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Book Review: Listen Listen by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay

We are a big book family.  Our daughter loves reading books more than any other activity in her life.  This means that on rainy days read the same books sometimes up to ten times a day in between other activities.  It is important to our family that we all enjoy what we are reading and I can’t recommend Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by Alison Jay (our favorite children’s illustrator), enough.  It is an amazing introduction to the different seasons and each page is full of beautiful art so you can always spot something new.  The rhyme scheme in the book is clever using onomatopoeia.  For example, the book starts off:
“Listen listen… what’s that sound? Insects singing all around!
Chirp, chirp, churr, churr, buzz, buzz, whirr, whirr.” 
From one page to the next and one season to the next, the story is just as much fun to say as it is to look at for both adults and children.  A must have for children ages 1-4. 
Narina with Uncle Adam reading Listen Listen
Written by Rachel Ford Blanchard from OAST

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The Second Time Around


I am 24 weeks pregnant with our second child.  A little over half way. This pregnancy, as every second time mother has shared with me, is very different to my first.  I was very reflective and spiritual about my daughter’s gestation.  I talked to her all the time, I sang, I dreamed of what life was going to be like with her from the moment we tested positive.  Now, with my daughter nearing her second birthday and my son, due to be born a few months after that, I realize that I am just starting to imagine.  That isn’t to say this pregnancy hasn’t been spiritual.  It has been.  It has been the perfect balance of living in the moment and surrender.  I have such little amounts of time that I don’t get a chance to read birthing books that half freak me out and half inspire me.  I don’t get the chance to dwell on each ache and pain.  I just am.  
This is ideal because what I learned last time is that there is very little you can control during labour and delivery.  My memory of my birth has not faded and I understand that what is going to happen will.  What I can do is harvest love and support from those around me and within my family.  Support for my daughter and her relationship with her brother to be.  That is where I start to imagine.  I have entered the mother phase of my life a million times in the past two years.  Each time a piece of who I was, and the effort I put into myself, to be whole and connected to the empowered part of myself shines through.  Being a mother feels natural to me.  Being pregnant again has been a great experience of wisdom.  It has given me a chance to be a much more mellow woman than I was for my daughter.  I move smoothly through the transitions of gestation with a grace I am pleased exists.  


I am looking forward to celebrating my experience of motherhood within my community.  With my daughter, I was unable to do this because I was new to the area.  This time I am going to plan a blessingway.  I am going to include family living in other countries and incorporate art to decorate my belly. I am fostering ideas as we speak but am curious to know: 
What are some ways that you celebrated your motherhood while pregnant?
Written by Rachel from Oast
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Here Comes The Sun, Little Darling! Sun Safety Tips for Kids and Parents


Photo by   Jes Anthonis

Flashback Mother’s Day 2011: My 10 year-old daughter got a sunburn. I felt like the worst mother ever. How could I let this happen? Well, it was the first sunny day of the year, and my daughter went to a friend’s house to play. I had given her instructions that if they were going to play outside she needed to ask her friend’s mom for some sunscreen. Of course, she didn’t!

Lesson learned: Don’t expect other people to be aware of your child’s needs! Maybe the other mother thought it was okay because her kids have a darker complexion and don’t get sunburned easily. You and your child alone are responsible and will suffer the consequences…

So we applied lots of aloe – freshly squeezed from the leaves of our houseplant and were glad there was no blistering, and the redness went away after 3 days. We skipped Field Day at school the next day.  Everybody knows that one shouldn’t go out and catch more sun when burned already, right?

So in order to do some penance here and to help out other parents I investigated the subject some more. I found a great site called: Healthy Child that you should visit. But here is the sum of the knowledge I gathered for those of you with little time:

Photo by Jes Anthonis


1. Avoidance:

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible, particularly between the hours of 10AM to 4 PM when the sun is strongest. If you  must go outside, find shade as much as possible!
  • Check the UV index ( when planning outdoor activities.
  • Keep infants and very young children, in particular, out of sun completely!

2. Cover up.

  • The less skin gets exposed to damaging UV rays the less likely skin will get sunburned and damaged. Protect skin and eyes!
  • Clothing: wear brimmed hats and shirts made of fabrics that are dark colored and have a dense weave! Were sunglasses to protect eyes.

There are some companies that sell protective shirts and swimwear. I have not tried them myself, but what I read on their sites made a lot of sense to me. There is a reason why I see many farm workers in Colorado wear hoodies in the midday heat while working out in the fields. I am pretty sure they are not doing it as a fashion statement…

3. The Skinny on Sunscreens. Help! It’s so confusing. What do I buy?

  •  Fact is that 85% of sunscreens sold in the US do not protect you at all. Why?

– people don’t put on enough sunscreen to begin with. People put only 1/4 – 2/3 of what they should . Of course, that stuff is expensive and who can afford to keep buying it?
– manufacturers give us a false sense of protection with claims of 30, 50, 70, 90, or even 100 SPF factors. People using the higher numbered ones tend to reapply less often and stay in the sun much longer.

4. What’s in a Sunscreen? Horrible chemicals that you definitely don’t want to eat, breathe in, or leave on your skin for too long…

The Environmental Working Group’s comprehensive scientific review indicates that 85% of 993 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.

->A new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that nearly all Americans are contaminated with oxybenzone, a
 sunscreen chemical that has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage, and low birth weight.

  • Use the sunscreens with SPF 30 rather than the higher ones because they have less chemicals. It’s better to apply a lower numbered sunscreen more often than to use the high numbered ones only once.
  •  Don’t use the kind that you can spray on!!!It has small particles and people inhale those scary nanoparticles when spraying the stuff on. They still don’t know what the long term health effects are. Fact is: chemicals build up in our systems.
  • Wash the sunscreen off after done playing in the sun!

5. What brands/ sunscreens?  I found the following list on the website I mentioned above:

Top Ten Sunscreens recommended by the Environmental Working Group

1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30

2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+

3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+

4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30

5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum

6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40

7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35

8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30

10. Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

All photos used in this article are courtesy of Jes Anthonis, owner of Mosey Handmade on Etsy
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God Bless the Child who has his Own Cellphone

Oh dear, oh dear. What is one to do as a “nature” oriented parent in this age of technology and kids wanting to spend all their free time in front of a screen? One tends to think that life gets easier as the diaper era turns into distant memory and the kids become more independent each day. But what about cellphones? Since the day our son entered 6th Grade, middle school, our life has become hell in the battle over cellphones. He has wanted and needed a cellphone for about 3 years now.

We heard plenty a story of lost cellphones in first and Second Grade. But those were brushed off as figments of the child’s imagination. What kid that age would need a phone?

The first time the topic came up for serious discussion was two years ago, when our son announced to my husband that he needed a phone in case he got stranded at a baseball game or practice. DH’s response: What? How would you get stranded? We take you to each practice and hang around till it’s over. Your mother and I have never missed a single game. We are Velcro parents…What are you talking about?”

Things got more serious when he announced that his 6th Grade math teacher had told the students he would send them homework assignments via cellphone and email. What? It turned out it wasn’t really a requirement. The boy just wanted a phone because supposedly ALL of his classmates had one. Are we bad parents for saying “no”? When is the right time to give a child a cellphone? Will my child turn into a social outcast because I am not giving him a cellphone.

This morning came the last stroke. Our youngest daughter won received a little cellphone in the shape of an eraser. My son’s response: “Even she got a cell-phone before I did.”

Oh boy! Must we cave in? Maybe I am just afraid that my kid may turn into one of those morose teenagers sitting on the sofa texting all the time and not wanting to have a regular conversation any more. I have witnessed first hand, kid’s sitting right next to each other, callused hands sending endless texts like: “What are you doing?” “Oh, just sitting here texting you.” How do I explain to the kids that my tweets are somehow more valuable or important? Well, they are for my business…

He is turning 13 in the fall. What he really does need is a new bicycle since he has outgrown his old one. But I know what he wants more than anything is a phone. Do I get him the bicycle, or do I let him join his texting friends? Please, I’d like to hear some opinions from other parents who have fought this battle. When is the right time to give a child a cellphone?

Useful Links on this topic:

WordHealth Organisations Report :

Parents Magazine:

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On Breastfeeding and Weaning…

Today’s wonderful article was brought to us by Rachel Ford Blanchard, a new member of the NaturalKids team. She lives and works in the UK. Her lovely Etsyshop is called Oast.

Before I had a baby one of the biggest parts of motherhood I craved was breastfeeding. The look on a contented mother’s face while feeding was always so inspiring to me and I couldn’t wait to experience it on my own. When I gave birth, my daughter was put on my belly and she made her way up to my chest where we had our first experience of breastfeeding minutes after she was born. With blood still in her hair and her body covered in vernix that I slowly massaged into her skin, we started our external relationship as mother and daughter.

I am really glad I had such affection for breastfeeding because my daughter was a trooper. She fed all the time. Really. Many of my photos of her in the first year of her life are of me feeding her or are audio clips of the sounds she made while sucking. I loved it so much and had made the decision early on that I wouldn’t stop breastfeeding until she was ready. As she got older we decided we would do “baby-led weaning” (as it is called in the UK, child led weaning in the USA). For us this meant that her first means of nutrition would be from breast milk and she would be allowed to eat any food she wanted. No purees, no jars. She would shift into eating solids when she was ready and subsequently she would shift where she would get her main source of nutrition from as well.

Shortly after she was 6 months old she picked up a slice of apple and sucked on it. Slowly she ate more and more solids, exploring textures and flavors with vigour. Something we have found is that she still goes through phases that children who are puree weaned go through. For example, right now she doesn’t eat any vegetables but carrots. I am not worried, though, because we trust that she will crave what she needs. That concept, trusting, is what made her weaning such a graceful transition for us all. Once she was able to walk and talk, breastfeeding became a new adventure of independence. The first sign of weaning was that she stopped asking for milk. She still wanted it whenever offered, but she didn’t ask. I would say “milk time” and she would pick up the breastfeeding pillow and run over to me with it. I would put it on my lap and she would giggle with delight as I got her into the appropriate position. Then something shifted. I would say “milk time” and she would bring her pillow then run away. A game, I thought. Dan would pick her up and put her on the pillow and she would giggle and eat happily. Then I would say “milk time” with the pillow on my lap already. Dan would bring her over and she would be very unhappy about it. Finally she said “no”. And that was it. She had one more feed after that. Because the feeds and the transition was so gradual, I have had no aches or pains due to weaning. My daughter wants to stay a bit closer to me in the middle of the night but otherwise you would have never guessed such a huge transition has taken place for us all.

For more information and great support on breastfeeding:

For information on baby-led weaning:

Welcome to Baby Led Weaning