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Cooking Naturally


Hi every

one! One of my passions, besides making dollies and fun toys for children is food. You see my mom and dad are both chefs. Growing up they would take my brothers and I to “help out” at the family restaurant on Saturday’s, and we would peel, measure, pound, husk and pour all morning long. We loved it! Every time we were able to cook or 

help out during a meal it seemed to taste better, or if it was something we had never eaten before we were not afraid to try it. Maybe it was because we were proud of our wonderful concoctions or “experiments” as my mom still says, or because of the connection between us and our parents as we prepared our meals. 

Cooking is a wonderful way to teach, entertain, and connect with your children. Hopefully some of these recipes or suggestions will be able to make food fun for your children. They are very simple, delicious and can be changed to suit your family.

For my first tutorial, we will start with Yogurt. I love yogurt! You can use it in so many different ways, and it’s a great substitute for mayo or sour cream. Also now that the weather is getting warmer it’s a great no cook snack . This is a good alternative to store bought, what the heck is in this? Snacks. it’s a good way of getting the kids to try new fruits and vegetables, by dipping them into the flavored yogurt.

Simple Yogurt 

A very easy way to make a large batch of your own no fuss yogurt. This is great for large families, or when you have a party or get-together, and if you’re a yogurt freak like me. It will take a while but its easy and a great science project/activity for the kiddies. 

ingredients

8 cups whole milk, 1 container of plain yogurt, clean cake pans or glass quart canning jars

Mix the milk and yogurt in a large cooking pot and let it boil for a couple minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then pour it in to cake pan, or fill up 2 quart canning jars. Heat your oven to 100 degrees and leave the mixture in it over night. It should take about 10-12 hrs. When you wake up you should have a nice batch of yogurt. Put it on the refrigerator for about 8 hr or until its nice and cold. Then your ready to flavor your yogurt!

Flavoring

For a sweet treat you can flavor your yogurt with maple syrup, brown sugar or your choice of sweetener.

Slice any of you favorite fruit ( I used strawberries) and put them at the bottom of your cup and pour you yogurt over them. You can use whatever fruit that is in season, I like any kind of berries, peaches , bananas and apples. This is also great frozen. Pour it in small cups put a Popsicle stick in the middle and freeze. When they are nice and frozen take them out and let them sit for a minute and they will slide out easily. 

For a nice veggie dip here are three simple and yummy suggestions. 

1.Take 1 avocado 2 cups of plain yogurt and put in blender. Use salt and pepper to taste and viola! Dip.

2. Take a small bunch of dill and chop it into 2 cups of yogurt , squeeze one lime or lemon into it. Use salt to taste and your done!

3. Chop cilantro, tomato, cucumber and onions (optional) and add to 3 cups of yogurt. Squeeze 1 lime into it and salt and pepper to taste and you are done!

You can also use these dips for crackers, pretzels , pita bread or in a sandwich. Some of my favorite veggies to dip are asparagus, snow peas, red bell peppers celery, and carrots with a black olive on the tip. 

Thanks and have a great time in the kitchen. I would love to see what you come up with, or if you have more ideas!

Some Natural Kids shops that have wonderful things to make your meals more enjoyable are: Weebeaks (cloth napkins ), Gopita (reusable snack and lunch bags), Birchleaf Designs ( wooden spoons and utensils), BuzzHandmade (candles for mood lighting)

this post brought to you by D. Garcia www.dayanra.etsy.com



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fun for mama, good for mama . . .

A fallen tree branch with bark, some sandpaper, twig, leaf. I would bet these are common things that can be found in most back yards or woods. In as little as ½ an hour you and your kiddo can create a boat or other natural toy to spark your child’s imagination.

As a mama and a crafter, these two roles often mesh together in my parenting. I realize more and more how crafting with my children is fun for me, but also incredibly valuable to mama earth. Crafting change for our world really is in our hands. By taking time to create with your children with natural materials you are teaching them valuable lessons:

*instills value in what they create.
*shares an awareness of what and where the materials come from that they are creating with, and the long term affect of when it is done- heirloom but also naturally sustainable.
*reduces purchasing pre-made from unknown sources, and encourages a DIY lifestyle.

Now that some beautiful weather is here, take a nature walk and see what you can find along the way whether it be a twig, acorn, rock and see what you can create. One of the things I love about being on the Natural Kids Team is the amazing natural children’s items that are made, but also the variety of kits and other items that encourage us to turn off the TV, get out the craft supplies and create something that is so simple yet so powerful for our children’s imaginations. The fun part for me is also when it is time to give a gift we head down to the art table and make something together instead of shopping.

Be sure to check out some great items from the Natural Kids Team to help you on your creative journey with your children. Here are some fun things to start off with:

Have fun crafting! And check this oldie but goodie book that I was gifted to discover as a child with my aunt, The Best of Making Things by Anne Wiseman.
contributed by mamaroots
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Versatile Playsilks

Playsilks are simple. So simple in fact that many adults balk at the idea of a toy that does nothing. Toddlers, however, revel in such toys! When people ask what to *do* with a playsilk, I always answer ~ give one to a child and you’ll see.Playsilks come in an endless variety of sizes and colours. No one is better than any other~ they all work in the hands of a child. You may want to choose your size and style based upon your space, planned uses (ie quiet play in the car vs. nature table backdrop or playstand canopy), and child(ren)’s age. Solid or mandala? Rainbow? You decide! At our house we prefer solids for imaginative play and multi-colours for dressup.The Natural Kids Team has a number of seller’s making or making use of gorgeous silkies. Be sure to search “Naturalkids Team” on Etsy for great finds! (Suggested keywords: playsilk, silkies, playsilks, waldorf, natural…)This article is revised from my blog, written on a dreary winter’s day when my daughter (then 2.5) and I were looking for some physical activity to beat the winter blues.I thought I would pass these along for the adults out there who may be looking for something to help them get into silkie play, or for some fresh ideas to get in some extra activity before spring releases us all to the outdoors!We had four of different colours, we could have done all this with one or two, too!1) Practice colours. Lay out various coloured silkies around the room. Child stands at center and runs to the colour you call. Add some more activity by having them jump on it, spin around with it, whatever!2) Practice counting. Lay silkies on the floor and have child step on them like ladder rungs, counting as they go.3) Literacy?! Our local literacy worker has told us that one of the big concepts children lack when they reach kindergarten is a sense of position/ relations. On top, beneath, beside, along, between… Use a silkie and practice! Put it on your child’s head ~ they are under the silkie, the silkie is on top of them. Have them place it in various relations to their body, or yours (put it behind mommy). Up, down, away, left, right…4) Throw and Catch. Bundle one silkie into a ball and knot a second around it and you have a lightweight indoor-safe ball with a handy tail to help novice catchers and throwers feel successful.5) Jumping and other Gross Motor Skills. Jump over the silkie river, walk along its bank (balance), crawl under a silkie thrown into the air, spin around with one in each hand, step over and crawl under one held up like a limbo stick.6) Fine Motor Skills. Weave two silkies together. Stuff them into a cup. Lay them down in a straight line.7) Imagination. Rowan wore her extra silkies as hat and snowsuit while we played. We hid one another and popped out to scare each other (she is at the stage where this is big fun!). She pretended to be a kitty curling up on a kitty bed. She made her big girl bed all up and climbed in to ‘sleep’.8) Rhythm and Body Awareness. We finished with dancing with our silkies~ feeling the music, moving our arms and legs in various patterns (flapping wings, waving in the sky, tiptoeing).Exercise for body, mind and spirit.All in about 30 minutes.Using only a couple 35 x 35″ squares of silk.It doesn’t get much better than this!Put a silkie in the hands of your child and watch the magic happen!Lori Campbell(http://beneaththerowantree.etsy.com)Revised, September 8, 2008.