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Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood

So often in life we make separations between ourselves and others, whether it be culturally, racially, religiously or most evident in the United States right now, politically.  Humanity so often seems to divide itself up.  It finds a truth and holds tightly to it.  Then suddenly life becomes “us” verses “them”.  How do we reach across human division?


This year as a part of our Waldorf home school curriculum the Douglas Wood books, Old Turtle, & Old Turtle and the Broken Truth were recommended. I had planned on looking for them at the library but at the last minute just decided to go ahead and order them.  I’m so glad I did because I could never have given them up after reading them both.  They are beautifully illustrated books with watercolors by Jon Muth and they are so beautifully & poetically written.  I often cannot get through a reading without choking up.

“…into this far and lovely land there fell… a truth.  It streaked down from the stars, trailing a tail as long as the sky. But as it fell, it broke.”


In this book a “Truth” is found.  On it is written a very special message, but the animals soon see that it’s a broken truth and so reject it.  Then a man finds the broken truth and at first it gives him a great sense of peace.  He takes it to his people.

“The Truth made the people feel good and proud and strong.  But soon they also began to feel fear and even anger toward those who were not like themselves and did not share their truth.  The other beings and other people of the lovely land seemed less and less important… “


See what happens when a little girl journeys in search of wisdom and an “Old Turtle”.  In the end the broken “Truth” is reunited with it’s lost half.  A new message emerges, but how do the people respond to this new, whole Truth?

I dare you to read this book without a tear or two.  Most appropriate for the age 7 and up child and all children at heart. This book has a remarkable and meaningful message for all people across every so called divide.  I’m sure it will become a favorite in your home too.

There are so many wonderful children’s books out there with meaningful life messages.  I would love to know, what are your favorites?


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Book Review- Bear Snores On

On this cold and blustery winter day there is only one thing to do, snuggle down with a good book.

One of our favorite winter books is Bears Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. The story is written in a poetic form with lovely rhymes that make you feel like part of the story. This story does a lovely job of showing the different kinds of lifestyles of winter animals as some hibernate and others adapt. The illustrations are sweet, warm, and delightful for adults and children alike. As the animals come to the cave for warmth and an expected party the unexpected host says asleep thought it all. The story ends with a fun surprise! This story is sure to be a winter favorite in your family too!
  For homeschooling parents check out this blog post to find great resources to teach about what what animals do in the winter.

To join in the party and have a great snack like badger brought in the story.

Honey Nuts


4 cups nuts – we like peanuts or almonds

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons cinnamon



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss all the ingredients together.

Transfer nuts to a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally.

Cool. Eat or store in an airtight container.


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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Moomins in the House: a book series recommendation

The Moomins have taken up long-term residence in our house! Moomins and their friends come from the imagination of Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson (pronounced “tova yan-sun”).  Moomins look like bi-pedal hippopotamuses with minimal clothing, but they convey a range of personalities: Moominmama is “highly moral but broad-minded,” Moominpapa is a storyteller who imagines himself to have a wild, stormy past, and their son, Moomintroll, is a good-natured, trusting soul whose curiosity provides the momentum for adventures. The Moomins have various friends and acquaintances, too, from the hot-tempered Little My to the sanguine wanderer Snufkin.

A few characters are foreboding and mysterious, too. Hattifatteners are ghost-like figures resembling long white socks with eyes and “jazz hands”, and they are drawn to electrical storms. Most of the characters are frightened of Hattifatteners, but after I came home from errands to find that my daughter had taped paper eyes onto one of her white socks, I cannot help but think of them with affection. The eight chapter-books (of which one is a collection of short-stories) are both dreamy and grounded, melancholic and joyful. My husband reports that the comics, assembled into six collections, are more lighthearted overall.

List of Moomin books

Over the winter holiday break, my husband took our daughter to a coffee-shop, where she brought out her sketchpad to draw Moomins. At the next table over, my husband heard two women talking in Japanese. When they happened to see my daughter’s drawings, my husband heard several exclamations of, “Moomin!” in their conversation. Moomins have inspired loyal devotion from fans worldwide, and in Finland, there is both a Moomin World theme park in Naantali,and a Moomin Museum in Tampere (English translations are available for both sites).

Here are some of the delightful Moomin-inspired creations I’ve found in my internet searches:

Moomin cupcakes  from A Baked Creation

All Small Beasts Should Have Bows in Their Tails” –Snufkin’s favorite mouth-organ/harmonica spring-time song, performed by a band called The Hatifatteners:

A round, blue Moomin home, depicted in cloth, from Domestic Blogess:

A gingerbread Moomin home, by Feltcafe (molds available from the Moomin World gift shop):

A Hattifattener crocheted with glow-in-the-dark yarn, by Snuffykin’s Journal (includes the pattern)

Did you grow up with the Moomin books? Are you curious to try them out? The first Moomin book I read was Stories from Moominvalley, but many people start with A Comet in Moominland.

Farida Dowler makes dolls and tells stories in Seattle, Washington, USA. You may find her dolls on Etsy: Alkelda Dolls.  Farida maintains a storytelling and song blog at Saints and Spinners. While Farida aspires to be like the character of Snufkin, she is actually more like Moominmama.

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One Winter’s Day- Book Review

I came upon this sweet winter story at a thrift shop just before the Winter Solstice. It’s One Winter’s Day, by M. Christina Butler. It was the cute little hedgehog on the cover that got me. How could I resist? It really is a sweet little tale. It follows Little Hedgehog after his home is blown away in a big storm and he sets off for his friend Badger’s home.
Along the way he meets a family of mice shivering in the cold and gives them his hat. He meets otter, who is nice and warm  in his fur coat but whose paws are freezing. So Little Hedgehog gives his warm mittens to Otter.

And finally, he gives his scarf to a cold little fawn and makes his way on to Badger’s house.

After spending the night warm and snug by Badger’s fire, Little Hedgehog heads toward where his home once stood, only to find a big thank you surprise from all of his friends.

The story is sweet and the illustrations are charming. It’s a very warm story to read one winter’s day.

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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Grandmother Winter-Book Review

With the Winter Solstice just around the corner we’ve begun bringing out our winter book collection. I think our very favorite has to be ‘Grandmother Winter’, written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Beth Krommes. This magical book is a perfect read for those cold and snowy (or wishing for snow) days.
It tells the story of Grandmother Winter living all alone with her flock of snow white geese. In the spring and summer she cares for the geese and collects their feathers when they flap a “storm of feathers”. She then stitches a beautiful quilt and fills it full of the feathers.  But when she shakes her quilt, that’s when the real magic happens!

As the snow falls all the animals fluff and burrow and find a cozy spot to sleep.

The story is rhythmical and charming and the illustrations are pure magic. We’re still awaiting our first snow of the year here, but for now we’re dreaming of snowy days to come when Grandmother Winter shakes her feather quilt.

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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Book Review: Good-Night Owl!

I loved reading Good-Night Owl!  by Pat Hutchins. It is a sweet story about an owl who tries to sleep up in his tree, but the birds and animals are too loud for him.

The squirrels cracked nuts,

crunch crunch

and Owl tried to sleep.

The robin peeped,

pip pip,

and Owl tried to sleep.

Good-Night Owl! is written using repetition so young readers are able to tell the story too. I especially loved the beautiful illustration of Owl’s tree with the birds singing and chirping. The colors are so bright and cheery. Good-Night Owl! was published over twenty years, but it is a must-read for today.

A companion to Good-Night Owl! is Cute Little Things’ DIY Owl Needle Felting Kit.

This kit includes all the materials needed for a parent or older child to create one’s own little owl.

  • step-by-step photo instructions
  • a super sharp 38 triangle needle
  • a super sharp 40 triangle needle
  • a cute little needle card for safely storing those super sharp needles
  • perfect pocket-sized foam work pad
  • core eco-wool (humanely raised, 30% organic content)
  • main fiber (sourced from small farms, rare breed sheep)
  • accent fiber
  • toothpick

Owl felting kit can be purchased from Cute Little Things’ Etsy store.

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Book Review: Ghost Wings

We bought  the book Ghost Wings  by Barbara Joosse many years ago when the children were still little.  This is a wonderful book to read with children around this time of year. My calendar shows Dios de los Muertos was celebrated in Mexico on November 2. In our church we celebrate  All Saints Day this coming Sunday. In both cultures the holidays though differently named are about the same subject: Honoring the dead and those who have gone before us.


This book was written for children  to help them deal with the concept of death. Though we bought the book for the kids I have found myself going back to it over the years to deal with loss and grief in my family.

The story Ghost Wings is about a little girl whose grandmother dies. The illustrations are simple childlike paintings.  The book talks about the little girl’s memories of her grandma. We learn about the close loving relationship the girl had with her grandma. This sweet story truly captures the essence of human confusion and pain when it comes to death. The story teaches both children and adults how to deal with the grieving process and learn to accept the loss of a loved one. Though we may never truly get over the death of a loved one, this magical story serves as a reminder that the people we love are not gone, that “the old ones” are never far away. Every time we see a butterfly, monarch or otherwise, we are reminded of the spirits of those we have lost. They surround us and comfort us.

The other aspect of the book I really love is that it takes the reader into the beautiful world of Mexican culture through the story and amazing illustrations. It teaches children about Los Dias de los Muertos and how people in Mexico honor the dead. At the end of the book there are some great projects to do with children. There is also a helpful explaination section, full of details about the Day of the Dead holiday and Mexican culture. I think every household should own this lovely book.

Ulla Seckler  is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.  Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.

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Book Review: Paper Crafts for Halloween

If your children love making paper crafts you must find this book: Paper Crafts for Halloween by Randel McGee. I recently stumbled upon it at the library. I had just set it down on my kitchen table after returning from the library, when my 10-year-old grabbed it and started making things from it.

The book has 8 really cool crafts with a Halloween or fall theme. Some of them are simpler and only need some cutting an folding. Others are more intricate and involved. The finished products make wonderful decorations for your house.

You need only very few materials to make them: construction paper, light cardboard, glue, some string, paper fasteners, crayons.

Hope your library carries this fantastic book! If not go to Amazon and order it quick. Even if it’s too late for this year I swear you will really enjoy it next fall season.

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Book Review: Children of the Forest

Looking for a fabulous picture book?   Elsa Beskow (1874-1953) wrote and illustrated many children’s books originally in Swedish, and “Children of the Forest” is one our family favourites:

Children of the Forest book

The story is about a family that lives in the forest, how they work and how they play.  The children help get ready for winter, doing things like harvesting mushrooms:

Time to harvest mushrooms!

There is a lot to do, and everyone helps out… or do they?  Well, mostly!

Children helping at home

Then they are off to have some adventures,  including flying on a bat, splashing in streams, playing with fairies and being scared by an ogre!  He is quite nice, actually, no need to be worried.   The story is interesting and the pictures are lovely, so if your little one can settle in for a good story then I would recommend this one for ages 3-8.

Children at play!

There are also a few lovely items to be found in NaturalKids team members shops, you will find the links below:

Find beautiful inspired items by Art of Felting, Little Elfs Toyshop and Nushkie Design on Etsy.



 Natalie Weeks lives in B.C., where she sees more bears than pidgeons.
Raising three children, making crafts from natural materials and
being inspired by the natural beauty surrounding keeps her kinda
busy.  It’s a good busy.  You can also find her on Etsy at Woolhalla
 and sometimes blogging at