Month: August 2019

Five Diverse Award-Winning New Children’s Books

child sits reading book

Children are keen observers of the world and can start forming biases as early as preschool. It's not enough to mention Rosa Parks a few times on the road to raising anti-racist kids. Books are the simplest way to expose kids everywhere to stories of people who are different from themselves.

Reading books with diverse characters can offer representation of marginalized groups, context, and a starting point for additional discussions about the world.

Here is a list of award-winning titles from 2019 for kids of all ages to explore and enjoy.

Merci Suarez Changes Gears - by Meg Medina

This Newberry Award Winning book for 2019 details the challenges of Merci Suarez, a young girl, as she navigates some big changes in her life as her family relocates from their comfortable home to a new and different community. This tale offers emphasis on connection, community and instills a sense of what really matters in terms of friendship.

 

The Stuff of Stars - by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

This artful exploration of the origin of the solar system offers a poetic blend of science and art, and brings a sense of wonder and awe to kid of all ages. This 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner offers a seamless exploration of our universal origin, bringing with it an understanding of how we are all connected.

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship - by Jessica Kensky

This title won the 2019 Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience in the "young children" category, and for good reason. Rescue and Jessica are a girl and her service dog, and both unexpectedly find themselves in roles that they hadn't anticipated. As Jessica needs her dog, Rescue, to help her with every day tasks, he finds he truly is able to help her, and those around her to really see.

Drawn Together - written by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat

The story of a grandson and grandfather struggling to communicate across divides of language, age, and culture touches on a common experience for many families. Beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Dan Santat (my kids looooove his books), this story of connection through art and storytelling earned an Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the Picture Book category.

The Remember Balloons - by Jessie Oliveros

This Schneider Family Honor Award winner for 2019 offers a gentle insight into the world of changes that come with Alzheimers' diagnosis. The story revolves around the main character, James, and his grandfather's balloons, which are treasured family memories. Each one signifies an important event, and it becomes up to James to hold and share each one.

Plus a bonus novel!

Monday’s Not Coming -  by Tiffany D. Jackson

For older readers, this mesmerizing mystery is one of friendship and community, a realistic account of events surrounding the disappearance of a teenage girl, and the efforts to find her. This young adult book offers insight into truth, justice, and the experience of children and teens of color. The book won a Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award for Tiffany D. Jackson.


What are your favorite new kids books that engage children on topics of diversity and inclusion? This list was inspired by the American Library Association.

If you purchase from one of these links provided, I receive a small commission to help me feed my tiny hobbits--at no additional cost to you. Your support is very much appreciated.

5 Best Natural Deodorants (That Actually Work!)

Your baby can recognize your scent (and your milk) at 3 days old.

And really, who couldn't with that lovely postpartum hormone-induced stank? Yikes. No one warned me about A) night sweats and B) how strongly my underarms would smell.

I've found that deodorant is one of the first personal care items that people want to start switching out for natural options, and it's literally one of the most common questions in my Facebook group, the Semi-Crunchy Mama Club.

Lucky for all of us (and those who sit nearby), I’ve collected some of the most popular recommendations for deodorants that are free of aluminum, parabens and other ingredients you want to avoid. Check out the links below for 5 great options that actually work.

Wanna DIY?

Just scroll toward the bottom for two recipes to make your own deodorant from simple ingredients. There are also a few bonus tips to detox and cleanse those mama pits. Your baby will still be able to find you, I promise!

Looking for a place to have semi-crunchy conversations, ask questions about parenting, motherhood, raising healthy (and semi-crunchy) kids? Join the club.

5 Natural Deodorants to Combat Postpartum Stank

Best Natural Deodorants

Primal Pit Paste ($13)

Primal Pit Paste was the most popular suggestion, especially the lavender roll-on. It works well for most body types. Most of these listed have similar ingredients, so it's mostly about finding the right option for your body.

What semi-crunchy fans are saying:

  • "Motherhood has definitely made my pits super stinky. I use Primal Pit Paste stick. And that works fine... until it doesn’t. I’ll occasionally put some ACV on a cotton ball and wipe pits before a shower. That’ll usually do the trick.” (See more tips at the bottom of this list!)
  • "The Primal Pit Paste in a roller is AMAZING! I've tried so many natural deodorants and I've always gotten stinky, but even here in swamp ass North Carolina I smell wonderful...well, my armpits do.”


Schmidt’s ($10)

Another club favorite! The great thing about Schmidt’s is that it comes in a wide variety of unique scent formulations that aren’t overwhelming and fade quickly. Schmidt’s does offer an additional sensitive option that is fragrance- and baking soda-free. The charcoal-magnesium was a popular choice.

What semi-crunchy fans say:

  • “I’ve tried a bunch of natural deodorants over the past 4 years or so. My favorite was Primal Pit Paste, but it stains my clothes, so I switched to Schmidt’s recently. I think it works better than PPP and have been using it for about 6 months. I started getting rashy in my pits though so switched to their “sensitive” version which doesn’t have baking soda and the rash is gone. So, long story short, my favorite now is Schmidt’s tea tree sensitive.”
  • “I have a different Schmidt’s but I love it! Works really well, doesn’t feel sticky, keeps me dry 90% of the time! I keep backup 'real' chemically deodorant in my work bag and have only used it twice. And it was just the feeling of being a little sweaty that I hated, I didn’t smell.”

Piper Wai ($12-14)

Piper Wai has a strong following as well. The smaller 2 oz. size comes in a jar, or the sticks come in a 2-pack if that's your preference. Some people had great results; others not so much. Just use a tiny amount because while the activated charcoal absorbs odor, it can stain clothes if you apply too much.

What semi-crunchy fans are saying:

  • "I've tried everything you can buy in stores, but I'm not a fan of any of them. My fave I've found is sold online - Piper Wai."
  • "With Piper Wai, there’s not really a transition time. It smells really good and you could always reapply if needed through day."

LaVanila $14

Mid-range product with reasonable effectiveness and a variety of scents. The sport version is a few bucks more, but may help for longer days if you don't have time to reapply.

What semi-crunchy fans say:

  • "LaVanila was my compromise and "dress up" deodorant for a long time until my body adjusted to natural options."
  • "I've been using Lavanila for years and love it. They even have a sport one now for more sweat and stink if needed. The coconut is my fav!"

Native $12

Native includes a probiotic in the mix to combat the bacteria that causes odor in the first place. Like several others, it does contain baking soda, so make sure you don't react first.

What semi-crunchy fans say:

  • "I tried Schmidt's but it didn't work for me. I switched to Native and it's great.
  • "It works well enough for both me and my husband."
  • "Native is the first I've ever used that actually works for me... Highly recommend it!"

Additional Tips and Suggestions

Antiperspirant is generally aluminum-based, so these are all deodorant-only. It can be weird getting used to actually sweating again, but it's not the sweat that smells, it's the bacteria.

Some people find it helpful to do a little armpit detox (things you never thought you'd say). The easiest one is mixing a little apple cider vinegar (ACV) with some bentonite clay, applying to your pits like a mask for 10-20 minutes, then washing off.

You can also increase the effectiveness of your deodorant by swiping your pits with a little ACV, witch hazel, or rubbing alcohol, then letting them dry before applying.

If you get a rash, it's probably the baking soda, or possibly a reaction to that scent. If so, contact the company to see if they'll let you exchange it for another scent/formula! Or try one of the homemade options below.

Chlorella Supplement. ($13-22)

Still stinky? A friend once suggested taking chlorella internally to combat odor, and I scoffed. Then I looked it up, started taking it for low iron, and it totally works. I linked a spirulina/chlorella combo I use, but I've heard the liquid works great.

I swallow the tablets with water, or throw a few in the blender with my smoothies. My kids eat them like candy for the "swamp mouth" effect.

DIY Recipes

Basic DIY Deodorant

Ingredients:

  • 3 TB coconut oil
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil. Add essential oils to coconut oil if desired.
  2. Combine arrowroot & baking soda. Mix in oils thoroughly.
  3. Store in a clean, dry container.

You may need to adjust the amounts slightly to compensate for the humidity in your area – if it’s dry/crumbly, add drops of coconut oil until desired consistency is reached. If it’s too wet, add equal parts of baking soda and arrowroot by the teaspoon until it’s solid and a little springy.

Sensitive Skin Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax
  • 3-10 drops desired essential oils
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil, shea butter & beeswax in a double boiler on stove. You can also use a glass bowl on top of a pan with water in it. Stir in essential oils.
  2. Combine cornstarch and arrowroot powder. Mix until well combined and store in clean dry containers.

You may need to adjust the amounts slightly to compensate for the humidity in your area – if it’s dry/crumbly, add coconut oil drop wise until desired consistency. If it’s too wet, add arrowroot by the teaspoon until it’s solid and a little springy.

Essential Oil Blend Inspiration:

Need some ideas for great scent combinations? Here you go!

  • 3-5 drops tea tree, 3-5 drops lavender
  • 3-5 drops sage, 2 drops rosemary, 3-5 drops lemon
  • 3-5 drops lemon, 3-5 drops geranium
  • 3-5 drops orange, 3-5 drops frankincense

Essential oils are potent. If you're sensitive to scents, 2-3 drops total would be plenty. For these recipes, no more than 8-10 drops is best practice.