Inspired by our apple tree: Red Apple Cinnamon Shampoo

Every one of our Africa Sleeps products was designed to evoke ideas about a special place and time. This October, the leaves have turned yellow and red, kids are merrily back to school, the salmon are running in the streams, and there is hot apple pie baking in the oven!

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Sounds idyllic, but with an apple tree in our backyard, these are our family’s best and true impressions of fall. And this scene of our daughter picking apples from our backyard tree is exactly what inspired our Red Apple Cinnamon Silky Shampoo. It has an amazing fragrance of hot apple pie, right out of the oven, complete with cinnamon, lemon and vanilla essential oils for a hint of that baked spice smell.

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This shampoo is the richest, silkiest I have ever tried. It’s incredibly nourishing, and doesn’t dry out hair at all. One customer wrote me a rave review, I’d love to share with you:

“I have never shampooed the boys’ hair before… ‘ loved the richness of the shampoo. I actually combed it out with the shampoo in, which I wouldn’t have thought possible. We will probably occasionally shampoo now, as I didn’t feel like I was damaging/stripping his hair.”

Well, that just about sums it up! I hope you will try out our amazing silky shampoo. If Red Apple Cinnamon isn’t your thing, we also sell it in an unscented version!

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Red Apple Cinnamon Silky Shampoo ingredients: Purified water, certified organic blend of marigold, burdock root, nettle leaf,  rosemary, wild-harvested dandelion, wild-harvested horsetail, decyl polyglucose, coco glucoside, xanthum gum, oatmeal  protein, sucrose cocoate, vitamin B5, jojoba seed oil, citric acid, vitamin B7, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, hydroxymethylglycinate, red apple flavour oil, vanilla absolute, cinnamon essential oil, lemon essential oil.

Racism and prejudice: apparently it starts in grade 2

It’s happened now, twice: racism and prejudice. Sigh. I was hoping that they would get past grade two before this happened.

This week I read about a young man who was in an accident, and when he ran to a nearby woman’s door for help, she called the police and the police shot him 10 times. Why? Because he was black. As my friend who posted the article said, if you think parents of black children are overreacting to the existence of racism, think again.

Yesterday, the girls and I were shopping in a bulk food store. We had a negative experience there before, with a lady telling Spice not to touch the bins. Last time, she had walked down the aisle and tapped the top of each bin as she walked by. So this time, I told the girls to make sure they did not open any containers and did not touch the scoops. We went in to buy barley and whole wheat flour to make injera.

I couldn’t find the barley flour so I called over the lady to help us. She came over, I asked her where the flour was, and while listening to my request she gave Sugar the strangest look. She looked her up and down. Then said to me “follow me.”

She started to walk away and Sugar said “Mommy, why did that lady look at me that way? She looked up at my head and down at my toes. It made me feel very weird. ”

I whispered to her: “I don’t know. That was strange.” I was worried, but followed the lady to the flour bin.

Then I realized this was the same woman who had chastised Spice before. She showed us where the flour was, and turned to go. Spice started to write down the number of the bin on one of those twisty tags..

“Please don’t lean on the bins! “the lady snapped at Spice.

My blood started to boil. The lady walked away quickly, so I told the girls that lady was very rude and her behavior was not acceptable. Obviously, I did not want a confrontation in the middle of the store.

We walked to the front till and while we were waiting, Spice started to finger some of the little charms at the till. She gets an allowance and was thinking of buying one. the till lady- another lady altogether- saw her, and snapped at her “please don’t pick up the keychains.”

What? Why? “She gets an allowance, and was thinking of buying one,” I snapped back. “She is a CUSTOMER.” Now I was getting really p*ssed off.

“Well, they are very breakable, “said the lady as a hasty explanation. I looked at the charms… They were rocks.

I took the girls out of the store to the car and told them what they had experienced was not acceptable. Mommy was going inside to talk to the manager about it.

So I did. I went inside and talk to the manager and she was very concerned. She had me point out the two ladies. And then I went back to the car.

With my blood still boiling, I talked to the girls as I was driving away. They could tell I was very very angry. I explained what prejudice was, and that the ladies were treating them with prejudice.

“Don’t they like any kids?” Asked one of my daughters.

“I don’t know, honey.” I replied. “But certainly they have ideas about how children behave and they are painting you with that brush.

I chalked it up to prejudice against children… But who knows. That creepy crawling feeling was real. The only thing I don’t know for sure is what the root of the prejudice is.

Then I ask the girls if they had ever encountered prejudice because they were girls, and not boys. They didn’t think so.

I knew I was setting the stage, but I was sad when it came.

“But we have had prejudice because we have brown skin, “said one of my daughters. My heart sank. I cried a little inside. Why? Already grade 2?

They told me that one of their friend’s brothers said she should not play with the girls because they had brown skin. They were “no good “because there skin is brown. The friend still played with them, but it made them sad.

The irony of this is that the friend and her older brother are both visible minorities. Am I wrong to expect more of other people who encounter systemic racism? I don’t know. But I was sad, and disappointed. I talked to them about how we can’t change what people think. However, if the boy ever bothered them or acted meanly towards them, that was something that we could work on. I told them that prejudice is something that is too big for little girls to handle. If they were to encounter any prejudice, they should get the help of mommy, daddy, or the school principal. They should not try to handle it alone, not this young.

Anyway, this is not the first discussion we’ve ever had about racism. In fact, at the end of the conversation, Spice was all fired up and started quoting Nina Simone’s songs and talking about Martin Luther King. However, it’s the first time the girls have had that horrible sinking feeling, and it made me unbelievably sad. And, scared for them. If it starts in grade 2, how many times will they encounter this in life?

Today I am going back to the bulk food store again. I will follow up with the manager, and make sure something really will get done. This shouldn’t happen to any other child. No child should experience that yucky horrible feeling of prejudice.

Major Announcement from Vulnerable Children Society

As many of you know, I serve as the President for Vulnerable Children Society, a registered Canadian charity that helps kids and families in Ethiopia. Well, this week I was SO GLAD to be delivering good news! I hope you’ll watch the video and check out our NEW project, following the link below. 🙂

This week we have two MAJOR announcements to make to our donors and sponsors. Please watch the video below to hear the news directly from 5 of the 6 directors of Vulnerable Children Society. (Pam is in Swaziland, so she didn’t get in the video!)

Click here: To learn more about our new Love and Hope Centre in Kality!

Love and Hope Centre

Frugal Give-away! Smart Women Finish Rich

smart womenThis first give-away, I have the fantastic financial book Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. You heard me rave about the Smart Couples Finish Rich book, and how it made such a difference in Jason and I’s life. We were able to set value-based priorities, and structure our financial life around what is really important to us.

Well, this is the version for single ladies. If you are a single mom, or have a daughter just going out on her own, this is the book for you!

This book has “straight-shooting, action oriented tips for getting a handle on your spending habits… presented in a straightforward, nonintimidating manner, perfect for the personal finance newbie.” ABC News

So how do you get a chance at this book? Simply leave a comment on one of my other blogposts during this week, and next weekend I’ll pick a winner (email them for their address) and ship off the book!

The winner was Joan! On St Vincent Island!

Frugal Fridays: Granola Bars and Snack Exchange

A couple of years ago my sister gave me the best granola bar recipe. So when my friend L invited me to a healthy snack exchange at her house, I knew exactly what I would bring!

As standard practice, every Sunday I make a sheet of granola bars for the week ahead. Granola bars are one of the most expensive prepackaged snacks, so a quick make-at-home alternative saves dollars each week, My husband is a horrible snacker, and the girls need snacks for lunches. So I make up a batch of this recipe and they are good for the week.

3 cups organic quick oats
4 cups of other stuff (sunflower and pumpkin seeds, nuts if not going to school, dried fruit, yogurt or chocolate chips, etc.)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

You spread it on a cookie sheet, press it down, bake for 20 minutes at 350. When the bars are still warm, cut them with a clean wet knife. Allow them to cool in place, then s transfer to an airtight storage container.

The only trouble with making granola bars is that the girls get tired of them month after month. When L invited me to her snack exchange, I leapt at the chance.

Here’s the scoop with a snack exchange. Everyone makes healthy snacks and packages them in groups of six. You include a list all the contents, so everyone can avoid whatever they don’t eat, and ideally the recipe, so they can make it again if they like it. You also bring some samples for trying.

So to make a short story long, I whipped up 10 dozen granola bars of various flavours, and packaged them with some free labels designed by Cathe Holden. I love her stuff! And I have a stationary fet*sh, so any chance to use stationary…

Spice and I tromped over to L’s house with packages of granola bars. Everyone put their snacks on the table and their sales on the coffee table so the kids and adults could taste them. Then we drew numbers and took turns picking out our snacks. You go home with as many packs of six as you arrived with… But with a great variety of snacks.

I let Spice pick all our selections, and so we came home with breakfast cookies, banana muffins… All sorts of stuff! And I only had to make the granola bars. I think we have enough frozen school snacks for a couple of months. However, there is no accounting for the snack monster…(my husband.) thank goodness he is scared of the freezer.