I am reading There’s no such thing as bad weather to prepare myself for outdoor activities with my little one as winter approaches. In the book, the author talks about how in Sweden and other Nordic countries, that educators are honest with the students about the human impact on climate change. Fearing that the information is too scary for children to hear, parents in the U.S. often complain when American educators try to follow suit. However, in Sweden- these practices have produced little environmentalists who are adamant about composting and other eco-friendly practices. In essence, these children know the truth and strive to make a better world for themselves and the Earth.
How can we do better if we do not know better? I look forward to homeschooling my child because she won’t have to unlearn the candy coated history of America when the time comes for her to study it.
The country of my birth gained independence from Britain 1965 and still has not recovered from the greed and decimation of colonial rule. My people were rounded up, murdered, and had western Christianity and ideals forced upon them. Their way of life was destroyed. I often think to what Zimbabwe would have been like if it had never been colonized. My people are brilliant, educated, funny, and innovative. And it fucking sucks that its such a hard place to live if you aren’t rich.
I can’t imagine the pain and anguish of First Nations people today. And for us to not have honest conversations about the genocide that this holiday is built on is a travesty. How can our children not do better if they don’t know any better?
Harvest season is great time to be grateful for the amazing blessings you have in your life. But we must not forget how we got here. The people who helped us, the bridges we burned, the people we hurt, and how we can do better. No more candy coating.
I make it a point to be mindful of what I bring into T’s life. From toys, to clothes, books, and even what she eats on. I want to teach her to value what she brings into her life and it’s important for the both of us that we are not overwhelmed by clutter or an abundance of stuff. I want for her to have good quality things she can enjoy and learn from and today I thought i’d share just how we do that.
Take stock of what you got
Firstly, as a toddler (OMG she is going to be 20 months in a few days!) she is growing in leaps and bounds! I go through her clothes and toys every couple of months and take stock of what fits, what needs mended, what she has outgrown and needs to go. I don’t hold onto any clothes or toys but I do immediately scrapbook something I want to keep. This process allows me to figure out what she needs and I create either a mental or physical list to keep track.
Check with friends and family first, then check your local second hand toy stores or thrift stores before finally checking facebook marketplace, ebay, or craigslist. A bunch of Thandiwe’s toys were her dads, my friends handmedowns or thrifted gems. Good for the wallet and good for the environment. I use this strategy for things like strollers and carriers too. Check for wear and tear as well as recalls before purchasing . A quick search will get your answers
Sometimes a project can be created at home, its much more meaningful (also possibly time consuming haha) but a fun experiences nonetheless. I got to spend time an afternoon with some family learning how to make felt fruits and veggies for Thandiwe’s farmers market box and that time was invaluable. Also fixing things when they break instead of replacing them.
Places like museums, libraries, and non corporate toy stores will almost always have designated play areas where you can take your kiddo to enjoy and play with toys. Bonus because you can play and walk away!
I try to avoid plastics as much as possible, especially when it comes to her eating and drinking utensils – but almost all kids toys, especially second hand toys are plastic since plastic lasts forever. If I do buy something brand new, I am looking for stainless steel, wood and fabric materials.
Use your local library, check out thrift stores, and buy books second hand from places like Better World Books. I always appreciate being given old books from friends and returning the favor as she outgrows them.
When Nicole reached out to me to be on the Real Talk Radio Podcast I was excited, not only because she does an amazing job of highlighting real, diverse, viewpoints and stories, but also because she also could relate to mine. Its an honor to be in a guest in Season 14 of the podcast and join the ranks of people I know and admire on the interwebs.
We talked about so much – my childhood and the culture shock of moving to the US when I was 18 years old. We talk about my minimalist lifestyle, debt, how I found minimalism, and how I detach from the hustle and bustle that comes hand-in-hand with living in the west. I had a blast speaking to her and sharing my life and can’t wait to listen to the other guests.
Kansas was just named the sickest state in the USA with just under 29,000 people sick with the flu this winter season. I for one, am not about that life. Since we don’t get the flu shot in our house I take simple steps to boost our immunity and help our bodies fight against any exposure to the yuckiness. So far it has worked. We are flu free *knock on wood* but I also know that if we do happen to get sick *again, knock on wood* that the severity and duration of any illness would be diminished because of these steps. I live by Hippocrates “Let food be they medicine” adage and that is where I put in the most work.
I am not a medical professional and the information shared here is what works for my family and I based on our research and discussions with our doctors. The information shared is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Applesauce – At first read, that may sound gross right? But like I have said before, I am the queen of multi-use products and a good quality pumpkin pie spice blend typically consists of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. Together these spices are a powerhouse that go really well with seasoning my homemade applesauce or baked goods. Add the blend to your morning oatmeal or smoothie to for some warming, anti-inflammatory, and healing goodness. Comment below or on IG if you want the recipe to my applesauce.
Elderberry syrup – Elderberry is having its moment in the spotlight and for good reason. Studies have shown that not only is it a powerful anti-oxidant, but that it can also slow down a virus. You can purchase elderberry but like my applesauce, I prefer to make my own in my pressure cooker. Here is the recipe I loosely follow.
Tea – Specifically ginger, echinacea, and stinging nettle. I like to buy bulk loose leaf tea, and these three will forever live in my tea cabinet because of their healing properties. Teas are a great way to get down fluids as well as an infusion of minerals and vitamins.
Probiotics- A healthy gut is a happy gut and probiotics are a great way to introduce healthy bacteria back into your body to promote immunity. They can be found in fermented foods, but I also like to give my daughter a kid-safe powdered pro-biotic in her water bottle every few days as well as take a probiotic myself.
Water- A lot of people with the flu end up hospitalized because of dehydration. DRINK SOME WATER.
Cooking with Immune boosting spices and herbs – This one is probably my favorite, because it is like a fun puzzle where I get to figure out how I can fit as many immune supporting foods into my cooking. Foods like oregano, onion, garlic, tumeric, pepper, and celery have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and I try to incorporate them in all my meals.
Humidifier- Dry winter air is harsh on your sinuses and struggling sinuses are less resistant to pathogens. We sleep with a humidifier on at night and it has made for much peaceful nights. This article spells it out great but in a nutshell it is important to have some moisture in the air. Even putting a bowl of water by the heater at night helps.
Share your immune boosting tips in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.
One year ago, I sucked it up and bought this domain and site as a birthday gift to myself to pick up writing again. So here we are, my site is a year old and I’m a year older. I’ve learned a few things, gained more confidence in myself, got to work with some cool folks and hopefully inspired one or two people along the way.
Because my birthday is so close to Christmas and the new year, and for some reason always subject to questionable weather, I almost never celebrate it. I’ve always worked, or been too depressed, or didn’t feel like it. However, this year I saw something in me worth celebrating. I haven’t done anything extraordinary. I haven’t won any awards or cured any diseases. I just exist, and that in itself feels so sacred to me. I’ve overcome a lot and even if I hadn’t, I know that I am worth celebrating.
I’m reading The Conscious Parent by Dr Shefali Tsabari , and in her book Tsabari talks about how important it is to let your child know that they are worthy of love straight out of the box (no pun intended). That they have your love without them having to perform or do anything, just for existing. It allows them to build a self confidence and empowerment that sets them up for life. Knowing that they are worthy. I think that’s incredibly powerful. To love yourself for just being. Not because you’re a good writer, or that you’re attractive, or that you’re an artist, person, thing, but just loving who you are stripped of all of that. Woah, this is getting abstract. In the movie Moana, (which we’ve been watching almost everyday around these parts) Maui learns that even without his magical fish hook he is still worthy of love and manages to find courage and bravery in that acceptance.
So yeah, this is me choosing to celebrate and love myself all month long, all year long, and the rest of my days. Also I feel like Capricorn’s are the most underrated and also the best sign in the zodiac and I want to be obnoxious about it.
I had the honor of being interviewed by fellow Minimalist and AMAZING author CP Patrick over at The Afro-Minimalist . If you’ve ever wondered about where my blog name comes from or what minimalism means to my family, you should check it out.
Then you should read The Truth about Awiti by Patrick because #holycrap I still have dreams about that book.
Summer is my SEASON. Growing up in Botswana where it is hot for the most of the year makes me LOVE this season so much. I like to spend my time outside exploring or swimming and since I prefer babywearing over using a stroller, my diaper bag has to be functional for both my partner and I.
I am a fan of multi-purpose items and the Kavu Rope Bag works great for us because its spacious, with multiple pockets and has one strap, which is perfect for me when I carry my daughter on my back. It fits all my essentials that and still has room for more items.
Bag of wipes in reusable wipe bag. We cloth wipe at home, but use disposable wipes on the go.
A wet bag to store dirty diapers
2 pocket cloth diapers. I prefer pocket you because I can adjust the absorbency and its still a simple snap and go diaper.
A changing mat, because we go places that don’t always have a safe changing table.
A change of clothes, homemade sunscreen, some diaper cream and hand sanitizer.
Daniel Tiger never fails to put a smile on my daughters face so we almost always have a DT book and one other toy to keep her amused. A Kid Kanteen bottle for her water, burp rag and my wallet which has a pen, cards and chapstick and thats it!
My diaper bag changes with the seasons. I add warmer clothes in the winter and I rotate out her toys weekly too. Not pictured is my water bottle and hat that I shove into the bag when it is sunny too.I don’t like to be weighed down by unnecessary items so I’ve streamlined the bag to the necessities and it works for us.
I’ve been a mom for almost a YEAR now. Holy crap. It’s been amazingly fulfilling and challenging. My daughter is growing into a smart, beautiful, hilarious ham and I am so glad I get to be her mom.
I thought I’d share some products, services, themes and advice on what got me through this first year of motherhood.
Therapy – I started seeing a therapist a few weeks after she was born to get a handle of my PPA, and PPOCD. It was amazing to have a professional assure me that I was not alone and that other mom’s went through what I was going through.
Baby bookworms – A free book club for infants at my local library that introduces literacy. It was a perfect FREE excuse to get out of the house and be around other parents and babies.
Minimalism – I have written about this before here but minimalism freed my house and mind of clutter. I only allow items that are useful or bring me joy in to my house. That goes for Thandie’s clothes and toys too. I have a clear idea of what I want for her (the strict african mom in me dances with joy) so If she is gifted something that does not fit then it gets passed on to another kid who may enjoy it better.
Lactation Consultant – Thandiwe spent the first 9 days of her life in the NICU and I had to pump every 2-3 hours so she could be bottle fed. When she came home, we struggled to latch. Without the help of Gale, the amazing lactation consultant from the hospital and her continued support and encouragement I think our breastfeeding journey would look a lot different.
Toy and Clothing Rotation – This has been an amazing money saver for my friends and I. Thandie gets hand me down toys and clothes from my friends kids that have outgrown their stuff and she passes them on to my friends with younger kids when she has outgrown them too. I rotate her toys around weekly so she has something different to play with often.
Buying used – Kids are gross. Thandiwe is almost always covered in cantaloupe stains (she’s obsessed with cantaloupe) . My parents encouraged lots of outside play and I was a filthy kid too, which makes me a big fan of letting her be outside and exploring. My head would explode if her brand new items got holes and stains on them too. Buying used toys and clothes when you can-is better for the environment and my wallet. Her summer wardrobe for this year was almost completely second hand and free except for a few new gifts.
Baby wearing – Ive written about my love for babywearing and its benefits before here. I had Thandiwe at work with me for 6 months before I became a SAHM. My lillebaby carrier was a life saver. Now that she is older I am excited to try out different carriers.
Baby wed leaning – I had this beautiful vision of me feeding my baby pureed organic foods that I made myself. She quickly squashed that by refusing all pureed foods. She only wanted what was on my plate. I learned about baby led weaning and started giving her soft hand held vegetables and fruits that she could eat when she wanted at meal time and she has been happy as a clam ever since. She loves cucumber, potato, broccoli, melons, and apples.
Mango butter – The main component of my handmade diaper cream. I love a good multi-use product. I buy mango butter in bulk and make diaper cream, body lotion and hair moisturizer for my family. I use different essential oils to tailor the butter for its different uses.
Chewelry – Chewable jewelry made of silicone or wood are great to have around if you baby wear or breastfeed. It is entertaining for little twiddling hands to explore and to soothe little teething gums. I have a coupon for 20% off some cute pieces from Okrosh etsy store if you are interested in investing in some pieces for your wardrobe. The code is HILBILL20
Cloth diapering and wipes – We’ve been cloth diapering since Thandie was 1 month old. I was cloth diapered and I knew it was something I wanted to do so save money and reduce my contribution to landfill waste. My favorite diapering system is pocket diapers followed my covers. Learn more about different types of cloth diapering options here.
Envelope System – I am a fan of the envelope system for keeping things organized. It allowed me to keep my diaper bag/purse in order. My diaper bag was very minimal. One pouch had her wipes, cream, diapers and wetbag, another -my wallet, keys and lip balm. Id use the pockets to keep a water bottle and some toys for her and that was it.
Daniel Tiger – Shout out to PBS for producing sweet, educational content. Daniel Tiger has provided many a distraction while I attempt to manage Thandiwe’s thick curls and his catchy songs have brought many smiles to her face.
Lullaby renditions of Rihanna has brought on many naps for which I am ever so grateful.
Discovery Center and other free programs – It is so fun to watch my little one engage with toys and other kids. Free programs and places like splash parks and drum circles are a great way to socialize your kiddo.
BWI – My local chapter of Baby wearing international was a great help in teaching me how to safely use and try out different characters as well as meet parents with kiddos of similar ages.
Podcasts – For keeping me company and making me laugh and cry.
Online communties – For advice about cloth diapering, to breastfeeding and meeting kindred spirits.
I hope you find a simple system that works for you and your littles.
Humans need interaction with each other. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert,or ambivert such as myself, we all need to get together and enjoy the presence of other humans for our sanity and well being. As spring is upon us, the phrase “bloom where planted” has been on my mind. Today, I wanted to share a few different ways you can get out there and be a part of your community and maybe reduce your carbon footprint a wee bit.
Volunteer: Whether its at your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, a reading to kids program or even a nursing home, get out there and volunteer. Find something that appeals to you and go do it. Its a great way to meet people, have some amazing conversations and give yourself the warm fuzzies inside.
Patron Local Spots: Ditch the big companies and spend your money at local coffee shops, book stores and restaurants. Its a fact (I just made this fact up…but trust me) that local spots are great for people watching and great conversation. Plus there is the added bonus of stimulating your local economy and supporting small businesses.
Ditch Amusement Parks for State Parks: Big amusement parks are fun. They are also expensive and crazy busy. State Parks are a fraction of the price, have fun activities,and give you a chance to be up close and personal with native fauna and flora. Camping is a fun way to meet new people and bond with the people in your life. Buy your camping gear second hand or borrow it to cut the costs.
Host a clothing swap: This is especially a good idea as the seasons change and you are looking for a new wardrobe. Host a free clothing swap among friends and add some new to you pieces to your wardrobe for FREE. Its good for your wallet and the environment.
Take a class: Places like community centers, libraries, and community colleges are great places to learn something new and meet like minded people. Whether its belly dancing, archery or composting there is always something new to learn.
Go to community events: Food truck festivals, Pride parades, and city council meetings are great ways to get involved in your community.
Carpool or ride a bike: Carpooling to work and different events are a great way to save on gas. If you can, riding a bike is an even better way to get places too. If you don’t already have one, get a bike second-hand from local buy/sell/trade group or from a local cycle project so you can save money. Remember, to always wear a helmet.
Cook: Learn how to cook if you don’t know how to. The act of cooking for yourself and others may seem paltry but it is an amazing privilege that we take for granted when so many people go hungry worldwide. Be mindful, meal plan and prepare food that’s good for your body and share a meal with people you want to connect with.
Create or admin a freecycle group or free items group on facebook for your community: I love the idea of a community that shares and barters for things that they need. Sometimes you may want to part ways with something that is in good condition that you don’t need anymore, online give groups are a way to pay it forward and find items you may need yourself.
Visit your local farmers market: Talk to farmers and learn about where your food comes from. Better yet, if your county allows, start a community garden.
Connecting with people, hearing their stories and sharing mine is integral to my experience on this earth. One of my most favorite online communities is blackminimalists.net . I’ve been working with 4 other brilliant women and our amazing contributors to bring publish an ebook and start an online community. It launches May 1st. I hope you can check it out.
My partner has been on a home improvement kick. This past month has seen us visiting several different home improvement stores and weighing our different options. This got me thinking about actual steps folks can take to make their homes more eco-friendly and here is what we came up with.
Re-usable air filters – Did you know that you can purchase re-usable furnace and air filters for your home, depending on the kind you have, a simple power wash is all you need to clean it off and use it for several years.
Programmable thermostats – We have the Nest but there are a range of different kinds of programmable thermostats on the market. We love being able to keep the house on energy saving mode when we are away.
Energy-saving lights – These have been on the market for ages but it is good to always remind folks to make sure their bulbs are the energy saving kind. Its good for your pocket and the environment.
Better insulation – When we bought our house, we had an expert come check the insulation to make sure we would not be wasting money heating and cooling our home because of poor insulation.
Grow your butts – You read that right. Commonly used veggies like green onions, lettuce or garlic can be grown by just putting their roots or butts in water for a few days. Free food!
What are some ways you make your home a little more green?