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Tiptoes Lightly Book Review and Giveaway

Comments on this post are now closed and the winner (Carrie) has been contacted.

 

Do you know Tiptoes Lightly? She is a fairy who lives in an acorn hanging in the Great Oak Tree. The tales of Tiptoes are a magical series of books written by Reg Down. He weaves such magic and wonder into these sweet stories and they are my children’s absolute favorites!
Gently written and simply, but beautifully illustrated they hold the attention and imagination of my two oldest girls (5 and 7) like no other. They are not reading yet but tote them around everywhere and take them to bed every night after their daddy or I have finished reading a couple of chapters from them.  They love just looking at the pictures, making up stories about Tiptoes, Pine Cone and Pepper Pot, Jeremy Mouse and Ompliant the elephant. And when my daughter does begin to read these books are simple enough to make a wonderful early reader.

Currently we are working through Mr. Down’s Easter story The Starry Bird. Tiptoes and Jeremy Mouse find a huge egg that just keeps growing. All the fairies and gnomes gather together to try and solve the mystery of what or who could have possibly laid the enormous egg. Could it be an ostrich egg, an elephant or even an angel egg? We’re about a third of the way into the book but I have to admit, even I can’t wait to find out! Reg Down writes in such a beautiful way that it’s an absolute pleasure to read them to my children. Also, as a Waldorf inspired family I love that Mr. Down makes connections with Waldorf festivals and the gentle way of life in his stories. We are homeschoolers and we have only found one other Waldorf inspired family nearby (no schools more than 2 hours away) and my children just light up when they hear me read about a festival that thought no one else celebrates like we do. What a joyful connection for them!

As you can see, our collection of Tiptoes Lightly chapter books are well worn and much loved!

Today Reg Down and the Natural Kids team would like to offer a copy of the Easter tale The Starry Bird to one lucky reader.

And in addition Ulla, of German Dolls would like to add three of her beautiful felted wool eggs!

We would like to be able to get this prize to the winner in time for Easter, so you only have til Sunday (4/1) to enter and, unfortunately, that also means it is only open in the US. Natural Kids team members are not eligible to win.

 

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)

Tweet this (include @NK_Store in your tweet)

Share on Facebook

Blog this giveaway

Follow the NaturalKids blog

Like Natural Kids on Facebook

Like Tiptoes Lightly on Facebook

Add German Dolls shop to your Etsy Favs

Like German Dolls on Facebook

Reg Down also wanted me to let everyone know about his brand new website Pied Piper Press. He is selling his own books there along with a few other that might be of interest to schools and homeschoolers. And he is very generously offering a 20% off discount to homeschoolers through the month of April. This is a great opportunity to get the whole Tiptoes collection! And, if you head on over to my personal blog you will have the opportunity to win two more of his books this weekend! It’s officially a magical, Tiptoe weekend.

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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The Humble Dandelion- Uses and Making an Infused Oil

It’s dandelion season! And if you’ve not mowed them all down yet, my bet is your yard is covered with them just like ours. Dandelions get a bad rap, though. Don’t look at them as weeds. Look at them as a happy little makeshift herb garden, all over the place! Did you know that the entire plant is edible and that it has so much medicinal value? Well, I didn’t until just few days ago. Sure, I knew you could make a salad from the leaves but I thought that was just about all they are worth. Wrong! Doing a little online digging I came up with so many ways to use the whole plant, right down to it’s roots, which can be roasted and used like coffee or use them as a red or pink natural dye. Of course, the flowers make a lovely yellow dye.
/If you’d like to try eating them you can learn about when to pick here and tips on cooking the greens. They’re also great raw in a simple salad. That link also tells you how to fry and even pickle the flowers. Pickled dandelions… might be fun to try! Read through that link. It’s particularly fascinating. Near the bottom read about making an infusion to be drunk at mealtimes to aid digestion.
/OK, so we’re dying with dandelions and eating them, even drinking an infusion for digestion… what else? Well, the health benefits are numerous. I’m not going to repeat them all here as they been laid out quite nicely already here and here. Who would have thought?! Aren’t plants amazing?  To take advantage of some of those wonderful benefits my little ones and I set out to gather as many dandelion flowers as we could to make dandelion infused oil. This is such a great activity to introduce children to the healing power of plants and actually using them. From start to finish a young child can make the whole thing themselves. This technique works for many plants.

/So get out there and gather those dandelions! All you need to make the infused oil is the flowers. Make sure you are not gathering  from an area that has been sprayed with chemicals! Also leave those near animal dropping. Shake them off to get out any little bugs.

/



Once you’ve gathered as much as you want (no specific amounts here) pluck the stem off and tear them open to loosen the petals. Place them in a clean jar and then fill to the top of the flowers with vegetable oil. We used grape seed because I like that it’s light and odorless, but you can use any. Stir them about just a bit and tightly close the jar. You might want to label it with the date and then you’re going to let it sit for 4-6 weeks in either a sunny window or a dark cupboard, your choice. Check it the next day to make sure the oil is still above  the flowers. The flowers absorb some of the oil and any air will cause mold. When it’s finished ‘brewing’ strain out the flowers with a cheese cloth and put the clean oil in a sealed container and label. The site said this infusion will last for a few years, especially if refrigerated or in a cool place.

/
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I’m looking forward to making a salve with ours. Just add a little beeswax! What else have you made with dandelions?
Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Scones Sweetened With Honey

My first few experiences with scones were dry and dense and left me begging for something to wash it down with. That is until  this past winter when a friend made cranberry scones when my girls and I came over for a visit. They were so soft and sweet and pillowy! Since then I’ve tried so many different scone recipes, had a few failures that were reminiscent of those first tastes that turned me off to begin with. But most were wonderful. By far these were our favorites. The little creamy pockets of cream cheese really set them off and made them irresistible.
But when we decided to cut most refined sugar from our diet it left us missing our sweet breakfast breads. So I decided to try it out with honey instead. My friend had made those original cranberry scones with honey, so why not? I also wanted to try them with strawberries instead of blueberries. (Note; we also use dairy free cream cheese and rice milk and you can’t tell any difference.) And while I forgot to use both in this particular batch photographed, you can also use half whole wheat flour. They turned out perfectly! We didn’t miss the sugar at all and loved  the strawberries (and a bit of lemon) and my daughter told me that she wanted them on her birthday instead of birthday cake. What higher praise could there be?!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Scones Sweetened With Honey

1/3 cup butter, cut in pieces

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup raw honey

1 lemon zested and juice squeezed and set aside

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries, thawed, rinsed, drained and coated in a couple of tablespoons of honey

2 ounces cream cheese, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine butter, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and cut with a pastry blender or two butter knives until crumbly.

Stir milk and honey into softened cream cheese, then stir in egg until well-combined. Add the lemon zest and juice. Stir cream cheese mixture into flour mixture until dough forms a ball.

Gently push strawberries and cream cheese pieces into the dough to incorporate evenly. Be careful not to crush the berries or mash the cream cheese pieces.

Coat work surface and your hand with flour. Pull off half of the dough and coat with flour. The dough will be very sticky. Add flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your hands or work surface. Gently pat it out into a circle and, using a knife or pizza  cutter, cut into eight sections. I prefer to separate the wedges before placing on the baking sheets so that the edges get nice and brown, too. Do the same with the second half of dough.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Makes 16 scones.

 

 
Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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What I’m Loving This Week


spring beeswax orna…

$12.80

Needle Felted Bunny…

$175.00

A Trio of Cotton Ea…

$4.50

Spring Easter Chick…

$9.00

Needle felted Waldo…

$14.00

Easter white bunny…

$12.00

Needle Felted Bunny…

$16.00

Waldorf Toy – Stuff…

$32.00

Handmade Christmas …

$30.00

Felted Bunny Set – …

$42.00

Waldorf Spring Toy-…

$25.00

beeswax egg candles…

$16.80

Red Gnome Jacaranda…

$3.00

Little Felt Rabbit

$14.00

Wooden Toy – Wooden…

$12.00

Plush Rabbit Sewing..

 

 

$6.00

Etsy treasury created by Ziezo Designs

 

Gnomes and Gnumbers: A Mathematical Tale… Love this! I’m tucking it away for this fall when my oldest begins first grade.

♥A neat tutorial for whittling gnomes from fallen branches. These are  so cute. I think I’ll make up a set to stuff the wool Easter eggs I’m making for my little ones.

Popovers! I’ve developed a little obsession with them this week and love this recipe.

♥Hide little notes or surprises inside of your real Easter eggs.

♥This is such a great article on Rhythm.

Egg shell candles… on the ‘to make for Easter’ list.

♥I can’t wait to try this  sugar free, homemade fruit snack recipe.

 

To see more of what I’m loving visit my Pinterest boards.

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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The Spinach Cupcake

I love Pinterest and have used to find great recipes like the one  you will see here. For more great recipes check out my FAB FOOD board.

My boys are in Scouts and sadly they have been missing out on the snacks because of all the food coloring and unhealthy treats. Yes I am one of those moms who make my kids say, “ no thank you” to un-healthy snacks every time. Once I heard about them missing out I made it my mission to show the Pack that snacks can be healthy and still feel like a treat. Here is my variation on the recipe linked to above.

What you will need:
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (homemade if you make it)
1 1/2 cups of organic sugar
1large bag of spinach, you need 1 cup puree (you can use frozen)
3/4 cup of veg. oil of your choose
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Topping:
Your favorite icing
Veggie based sanding sugar

Directions:
Steam or cook spinach. Puree spinach it should look like baby food. Let cool.
Beat together eggs and sugar, oil, lemon juice and 1 cup pureed spinach.
In a separate bowl mixture together dry ingredients. Pour into cupcake papers.
Bake at 350 for about 20 and 30 minutes check with toothpick. Let cool then add toppings.

Option: use any 1 cup of veggie or fruit puree to change these cupcakes up.

Looking for natural sanding sugar? I buy mine for Realistic Mermaid on Etsy.

Beccijo Neff is a toymaker, storyteller, and award winning Artist from Pennsylvania. She homeschools 4 children and is happily married. You can find more about her life and her work at her blog . To see her enchanting toys stop at her shop, it will brighten and delight you eyes to see all the magical things she creates.



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Giveaway Winner

It’s time to draw a winner for the Natural Kids giveaway.

 

My Barefoot Angel

 

Congratulations! I will contact you shortly and you will have til 3/24 to get back with me. Thanks to all who entered and if you’re still looking for Easter basket stuffers check out what else the Natural Kids Team has to offer!

 

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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Happy Spring Equinox!

Hello Spring! The time has come to start shedding those winter layers, dig in the garden and play in the mud. I must say, I’ve been waiting for this day, not so patiently for the past couple of months. Now my little ones and I will celebrate the Spring Equinox with a walk to gather flowers and whatever other treasures we can find to place on our Spring nature table

We’ve already started growing wheat grass. You can find the tutorial here and a soil-less version here. Ours is for our nature table but it also makes a nice alternative to plastic or paper grass in Easter baskets. We’re also going to start some seedlings in egg shells, which we are happy to have lots of since our backyard ladies are laying like crazy right now! Yes, we are very happy you’re here, Spring!

Here are some sweet offerings from our Natural Kids members for Spring. You can find many more items that would be wonderful on a nature table or in an Easter basket here.

Needle Felted Yellow Easter Chick from Art of Felting

Spring Gardening Wood Toy Set from Armadillo Dreams

Spring Vintage Inspired Beeswax Ornaments from Pretty Dreamer

Pastel Rainbow Stacker from The Enchanted Cupboard

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What I’m Loving This Week


waldorf rabbit- mr….

$22.00

Spring Garland Felt…

$30.00

Organic Spinny Skir…

$28.00

Easter Sale – Easte…

$21.60

Needle felted Easte…

$14.00

Waldorf Toy – Stuff…

$44.00

Tiny Flowers Growin…

$10.75

Baby Toy and Rattle…

$16.00

Waldorf Spring Toy-…

$25.00

Spring Tulip Flower…

$9.00

Playsilks – Pastel …

$84.00

Needle Felted Easte…

$19.00

All-Natural Easter …

$12.00

Wooden Pull Toy a S…

$27.00

Plush Rabbits, Wool…

$50.00

A Trio of Cotton Ea…

$4.50

Etsy treasury created by Mosey.

♥Growing wheat grass in egg shells….

♥Or without soil at all.

Making a kite sounds like a great idea for these windy March days.

♥How about making some wee boats?

♥I think I’m going to make some of these sweet bunnies for my girls’ Easter baskets.

♥I love these German-Style Paper Cutout Easter Eggs.

 

 

Julie Hunter is a wife and mama, raising 3 spirited girls, two babydoll sheep, angora rabbits and a gaggle of chickens and ducks in the North Carolina Foothills. She spends her days at home, crafting with her children, homeschooling, taking long gathering walks in the woods and knitting Waldorf-inspired toys. You can find her blogging and keeping shop at This Cosy Life.

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A Giveaway From the Natural Kids Team

The Natural Kids Team is a group of handmade sellers who make wonderful items that are just right for an Easter Basket. We have put together a few items in a lovely natural basket for one lucky winner valued at over $100. This box will arrive filled with a wonderful assortment of toys from our members, perfect for filling an Easter basket! Inside you’ll find a mix of items from the shops below:
The Enchanted Cupboard

Woolies

Birch Leaf Designs

German Dolls

Muddy Feet

Alkelda Dolls

Art of Felting

Pin Pon

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)

Tweet this (include @NK_Store in your tweet)

Share on Facebook

Blog this giveaway

Follow the NaturalKids blog

Like Natural Kids on Facebook

 

Giveaway is open worldwide.

We will choose a winner randomly on March22nd, 2012. (Please, make sure we have a way to contact you!)

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Play Food Product Review

My princess is a girl through and through, and one of her favorite things to do is cook for her dolls. We have bought all kinds of play food. In fact, sometimes there is more “food” in her playroom than there is in the kitchen. Some of the play food did not hold up well. Although I love having natural options, felted food pilled and got dirty fast. Soon it looked, well, unappetizing!

We have found that the knitted or crocheted play food holds up the best under heavy play cooking. Our very favorite kind is from Fair Trade Family. We bought this set in November of 2010 and as you can see in the photo they have held up well to serious play time. Fair Trade Family food selection is wonderful and plentiful. Her prices as fair and they certainly last and will become an heirloom toy to cherish.

Cotton Play Food from Fair Trade Family

Beccijo Neff is a toymaker, storyteller, and award winning Artist from Pennsylvania. She homeschools 4 children and is happily married. You can find out more about her life and her work at her blog . To see her enchanting toys stop at her shop, it will brighten and delight your eyes to see all the magical things she creates.