How to plan a sustainable childrens birthday party

We just celebrated my little on turning three a few months ago. How time has flown by! She keeps us on our toes. So sweet, opinionated, friendly, inquisitive, and hilarious.

Her birthday is meaningful to me because I love getting to celebrate her growth, and the anniversary of my foray into motherhood.

As a minimalist, I am always thinking about how to keep things simple, cost effective, and environmentally friendly.

Here are some ways I incorporate these values into party planning:

  • Plan ahead- save yourself the stress rushing, and anxiety that party planning sometimes comes with.
  • Avoid plastics, I used compostable plates, cups, and cutlery as needed. Better yet! Use eating utensils that you can wash and reuse.
  • Think small
  • Support local businesses. When I have outsourced our baked goods, I hire local small business women. This year, we purchased  fresh fruits and veggies from the farmers market and the meat came from a local sustainable beef farm. The tortillas came from our local tortilleria.
  • Have a potluck if you can.
  • Write lists to stay organized.
  • Borrow if you don’t have it. I borrow large drink dispensers for the lemonade from close friends every year. We only use them this one time a year , and we all love to share.
  • Delegate if you can to save fuel. My sister in law who was driving from the east side of town stopped to grab my tortilla’s on her way to our house so that they were fresh and I didn’t have to make an extra trip.
  • Ask for no gifts if you need nothing, or ask patrons to make a donation to the child’s education fund. I also ask friends to visit a locally owned toy store as opposed to heading to a big box store if they feel inclined to get a gift.
  • Ditch the wrapping paper (we used play-silks that we will reuse each year) or reuse the same wrapping paper until it falls apart.
  • We typically don’t do party favors, but this year I did get the kids dance ribbons to play with in our backyard and take home with them.
  • Take advantage of your local parks. Find one that’s fun to play in, age appropriate, has shade, good seating, and have your party there! Its free, nature is amazing for children to play in, and its supporting local parks which I am all about.

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Peace,

Farai

6
Our little bloom

DIY Mushroom Costume

My kid has a wee obsession with mushrooms, and I thoroughly encourage it. She’s had a mushroom themed Easter, and birthday this year, might as well make it a triple and go the same route for Halloween as well.

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I posted a picture of her Halloween costume and got several people asking me how I made it, so I wanted to make a shareable post.  Halloween can be a super wasteful time of year, and as always I am always trying to figure out ways to be as low waste as possible.

Disclaimer: I am not a perfectionist, I get an idea, and then fly by the seat of my pants. This costume was not the neatest, but it sure is cute.

What you will need for the hat

Umbrella hat/ or a wide brimmed hat

White clothes

Paint (I used acrylic) but you can use whatever color paint your mushroom is going to be

Glue (I used fabric glue and my hot glue gun)

A yard or two of  red fabric – I used red and white because her costume was an Amanita Muscaria mushroom but you can use whatever color fabric for your mushroom.

Half a yard of white fabric – for the bottom of the hat.

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How to do it

Drape the red fabric on the hat or umbrella to gauge how much you will need to cover the whole top, and have some fabric to over lap underneath the brim. Trim the fabric to what you need. Use hot glue gun or fabric glue to secure the red fabric to the hat. Be liberal, and make sure to glue it around the rim too. Don’t make it a tight drape, leave room for natural folds in the fabric.

For the bottom, cut strips of the white fabric, and glue them down around the base of the hat to make the bottom of the mushroom.

Once its all secure, paint on the white dots et voila! A little mushroom cap awaits you.

The bottom

If she had white clothes, I would have just thrown those on her. But she didn’t and my lovely pal Carrie gave me the idea of using white pajamas as the base from primary.com (use code Primaryfaraih4 for 25% off) because after Halloween, she can just wear the jammies for bedtime.

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Ways to be more low waste 

Use whatever fabric you have lying around, or ask a crafty person in your life for scrap yardage. It doesn’t have to be red and white. It could be green, blue, brown, white with other color dots.

Skip the plastic trick or treat bucket for a canvas bag, or pillow case. We used one of the baskets she keeps her toys in.

Go thrift shopping for materials

Happy Halloween!

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Earth Friendly and Minimalist Easter Practices for Kids

Happy 2019! I hope this blog post finds you, reader, in good spirits.

So let’s get right to it. Easter stuff is already everywhere you look. I purposefully tried to avoid all small holidays in the USA the first few years of Thandiwe’s life because it just seems like a giant excuse to ply kids with candy. But now, as my little one is getting older and has shown interest in things like birds, bees, bunnies, and mushrooms, I see an opportunity to use Easter to teach her about rest, renewal, and the beauty of transformation.

Christian Easter will be celebrated on April 21st, but we are tying our Easter celebration to the Spring Equinox which will be on March 20. Whatever beliefs you have, I hope you find time to find the beauty in the green blooms that will be coming out to say hello.

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The Easter Basket

Reuse a basket/box you already own or go to a local thrift store and get a wicker one for cheap.

This is the perfect time to get your child spring and summer items they may have outgrown. Each season I go through Thandiwe’s wardrobe to find out what she has outgrown or needs repaired. In her case, she had outgrown her swimsuit and water shoes.

Other ideas include

  1. Raincoat
  2. Rainboots
  3. Hat
  4. Umbrella

Since she has an obsession with mushrooms (like her mama!) I reached out to my IG friends who recommended so many good books, but I liked this one the best. Our lesson this Easter will be around the life cycle of mushrooms.

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Instead of Easter grass, I will be using a playsilk that I plan on dyeing with blackberries. Really any scarf will do. Scarves are great open ended toys because they can become a cape, bandana, tutu, or baby sling. I have a post about toys here.   You could also use newspaper or craft paper to make your own compostable easter grass.

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Play silks I made her last year
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If I had any crocheting skills, I would make these myself, but instead I pay my lovely talented friends instead.  Here is a link to the Etsy store pattern for these . You don’t have to add toys to the basket, but Easter isn’t only about bunnies and chicks, there is ample opportunity to chat about nature in general. 

The Easter Egg hunt

I got a bag of the plastic eggs from the thrift store to use. I spent some time researching biodegradable and recyclable ones (there are not many options) before decided to just buy some second hand and take care of them so we can use them for many years to come. Luckily, the ones I found were slightly bigger than a standard size, so if I chose to fill them with something bigger in the future I am set.

Ditch the candy if you can. Instead use

  1. Coins or cash (kids love money)
  2. Crackers
  3. Yogurt bites, or yogurt covered nuts/ fruit
  4. Gummies that aren’t full of gross stuff
  5. Marbles
  6. Lip balm/Nail polish/Lip stick for the makeup loving kiddo in your life
  7. Rings/ Beads and string to make jewelry
  8. Homemade playdough
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I hope this gives anyone searching, some ideas. At the end of the day all our babes want is to connect with us.  I look forward to restart our walks in the neighborhood where we point out all the cool flora and fauna that is local to us. She recognizes spots from last spring/summer where the bunnies hid and where mushrooms sprouted and she searches for them whenever we do make it outside. I love this graphic from Little Oak Learning. 

Peace,

Farai

Sunday Sweetness

Things that brightened up this past week for me.

This garage sale toy high chair (yay for Godparents who know your style)

These two books for keeping her entertained.

New hobbies. I picked up needle felting and made Thandie a few felt toys. So far the ” ‘ushrooms” are a hit and have accompanied a few naps.

This book for being beautifully written by a Kansas native and an insight into Wicca.

Peace,

Farai

My thrifty summer

As a type A Capricorn, labels, lists and general definitions of things warm the cockles of my heart. Defining my style was fundamental in allowing me to figure out exactly what I was looking for when I began furnishing the house and adding to my closet.

I have a whole post about what how I discovered my style preferences and the little dilemma that led to my discovery in the works.  In the mean time, this podcast I did with Roe of Brownkids and this quiz by Dacy of Mindful Closet were super helpful. 

 

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Effortless, garage sale find 

I used to destest thrift shopping. I felt like it was a messy, stinky, pile of garbage that I had to sift through to find something cool. Having a clear idea of what I was looking for changed the game for me. Instead of being pointless, it became a treasure hunt, where I got to find and welcome items into my home and give them a second chance at life where they could serve my family and I, or bring me joy.

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The perfect watering can from a art walk

I began imagining what I wanted for the different spaces in my house. For the wall space above my breakfast nook, I wanted art made by my friends, things that reminded me of my family, and lots of embroidered and wicker things. I should pause and say that I define my style as ’70s-boho-earthy-dirty hippie’. I like lots of earth tone colors and fabrics. So that is what I look for. Thankfully Anthony loves my style and is cool with it, I like to include him in the choices I make when decorating the house because I want him to enjoy the space too. I try to include art that he likes as well.

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The beginnings of the gallery wall in my dining room. Much has been added to it since then.

So, how did I find all the things I wanted this summer? 

Make a list. I wanted mugs with mushrooms on them, I found two for under a buck. I wanted a wicker hutch, got it. A peacock chair, I got it the next day I posted on my facebook feed. Put out what you are looking for and more than likely you will find it. Maybe not instantly, but it will come to you.

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Esmerelda the Peacock Chair of my dreams

Going to art walks to find art from local artists.

Thrift stores sell the best frames hands down. If you have a piece of art you need a frame for, go there first.

My artsy friends and I bartered my skills for their art.

I posted pictures of items I was looking for online. Sometimes friends, and people local to you may have what you are looking for. This is how I got my peacock chair and wool rug.

If you know someone who loves thrifting and garage sales (shoutout to my Godparents), ask them to keep an eye out for you. This is how I got rugs, and my hutch.

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I’ve always wanted a hutch. Not quite sure what I want in it quite yet

I have said this already, but have a clear idea/list of what you are looking for. I wanted a denim skirt all summer. I finally found one at goodwill that I know I will wear for years! Having a list stops you from buying crap you don’t need or spending money on a fast fashion item that won’t hold up as long.

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My denim skirt

Kitchen items like scales, ladles, bowls, cups, even good quality stainless steel and ceramic cookware can be found while thrifting too. A lot of kitchen stuff got broken in the renovation and I had to replace some things.

Go to garage sales and estate sales.  Doing it as a family is fun surprisingly enough.

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My favorite prayer. This was made in 1975 ! ❤

Shop vintage shops/thrift shops on etsy and ebay.

Don’t be afraid of a little work, sometimes something needs to be cleaned, washed or given a little repair. You will appreciate it more for taking the time to work with it.

I truly love the idea of finding something that I am looking for second hand and giving it a new home. I hope some of you can find joy in that too.

Peace,

Farai