This page has moved to a new address.

Natural Kids

Natural Kids: June 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

More on Community Gardening...

A few days ago Ulla from GermanDolls posted about community gardening for fun and food~ and I thought I would follow-up with a sharing of the community garden in my town in B.C.

Here we are at one of two 4-way stops looking at the community garden. We don't even have traffic lights the town is so small, but we have a really great little community garden! It is located on village property and run by volunteers. Though the village is small and most people have their own garden, this community garden is for anyone who wants extra (or some) gardening land (and others, more below).

The hearts on the deer fencing were to decorate the fencing (no, not as art for the deer!) and were done by a variety of community members.

Here is a fairly traditional looking garden plot. Our local school maintains sections of the garden with their classes, so students can learn to start seeds, transplant, weed & water, and harvest in the autumn.

There's not many flowers just yet as we've had a very rainy spring... but they are on the way. Every year an elder in our community grows a variety of flowers and then cuts them to bring them to our long-term care facility just down the road. Talk about giving to your community!

Here is a 'classic'... salad with flowers. It's just not a proper potluck around here if someone doesn't put edible flowers in their salad! It sure looks beautiful side by side, and there's a whole patch of these right now.

Our community garden was once just a corner lot, vacant, owned by the village. As it is one of the first things people see when they drive into town it seemed like the perfect location for a makeover. It is located close to the hospital (mostly long-term care) and school, so it is often visited. Some people grow food, some flowers and some years it is a boom and some years a little more weedy... but it belongs to the people who live here.

If you live in an apartment or other area and are interested in community gardening check with your local authorities, like village or city council or a search online. It's a great way to involve your children and yourself within the community.

This post is brought to you by Natalie of Woolhalla.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mini Wednesday - Armadillo Dreams


Meet Dustin and Amanda of Armadillo Dreams :

Armadillo Dreams is a husband/wife shop run by Dustin and Amanda Cowell. Everything we sell is made from natural materials, is friendly for little hands and is handmade with love! We believe it's important for children to have high quality, natural, simple toys that they can dream, imagine and play with. We know how hard it is to find wooden toys on a budget, so we're working hard to keep our prices low so everyone can afford fun natural toys for their children. We love what we do, it is our passion.

Amanda also runs Violet ( since 2005 and Little Vintage Violet ( since 2008.

Find Armadillo Dreams on facebook::
and on twitter:

article by prettydreamer  


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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

Labels: ,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Community Gardening for Fun and Food

Last year our family and a family of friends became proud renters of a community garden patch. It is a 15x15 feet piece of land that is owned and managed by the City of Greeley. Patches like ours are rented out to gardeners at an annual rate of $25. Originally the land was owned by the University of Northern Colorado, but since they had no use for it, the University donated the land to the Community Gardens project.

"In 2007, the city of Greeley, along with Steps to a Healthier Weld County, recruited a group of interested residents and formed the Community Gardening Advisory Committee. The goal of this group was to encourage families and individuals to enhance their health by growing their own food and getting outside to get exercise in the process." You can read more about this project here:

There used to be two sites with garden lots. Our patch is located on a site that is in very close proximity to the university and in walking distance from our home. There are 22 patches on the site. The program has become so popular that a third site was added this year. The new site has even bigger patches with drip irrigation, but we'd have to drive to get there.

I don't know if you have ever visited Germany. The idea of small community gardens is not new to me. In Germany they are called Schrebergarten or Lauben and have been around since the late 19th Century. When traveling Germany by train, you may notice large green parcels of land surrounding most towns and cities. On closer inspection, you'll see that the land is divided into many little lots, separated by fences. Many of the lots may even have a small cabin or structure on them.

The original concept was invented by school principal Ernst Hausschild in 1864. Together with his friend doctor Moritz Schreber, Hauschild promoted the idea that children, especially poor city kids, should grow up closer to nature and get more exercise. During the economic crisis of the 1930s the community garden idea really took off in Germany, and many lots were given to poor families, so they could grow their own food and be saved from starvation. During WWI and WWII the little garden patches became important food sources for starving Germans. As many big cities lay in ruins after WWII garden plots with shelters gained in popularity as housing units.

If you ever visit Berlin make sure to visit the large garden communities, Laubenpieper colonies, in various neighborhoods of the city. Laubenpieper is the name for the people who rent the lots. http://http// Am I going totally off topic here? Maybe not. The idea behind the new community gardens project in Greeley is not so different really. With so many obese kids these days, kids who spend countless hours playing Nintendo or watching TV, having a green garden patch seems like a really good idea.

Also considering the current economic crises, interest in vegetable gardening is booming. Have you been to your local gardening center lately? They seem packed these days. More and more people are thinking about growing their own food to save on grocery bills.

Luckily our two families are not in financial distress, and we are thankful that we don't have slave away on our small lot with empty stomachs. The main reason our families decided to rent a garden patch is to grow healthy organic food and teach the children about gardening in the process. We have had a small vegetable garden by the side of our house for years. We grow tomatoes, basil, herbs, squash, and salad greens in the spring and fall. But it's not very big and we wanted to grow larger plants such as squash and watermelons we need a bigger space. Last year we grew a Three Sister's Garden. You can read about it on my blog!

Hope you enjoyed this rather lengthy post of mine and leave me a comment. =)
Happy Gardening! Ulla

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Treasury: It's Summertime!

'Summertime....' by woolies

and the livin' is easy.....

BUTTERFLY BABY - natura...

Moonbeams in a Jar Dres...

Wooden Toy, Summer Fore...

Rainbow Suncatcher with...

12 inch Watermelon Pock...

Needle Felted Forest Ch...

Little Goose and Her Su...

Felted Green and Yellow...

Sunflowers, Art Inspire...

Felted Mermaid Fairy Mo...

Large Collage - Love th...

Pink Flower Child Toy C...

Green Elephant Sailboat

Gnome Pod Necklace

Vintage Flower Garden J...

Cotton Play Food (Playf...

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Interview with Oast

This week we take a close up look at Oast with owner and artist Rachel.

Tell us about you
Hi, I am Rachel and I am a Canadian living in the UK. I live in a small farmhouse in rural Kent. We don’t work on the farm but benefit from watching the seasons change in the orchards and the beautiful birthing that takes place with the cows and sheep in the spring. The mark of the land in this area is the oast houses, which are the buildings where hops are dried for making beer. We happen to have a group of them that I look at as I craft and others on the rolling hills beyond the farm. My environment is very important to me and my surroundings are the ideal place for my small family to live. I have one husband, one child, and one one on the way. Another child, not another husband… oh you.

Tell us about your business
Oast is a Waldorf Doll shop. I have focused mostly on dolls for children 0 – 3 years old. That is starting to shift and I am enjoying the process of making jointed dolls for older children but they rarely make it as far as the shop.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in children. I love to watch how they connect with their toys and what they chose to attach themselves to. It is a powerful thing to observe, and often far out of the rationalization of adults. By this I mean, what we would chose for our children seems to rarely be what they would chose for themselves. Like the idea that children like the box a toy comes in more than the toy itself. I see that with dolls as well. Parents are drawn to the dolls with full heads of hair a bit more detailing while their young children are attracted to the simple faces and soft bodies. This helps me trust my craft and inspires me to see the special qualities in each developmental stage that corresponds to certain doll types.

What got you started in your craft?
As is the story of many Waldorf doll makers, I made my first one for my daughter and have been going strong ever sense. It is addictive to create something that a child will grow and share with. After seeing and hearing how children respond to the dolls themselves, I fell even more in love with the process. There is nothing like watching a child hug one of my dolls for the first time.

What's your favorite thing you have ever made?
My daughter. Seriously the best craft project ever, and the most consuming.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I have been on Etsy nearly a year and I have found it slow going. I sell a product that has a lot of competition and I am just slowly making my way. I enjoy the process of creating and know that as long as I maintain the standards I have set for myself, the rest the sales will continue to come.

What do you hope to gain or contribute to the Natural Kids group?
I am pretty isolated where I live. The UK has amazing fiber arts and a lot of natural crafts people. I don’t have access to them on a regular basis from where I live. I hope to continue to be inspired by the NK community. I love the process of creating and also the professionalism projected by the team. I work very hard at not only making a high quality doll that is safe for children but one that will make many journeys. The Natural Kids group follow this same ethos. The doll makers on the Natural Kids Team are all amazing and I feel so happy to be amongst them. I am hoping that I will be able to contribute to the team through my enthusiasm and love of community.

Share your links:

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hooded Towel Poncho

IT's SUMMER!! This Hooded Towel Poncho is from a recent tutorial on the blog of NaturalKids Team member Lori from Beneath the Rowan Tree. As soon as I saw it I wanted to share it here!! The original post has great detailed tutorial instructions to make your own (see link below). Here are some photos of the project to get you inspired to make them for your children & friends:
Towel ponchos are so simple and so handy at the beach~ and look how much FUN it is.

For the size 4/5 toddler & up all you need is:
  • a 30 x 60 (approx.) beach towel
  • a second matching beach towel or a hand or bath towel
  • scissors, thread, ruler

To get the detailed instructions to make this poncho here is the blog link:

I hope you are inspired to go make a towel poncho for your beach/outdoor excursions :o

Here is the link to Lori's Etsy shop: Beneath the Rowan Tree

This post is brought to you by Natalie, of Woolhalla.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mini Wednesday - Nobby Organics


Meet  Nobby Organics :

I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mom with five wonderful children that have inspired all of the products created here at Nobby Organics. I have always loved creating and designing with textiles. All the items listed in my shop are handcrafted with great care and attention to detail using only natural fibers such as organic cotton, organic merino wool, organic silk, and organic linen.

Find Nobby Organics on facebook:

article by prettydreamer  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fun In The Sun Natty Kids Style

Check out what the Natty Kids were up to this weekend. What fun things did you and your own natural kids do? We'd love to hear about it!

Whether it be tending the garden

Or admiring the year's crop.

Bubbles are always a favorite, as is a healthy snack (just not at the same time!)

How about a quiet walk in the woods to spy some fairies?

No fun in the sun is complete without water of course.

Braving something new,

Some sensory play,

Or just the thrill of cooling off.

Fun in the sun is calling, what will you do?

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, June 20, 2011

What's new, and, well, natural from the Naturalkids Team on Etsy

Welcome! I continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring to you the most wonderful and imaginative treasures. They are all handmade with natural materials from...yes! the NaturalKids Team on Etsy! This week, we feature wonderful variety of artists who work in either wood or wool, bug and love working with sustainable, natural materials.

Friendly Skunk Toy
Woodmouse's Amber creates Eco-friendly wooden toys handmade from sustainably harvested USA poplar. All the wooden toys and figures in the shop are designed, cut, woodburned and sanded by her.  Her water-based paints have been independently third-party tested for safety. They are AP Certified non-toxic and bear the ACMI non-toxic label. Amber seals with organic jojoba oil and beeswax from a local beekeeper. Here is her Friendly Skunk Toy.
Wood Phone Toy

 The Wood Toy Shop  is run by Mark, a stay at home dad, who just installed new solar electric panels to power the workshop! His toys are built to last from hard woods and are finished with non-toxic mineral oil. Most of the wood he uses are mill ends and scrap from cabinet shops. Here is his Wood Phone Toy.

Sea Horse Wool Diaper Cover
Angela, of Wild Child Woolies  is a  stay at home/work at home/homeschooling (I guess she's HOME a lot!) mom of 5 awesome kids. In her shop you'll find unique, top quality, handmade wool interlock diaper covers for cloth diapered infants and toddlers. Here is her Seahorse Wool Interlock Pull Up Diaper Cover/Soaker.

Wet Felted Pocket Mirror
Kim of  Viltalakim crafts all of her household decor items, wearables and and other treasures, by the wet felting technique with super soft merino wool. She does this all by hand, without sewing/ knitting first. No washing machine, just her own hands... Here is her Wet Felted Pocket Mirror

From imaginative wood toys for storytelling and play to natural baby necessities to wet felted wool treasures, these are just a few of the natural creations you will find from our shops hailing from all over the world.

Thanks for joining us this week! Please do return again next Monday as we continue to feature all the wonderful members of the NaturalKids team on Etsy. Until then, I invite you to browse all our wonderful shops.

Rebecca aka Nushkie
Nushkie on Facebook

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Treasury: A Trip to the Farmer's Market

'What's your favorite item at the Farmer's Market' by thesittingtree

Fresh pea pods, all the way in our house!Find more fresh goodies at

Wooden Book - Garden Ve...

RURAL and PROUD Screenp...

Fruit Salad Collection ...

Womens EAT FRUIT T-Shir...

Any Three Packs of Orga...

Boys of Summer Pick Flo...

Boston Beanies Knit App...

Vintage Flower Garden J...

Strawberry Blueberry Or...

Flower Rainbow Magic Wa...

Screen Printed Reusable...

eat your veggies

Farmer's Market SOY...

Small Radishes Archival...

Cerulean Planter Set of...

Farm Fresh Sign - made ...

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.