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Natural Kids

Natural Kids: August 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Treasure Hunt of Sorts...

The summer is drawing to an end. One of the noises we will really miss this winter is the song of the cicadas. The children had so much fun collecting the empty shells last week. Each year they like to collect them and see who finds the most. We collected them off of tree bark, window frames, the grape arbor, the play set.

We decided they looked good on our shirts. How many could we pin to the shirt and keep on while running around the yard? Was it 16 bugs?

Then we caught a " live one" after hatching. It gave us a bit of a fright...

Bugs are amazing creatures. Who can deny it? See and hear you next year, little cicada!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Moving isn't Fun!

Dear Readers and Followers of the NaturalKids Team Blog,

Over the last 6 months we have been working hard on a new site to make our blog more enjoyable, easier to navigate, and visually appealing to you. We want to continue bringing you awesome articles, recipes, and news from our international group of Etsy sellers. While doing this we have run into some technical difficulties and it may take us some time to get the site running smoothly. Please bear with is during this difficult time! We will keep posting on blogger until the new site is perfected and ready to go.

Book Review - The Lone Bull

Oh, how I love this story, never have I met such a good-natured bull ...

The Story of Ferdinand ~ by Munro Leaf (Author), and Robert Lawson (Illustrator)

"all the other bulls who had grown up with him in the same pasture would fight each other all day. They would butt each other and stick each other with their horns.What they wanted most of all was to be picked to fight at the bull fights in Madrid ...But not Ferdinand."

I have read this story many times to my girl when she was young ... the book was even wrapped up nicely by my daughter and put under the Christmas tree one year when my girl who noticed how fond I was of Ferdinand .. she thought I should certainly have a few more special presents just for me.

There is so much to be admired about a little bull who knows how to listen to his heart and happily sits among the flowers and underneath a cork tree in a little pasture in Spain ... instead of butting heads as the other little bulls do.

Though it is not always easy to stand alone or stand out important for our little folks (and ourselves) to know that we can. By the way did you notice the "cork tree"? ... Or all the boo boos and bandages the other little bulls are sporting?.

reprinted from original post by prettydreamer from "whither will i wander"


Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Moved!

This will be our teams last post here on blogspot. 

NaturalKids Team has a new and wonderful home, We now have an all in one website/blog for you to enjoy!

What I'm Loving This Week

♥ I'm thinking woodland tea party (thanks for pinning this one, Lori!)

♥ Make your own lavender bug repellent/bite soother spray

♥ Love this idea for organizing rubber boots

♥ You can make your own chalkboard paint in any color! I didn't know that... so cool.

♥ So much autumn goodness from our team. Are you ready for it?

Article written by Julie of This Cosy Life

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Organizing With Baskets

In our home we use baskets as an essential storage system. I find they're not only useful but also bring a sense of beauty to something as mundane as organization. I wanted to share a few of the different ways we use them.
To hold toys and play silks. We keep a few in the main living area, as well as my girls bedroom. I think having them in different rooms and having different baskets for different types of toys teaches my children that everything has a place and also invites spontaneous play more so than grouping all toys in the children's bedroom or playroom.
Holding books. Once again we use separate baskets for different types of books. One to hold my youngest daughter's board books and another for our seasonal books.
In the kitchen/dining area. This is one of my favorites, I just love it's shape and seeing all the clean napkins, folded and ready for use.
Holding yarn. As an avid knitter I have many baskets of yarn.
More yarn...
A collecting spot for clean diapers. Keeps them easily assessable and at the ready.
Near the door, holding seasonal items. Sun hats when it's warm out and woolies when it's cold.
This one I keep in the kitchen, by the sink. It holds things I use in the kitchen but aren't food related. Lanolin for wool diaper covers, wool wash for the same,beeswax for various projects... needs to be melted in the kitchen. I also keep the jar we use for water when we paint and a small bottle of lavender essential oil that I like to add to my homemade all-purpose cleaner.
A basket kept on the table, ready for spur of the moment drawing and coloring. I think it's rather important that my children's things are easily assessable to them. Baskets are invaluable for organizing their things where they can easily reach them and still blend well with the rest of the home.
And when all else fails, we hang them from the ceiling! These organize various craft supplies and hang in my office/workroom.
I would love to hear/see how you use baskets to bring order to your home.

Article written by Julie of This Cosy Life.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Nobby Organics Interview and Giveaway

This week we take a closer look at Nobby Organics with owner and artist Daria.

Tell us about you!
My name is Daria. I live with my husband and five children in a small town in Westchester County, NY. My days are filled with part-time teaching Russian language at a parochial school, homeschooling, sewing, designing, reading, traveling, visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, listening to my children play the piano, and enjoying the changing seasons in our backyard. I was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to the U.S. with my husband 18 years ago. Born into an artistic family, I learned to love and cherish the creative process from a very young age. My grandmother taught me how to sew and crochet when I was little, so I started making dolls and toys for myself and my brother and, later, for my own children, and I literally couldn’t stop. Our house is filled with fabrics, yarns, pieces of wood, and many other materials which inspire various family projects.

Tell us about your business!
I have been sewing all my life, but as a business, I began working very recently,
only about a year ago. After combating two of my children’s severe eczema, and, in the process, learning a great deal about the toxicity of many conventionally-made products, I became committed to a healthier life style - eating local organic food, using organic fibers and herbs to minimize chemicals people are exposed to from their birth. I shared my newly-gained knowledge through the various hand-made gifts I made my friends and family. Then I found out about Etsy which gave me the opportunity to develop the hobby I love into a business. Almost everything I create, with some exceptions, is made from 100% organic cotton, wool, and silk, but at the same time doesn’t renounce style and comfort. I wanted a company name which would sound unusual and at the same time convey the elegance, sophistication, and purity of my products. The word nobby means exactly that - stylish and smart.

What do you make?
I specialize in children’s products, creating millet pillows, sleeping sacks, wool comforters, Waldorf dolls, and a number of other things, all of which I make with my own children in mind, using materials mostly produced from natural fibers such as organic cotton, organic merino wool, and organic silk.  Everything I sell I have used with my own children and have seen it work!

Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my children, whom I watch as they play, laugh, create, and grow, my family, nature, or it could just be a piece of fabric... I put a lot of love and energy into my work and hope that this will be felt by those families who welcome it into their homes.

What’s the favorite thing you have ever made?
I think dolls have been my favorite. Seeing how abstract pieces of wool and cotton gradually shape themselves into a doll with its own peculiar physical characteristics and personality traits never fails to awe and excite me! 

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I joined Etsy a little less than a year ago, and it is still slow going. I sell products for children, which is a very competitive field, but I really enjoy the process and strive to create products of the highest quality, and I’m pretty sure the sales will come. It just takes time for people to get to know me and my work.

What do you hope to gain or contribute to the Natural Kids group?
I feel really happy to be a part of the NK team with its wonderful artisans and crafters who share their knowledge and time and support each other at every step. And for my part, I hope to contribute my enthusiasm to the team.

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
Natural materials like silk, wool, and wood provide a very different experience for your child’s little hands compared to the plastic of manufactured toys. Besides being comfortable and warm to the touch, natural materials allow your child to explore lots of textures which are totally unlike the relatively uniform and unnaturally-cool feel of plastic. Moreover, being open-ended and easy to use in a variety of ways, natural toys help develop a child’s imagination, encouraging creativity and hours and hours of play.

Find Nobby Organics here:

Today Daria is giving away a set of Felt Spring Birds.

Here's how to enter;
Visit Nobby Organics' Etsy Shop and leave us a comment letting us know what your favorite item in her shop is.

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.
Contest is for US residents only, thank you for your understanding.

We will choose a winner randomly on August 25, 2011. (Please, make sure we have a way to contact you!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Puzzle Masters

Recently our daughter got sick. Her illness lasted about 4 days and after sitting on the sofa not being able to read or focus on anything but not feeling good I decided to get out a puzzle. We had bought it for Christmas - thinking it would entertain the kids over the break time, but then it ended up in a back corner in the basement.

Not sure why I got to remembering it sitting there. It certainly came in as a total blessing when reading wasn't an option and the TV meter had run out... It also brought back memories of when the kids were little and loved puzzles so much.

Now I have to say you are never too old or too young to enjoy a good puzzle. The one we got for Christmas had 750 pieces (according the box) and showed a three feet wide panorama view of Portofino, Italy. Of course, we had to look it up on the map - and got in a little geography lesson at the same time!

At first the job was very daunting and near impossible. How to start? The patient was only remotely interested. Once our 12-year-old son and I picked out all the border pieces and the project started taking shape, everybody wanted to help finish this hard puzzle.

Even my husband - who mumbled something about the Germans and the French never getting along and how I enjoyed fighting crazy battles (did I hear the word maniac somewhere along the lines) - couldn't keep his hands of the pieces when we got near the end. After two days the task was finished!

As a child I did a lot of puzzles with my family. I guess I forgot how much fun it was since my kids are older now. I think this experience was a great because it helped us pass a difficult time while our daughter was sick and take our mind of the sickness. At the same time it was a fun way to teach about patience and teamwork. I am already on the lookout for another big puzzle for the family to do.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tutorial: How to make lavender play dough

I have found this to be the perfect afternoon activity to do with my daughter. She helped me make our first batch and I have since given it away as birthday gifts. Here is what you will need:

1 cup sea salt
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
Food Colouring
Lavender Essential Oil

Step 1: Put all ingredients into a large pot over low heat and stir.

Step 2: Keep stirring! While the mixture is starting to firm up, add in 10 drops of lavender essential oil. I sometimes use 8 drops of lavender 2 of rosemary. The first batch I ever made I just used 6 drops. I can smell the lavender but it wasn't quite enough for my taste. It is easy to add more so start off small and keep adding to suit your taste. I like using lavender because of its antibacterial properties.

Step 4: Once the dough starts to get too firm to mix and really starts pulling away from the sides of the pot, let it cool a few minutes until it can be handled. Then take it out of the pot and kneed it until soft and smooth. If after a bit of kneading it is sticky, add a touch more flour or place back in to the pot and warm up again. If it is too stiff, wet your hands with water and knead the dough again.

Step 5: Form the dough into balls. I make three balls for the primary colours. Create an indent in the ball and add food colouring there. Kneed again until food colouring is equally distributed. You can then colour combine. Blue and red = purple, Yellow and blue = green and so forth.

Step 6: Create! Play! Mould and Sculpt! Or... let cool to room temperature and then store in an air tight container in the fridge when not in use. I have had my batch for a couple of months now and it is still going strong. Once it starts getting funky, toss it and make more. Creations can be baked. You will have to experiment with your own oven for temperature and duration. Enjoy.

Written by Rachel from OAST

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Toying with a Waldorf Salad?

Ever heard of Waldorf Salad? Since we have many members on the NaturalKids team who make Waldorf inspired toys I figured we definitely need this recipe on our blog. The original Waldorf Salad was invented by a chef of Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. It has lots of things in it that kids love. It's pretty much a fruit salad. Just leave out the nuts if you have people in the family who have nut allergies.

"According to the American Century Cookbook, the first Waldorf Salad was created in New York City in 1893, by Oscar Tschirky, the maître d'hôtel of the Waldorf Astoria. The original recipe consisted only of diced red-skinned apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts were added later to this now American classic."

Some people prefer their Waldorf salad made with yogurt, instead of mayo. I am definitely a great fan of the yogurt version. It's lighter and healthier!

Crocheted Apple by Fairtradefamily


  • 1 1/2  tart crisp apples (red and green mixed makes the salad look pretty)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh red grapes cut into halves
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Greek fat free yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • fresh lettuce or greens such as Romaine or Bib Lettuce
How to make it?

Chop Walnuts lightly and toast them in a pan. Whisk yogurt and lemon juice together. Add a tad of sugar. Core apples making sure to remove all the seeds. Cut apples into small bite sized pieces. Wash celery stalks and slice thinly; add walnuts and grapes.  Serve on a bed of lettuce in a pretty bowl.

YIELDS: 5 to 6 servings

Pocket Baby in Apple Dress by GermanDolls


Monday, August 15, 2011

Dried Flower Craft for Kids

I was looking for an activity to do with a group of 5 year olds on the day it was my turn to be the host – as part of a group of mothers helping each other take care of the children during summer vacation (it's two months long).

After seeing a group of girls drool over a dried and dyed flower arrangement, I thought we could make our own. Searching the web I only found instructions for professional flower dying, using toxic dyes that require wearing protective gear. Well, that was out of the question!

I was not looking to achieve professional looking flowers and didn't mind if the colors faded after a while. I was looking for something fun and simple – and this is what I came up with:

First we went for a little walk and collected dried wild flowers and thistles.

All the spring flowers have dried up and we are surrounded by all different kinds of dried plants, dried seed pods, dried husks from wild grains and thistles - we just have to collect them!

When we were back, we diluted gouache paints in large pots and pans (When I say Gouache I mean the regular paints kids use in kindergarten – they might be called differently where you live).

I didn't measure, but in each bowl we mixed approximately two heaped table spoons of paint with five to six cups of water. (These paints stain – so we changed into work clothes first).

Then each girl dunked some dry flowers into a dye bath and swished them around a little.

We left the flowers to soak in the dye for a few minutes, letting the color absorb into the plants.

Then we set them out to dry on a piece of newspaper, each color separately, weight down with a stone.

When the flowers were dry, each girl made a bouquet from the different colors we made together.

It was interesting to see that each kind of plant reacted differently to the dying. Some hardly colored at all, and others were brightly colored. Generally speaking, fluffy and sticky flowers pods such as clover flowers, rabbit tail and sage retained more color and dyed stronger. Some plants only caught a hint of color but were still beautiful.

This lovely post was written Dria Peterson who lives and creates Waldorf style toys in Israel.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I'm Loving This Week

Cedar - Upcycled Wo...

waldorf doll clothe...

Wooden Book - Natur...

Spike the Little He...

Waldorf Gnome Pod N...

Wooden Toy- Waldorf...

Playsilk and Wooden...

Mobile or Wreath Au...

Moss Green Linen Ri...

Waldorf Toy Organic...

Oak Gnome and Mushr...

Evergreen Play Time...

Needle felted Forwa...

Open Top Box Hauler

Light Green Window ...
Needle Felted class="gl_link"Play ...
Etsy treasury created by Adolina

And for what I'm loving this week...

This fabulous A-Frame tent tutorial. I know my girls could spend all day every day in one of these.

♥I'm tucking this idea away for the holidays.

Weaving felt danish hearts.

♥Love these natural hooks!

♥A 21 part Youtube series on kangaroo joeys developing in the pouch, plus the birth. I can't wait to show this one to my girls. It's amazing!

I hope you're all having a beautiful Sunday!

Article written by Julie of This Cosy Life