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January 31, 2011

The first time my father called me a hippie nutjob, I raised my eyebrows.  “What makes me a hippie?” I asked.

He looked me up and down, started listing things off.  Cloth diapering.  Sustainable gardening.  Local foods.  Home-made baby food.  Bio-degradable dish soap.  Beeswax crayons.  No television.  Wood toys.  Organic mattress.  Stainless steel sippy cups.  Breastfeeding pretty much forever.  Then he stopped.  “What DOESN’T make you a hippie?” he responded.

Donald and I believe in living sustainably and in making choices that are healthy for the environment, the community, and the individual.  This column is about those choices and about how we make those choices.  It is about the obstacles we encounter and about the books and news articles we find thought-provoking.  It is about the non-profits that inspire us, about the ideas that change us, about the natural parenting products we discover along the way, and about everything else I haphazardly cobble together.

Every day, I learn something new that makes me a better parent.  Some days, it’s a little something: that my daughter has a favorite lullaby or that toothpaste can be made at home.  Other days, it’s a big something: that breast-milk can be applied to an eye infection or that a particular book is filled with eco-friendly art activities my child loves.  This is where I want to write those things down: from the play-dough recipes to the discussions about parenting books, from the kid-friendly field trips to the tidbits of the natural world that leave us awestruck, from green design I adore to showing off a knitting project that worked out.  If I ever learn how to knit, that is.  More than anything, I want this column to be a place that celebrates the role learning those big and little somethings plays in parenthood.  My learning, my parenting.

It won’t be perfect, of course, because we aren’t perfect.  Sometimes we make choices that are not better for the environment, like using toilet paper or driving to work.  Sometimes we make choices that are not better for the community, like purchasing food that was not locally produced.  Sometimes we make choices that are not better for the individual, like downing a mug of hot cocoa before bed or keeping board books in our home knowing they are probably BPA positive.

But we do try.  We try to be ethical consumers and educated activists and thoughtful decision-makers.  We try to practice what we believe in.  We try.  Does that make me a hippie nutjob?  Maybe.  If it does, so be it.  At least I haven’t started wearing tie-dye yet.


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(8) Comments | Permalink
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  1. By on January 31, 2011

    You can make your own toothpaste at home?  How?
    How did your home made shampoo turn out?

  2. By Ely's Momma on January 31, 2011

    I had to laugh that you reacted to the “hippie” portion instead of the “nut job”. :)

  3. By christy on January 31, 2011

    you are totally a ‘hippie momma’ but that is a good thing!! :)

  4. By Sarah Christensen on January 31, 2011

    LOL, Ely’s Momma, I hadn’t even thought of that before!

    Must have given my dad some laughs too =)

    Kyla - Er….not so great.  I grow my hair out so that I can donate it to Locks for Love, so it’s pretty long right now.  Too long, apparently.  I’ve tried homemade shampoo in the past and not had a problem, but this time it didn’t really work out.  I tried a castile soap recipe and it smelled great but left my hair feeling like it had a film on it.  I also couldn’t really get a lather or work the shampoo down to the scalp, which I think is in large part due to the length of my hair.  I thought about adding some coconut oil to increase the sudsiness, but haven’t done so yet.  I’ve been using apple cider vinegar cut with water as a detangler and it works beautifully and doesn’t leave a smell, but that’s my only accomplishment so far.  I’m going to try a different shampoo recipe soon, this time with some baking soda.  Maybe?  Or maybe I’ll try the soap with some coconut oil in it?  We’ll see!  I also have to find a way to make the shampoo thicker.  As it is, it’s super watery.

  5. By on January 31, 2011

    I’m more intrigued by the breastmilk applied to an eye infection.  I am glad you are sharing ideas/thougths/tips etc.  Thanks!

  6. By on February 01, 2011

    Let me know if you find one that works.  I’m looking at trying one made with castile soap that I found online.  I also found a recipe for homemade toothpaste that I found after your post mentioned it.

  7. By Courtney @ Bundle of Wonder on February 11, 2011

    I think this is a great idea!  I’d like to see the recipes that you use for homemade items.  I’ve tried toothpaste in the past, but didn’t like the recipe I found.  Tin sippy cup?  How very Little House on the Prarie!  I’d love to know where you found those!  We’re the same way, though, about trying to live more sustainably.  We try our best, but not everything we do is sustainable.  Maybe one day when we get our farmhouse????  Yes, I’d like to think so!  But you are such good people for doing what you can!  I know we’re dubbed the Hippies by many of our friends!

  8. By on February 22, 2011

    I just got around to reading this post, and I wanted to say that I love that you are doing this!  I have used breastmilk for a weepy/goopy eye on my baby and I think it worked great.  My sister was on a mission trip to Mexico and one of their team members got pink eye.  They were up in a remote indian village and one of the moms offered to put breastmilk in his eye—he agreed and it worked!

    Anyway, also on the knitting—if I can learn, you can totally learn!  The only reason I decided to was because I found this awesome book on knit toys and wanted to make one for my babe.  I practiced on 3 baby hats and then knitted a stuffed pig!  It was actually a lot easier than I expected.
    I really want to try out your crayon recipe when my babe is older.
    Good luck on everything!


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