Colds, Christmas, and Christianity: Our December

IMG_4909Wow, this December has been a mad rush of Nutcracker ballet rehearsals, preschool parties and presentations, Christmas shopping, family outings, and all of us trying to overcome the yuck that has poured down upon us from a cold virus Hubs brought home from his specialty Coast Guard school in Virginia earlier in the month.

I mean, really: just call us the ill Willas. At this rate, we’ll still be using 6 boxes of tissues per week and filling humidors with water, salt, and Vicks vapo-pads long after Christmas has passed.

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Oh, yes, Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. Actually, this year has been pretty low key for us, which is nice, considering Christmas really isn’t about presents or feasts or what Santa’s going to bring. . .

we’re finished with shopping for one another, the kids are appropriately jazzed for Santa’s visit, and in order to keep Christmas about Christ in our household, we have been doing weekly Advent Family Nights, led by a lovely book that my sis-in-law sent us in a care package, and I have included the birth of Jesus in every conversation that we have about Christmas, emphasizing that He is the best gift we could ever get, and I let Abbey tell me why.

IMG_4911Her responses are sometimes adorable

“because I get to color him pink on every picture I want”

“because he is GOD!”

and sometimes miss the mark

“um, because he’s such a cute little baby?”

But amid the fuss of rehearsals, the cloud of sickness, and our seclusion in a small town environment in rural island Alaska, we’re having a pretty great December.

If you and your family are Christian, tell me: How do you keep Christmas about Christ and downplay the commercialism? Do you have specific family traditions for giving, feeding the hungry, or serving others?

My friend and fellow Natural Parents Network author Laura has a wonderful tradition of bringing seasonal joy to families who have babies in the NICU in her town. And this post on The God Article really hits the nail on the head with reminders on avoiding Christmastime excesses that go against what we actually believe as Christ-followers.

Natural Parents Network 2nd Annual Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway!

Natural Parents Network’s 2nd Annual Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway! {12/6, 26 winners, US, ARV $2,587}

Second Annual NPN Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaway {12/6, 26 winners, US, ARV $2,587}

Welcome to the Second Annual Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide!

If you need to complete your holiday shopping, find a birthday present for a friend, or just treat yourself to something special, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone. But what’s even better, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to shop consciously and to support many naturally minded small businesses.

The companies that have provided items for review and giveaway are almost exclusively made up of work-at-home shops or companies that are dedicated to supporting eco-conscious choices. Below you will find information on 54 companies from 22 of our NPN volunteers. The companies are giving away over 58 products, subscriptions, and gift certificates, for a total combined value of over $2,500! As you scroll through the Gift Guide, we encourage you to click on the links for each of the reviews — look for the links to our volunteers’ blogs in each heading and read their full review! Our volunteers have crafted thoughtful posts on each participating company with pictures of and links to products that are simply perfect for our natural parenting families.  You can enter to win every giveaway by using the Rafflecopter system below or via the reviewers’ site.

Even if you don’t win one of our fabulous prize packages, please consider spending part of your gift-giving budget at one of these small businesses. By supporting small businesses, you are helping families, boosting local economies, and supporting ethical practices of manufacturing, production, and selling. We know that budgets are tighter and finances may be difficult, but by purchasing from small, family-owned businesses, you know you will be receiving quality items made with appropriate business practices and personal customer service, all while supporting another family’s endeavors.

Many of the companies have included coupon codes — take advantage of them! You can find the coupon codes in the heading of each company listing. (Please note that coupons are not good on shipping fees unless otherwise stated.)

We’ve broken the Gift Guide down into two sections (click the links below to jump to either section):

Perfect For Kids

and

Perfect For Families

And after you’re done checking out the incredible companies, jump down and enter in one or more of the six Rafflecopter widgets below!

 

 

Perfect For Kids

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5 Minute Recess

5 Minute Recess is a babywearer’s dream shop! Julia from A Little Bit of All of It shares with us the gorgeous handwoven wraps, ring slings, wrap bags and even wrap scrap creations she found on their site. If you love unique colorways, beautiful fringe and a super supportive but thin weave, the Inda Jani handwoven wraps from 5 Minute Recess will be perfect for you! They also carry a thicker weave as well with a little more cushiness. The best part is how affordable they are! If you have a babywearer in your life, any of the Inda Jani wraps, ring slings or wrap creations would be a lovely and special gift.

Use coupon code bwing10 at checkout for 10% off!

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Alphabet Glue

From Lauren of Hobo Mama, check out Alphabet Glue, which is a delightful e-magazine filled with activities and inspiration for families who love books. Each seasonally thematic PDF issue is full of charming photographs, exciting science experiments, literary-themed crafts, story-building activities, and related booklists to further the love of reading. The set of 5 e-issues included in this giveaway include projects such as pinhole viewboxes, shoebox string instruments, animated cartoon cards, incredible inflatable eggs, monster toothpaste, story starting pods, homemade bouncy balls, DIY natural history museums, Morse code messages, and many more! This e-magazine would be a perfect gift for a family interested in homeschooling or extending natural learning into their everyday lives.

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Appleseed Lane

Lauren of Hobo Mama shares how Appleseed Lane will spark a lifelong love of learning with monthly boxes full of science experiments and lesson-based crafts. Geared toward ages 4-10, these boxes are perfect for homeschoolers and natural learners. Boxes can be purchased a la carte or at a discount with a 6-month or 1-year subscription, and there’s an optional sibling add-on for extra supplies so no one has to squabble over the fun! Each box has a theme (such as Halloween, Mystery, and Electricity) and an educational children’s book full of fun facts and colorful illustrations, and all the supplies for the experiments and crafts are included, with easy-to-follow illustrated instructions. Have fun learning and playing with an Appleseed Lane box surprise every month!

Use coupon 5off for $5 off for “Join” or “Gift” Subscriptions!

In addition, orders between now & December 6th will be part of the ”Get 1, Give 1″ campaign to support children in need! Purchase a subscription or gift certificate & Appleseed Lane will donate a box to the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless for the holidays on your behalf! Homeless children represent 60% of AACH’s clients. Read the full review.

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Artterro

From our reviewer, Jorje of Momma Jorje, a Collage Jewelry craft kit from Artterro. Jorje’s teen daughter, Tyler, helped her review this product for content variety, fun and sturdiness. The kit includes a great variety of materials for designing 6 unique jewelry pieces, which is a fun family activity for older kids, and no two kits are exactly alike. Jorje and Tyler also thought having the box turn into a frame for finished artwork was ingenious! Artterro offers a huge range of kits for younger kids all the way up to teens.

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Baby K'Tan

Baby K’tan

The Baby K’tan Baby Carrier is a unique baby carrier that offers the comfort and support of a stretchy wrap without the wrapping. It is safe for use with newborns and safely supports babies up to 35 pounds in multiple carrying positions with ergonomic positioning for baby and comfortable support with even weight distribution for the wearer. Made from 100% cotton knit fabric, there are no buckles or straps and no confusing wrapping techniques to master. With its ease of use and variety of gender-neutral colors, Baby K’tan is a great carrier for moms and dads alike. The K’tanCloth 3-in-1 can be used as a burp rag, a nursing cover, or a blankie. It features easy on-and-off Velcro to attach it to baby carriers, nursing tanks, stroller handles, and an open-pocket design to catch messes. This breathable cloth is made from absorbent microfiber on one side and soft cotton on the other. Check out Joella of Fine & Fair and read her full review.

And just for NPN readers, use coupon code BKNPN15 for 15% off your order between now & December 31.

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Back To Blocks

Back To Blocks

Back To Blocks is an awesome US based company that makes handcrafted, all natural building blocks for children of all ages, and each set comes with its own storage bucket for easy clean up after play. Whether you are looking for a small starter set perfect for a preschooler, or a large building block set for your child’s classroom, Back To Blocks has natural hardwood blocks that are smooth and sliver-free, and will last for generations. Check out Megan of Boho Mama and her full review!

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BarefootBooks

Barefoot Books

Barefoot Books was born over twenty years ago by two young mothers who wanted to make a difference in the world while keeping their children at the center of their lives. Barefoot Books opens a child’s mind with their one of a kind stories and breathtaking artwork. Barefoot Books offers books for babies all the way up to advanced readers, they also offer singalongs, puzzles, games, and puppets. Angela of Earth Mama’s World tried out Barefoot Books with her family and found that the products offered at Barefoot Books not only spark a child’s curiosity and creativity, they also help a child develop a respect for cultural, social, and ecological diversity. Barefoot Books is also an environmentally conscious business that believes that the welfare of our children is dependent on the welfare or our planet. They recognize social accountability and implement many practices that help to reduce their carbon footprint.

Now through November 16, NPN readers can use coupon code NATURALPARENTS at Barefoot Books for 25% off their entire order!

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CalicoCritters

Calico Critters

Come meet the Calico Critters! These are an adorable, fuzzy, lovable series of miniature animals and their world full of adventures. Marybeth of Natural Mom Reviews tried out Calico Critters with her daughter & loved the Koala family: mother Sheila owns her own eco-friendly shop; the papa, Bruce, is the leader of the Cloverleaf Corners Environmental Awareness Society; sister Adelaide wants to start her own eco-fashion company when she grows up; and baby brother Joey is very attached to his mother and loves playing outside and being worn on his mom & dad’s backs. They live in an adorable adventure-filled treehouse!

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Carry Me Baby Carrier Rental

Carry Me Baby Carrier

Carry Me Baby Carrier rental service offers parents the opportunity to try out baby carriers before investing in them. High-quality baby carriers truly are an investment, and this service allows for the chance to try a variety of styles out to help parents determine which carrier best suits their needs for much less than purchasing a full line of carriers new to try! Options include buckle carriers, Mei Tais, ring slings, and woven wraps and come in sizes that will accommodate babies and wearers of all sizes. New wearers have the option of receiving a free e-mail consultation to help choose the best carrier to try, and clean and sanitized carriers are shipped within 48 hours of completing the rental agreement. The renter uses the carrier as if it were their own for the duration of the rental period, then returns it  when done. A gift certificate from Carry Me Baby Carriers makes the perfect gift for new parents or parents new to baby wearing. Check out Joella’s review over at Fine And Fair.

And just for our readers, enter code NPNdiscount for 15% off any rental or purchase between now and December 25. Discount can be used for any carrier rentals or gift card purchases.

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ErgoCarrier

Ergobaby: The Ergobaby Organic Baby Carrier

From our reviewer Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter, the Ergobaby Organic Baby Carrier is a soft structured carrier. It’s versatile enough to use from infancy on up to four years old, with three comfortable carries. I’ve carried both of my big boys in front carries so they could snuggle to sleep while out and about, or on my back for big adventures, or to soothe an overtired child so I can get some housework done in the evenings. Made of 100% Oeko-Tex certified organic cotton, it also comes with a hood that’s UPF 50+. Enter to win an Ergobaby Organic Baby Carrier for a very comfortable babywearing experience for baby and parent!

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Ergobaby Swaddler

Ergobaby: The Ergobaby Swaddler

From our reviewer Shannon of Pineapples and Artichokes, a review of the ErgoBaby Swaddler: The ErgoBaby Swaddler is an easy to use and safe way to help your baby sleep more peacefully. Recommended by moms and medical experts alike, the Ergobaby Swaddler’s innovative features help prevent your baby from startling awake while the ergonomic design allows for natural movement of baby’s hips and legs as recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

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Freshly Picked

Freshly Picked

That Mama Gretchen and her little one can’t get enough of Freshly Picked’s beautiful handmade leather moccasins. With a great fit and adorable colors, Freshly Picked moccs are the perfect gift for babies, early walkers and more (available in sizes 1-10). These Moccasins are soft-soled shoes that will make sure your baby stands out in a crowd! But with so many lovely colors, how will you choose just one?!

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GDiapers

GDiapers are an ecofriendly hybrid diapering system that offers the flexibility of using cloth or disposable, biodegradable inserts in their reusable gPants covers. Abbie from Farmer’s Daughter has used gDiapers with both of her sons for over three years, and she loves that she is able to use either cloth or disposables, without all the plastic and chemicals found in a conventional diaper! Disposable inserts can be flushed, composted (wet only), or thrown away. Matching clothes and baby legs complete the adorable look! Enter to win a gVeggie ensemble including gPants, a tee and gLegs, a set of 6 gPants reusable covers, a case of disposable inserts and gWipes!

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Highlights for Children

Highlights for Children has the perfect magazines for any child: Hello for ages 0-2, High Five for ages 2-6, and Highlights for ages 6-12, plus puzzlegeography, hidden pictures, and math magazines as well as educational books and toys. Highlights has been publishing “fun with a purpose” since 1946, and today’s editions include engaging illustrations and enjoyable extras like stickers and cut-outs to engage any kid’s interest. A subscription to one of Highlights’ many magazines would make a perfect gift for a child of any age and a family interested in home learning. Check out Lauren & read her full review on Hobo Mama!

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Jupiter's Child

Jupiter’s Child

Jupiter’s Child is a small company of three multi-talented women. They bring a collective background of experience in woodworking, handwork, and graphic design. The talents of these three women come together beautifully in their etsy shop which is full of extremely high quality toys, children’s clothing, and Waldorf craft supplies. Kellie got the privilege of reviewing their organic cotton “Peace Chicken” toddler tee and carved wooden hedgehog. Read the full review over on Our Mindful Life!

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Organic Gugguli Doll

Käthe Kruse

Käthe Kruse has over 100 years experience making quality handcrafted dolls. These charming dolls are all made from hand, not mass produced, and have a unique design that encourages creativity and promotes cooperative play. These dolls are made to last generations, not years! All of the Käthe Kruse products are made with handcrafted detail and environmental consciousness. Angela of Earth Mama’s World tried out the Mini Me Waldorf Doll with her lovely family and shares the joys of their beautifully crafted toys in her review. Read the full review!

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Little Pim

Little Pim offers an Entertainment Immersion Method to make learning a foreign language fun for kids 0-6. Little Pim the panda guides kids through immersion DVDs in one of 11 languages, giving children useful vocabulary and simple, grammatically correct sentences for everyday living, on topics such as Eating and Drinking; Playtime; In My Home; Happy, Sad, and Silly; and more. The Discovery Set that’s part of the giveaway contains 3 DVDs featuring over 180 basic words in the winner’s choice of language, a panda plush toy, and a Little Pim poster. Lauren from Hobo Mama tried out Little Pim with her family and shares her experiences in her review.

NPN readers can use code LPHOLIDAY
for 20% off any product on their website.

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Mama Made Them

From our reviewer Laura Burns of Pug In The Kitchen, Mama Made Them is a fantastic Etsy shop that is dedicated to handcrafted wooden toys that are both beautiful and durable. Mama Made Them offers a huge selection of wooden toys your children will love, from wooden swords, dollhouses, animals, and lovely keepsake ornaments. Laura’s children loved their new toys & are sure to play with them for years to come.

NPN readers can use coupon code GIVEAWAY for
10% off a whole order through December 31.

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MrsC'sGlutenFree

Mrs. C’s Gluten Free

Kellie of Our Mindful Life reviews Mrs. C’s Gluten Free gluten free playdough, Make & Play playdough, and watercolor paints set! Kellie’s family had fun with the Halloween Eye See You gluten free playdough in vibrant, fun, nibble safe colors, the Make & Play playdough, and watercolor paints from Mrs. C’s Gluten Free. Mrs. C’s Gluten Free stocks organic, gluten-free, chemical-free, and petroleum-free school supplies you will love!

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My Chickadee

Janina from My Chickadee Designs, learned to sew when she discovered she was pregnant with her daughter. She now creates diaper bags, wet bags, totes, reusable snack bags, and a mini carrier for children. My Chickadee caters to families that live a natural and greener lifestyle. This lifestyle inspired the creation of the Mini Carrier. This wonderful children’s carrier allows a child to carry their doll or animal just like you carry your child. The mini carrier is wonderful for a child welcoming a new sibling and makes a perfect gift! My Chickadee products are easy to clean, machine washable and lead & phthalate free. All of the products offered by My Chickadee are designed by a mom and made in the USA. Read Angela’s full review at Earth Mama’s World.

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Nova 2

Nova Natural

At 9 feet long and 4.5 feet wide, Nova Natural’s beautiful rainbow silk is big enough to turn your play structure into a fairy castle or your floor into a rainbow river. And because it is hand-dyed in the United States, each silk is one of a kind. Bring magic and beauty into your home with your own Silk Rainbow from Nova Natural. Free shipping on orders over $100! Read more from Dionna of Code Name: Mama.

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Onya Baby

From our reviewer, Julia of A Little Bit Of All Of It, Onya Baby makes going anywhere with your baby a breeze. Comfortably wear your baby, toddler or preschooler on your front or back and securely and ergonomically carry them wherever your journeys take you. The best part is this unique baby carrier has an integrated chair harness that transforms pretty much any seat into a safe place for your baby to sit. Carry all you need with you in the two zippered double entry pockets and entertain baby by using the toy loops on each shoulder strap. With a weight limit of 75 pounds and an extra high back, this carrier goes well into preschool-hood comfortably. And with the new addition of the Onya Baby Booster, you can even wear your newborn in this carrier! If you have anyone on your holiday gift giving list that takes care of a young child, the Onya Baby Cruiser would be the perfect way to give them hands free mobility with their young one.

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Pomegranate Kids

Pomegranate Kids

Pomegranate Kids is sharing from their series of Charley Harper Nature Discovery Books with us! Drawing from Charley Harper’s Birdicopia comes a wonderful book and sticker set that not only introduces children to the artist’s interpretation of things in nature along a walk through What’s in the Woods, identifying plants and animals along the way. Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy shares how her bird-loving children reacted to the story and sticker book.

From now through November 16, use code naturalparent for
20% off your entire purchase at Pomegranate Kids!

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Rainbowsouffle

Rainbowsouffle

Rainbowsouffle is a colorful, whimsical Etsy shop created to fill the gap in the children’s’ toys & clothing market for gender neutral items that will bring hours of play and joy to your children. This shop is geared towards the more colorful families amongst us. Rainbowsouffle offers wearable children’s toy JetPacks, Handmade wishing Star& Moon mobile sets, Handmade Ribbon Dolls, and more. Each item is carefully designed and handcrafted with love & a great attention to detail to create a one of a kind product your child will cherish for years to come.  Read the full review from Lauren of Hobo Mama!

Use code naturalparents for free shipping in the US until December 31.

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Make 'n Break Junior

Ravensburger: Make ‘n Break Junior game

On your blocks, get set, go! In Ravensburger’s Make ‘n Break Junior game, kids ages 5-99 will have fun racing to build structures. Each player has a set of blocks. In each round of play, players try to build structures as shown on game cards. There are different cards for different skills levels. Ravensburger’s created Make ‘n Break Junior to develop children’s fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, shape recognition, and more. Read more from Dionna of Code Name: Mama.

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On the Farm game

Ravensburger: On the Farm game

Toddlers and preschoolers will love Ravenburger’s 3-dimensional game with a colorful farm scene and sturdy game pieces. You can adapt game play to your child’s skill level and interest. On the Farm was designed to help toddlers develop association and deduction, build vocabulary, and learn social rules such as turn-taking. Most importantly, playing games like On the Farm with your children will create opportunities for connection that will last a lifetime. Read more from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

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SparkleStories

Sparkle Stories

From our reviewer Shannon of Pineapples & Artichokes, a review of Sparkle Stories! Sparkle Stories is a resource for original, high-quality online stories. Sparkle stories are designed to be fun for kids and adults, and encourage imagination and creative play. With a subscription to Sparkle Stories, you will get new seasonably appropriate story magic each week, to be enjoyed online or downloaded and taken with you wherever you go! This is the perfect gift to give to long distance friends and families you love — every time they log on to enjoy a new story they will certainly think of you.

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Sparro & B

The mom duo at Sparro & B understands kids. They have created a fabulous array of bright and exciting children’s costumes and accessories which encourage imaginative play. You won’t be disappointed when your child’s face transforms into smiles at the sight of these costumes. Using a mix of new and upcycled materials, these Australian moms make fun and funky hand-made items certain to delight. Read Mandy’s full review over on Living Peacefully With Children!

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Stubby Pencil Studio

Stubby Pencil Studio is a wonderful online shop for families of small children. It is Marybeth of Natural Mom Reviews’ go-to shop for any birthday (they have everything you need from inexpensive lovely gifts to eco-friendly party supplies), stocking stuffers, tooth fairy treasures, and more! Stubby Pencil Studio has a carefully curated selection of wonderful products to stimulate any child’s imagination, including games, books, puzzles, and of course, art supplies. One lucky reader will win $75 worth of awesome art supplies & toys from Stubby Pencil Studio for their family, including these awesome Crayon Rocks!

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Umi Ring Sling

Umi Sling

From Stefanie of Very Very Fine comes our review of the awesome Umi Ring Sling. This sling is an organic and handwoven cotton ring sling perfect for wearing your babies. Each ring sling is a collaboration between Project Baby Bilum and Umi Sling that is a catalyst for change, giving women the tools they need in impoverished parts of the world to improve the health of their babies by providing access to their mothers and to the life-giving breast milk that they need to survive. Each Ring Sling is a well-made, durable, single-layer ring sling sold at an affordable price and made with the highest quality fabrics. When customers purchase an Umi Sling, Boho Mama sews another one and they are all shipped to the women in Bamio and the surrounding areas.

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Totter Tower

UncommonGoods: The Totter Tower

If your child is tired of the same old wooden blocks, the Totter Tower will be sure to re-pique her interest. These uniquely angled cylinders are made of bamboo, and their flocked edges will make building incredible structures possible – the lining keeps the blocks from sliding around. Designed for children ages 3+ (but sturdy enough for my toddler!), your child will have endless hours of fun building everything from towers to arches and more. Read more from Dionna of Code Name: Mama.

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UncommonGoods: The OgoBild Hub

Do you have a budding inventor? The OgoBild Hub, only $20 from UncommonGoods.com, will spark your child’s imagination for hours on end. Manipulate the flexible and interchangeable pieces to create creatures, robots, vehicles, and other crazy contraptions. Read more from our reviewer Dionna of Code Name: Mama.

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Woolino Pajamas

Woolino

Woolino Pajamas are beautiful merino wool and silk blend pajamas for your little ones. These pajamas are smooth and lightweight to touch, breathable, warm in the winter, and cooling in the summer. Marybeth of Natural Mom Reviews lives in snowy Colorado and has tried out these beautiful pajamas with her 5 year old. Since it’s already snowed there a few times already this winter, and her little one won’t keep her blankets on (ever), snuggly pajamas are a wonderful gift. These pajamas are so soft they feel like cuddling with a lovey, and in addition to being great pajamas, they make a wonderful layer beneath her snow pants & coat for extra warmth.

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Yum Earth

YumEarth

YumEarth is an organic candy company, born out of the creators’ desire to “feed our families a diet rich in delicious healthful foods free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes. YumEarth tastes better because we choose real fruit extracts and planet friendly ingredients grown on sustainable family farms to sweeten our lives and yours.” Enter to win a great prize pack of organic, natural and allergy-friendly lollipops, sour beans, sour worms and gummy bears in this review from Laura of Walden Mommy!

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Perfect For Families

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Door to Door Organics of Kansas City

Door to Door Organics of KC delivers local, organic produce (and more!) directly to your door step. Their customizable produce boxes make eating fresh, healthy foods easy and affordable. The on-line store allows you to shop for all your food needs in one spot and it is easy to find GMO, Kosher, organic, local, and/or grown in the USA products- all without the hassle of the grocery store! Enter to win a $50 credit towards anything in their shop! Read Laura’s full review over at Walden Mommy.

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For My Children

For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes and Wisdom

As a mother to four, I have many years of memories of my children. When we are so immersed in our day to day, we don’t often have time to sit down and recount the little and big events that make up our lives, but that our children and future generations will cherish deeply. For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes and Wisdom is a truly wonderful gift. It is the gift of a mother giving her thoughts and feelings and her total self to her children in a way that is far more intimate than many of us tend to express. Read more about the journal from Destany at They Are All of Me.

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Kidecals

Kidecals

Have something you love enough to put your name on it? Does your computer need brightening up? Maybe even a wall? Time to check out Kidecals! Their fashionable decals are just the thing. The name labels stick to anything, including clothing, and are waterproof and washing machine safe. The canning labels are dishwasher safe. And the wall decals are re-positionable. Jennifer at True Confessions of Real Mommy of shares the personalized canning labels she used to adorn her homemade goodies for easy gift giving!

Use code teamawesome at checkout for
10% off your entire order at Kidecals!

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Libre Tea

Libre Tea

Libre Tea is inspiring tea moments everywhere with their lovely tea glasses. Now you can enjoy hot loose leaf tea wherever you go. The Libre tea glasses are not only very practical, made with glass on the inside and durable poly on the outside, but also beautiful to look at. People always take notice of this unique tea glass as your brewed leaves float and create an elegant view in the glass. Choose from the original size, large size or handy mug. Give the tea drinker on your holiday shopping list a truly unique gift with the Libre Tea Glass. Read the full review over on A Little Bit Of All Of It!

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lucylocket

Lucy Locket Creations

From our reviewer Lyndsay of ourfeministplayschool, a review of Lucy Locket Creations‘ Yoga Bag: Lucy Locket Creations makes stunning textiles for your home and life. The yoga bag is a colorful testament to the great fabric items to be found in the Lucy Locket Creations Etsy shop. The attention to detail and sturdy nature makes this bag a yoga essential. But don’t think for a second that you are limited to yoga gear, Lucy Locket Creations is bursting with quilts, totes, throws and pillows you will love! Read Lyndsay’s full review.

Use code Holiday2013 for 10% off your order
from now until December 20.

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Mighty Nest

Mighty Nest is an awesome eco-conscious company where all products are free of lead, BPA, PVC, phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, melamine, chemical flame retardants and more. They choose products made of stable non-leaching materials such as glass, food grade stainless steel, silicone, natural wood and bamboo, organic cotton and natural rubber. Our reviewer Kellie of Our Mindful Life reviews the Amalfie Mug and the Jardin silicone coasters that are perfect for your family!  

Use code NPN10 from Nov 24-Dec 7 for 10% off your entire order (excludes mattresses & air filter systems).

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herb-box

Natural Herbal Living Magazine

Natural Herbal Living Magazine is a fantastic way to learn about herbs and all of their amazing properties. With the addition of the Herb Box, you can go in depth and have all of the ingredients to make several recipes from the magazine for the herb of the month. Focusing on one herb a month, the magazine will allow you to really hone in and focus for a month on just that herb and develop a relationship with it via the Herb Box. Build up your natural medicine cabinet with the herbs right for you and your family by learning what works and what doesn’t! Read Julia’s full review over on A Little Bit Of All Of It!

Use code NPN2013 for 10% off your first order!

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No Junque

No Junque Skincare

No Junque Skincare has created a nourishing, long lasting body lotion that is truly a luxurious, all natural treat for the skin. It is gluten free, GAPS friendly, not tested on animals, and only created with ingredients found in nature. The lotions are not greasy, fast absorbing, and smell delicious! No Junque Skincare has easily become one of my favorite whole body lotions. You can read Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama’s full review!

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paisley place

Paisley Place

Paisley Place is a growing Facebook business that creates adorable, custom clothing items for your every need. Visit Paisley Place for personalized bags, outfits for the whole family,snap mats and more. Enter to win a soft chevron infinity scarf, personalized with your initials. Our reviewer Laura enjoyed trying out her lovely orange chevron monogrammed scarf in the recently chilly fall weather! Read the full review at Walden Mommy.

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Paperless Kitchen

Paperless Kitchen

Paperless Kitchen was founded as a way to help those families looking for ways to go green and lower their environmental impact, while providing a healthier lifestyle. Small changes can help save the world. You can make a small change yourself by switching out your paper towels for reusable clothes. One eco-friendly skoy cloth is the equivalent of 15 rolls of traditional paper towels! If you are looking to make other environmental changes or are just looking for some fun gifts that won’t hurt the planet (or your family), check out Paperless Kitchen, a company that cares – about the environment and their customers. Read Mandy’s review over on Living Peacefully With Children!

Use coupon NPN10 for 10% off your order at Paperless Kitchen!

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Pixie Glassworks

Pixie Glassworks

You will find only true artisanship at Pixie Glassworks. These hand-blown glass pendants are not only beautiful to look at, but they hide a secret. They hold all natural essential oils inside, slowly diffusing the oil as you wear it around your neck. Choose an essential oil which works for you and bask in the scent of these gorgeous aromatherapy pendants.

NPN readers can use code Pixie$5off for $5.00 off their order through December 13. Offer only valid outside the US.

Read more about the fantastic essential oil pendants from Pixie Glassworks from Mandy of Living Peacefully with Children.

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Prana

prAna

prAna started back in 1992 with clothing that worked well for climbing and yoga. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, prAna has a full line of activewear and outdoor wear that you’ll love. But their clothing doesn’t stop there! From casual wear to dresses and skirts, you’re bound to find something that fits your lifestyle. It’s easy to find Fair Trade Certified clothing, too, which is great. Their line of sweater dresses is perfect for the cooler months and perfect for gift giving! Worn on their own or paired with boots and leggings, it’s a great way to stay warm in style. prAna’s clothing would be perfect for anyone on your gift giving list. Read Julia’s full review over on A Little Bit of All of It.

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Radiantly You

Radiantly You

Our reviewer Laura of Pug in The Kitchen reviews Radiantly You’s Dead Sea Mud Whipped Face Wash, Vanilla Mint Lip Balm and luxurious Vanilla and Lavender Bud Sugar Scrub. Radiantly You uses only raw and unrefined products, which means they have  never been bleached, added to or stripped of their natural vitamins and nutrients.  Their organic ingredients are sourced from reputable, certified organic vendors and  they take great care in making sure our ingredients are both ethically traded and  sustainably harvested. If you’re one of the many individuals suffering from eczema or a gluten allergy, these products are free from any additives and beneficial for your skin.

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Redmond seasoning

Redmond Trading

You diligently decide on meal. Make the effort to get to the store, get it home, prep and cook. So, why use any old table salt in it? Time to give Redmond Trading’s Organic Seasoning set a chance to bring out the natural deliciousness in your food, and find out how they add a new dimension to your food. Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy put them to the test, find out what her family thought.

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Redmond Clay

Redmond Clay Bath Salts & Facial Mud set are an awesome addition to your beauty routine. Redmond Clay is a completely natural bentonite clay, extracted from the earth and brought to you in its pure, natural state.  Not only are these products made with the highest quality ingredients available, they are also healing for your skin. Read about Amy’s experience on Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work.

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Riverview Naturals

Riverview Naturals

From Lyndsay of ourfeministplayschool comes a review of Riverview Naturals skin care products: All items made by Riverview Naturals have a shelf life because they contain absolutely 100% all-natural ingredients. With enchanting hints of vanilla and lavender, these products are nourishing to the skin and the soul. Made by a mother with a passion for ecology, and a sense for what our bodies really need, these products are a welcomed addition to any skincare regime.

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SmartMomJewelry

Smart Mom Jewelry

From Stefanie of Very, Very Fine, Smart Mom Jewelry is a unique company that offers stylish, fun, and pretty jewelry for mom that is perfect for teething babes. Not only will you love this jewelry, your teething or nursing little one will too! Their whole line is safe for teething and makes a great nursing necklace if you have a “twiddler.” These would be wonderful keepsake pieces to hold on to after your little ones grow up, as well.

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Strawesome

Strawesome

Strawesome is a family owned company dedicated to helping customers go green. All of their reusable glass straws are handmade right in their Michigan shop and include a lifetime guarantee! From plain to colorful to funky and in a range of sizes, Strawesome has glass straws to meet your needs. Switch to environmentally friendly and toxin free glass straws and stop throwing your money into the landfill. Read more about Strawesome from Mandy on Living Peacefully With Children.

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Terramor Jewelry

Terramor Jewelry is a lovely company that creates one of a kind jewelry pieces that are both ethical and gorgeous. This jewelry is handmade in Ireland with a mixture of twisted silver work and beautiful beads such as garnet, pearls, and carnelian. Each piece is a one of a kind piece of art and you will love them so much you’ll want to wear it all the time! Shannon of The Artful Mama shares her experience with us.

Just for NPN readers, use code NPN10 for 10% off Etsy purchases!

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KnitMitts

Texture Clothing

Texture Clothing is clothing with a conscience! Made in the US from under- represented fabrics, like hemp and soy, these high quality clothing items are made with curvy women in mind. Functional, flattering and fabulous, their clothes are worth the spurge. Enter to win a pair of Knit Mitts to keep your hands toasty warm and fashionable this winter! Read the full review from Laura over on Walden Mommy.

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tallow-balm-vintage-tradition-rugged-cliff

Vintage Tradition Body Balm

Vintage Tradition Body Balm is deeply nourishing, whole body care for face, lips, hands, feet, and everything in between. It can be used for all manner of skin conditions including dry, chapped, calloused, cracked, and sun-damaged skin, rashes, burning, itching, wrinkles, and more! This whole food for skin is how people cared for their skin before chemicals. The body balms are light, penetrate quickly, and have a very light scent from the essential oils! The tiniest amount goes a long way, making these very economical as well. You can read the full review from Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama!

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Makeup Front

Willow Tree Minerals

Laura at Pug In The Kitchen brings us her review of the lovely skincare products found at Willow Tree Minerals. These products are beautiful, all natural makeup from a company that is family owned. The integrity of our Willow Tree Minerals’ ingredients far surpasses any other organic or natural line on the market- not only are they extremely luxurious but affordable as well. These products never contain preservatives, chemicals, dyes, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or other toxins. This is makeup you can feel as good about inside for using as you will wearing it.

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The winner will have 48 hours to respond by email; otherwise, NPN will select another winner.

No purchase necessary. Entrants must be age 18 or older and be residents of the United States. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners agree to hold Natural Parents Network and the giveaway hosts harmless for any problem with receipt and/or use of prizes. Winner must contact the product seller or manufacturer directly if there is any problem with the prize or prize delivery. Winners are responsible for any taxes or customs fees related to prize winnings. NPN and the giveaway hosts reserve the right to publicize the winner’s first name. Void where prohibited by law.

 

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Disclosure: Reviewers received sample products for review purposes,
and consideration was given to NPN for hosting the giveaway.
Amazon and other links may be affiliate links.
We try to seek out only products we think you would find relevant and useful
to your life as a natural parent. If we don’t like a product, we won’t be
recommending it to you. See our full disclosure policy here.

 

Home Again, Home Again. . .

We arrived back home in Maine this Tuesday after 3 1/2 weeks in Texas with my parents for the holidays. Our trip was great, but it’s also been wonderful to get back home again. Abbey’s in agreement.

When we got into the house on Tuesday evening, Abbey went straight up to her room, dressed up in her princess dress up clothes, and walked back downstairs, exclaiming with a dramatic yawn:

“It’s SO GOOD to he HOME!”

Trip Highlights:

500square abbey and joe with gma wm500 square joe with gpa wm500square abbey & gma cuddle wm

We adored staying with Grandma and Grandpa for the Holidays!

We really livened up my mom and dad’s house, for sure! My mom had a few days of adjustment, since she’s not used to waking up QUITE as early as our little Silly Bears, and I was SICK for the first three days there (an illness that I then gave to Joseph and my mom and dad)

But then things got really exciting near Christmas. Decorating, baking a cake for my mom’s birthday, granting my Sister-in-Law’s wish for overnight buns and sticky buns on Christmas Day, and wrapping presents! Mom and dad both had a blast playing with Abbey and Joseph – Abbey drafted one or both of her grandparents into pretend play at least once or twice a day – adorably naming the female companion of Rudolph (who’s name is really “Clarice”) “Tareena” and role-playing a million different situations and made up stories about Rudolph and Tareena.

We also enjoyed watching movies (there are so many Classic – and Disney – movies on TV during the Holidays!) Abbey experienced The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tangled while we were there – all from the comfort of grandma’s lap. And every weeknight, we joined my mom and dad in their ritual of watching Wheel of Fortune.

We also visited the Zoo, rode the Galveston Ferry, made many trips to the park, and got involved with normalizing nursing through my “right place at the right time” commitment to help organize and publicize the Hollister Nurse In at the Houston Galleria and Nationwide.

It was both an exciting and relaxing trip.

The Dreaded Traveling:

Traveling solo with two small children in tow was nothing less than a major exercise in preparation, patience, and stamina. . . and that’s putting it nicely! Really, though, aside from a couple manageable tantrums, and leaving my stroller at the airport when we got home, the trip itself went as well as I could have hoped!

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I attribute this to my wonderful, amazing Ergo carrier, a friend who lent me her CARES Flight Harness (if you click the link, you’ll go to Shelly Rivoli’s Travels with Baby site that has some other GREAT travel tips and family friendly plane accessories), and whoever told me to buy band aids and pack them in my carry on.

Our trip there, Abbey and Joseph had a blast with the two boxes of $1 bandaids I brought with us, playing doctor and nurse with stuffed animals and toys.

 

On our flight back, we had a layover in Chicago after a 2 hour flight from Houston, and we spent that hour and a half watching planes land and take off through the large windows by our gate, eating Happy Meals, taking “field trips” to the trash can by our gate (the kids would walk together 20 feet to the trash can, deposit the piece of trash, and race back to me) . . . and watching the Cartoon Network on mute (I was thankful for the cartoons, because Abbey sat still for like 30 minutes).

Abbey slept for the first half of the plane ride from Chicago to Manchester, NH, and Joseph slept for the second half. My prayers for at least SOME napping were answered! Look how adorable my sleeping beauties are! You bet this mama was happy that they were getting some rest!

Abbey Napping on Plane wm

Joseph asleep on the plane wm

Before Joseph fell asleep, however, he was QUITE active, and I was afraid that the fight attendants were going to have a thing or two to say to me about his wiggling and jumping in the seat (thank goodness there were extra seats!) but they didn’t.

He made himself a water transfer activity out of the two waters I requested with my 2:00 coffee (they have hazelnut creamer on Southwest flights!)

Joseph Airplane Water Play 1 wm

Can you tell he has a mama and a grandma that have Montessori backgrounds!?

Joseph Airplane Water Play 2 wm

 

Nursing was also an awesome help for both of the Silly Bears’ ears during landings. And nobody forced me to cover up (thankfully!)

Overall, our trip was wonderful (so worth the tiring traveling for the amount of time we spent with my parents!) and we are also so glad to be home. I’ll detail some of our other adventures in Mamatography this week as well as in some future posts, but that’s the most of it. We flew, we stayed, we flew back again.

Home again, home again. . .

 

Breastfeeding Tips for The Holidays

While you might not know this, Christmas time truly can present it’s own set of breastfeeding barriers . . . from foods that are popular at Christmastime that can decrease supply, to making sure you’re taking the right kind of decongestant for a breastfeeding mama. . .

but as long as you are aware of them and go into the Holidays well prepared with a few key reminders . . . it’ll keep the stress out of your nursing relationship, so that you can focus on enjoying your Holidays!

 Tip #1 Stay Hydrated

With all the yummy liquid treats we have during Christmastime, it can be appealing to pass on good old H2O for a soda at a christmas party, a sparkly cocktail, a glass of eggnog, or (can you say YUMMY?) a peppermint latte. But it’s important to remember to balance out all those delicious dessert drinks with enough water – ideally 6-8 glasses (or bottles of water) a day, in order to stay hydrated.

  • Caffeine and alcohol not only dehydrate your body, but both can be a contributing factor in milk supply issues. So make sure not to over-do the Christmas themed lattes and pour yourself a glass of water or 100% fruit juice at your next holiday shin-dig. Your body will retain more energy, and it will be in prime condition to continue to make plenty of mommy’s milk for your little one!

Tip #2 Take it Easy

Like I said before, the holidays can get stressful at times. Feel free to relinquish control over things like cleaning, shopping, gift-wrapping, and decorating when you need a break – put that energy into making sure to continue to connect with your partner, immediate family, and your baby.

  • So what if hubby does the dishes differently than you do, or if he rolls the bath towels instead of folding them flat. It’s still getting done, right? Do what you can to ease the pressure of normal duties around the house so that the extra stressors of the holiday season don’t get to you.

Tip #3 Shop Smart

And I’m not talking about Black Friday or comparison shopping for deals . . . I’m talking about planning your shopping excursions so that they are good for you and your baby.

  • Respect your child’s napping and feeding schedule – plan your trips accordingly, and think about places that you can nurse comfortably while you are out
  •  If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, being out shopping for the Christmas season with your little one should not be your reason for starting to try bottles or supplementing with formula. Lots of malls have comfortable and semi-private sitting areas in certain places that you can us to nurse very comfortably.
  • Upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom commonly have a sitting area separate from the toilet in their ladies rooms; some that I have been to have chaise lounges! These type of places are great places for nursing your baby while out and about. They are quieter and less chaotic than the food court or random bench, and much more comfortable than the car. And your baby still gets to enjoy the comfort of mom’s breast, even when you’re out and about.

During the holiday season, there is a lot of out and about going on. Remember that in most US states, breastfeeding mothers have the right to breastfeed (without covering) wherever they are authorized to be. So public places like the mall? Your child’s school at the Holiday Pageant? Go for it! Plan according to your nursing needs, and your baby will thank you for it.

Thinking ahead to places that you feel comfortable nursing while out of the house can make a shopping trip or other activity much less stressful.

(and if anybody sees you – *GASP* – then you’ll be a beautiful poster child for the normalization of breastfeeding, with a lovely smile on your face, and a happy baby to boot)

Tip #4 Watch What You Eat

No, I’m not talking about calorie intake – though that is something to consider, with all the food that is associated with Holiday time. No, I’m speaking about specific foods popular during the holidays that really CAN mess around with your milk supply and/or the taste of your milk. Here is a short list of the primary offenders . . . not that you need to avoid these foods entirely, but just eat them in moderation, and watch out for any signs that they may be affecting you or your baby.

Peppermints and candy canes

Spearmint candies

Sage (this is a popular Turkey seasoning, but is found in other holiday recipes as well)

Parsley

Decongestants like Sudafed

Menthol cough drops

Garlic (affects the taste of milk, not supply)

Milk products (affects the taste or tolerance of milk, not supply)

For most moms, its necessary to eat large amounts of these foods in order to have adverse affects on milk supply and/or milk tolerance.

But keep in mind that you may be eating a lot of these foods when you combine them together with each other. The amount of sage flavoring a slice of turkey won’t stop you from producing milk on its own – but it’s entirely reasonable to experience a drop in supply if you use different ones in combination with one another1.

For example, you could eat turkey, stuffing, gravy, or finger foods at several different parties over the holidays that contain sage, parsley or both, then munch on candy canes with your kids during the day, have some peppermint bark with the hubby after bedtimes, drink holiday teas and coffees flavored with peppermint or spearmint in the mornings, and pop a couple sudafed and menthol cough drops per week to rid yourself of that nasty seasonal stuffy nose and sore throat – and a combination like that can lead to a decrease in your milk supply.

  • If your nursling seems unusually fussy during or after feedings
  • If your nursling pulls on your breast
  • If your nursling wants to nurse much more often than usual

. . . then you might take a look at what your intake of these popular holiday food items has been – because it can and does make a difference for some moms.

This type of behavior can also signal extra amounts of stress/tension in the nursling and/or mom, so think about your emotional state as well if you see these types of behaviors.

Just keep an eye out for unusual nursing behaviors, and be aware of the physical and emotional stressors that can cause them.

Tip #5 Don’t Hate, Educate

The Holidays are a social time. Friends, co-workers, neighbors, family members . . . you’ll see so many people socially over the Holidays that you’re bound to get some interesting opinions and conversations out of them. This gets even more complex when you throw a nursing mom into the picture.

If you’re visiting friends and relatives, what should you do when your baby or toddler needs to nurse?

What if someone makes a negative comment about breastfeeding or tells you you should let go a little and let your baby have a little formula so that you can have a night out?

These kinds of situations can get stressful for a breastfeeding family. The majority of Americans are badly educated on breastfeeding topics, but are very outspoken and steadfast in their own opinions. Will your nursing relationship cause drama during your holiday celebrations with friends and family?

I truly hope that you don’t have any run ins with friends and family over your choice to breastfeed for the benefit of your child – but if you do, I say the thing to do is not to hate, but to educate. Don’t get mad about comments that are false or hurtful – instead, carry some interesting facts about breastfeeding benefits around in your head, ready for times when you need to educate someone on the merits of breastfeeding and the irreplaceable benefits of a nursing relationship.

These suggestions from Lauren at Nursing Freedom are both useful and a little entertaining as well.

Buying into drama by becoming upset about a situation can fuel a fire so very fast. When Aunt Bernice says you’re spoiling your baby by breastfeeding on demand, or your co-worker makes a degrading sexual comment about breastfeeding at a work event, just take a deep breath, and offer some interesting and solid facts that can educate them to a better understanding of breastfeeding, why it’s important, and why you advocate for it. Not only will it save you some drama, but it’ll make a difference in the education of our nation on feeding choices.

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I hope that these tips serve you well over the Holiday season. You may not need to use any of them, or you may find yourself using all 5 during the next couple of months. Just keep these social ideas, scheduling tips, personal care suggestions, and food items and ingredients in mind over the holidays – and make good choices that will benefit you, your baby, and your family. Remember that stress, dehydration, and large amounts of caffeine, alcohol, and social drama can also contribute to a drop in supply.

The Holidays are a joyous time, filled with friends and family, decked out shopping malls, and holiday fairs, recitals, and parties. But all of these great holiday traditions can put undue stress on a nursing relationship right under your nose. With these few tips, I hope that you can continue your nursing relationship happily and easily through the Holidays and beyond!

This post has been edited from a previous version by Amy Willa

Mamatography Week 49

It’s Week 49! Almost there! January is creeping up on us, and then we’ll start a New Year of fun, family, craziness, and I promise to photograph ALL of it!

Joseph and Abbey LOVE playing in the snow. Here they are catching snowflakes on their tongues! Yummy!

I have been hastily replacing Joseph’s older diapers (those that I sewed at the very beginning of my cloth-diaper sewing journey) with new ones.

While I’ve put the SBH Etsy Shop on Vacation for our Holiday get-away to Texas, I had a bit of extra time to whip up some new and adorable dipes for Joe Joe. The robot PUL print is one of my faves. Too bad I only had a small amount!

We’re saying “so long!” to the snow for a few weeks, as we travel to Texas to spend Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa and my brother, sis-in-law, and family.

Weeks 50-52 will come to you courtesy of my iPhone and Instagram, since we’ll be in Texas vacationing. . . and they actually may post AFTER the New Year.

But, what a fun journey it’s been, documenting the WHOLE year in photos!

Thanks to Luschka at Diary of a First Child for inspiring me to join in the Mamatography fun! And also to all of the other participants, and Courtney of Courtney Kirkland Designs, for inspiring teachings on photography and using my SLR camera!

 

 

 

Free to Be Fine Art – Unique and Beautiful Photo Cards

I am SO excited to share with you the Holiday Collection of Photo Cards that Courtney Kirkland, my site designer, facebook friend, and fellow Coast Guard family matriarch has designed for this season!

The ONLY reason that I did not purchase my cards from her Etsy store is because I had already ordered ours from a different company when she stocked her images. And when I saw her images, I honestly thought about ordering MORE Christmas Cards just to have her designs! Of course, Hubs put the stop to that train of thought (party pooper!). . . but I’ll definitely be using her services next year.

Her cards are gorgeous, and fully customizable, and having worked with her before, I highly reccomend her services.

Courtney’s designs are lovely, crisp, and trendy. . . from very polished cards, to more fun and carefree colorful designs, Courtney has something just for you. And at a lower price than the big chain photo-card sites, you can get Courtney’s exemplary service and design PLUS more personalization that is available on most sites.

Click on over to Free to Be Fine Art by Courtney Kirkland, Designer on Etsy and browse the beautiful Holiday cards that could be yours to send out to all your loved ones this year.

I promise, you will be very happy you did!

*I was not compensated by Courtney Kirkland Designs in any way for promoting her business on my blog. This referral is an honest reflection of my personal opinion of Courtney Kirkland designs*

Our Christmas Card

Every year since we had Abbey, I have been purchasing printed photo cards online – and every year – including this one, I choose to print with Shutterfly.

This year, flipping through my December 2012 edition of Martha Stewart Living, I ran into ads and coupon codes for Tiny Prints and Minted . . . and I though maybe I”ll try a different company this year (I even thought about printing cards via Vistaprint). But after visiting their sites and checking out the prices they offered and styles they had to choose from, I was still happier with the selection and value at Shutterfly. Even with the coupon codes, Shutterfly was the best value and had the style I was looking for. I even got FREE SHIPPING with the coupon code SHIP30 1

Honestly, what really cemented the deal for me this year was that I didn’t want a busy frame or artsy text around our family photo. I just wanted a simple, vertically oriented matte card with our holiday greeting at the bottom. Our friend (and fellow Coast Guard wife) Kim Howell of Kim Howell Photography (follow her on Twitter @KimHowellPhotog) took some stunning photos of us last week, including this one. . .

. . . and I wanted her photography to shine, not to be overtaken by “flair” . . .

The Willas’ Christmas Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

The card above is what I came up with. What do you think of our Shutterfly Christmas Card for 2012?

Psssssst! Also check out the other great deals I’ve spotted for holiday cards for your shopping needs!

  1. Hurry, that coupon code expires Nov. 28th and is only good for orders over $30

Presenting the NPN Holiday Gift Guide!

Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide!

If you need to complete your holiday shopping, find a birthday present for a friend, or just treat yourself to something special, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone. But what’s even better, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to shop consciously and to support many naturally minded small businesses. The companies that have provided items for review and giveaway are almost exclusively made up of small businesses or work-at-home families.

Below you will find information on 74 companies from 25 of our NPN volunteers. The companies are giving away 89 products and gift certificates, for a total combined value of $2,550.

As you scroll through the Gift Guide, we encourage you to click on the links for each of the reviews — look for the links to our volunteers’ blogs in each heading (i.e., “From ABC Company via Blog Name” — the “Blog Name” has the link to the review). Our volunteers have crafted thoughtful posts on each participating company with pictures of and links to products that are simply perfect for our natural parenting families. And while we’ve split our Gift Guide into sections (“Perfect for Kids” and “Family and Home”), you’ll discover that many of the stores offer goodies that people of all ages will enjoy.

You can enter to win every giveaway by using the Rafflecopter system below. Please note that every review post has the same Rafflecopter script, but you may enter only one time, at one site.

Even if you don’t win one of our fabulous prizes, please consider spending part of your gift-giving budget at one of these small businesses. By supporting small businesses, you are helping families, boosting local economies, and supporting ethical practices of manufacturing, production and selling. We know that budgets are tighter and finances may be difficult, but by purchasing from small, family-owned businesses, you know you will be receiving quality items made with appropriate business practices and personal customer service, all while supporting another family’s endeavors.

Many of the companies have included coupon codes — take advantage of them! You can find the coupon codes in the heading of each company/giveaway listing. (Please note that coupons are not good on shipping fees unless otherwise stated.)

Without further ado, here is the NPN Holiday Gift Guide. We’ve broken the Gift Guide down into two sections (click the links below to jump to either section):

Perfect For Kids

Family and Home

 

Perfect For Kids

From Earthslings via Code Name: Mama — Win a $35 Gift Certificate toward pouch slings, dolls, dress-up costumes, and more
Shop now with coupon code KIDS2012 and get 10% off through December 31, 2012!

Earthslings began as a pouch sling company; Sam has since expanded to make pouch slings for you and your child, dolls, children’s dress-up goodies, and much more! All of Sam’s products are handcrafted from eco-friendly 100% natural fabrics, and where possible, she upcycles vintage fabrics into her creations. Our “attached family doll set” is soft, sweet, and just right for little hands. If your holiday shopping list includes mamas of little ones, be sure to take a look at the many pouch sling patterns and colors for mama and child, the sweet selection of dolls, and the other toys and accessories Sam creates. Then swing by Code Name: Mama and read how to wear your little one in a hip carry in your brand new pouch sling.

Be sure to like Earthslings on Facebook and comment on 30+ Ideas for Activities Advent Calendars, one of the informative posts at Code Name: Mama!

 

 


 

From Pip & Bean via Hobo Mama — Win a Superhero Kit: Reversible Cape, Mask, and Arm Bands (ARV $25)

Visit Pip & Bean for customized capes and adorable dress-up costumes. You can buy birthday party kits or sets just right for siblings — or even weddings! My five-year-old put on his cape, mask, and armbands — and then would not take them off, even to sleep. He loves flying around like the mini superhero he is! Stop by Hobo Mama to learn more about daily life with a superhero.

Be sure to like Pip & Bean on Facebook and follow Hobo Mama on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From Wild Arbutus via Anktangle — Win a Handmade Baby Hat or Plush Crocheted Toy (ARV $25)
Shop now with coupon code NPNGIFTS10 and get 10% off all orders through December 31, 2012!

Visit Wild Arbutus for handcrafted crochet children’s toys and knit baby and children’s hats and headbands. Daniel and I love the knit hat Melissa custom created for him; it’s adorable, functional, and fun and whimsical to boot! I keep eyeing the growing selection of toys in this shop, and I just know Daniel would love to play with his very own snuggly nudibranch. Stop by Anktangle for gluten-free recipes to keep you going through the holiday season.

Be sure to like both Wild Arbutus and Anktangle on Facebook!

 

 


 

From SoRad via ourfeminist{play}school — Win a Ninja Sleep Set (ARV $40)

Head over to SoRad to check out the eco-chic and totally wearable baby and kid’s clothes – you will most definitely fall in love. Like the rest of her creations, the ninja outfit is made from bamboo fabric and is a great example of the many stunning pieces made by this Toronto designer who focuses on making clothing that is sustainable, local, trendy and comfy for our kiddos. I love the range of SoRad’s designs: hoodies, yoga pants, sundresses, and kimono-style onesies with the most adorable images and colours. Come by and visit me at ourfeminist{play}school where I hope to lighten your holiday load by offering a variety of tutorials for making some quick but cute DIY holiday gifts for baby, toddler and adults!

Be sure to like SoRad on Facebook and follow ourfeminist{play}school on Twitter!

 

 


 

From Serious Puzzles via Momma Jorje — Win a Jumbo Numbers – 20pc Wooden Puzzle By Melissa & Doug (ARV $20)

Serious Puzzles started as a small company in the basement and has grown to have 17 employees, but they still pride themselves on having that same personalized care they offered from the beginning. The Jumbo Numbers puzzle we received is proving to be educational, honing mental skills as well as fine motor skills. The thick chunky pieces make the puzzle very versatile for play. Serious Puzzles has every type of puzzle you could imagine, and you can shop for them by brand, theme, type, and number of pieces! Check out Momma Jorje.com for minimalist holiday gift ideas.

Be sure to like SeriousPuzzles.com on Facebook and like Momma Jorje on Facebook!

 

 


 

From The Enchanted Cupboard via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win a $20 Gift Certificate!
Shop now with coupon code NPN and get 10% off your purchase through November 25, 2012!

Visit The Enchanted Cupboard, where you will find wonderful wooden toys, custom wedding cake toppers, wooden dolls, and playsets that work wonderfully with Waldorf nature tables, and a few enchanting things for the young at heart. My daughter and I have spent far too much time shopping at The Enchanted Cupboard and love everything we have ever purchased. The nature table items (especially the beautiful trees) are some of our favorites. I recently purchased this Thanksgiving Playset and cannot wait for my daughter to enjoy it! Stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to read more about our seasonal/nature table!

Be sure to like The Enchanted Cupboard on Facebook and tell us which recipe you’d like to try from Hybrid Rasta Mama’s recipes!

 

 


 

From Ergobaby via A Little Bit of All of It — Win one of two Ergobaby Doll Carriers (ARV $25 x 2)

Visit Ergobaby for their award-winning baby carriers and other babywearing products. I’m excited they have a doll carrier version of their beloved carrier that my daughter got to try! It’s a super cute replica of the real thing so she can be just like Mommy and Daddy. I personally have two Ergobaby carriers and and love them. You can read about my Ergo Love Affair and see why I’m such a fan!

Be sure to like Ergobaby on Facebook and like A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Born at Home Toys via That Mama Gretchen — Win a Fishing Set (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code THATMAMA and get 10% off all orders through November 25, 2012!

Are you looking for home-crafted goodies for your little one this holiday season? Look no further than Born at Home Toys! Non-toxic and all-natural, the Under the Moon Fishing Set is a real delight. It offers a great launch for children to imagine, play, and explore: the perfect ingredients for educational play. Born at Home Toys also offers beautifully crafted animals, teethers, and cars. That Mama Gretchen (and the little ones that made her a mama) are big fans of Born at Home Toys!

Be sure to like Born at Home Toys on Facebook and like That Mama Gretchen on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Intuition Physician via Mommying My Way — Win a Set of 2 Attachment Parenting-Related Children’s Stories (ARV $34)

Visit Intuition Physician for high-quality, beautifully illustrated, creative stories, as well as many other medical resources. The cosleeping book, Together We Sleep, is an excellent story that my son and I love to read together. We both enjoy seeing all the animals and people of different cultures sharing sleep. Not only can you buy more books of this nature from her shop, but you can purchase for yourself, or as a gift, a personal consultation with Dr. Laura Koniver, Intuition Physician! Stop by Mommying My Way to read more about why I love cosleeping and, therefore, why this cosleeping book was so meaningful to me.

Be sure to like Intuition Physician on Facebook and like Mommying My Way on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Sophisticated Play Apparel via Living Peacefully with Children — Win a Matching Set of Toddler Wrist Warmers and Cowl (ARV $34)
Shop now with coupon code livingpeacefully and get 15% off all orders through January 5, 2013!

Sophisticated Play Apparel uses natural fibers to make wearable art. Check out their Etsy shop for other products such as the little kimono baby booties. Stop by Living Peacefully with Children and start making some quick and easy ribbed wrist warmers for friends and family.

Be sure to like Sophisticated Play Apparel on Facebook and subscribe to Living Peacefully with Children via RSS!

 

 


 

From Desert Dye Works via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win a $30 Gift Certificate!

Visit Desert Dye Works where you will find some brilliantly dyed play silks in all sizes, large play canopies, silk dress up items, and prayer flags. I recently received the Ocean Playsilk Set of Three and have been enjoying watching my daughter find creative ways to turn these gorgeous silks into an elaborate deep sea adventure! Stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to read more about some of my favorite resources including Desert Dye Works playsilks!

Be sure to like Desert Dye Works on Facebook and follow Hybrid Rasta Mama on Twitter!

 

 


 

From Jupiter’s Child, via Downside Up and Outside In — Win a beautiful hand dyed, hand spliced rainbow colored jump rope (ARV $25)

We have had so much fun relearning to jump rope and teaching our daughter the art of it with this beautiful toy. This is a toy that yes children outside and moving, plus it is great for helping develop coordination and is more fun when shared! Jupiter’s Child offers their gorgeous jump ropes in a variety of hand dyed colors, and carry many other exquisite toys, such as their beautiful carved wooden animals set which my little one will be getting for Solstice this year.

Be sure to like Jupiter’s Child on Facebook and follow Downside Up and Outside In on Networked Blogs!

 

 


 

From LeoandLola via Firmly Planted — Win a $50 Gift Card!
Shop now with coupon code NPNFREE and get free domestic shipping through November 25, 2012!

Ashley at LeoandLola creates the sweetest onesies, t-shirts and dresses, but what I really love her for is her upcycled dresses, made from old t-shirts. We’ve collected a few of her items over the years and have never been displeased. They’re high quality and made with love. Ashley’s newest endevor is these amazing seed packet tees! Visit Anktangle for a whole list of different DIY tutorials.

Be sure to like both LeoandLola and Firmly Planted on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Anktangle Creations via A Little Bit of All of It — Win a $20 gift certificate

Visit Anktangle Creations for high-quality, handmade gifts for baby, home, and family. I’ve been so pleased with the baby leggings that Amy created for me. They are so versatile, adorable, and I use them all the time on my infant son and preschool daughter. The next thing I plan on buying from Amy is a pair of her awesome ear warmers for the winter months! Stop by A Little Bit of All of It to learn how I cloth diapered my daughter.

Be sure to “favorite” Anktangle on Etsy and subscribe to A Little Bit of All of It via email!

 

 


 

From Howells Natural Wood Products via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win a set of solid, natural building blocks (ARV $33)
Shop now with coupon code HRM10 and get 10% off your purchase through November 25, 2012!

Visit Howells Natural Products where you will find wonderful natural wood block sets in all sizes, wooden puzzles, and even some gorgeous wooden drink coasters. I have had my eye on this 18 Piece Roof Set! I think it makes a great addition to any block set! Stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to read some of the guest posts I have written about the importance of simple, natural toys like these blocks!

Be sure to like Howell’s Wood Products on Facebook and subscribe to Hybrid Rasta Mama via RSS!

 

 


 

From Moby via A Little Bit of All of It — Win a Mini Moby Doll Carrier and Knot Hat (ARV $21)
Shop now with coupon code blogger2012 and get 10% off one item through November 25, 2012!

Visit Moby for the popular stretchy wrap that millions of moms love. The Mini Moby is a really neat way for my daughter to play with her stuffed animals. And I love putting the super soft Moby Knot Hat on my son now that the weather is cooling off. I’d love to also get him one of the retro knit ball caps! Stop by A Little Bit of All of It to see why I love my Moby Wrap.

Be sure to like Moby on Facebook and follow A Little Bit of All of It on Twitter!

 

 


 

From Wise Daughters Craft Market via ourfeminist{play}school — Win a set of wooden play money! (ARV $20)

Visit this shop in Toronto to grab everything on your crafty holiday gift list; among the wares of over 75 hosted artists and crafters, you are bound to find an array of treasures and treats in this studio-esque shop. We have enjoyed many a treasure from Wise Daughters, but these wooden coins and dollars made from The Woodlot are insanely adorable, so much fun, and top of our list of current favourite learning toys. Toys that inspire learning and imaginative play can only be made even more amazing when they are constructed from reclaimed wood! Wise Daughters is brimming with handmade goodies such as stuffed owls made from reclaimed sweaters, stunning silk screened t-shirts, men’s ties, and some lovely handmade notebooks. Come and visit me over at ourfeminist{play}school and I will show you how to make a few toys for your own lovely kiddos just in time for the holidays!

Be sure to like Wise Daughters Craft Market on Facebook and follow ourfeminist{play}school on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From Z-Man Games via Living Peacefully with Children — 2 Winners will receive a copy of the board game Mondo (ARV $40 x 2)

Z-Man Games has a history of making quality games and Mondo is no exception. Families will enjoy spending time together as they play this fun tile game. I know we have! Next on our list is Z-Man Games’ Agricola. Stop by Living Peacefully with Children and read about some ways to give the gift of presence!

Be sure to like Z-Man Games on Facebook and like Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook!

 

 


 

From RainbowSouffle via A Little Bit of All of It — Win a $20 Gift Certificate
Shop now with coupon code FREESHIP and get free shipping on any item through November 25, 2012!

Visit RainbowSouffle for a variety of colorful items for your little ones. The ring sling doll carrier is a beautiful hand-dyed cotton gauze piece perfect for your child to carry their playthings. The lovely wooden whirlydoll is such a fun, unique toy that’s a blast for kids to run around with. RainbowSouffle also carries costumes, clothing, vintage items and handmade forager baskets! Stop by A Little Bit of All of It for my thoughts on the Maya Wrap, an adult ring sling.

Be sure to like RainbowSouffle on Facebook and follow A Little Bit of All of It on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From Knot Genie via Living Peacefully with Children — Win a Knot Genie Detangle Brush (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code living and get $4 off all orders through November 25, 2012!

Visit Knot Genie for tips and tricks on how to get out the tangles without tears. Those tricks, along with our new Knot Genie detangling brush now have both my children and myself tear free. Stop by Living Peacefully with Children an read about the eight gifts of kindness.

Be sure to like Knot Genie on Facebook and subscribe to Living Peacefully with Children via email!

 

 


 

From Stubby Pencil Studio via Vibrant Wanderings — Win $60 worth of Eco Friendly Art Materials. (ARV $60)
Shop now with coupon code SAVE15 and get 15% off of your purchase through November 30, 2012!

Stubby Pencil Studio, an online company founded and run by a mom of twins, sells a variety of safe and eco friendly art materials, stationery, school supplies, and unique gifts that kids love. Stubby Pencil is offering a great sampling of their eco friendly art materials, including: colored pencils, crayon rocks, watercolors, botanical paints, sidewalk chalk, and a set of eco highlighters. What’s so great about these products is that they’re safe enough to give even to the youngest artists – some are even vegan and gluten free! Stubby Pencil Studio is a great place to shop around the holidays because they offer an amazing variety of creative and eco friendly gifts for under $10. Vibrant Wanderings is a blog about living, learning, and parenting with a Montessori twist.

Be sure to like Stubby Pencil Studio on Facebook and like Vibrant Wanderings on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Wooly Topic via Our Crazy Corner of the World — Win a set of 6 Wool Rock Pods (ARV $36)
Shop now with coupon code celebration10 and get 10% off your purchase from October 26, 2012, until December 30, 2012!

Wooly Topic is a Canadian-based company making home decor and Waldorf-inspired toys out of locally purchased, hand-dyed wool. They are dedicated to making eco-friendly and natural products for the home (such as their lavender dryer balls), as well as safe toys for little ones. The wool rock pods are colorful and bright, very eye-catching to any child. They are great at encouraging imagination and creativity through play. Visit Our Crazy Corner of the World for a review and giveaway of this great toy!

Be sure to like Wooly Topic on Facebook and Our Crazy Corner of the World on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Dominna via Code Name: Mama — Win a $30 Gift Certificate toward handmade Latvian toys

Dominna is full of beautiful, handmade toys from faraway Latvia. Each piece is crafted with love in brilliant colors and quality materials. Dominna’s owner, Katrina, hand picks each toy to engage your child’s spirit and her brain – creativity and learning are very important to Katrina. We love our ladybug wooden toy, but I also recommend that parents of toddlers and preschoolers check out the cheerful wooden caterpillar, the rainbow of counting sticks, and the many beautiful block games available at Dominna. If you’re looking for more fun educational activities this holiday season, check out the themed activity series at Code Name: Mama for a variety of ideas.

Be sure to favorite Dominna on Etsy and follow Code Name: Mama on Twitter!

 

 


 

From Lucy Locket Creations via The Artful Mama — Win a Dragon or Dinosaur De-tachable Tail (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code HANDMADE and get 15% off your purchase until November 30, 2012!

Visit Lucy Locket Creations for high-quality, handmade pillows, sheets, kitchen items, and other delightful fabric creations. Little Man has had so much fun with the detachable tail from Lucy Locket’s. He plays non-stop with it and we’ve even enjoyed dressing Little #2 with it for photo opportunities. The next thing I plan on buying from Lucy Locket’s is a Children’s Cloth Counting Set! Stop by The Artful Mama to see a few of the handmade items I’m gifting this holiday season.

Be sure to like Lucy Locket Creations on Facebook and The Artful Mama on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Kid Culture via ourfeminist{play}school — Win a Superhero Cape for your Lil’ Superhero! (ARV $20)

Visit Kid Culture in Toronto for an outstanding collection of hand-curated clothes, crafts and toys for your hipster family. My 3 year old son is in love with his repurposed superhero cape – not only is it eco-friendly, it sparks so much imaginary play! This fanciful and comfy cape is made by Play Me Mama Crafts and is one of the hundreds of treasures to be found in this magical shop – one of my absolute favourites in Toronto. We have so many fun things from Kid Culture, including some underpants from the candi factory, a great little coin purse, a wooden car, and a variety of the kitty buttons and cards from Toronto designer Cathy Peng. After you’ve visited Kid Culture, come on over to ourfeminist{play}school to check out the great ‘make and take’ tutorials I am sharing to help you gear up for the holiday season.

Be sure to like Kid Culture on Facebook and ourfeminist{play}school on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Nushkie via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win a 54 piece Jigsaw Puzzle of your choice (ARV $24)

Visit Nushkie where you will find Waldorf-inspired needle felted wool angels, fairies, gnomes, elf figures, wall hangings, decor and wearable art for the child at heart! Perfect for Steiner nature tables, holidays, birthdays, teacher gifts, baby showers and blessing ways, and memorials. This is one of my favorite shops on Earth! So many pieces of art from Nushkie adorn our walls and our nature table. I recently purchased this Custom Ocean Playscape and can honestly say that it is so beautiful that is made me cry when I first saw it! Since Nushkie’s works are Waldorf inspired, be sure to stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to learn more about the Waldorf birthday traditions. Keep Nushkie in mind for unique birthday gifts.

Be sure to like Nushkie Design on Facebook and leave a comment on 333 Uses For Coconut Oil, one of the informative posts on Hybrid Rasta Mama!

 

 


 

From Playful Planet via Presence Parenting — Win a Storyland Yoga DVD (ARV $15)
Shop now with coupon code NPN20 and get 20% off of your purchase through November 25, 2012!

Playful Planet blends the excitement of stories and the benefits of yoga with conscious living practices to nurture families worldwide. The kids and I love following along with the stories to help a beached whale and momma bird who has lost her eggs while exercising our bodies. Sharing yoga with the kids helps me get in a good stretch while we build healthy connections (and habits) together. If you would like something to help you and the kids relax during all of the commotion, check out Playful Planet’s very reasonably priced ebooks. And while you’re at it, stop by Presence Parenting for some ideas on how to enjoy busy times moment by moment this (or any) holiday season.

Be sure to like Playful Planet on Facebook and subscribe to Presence Parenting via email !

 

 


 

From Mama May I via Code Name: Mama — Win a Story Starters Game (ARV $25)
Shop now with coupon code NPNHOLIDAY and get 10% off through December 31, 2012!

Each piece in Mama May I has been thoughtfully designed to nurture children’s development through open-ended play. Our Story Starters game was created to develop storytelling prowess and encourage your little one to stretch her imagination. Jessica creates colorful, quality toys from natural materials, and she is inspired by Montessori, Waldorf and other learning-through-play philosophies. Fall in love with her balance birds, color squares, little people rainbow world, and more. Once you have your new Story Starters game, stop by Code Name: Mama to find creative ways to encourage little ones to tell stories and capture those stories as keepsakes.

Be sure to like Mama May I on Facebook and follow Code Name: Mama on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From BirchLeaf Designs via Hobo Mama — Win 2 Hand-Dyed Playsilks (ARV $26)
Shop now with coupon code NPN and get 10% off through November 25, 2012!

Visit BirchLeaf Designs for hand-crafted and whimsical playthings made from natural materials like wood and fabrics. The high-quality playsilks they sent me are gorgeously deep colors, and my kids love the creative ways they can play with them! My sons would also get a kick out of BirchLeaf’s wooden dagger and leather sheath. Stop by Hobo Mama for ideas on how to organize those glorious playthings and my family’s play experiences.

Be sure to like BirchLeaf Designs on Facebook and Hobo Mama on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Cashmere Cuddles via Amy Willa: Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work — Win a Cuddles for Kids Doll Carrier (ARV $25)

Visit Cashmere Cuddles for high-quality, lovingly handmade baby carriers, doll carriers, and kids’ whimsy items. My four year old daughter loves her Cuddles for Kids Doll Carrier, and I love how imaginative play with the carrier promotes responsibility and a sense of nurture within her. Easy to use and easy to wash, what a great gift for a child – for the holidays or anytime! Stop by Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work to read about creating for the family this holiday season and everyday!

Be sure to like Cashmere Cuddles on Facebook and subscribe to Amy Willa via email!

 

 


 

From MonCherPug via The Artful Mama — Win a Organic Miniature Pug (ARV $45)

Visit MonCherPugs for high-quality, handmade pugs made by artist A. Nichelle. Little Man has had so much fun with his pug that he named Hungry. He plays non-stop with it and we’ve taken it everywhere. The next thing I plan on buying from MonCherPug’s is a matching Organic Miniature Pug for Little #2! Stop by The Artful Mama to see what other fun we are having this holiday season.

Be sure to like MonCherPug on Facebook and comment on “Breastfeeding & Babywearing – It’s Awesome!” at The Artful Mama!

 

 


 

From Snapdragon Fortress via Anktangle — Win a Knit Wool Kitten (ARV $20)!

Visit Snapdragon Fortress for eco-friendly wooden toys, teethers, knit wool stuffed animals, quality natural Waldorf dolls, and more! Daniel has enjoyed playing with his sweet little knit wool kitten! I like little toys like this one so much because they foster imaginative play, and it’s really nice to know that it’s made of all-natural materials. I know Daniel would also enjoy playing with one of the beautiful Waldorf Dolls available from this shop. Visit Anktangle to learn more about how easy and beneficial it can be to cloth diaper with wool.

Be sure to like Snapdragon Fortress on Facebook and follow Amy of Anktangle on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From Yarns and Storys via Our Crazy Corner of the World — Win a store credit worth $30, for an item of your choice at Yarns and Storys
Shop now with coupon code NPN and get 10% off your purchase until November 25, 2012!

Yarns and Storys is owned by Robyn, SAHM mother of two, selling hand spun and hand-dyed fibers, as well as hats, scarves and other clothing items. Her products are hand made and use with local fibers. Robyn sent me a beautiful hat, knitted specifically for the cold South Dakota winters. It’s warm, soft and the colors are bright and perfectly suited for fall and winter. Please stop by Our Crazy Corner of the World to get details about how you can win a $30 giftcard to Yarns and Storys.

Be sure to like Yarns and Storys on Facebook and leave a comment on What AP Looks Like, one of the honest posts at Our Crazy Corner of the World!

 

 


 

From Yellow Elm via Mothers of Change — Win a handmade felted flower headband (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code HANDMADEHOLIDAY15 and get 15% off all orders through December 31, 2012!

Visit Yellow Elm to find beautiful felted pieces: handcrafted art that you can wear everyday. Yellow Elm specializes in headbands, hair clips, and brooches, and also offers other beautiful items such as necklaces and wool dryer balls. We love the attention to detail in our handmade felted flower headband!

Be sure to like Yellow Elm on Facebook and Mothers of Change on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Barefoot Books via Downside Up And Outside In — Win a book of your choosing from independent children’s book publishers, Barefoot Books! (ARV $25)

We absolutely love the book they sent us, and it has helped us talk to our daughter about diversity, why we try to prevent wastefulness, and the meaning of family. You could pick This beautiful book called The Barefoot Book of Mother and Daughter Tales, and discover stories of mothers and daughters from cultures around the world, or The Barefoot Book Of Earth Tales, and learn about different families and cultures and the ways they love the planet. Whatever you chose you are sure to find a new book that your children will love and you enjoy reading to them for years to come.

Be sure to like Barefoot Books on Facebook and follow Rainbosouffle on Twitter!

 

 


 

From Prima Princessa via Hobo Mama — Win one of 3 copies of Prima Princessa Presents: The Nutcracker kids ballet DVD (ARV $7 x 3)

Visit Prima Princessa for engaging DVDs that bring real ballets and ballet moves and language down to a kid’s level. We have the complete set now: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty. I love how the DVDs combine footage of children dancing freely with class sessions showing the steps, examples of the steps in the real world, and a summary of an actual company stage production of a famous ballet. Stop by Hobo Mama to find out why I want my son to take ballet classes and why I take ballet myself.

Be sure to like Prima Princessa on Facebook and follow Hobo Mama on Twitter!

 

 


 

From Elemental Handcrafts via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win a personalized wooden ball/spoon set with a magnet (ARV $33)

Visit Elemental Handcrafts where you will find some incredible felted wool breastfeeding dolls, wool sculptures and treasures, magnets, knitting needles, play mats, suncatchers, and much more. I have had my eye on this Breastfeeding Toddler Doll which I think makes a special weaning remembrance! I am also loving the personalized wooden spoon with my daughter’s name intricately engraved on it! The wood is gorgeous as is the craftsmanship! Stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to read some of my breastfeeding posts!

Be sure to favorite Elemental Handcrafts on Etsy and follow Hybrid Rasta Mama on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From Averylee Kids via That Mama Gretchen — Win Baby Booties and an Owl Taggie (ARV $35)
Shop now with coupon code FREEKIDS and get Free Shipping through November 25, 2012!

“Made by Moms, for Moms” is the tagline of the adorable shop, Averylee Kids. Their sweet lil’ boots and sensory owl taggies are sewn with great care. Plus, Averylee Kids accepts custom requests for all their products so don’t hesitate to check out the quilts, doll clothes, and apron sets. There is no doubt That Mama Gretchen‘s little Max is a big fan – he knows these boots were made for crawling and he’s taken his owl taggie on the journey too!

Be sure to like Averylee Kids ton Facebook and Follow That Mama Gretchen on Twitter!

 

 


 

From The Sugar Cone Shoppe via A Little Bit of All of It — Win a Mei Tai Doll Carrier (ARV $32)
Shop now with coupon code 2012NPN and get free domestic shipping through November 25, 2012!

Visit The Sugar Cone Shoppe for eco-friendly and safe teethers and nursing necklaces. My daughter looks adorable in the handmade mei tai we received. The quality of this doll carrier is top notch and I love that it’s reversible. I’ve already purchased one of the natural wood and cotton teething necklaces for my little teething babe! Stop by A Little Bit of All of It for a whole series on babywearing.

Be sure to like The Sugar Cone Shoppe on Facebook and subscribe to A Little Bit of All of It via RSS!

 

 


 

 

Family and Home

From Destany Fenton Fine Art via Code Name: Mama — Win an original 12×16 portrait (ARV $220)

For a unique heirloom gift that you will treasure for a lifetime, have Destany Fenton paint a portrait of your child or family. As a natural parent herself, Destany understands and can relate to attached parents; this allows her to convey this specific aspect that might otherwise be ignored or glossed over by other artists. An original portrait by an accomplished artist conveys so much more than a picture ever can – most importantly, emotion. Destany’s prices start at only $60, but her paintings are priceless – we love our portrait of our children! Let Destany help you capture a moment in time – these moments are fleeting. As Dionna at Code Name: Mama once wrote, “All of those instances – the challenges of the present – they will soon be such distant memories. Someday, you will long for them.”

Be sure to like Destany Fenton Fine Art on Facebook and follow Code Name: Mama on Networked Blogs!

 

 


 

From Glass Dharma via Living Peacefully with Children — Win a $25 Gift Certificate

Each year, enough disposable straws are made to fill 46,000 full size school buses. Help protect the environment with these beautifully functional glass straws. Our family loves Glass Dharma straws and the fact that each straw comes with a lifetime guarantee! Stop by Living Peacefully with Children for a recipe perfect for those holiday get togethers.

Be sure to like Glass Dharma on Facebook and follow Living Peacefully with Children on Networked Blogs!

 

 


 

From Kangaroo Care via Firmly Planted — Win a Nursing Necklace (ARV $25)!

Visit Kangaroo Care for beautiful nursing necklaces, teethers, and necklaces for little girls. I couldn’t be happier with the nursing necklace I received from Varja! Even at two months, Lydia has been extremely handsy, pulling out her SNS during every nursing session. Now, she has something to occupy those little fingers while she nurses. Next on my list from Varja’s shop is a teething toy! Check out Firmly Planted for more on our breastfeeding and supplementation journey.

Be sure to like Kangaroo Care on Facebook and subscribe to Firmly Planted via email!

 

 


 

From KR Dyeworks viaDownside Up And Outside In — Win a $25 gift certificate!
Shop now with coupon code NPN20 and get 20% off your order November 1-30, 2012!

I chose a medium skein of this lovely rainbow yarn so that Little Berry and I could make a gift together for her grandmother. I deeply believe in the value of involving children in making useful, lovely, keepsake gifts that teach them the value of handmade items, to show the recipient how special they are and that we truly thought of them in making it. Visit Kimberly’s shop and see her other lovely yarns and knitted items, such as this skein of Affection Neutral Rose that you could make into the world’s dearest baby hat or booties!

Be sure to like KimberlyR Designs & KR Dyeworks and comment on Easy Peasy Kid Friendly Marbling, one of the informative posts at Downside Up and Outside In!

 

 


 

From Texture Clothing via very, very fine — Win a Comfy Skirt (ARV $72)
Shop now with coupon code veryfineship and receive free shipping on all orders November 29, 2012!

Texture Clothing combines comfort, style and ecological responsibility to amazing ends. When owner Teresa Remple’s says, “this is how the story will go when you buy [the Comfy Skirt]: you will wear the ‘comfy’ for 5 days in a row” – she isn’t lying; it’s now a go-to piece in my wardrobe. Perfect for gift-giving are Texture’s warm and hip Knit Mitts or Scrappy Scarves, made from a blend of hemp, organic cotton and lycra fabrics. For more holiday gift ideas and seasonal treats, visit very, very fine.

Be sure to like Texture Clothing on Facebook and like very, very fine’s Facebook page!

 

 


 

Win from Terramor via ourfeminist{play}school a jewelery gift set (ARV $30)
Shop now with coupon code npn10 and get 10% off your Etsy purchase through November 25, 2012!

Who doesn’t love to receive jewels and gems that have been crafted by hand? The earrings that Terramor crafts are much more than your simple baubles found at a mall stand; these earrings are made to draw the eye with their natural and simple lines. There is an obvious concentration on natural elements and the colours of nature. The earrings perched in my ears aren’t heavy, and the sterling silver means that my sensitive skin is safe. The pair that I now have in my collection are only one example of the copious designs and combinations that Terramor hand crafts from the west coast of Ireland. Don’t forget to stop by ourfeminist{play}school where I am always up for chatting about beauty and adornment – from a feminist’s perspective.

Be sure to like Terramor on Facebook and Subscribe to ourfeminist{play}school by Email!

 

 


 

From Rock Paper Tree via Vibrant Wanderings — Win a $50 gift certificate good toward handcrafted items made with precious metals, crystals, and gemstones
Shop now with coupon code TEN10TEN and get 10% off your purchase through November 25, 2012!

Rock Paper Tree is a unique and beautiful store offering handcrafted art, both wearable and for display, made using precious metals, crystals, and gemstones. The review showcases a one of a kind pendant, called a Birth Goddess, made using gemstones and sterling silver wire. This pendant can be worn or hung for decoration, and makes a great gift for pregnant moms or your favorite childbirth professional. Not only does Teresa of Rock Paper Tree craft these unique and beautiful necklaces, but she also creates sword and cross pendants, pendulums, and the most wonderful Spirit Friend Dolls that would truly lift any spirit. Vibrant Wanderings is a blog that documents the life of a young family of four that touches on issues from elimination communication to Montessori to finding balance in everyday life.

Be sure to like Rock Paper Tree on Facebook and follow Vibrant Wanderings via Twitter!

 

 


 

From Monkey Mama Necklaces via I Thought I Knew Mama — Win a twiddle buster or twiddle teether pendant nursing necklace, a safe and distracting necklace perfect for little nurslings (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code ITIKM10 and get 10% off your purchase until November 30, 2012!

Monkey Mama Necklaces are beautiful, safe, functional, and ethical necklaces created with nursing and babywearing mamas in mind. My baby girl and I love my twiddle buster pendant nursing necklace. My four month old loves playing with it while she nurses or goes for carrier rides on Mama, and I love it because it is not only a gorgeous piece of jewelry, but also that the shape of the pendant is reminiscent of a pregnant woman – an empowering reminder of my daughter’s VBAC birth story. Monkey Mama Necklaces offers pendants that are gorgeous and handmade, and non-toxic and highly durable, as well as fairly traded on every step of their journey to you. Nursing and babywearing mamas, be sure to stop by I Thought I Knew Mama for a window into one mama’s adventures in natural parenting and green living!

Be sure to like Monkey Mama Necklaces on Facebook and I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Two Pink Hearts via Code Name: Mama — Win a $20 Gift Certificate for a fashion camera strap cover
Shop now with coupon code holiday10 and get 10% off through December 31, 2012!

Fancy up your camera with a fashionable camera strap cover from Two Pink Hearts. The camera strap covers are 25” X 3″ and fit over a standard DSLR digital camera strap. You can find just the right color, print, and fabric to suit your personality, from cotton to minky, ruffles to polka dots. They are comfortable and stylish – we love our rainbow and Batman prints! Once you have your new camera strap cover, grab your camera and your little one for a photo scavenger hunt – what a fun way to connect during the holiday season.

Be sure to like Two Pink Hearts on Facebook and subscribe to Code Name: Mama by email!

 

 


 

From Easy Lunchboxes via Firmly Planted — Win a Set of Food Storage Containers and a Lunch Bag (ARV $22)!

Visit Easy Lunchboxes for a great solution to figuring out lunch time! With a new baby at home, lunch time around here can get out of hand quickly! I love being able to prepare lunch the night before and let my big girls get it out when they are hungry. The only thing we need to complete our set is the Mini Dippers! Check out this post from Laura at Natural Parents Network for some great on the go dinner ideas!

Be sure to like Easy Lunchboxes on Facebook and follow Firmly Planted on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From moksa organics via ourfeminist{play}school — Win a $30 gift certificate!
Shop now with coupon code naturalparenting and get 30% off your purchase through November 25, 2012!

There is nothing like the luxury of a body butter or aromatic soap – unless of course they are also organic, carbon neutral and totally free of chemicals. This company has it all: an amazing global mission and a stunning set of products all with a goal of taking care of our bodies and well-being. I tried out some of their amazing soap, their to-die-for Organic Lavender Bergamot Body Oil, and the Kilimanjaro Body Butter, and I can say without a doubt that I won’t ever buy from another company. moksa organics actually made me spend more time in the bathtub, because I just couldn’t get enough of their heavenly scents. I want you to try the Iceland Mint Organic Soap or the Mint Rosemary Body Butter and then try to tell me you aren’t in love. Pop over to ourfeminist{play}school to take a relaxing break from your holiday DIY-gift list!

Be sure to like moksa organics on Facebook and subscribe to ourfeminist{play}school via RSS!

 

 


 

From Libre Tea via The Hippie Housewife — Win a Libre glass ’n poly Original Tea Glass (ARV $24)

Libre Tea Glasses are an innovative all-in-one system that allow you to brew and drink loose leaf tea while on the go. I was drawn to both the beautiful style and practical functionality of these glasses, and they did not disappoint. With two ways to brew and your choice of three sizes (original, large, and mug-style), Libre Tea glasses are an ideal holiday gift for the tea drinker in your life. Stop by The Hippie Housewife to read about some of my own everyday “tea moments.”

Be sure to like Libre Tea on Facebook and subscribe to The Hippie Housewife via RSS!

 

 


 

From Dirty Diva Soaps via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win a set of three soaps (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code Hybridrastamama and get 10% off your purchase through November 25, 2012!

Visit Dirty Diva Soaps where you will find all natural, vegan, handmade soaps, shampoo bars, conditioners, laundry detergent, aftershave, lip balm and cuticle balm, perfumes, and lotions. I was fortunate enough to test out the Imagine shampoo bar! Not only is it so beautiful to look at but it got my hair unbelievably clean, shiny, and smelling great! Stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to learn more about her love of handmade personal care products!

Be sure to like Dirty Diva Soaps on Facebook and follow Hybrid Rasta Mama on Networked Blogs!

 

 


 

From A Mother’s Boutique via Hobo Mama — Win a $75 Gift Certificate for Nursing & Maternity Wear
Shop now with coupon code HOBO10 and get 10% off virtually any item in the store (certain exclusions apply) through November 25, 2012!

Visit A Mother’s Boutique for high-quality, unique clothing for pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as slings, breast pumps, and other mothering essentials. Judy’s Virtual Bra Fitting gave me the perfect nursing bra for my hard-to-fit size and shape. I am so happy with the Elomi Smoothing Underwire Bra she helped me discover, and I’d love to see the Ivana Tie Dress over it next! Stop by Hobo Mama to see some of my other recommendations for cute maternity clothes.

Be sure to like A Mother’s Boutique on Facebook and subscribe to Hobo Mama via RSS!

 

 


 

From Anointment via MomeeeZen — Win Baby Balm, Baby Oil, Calendula Soap and a Soap Scrubbie (ARV $30)
Shop now with coupon code npnreview and orders over $50 get free shipping to US/Canada and a free gift through December 31, 2012!

Visit Anointment for purely natural care products for the whole family. I have been a fan of Anointment for several years because they truly use all natural and safe ingredients. I am so pleased to recommend these safe and natural care products to you. This trio of Anointment favorites nourishes even the most sensitive skin. Check out Anointment for their nourishing selection of soaps, lip balms, baby care products, and much more. Stop by MomeeeZen to see what I’ll be doing for my kiddos’ holiday stocking!

Be sure to like Anointment on Facebook and like Momeee Zen on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Flying Bird Botanicals via very, very fine — Win a $25 gift certificate!

Flying Bird Botanicals’ artisan tea blends, rich drinking chocolates, and organic body and baby care products are handcrafted from 100% organic locally-sourced and fair trade ingredients, providing you with luxury you can feel (really, really) good about. The teas I sampled were delicious AND nutritious, and the packaging is beautiful enough to leave on the counter! For the outdoorsman on your list, try the Mountain Spice Shaving Soap and Bay Rum Aftershave; around the office, a tin of Vanilla Rose Cacao drinking chocolate might win you the title of Best Secret Santa Ever. Celebrate the holidays with our family at very, very fine.

Be sure to like Flying Bird Botanicals on Facebook and subscribe to very, very fine via RSS!

 

 


 

From Lauren Wayne via ourfeminist{play}school, win 1 of 2 copies of Poetry of a Hobo Mama: The First Three Years (ARV $10 x 2)
Shop now with coupon code SAP84AYJ and get 20% off all orders of the trade paperback at the author’s store through December 31, 2012!

Poetry of a Hobo Mama is a moving and essential collection of poetry that captures the journey of mothering from inception and loss, to birth and child development. Lauren Wayne uses poetry to play with the raw experiences of life and the humour that can be found in the role of a mother. Using various forms of poetry, and a language that is simultaneously accessible and sophisticated, the poems speak to all who have connected with any aspect of pregnancy, birth or mothering. Readers of Hobo Mama’s blog will sense the voice of Lauren Wayne while at the same be invited to view her personal life experiences through a very different lens. Sensual, funny, heart-wrenching and soul lifting, these poems stand apart as a unique and honest look at moments in the life of one woman, while managing to speak to so many.

Be sure to like Lauren Wayne on Facebook and follow ourfeminist{play}school on Networked Blogs!

 

 


 

From Dionna Ford via I Thought I Knew Mama — Win 1 of 2 copies of For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes and Wisdom, a beautiful way for a mother to pass along her memories (ARV $15 x 2)

For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes, and Wisdom is a beautiful and unique way for you – or a special mama in your life – to pass down her life story. This book’s thought-provoking prompts have reminded me of how much I still want to learn about my own mother, as well as how much the intricacies of my own life will matter to my children. I love the fill-in-the-blank prompts, because they make the process of sharing something seemingly immeasurable not only possible, but actually fairly simple. The author, Dionna Ford of Code Name: Mama and cofounder of Nursing Freedom and Natural Parents Network, clearly cherishes the awe-inspiring complexity of motherhood as she lovingly gives mamas a hand in sharing their own voices with their children. Visit I Thought I Knew Mama for a window into the beauty of green and natural motherhood.

Be sure to like Code Name: Mama on Facebook and follow I Thought I Knew Mama on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From Job Description: Mommy via Code Name: Mama — Win 3 Pairs of Handmade Earrings (up to $45 ARV)
Shop now with coupon code NPNJDM and get 15% off your purchase through December 15, 2012!

Visit Job Description: Mommy for unique, gorgeous earrings (and other jewelry coming soon). These earrings are gorgeous enough to be worn with classy business attire, yet fun enough to dress up a night-on-the-town outfit or to wear casually with jeans. Most of the jewelry in Jessika’s shop is made from natural stones, shells, and other materials direct from Mother Nature. Jessika’s shop is stocked right now with hematite, Czech crystal, amber, turquoise, and many more. Treat yourself to one of these beautiful pairs of earrings – mamas deserve to indulge!

Be sure to like Job Description Mommy on Facebook and subscribe to Code Name: Mama via RSS!

 

 


 

From Kid Culture via ourfeminist{play}school — Win a family set of Play Me Mama Crafts’ organic hankies! (ARV $24)

If there is one thing you can be certain of, especially when you have kids, it is the presence of snot. And nothing cleans that mess up like these lovely organic hankies made by PlayMeMama and stocked by my favourite kids store: Kid Culture. This family pack of hankies can meet all of your on the go mess needs and fits perfectly in a purse, diaper bag or back pack; they wash with no problems and the fabric is glorious! But, of course, hankies aren’t the only bits of lovely you will find at Kid Culture. I need to get my hands on the vintage NHL t-shirts, and I adore the wool pants from Sew Oiseau that Clare carries in this stunning little shop. Don’t forget to stop by ourfeminist{play}school where I will be sharing a quick and easy tutorial for making a felt hand-sewn shape matching set for your youngest gift recipient this holiday season!

Be sure to follow Kid Culture on Twitter and leave a comment on What Is Your Parenting Support System?, a wonderful post on ourfeminist{play}school!

 

 


 

From Soapie Skyes via Living Peacefully with Children — Win a bottle of All Natural Balancing Shampoo (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code NATURALCHRISTMAS and get 25% off all orders through January 5, 2013!

Visit Soapie Skyes for high-quality, all natural bath and body products. Their All Natural Balancing Shampoo is my new favorite shampoo, leaving my family’s hair clean and silky smooth without any harsh chemicals. I’m looking forward to trying some of her All Natural Bubble Bath, perfect for the little people in my life. Stop by Living Peacefully with Children and learn how to make your own luscious bath bombs to pamper yourself or someone you love this holiday season.

Be sure to like Soapie Skyes on Facebook and leave a comment on Attachment Parenting: the Renewed Face of Feminism, one of the thoughtful articles on Living Peacefully with Children!

 

 


 

From The Tea Spot via A Little Bit of All of It — Win a Steeping Cup and an Organic Tea Sampler (ARV $44)
Shop now with coupon code naturalparents and get 15% off their order from November 1-25, 2012!

Visit The Tea Spot for unique steepware and Fair-Trade certified organic estate teas and signature blends. The Steeping Cup is a wonderful way to enjoy loose leaf tea and gives the same convenience as using a bag. The sampler is a perfect mix of teas and comes in 6 stylish mini tins. I’m dying to try their chocolate cherry bomb tea as well! Stop by A Little Bit of All of It for a delicious banana bread recipe to enjoy with your tea.

Be sure to like The Tea Spot on Facebook and leave a comment on Baby-Led Solids – No Purees for Baby, one of the excellent posts on A Little Bit of All of It!

 

 


 

From Dysfunction Designs via The Hippie Housewife — Win a $20 Gift Certificate
Shop now with coupon code NATGIFTS and get 5% off all orders through December 31, 2012!

Visit Dysfunction Designs for handmade necklaces and bracelets for women and men. From vintage-inspired to tribal, skater to bohemian, Dysfunction Designs offers handmade jewelery for free spirits of all kinds. I enjoyed the variety in her jewelery, which include polymer clay beads, wooden beads, and carved bone beads. I am in love with this vintage-inspired purple and green bracelet with the bronze leaf clasp closure! Stop by The Hippie Housewife to see how this free spirit is learning and growing in the midst of unexpected community.

Be sure to like Dysfunction Designs on Facebook and like The Hippie Housewife on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Earthfaeries Homebrewed Soap via Firmly Planted — Win a $20 Gift Card!

Earthfaeries home-brews some amazing soaps and perfumes as well as other handmade goods. I am absolutely in love with the soap and perfume I received from Earthfaeries. The fragrances are so unique and lovely. My favorite scent continues to be ‘Happy Hippy,’ but I’m also thoroughly pleased with ‘Mint Duet.’ Stop by Firmly Planted to see bath time at the Firmly Planted home!

Be sure to like both Earthfaeries Homebrewed Soap and Firmly Planted on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Hybrid Rasta Mama via Diary of a First Child — Win one of three copies of the eBook ‘Coconut Oil For Your Skin’(ARV $7 x 3)
Shop now with coupon code NPNHOLIDAY and get 15% off all orders through December 31, 2012!

Jennifer Saleem from Hybrid Rasta Mama is NPN’s resident Coconut Oil Expert – and one we all turn to every time we have a coconut question! This eBook contains 40 fantastic recipes for coconut-based bath and beauty products that are simple and practical to make at home. There’s also a really handy guide to essential oils and their uses. Jennifer is currently working on her next book, Cooking with Coconut Oil, out later this month. I can’t wait! On Diary of a First Child, I’m trying to learn to eat and live closer to nature – if you are too, this is a perfect place to start!

Be sure to like Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook and like Diary of a First Child on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Raising Green Kids via very, very fine — Win a $25 gift certificate!

Raising Green Kids aims to help parents make eco-friendly choices toward healthier families and a healthier world. Cutting drying time (and energy consumption) and eliminating the need for gnarly chemicals are just two of my favorite perks of using Raising Green Kids’ simple felted wool dryer balls. Adding a few drops of a fragrant essential oil to your dryer balls has even made laundry pleasant for a change! Looking for a thoughtful but practical gift? Try the ThinkSport Safe Yoga Mat and Stainless Sport Bottle set. Holla “yay!” for the holidays at very, very fine.

Be sure to like Raising Green Kids on Facebook and leave a comment on a brief interlude at very, very fine!

 

 


 

From Poppy Soap Company via Fine and Fair — Win 1 of 3 a Mix & Match Organic Soap Sets (ARV $30)
Shop now with coupon code delilah and get $10 off your purchase through November 25, 2012!

Poppy Soap Company is an eco-conscious, carbon neutral, mother-owned company making handmade specialty organic soaps for every skin type while giving back to local women’s shelters. Poppy Soap Company’s soap bars come in a variety of heavenly scents and each bar is beautifully detailed. The quality of these soaps and their ability to cleanse, moisturize, and nurture face and body cannot be beat! In addition to their environmental responsibility, women’s shelter advocacy, and gorgeous high-quality soaps, Poppy Soap Company uses packaging that is both reusable and biodegradable-no plastic! Visit Fine and Fair, a blog written by a mother to and for her children about the ups and downs along the journey of raising them as a responsible citizens of the world with the values of compassion toward all living things, environmental responsibility, conservation, and celebrating diversity in all of its forms.

Be sure to like Poppy Soap Company on Facebook and like Fine and Fair on Facebook!

 

 


 

From Worts and Cunning Apothecary via Living Peacefully with Children — Win a Happy Homestead Remedy Kit (ARV $20)
Shop now with coupon code NATURALWORT and get 10% off all orders through November 25, 2012!

Worts and Cunning Apothecary specializes in fully enchanted herbal care and homeopathy. With fantastically named products and attention to detail, customers are certain to find may wonderful gifts. Stop by Living Peacefully with Children for ideas on the perfect wreath to make with children, perfect for any celebration.

Be sure to like Worts and Cunning Apothecary on Facebook and follow Living Peacefully with Children on Pinterest!

 

 


 

From The Babywearing Workout via MomeeeZen and True Confessions of a Real Mommy — Win 1 of 5 copies of Mama’s “Little” Personal Trainer (ARV $10 x 5)
Shop now with coupon code NPN2012 and get 15% off your purchase between November 5 and December 24, 2012!

If you and your baby love babywearing AND you want to exercise, then this video is for you! Get the best of both worlds when you strap on your favorite carrier and join Kelli Roschak, Mama and creator of the workout, in her Babywearing Workout. Kelli has carefully and thoughtfully prepared this workout and made it accessible to all ages and all levels of exercising experience. Exercising has so many benefits (not just weight loss) and can help Mamas feel refreshed and replenished, so they can be at their best! Enjoy getting your sweat on while keeping baby happy, and maybe even getting them to sleep, right in the comfort of your own home! Check out The Babywearing Workout website to learn more and to read safety tips on babywearing.

Be sure to like The Babywearing Workout and True Confessions of a Real Mommy on Facebook and subscribe to Momeee Zen via email!

 

 


 

From Bent River Bobbins via Firmly Planted — Win a $20 Gift Certificate!

Heather at Bent River Bobbins creates high quality, reusable bags and sandwich wraps as well as sweet baby toys and other useful items. My girls absolutely love their meal time sets. It’s so wonderful to be able to pack their lunches for day trips to the zoo or museum and not have to use plastic bags. I also really love Heather’s tissue totes, perfect for the winter months especially! Check out Firmly Planted for other ways to go green!

Be sure to like Bent River Bobbins on Facebook and visit Firmly Planted to read about going paperless and leave a comment!

 

 


 

From Presence Parenting via Anktangle — Win a 60-Minute Nurturing Presence Session(ARV $50)!
Shop now with coupon code NPN50 and receive 50% off your own Nurturing Presence Sessions through November 30, 2012!

Check out Presence Parenting for practical parenting information, insights, and parent-to-parent support to experience peace and create true personal, family, and world harmony. I benefited greatly from my nurturing presence session with Amy Phoenix. She is centered, caring, and intuitive: a combination of qualities that lends itself well to helping others uncover insights about ourselves and grow from there. Visit Anktangle to learn more about seeking to find balance in daily life.

Be sure to like Presence Parenting on Facebook and follow Anktangle on Twitter!

 

 


 

From Wooly Moss Roots via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win your all natural Tooth Powder, Magical Healing Salve, and a Smudging Bundle (ARV $34)
Shop now with coupon code HYBRIDRASTAMAMA15 and get 15% off your purchase through November 25, 2012!

Visit Wooly Moss Roots where you will find wonderful wooden buttons, herbal goodness, and wooly delights. I adore everything in this shop but am especially loving the Peppermint Tooth Powder and the Magical Healing Salve. My teeth have never felt so clean and the salve is the ultimate healer! Stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to read more about Wooly Moss Roots (and their other shop Mystic Orb and check out some photos of all of the gorgeous items in these shops!

Be sure to like Wooly Moss Roots on Facebook and subscribe to Hybrid Rasta Mama via email!

 

 


 

From Olive Shoot Institute via Firmly Planted — Win Extreme 18X Soap Nut Liquid Concentrate and a Guinea Pig Doll (ARV $40)!

Cindy at Olive Shoot Institute has a plethora of soap nut products as well as sweet handmade dolls. I didn’t think I would ever ditch my traditional soap nuts, but the soap nut liquid concentrate that Cindy sent me is amazing and so easy to use! It takes only a small amount of the concentrate to clean even my husband’s super dirty work clothes AND our stinky cloth diapers! My girls have also loved their new Guinea Pig Doll, Ruth! Stop by Firmly Planted to see our new cloth diapering solution!

Be sure to like Olive Shoot Institute on Facebook and follow Firmly Planted on Twitter.

 

 


 

From Sacred Rose Tea via A Little Bit of All of It — Win 1 box of Holiday Blend Organic Tea and a Tea Infuser (ARV $27)

Visit Sacred Rose Tea for hand-crafted, premium quality, all natural and healthy herbal infusions. Their Holiday Blend is a perfectly delicious way to enjoy this holiday season. And all of their teas are ready for gifting as they come packaged beautifully. I would love to try all of their 9 offerings! Stop by A Little Bit of All of It to find out about a great Christmas CD you can listen to while drinking your festive tea.

Be sure to like Sacred Rose Tea on Facebook and follow A Little Bit of All of It on Networked Blogs!

 

 


 

From doTERRA via MomeeeZen — Win a $20 gift card & a free phone consultation with Patti Tinholt to help you learn which Essential Oils are right for you!
Shop now and for any purchases over $100, receive $50 towards your next purchase.

If you are looking to reap the benefits of using Essential Oils, but just don’t know where to start, doTERRA is the place for you! doTERRA Essential Oils are Certified Therapeutic Grade and free from fillers, artificial ingredients, pesticides and harmful chemicals. All you get is 100% pure natural goodness! I discovered the benefits of many tried and tested uses for my Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint Oils, plus some surprising uses I had no idea about, but which I am now a big fan of! Visit doTERRA for more info and to see the selection of products they offer, such as products for the home, workplace, skin care and much more!

Be sure to visit doTERRA and stop by and leave a comment on Where Are All the Heroines?, one of the wonderful posts at Momeee Zen!

 

 


 

From Maggie’s Naturals via Hybrid Rasta Mama — Win a 6-pack Variety Food Coloring Package (ARV $60)

Visit Maggie’s Naturals where you will find a food coloring made from all natural and organic plant, fruit and vegetable extracts. Maggie’s Naturals come in 6 brilliant colors. I was fortunate enough to test out the natural dyes and am beyond impressed with their quality and ease of use. Best of all, I know that they are safe for me and my family! Stop by Hybrid Rasta Mama to find some great recipes that you might even be able to use Maggie’s Naturals with.

Be sure to like Maggie’s Naturals on Facebook!

 

 


 
You’re intrigued and enchanted by all these fabulous natural-minded gifts, aren’t you? Then you’ll want to enter to win our spectacular giveaway! You can win any one of the products featured on this page.

You can enter on this page or any of the participating blogs. The Rafflecopter script is the same on each, so you need to enter on only one site. That said, please do visit and enjoy all the reviews at the participating sites!

MANDATORY ENTRY: In the box provided in the first Rafflecopter entry, tell us where you would have your prize shipped if you are one of the winners. You must enter your name and email address while leaving a comment in the Rafflecopter system for your entry to count.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

Please note that each entrant can win only one prize, and NPN will be randomly assigning prizes to the winners. One of the giveaway questions asks which are your top five prizes so we can try to match winners to their preferences.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email sponsorship {at} naturalparentsnetwork.com or leave a comment if you have any questions!

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Contest closes November 25 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

 

Disclosure: Our reviewer received a sample product for review purposes.
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We Believe In Santa

My mom was the most magical Santa when we were growing up. It literally took me 12 years to realize that her handwriting was exactly the same as his, because I believed so strongly in this friendly, warm, and charismatic fat guy that loved eating the cookies I left him, and left me presents in return for my kindness. I really enjoyed the idea of Santa as a magical entity- and I still do, even though I know by now that he’s not a living person.

I knew as I grew how the religious origin of Christmas was both entwined and separate from the Santa and reindeer bit, but for me they always overlapped – I was always mesmerized with the story of Rudolph, how his nose that got him teased and laughed at actually made a difference when the foggy Christmas Eve came . . . and I remember thinking at the same time of how Jesus came into this world as a little tiny baby in a stinky manger next to a cow – but he was the son of God and saved us all. It was all very fluid and wondrous to me.

I feel like the belief in something magical and happy is what Santa is really about . . . people that take Santa as a rule enforcer, or use Santa to threaten the punishment of no toys on Christmas as a part of their disciplinary tactics just ruin it for everybody. Santa Claus is Coming To Town is supposed to be a FUNNY, sarcastic song – not a literal warning. Christmas, even if you celebrate a totally secular Christmas, is all about magic and splendor, and enjoying one another’s company – and not at all about fearing Santa Claus.

Wrong. Apparently, without my knowledge, Santa has gone from being a jolly, magical fat guy who loves everybody to becoming a parenting tool – used by parents to cajole their children into behaving for fear that Santa might not bring them what they want if they don’t. My friend Dionna’s post “We Don’t Do Santa” over at Code Name Mama left me a bit jaw dropped when I read it.

I want Kieran to be able to trust us, and lying to him about Santa would be a breach of that trust in my eyes . . too often Santa emphasizes the spirit of receiving more than he does the spirit of giving. Think about it – we sit our children on Santa’s lap to talk about what they want to get. We have kids make lists of what they want under the tree. In the weeks before Christmas, kids are overwhelmed with consumerist crap . . . We do not want Christmas to be an orgy of gimme gimme gimme.”

Over-Commercialism= Bad. Magic of Christmas = Good.

What really astounded me when I read her post was the fact that she had to write it at all – the fact that our society has gotten so distracted from the real spirit of Christmas, and the real spirit of children as imaginative beings, that even the most wonderful parents among us are choosing to teach their children that Santa is not real from the very beginning – in order to avoid negatively imprinting them.

I, however, have no fears of negatively imprinting my children by talking to them about Santa as if he were a living person. My brother and I never feared that Santa wouldn’t bring us gifts as children, nor did we get upset if we didn’t get what we wanted – because, growing up, it wasn’t about “if you are good, Santa will bring you the gifts you want” – it was more along the lines of Santa being a magical, jolly, guy who brings joy to all children around the world because they are so precious to him. Santa didn’t have anything to do with behavior for me.

To me, he was just a really cool guy that in my mind, I figured, was pals with God. Can’t you see Jesus riding with Santa in his sleigh? I totally imagined that as a kid. I mean, how do his Reindeer fly if it’s not an act of God?!

I looked forward to the feeling of Christmas morning itself more than I cared what was under the tree for me. It was about the magical experience for me, and it still is.

So I don’t think that the belief in Santa is a bad thing. I don’t buy into the argument about not lying to my children about Santa because I feel that taking away the magic of Santa and the ability for a child to wonder freely about the traditional stories (religious and secular) of Christmas is worse. But that’s because my mom didn’t manipulate Santa to try to guilt me into behaving. That wasn’t what it was about.

When I figured out that Santa was my mom, I thought I was SO clever for figuring it out, and more so that SHE was the most clever mom in the universe for having been the best santa EVER. I also wasn’t mad at my mom for lying to me. I didn’t think of it as lying at all. I just saw it as the end to a fun childhood game. . . I actually remember saying “You were a really good Santa!” to my mom.

How WE “Do Santa”

I am excited about following in my mom’s footsteps and being the best Santa I can be to my children. I won’t manipulate Santa to get “good” behavior – mostly because “good” and “bad” aren’t words we use in our house. We set limits, and we model appropriate behavior . . . I’ll guide Abbey if she is not being “nice” or “respectful” and I’ll tell her when she has been “sweet” or “kind” but I’ll never tell her she’s “bad” (or even “good” if I can help it )– I guess my only issue is going to be dealing with other children ruining Santa for my kids by telling them he’s not real. I haven’t figured out how to handle that yet except to tell them that they can believe in whatever they want to believe and they don’t need to do what everyone else is doing.

I asked my dad how to “do Santa” like he and mom did for us, and he said to get The Night Before Christmas and read it to Abbey because that’s “the only book about Santa” according to him – that there’s nothing else Abbey needs to know.

Funny . . . The Night Before Christmas doesn’t mention good or bad behavior at all. The good or bad, “naughty or nice” bit must have gotten added in later.

I can’t change the behavior of other parents, but I sure won’t tell my child not to believe in Santa just because other parents have tainted the magical game in their quest for “good” children. And I’ll let Lauren over at Hobo Mama elaborate on that subject. Her post on praising kids for being “good“ is awesome. Something that every parent should think about.

This article has been edited from a previous version published at Toddler In Tow on December 13, 2010

Oh WHERE is my Airbrush?

Those of you who are fellow Larry-Lovers will get my title allusion ;)

Shameless Veggie Tales obsession aside. . . I talked earlier this week about the projects that have been keeping me busy as the holiday season creeps up on us. One of these projects is a photo book for Abbey entitled “My Baby Brother and Me” so that Abbey can read the story of her brother from my pregnancy until today. She LOVES stories, so I think she’ll really love this!

It’s going to be lovely, and I’m making it totally FREE using a coupon code that I have for Shutterfly photo printing online. (I’m getting free shipping, too, thanks to the opportunity I got to host my very own Shutterfly House Party). Here’s a preview of what I’m working on:

But to the POINT. You’re probably wondering what the heck my post title is about. Well, while compiling all of the pictures that I wanted to use for the photo book. I ran into a few pictures where I needed to edit out imperfections. Thus, I dabbled in using the airbrush tool in GIMP for the very first time ever. The following example is my very first attempt (and I think, success) at using an airbrush tool to correct an image. I had taken an adorable picture of Joe, but he had smacked his face into a toy earlier in the day, and had all these red marks all over is nose and forehead (poor little dude!)

So, I took out the redness and made it look like he hadn’t smacked his head into anything before taking an adorable picture. I’m a novice at photo-editing. I’d consider myself a self-taught-apprentice at best. It took me a bit of trial and error before I got it right, but once I established a technique for making the airbrushing look natural, it started to appear that my efforts would be fruitful!

I ended up using a combination of airbrushing using the color-picker tool (that little dropper looking thing) to grab the colors around the tip of his nose one by one. I used the smudge tool (that would be the one that looks like a finger) in between. I think I did about 8-10 passes of this technique before I was satisfied with the result. I did the same (a lot faster) for his forehead. Obviously, this is not a tutorial, but after I did it on my own, I looked up how to actually do it. . . and I did pretty much exactly what is suggested in the tutorials on the subject. So, cool!

So, my photography mavens. . . I know you’re out there reading this. How did I do?

And I KNOW you are totally singing “Oh WHERE is my airbrush” in your head now. Your welcome ;)