Alphabet chart DIY

alphabet chart DIY

A few months ago I came across these charming alphabet cards. I particularly liked them as they introduce both capital and small letters in a very associative and visual way. Ale already knows many Russian and English letters as we often talk about them a bit while reading our bed time stories. But the idea that same letter can have two different versions was rather confusing for him. And while in Montessori approach it is recommended to only introduce small letters at first, I found this to be impractical as all the books have both letters on their covers and naturally the subject of small and capital letters would always come into our discussions when we would start reading our bedtime stories.

So in these cards a small and a big version of the same letter is very nicely tied together through the same animal — the grown up one for the capital letter and a baby one for the small letter.

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How does my garden grow

How does my garden grow by Gerda Muller, children's book

As the spring season is just around the corner I wanted to share this wonderful children’s book. This book was our favorite for many months when Ale was about 1 year old. We love gardening and so it was very relatable to him. And in its turn the book would make gardening activities and garden creatures even more interesting for him and offer him new knowledge about the garden’s goings.

As all Gerda Muller books it is exceptionally beautiful with very charming, realistic and detailed illustrations. And like all her books it is very informative for the little readers. One thing I especially love about Gerda Muller’s books is that due to the wealth of detail and information we can go back to them later again and again, each time discovering something new or re-discovering already known facts in deeper detail.

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Beautiful animated films: Snow Queen

I decided to start a little series about beautiful animated films for children. Although I’m against children spending time in front of a screen and would rather have them running around and exploring the world around, I found myself using the iPad on a regular basis to keep Ale (our 2.5 year old little wildling 🙂 ) quiet when his little brother is asleep. So, it became important to find quality content for him to watch. Fortunately, there are a lot of beautiful children’s animated films from the Soviet era that he can watch and that I don’t object to as they are very artistic and have always a great positive story. Recently I found some of them to be also translated into English and thus this little series of beautiful animated films for children. I hope you enjoy them just as much.

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Zero-waste dog food

zero waste door food

Recently I have discovered a Zero-Waste community over on Instagram. It is inspiring to see people around the world striving to live without leaving a trail of trash behind them. Through this community I’ve learned a number of good tips and merchants where one can buy package-free goods (here is a good one). A blog post on this is coming soon… providing my boys nap at the same time at least couple times this coming week, so I get a chance to get to my computer. 🙂

One thing I noticed people have difficulty with even among the Zero-Waste community is finding a package-free (read trash-free) way to feed our four-legged buddies both canine and feline. So, I wanted to put this little blog post together, because this area is one where one can easily shift away from packaged goods. In fact, in Russia and Kazakhstan where I come from we never bought dog food and always fixed dog food at home, using the same produce we had for our family.

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No-shampoo and zero-waste hair care

no shampoo nopoo zero-waste hair care

It’s been about 4 or 5 years since I last used a shampoo or conditioner on my hair. And it’s been about 2 years since I’ve been using soap nuts exclusively to wash hair.

The reason I started on the no-shampoo path was because my hair was getting dirty so fast that I had to wash it daily and still by the end of the day it was not a pretty sight. I went through many different brands of fancy and expensive shampoos, but the result was more or less the same… or worse. My first no-shampoo experience was with a dry mix of some herbs and clay my mom send me from Russia. It worked remarkably well, but we could never find that particular brand again. So the search for natural ways to care for hair ensued.

It’s been few years now since I’ve been using only natural products to wash my hair. I’ve also successfully replaced various other conventional body care products with clean natural ones (see my post here). And for the past year I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring our household as close to zero-waste life-style as possible. I’m hoping you’ll find my experience and the information I share here helpful.

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Grooming babies and toddlers even when they won’t let you :)

baby haircut toddler haircut tutorial

Oh the little humans and their absolute confidence in their point of view, determination and defiance. Toddlers and babies can really teach us all a lesson as far as standing up for our believes in life. In their case the beliefs seems to be that it is sufficient to take a bath once every 6 to 8 months, that washing hands is most unacceptable form of infringement on their freedom just like any other hygiene related fussing attempted by mom. Navigating this territory takes a fair huuuge amount of patience and also ingenuity and still success is not guaranteed :))

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Sustainable guide to Holiday gifts | Children edition

wooden children toys nontoxic handmade

[ On the photo: Gnomes from Mama Owl; Ostheimer wooden animals from Wooden Wagon ]

How beloved is the beautiful tradition of decorating a tree, lighting the lights on it and waiting for the magical winter-y man to bring us some sweet gifts under the tree! This tradition has survived the rises and demises of kingdoms, cultures and religions. It has changed the name from Yuletide to Christmas and even became a New Year tradition in some countries. Yet, the tradition itself has barely changed in centuries and all of us big and small are excited every year to light up the tree and unwrap our gifts when the time comes. 🙂

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Raincoat made from 100% recycled plastic bottles

non-toxic children rain gear
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change… Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean. The Guardian

Which is why I’m particularly excited to share with you these beautiful coats by Lea & Jojo that are not only non-toxic (no PHTALATES, nor PVC, nor PFOA’S / PFO’S, nor AZO DYES, nor NONYPHENOL ETHOXYLATES), but are also made form 100% recycled bottles!

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West Coast Wild

children book about nature alphabet

It seems like Ale’s world is so much about tracks these days — our kitchen is plastered with track stickers, floors are strewn with legos, we watch garbage track every Monday and go to bed with a tractor. So having this beautiful book as one of his favorite bedtime stories makes me particularly happy! He calls it the book about eagles — his favorite animal.

We don’t actually read the book. Instead my little eagle joins Mr. Bear as he digs for mussels under the rocks on the shore and then follows him into the woods to eat together some huckleberries (because that’s what the eagles do, right? ☺️) We ‘fly’ over the ancient forest and listen to the wolves as they howl to each other down below. We watch orcas play in the ocean and we share fish with mama whale. We listen to the rain and watch cougar emerge from the woods at sunset. And as the sun sets over the ocean and sky becomes studded with stars my little eagle lays down in his nest, I cover him with a blanket and we listen to some wolf howls and eagle calls on my iPhone as he is falling asleep. 💕💕💕 (scroll to the bottom to listen to the wolves howl!)

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Organic clothing: where to buy

Here is Part 2 of my Organic Clothing series (read Part 1 on why organic clothing matters here). In this post I’m sharing all our favorite brands that make organic children’s clothes and stores where you can buy them. While there are many other brands and stores out there, these are the ones we’ve used and had just great experience with! 🙂 (See also this post on our favorite shoe brand – Pololo)

While some of these brands sell directly from their websites, others sell through dealers. I’m providing a link where you can get each of the brands listed. But also at the bottom of the page there are few links to online stores where you can find all of these beautiful brands and much more!

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Organic clothing: Why it matters

organic baby clothes and organic children clothes

On the photo: Organic wool fleece jacket from Engel, organic wool overalls from Disana

I started writing this blog post several times, but always ended up tossing the draft away. It is such an immense and important subject that I found it difficult to make the post informative and useful without turning it into a long and boring doctorate essay :). So here I’m trying again and I thought first just to give a short version:

Reasons to go organic (short version)

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Summer in a jar – berry and fruits preserves

When we lived in California for 10 years I really yearned for seasons and snow. But now that we live in Colorado I wish summer never ended. I love everything about it – warm nights with candle lights and fruit tarts, picnics on the grass in our yard, flowers everywhere and of course all the fruit and berries!

Back in our dear Kazakhstan we used to have such abundance of fruit and berries that we always set some aside for varenje – Russian fruit and berry preserves. My grandma’s cellar was stacked with jars of preserves made from strawberry, cherry, currants, raspberry. And throughout the winter there were always little jars of various preserves at a table for a customary tea after a meal. What a life that was!

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My journey to co-sleeping – the key to sanity and good night sleep


I love co-sleeping. It may or may not work for everyone and it surely has a controversial reputation in this country, which I think is unfortunate. But for me it was a difference between exhausting, sleepless nights with a fussy baby and nights when both of us slept peacefully snuggled together. For this reason I wanted to share my experience with other moms, as I think it can make those first few months with the new baby so much easier and enjoyable.

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Less Junk Mail — More Trees

Paper junk mail..arrghhh.. Who doesn’t hate it? In addition to being a nuisance it is also a contributing force in deforestation and consequentially loss of animal habitats, increased greenhouse gasses and wasted water. And according to Rainforest Action Network, while United States has less than 5% of the world’s population it yet consumes more than 30% of the world’s paper.

Stopping the junk mail

I’ve been on a mission to eradicate the annoying and wasteful junk mail delivery we receive and wanted to share the things that have worked.

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