A New Years Resolution for the USA

Like everyone else, I usually make a New Years resolution come January 1st.  I quit making resolutions relating to weight loss years ago, that’s a total joke.  But, for the past 2 years, I made resolutions that I was able to keep.

For 2011, my resolution was to not buy any clothing.  I had a closet overflowing with stuff that I never wore.  It was time I put those perfectly good clothes to use.  A few months into the year, I found out I was pregnant.  How would I make it through an entire pregnancy without buying anything?  I got lucky. Tony bought a storage unit that had a box full of brand new maternity clothes, IN MY SIZE!  2011 was a success!

My resolution for 2012 was to quit my job and stay home with my new baby before her first birthday (in November).  This may not sound like that big of a deal, but I was the only one working at the time.  I was determined to make it happen, no matter what.  Well guess what?  I was able to quit my job in mid-October.  We had to move to Alaska to make it happen, but I wouldn’t change a thing.  This move has defined us as a family.

So what is my New Years resolution for 2013? I will only buy items made in the USA.

I bought a pack of “thank you” notes at Fred Meyer a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t completely shocked to see that they were made in China.  But why?  How much more expensive would it really be to print paper “thank you” notes in the USA?  This got me thinking.  I know that I’m only one person and I really won’t make a huge difference, but what if more people started doing this.  What if US made products (they do still exist) started selling more and China made products started selling less?  What if?  Why not try to bring more jobs back to our neighbors, one purchase at a time.  I know that this idea is a little out there considering most Americans are obsessed with consuming.

So here are my rules:

  • Anything purchased new must be made in the USA.  Assembled in the USA does not count.  It must be made here.
  • I will allow myself to purchase items made anywhere if they are purchased second-hand or if I obtain them for free.  My reasoning behind this rule is that they have already been “consumed”.  I’m saving the item from the landfill and giving it a second life.
  • Food does not count.  I will still purchase food items grown elsewhere.  I will choose US grown items over imports, but I’m not going to tell my toddler that she can’t eat bananas for an entire year.  I would have one very unhappy little girl.

I will post my progress regularly and showcase any awesome “Made in the USA” products I find along the way.

What do you think about my New Years resolution? Are you interested in joining my challenge?

Food Waste Friday 12/28

FoodWasteFriday

After years of wasting what could have fed a small Ethiopian village, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

I am pleased to announce that we have no food waste this week!  We have been diligent about eating all of our leftovers and using up ingredients.  Yay for us!

We did have the opportunity to eat some fresh caught Alaskan Salmon this week.  A friend was given a huge fillet, and there was no way she was finishing it.  We had teriyaki salmon one night and salmon tacos the next.  The fish was so fresh and delicious (and free!).  That is what living in Alaska is all about!

How did you do this week with your food waste?

Feeling a Little Bit of Organization

Last week I got the itch, the itch to organize.  Ava received a bunch of new clothes for her birthday and Christmas, so things had become a little unruly.  It was to the point where I felt like she had a million outfits but she only wore 4 of them because they were the most convenient to get to.  I had to fix that.

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/perry-moore-photography/

Photo by: SeanLeonardPerry

I pulled out everything and made a few dividers out of a cardboard box, nothing fancy.  I began to fold and sort each item, grouping them together.  She now has a neatly organized space with designated spots for her pants and skirts, shirts, onesies, outfits, pajamas, leggings and tights, and socks.  I also made a home for her hats, gloves, and sweaters.  It’s all so cute now in their own spaces and I can actually find things.

I also somewhat organized Tony’s clothes and some of mine too.  Nothing as elaborate as Ava’s, but everything is a little easier to find.  Our current place is furnished, but it’s lacking enough drawer space for all three of us. Some of our clothes are still in our suitcases.  I makes you realize that you don’t actually wear everything you own.  It will be nice when we get into our house and have room to spread out, but for now, this is working out just fine.

I also sat down and organized my Pinterest.  If you follow me, you probably noticed my hundreds of pins within a few hours.  If you don’t follow me, you should!

I had all of my house ideas on one board.  I decided that it would be a little overwhelming when it actually came time to look for something, so I broke it down by room.  I also took my “Holiday” board and broke it down by each individual holiday or season.  Much better.  My “Food” board has always been a huge mess.  I broke it down by different meals.  So much easier to find that french onion soup recipe when it’s on the “Soup” board and not pinned with 1,000 other food pins.  I feel so much better now.

Do you ever get to that point where you just break down and organize something that’s been bothering you?

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s been relatively quiet for us this year. Tony was called into work, so Ava and I had the day to ourselves.

Ava and I took a walk to the grocery store with her in the Ergo. It’s about a half mile walk, down past the lake. It was actually very refreshing out in the brisk air.

We picked up a french baguette, organic bananas, and some organic green tea and headed back home. The store was busy with everyone getting their last-minute grocery shopping done. We were in no hurry.

20121224-184359.jpgOn the way home, we found a tree full of these cute little pinecones. I picked a few. Not sure what I will do with them yet, maybe make Christmas ornaments with them for next year.

We also saw a guy on a snowboard on the lake. He had a parasail attached to him, like one they use for kiteboarding (I looked it up, apparently it is called snowkiting). He was cruising around the lake. I definitely want to try that at some point! It makes me want to find boots for my nordic skis (my really awesome Freecycle find) so I can get out and enjoy the snow a bit more.

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Christmas Eve, we sure have.

 

Food Waste Friday 12/21

FoodWasteFriday

After years of wasting what could have fed a small Ethiopian village, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

Holy Cow!  For some reason this didn’t publish on Friday.  Sorry about that.

This week, the only waste I have to report is half of an onion. It got pushed to the back of the fridge and we forgot about it. I pulled it out and was going to use it, but it didn’t look quite right. I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. I should have used it up before it even got to that point.

How did you do this week?

The Shortest Day of the Year

I made it! I made it to the shortest day of the year. The sun came up here in Anchorage, Alaska at around 10:15am and will set at approximately 3:45pm. Yes, that is correct. We will have 5 1/2 hours of daylight today. And starting tomorrow, the days will gradually get longer.

Before moving here, everyone told me that I would hate the short days. I was also told that the days would only be about 3-4 hours long and that they would be dark and dreary. Whatever picture you have in your mind about the Alaskan winter, throw it out!

Our backyard at noon today.

The winter days here in Anchorage are simply gorgeous! Yes the sun doesn’t start coming up until 9:30 or 10:00, but when it does, it’s shining bright. The days are clear and sunny, with no cloud in sight.

The few days that are cloudy (only 5 in the 2 months that I have been here), it snows! The snow is beautiful and fun to play in. I am hoping that it will snow on Christmas. Crossing my fingers!

If you think that our winters are dark and miserable, you are oh so wrong. Some days are colder than others, but people are out taking advantage of the gorgeous weather. My threshold for playing outside is around 10 degrees, anything colder than that is just too much for Ava. Anywhere you drive in the city you will find people ice fishing, ice skating, nordic skiing, or sledding.

Don’t be afraid to visit Alaska in the winter, you will be missing it at its best!

Have you ever been to Alaska? What time of year?

Our Living Christmas Tree

It’s finally Christmas around The Scacchi House. We had our first heavy snow storm this evening and we finally found a Christmas tree.

Yes, we live in a state filled with trees. How could it be so difficult? I wanted a living Christmas tree. I wanted a tree in a pot. I really didn’t think a potted tree would be difficult to find, boy was I wrong.

We initially went to Lowe’s, but they only has fresh-cut trees. The sales lady at Lowe’s sent us to Bells Nursery, which is a local place here in Anchorage. No luck again. The only potted trees they had were these floppy looking things. I literally wanted a mini Christmas tree in a pot. I gave up looking when the lady at Bells told me I wouldn’t find anything like that around here.

 We were out shopping today and we decided to stop into Fred Meyer (think: high-end Walmart) after I discovered that the Eagle River Salvation Army has closed down (boo). I walked toward the garden center and guess what they had? They had a 3 foot tall potted Christmas tree. I was like a kid in a candy store. And it was only $19.99!

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 The point behind the potted tree is to have a Christmas tree for life. Some families spend $60-$80-$100 every year on a fresh-cut tree, only to put it out to the trash in January. They other option is an artificial tree, but then you miss out on the fresh tree scent and all you’re really getting is a mess of plastic chemicals straight from China (unless you bought yours from Christmas in America, those are actually made here). I want a tree that can grow with Ava.
My plan is to keep the tree potted and bring it indoors year after year. I will replant it in a larger pot when necessary. Eventually, when the tree is too large or heavy to bring in the house, we will plant it in the yard. We will continue to decorate it year after year.

The best part is that I didn’t have to put it in a base or fluff any branches. I brought it home and set it on our table. I purchased two boxes of white lights a few weeks ago when they were on sale at Lowe’s. While unboxing them, I realized they have white wires. They will do for now, but tomorrow they are going back to Lowe’s. Now to figure out a few decorations, since ours are in storage in Florida.

What type of tree do you have? Do you have a living tree too?

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Food Waste Friday 12/7

FoodWasteFriday

After years of wasting what could have fed a small Ethiopian village, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

This week, the only waste I have to report is about 1/3 of that 32 oz container of Nancy’s vanilla yogurt I bought last week 1/2 price. Although I’m disappointed we were not able to finish it, I’m slightly less bummed because I only paid $1.50 for the entire thing.

We typically buy the 6 oz Yoplait containers, which cost anywhere between $.75 and $1.00, depending if they are on sale. Ava usually only eats about 3 oz of yogurt at a time and every time I put it back in the fridge, it seems to be all watery and gross.

So, even though some of the yogurt ended up in the trash, it was still a cost savings for the family. I will just be more diligent about finishing it off next time.

I don’t have a picture of the yogurt, but I can leave you with this, if you missed it on Facebook.  There was a moose in our neighborhood this morning.20121207-185109.jpg

 

How did you do this week?

Groceries on Clearance… And Not Just Boxed Stuff

As much as I miss Publix, I am growing to love Carrs. Carrs is very similar to Publix, minus my brother working in the bakery. Carrs does have one up on Publix, two actually. The Carrs near our house is also open 24 hours. Carrs puts perishable items on clearance when it nears its expiration or sell by date. We are talking 30% off fresh meat and seafood and 50% off dairy, packaged meats, and pretty much everything else in the store. Some stuff goes out of date that same day, but other stuff is still good for 3-4 days.

Let’s just say, I have no shame digging in the clearance section to see what I can find. On my last shopping trip, I found this giant 32 oz container of Nancy’s yogurt for $1.50. That’s the same price I would have paid for two 6 oz Yoplait containers.  We still have two days to finish it.  We have about 2/3 of it left.  I need to find a recipe that uses vanilla yogurt.

Does your local grocery store mark down fresh food?