Little summer book

children board books first books Gerda Muller
“Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.” — John Mayer

A little post sharing one of Eleon’s current favorite books that he’s been poring over on his own again and again. It is this lovely SUMMER book from our beloved Seasons series by Gerda Muller.

The Seasons series and other Gerda Muller books were Alexandros’ first books and he loved all of them, and so did I. 🙂 Now they are Eleon’s favorite as well.

children board books first books Gerda Muller
To introduce children to literature is to instal them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best that we can find. — Charlotte M. Mason

These little board books are such great introduction to books for the little readers by being beautiful, being about the real world and offering so many examples of what the summer is all about. 🙂

So here are the pages of this lovely book. And here are a couple more posts on the books (here and here) by this incredible children’s author and illustrator — Gerda Muller.

Where to buy

While you can get these books from Amazon (sadly a rather unethical company), consider supporting one of these wonderful online children’s stores instead:

children board books first books Gerda Muller children board books first books Gerda Muller children board books first books Gerda Muller children board books first books Gerda Muller children board books first books Gerda Muller children board books first books Gerda Muller

Simple sandbox DIY

outdoor kids play sandbox diy
In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air. — Charlotte Mason

The very first outdoor play spot we added was this sandbox back when Ale was just 1 year old. And it has been continuously a popular play space for both boys. As Ale has grown his games around the sandbox have changed, but he still loves it. And of course, anything that Ale is interested in Eleon is there as well!

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Best summer sandals for the little feet

pololo children leather sandals nontoxic children footwear

With the long awaited summer being upon us I wanted to do this little post about children’s sandals that are so loved in our family. One of the main reasons for this blog was to share the products for children that are non-toxic, comfortable and sustainably made. I found such items hard to find in US, unfortunately. I think it is sad that craftsmen and boutiques have hard time staying in business due to competition with big corporations that flood the market with cheap, low quality merchandise which is often toxic and was produced at great cost to our environment and people making them. So when I find yet another brand, store, maker who offers us a different choice — I’m particularly excited to get it for my children and to share it with others.

This is not a sponsored post in any way. Just sharing the good things, since they aren’t easy to find in the ocean of the internet.

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Where we shop for natural toys (no plastics!)

natural

Alexandros turned 3 years this weekend! Few weeks before I asked him what he’d like for his birthday. This is how our conversation went:

— Me: “Ale, what would you like for your birthday?”
— Ale: “Garbage track! Yellow one. No, blue. No, white. No, red!”
— Me: “But you already have 2 garbage tracks…three actually.”
— Ale: “I want GARBAGE TRACK!” Big beaming smile! 🙂

So, we got him this big beautiful Fagus wooden garbage track from Wooden Wagon.

wooden tracks Fagus tracks wooden toys
wooden tracks Fagus tracks wooden toys
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Zero-waste and non-toxic baby care

nontoxic baby washing and baby care

These three products, or their variations, are all that we use. No shampoos, no fancy lotions and special baby things…none of it. It saddens me to see all the chemically laden, plastic wrapped so called baby products all over the internet, magazines, not to mention supermaket shelves. Parents are made to believe that they need those to take care of their most loved little ones. But in truth our children need none of that. And with these basic products they could be cared for in a healthy, simple and sustainable way. 🙂

This isn’t a sponsored post. These products are just the ones we are using. You could use other similar ones. There are many small businesses offering great natural care products. You could also make your own.

No shampoo is needed. E.V.E.R.

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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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