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BirchLeaf Designs a Farm

Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY! We recently came across a photo of a boy who was not afraid to play. His imagination was wondrous!

Boy who was not afraid to play.
Boy who was not afraid to play.

Wondrous and amazing…very much like this mosaic shield. Made from a blank shield from our shop and then sold at an auction to help raise funds for the Portland Waldorf School in Portland, Oregon.

Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.
Mosiac Shield. Photo courtesy Portland Waldorf School.

The mosaic shield reminds me so much of our life…with the family in the center, the heart, the hearth, the fiery life-force. Then, branching off of the heart center are our many activities in which we are involved. Each day is filled with a bit of this and a bit of that…from eating healthy foods, to homeschooling, to farming, to making toys. These past few weeks have found us in the woods. Many blessings are upon us!

Maple Sap is flowing!

Pro Maple sap taster!
Pro Maple sap taster, Kiah.

Little baby chicks are healthy and here!

Baby chicks are a'peepin'.
Baby chicks are a’peepin’.

And little lambs have arrived!

Meet Patience.
Meet Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Kiah and her lamb, Patience.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.
Milo and his lamb, Temperance.

It only gets livelier from here on out! Garden starts are ready to be planted. Piggies are due to arrive April 20th and bees shortly thereafter. Festivals and art shows are in the not so distant future…which brings us back to our shop…BirchLeaf Designs…Playsilks and Swords and Shields, OH MY…

Wendy, Mojo and their 2 children, Kiah and Milo live, homeschool, farm, and make toys off the grid near Marquette, Michigan. Please visit their shops at and

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My Enchanted Life

As the weather gets warmer my days get busier so I need meals to be simple. I run a full time business, The Enchanted Cupboard, while running my household and homeschooling 4 children. I need to keep our meals healthy and nutrition filled! I love this recipe because it is what I make with the last 2 chicken breast when I am doing big batch cooking and it is packed full of yummy veggies. Dicing up the veggies and adding it to chicken salad is a great way to boast your kids diet with lots of color that are full of antioxidants! I serve this for lunch on whole wheat bread and a cup fruit salad. You could easily make this low carb. and gluten free by serving it on big lettuce leaves like a wrap! If you like this easy recipe and want more come checkout my own blog and see what is cooking in my kitchen.

Mama’s Chicken Salad


2 skinless boneless precooked chicken, diced
2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 med. size onion dice
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow or orange pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, veggies and herbs. Set aside.
Add mayo and mix gently until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



On my work table I often have much smaller versions of play food just right for Waldorf Style dolls. I work with wood and paper clay to make play food.


This sweet little set is made of wood and is just right for doll house dolls. I so enjoy creating for this miniature world of childhood play. Come on over to the Nature Table and see what is cooking at the Acorn Cafe.


The Acorn Cafe


On the first day of Spring the world was a buzz of activity at the Acorn Cafe.


Everyone was enjoying the wonderful food made by Miss Dandelion.


Grandpa was having his favorite tomato sandwich.


A few fairies stopped in for tea and sweets.


Four forest friends enjoyed an after noon treat.


All were happy on this bright spring day.

Items on the Nature Table:

Wooden toys, playsilks, and dolls can be found at The Enchanted Cupboard.

Felt Woodland Friends can be found at Muddyfeet.

Acorn Cafe  and table & chairs were created by Willodel.


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An Easy Horse Rein Tutorial

What is more fun than pretend play?  Running around?  Here’s a tutorial for you to create an easy toy for your little ones that combines the two.  An easy horse rein!

Materials needed:

  • A cord of about 2.5 meters / 8.5 feet in length (we used a cord that my little one knitted with a knitting fork/lucet using our hand dyed rainbow wool)
  • Some fabric (we used part of an old pair of jeans) or a piece of felt (if you hand sew)
  • Sewing thread


1) Cut two rectangles of 17 x 25 cm (approx. 6.8 x 10 inches) out of the fabric and lay them together with the right sides facing each other.  Note – if you use felt, one piece of felt will do and you can skip steps 2 and 3.

2) Sew the two rectangles together with a 1cm (1/3 inch) seam and leaving a 6 cm (2.5 inch) opening on one side.  When finished, cut the corners.

3) Turn the fabric so that the right side is facing out and push out the corners.  Stitch along the edges, resulting in a rectangle.

4) Tie the ends of the cords together.  I used a simple knot here that will be where the kids will hold the rein.

5) Find the top middle of the cord (using the knot as the bottom) and measure 23cm (9 inches) down on each side.  Pin those points to the top of the fabric rectangle, leading the cord down on the sides.

6) Sew along the sides over the cord.  Sew slowly as the cord might get caught in the machine foot.

7) Re-enforce the cord by sewing the cord parallel at the bottom and top

Finished!  Get your little ones ready for some running around as horses and riders!

Anything unclear or do you have questions?  Feel free to contact me.

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This quote is a good one to remember on days like today (for me) so I thought I would share its beauty.


To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Dragon Wings Tutorial

My children are really into slaying dragons right now. If you come by our house in the middle of the day, you’re most likely to find them, sword in hand, running around screaming at dragons. And if you saw my toddler’s face when I handed him his very own pair of dragon wings to wear… It lit up! He put them on and off he went…With mama trying to get a good picture of this little beast!

To make one for your little dragon you will need:

  • A strong fabric; I used wool.
  • Jewerly wire, but a hanger could work fine
  • Two bands of elastic (those in the picture were too short, I advice you to go longer)
  • Tools: wire cutters, fabric scissors, safety pins

Make your wire frame. I went with a simple, small baby dragon style.

Double your fabric and cut along your frame, leaving enough clearing for sewing.

Sew the bottom part of the wings, leave to top open so you’ll be able to insert your wire frame.

Flip your wings outside out and insert your frame.

Close the top with an overstitch and, if you feel fancy, overstitch details.

This is also optional; Make cover for your elastics.

Flip right side out and inset elastic.

Sew both elastic in the middle of the wings.

Use wire to give shape to your wings and you’re done!

And see your little one fly away, away from the camera!

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Get rid of Lice Naturally

Our family has been afflicted by very unpleasant companions last month. Well, those with long hair did, and the boys remainded lice-less except for one little guy on Papa’s head. We got rid of it naturally, whitout any chemicals. If you don’t want to use the shampoo from the drugstore (which is not that effective anyway) There’s pretty much 2 ways. A friend of mine and all her kids got them in the same time as us, and she decided to shave everyone’s head. But my hair doesn’t grow 2 inches a month like her, so I decided to take the somewhat less effective way. Here’s the methods I’ve tried and their results for me and my daughter:

1. Covering your head with oil (I used almond oil) and letting it sit overnight.

I don’t know how many I had on my head, but after that precedure I still had about 15 lices when we passed the metal comb. The eggs were falling off easily, thought – and there was so many of them!

2. Shampoo with vinegar +added EO (I used Tea tree, minth, lavender and Geranium)

The point of using vinegar or oil is to drown the lice, because they have a special dispositive not to drown in water and oil or vinegar makes it shot down for good. My hairs were really, really clean after that! But we still found a lot of eggs and 2-3 living lice.

3. Pass the metal comb, twice or thrice a day.

I beleive this is what was the most effective, more then shampooing our hairs with anything. It’s important to use a metal one since they are the ones that will unlodge the eggs.


We’ve been lice-free for more then a week now. Hope this helps!

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how to teach children to ride a bike: grass hill method

I thought this post might come in handy for some parents out there. It’s hard to believe but I recently met a young man who never learned how to ride a bike. I was utterly confounded by the news. A kid 15 years of age who got his driver’s permit but does not know how to ride a bike? How was it possible? His parents are quite embarrassed about it. I guess they just never got around to it when he was a young fellow. They are not bikeriders themselves. A couple of years ago the boy started asking if they could teach him so he could ride his bike to middle school. They made an attempt or two. But it was already too late…The boy was mortified to be seen outside practicing riding a bike at this age. It’s so sad. How could this happen?

I think the greatest gift we can give our children as parents is the gift of confidence. It’s our job to help them accomplish these milestones in life. It’s hese milestones that make them feel they can do stuff on their own. One of them is riding a bike. Another is being able to swim. By learning to do these physical things they gain pride and confidence and can move on to bigger things.

I wrote about my traumatic childhood memories when it comes to learning to ride a bike on my personal blog recently. It definitely wasn’t good being put on a bike without training wheels and pushed down a steep hill until you fall…What parent would do such a thing? My Dad! But at least he cared enough to teach me how to ride a bike as painful as this lesson turned out. Plus I learned something else: it made me determined to do better with my own children.

Like other parents from the NaturalKids Team who kindly shared their photos with me – my husband and I used a much gentler approach with our children.

I think it’s important to make kids feel safe on the bike first. My kids both rode their bikes with training wheels for a couple of years. Then, when my son turned 5, I decided it was time to take the training wheels off and teach him without. The first couple of days I would just walk beside him. You know the break-my-back-hold-on-to-bikehandles and running-running-alongside-your kid method. But my son just wasn’t able to balance. Some kids just have a harder time when it comes to balance. Then I had an idea. We have a soft grassy hill where our grass slopes down into the neighbor’s yard. I used my dad’s approach, using gravity rolling down a hill, but without the hard fall. I would run along and push the child and then let go. We used this method with both of our children. They both did fall  a few times – but they landed on the soft grass. All it took was ONE afternoon. Both of my children learned in one afternoon by using the grassy hill method. Once they got the Feel for it they were okay. They went from the hill to the sidewalk that same day.  And there was no crying, no injuries, no bruises.

Please, take the time and teach a kid how to ride a bike! You will make a real difference in their life! Plus, it’s good excercize and great for the environment too.


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Tutorial: Bubble Wands

One of summer’s biggest outdoor fun is to blow bubbles. But when you have little ones around, loosing the tiny plastic bubble wands is a very easy thing to do! Plus, they only make tiny bubbles. I decided I would try my hand at making wire ones like I saw around on the internet and I was pleased at how easy they are to make! Let me show you how we (me and my 4 year old) did!


You will need:

  • Cooper wire, like the one we use in jewelry
  • Wood dowel, or found sticks. We used drift wood like in the Solstice wand tutorial
  • Cookie cutters of various shapes
  • Cutting tools (jewelry ones works great)

Wrap wire around chosen cookie cutter. Take care to leave some loose so the wire overlaps itself.

This the excess around itself, and leave a good length of the other end before cutting. Wrap your shape around your stick.

That quick, that simple! and you have an awesome magical bubble wand! Now you only need to mix one part dish soap with one part water and pour the mix in a plate. Dip your wand in it and blow, or wave you hand!

You can let your creativity go from the basic shape, and even choose not to use cookie cutter as a guide. Kids like them so much better then the little plastic ones. Go try to make one, but I warn you, it’s addictive and soon you’ll have tons in stock- perfect for summer birthdays!

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Team Tom For Kids

It’s been a great summer. I think what I love best about summers is that we as a family and the children get lots of good workouts and outdoor excercize. Unlike many families on the NaturalKids Team, our family does not homeschool. I think one of the biggest problems with the American School System is that children do not get enough breaks and physical excercise during a normal schoolday. And they wonder why obesity rates are going up…

I feel very fortunate that we can keep our children enrolled in dance and do lots of sports during the school year to keep them healthy and fit. I know there are so many kids that don’t get the chance to do sports because their parents cannot afford it.

There is a workout program for kids in our town that is very affordable for families. It’s called Team Tom  and is run by personal trainer Tom Forsyth. About a dozen or more children between the ages of 5 and 18 have been participating on any given day this summer. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday a large group of kids would meet in the parking lot behind a healthclub in our town. Any kid can just pop into class on those days. Cost is $5 per workout – less than a movie.

Boys and girls alike, would do a one-hour workout together this summer. Usually the children would be paired up as teams: one big kid with little kid. The teams would go from station to station completing sets of a certain exercise such as jumping rope, hopping on a ladder, carrying weights, hitting a tire with a big sledgehammer, and flipping big tractor tires over.

But every kid’s favorite activity happened on Wednesdays: The famous truckpulling. The teams would get a harness on – like horses pulling a wagon – and two kids would pull a truck across the parking lot.

My daughter is really sad that the summer has come to an end. During the schoolyear Team Tom will meet later in the afternoon. We probably won’t be able to go to Team Tom because of our busy schedule with school and dance classes. But I surely hope that lots of kids will find out about this great workout program helping even the littlest guy or gal build strength. Or maybe you can get a personal trainer in your community to start a cool exercise class for children.

In the famous words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: We’ll be back next summer!



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World Breastfeeding Week

As my social media sites have been filling with beautiful images and stories celebrating the connection of breastfeeding mothers around the world, I am reminded of so many of my own funny feeding moments from when my three boys were little…

The boys and I were standing in line at our local market on a busy Friday evening, waiting to check out. I leaned around Luke, who was less than a year old at the time, to help the bigger boys empty the cart onto the convauyer belt. With about a dozen customers standing behind us in line, Luke took full advantage of the opportunity.  He pulled my breast right out of my v-neck t’shirt and tried to help himself to a snack!  It got a good laugh from everyone, except Luke who quickly reminded us that he was still hungry.

What funny breastfeeding moments do you have to share?