Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 31

So this is the last day of the January money diet challenge. It's been quite fun even if most of the challenges were things I had been thinking of doing anyway but this was a small kick to get it done and not only thinking about it. I might continue on with the Kanelstrand blog's Simple Living Challenge starting tomorrow.

I think there was one challenge that was left undone during the month, Day 13, repurpose something. I found the idea of making my own bird food from a garden book I have. For making it I used an old plastic pot that you get with the salad in the store. I just bought the cheapest margarine I could find and stuck the pot up with it and loads of nuts and seeds. Now it's hanging in the garden, haven't seen any birds around yet though but I am hoping they will come around.

If there's a will there's a way

When I did my bachelor we did a student visit to an aviation company. I remember we asked them if they saw any alternative fuel for airplanes in the future and he said pretty firmly no. He couldn't think of anything that would give enough energy to start a flight.

Listen to ths guy, I think we need more leaders like him!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Catch up

I have some catch up to do on the blogging side as I've had some friends over for a visit and didn't have time to blog.

Day 28 in the HappySimpleLiving January Money Diet blog challenge is about Reducing food waste.
I wrote a post on that in August. Also the lovefoodhatewaste webpage is good for ideas on how to minimize food waste. I've defenitely have become better on planning the meals and not throwing away food and I quite enjoy inventing new recipes from yesterday's scraps and it has never been bad so far!

Day 29 Try Alternative transportation. I was just saying yesterday how a kick sledge would be excellent now since we got snow and it is so icy.  Not sure where to get one though. I think the only alternative transportation I will use  in the next few days will be the bus. Doesn't feel too inventive but I don't think I will be using my bicycle anytime soon and I'm not planning to go shop any skies.


Pic from here.

Day 30 Declutter one place. As I've cleaned the kitchen cupboards  and Stefan's home office when we got the new shelf I think there is only one cupboard left to go though, the one in the entrance with all the dogstuff and outdoor clothes. I guess it wouldn't be a bad idea to clean it up a bit, let's see if I have time tomorrow.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 27- Inspire and give ideas

The HappySimpleLiving Blog, which is running the January Money Diet challenge, invites anyone to write a blog post on any of these topics:
  • Money-saving ideas
  • DIY projects
  • Living simply
  • Foods cooked from scratch
  • Easy recipes
  • Gardening tips
  • Sustainable living
  • Urban homesteading
If you have any good ideas, do join!

I did the hummus today, that was yesterday's challenge. It was actually really good on bread! Have to figure out what to do with the leftover hummus though, any suggestions?

Pics of the chickpeas and rest of the ingredients ready to get mixed and the ready bread, we used salad instead of sprouts but it was good as well.

On the food topic I found out that there are some theme weeks in Finland for national fruits and vegetables according to what is in season. This week is onion week so I'm gonna put some extra onion in the risotto tonight.

Here is the rest of the theme weeks in case you are out of ideas on what to cook, found on this blog:

v.7 Potatis (potato week)
v.10 Svamp (mushroom week)
v.12 Örter (herb week)
v.15 Gurka (cucumber week)
v.20 Tomater (tomato week)
v.25 Nypotatis (new potato week)
v.27. Jordgubbar (strawberry week)
v.30 Paprika (pepper bell week)
v.32 Trädgårdsbär (garden berries week)
v.33-34 Skördeveckor (harvest weeks)
v.37 Äppel (apple week)
v.41 Brysselkål (brussels sprouts week)
v.43 Sallader (salad week)
v.48 Julrotsaker (root vegetable week)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Plastic Cards

Nowadays we have palstic cards for most things, I'm staring to get a bit tired of them as they soon won't fit in my wallet anymore.

I got a bit upset when I realize that here you have to renew your student card every semester. That means I already have 4 student cards, one for autumn and one for spring, and both for the union and one for a student nation (it is kind of a thing here in Uppsala to belong to a nation). At home we had one and the same student card for the 4 years of study that my Bachelor took. First we paid the card for a year at a time and second we got a sticker for every year, so no need to get a whole new card. Additionally, as far as I remember, the nations did not have a card.

Feels like a bit of a waste of resources to get a new card every half year, I hardly had time to use my old one yet. Also I have the feeling that more resources goes into printing new cards than printing stickers.

People exist even if they are not on Facebook

Found this video on a tree hug blog. Quite interesting that there is still uncontacted tribes on the planet and quite sad that we are still too greedy to respect their habitat and leave them alone.

At the moment I'm reading a book called Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan about a walk she takes in the Australian desert with an aboriginal tribe that still lives like aboriginals used to as much as they can. 

When I was in Australia myself there was a lot of talk about how the aboriginals do not appreciate the help they have recieved in terms of getting a job or such. I can understand though how a nine-to-five job might not be the ultimate deal for someone who are brought up with different values. Somehow I think we might all be happier taking that hike in the desert instead of going to our (often) boring office jobs.

I do recommend the book to anyone who is curious about an aboriginal tribes' life. It's a beatutiful book and has a nice message about how perhaps the way we live is not the right way -at least not the only right way.

From the book:  

"It is truly amazing that after 50,000 years they have destroyed no forests, polluted no water, endangered no species, caused no contamination, and all the while they have received abundant food and shelter."

It made me think of the famous quote:

Not until the last tree has died, not until the last river has been poisoned, not until the last fish has been caught, will we realise we can't eat money.

~ 19th Century Cree Indian

I wonder if we are not getting there soon.

Day 26-Make something from scratch

I've been thinking of trying to make hummus before but I've never really had an idea what to eat it with so when I saw this recipe I thought it's time to try it out and the breads look yummy!

Will just have to get some avocado and bread from the store and will keep you posted on how it goes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 25-Go for Zero Waste

I just realized the other day when we were at one of the recycling stations that there is still more stuff we could recycle. We compost and seperate newspaper, cardboard, metal and glass but what we still should think of is soft plastic and hard plastic stuff. I found a sorting guide for Sweden here, so I will take a look and try to find out where we could store those for recycling.

Also I found information on electrical appliances and batteries here, we haven't thrown out anything in those categories in ages but it could come in handy. Additionally, could be a website worth checking out when it comes to trash.

What I find most annoying with recycling is where to store the trash until taken to the recycling station. It doesn't bring a lot of feng shui to keep a line of bins in the living room and I can't say that I am thrilled with the amount of recycling stations in this country so far. We have to drive 30 minutes to get to the nearest one - normal trash and compost bin we have just by the road, but that's it.

I think it needs to be easier to recycle for more people to take it seriously. The best would of course be not to create any trash from the beginning, which is a challenge for the suppliers. I try to avoid plastic wrapping and such when I go grocery shopping but it's impossible. Unless you want to cook solely zucchini and banana, even the damn cucumber is wrapped in plastic! I haven't either found any alternatives to the supermarket chains in our area, like markets or such. 

Talking about trash though, the Rubbish diet blog has a trash challenge going on during February, I will follow to see if any nice tips will come up, and keep you posted!

The kid knows how to talk

Video found here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 24 Cancel Something

When we moved to Sweden I joined two different agility clubs. Now I've decided that we defenitely like the other one better and it is more convenient for us in location and size so when our membership runs out in the other one I'm gonna cancel it. Here we are training in the good place in autumn, horrible weather but the dog was still enjoying it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 23 and Finnish Presidental Elections

Day 23rd's challenge is to research major expenses... hmmm... I guess I could check our big bills and see if there is something to be done about them. I think on daily basis most of our money goes into food. At least, that's what we found out a couple of years ago when we followed up all our expenses for a month. We both agreed though that we don't mind spending on that as we like cooking and eating well.

Stefan had a good point that our electricity bill has been quite expensive since we moved but there is not so much we can do on cutting that. We try to remember all the small tricks like turning off lamps and electric appliances and we keep hoping the winter will not get colder. I have a feeling that our computers might take a lot of that electricity as well, they are turned on almost all the time so I've been trying to cut on the time I sit in front of it and turn it properly off.

At the moment however I'm just excited about yesterday's round one in the presidental elections in Finland. One of the candidates for the second round is openly gay and from the green party. I think it would be pretty fantastic if we'd have a gay president after having a woman president. Not only is he handsome  but he seems smart and tolerant as well. Read more on the elections here and see video shootage from yesterday here (in English).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend challanges

Day 20-Plan your Garden

The garden we have here in Sweden we are sharing with our landlord's so I just follow order's if anything needs to be done. I'm not sure they'd appriciate us changing the whole place, it's really nice how it is. However, we're gonna ask about the birdfeeder that has fallen down if we can reinstall it and put some food in there. Seems we are getting our first proper snow now so I think the small birds might use some food.

Day 21-Cook a Vegetarian Meal

I wrote a bit about what we have cooked vegeterian here and here. Today I think we are going for this one. I also downloaded a how to cook everything vegetarian app to my Iphone, not sure I will rememebr to use it though, I really should take more advantage of the app's I've got.
Will defenitely also check our the recipies on the site that they recommended on the HappySimpleLiving blog.

Day 22-Find Cash With a Financial Tuneup

This post reminded me of the fact that I was supposed to check for a better (read: cheaper) car insurance option. Turns out that in Sweden you are not allowed to change your car insurance for a year once you started it. Uh? This was news to me. Ou well, next year then we'll check for a cheaper option.

What we've been doing on the weekend

Here's the reason why I haven't updated for a while. We finally took the time to do something about the backside of the room we can call Stefan's home office, which was related to day 17's challange. First we needed to go though all the papers that was stuck there and throw out the stuff we didnät need. Then we decided we needed some sort of shelf to put all the papers in otherwise it's gonna look just as messy as before. So taking the trash to the recycling station we took a visit to the second hand shop and we found a shelf for about 10 EUR that was perfect. Lucky!


and after:

Stefan's home office room is not usually the room I spend most time in but now I don't feel so bad about going in there, before it reminded me mostly of all the papers we needed to go through and that it was a mess.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 19 Explore your city

We have explored Uppsala pretty well I think since we moved here in August. We have seen the old town, the cathedral and some nice places around town. I am curious to explore Norrtälje as well though, it is more or less the same distance from were we live as Uppsala is. Perhaps we could go there on the weekend and take the dog and check out the dog café there.

Rings on the Water

Vera posted this video on her blog and I thought I'd share. It's a nice thought that a kind gesture will make somebody's day and carry on to the next person.

Vera is running Maryfly Organics webshop with her boyfriend and she is so lovely to always include a kind note when I've ordered. Last time I also got a small gift, a lipbalm from Ganache for Lips. Almost like she knew I'm addicted to lip balm and it tastes good too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 18 Cook Double

This is never a problem for us. Usually I cook the recipes for 4 and as we are only two usually there is enough over for at least one of our lunches.

Today as we have both been at home our lunch was chickpeas with kale, which will be my lunch tomorrow and for dinner we are having muchroom risotto which will probably be enough for Stefan's lunch, unless he wants to cook something else, in which case it will be my Friday lunch. We are bad at freezing food though as it usually just do not taste as well if it is unfrozen.

Mushroom risotto almost done:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 17 Improve your personal space

I know which room in the house we're gonna improve! Stefan's home office. We need to finally get some order in there and maybe buy a small shelf and go trough the papers.

I'm not looking forward to it but I think it feel nice after it's done.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 16- Learn a New Skill

Now when I have a bit more time after the exam and with a new less intesive course, hopefully I have time to work on my Spanish again. Also I hope to keep training things with the dog-and it's definitely not only the dog you are training in agility, obedience etc. It's acctually more yourself, the dog usually know to follow if you just use your body language correctly.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Take a break

I had a 5 hours exam on Friday and was completely exhausted afterwards so I decided that I needed a break from both studying and computers. This means though that I'm a bit behind in the January Money Diet challange.

Day 13: Repurpose something

Can't think of anything creative right now, might get back to you on this one.

Day 14: Connect with your neighbours

As we are living in our landlord's guesthouse on their yard we know at least him very well and we have tried to help him with some yard work and he has helped us with various things. He just bought a puppy I'm curious to get to know and I think we might be able to help out with the pup also. Altough the other neighbours in the area we really don't very much yet but perhaps we get to know them little by little.

Day 15: Explore the library

The library I go to mostly is the University library, not only to borrow books but to work on projects, study and hang out. I should maybe check out if they have any other books than student literature, on the other hand I really don't have time to read much more than the course books at the moment.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 12 Free Stuff

Today HappySimpleLiving are giving some advice on websites that help you find free stuff. From those it seems that and craiglist have some tips in Sweden and Finland as well.

Another site I haven't tried out yet is that help people to share stuff. Also on a lot of second hand website's you can sometimes see people giving away stuff for free or willing to do a trade instead of a sale ( great opportunity to get rid of something you don't need as well!).

If you want to get a bit more extreme for getting free stuff you can always start dumpster diving. For people living in Helsinki there is a facebook group were people share the information on where in the city there is trashpallets were you might find stuff. I learned about the group at my old office when we were throwing out old office furniture that was in perfectly fine condition and my collegue wanted to share the information to people interested in some desks. She was not so happy about all the useable furniture that was gonna end up at the dump. So hopefully somebody picked it up before the trashpallet was taken away.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 11 Save on energy

Let's see what we can do on this front. Unfortunately we cannot compare energy with energy bills from Iast year as we know live in a new place. I try already to keep my showers short and close lights in rooms we are not in. I liked the idea though to eat dinner by candlelight, so I hope we can try that at least some evenings. I like less the idea o turning the heat down but I guess we could try that as well. I also should get better at remembering to actually turn electrical appliances completely off when they are not in use.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 10 -Win a book/Give away

In the Happy Simple Living blog, that are running the January Money Diet, they are giving away a book today about why we want to shop or get more and more stuff.

I try to shop more and more carefully, of course it is easier as we nowadays live on the country-side and we are not bombarded with marketing every day but I can also see that something happened inside my head as now when we are in a shopping centre I mostly get tired instead of excited about all the things.

I don't have a book on shopping, unless you count grocery shopping, but I thought I could give away my copy of "Äkta Vara" (translated, more or less "real stuff") by Mats-Eric Nilsson. It's in Swedish but if you are interested about knowing what is acctually in the food we eat and knows Swedish well enough to read it, mail me at gatapirata (a) and I send you the copy. The first one who mails me gets it.

Here's a bit of information on the book (in Swedish)

Vad är det egentligen vi stoppar i oss?
Frågan släpper inte taget om de tiotusentals svenskar som läst Den hemlige kocken - det okända fusket med maten på din tallrik, en bok som skakat livsmedelsindustrin i dess grundvalar.
Runt middagsbord, i fikarum, på bloggar och i TV-kanalernas debattsoffor talas det som aldrig förr om den fejkade mat som vi varje dag lägger i kundvagnen. Vi konsumenter inser plötsligt att vi är grundlurade av de stora livsmedelskedjornas utbud, rikt på tillsatser men fattigt på råvaror.
Men vad ska man då äta, är den givna följdfrågan från den omskakade matkunden. Och hur hittar man de genuina och oförfalskade livsmedlen? Är majskycklingen verkligen bättre? Finns det någon skinka värd namnet? Varifrån får laxen sin färg och vad innehåller egentligen fiskpinnarna?
Svaren på dessa frågor och många fler ger Mats-Eric Nilsson i sin nya bok Äkta vara. Här bjuder han på fler avslöjanden av det utbredda matfusket och tipsar samtidigt om mängder av goda alternativ.
Denna shoppingguide är en detaljerad genomgång av 200 livsmedel och förhoppningen är att den ska få följa med sina läsare ända in i butiken.
Dessutom innehåller boken:
- Så läser du en innehållsförteckning
- Här är de vanligaste tillsatserna
- Lär dig att genomskåda reklamspråket ("Naturligt",
- "Hemlagat" etc.)
- Vägvisare till märkesdjungeln (Krav, Sigill, Nyckelhål etc.)
- Så styr butiken dina inköp

How often do you eat meat?

Sounds a bit too high tech for me but I guess it is good if it works:

Meat The Future from Beckmans College of Design on Vimeo.

At the moment I'm into cooking vegeterian recipes, inspired by Treehugger's weekday vegeterian recipes. There is a lot of talk about the Meat Free Monday but I'm almost doing it the other way around now. So I eat meat on Mondays and meat-free other days. We'll see how it continues, so far the recipes have been awesome. Not even Stefan is complaining but I'm pretty sure he eats meat for lunch to survive the "diet". However, how could he complain when I did this today with lot's of eco-red wine both in the food and served with the food?;-) Yummi!

Remedy Against Diarrhea

Learned today from here that six teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt mixed with one liter of clean water should help against diarrhea.

Too bad that in most developing countries the cause is usually contaminated water, but might be good to know one day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 9 Sell Something

Stupidly enough I bought a wedding dress on sale that I'm not gonna use as I found another one. Today was an excellent day to put it on sale on a Swedish weddingforum. (brö I didn't manage to upload the picture though but if anybody needs a dress in size 34-36 and want more info you can mail me at gatapirata (a) 

Circular economy

Found this movie on the concept cradle to cradle here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 8 Create Something

I baked some apples in the oven with leftover gingerbread-crumbs and oats. Idea and recipe from here. Doesn't look pretty but it tasted good.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 7 Give Something Away

I'm gonna dig out the gloves I've lost the other pair for and send them here.

Do the green thing collects single gloves and pair them togheter after washing them and giving them some care. The pairs they finally sell for 5£ are quite adorable, I wouldn't mind getting a pair as well, but no need as I got some gloves for Christmas.

Paper vs Plastic bag

We've been discussing sometimes with Stefan about what bag is acctually better to grab in the store if we have forgotten to take our own.

Seems that neither bag (link in Swedish) is a good choice.

For making plastic bags oil is used and for making paper bags more resources and transports are needed than for making plastic bags even if the bags themselves are recyclable.

Another interesting fact they presented is that you need to reuse your canvas bag up to 131 times before you are at the same environmental impact level as the plastic bag you use once.

Someone told me though; it doesn't matter what bag you bring to the store as long as you bring your own. I think I'll try stick to that advice, not to make it too complicated and hopefully my canvas bags will last at least 131 trips.


Since we put up the no advertisement sign on the mailbox we haven't gotten any more heaps of paper and magazines to throw away, so that was a great success!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 6 Give something a little TLC

I think I might clean my computer both from files I don't need and from dust and defrag it. However, that'll be tomorrow's task because now I'm gonna celebrate our engagement day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On the blog name

There was a post on Treehugger that caught my attention just before New Years. About how "Morals are crucial to environmentalism but moralising is not". It immediately caught my attention because I thought about the title of this blog and how it might be misinterpreted. When I was thinking of starting this blog I had a lot  ideas of different names but most of them were taken. So in the end I settled for "Rules of Green" as it was not too personal, not too limited a name and it was not yet used on the blogger domain.

The blog though is not intended to be a "rule book" of any sort but more a collection of ideas, links, thoughts and news. Then, if somone reads it and find inspiration or something interesting here for them to take on a personal challenge on any environmental issue, even if it would be the smallest one, then that's an added bonus.

As another post by Sami Groover on Treehugger states; Environmentalism is about practicality and common sense, which suits me fine I think as Stefan always calls me the most pragmatic person he's ever met.

So, I hope you enjoy the blog without getting caught on the word "rules", in the end the practical things have to come from a personal interest and will. As I'm learning more I feel the feelng in the blog might change, I feel it might already have changed a bit since I started even if it's only some months so we'll see where it will end up.

Day 5: Fix Something

The picture at the HappySimpleLiving blog made me straight away think of that I need to sew a button on my winter jacket. I've been lazy to do it as the button is just for show on the arm and not necessary, so I took out my little sewing kit and fixed it straight away.

I'm quite a disaster when it comes to sewing, but buttons I know how to sew back on, and since I only stung myself on the needle once I consider it quite a success.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Start off 2012

I've spent the last hour(s) tweeting and saving links of videos, blogposts and articles that I've missed while I was on holiday. Seems like most people started the new year full speed, I have so many new ideas and info in my head right now!

My life is in a bit of a stand-by at the moment and all my energy goes into studying for the exam I have next  Friday. It's a bit too much math's for me and I have to put all my efforts in studying, fortunately it seems I am not the only one who finds it hard.

So the idea was to follow the January Money Diet this month, I'm sorry I'm a bit late with the start but I try to stay on top of it for the rest of the month.

Day 1: Shop at home
I don't know if this counts but as we are living temporarly in Sweden while I am studying I took the chance to fill up some bags with food and stuff in our Finnish house while we were home during Christmas. I went though all the best before dates and everything that went bad before summer came with us as summer is most likely when we are there next time.

Just before arriving back though we still had a visit to the local store for some fresh groceries, but we were lucky as most things were 50 % off, they still had a great amount of Christmas food that they were now selling away very cheap as the best before dates were getting closer. So I managed to grab some excellent salmon and brie-cheese. However, I left the ginger-bread, but let's hope they do not all go to waste:

Day 2: Plan your meals
This is something we've done since September and it's worked pretty well. Of course there is some improvising still when we haven't had the time to cook what was planned or something we bought is going bad earlier than we thought but we have managed better with not throwing food wich has been the main point I find it acctually fun to try new recipes and think about what is in season or what we can to with the salad that was left-over yesterday. Sometimes I wish I had more time to cook though!

Day 3: Finish something
This was a more difficult I said I have mostly the exam in my head right now but luckily I now it will be over by Jan 13th (if I just pass!)
Something I should do that could save us some more money, is to check the car insurance I just got when we registered the car in Sweden. It seemed to be veeery high compared to the one we had in Finland. So if anyone has a tip on a cheap(er) insurance in Sweden let me know!

Day 4: Pay less for gas
I 'd be happy to! Totally without a car we cannot live where we live right now as there is no bus connection unless you walk 5 km first but if the winter stays as warm and without snow we could definitely take the bike to the nearest store. Also I should take the bus more often into town and we only had to drive to the bus-stop. Yesterday, instead of driving back home and back to Uppsala this morning I also simply stayed at a friend's place overnight and saved myself the trip. We had also a very nice long conversation in the evening hours.