I just published my birth affirmation coloring book for women planning a natural childbirth. There are eleven pages with colorable birth affirmations that you can use to support you in pregnancy and they can be hung on the walls in your birthing space for support and inspiration. They also make fantastic gifts!
You can purchase them here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/2259
or at http://thefairywood.etsy.com
Living in Hawaii, we find it very difficult to find many things that we need locally, especially toys. While we do have one toy store here on this side of the island, they do not sell wooden toys or quality toys of any kind. We have become accustomed to ordering toys through Amazon. Their prices are fantastic, they are always discounting and having sales and their shipping is free. It's a real deal for us.
Plus, they come with their own wrapping paper! Amazon uses wadded brown butcher paper sheets as padding in their packages. I love this stuff. When a package arrives, I carefully smooth the brown paper out on the table to use to wrap the gift that it came with. I have so much of it saved up that I don't need to buy any wrapping paper.
The paper can be used plain and is very pretty with no decoration, or you can make your own printed paper. I used a bottle of red glitter glue I found in the craft closet to make sparkling swirls on one Christmas gift this year. An old, goldfish-shaped foam stamp and some green craft paint we had laying around worked very well. You can also make a stamp out of vegetables such as apples and potatoes. Cutting an apple in half sideways makes a pretty star in a circle that makes a very festive print. You can also use a paintbrush to create polka dots or stripes.
Photo by Ayla87
Amber teething necklaces are a hot new trend which started several years ago in the natural parenting community. Many parents are realizing the benefits of using amber teething necklaces for relieving the symptoms of teething in infants and toddlers. But many parents are concerned over whether the teething necklace they have purchased is genuine or not. Most blogs and online articles make false claims regarding the authenticity of amber jewelry and several of these give incorrect information on how to test amber's authenticity.
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If you practice any type of natural parenting or attachment parenting, chances are that you have already heard of amber teething necklaces. They are wonderful pieces of jewelry that have saved the sanity of many a parent over the years. But amber teething necklaces can be very expensive and many will attempt to thwart parents interested in more affordable necklaces by scaring them with stories about fakes necklaces and necklaces that do not work.
Instead of listening to the sellers of these necklaces who will perpetuate myths about the industry, either purposefully or through lack of education, have a look at the real properties of Baltic amber before choosing which necklace you will use.
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I really love Waldorf nature tables, but I wanted something more like a specimen tray than a free-form nature table. The other day, I saw a photo on Pinterest of a nature table made of sectioned compartments. I remembered that we had found a letterpress drawer in the house when we first moved in and I still had it kicking around somewhere. I dug it out and cleaned it off and put it in a corner on our old coffee table and voila! Instant nature table. The kids filled it with shells, rocks, twigs, flowers, bones and boar teeth and spend a few hours every day playing with it. This is such an awesome toy!
I have been fortunate enough never to have had to buy clothes for my children. Between a wonderful mother-in-law who feels it is her life's duty to provide new clothes for her children and lots of mom friends who know our situation and are happy to unload their kids' old clothes on us unasked, we have always had everything we need.
While our method isn't exactly organized, you could easily organize a children's clothing circle with your friends and family. The easiest way for most would be to create a Facebook group, but group emails would also work for those that don't use social networking sites.
Create your group and get anyone in that wants to join. The more people, the easier it will be. The idea is simple: when your kids outgrow their clothes or toys (and GENTLY used shoes), pass them on for free to the next mom in the group with the child that wears that size. Our mom group just keeps passing the clothes around and around, taking good care of them, fixing small problem spots when they get them, and using them again. I have actually received stuff back for a new baby that I've passed on to another mom after my first child. Clothes that get ruined just become play clothes or painting smocks or pajamas. Really bad ones get thrown away.
New clothes are always coming in to the mix either as gifts from friends and family (like my MIL) or whenever a certain mom needs a certain item that she doesn't have enough of. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on clothes for kids, most of us have had to buy only a couple of items here or there.
These pass-it-round groups can work for all kinds of things including toys, books, cloth diapers and other baby gear such as strollers, high chairs and carriers. Just always be sure not to trade car seats (they are one-time use ONLY and may never be passed on) and always check your item for wear and tear, safety and recalls before handing it off to another mama. If done safely and with respect for the other mamas involved, pass-it-round groups can save each of you hundreds of dollars and is a good example of the "reuse it" mentality so necessary to protect our vital natural resources.
Image by gokoroko
Am I posting an article about a vinegar bottle? Yes. Yes, I am. That is the depth of my love for this thing. For years, I have had a heavy duty spray bottle of vinegar sitting on or under my kitchen counter. It is filled with about 2/3 white vinegar and 1/3 water and I use it for pretty much everything. It replaces most household cleaners in our home. (Though I do prefer Ecover tub and shower scrub and their toilet bowl cleaner for their assigned jobs).
Veggie wash - just spray it on fruits and vegetables, wipe and rinse clean. It's a great way to wash organic kale. I spray it on both sides of the leaf thoroughly and then rinse it off. For fruits and veggies with skin, I just soak them in a sinkful or tub full of vinegar water for a few minutes and then rinse clean, but for individual fruits and veggies, this is ideal. It's easy to spray a handful of lettuce or green onions and get them thoroughly clean.
Glass cleaner - I use it like Windex to clean windows and mirrors. It will leave a foggy residue that dries in about a minute to a crystal clear shine. Some people use newspaper to wipe glass, but I can't afford newspapers, so we clean with cotton rags.
Floor cleaner - I got the idea after watching an Amish woman in a documentary cleaning her floor. I have a mop with a terry cloth covering over the end. I quickly spray the area I need to mop with my spray bottle, let it sit for one minute, then dry mop it up with my terry cloth mop. Sparkling clean and I didn't have to break out a bucket of nasty water or make the floor slippery. It's quick and easy and my kids can come into the room immediately when I'm done. It's also much safer than using detergents.
Spot disinfection - Occasionally, my cat will bring in a dead mouse or a friend's toddler will pee on the floor during a playdate. I've even dropped raw meat. I just break out my vinegar spray bottle and spray the area before wiping it up. Vinegar is an excellent disinfectant and I have even heard rumors that it works better than bleach. (Though for full disinfectant properties, I would suggest using your vinegar full-strength without the water added.) I can also use it to spray our baby toys after a LLL meeting or playgroup just in case any of the children mouthing them were sick. We had an incidence once with hand, foot and mouth disease and the vinegar was a lifesaver. I just pulled out my bottle and sprayed everything down once we found out. Luckily, no one got sick.
All-purpose cleaner - I use vinegar to clean pretty much everything in my home including floors, counters, glass, toilets, sinks, walls computers and monitors, grime on desks and screens. For things that need scrubbing such as bathtubs and toilets, make a scrubbing paste by sprinkling baking soda on the area and then spraying with the vinegar spray.
Mold killer - Vinegar kills mold and here in Hawaii, we have a lot of it. It shows up on wooden toys, behind furniture, on leather and on bamboo. I break out my vinegar bottle, spray and wipe and it does a great job of removing the mold and killing what's left behind.
Mosquito repellent - sure, it stinks, but it does work, about as well as any natural brand of mosquito repellent. Spray it on your skin and wipe and you can head out to the garden with fewer nasties bothering you. The smell does dissipate once it dries.
So if you are the DIY type and are interested in making this adorable cloth busy book for the toddler in your life, head over to my Etsy shop where you can purchase the pattern with full instructions available for immediate download.