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Natural Kids

Natural Kids: May 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cooking Naturally

Hi every

one! One of my passions, besides making dollies and fun toys for children is food. You see my mom and dad are both chefs. Growing up they would take my brothers and I to “help out” at the family restaurant on Saturday’s, and we would peel, measure, pound, husk and pour all morning long. We loved it! Every time we were able to cook or 

help out during a meal it seemed to taste better, or if it was something we had never eaten before we were not afraid to try it. Maybe it was because we were proud of our wonderful concoctions or “experiments” as my mom still says, or because of the connection between us and our parents as we prepared our meals. 

Cooking is a wonderful way to teach, entertain, and connect with your children. Hopefully some of these recipes or suggestions will be able to make food fun for your children. They are very simple, delicious and can be changed to suit your family.

For my first tutorial, we will start with Yogurt. I love yogurt! You can use it in so many different ways, and it’s a great substitute for mayo or sour cream. Also now that the weather is getting warmer it’s a great no cook snack . This is a good alternative to store bought, what the heck is in this? Snacks. it’s a good way of getting the kids to try new fruits and vegetables, by dipping them into the flavored yogurt.

Simple Yogurt 

A very easy way to make a large batch of your own no fuss yogurt. This is great for large families, or when you have a party or get-together, and if you’re a yogurt freak like me. It will take a while but its easy and a great science project/activity for the kiddies. 


8 cups whole milk, 1 container of plain yogurt, clean cake pans or glass quart canning jars

Mix the milk and yogurt in a large cooking pot and let it boil for a couple minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then pour it in to cake pan, or fill up 2 quart canning jars. Heat your oven to 100 degrees and leave the mixture in it over night. It should take about 10-12 hrs. When you wake up you should have a nice batch of yogurt. Put it on the refrigerator for about 8 hr or until its nice and cold. Then your ready to flavor your yogurt!


For a sweet treat you can flavor your yogurt with maple syrup, brown sugar or your choice of sweetener.

Slice any of you favorite fruit ( I used strawberries) and put them at the bottom of your cup and pour you yogurt over them. You can use whatever fruit that is in season, I like any kind of berries, peaches , bananas and apples. This is also great frozen. Pour it in small cups put a Popsicle stick in the middle and freeze. When they are nice and frozen take them out and let them sit for a minute and they will slide out easily. 

For a nice veggie dip here are three simple and yummy suggestions. 

1.Take 1 avocado 2 cups of plain yogurt and put in blender. Use salt and pepper to taste and viola! Dip.

2. Take a small bunch of dill and chop it into 2 cups of yogurt , squeeze one lime or lemon into it. Use salt to taste and your done!

3. Chop cilantro, tomato, cucumber and onions (optional) and add to 3 cups of yogurt. Squeeze 1 lime into it and salt and pepper to taste and you are done!

You can also use these dips for crackers, pretzels , pita bread or in a sandwich. Some of my favorite veggies to dip are asparagus, snow peas, red bell peppers celery, and carrots with a black olive on the tip. 

Thanks and have a great time in the kitchen. I would love to see what you come up with, or if you have more ideas!

Some Natural Kids shops that have wonderful things to make your meals more enjoyable are: Weebeaks (cloth napkins ), Gopita (reusable snack and lunch bags), Birchleaf Designs ( wooden spoons and utensils), BuzzHandmade (candles for mood lighting)

this post brought to you by D. Garcia


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

fun for mama, good for mama . . .

A fallen tree branch with bark, some sandpaper, twig, leaf. I would bet these are common things that can be found in most back yards or woods. In as little as ½ an hour you and your kiddo can create a boat or other natural toy to spark your child’s imagination.

As a mama and a crafter, these two roles often mesh together in my parenting. I realize more and more how crafting with my children is fun for me, but also incredibly valuable to mama earth. Crafting change for our world really is in our hands. By taking time to create with your children with natural materials you are teaching them valuable lessons:

*instills value in what they create.
*shares an awareness of what and where the materials come from that they are creating with, and the long term affect of when it is done- heirloom but also naturally sustainable.
*reduces purchasing pre-made from unknown sources, and encourages a DIY lifestyle.

Now that some beautiful weather is here, take a nature walk and see what you can find along the way whether it be a twig, acorn, rock and see what you can create. One of the things I love about being on the Natural Kids Team is the amazing natural children’s items that are made, but also the variety of kits and other items that encourage us to turn off the TV, get out the craft supplies and create something that is so simple yet so powerful for our children’s imaginations. The fun part for me is also when it is time to give a gift we head down to the art table and make something together instead of shopping.

Be sure to check out some great items from the Natural Kids Team to help you on your creative journey with your children. Here are some fun things to start off with:

Have fun crafting! And check this oldie but goodie book that I was gifted to discover as a child with my aunt, The Best of Making Things by Anne Wiseman.
contributed by mamaroots


Monday, May 25, 2009

Mini Monday: Ecoleeko!

Meet Sue from Ecoleeko!

Ecoleeko is made from Eco friendly materials such as Organic cotton blends and Bamboo fabrics. Hand dyed and printed with nontoxic low impact dyes and sewn with only organic cotton thread.. Filled with All Natural fillings ONLY, no poly anything!
Great birthday, new baby and new mommy/daddy gifts, as well as great fun eco friendly gifts for any child! I design for fun, color and quality! All the pieces are handmade by me in my studio in an old home in Upstate NY.

Your Mini Monday correspondent...


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Welcome New Members!

 How exciting to welcome 10 new fabulous artists, I had so much fun checking out their shops, I know you will as well.  We are happy to have you with us!  Natural kids team is a great place place to meet and connect with other natural toy makers selling on etsy from around the world.  It's been nice to meet some of you in the forums, hello and welcome! 



We are volunteer driven so if you'd like to get involved please do!  Just contact the leaders from what area you'd like to get involved with and we'll be happy to hear from you.  Our volunteer leaders are Danielle for membership, me pupa on blog, Natural Star on admin and we have Little ElfWee Beaks andWoolies all working hard on promoting the team. 

Thanks and see you around!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Treasuries

Sweet spring is in the air and also in these lovely treasuries curated by our Natural Kids Team members. Thanks so much for bringing these items together all you treasury makers out there! Enjoy!

First, viltalakim celebrates the team with a vibrant palette of red.

Huesofnature invites us to a quiet place of natural sweetness.

Oritdotandolls wows us with vibrant color from both the Natural Kids Team and our friends from the needle felting team, nfest.

And now the soothing side from Oritdotandolls!

And finally, oritdotandolls highlights for us some of wonderful works in the shades of orange, blue and purple.!

Thanks for looking!
brought to you by Lynne from Cozy Cottage Creations.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mini Monday: The Enchanted Cupboard

Meet the creative mind behind The Enchanted Cupboard!

Growing up on the top of Sunshine Mountain in PA, I spent my time in the woods. I lived in my own imaginary world I called World's Beginning. I loved living amongst the fairies and I lived to frolic in the trees. My cousins and I spent hours in our tree houses by the creek.

I grew up with finding ways to invent new things to play with. I remember at the age of 8 or 9 making my own fashion dollhouse. I was always making something.

I loved kids and there was never a short supply in my big and extended family. I went off to college to follow my art ability but my heart always wanted to be a nanny. My mother grew up with one and I love those stories she told me about afternoons at the beach with her sisters and the nanny. I followed my dream and in 1991 I went to The English Nanny and Governess school.

I had many wonderful years live that dream being the enchanted Nanny I always dreamed I would be. Years later I found a Prince among men and married him. We started our family in 2000 and now have 4 beautiful, wonderful children for me to create for and dream with. I am now a happy housewife, SAHM/Homeschooling trying to find ways to bring that same enchantment to my children and yours. I hope you enjoyed the time you spend with me here .I hope you looking into our cupboard and find something to take home.I think you will find that our items take you back to you own magical childhood. Keep that feeling and take something home with you.

Your Mini Monday correspondent...


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teach your children well

What can you do this summer to work on earth studies and natural parenting?

*Talk about recycling and head to a local landfill and recycling center for a field trip! Many waste authorities in large and small cities offer education to the community on recycling and Eco practices if you simply inquire. Check out what yr city offers and you may be surprised. My city has a re-art program that allows the community for a small yearly fee to come to a large warehouse and take all the donated art and paper materials they can use for the year! It is amazing! Large and small companies donate amazing items that would have gone to rubbish otherwise!

*Have a simple recycling center in your home and let even the youngest place items in the bins. Label bins with pictures and word and encourage your children to recycle each day. Expand into simple math and literacy lessons with the recycling bin! Make games about recycling and quickly you will see yr children teaching others!

*Make crafts and art fun for your children from the recycling bin and pantry. Kids love to make crafts and a trip to the art store is not necessary when you can create loads of cool art from trash and things already in the home. Check out the Crafty Crow for amazing recycled art activities.

*Try out backyard or kitchen composting. For a load of fun and science try vermacomposting! WORMS! (We do it and it is a blast!)

During the summer it is easier to get out in the world with wee ones and do more than talk about the earth! You can let them experience Mother Nature in a tactile way. Nature walks and plenty of exploration about how we can love our earth. The greening of a family can start slowly with simple deliberate actions. We need to teach our children to love nature and the earth before they can completely understand why it is that we need to be natural and green. Children need the outdoors and the wonder of nature. What will you do this summer with yr family to instill good lessons of earth love?

by Amy Turn Sharp of Little Alouette and Doobleh-vay.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Mini Monday: Lala's Pequeños

Meet Alessandra, the woman behind Lala's Pequeños!

Mother of two very busy boys (7 and 8), Alessandra or “lala” as they call her, is the creative designer behind the lala’s Pequeños line. When she’s not fighting off evil empires or chasing frogs out of the house, her days are spent perfecting her designs for the little ones of the world. She wanted to create keepsake items that could be passed on for generations to come. She is meticulous in her search for the perfect fabric and obsessed when it comes to softness. Lala also strongly believes it is essential to be environmentally conscious.

When she’s not in her studio, you’ll find lala traipsing through her other passion- a little rain forest called Rainmaker. She along with her family and business partners own a 1500 acre primary rain forest in Costa Rica.
In an effort to bring ecological awareness to the forefront, a portion of all proceeds from the Lala’s Pequeños line go to help preserve the Rainmaker Conservation Project.

The lala’s Pequenos line is entirely handcrafted in the beautiful Virginia horse country.

Your Mini Monday correspondent...


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Celebrating the Seasons: Spring!

Yes spring has sprung...and if you're in Southern California, you might feel that Summer is pushing ahead in line. Best just to take a deep breath and stop. Stop to notice what's in the garden. In our home and with many of my fellow Natural Kids Team members, what blooms in nature blesses our nature tables. The materials from nature evolve into the creations we make for our beloved customers. Yes spring has come! And in the virtual world of Etsy, it is evident in some of these lovely works:
Pictured above is detail from my own, Nushkie Design, needle felted tapestry, "Mother's Love."

Beneath the Rowan Tree's "Heart of the Rose" play silk, floats on the breeze as children run across a yard, flying it high in the air. It is so soft, so lovely, you can almost smell the scent of roses wafting through the air.

Here is "April" by Dragonflyshollow ready for tea in the garden or a stroll in her pram.

In the distance a lamby calls out and hears its voice echo through the is "Lilah" and organic lamb by Woolies.

While mommy and baby bunnies nuzzle on a soft bed of moss Oritdotan's world.

Sometimes a little "Spring Garden Fairy" might visit the nature table by Fairiesnest.

Little hands may want to capture what they see in nature and keep it forever. Here is a lovely hand crafted flower press by Birchleafdesigns.

As spring arrives, join the fairy folk in a lazy swing in the hammock...Merrydaledolls has her little one swaying in the breeze.

FaerieRebecca has little bee finger puppets coming to her garden..

In Littleelfstoyshop, Mrs. Tittlemouse is doing her spring cleaning...Little hands may want to join her!

There are so many options from the Naturalkids Team for bringing nature indoors or enjoying natural toys and decor wherever small hands and eyes are present.
Enjoy the natural goodness of spring!...all its scents, textures and color...and be well!

Til next time,
Rebecca Varon
aka Nushkiedesign

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Treasuries

Happy May Everyone! Tuesday Treasuries are here once again to show off some delightful finds made by our talented Natural Kids Team members. Enjoy!

First, mamaroots welcomes us into May with these natural favorites in shades of blue....

Merrydaledolls invites us to a land of pretend to nourish our imaginations.

Viltalakim celebrates the birth of her new nephew with these sweet natural items. Contratulations!

Nishale brings together the colors of brown and pink in a beautiful way!

And finally, oritdotandolls highlights for us some of wonderful works of wool from both our team and the needle felting team, nfest! Way to go teams!

Thanks for looking!
brought to you by Lynne from Cozy Cottage Creations.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spontaneous Acts of Random Appreciation

Hello! This is my first post on the Etsy NaturakKids Team blog and I'm delighted to be here. Last night I took some time to look around Etsy and oooh and awww over the abundance of wonderful handmade goods being made and shared. I marvel over the fact that although everyone is given the same tools, authentic creativity is abundant!! Each and every shop has it's own look and feel! It's amazing how much individuality can shine through the a universal format, and I thank Etsy for giving us a medium to work with and a community to connect with!

Being part of the Natural Kids team has brought to life a new sense of hope for me as I strive to raise my daughter in a rapidly changing society. The truth is, we live in a world where children's natural creativity is stifled by bombarding media images. So much so that by the time many of them begin to write stories, they feature Disney characters and prefabricated story lines. As a teacher, it is my greatest challenge to help kids put their imagination into words, without the influence of t.v. and movie figures.

In my short time as an Etsy craftist, and Natural Kids team member, I've already been exposed to so many ideas to help foster imaginative play for children of all ages. I go to bed every night inspired to make something new as soon as that sun come back! The creativity and love that goes into each and every item made for kids here has spawned ideas for my classroom, my home and even my own habits for treading more softly on this borrowed land of ours.

For Earth Day, one of our sewists contributed some beautiful words upon reflecting on the true value of taking time to celebrate the earth. She said:

Opportunities to make a difference in our environment that we each encounter every day are astounding. We've heard most of them before - turn off the water while you brush your teeth, don't leave your computer on all night long, turn off the lights when you leave a room, etc. We've heard them so often we can become complacent and not even do them, perhaps because the results of all those little actions aren't tangible. There's no ticker in our houses saying: "Good job, you saved 150 gallons of water so far this year!" Now that I have a child, I really believe there's no room for complacency. When I look at my little man and think about what kind of world I want him to grow up in I sometimes feel real fear about what the condition of our earth might be when he's older and ready to start a family. As a parent, it is my duty to teach him to make sustainable choices and to lead by example. I'm going to celebrate Earth Day and every day by turning my back on complacency!

We here at Treebottom Wool would like to say, it is our honor and our pleasure to be part of the Etsy Natural Kids team community. We are doing our part to honor the earth's resources by making conscious decisions every day. We value repurposing materials for creative new uses, and we are so thankful to have the chance to inspire others make sustainable choices for the future of our children.

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
-Ancient Indian Proverb