Being a Crunchy Black Parent

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Doing our world schooling thing in Salvador, Brazil.

I joined a Facebook group for crunchy Black parents and until I joined, I wouldn’t have thought to call myself “crunchy”. Lol I know that there are some things that we do that other Black parents don’t do but I don’t think of us as hippies or anything.When I delved into the terminology a bit more, I came to understand just how crunchy I am … or possibly scrunchy. Lol

Crunchy parents tend to be more all-natural. Silky parents tend to be more traditional. Scrunchy parents tend to be a mixture of both. Here are some things we do, in no particular order, that apparently make us crunchy:

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Our son is not impressed by Kirstenbosch Garden in Cape Town, South Africa. Lol

 

#1 Babywearing

We started babywearing when our son was about 3 months old. Until that point, we were carrying him around in his car seat. That thing is HEAVY! Lol Once I realized that I could use a little piece of material to attach him to my chest I was in love. It made me hands-free and helped us bond. Talk about a win-win. We transitioned over to a mei tei when he was about six months old and haven’t looked back. He’s almost 2.5 years old and we still carry him when we plan on doing a lot of walking or when we know there will be tons of people around.

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#2 Baby-led weaning (aka No Rice Cereals)

Everyone knows that babies should drink milk (or in our case formula) until their first birthday but starting your baby on solids is a whole ‘nother deal. I knew I wanted to make his baby food from fresh veggies starting at 6 months but I hadn’t yet learned about baby-led weaning. Basically, baby-led weaning means that you make foods a bit softer/easier for your baby to eat while not creating purees.

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#3 Cloth diapering

Cloth diapering is cheaper than disposables and some would argue better for the environment. I really wanted to use cloth on my little one, but I couldn’t get the hang of it so we used cloth mostly at home and used disposables while on the run.

#4 You dabble in composting

We attended a seminar on composting from our county and the idea took root. I love the idea of not creating as much waste and then trying to use some of the waste you still create. Our county offers a simple composting tube for $10. If you do it right, it produces little smell and created great fertilizer for your home garden.

#5 You have a garden

We went our house, so we haven’t created an in-ground garden. Instead we do pots. It’s easy to do, super cheap (non-gmo seeds are a few dollars a pack), fun to watch grow, and yummy to eat.

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#6 You used elimination communication

I found out about elimination communication before we were matched and loved the idea of it. Many cultures around the world use elimination communication and have used it for hundreds, probably thousands of years. Anyhoo, when our son was around three months old we started watching for signs of when he needed to eliminate and then sat him on a potty training toddler toilet. Around 13 months old, he could signal that he needed to eliminate. Kids are going to go anyway, this just made for fewer diapers for us to change.

#7 You’re considering World Schooling

Kids are learning from the day they are born and some would argue before. We had very different experiences in K-12 but we’ve both come away with the same idea: we’d prefer not to place our kids in the K-12 school system. Once that decision was made, we had to decide whether to homeschool (have class at home), unschool (let the child lead the learning), or worldschool (use the world as your classroom). We chose worldschooling because we love to travel and it would expose our children to lots of different ways to live all around the world.

#8 You believe in gentle parenting

We are not perfect parents but he is a perfect kid. We are making an effort to speak with him in a respectful way and encourage him to feel all of his feelings. He’s a raucous toddler. He likes to throw things down the stairs and leave toys all over the house. He rarely has temper tantrums though. His adoption worker says it’s because our house is so calm. We rarely yell, we try to stop problems before they occur using H.A.L.T. and we don’t believe that he is “too old” to be held or made to feel secure. I’m not saying that we don’t have problems. I’m saying that we try to deal with those problems in a respectful way to all the stakeholders involved.

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Travel toys in Johannesburg, South Africa rental house.

#9 You limit plastic toys in your home in favor of wooden ones.

Wooden toys have fewer chemicals and encourage a child to use imaginative play because they only do what imagine they do. When people started giving us toys most of the toys were of the plastic/singing variety. We did let him keep a few, but most of them were donated. I want him to be able to use his imagination and lead the play, not follow the directions of some toy created by some adult in some lab somewhere.

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I sewed this felt campfire, logs, and stones set.

#10 Borrow, Buy Used, Buy New

For me, part of trying to be “natural” is not spending tons of money on non-essential things and using, or re-purposing, what I already have. I sew soft toys for our son pretty often and almost all the rest of his toys are used. Every piece of clothing and”baby stuff” (blankets, burp cloths, etc.) that he has is something that a friend gave us or something that we bought used. I know as he gets older, we’ll probably have to buy more new things but we try to minimize as much as possible.

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Our little one munching a snack while I put groceries in the car.

#11 Extended rear-facing car seat usage is a must.

This was one of the ones that I didn’t realize was crunchy. Studies have shown that the longer your little one is rear-facing the better chance they have of surviving a car accident. While I hope that we’re never in a car accident, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry, no? Our little one is almost 2.5 years old and is still rear-facing. We hope to keep him rear-facing until he’s four years old. We’ll see. Right now, riding backwards doesn’t bother him so … shhhhh … don’t tell him that other kids his age are not rear-facing.

#12 You taught your little one baby sign language.

They say that most toddlers become frustrated because it’s challenging for them to communicate. One way we’ve tried to help with this is by teaching our little one baby sign language. We used free videos from YouTube. We learned together and he has been signing since about 11 months old. He doesn’t use it as much now that he can talk, but it’s there for him when he needs it.

Since we rarely hear about other crunchy parents of color, please, please, please leave a message below if you’re crunchy or scrunchy (I love typing that! Lol). If you have a blog, link to that. It would be great if we could meet IRL sometime.

 

 

 

 

“Little Tikes Activity Garden for $5” or “I Love Thrifting”

Little-Tikes-Activity-GardenAs you probably know we love to thrift and we love diy projects. We thought that once we left retail behind and starting thrifting that we were getting great deals. Ha! Di you know that Goodwill has outlets?

Goodwill Outlets are places that sell large items for super cheap and many items at bulk rates. Today, we got a Little Tikes Activity Garden for $5.

FIVE

DOLLARS

Amazing!

 

Toddler Duvet and Sham …. or Take THAT Pottery Barn!

IMG_20140310_150434I’m SUPER excited so I thought I’d share. I saw toddler duvet and sham at Pottery Barn that I liked (http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/organic-cotton-toddler-duvet-cover-navy/?cm_src=AutoRel) but I didn’t want to pay $40 for the duvet and $20 for the sham … soooo … I decided to make them!

I went to the thrift store and found a 100% cotton Ralph Lauren full sized sheet for $3.

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I put the comforter inside the folded sheet to get the measurements right. I left about 3 inches at the top and about 6 inches at the bottom for the hems.

I put the comforter inside the folded sheet to get the measurements right. I left about 3 inches at the top and about 6 inches at the bottom for the hems.

I sewed everything before I dyed it.

I sewed everything before I dyed it.

Here's the pillow sham in 3 pieces. Oe big one for the front and 2 small pieces so that back can overlap and hold hte pillow in.

Here’s the pillow sham in 3 pieces. Oe big one for the front and 2 small pieces so that back can overlap and hold hte pillow in.

The pillow sham is done.

The pillow sham is done.

The duvet is done.

The duvet is done.

Take everything home to dye it. The blue is the comforter.

Take everything home to dye it. The blue is the comforter.

I had some navy dye already and I bought some black dye for $1.50 (I wanted it really dark) and dyed it in my kitchen.

I used one bottle of navy and one box (powder) of black. I mixed them together in the pot, let it boil and then put the dry cloth in a little bit at a time.

I used one bottle of navy and one box (powder) of black. I mixed them together in the pot, let it boil and then put the dry cloth in a little bit at a time.

Make sure to let the water touch every part of the material and stir it around constantly.

Make sure to let the water touch every part of the material and stir it around constantly.

You might need to help! Lol Stirring for an hour is ....   =(  Then we let it sit on the stove with the heat off for another hour.

You might need to help! Lol Stirring for an hour is …. =(
Then we let it sit on the stove with the heat off for another hour.

Once we took it off the stove, we rinsed it in the yard with cool water, wrung it out and put it in the dryer. It did turn the inside of the dryer blue for a few days, but the dye hasn’t come off on the other clothes so … .

Anyhoo … here is is, the moment you’ve been waiting for!

The duvet and pillow sham on the bed!

The duvet and pillow sham on the bed!

Not bad for about $10 and two hours!

$3 – sheet from thrift store (100% cotton so the dye will take)

$4 – Rit dye – navy from JoAnne’s

$1.50 – Rit dye – black. I bought the powder and had a 40% coupon

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$8.50

 

I still need to make the sheet set and a decorative pillow, but I’m off to a great start!

Skidders Update

almost .... all Skidders ... Lol

almost …. all Skidders … Lol

I was over the moon about finding these cute little shoe/socks for kids named Skidders so I set out to get some for my kid(s) that I don’t even have. Online they are $20 each. I found one pair of black skull Skidders on Craigslist for $5. Then we found a pair of pola dot ones at a thrift store for $5. Score! Then I found out that Target carries them for $13.

I was super excited until I realized that TJ Maxx had them for $6 each! Whoo hoo! We bought three pairs and took the ones from Target back. We ended up with 5 pairs of Skidders ranging in age from 12 months to 24 months … or so we thought!

One of the pairs of Skidders were not Skidders! Ugh! Anyhoo …. now we have 3 pairs of Skidders, one pair of not-Skidders and one pair of monster slippers and one pair of Pedipeds.

Ka-yute!

Children’s Toys on the Cheap: DIY and the Thrift Store

 

We love to thrift! As evidence of our love to thrift and of our awesomeness at it …. I present … our two most recent DIY projects:

Fake Craftsman Toolbench

Edgar and Him working on the toolbench.

Edgar and Him working on the toolbench.

 

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We bought this little bench from a thrift store for $5. I found some tools at the thrift store (you can see the little yellow toolbox that they came in at the floor. There are TONS of tools in there too!) for another $5. I found the little construction worker’s hat from a thrift store for $0.10 each. Two cans of spray paint for $5 each. This whole project cost about $20! It’s not as good as this one, but for $109 less, I’ll take it!

Green Lantern Radio Flyer Trike

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Took the trike apart.

Took the trike apart.

Painted the parts.

Painted the parts.

Almost there .. .

Almost there .. .

 

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We found this little Radio Flyer trike at a swap meet for $10. We washed it down and painted it with shiny black and shiny green spray paint for metals. The paint was $5 each. For $20 we got a super cute trike that reflects our family colors. It usually costs $60! We have to get a few stickers made with our family motto on ’em, but other than that … we’re done.

Love, love, love DIY!

 

Baby Nursery UPDATE

As you may or may not know we are in the process of adopting a kid from foster care. I have been holding back on buying things because I didn’t want to go too far, but with our home inspection looming I went HOG WILD and now we have enough stuff that if a baby showed up tomorrow we’d be ready to roll! Lol

The ocean/sea nursery used to look like this:

Old nursery ....

Old nursery ….

Now the ocean/sea nursery looks like this:

Now the room has fish on the walls!

Now the room has fish on the walls!

There are books everywhere!

There are books everywhere!

There are a few more tidbits, but this is about it. The thing I’m most proud of is that almost everything in the room came from the thrift store! We’re a frugal family, but that doesn’t mean that our family can’t be happy and have the things we want. I can’t wait to take our whole family on a trip abroad!

Thrift Store Shopping Finds

This says it all.

This says it all.

Today a thrift store near our house had a 50% off of the store sale!

We bought a highboy ($37) and a dresser ($30) plus a crapload of baby clothes. Since we have no idea what gender or age we’re getting I like to thrift to buy clothes that may never get worn, but thrifting gives me something to do. I know that once a little one is placed in our home we’ll probably buy more things (since we’ll be able to buy for what we have) but until then it’s fun to find cute clothes for kids between 0 and 2.

I know some folks think it’s weird or bad to buy used clothes for your kids but think about it this way 1) kids grow quickly …. so why not spend money where it counts (investing for their teen travel, college costs and a down payment on their first investment property) instead of wasting it on clothes that they’ll grow out of in three weeks? 2) clothes for kids can get expensive! If I can get great clothes for $0.50 or $1.00 then I say … why not?!

I’m so proud of today’s finds. Take a look ..

The tag says $4 so I got this cute peacoat for two bucks!

The tag says $4 so I got this cute peacoat for two bucks!

This is a dress, coat and hat that I got today for $4.

This is a dress, coat and hat that I got today for $4.

Cherokee cable  knit sweater for (drum roll please ...) $1.50!

Cherokee cable knit sweater for (drum roll please …) $1.50!

I'm pretty sure we won't get a kid this young, but for $0.50 I couldn't resist!  =)

I’m pretty sure we won’t get a kid this young, but for $0.50 I couldn’t resist! =)

A little NASA suit for $1.00.

A little NASA suit for $1.00.

I would wear this if it were bigger. I got it for $2.00.

I would wear this if it were bigger. I got it for $2.00.

Cute little overalls with a cuffed bottom for $1.00.

Cute little overalls with a cuffed bottom for $1.00.

We like the cold so maybe we'll get a bit of use out of this warm onsie .... maybe not ... only spent $1.00 so ... it's all good either way.

We like the cold so maybe we’ll get a bit of use out of this warm onsie …. maybe not … only spent $1.00 so … it’s all good either way.

I just bought a sweater with patches on Wednesday, He just bought a shirt with patches on Thursday, just got this one today .... for $1.50!

I just bought a sweater with patches on Wednesday, He just bought a shirt with patches on Thursday, just got this one today …. for $1.50!

 

What’s your best thrift store find?