By Fredrica Syren:
Every New Year, my husband and I write a list of things we will manifest during the ensuing year. I also like to reflect on what we did and how much we accomplished in the previous year. So here is the summary of 2015.
January was the month our then 8-year-old Bella declared that we should go plastic free, so it became our family goal. We learned that plastic is in EVERYTHING and that avoiding it completely is almost impossible. We watched the documentary Plastic Paradise and learned about the damage plastic causes to our planet and to our health. (We learned, to our horror, that plastic is even in receipts.) Then, to get more healthy greens in our diet, we started growing pea sprouts.
February came with lots of snow: that meant lots of playing in the snow. We also celebrated baby brother’s 2nd birthday. In our effort to go plastic free, we gave up store bought household cleaners, dishwashing soap and detergent, deodorants, body lotion and shampoo, and started making our own. After some trials and errors, we had good recipes for all of these items, and reduced our plastic trash tremendously.
March came with hubby’s going on paternity leave. We celebrated with a trip to London, our old stomping grounds. We sure enjoyed exploring the many vegan and vegetarian restaurants and organic grocery stores. In March we also got an indoor composter for our apartment. Our kids enjoyed the wiggly family members who so gracefully feasted on our food scraps.
April came with lots of colds and a feeling that winter would never end☹ So we dreamed about summer and started planning a trip to Iceland, which had been a bucket list item for a long time. Longing for planting season was strong, so we started growing celery, garlic and carrot greens from scraps.
May was a cold month, but despite it, we enjoyed being outside and picking lots of stinging nettle that we used for soup, the kids’ favorite. We also picked dandelions and made yummy pancake syrup with them. We also planted our little garden of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and kale on our patio.
June was graduation day for Bella, who finished 2nd grade. The day after that, we flew to Iceland for our dream vacation. We drove around the entirety of Iceland, slept in a campervan and discovered we’re campervan people! We learned about using natural resources for energy and about growing organic vegetables in a cold climate like Iceland. It was an amazing trip.
July was super cold and wet, a summer that will go down in history as the coldest one in Sweden. We avoided the rain and went on a second vacation to Prague, where we had the contrast of a heat wave. Since it was too hot for touring, we ended up with a super relaxing vacation. Not bad at all. Once home, we spent lots of time in the forest picking raspberries and blueberries. Even saw three snakes. Yikes!
August finally gave us the much needed summer, so before school began, we spent a few weeks traveling and camping around the Stockholm archipelago. In August the local organic farmers’ market returned and, boy, did we enjoy all the wonderful local and organic goodies. Tomatoes, Swiss chard, berries and mushrooms were at the top of our list.
Back to work and school but still enjoying a very mild fall, in September we embarked on a one-month challenge to shop only from the farmers’ market and not go grocery shopping at all. There were some challenges for sure but, all and all, it was a success. I don’t think our kids ever have eaten so well.
October was still mild. It was apple, pear and rose hip season, so we harvested lots of it and ate lots; but we also had pies, applesauce and other fun goodies. We watched YouTube videos of Bea Johnson and one by Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers) about going zero waste. We were so inspired that we decided to go for it. Hubby removed our trashcan and replaced it with a small mason jar. We now focus even more on reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. We still have not filled up the mason jar trashcan. It was also the month of the last farmers’ market until next August.
November got cold and grey, and we all felt its effects on our mood. We decided we needed some sun and fun times with friends and family, and booked a trip to a former home, San Diego. November was also the month of Bella’s Waldorf School’s November Fest. Many fun things were made and prepared that were sold as the entire class came together and put on a wonderful event.
In December, after 18 months away, we finally got to see the ocean again in San Diego. We feel that it’s really home for us. We got to enjoy eating lots of fresh veggies and fruits from the local farmers’ market, and we started planning the next chapter in our family adventure and what we wish to manifest for 2016.