We’re having a Team Challenge! Members of our team create a new item based around a theme – currently “Bountiful Farm.” Here are the items that are inspired by and crafted for this challenge! We hope you enjoy and please be sure to let us know how you think the participants did! We’d love to hear your comments!
Happy Mother’s Day!
The NaturalKids Team hopes that all the mothers out there have a wonderful and love filled day!
Have you seen the NaturalKids Summer Gift Guide yet? Make sure to stop by and check out all the summery goodness!
Several members from the team are participating in a giveaway over on team member mamma4earth’s blog, Natural Suburbia. There are some really, really great items!
There are even more prizes available from NaturalKids Team members over at The Magic Onions, a blog by member FairyFolk. She hosts an amazing, annual Fairy Garden Contest and has tons of inspiration for creating your own!
The Willodel shop is having a Mother’s Day Sale, use coupon code MADAY12 for 12% off at check out.
This Cosy Life has a giveaway happening on this site right now, so make sure to enter if you haven’t already! She is also offering a coupon code good for 15% off your entire purchase in her shop through May 19th. Enter NKMAY at checkout.
Niko & Nonnie is celebrating its one-year anniversary, so free shipping on the website and in Etsy shop til June 15th
The Enchanted Cupboard is having a Mother’s Day sale too! Make sure to stop by and take advantage of the great deals!
Treasury of the Week
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From the Archives
Wow, it’s nearly May! It’s so hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. Make sure you stop back later this week to check out the NaturalKids Summer Gift Guide when it arrives!
Also, if you haven’t yet participated in the Earth Day Giveaway, there is still time! Today is the last day, so make sure to enter right away – so many goodies to win, and your chances are pretty good.
Summer has me thinking about planting gardens, picking flowers, and plenty of dreaming about the little farming homestead I hope to eventually have. Here are some of my favorite NaturalKids picks for farming fun:
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Gypsy Forest is having a sale! Lots of $10 & $15 dollar hand sewn goods. The sale items are all over 50% off.
From the Archives
The NaturalKids Team is devoted to protecting the earth and it’s natural resources; it is a critical part of what our team represents. We strive to encourage sustainability and the use of natural, renewable, recyclable, compostable and biodegradable materials throughout the year. Earth Day, however, provides us a perfect opportunity to go “all out” and really celebrate the choices we make. Please join us in our celebration by participating in, and sharing, the amazing giveaways from member shops you will find below.
1. Birchleaf Designs – 2 Playsilks in your choice of colors. Winner – Angela Vullo (comment #99)
“We like use playsilks when we Celebrate! Here are some ways to use silk rather than paper or balloons: 1. Wrap up a gift to give and include the silk as part of the gift; 2. Hang colorful silks around instead of using balloons; 3. Have a basket full of silks for everyone to dress up for the occassion.”
2. Mosey Handmade – 12 Hand-painted Wooden Counting Mushrooms. Winner – Tracey (comment #55)
“My best tip for celebrating is get your kids involved! They love to see things grow and I think it’s a great day to get out in the garden, plant or transfer those seedlings and dig!” Check out this article on planting with children for more!
3. Woolies – Earth Pony of winner’s choice. Winner – SidewalkGoddess (comment #98)
“Earth Day is a special reminder to the world to honor our Mother Earth. I always spend this day planting, or taking care of our garden. I’ll also make sure to play with our horses, they love Earth Day too!”
4. Long Mountain Art – Organic Cotton Recycle Tee. Winner – MamaAshGrove (comment #29)
“I teach art so I love to do projects that reuses artwork that my students dont want to take with them. I also find my own kids have an abundance of doodles that I just hate throwing away! This is a link for rolled paper bowls. You can use almost any paper but I prefer to reuse artwork that I am not attached to. You can make coasters or placemats or whatever comes to mind!”
5. Willodel – Set of 3 Cottontail Rabbits (*open to US and Canada only) Winner – Mel (comment #76)
“The celebration of Earth Day & the welcoming of Spring with it’s burst of new life all around us make April a very special month. At the Willodel shop you will find carefully hand made items out of natural materials full of inspiration and love for the natural world. These qualities are passed onto our children through the toys and sets that they hold and play with. This goal is always a part of everything found in the shop. Celebrating Nature everyday is the very best way to learn from and love the Earth that is our home and be the keepers of it.”
Here is wonderful link to learn about caring for wild life, and two blog links to look at too: Garden Toad Watch and Willodel
6. MudHollow – Mushroom Bowling, Wonderland Edition with Soy Paints Winner – Michelle (comment #47)
“Earth Day is a great reminder to get out and have a great time enjoying this amazing planet. You could make a video for a chance to win a seat at a NASA Rocket Launch, have a Picnic for the Planet or work on creating a Certified Backyard Habitat. There are so many activities happening around the world, and so many possibilities for projects at home too! You can start a compost bin, plant a garden using native seeds (desert southwest for me), or find an activity from our site!”
7. This Cosy Life – Blossom Mama and her Petal Baby. Winner – Carissa (comment #80)
“I make all of my own houshold cleaners. A little vinegar, baking soda, and sweet smelling essential oils go a long way toward a cleaner house! And without the toxic cleaners my little ones are happy to scrub right along side me.”
8. Gypsy Forest – Winner’s Choice of Linen Bag. Winner – Jenny P (comment #84)
I carry chico bags made from recycled plastic in my purse. I love the kind that fold into their own pouch. AND I love the look on the cashier’s face when I pull out my stash of bags to bag my own groceries.
9. Armadillo Dreams – Spring Tulips Wooden Flower Toy. Winner – Dandyrae (comment #18)
Earth Day is a great day to get outside and explore nature with your children. A little walk/hike is always fun. Geocaching is also a great way to explore and appreciate the outdoors.
*10. In case you missed it, The Enchanted Cupboard is also giving away a wooden playset!
Make sure you leave a comment if you haven’t already!
Giveaway is now closed! The winners are shown next to each item above. Winning comment numbers chosen using Random.org’s random number generator. Winners may
Contact Us to claim prizes if they have not been contacted.
Here’s how to enter: Leave a comment on this post. Don’t forget to leave us a way of contacting you.
For additional entries (leave a separate comment for each entry, if you don’t, they count as one)
- Follow teamNaturalKids on Twitter AND Tweet this (include @teamNaturalKids in your tweet)
- Like Natural Kids on Facebook AND share the giveaway on Facebook (include @NaturalKids)
- Blog this giveaway and post the link
- Follow NaturalKids on Pinterest AND Pin your favorite photo from this post (include @NaturalKids)
- Visit all nine participating shops, and add them to your favorites on Etsy (nine shops = 1 entry)
Giveaway is open worldwide (exceptions noted above). Natural Kids team members are not allowed to enter.
We will choose 9 winners randomly on April 30th, 2012. (Please, make sure we have a way to contact you!)
In addition to the giveaways above, several shops are running Earth Day sales or other promotions!
- The Enchanted Cupboard — MudHollow — Mama West Wind – Earth Day sales, no coupons needed!
- Nobby Organics – all baby items (dolls and doll clothes are excluded) are 20% off for Earth Day. The sale will run until April 29th. Also giving away a raw amber teething necklace.
- This Cosy Life – sale on Flower Fairies through the month of April, $3 off
- Woolies – 10% off with coupon “earthday”
- GermanDolls – 10% off with coupon “EARTHDAY 2012”
- Driaa – 10% off with coupon “earthday2012”
We all know how important recycling is for the health of our families and our planet, but did you know there is an official day to celebrate and promote it?
All over the country, cities, schools, and groups of all sorts are hosting events that you may want to check out! The official website for America Recycles Day has all the details and even an event finder. In my community, I found computer and electronics recycling, the grand opening of a recycling education center and a community college that will be sifting through it’s trash from the day before to evaluate it’s recycling habits. Click on over to earth911.com and you can search for specific item recycling – like left-over paint or used batteries.
While at the America Recycles Day site, be sure to take the pledge and check out the video contest and cast a vote. Here’s a fun one that might inspire you to make some music of your own using what you find in the recycling bins:
What activities will you do to celebrate recycling? We’d love to know!
Tell us about it in the comments, or send us some pictures!
Looking for some inspiration? Check out some of our great recycling fun in previous posts:
- Compost recycling in Wild, Wonderful Worms!
- Recycle a sweater and Make a Gnome Hat
- Reuse those T.P. tubes and make Owls!
- Fabric scraps and wool roving bits make awesome Felted Balls
- Newspaper can be transformed into Seedling Pots with just a few folds.
- This adorable bunny decoration uses up fabric scraps – how cute would some holiday elves be in the same style?!
- Start gathering little wool bits from your holiday projects to use in the spring activity Blossoms for Birds
- Friendship Dolls are another great project for tiny bits of fabric and wool and they make a great gift for a best friend!
- This (quiet) Noisemaker makes use of a recycled cardboard tube
- Use those branches that had to be cut off the Christmas Tree in order to get it to fit inside – make a Door Decoration!
- A gorgeous transformation of children’s artwork into Bird Ornaments
- This great Nature Collage project uses a recycled cereal box, but it could be modified to include more! Instead of using natural items to make your collage, let’s see what you can do with recyclable bits and pieces. Maybe things you find on a walk that could have been recycled, or a journal of your day illustrated with the actual recyclables used.
- Make an I-Spy Jar using odds and ends that might otherwise be tossed in the trash.
Kelly of MudHollow (aka. MuddyFeet) can usually be found surrounded by stacks of wool felt and piles of wool roving, sewing or felting happily away or she may be out in the workshop carefully shaping a piece of wood and sanding it smooth. When not absorbed in a project, she spends her time homeschooling one of her two boys, attending soccer games and caring for a small zoo that currently includes: 2 dogs, 3 cats, 9 frogs, 1 turtle and a variety of insects. You can learn more about her by visiting her at MudHollow or on Etsy.
Passed down through the generations, spoken next to the hearth on a cold winter night, lavishly illustrated in cherished books, sung to babes in their cradles… Fairy tales, folk tales, nursery rhymes and fables all have a place in our hearts and our history. We hope you enjoy the results of our recent team challenge to create, and be inspired by, these wonderful tales.
Once upon a time…
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What are your favorite tales? Do you have fond memories of them being read to you as a child, did you act them out in a school play, or have a grandparent whisper them in your ear at bedtime?
The Autumn harvest is a time of shortening days, falling leaves, apple cider, and hay rides. We hope you enjoy these wonderful picks from the NaturalKids Team that embody the essence of Autumn.
Let us know below if see anything that you just love, or if there was something you wish was offered – we have lots of members who love the challenge of new or unusual items!
The giveaway this week is for a set of five little felt forest friends from MuddyFeet! The tiny animals are just under 2 inches tall, are hand-stitched from 100% wool felt and stuffed with wool. They make a great addition to nature tables, easter baskets and are the perfect size for tucking into a pocket! The set includes: raccoon, mouse, bear, rabbit, fox.
About the Artist:
Hi, I’m Kelly, and I work with a variety of materials to make the types of toys I wish I had as a child.
I love learning. New processes, new mediums, new ideas – I want to explore it all! I especially enjoy working with wool (I wet felt, needle felt, sew felt), wood, silk, and hemp. There is just something “right” about creating using the materials provided by the earth that will return to the earth when they are no longer used.
When I am not creating, I am often working on one of my many (many) projects. Right now, we are trying our hand at raising silkworms, butterflies, crickets and even cockroaches (yes, really! In the garage of course!). I am also currently homeschooling one of my children, and spend quite a bit of my time attending the kids’ sporting events (and shopping for cleats).
Learn more about me by visiting my website, blog and shop!
How to enter this giveaway:
Head on over to MuddyFeet’s Etsy shop and comment below with your favorite item(s)
Get extra entries by (1 comment=1 entry):
- Adding MuddyFeet to your Etsy favorites.
- Becoming a fan of Natural Kids on Facebook (and/or post this giveaway to your FB page)
- Following NK_Store on Twitter and/or Tweet about this giveaway.
- Blogging about this giveaway with a link back to the post.
This giveaway will close next Saturday (April 9th). The winner will be chosen randomly and notified by email.
*Please note: Members of the NaturalKids Team and their families are excluded from this promotion. International winners are responsible for any customs fees or taxes.
Congratulations to Glenaeon Class 3,2010 with comment #2. Please contact MuddyFeet@MudHollow to claim your prize! A new winner will be chosen Apr 27 if not claimed.
The Saga of Erik the Viking
Written by Terry Jones
Illustrated by Michael Foreman
I don’t know about all of you, but I just love used bookstores! You just never know what you might come across. When I happened on this particular book, I was thrilled. Not only were we about to start a home-school unit on Norse Mythology, but the artwork was absolutely amazing!
There is another reason I was so excited about this discovery. My two boys have never really been big on picture books. Sure, we read lots of them when they were little. Our collection is huge, and widely varied in the illustration and writing styles. We had classics, award winners and little known gems. However, they never really LOVED any of them. Then, as soon as my oldest discovered chapter books, picture books quickly became “baby-ish” and were forgotten. Little brother picked up on this attitude despite all my protests, and the massive collection of picture books began gathering a nice layer of dust.
THIS book though was different. THIS book would surely draw them back into the world of art and words combined, at least for a little bit. THIS book was not baby-ish. THIS book was dark, full of adventure, swords and monsters. AND it was a chapter book. With gorgeous illustrations on nearly every page.
We read this book out loud, first to the younger (about 6 at the time), but it slowly drew the older in (about 9). We ended up having to start over so he could hear it too. Every night we read a chapter (or a bit less, never more). We read about sea monsters, dragons and enchanted places. We read about catastrophes and courage, with a little bit of comedy thrown in (Did I mention it is written by Terry Jones? Of Monty Python fame?). We read about Erik the Viking, his men, his ship the Golden Dragon, and their search for the land where the sun goes at night.
As we read, we absorbed the illustrations. The washes of color setting the mood so well, the inky lines fleshing out the details. We spent many afternoons with our own watercolors, trying out such bold and glowing strokes. This was the first time my oldest was really excited to do watercolor painting, usually he preferred a more opaque medium. He was inspired by this book though, and really enjoyed these painting sessions.
I won’t go into much detail on the plot of the book. The main theme is “the search for the land where the sun goes at night,” and each of the 27 chapters is its own little saga. It is a wonderful book that helped bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books for us. My children came to realize that picture books are not just for babies and that you shouldn’t judge a book by its format. It was a wonderful book to read aloud at night, and I often imagined a Norse family sitting around the hearth telling these stories to their children. Having said that, it is not a book for everybody. Young children may not welcome the dark and often monstrous illustrations, and there is a lot of fighting, death and even some gore (all the more reason my two boys enjoyed it!). In addition, the language is quite complex and small children may not sit still for it.
The Saga of Erik the Viking may be a difficult one to find, as it goes in and out of print. Those in the UK might have an easier time finding it! Used copies are usually to be found quite easily online and often at a very good price!
Another great find by Terry Jones & Michael Foreman is Fairy Tales and Fantastic Stories. It is really two books (Fairy Tales and Fantastic Stories) and may also be difficult to find, but totally worth it! It is more suitable for the younger crowd, with silly stories and much brighter and lighter (but still beautiful) illustrations, but shouldn’t be limited to just the little ones! Big kids can appreciate the stories as well!
Illustrator Michael Foreman has also paired up with author Michael Morpurgo in two titles similar to The Saga of Erik the Viking. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a medieval tale is retold with knights, dragons and humor. Beowulf is the epic tale of the monster Grendel, a “merciless murderous ogre” and the brave warrior Beowulf. Both books are well suited to kids at about the fourth grade and up, although younger kids may enjoy them too, especially if they enjoy great fight scenes or monsters! The Saga of Erik the Viking is still our favorite though!
Book Review by Kelly of MuddyFeet
|Heart of Fire Playsilk
Beneath The Rowan Tree
|Knight or Viking Wooden Figurine
by Dad’s Wooden Toys
|Wooden Shield and Sword
by Birchleaf Designs