable alternative, especially for barbecuing! Still researching this! Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I would like to start cooking some meals in bulk to allow for quick, nutritious lunches on the go, to replace some of the canned soups and packaged burritos my son eats. Granted, it is very hard to switch him onto new foods, which has made this process doubly hard to be motivated for. Think: I just spent 8 hours cooking and my son won’t eat it, and I now have ten jars of it in the freezer. I generally cook slow, nutritious whole foods meals most of the time, but occasionally I need something quick. This is a tough one!
I need to find a better source for bulk foods in my area, that is affordable, and offers organics. I find it challenging to find a local source for certain bulk organic foods.
Oh, those yogurt containers! These make up a large portion of our plastic recycling. I have not found a bulk organic source, and I do not find it affordable to make organic yogurt from scratch. Hmmm….any suggestions?

How have you been successful or challenged in your waste reduction goals in your household? I would love to hear your stories!