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Playsilks & Gnome Clothes Pin Tutorial

The best gift I feel I can give my children is the freedom and opportunity to imagine!  This is why I love playsilks!  They are so versatile and fun, they are only limited by our imagination. They can be capes, cloaks, skirts, head wraps, belts, backdrops, plays capes, forts, tents, flaming rocket balls & so much more.  My children play often with their blocks, gnomes, trucks & legos but not a day goes by that they don’t play with their playsilks.

 

Last year I made this playsilk and gnome clothes pin set for our cousins.  The gnomes pin up the silks on a line to make them easily accessible for play.

To read about how I dyed the silks and where to buy them read here.  For a tutorial on how to make your own gnome clothes pins read here. The gnomes could also be a fun project for your kids to make for their friends & family or for you to make one or two to clip to their Christmas stocking.  Such possibilities!

If you don’t care to make them yourself many of our lovely Natural Kids Team members sell playsilks. Team shops like Birch Leaf Designs, Gypsy Forest, Mosey & The Enchanted Cupboard.  & I sell the gnome clothes pins at my shop, MamaWestWind.

Do you have playsilks at home?  What do your children create with them?

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The Halloween Sugar Fairy

So, you’ve gone trick or treating with your kids and you have gobs of candy!  As parents of little ones we have some choices.

  • Do what my parents did and let the kids have free reign.  This usually involves eating mounds of candy and getting a whopping stomach ache.
  • Or, let them choose a few pieces, put the rest away and then be the candy police until Thanksgiving!

Either one of these choices are fine but they do have their drawbacks. My favorite thing to do is to have the Sugar Fairy come!

The Sugar Fairy is a little fairy who eats nothing but sugar.  Her family, her whole community relies upon the candy that falls on the ground on Halloween to see her through the long winter months.  Now, the luckiest children know of the sugar fairies’ plight and choose to give her their Halloween candy.  In return the sugar fairy will bring them little (handmade) gifts and leave them on their doorstep.  (The handmade is my addition.) Check out this more detailed story of the Sugar Fairy, to tell your little ones.   Last year the Sugar Fairy brought my kids, age 6 and 2, little needle felted monsters and a fun Halloween story dvd. The cute thing is that my six year old saw his monster’s wool roving in my stash and said, “ha, the sugar fairy stole your wool to make our monsters!”.  I giggle every time I think of it.

 

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A walk through Nairobi (Toy on a Walk Series)

Hello all!

Greetings from Nairobi, Kenya!  We are bunting baby dolls from the ziezo label and we would like to take you around our garden and neighbourhood, now that we woke from our nap under the baby pawpaw tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the flame tree, with gorgeous red – orange flowers blooming now that we are reaching the end of the long rains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we lay under the pawpaw tree, these are the dark skies of the rainy season. . . the sun is hiding behind the clouds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two of us like to climb trees and bushes, and there are plenty of those around in our neighbourhood and garden.  Here we are in a baby banana tree and a mango tree, unfortunately there are no fruits on them at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we are in a small acacia tree.  It’s difficult to climb this one, because of the long thorns.  Did you know that giraffes can eat the leaves from these trees despite the thorns?  There is something in their saliva to soften the thorns and then they pluck the leaves off with their tongue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once in a while we visit the Waldorf Kindergarten in Kileleshwa, and we then like to hang out in this lovely shrub that smells so nice and is commonly called “yesterday, today & tomorrow” (Brunfelsia) because of the different colours the flowers turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you go for a ride in Nairobi, you have to be ready to wait, traffic jams are the matter of the day because of the number of cars, the state of the roads, and ongoing construction for the “Vision 2030” plan.  Here’s a view of the Nairobi Arboretum at the bottom of the hill, and some of the road construction around it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in some places the old road has been replaced by a new dirt road to allow for road improvements, while you also can see the rapid construction of new apartment buildings that are replacing the single standing houses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, after a bumper to bumper drive to Karen, reknown from Isak Dinesen’s (a.k.a. Karen Blixen) ‘Out of Africa’ it is also nice to be ending up in the lovely green environment of the Nairobi Waldorf School there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nairobi and its environs have lots of sunshine (even in the rainy season), but one thing that is always certain as you could see in most of the pictures, there is never a lack of some dreamy clouds in the sky with many imaginative creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We liked taking you on a short tour and know that we soon join our friends in the ziezo Designs shop to find a new home and explore new places on this lovely earth.  However, now it is time for a nap again. . .

 

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Living on a land (Toys on a Walk series)

Please let Albus and Victoria, our resident dolls, give you a tour of our little part of earth.

For this year we decided to rent the grand-parents house of Papa, which is located on the family land on the shore of the magnificent Saint-Laurent river, in the Province of Québec, Canada. There, my in-laws cultivate potatoes and all sorts of vegetables.

Here the land takes longer to wake up. When we took our walk, only green moss and some dandelions were at sight.

But there are lots of winged friends around!

Of course, the kings of nature here are the evergreens. Cedars, Pines, Firs are what’s green all year long.

Buds are just appearing. Roses, Maples, Birch are cautious here. They don’t want to get caught with frost!

We will plant potatoes soon, as now’s the time. But the lettuce, carrots, beans, squashes and broccoli will have to wait until the end of the month; they are much more fragile.

On the land, there are ponds to sit by and watch trouts. Sometimes a heron great us there too.

Fields waiting. Oh, the possibilities!

Back to the house is one of my favorite view. A swirly earth road borded with trees, looking at summer cottage transformed into all-year home, to the river so huge we people here call the sea.

In the sand we can find many treasures; seashells, urchins, crabs shells, special rocks and tons of drift wood.

Underwater lies more treasures, and all the activity of tiny things living in it!

With the sea and the forest so near, we feel very fortunate. It is a perfect setting for a slow-paced life and a wonderful theatre for us to witness the cycle of the seasons.

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No Sugar Carob Fudge

What a chalenge to find a great little ” sugary tasting”  treat for you and your family ! Well lately a friend of mine introduced me to  this special caroub fudge and what a suprise for me to find that it is Deliiiiciouuss !! I thought that  sharing this  with you would be a great idea… it is a creative recipe and soOoo easy to make !!

 

 

What you will need:

~ 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

~ 2 cups of unsweetened carob chips

~2/3 cup of peanut butter

~1/2 cup of coconut

~1/3 cup of walnuts

~1/2 cup of dry raisins

~1 tsp. of vanilla

 

 

Place the carob, peanut butter and oil in a pan at  low temperature, stirring constantly just until smooth. This will give you a great “chocolate” color…it already looks delicious !!
Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spread out in a greased  8 x 8 square pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs. Then cut in squares or as you desire.
Keep them in the refrigerator or you could also freeze the balance for unexpected sweet cravings…
**  I do find that the fudge is hard to cut in perfect square…but it is still as good 🙂 **
Note:  With the basic recipe (carob, peanut butter and oil) you can create so many different variations of this recipe…why not use your favorite nuts, some popped quinoa, cranberry or even some spices..the sky is the limit 🙂
Enjoy !!!!
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A Fairy Walk in New Mexico…(Toy On a Walk Series)

Hello from sunny New Mexico!  Today my fairy friend, Fae and I would like to take you on a walk to show you some of our favorite New Mexico plants. In the coming weeks we will have many more Natural Kids’ toys take you on a walk of their little corner of the world.  What a fun way to see the world, through the “eyes” of a toy!

Today we are walking around our neighborhood in the Land of Enchantment. We are blessed to live in this very sunny, warm, desert climate.  This evening it’s still quite warm at 80 some degrees.

This first beautiful Spring bloom matches Fae quite well.  It is the flower of a Cholla cactus.

 

Here is a larger view of it.

 

This is one of Fae’s most favorite desert succulents because of its beautiful red/ orange flowers.  These plants are giants and tower above us at about 15 feet tall.  She loves to watch the humming birds and bees weave in and out of the lovely flowers.

 

The Yucca, New Mexcio’s state flower, which is really a plant.   Aren’t these flowers so unique & beautiful? The Yucca’s spiky leaves were used by Native Americans as fiber for ropes & baskets.  The roots of certain varieties of Yucca were used for soap.

 

Fae thinks this Agave plant would be so much fun to slide down if it weren’t for those pointy spikes on the ends!  The agave has many uses.  Agave syrup for baking, Blue Agave is grown to make tequila.  We see tiny little Agave plants and giant 6 foot Agaves in our neighborhood.  They are fascinating plants and have an amazing and beautiful end to their lives.  I wrote about that here.

 

Fae loves this plant, not so much for how it looks but for how it smells during and after a rain.  In New Mexico it rarely just sprinkles, when it rains it pours.  And when this evergreen shrub’s waxy leaves are disturbed they become very fragrant.  They fill the air with a lovely fresh green smell.  Some people don’t like the smell but fairies love it!  The creosote shrub is fascinating.  They can live for two years with no water and most will live to be about 100 years old.  In the Mojave desert there is a creosote shrub that is known to be almost 12,000 years old!

I hope you have enjoyed our walk in beautiful New Mexico.

Visit Fae at my etsy shop, Mama West Wind.

 

Becca Thornton is a stay at home Mama of two sweet little boys & wife to her high school sweetheart. They are Northeast transplants living in the sunny Southwest.  A typical day finds them soaking up the sun playing, gardening, baking, crafting & homeschooling.  Find her at her blog, Chocolate Eyes, & visit her shop, Mama West Wind, where she sells Waldorf inspired toys & decor.

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5 Harmful Effects of Disposable Diapers and Training Pants

Because Super Skivvies is an eco-friendly and sustainable company we feel that it is necessary to help people make an educated decision when it comes to choosing which products to use for their children. This is for the benefit of you and your child, as well as the environment.

(Super Skivvies Convertible Cloth Potty Training Pants – click photo to visit shop)

It still amazes us how many people out there give no thought or regard to how the products they use are destroying the very Earth that we all call home, even after being educated and shown the truth about harmful products. Unfortunately, a lot of people want to sweep these problems under the rug and forget about them. However, I think we can all agree that we need Earth in order to survive and give future generations the basic necessities of clean air, clean water, and healthy food. Simple right?

Take a look at some of the information we found about disposable diapers and training pants:

  • 18 billion disposable diapers end up in landfills every year in the U.S. alone, adding 5 million tons of untreated human waste to the soil. And did you know that it is illegal to put human fecal matter in your household garbage? The American Public Health Association and American Academy of Pediatrics have advised parents that “fecal material and urine should not be allowed to be co-mingled and disposed of as regular trash. This contaminates ground water and spreads disease.” Yes, you must remove all of the fecal matter from disposables before you throw them out. (Click here for information on disposing of disposable diapers)
  • Sodium polyacrylate is a chemical that makes disposable diapers so absorbent that it can absorb up to 100 times its weight in water. However, it can stick to children’s genitals and cause allergic reactions. In the U.S., this chemical was removed from tampons in 1985 when it was linked to toxic shock syndrome. And when this chemical was tested and injected into rats, it caused hemorrhaging, cardiovascular failure, and ultimately death.
  • 500 years! This is how long it can take each disposable diaper and training pant to decompose in a landfill. That means that every disposable diaper and training pant ever used in the world is still decomposing in a landfill somewhere. And almost 30 percent of each disposable diaper and training pant consists of non biodegradable products such as absorbent vinyl layers, Velcro, absorbent gelling material, and plastic packaging that will never break down.
  • Dioxin is a by product of the paper bleaching process used in the manufacturing of disposable diapers and training pants. It is the most toxic of all the cancer causing chemicals and causes birth defects as well as liver disease in laboratory animals.
  • As many as 100 viruses can survive in soiled disposable diapers or training pants for months. This includes the live polio virus and hepatitis excreted by recently vaccinated babies. These viruses constitute a potential hazard to sanitation workers and garbage handlers. No to mention the critters that will crawl into the landfill to find a meal and the birds that will pick through this garbage and fly to who knows where.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of harmful effects. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

(Wild Coconut Wear Wool Cloth Diaper Cover – click photo to visit shop)

Steph & Anthony of Super Skivvies

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The Story of Hugin and his Carrot

Recently, we attended a Harvest Celebration at my daughter’s Waldorf school, and during the presentation, they did a Thanksgiving puppet show: “The Story of Hugin and his Carrot.”
My daughter LOVES this story/show, so I asked her teacher for a copy of it (there wasn’t one, it was a story she had memorized from years ago). It seems to be a spin off of Tolstoy’s story, “The Turnip,” except instead of needing a turnip to make a lantern, Hugin is trying to pull a carrot for a Thanksgiving Day soup.

We wish those who celebrate a very Happy Thanksgiving, and those who do not a very happy Thursday!

~The Story of Hugin and his Carrot~

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Hugin and he wanted a carrot to make a soup for Thanksgiving, so he went out into the garden and planted a carrot-seed and he said,

“Carrot, carrot, grow for me
Grow as big as big can be
That on Thanksgiving Day we’ll eat
A soup that tastes of carrots sweet.”

So the carrot grew and grew and nearly filled the garden. Then, Hugin went to pull the carrot up. And he pulled and he pulled… but the carrot did not budge an inch.

Then a Bear came by and asked ’What are you doing Hugin?’
And Hugin replied, “I am pulling up a carrot.

Bear, Bear pull with me,
Pull as hard as hard can be
That on Thanksgiving Day we’ll eat
A soup that tastes of carrots sweet!”

So Bear pulled Hugin, and Hugin pulled the carrot; and they pulled, and they pulled… but the carrot didn’t budge an inch.

Just a Fox came along and asked ”What are you doing Bear?” And Bear replied ”I am helping Hugin to pull his carrot.” And Hugin said

“Foxy, Foxy pull with me,
Pull as hard as hard can be
That on Thanksgiving Day we will eat
A soup that tastes of carrots sweet!”

So Fox pulled Bear, and Bear pulled Hugin and Hugin pulled the carrot. They pulled and they pulled, but the carrot did not budge an inch.

Just then a Hare came by and asked ’What are you doing Fox?” And Fox replied “I am helping Bear to help Hugin to pull up a carrot.” And Hugin said

“Hare, Hare pull with me,
Pull as hard as hard can be
That on Thanksgiving Day we will eat
A soup that tastes of carrots sweet!”

So Hare pulled Fox, and Fox pulled Bear and Bear pulled Hugin and Hugin pulled the carrot and they pulled and they pulled but… the carrot didn’t budge an inch.

Just then a Mouse came by and asked ’What are you doing Hare?” And Hare replied “I am helping Fox to help Bear to help Hugin to pull up a carrot.” And Hugin said

“Mouse, Mouse pull with me,
Pull as hard as hard can be
That on Thanksgiving Day we will eat
A soup that tastes of carrots sweet!”

So Mouse pulled Hare, and Hare pulled Fox, and Fox pulled Bear and Bear pulled Hugin and Hugin pulled the carrot and they pulled and they pulled but… the carrot didn’t budge an inch.

Just then a Caterpillar came by and asked ’What are you doing Mouse?” And Mouse replied “I am helping Hare to help Fox to help Bear to help Hugin to pull up a carrot.” And Caterpillar said, “But does Hugin know the right way to pull up a carrot? Did he first ask its Root Gnome if he might?”

Then Hugin bent down and put his mouth close to the ground and called,

“Gnome, good Root Gnome
May I take your carrot home?
Then on Thanksgiving Day we‘ll eat
A soup that tastes of carrots sweet?”

And at once a little Root Gnome popped up his brown head out of the ground and said, “Good gracious me, Hugin, why didn’t you tell me? All this time I’ve been pulling the other way. Now pull again!”

And he popped back his brown head into the ground.

So Caterpillar pulled Mouse, and Mouse pulled Hare, and Hare pulled Fox, and Fox pulled Bear, and Bear pulled Hugin, and Hugin pulled the carrot. And suddenly Mouse sat down backwards with a bang on Caterpillar, and Hare sat down backwards with a bang on Mouse, and Fox sat down backwards with a bang on Hare, and Bear sat down backwards with a bang on Fox, and Hugin sat down backwards with a bang on Bear with the biggest, orange, chubbiest carrot in his hands that ever anyone saw!

Then Hugin got up and said ”Sorry!” to Bear, and Bear got up and said “Sorry” to Fox, and Fox got up and said “Sorry” to Hare, and Hare got up and said “Sorry” to Mouse, and Mouse got up and said “Sorry” to Caterpillar.

And nobody was hurt, and everybody laughed “Ha-Ha-Ha“ and Hugin made a carrot soup.

THE END!!!!!!

Recreate the story yourself with these characters from our Natural Kids Team members!

Hugin –      Bear –

Fox –      Hare –

Mouse –      Caterpillar –

Carrot –

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Warm Welcome to New NK Members

A warm welcome to all new Members of the NaturalKids team! Please, enjoy this lovely poem written by Josh from Dad’sWoodenToys. No one could have said it better than the NK team bard!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/NobbyOrganics

http://www.etsy.com/shop/earthgrowncrayons

http://www.etsy.com/shop/longmountainart

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Oast

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TwigStudioKids

http://www.etsy.com/shop/heartfeltpassion

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ArmadilloDreams

http://www.etsy.com/shop/adolina

http://www.etsy.com/shop/thiscosylife

To every new member, may we speak to you?
We wish to thank you for all that you do.

To sincerely applaud you straight from the heart
Your presence on Etsy is an important part.

Even if you sell things that look much like mine
I want you to know that I think it is fine.

For I understand your presence helps me
The more shops there are, the more shoppers there’ll be

If I sell something that no one else does
I won’t draw many shoppers and that is because

People who want the thing that I sell
Will be hard to inform on my own very well.

The more shops on Etsy that look something like mine
The more shoppers we draw when we combine.

When you decide what you want is a car,
Do you drive to a lonely dealer that’s far?

Or do you drive to a special street that you know
Where there’s lots of dealers with a variety to show?

When a restaurant wants to open its doors
Do they look for a spot that no one explores?

Or go to a spot that is right up the street
From several restaurants they know are neat?

Businessmen know what customers like
A large variety is what will spike

Sales for your store whatever you sell
Being near others helps us to do well.

I do not dismay or think I should stop
When I see another similar shop

That is the beauty of Etsy online
Shoppers like choice that here they can find.

To sum it all up we just want to say
We’re glad you are here and hope you stay

We already count you as a friend made
Feel free to call on us if you need aid.

–by Joshua of Dad’s Wooden Toys

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Mini Monday

The journey backwards through the alphabet brings us much delight! All handmade goodies that please Mother Earth and bring smiles to any face! 

Drumroll Please…The NaturalKids Team on Etsy proudly presents:

EntWorks – From the UK, this creative little shop will have any child giddy over her goods!

Dria is a long time lover of dirt, defines herself as a teacher, mother, artisan, wife, scientist, tree hugger, rock collector, friend, and nerd who’s seemingly not outgrown her fondness of frogs.

 

Elemental Handcrafts – Stephanie is from Connecticut and has my heart with her needle-felted pregnant and breastfeeding dolls! She is also Mama to three amazing, home-schooled, environmentalist kiddos. She loves working with her hands and finding fun ways to make new things out of old and creating toys and gifts her kids would enjoy- and therefore other families as well.

Driaa – From Isreal comes Dria. Dria has many sweet things in her shop!  She is a doll maker, and mother of three little girls. She sews when she has some spare time. Dria lives in a small village in the hills of the Galilee, and loves to garden and grow vegetables as well. She uses new, vintage and second hand fabrics, but tries not to mix new and used in the same project.

All of this handmade goodness comes to you from the NaturalKids Team! Thanks for checking out these wonderful shops and we will see you next Monday!

Smiles and warm sunny days,
Wendy with BirchLeaf Designs
BirchLeaf Designs on Facebook