Cat lovers, grab your freebie!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of the makers of Cat-Sip. I agreed to share the info about the free sample of Cat-Sip, because who doesn’t love a freebie?

Cats love milk. But some can’t digest the lactose in regular milk. Cat-Sip® Real Milk Treat is 99% lactose-free, so it may be easier to digest. Now, cats and kittens can enjoy the benefits of real, Grade A, low-fat milk that provides them with the hydration all cats need. Cat-Sip can be found at Petco and PetSmart locations and other fine retailers.

Pet-Ag is offering readers a free sample of Cat-Sip, which you can grab using the passcode lovecat-sip. Feel free to share the link with your friends and readers who are cat lovers too!

Free sample of Cat-Sip

 

Pet-Ag, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of milk replacer products as well as other popular pet product offerings in grooming, nutritional supplements, treats and health. Headquartered in Hampshire, IL, Pet-Ag, Inc. has brought pets and their owners some of the most recognizable brand names in the industry. Pet-Ag, Inc. offers a comprehensive line of products that covers a wide range of animals through every stage of the lifecycle. Scientifically balanced, market-leading newborn milk replacer products like KMR®, Esbilac® and Bene-Bac™. Grooming products like Fresh ’n Clean. Health and fitness products like Rawhide Brand® chews for dogs. Plus, senior care products including DogSure™ and CatSure™.

Head over to get Pet-Ag’s free sample of Cat-Sip before they’re all gone! Maybe it can go in your cat’s Christmas stocking.

Samples are limited and will be provided on a first-come first-served basis to qualified recipients.

 

Whole Family Rhythms Review & Giveaway!

“I’m delighted to be sharing another giveaway for a curriculum we have used and loved: Whole Family Rhythms seasonal guides!

In Meagan’s own words:

“The Guides are designed to help you plan, create and animate a peaceful, balanced and holistic rhythm in your home, flowing between structured, adult-led activities and child-led, imaginative free play.”

They’re for roughly ages 4 to 6, although I have used aspects of them with both older and younger age groups – who doesn’t love a good story and a chance to indulge in some creative play?

Each season’s guide includes 12 weeks of learning, which is split into the following categories:

  • An editable/blank version of The Daily Rhythm – your family rhythm at a week’s glance
  • An Ingredients and Supplies Master List
  • A series of weekly, seasonally-inspired curriculum, including: a weekly story, bushwalking theme, recipe, craft and themes for watercolour painting, drawing and beeswax modelling*
  • Seasonal Book Recommendations
  • Weekly Caregiver Meditations
  • A Monthly Caregiver Handwork Project

I discovered these guides a couple of years ago after my son D, then 6, had spent the summer in hospital suffering from a rare and often fatal illness and we were looking for a gentle , Waldorf-inspired rhythm and a chance to learn through lots of playing and outdoor fun as well as walks outdoors while he regained his energy. The daily rhythm sheets, Caregiver Meditations, and stories were instrumental in helping us all in getting our family back into its groove.

 

Jack Frost fingerplay and Silvercap story from Whole Family Rhythms

This Jack Frost fingerplay from the January guide set off a whole week of fun for D that winter, and it’s still one that he chants as soon as the cold weather hits!

Meagan, the creator of these guides, has taken great care in putting together seasonally appropriate learning experiences that you can implement easily; if you’ve checked off the book list at the library and made sure you have the ingredients and supplies then you can just open and go each day.

Goldilocks image from November Whole Family Rhythms guide

We have broken out these guides each of the 2 years since, at D’s request, and we have revisited our favorite stories and crafts, often with friends who are over for a playdate. Parents of young children and caregivers alike would find the Whole Family Rhythms guides to be incredibly useful, in my opinion. They offer a lots of learning experiences but offer enough flexibility for days where things aren’t going as you’d planned.  And at $35US for a season (or individual months are available also), you really can’t go wrong!

Autumn-Guide-main-600x600

Meagan has very generously offered to set one of my readers up with either the Autumn or Spring season guide, depending on which hemisphere you’re in. You can enter with Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

I also wanted to mention that Whole Family Rhythms is on Instagram (but I can’t put the link in the giveaway for some reason today) – you’ll want to follow her over there for some gorgeous pics and ideas! @WholeFamilyRhythms
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Great Math By Hand Giveaway!

If you’re looking for a great, creative, Waldorf-inspired math program full of crafts and that will teach your child gently through stories and fun hands-on learning, then you won’t want to miss out on your chance to win The Great Math By Hand Giveaway!

Math by Hand Giveaway image

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know that we have used and loved Math By Hand’s curriculum for the last two years (if you’re new here, then you might want to see a typical week of Math By hand lessons from last year, so you can see why it’s so amazing).

mbh-2Bgrade-2B1

Marin Lipowitz, the brainchild behind this program, is a Waldorf educator and very obviously knows what will keep a child’s interest while they learn! Her warm approach combines art, crafting, and gentle stories appropriate for all belief groups as they learn math in a way that really sticks. Add in nature though many of the tales and it’s a winner for sure! It’s also common-core friendly, in case you’re in a place that requires it.

She even has an active blog full of fun hands-on ideas for K through 4 (and you’ll want to follow, because Marin is almost ready to release her new language arts curriculum with the same gentle learning approach!)

math by hand review

You will find each day’s lessons laid out for you in an easy to follow format, so you just open and go. It is simply printed and put it lightweight binders and duotangs so that the costs can focus on all the goodies that go into the craft kits and keep it affordable.

Anyway, enough praise for what in my opinion after 11 (almost 12) years of homeschooling my three children is the absolute best math curriculum for elementary learners out there……….I am delighted to tell you that Marin has generously offered to let me host a Math By Hand giveaway so that one lucky winner will be able to try it for themselves this school year! You can enter though Rafflecopter below for the Math By Hand Kit 1 of your choice, and there are lots of entry options available to increase your chances!

Good luck – I will choose a winner on August 22nd so you can start out your school year right!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Outdoor Challenge Cards freebie

I made this set of Outdoor Challenge Cards to give D,8, something educational to do as he zips around the yard……..not that he isn’t learning all the time, but I wanted to make sure that his daily summer routine of math, nature journaling, and writing were being incorporated in a way that didn’t trigger hot-day raging (is anyone else getting this behavior from their kids?!)

I tried to include things that would be available to most people who are living in the heat wave of late summer, so that I can share it with those of you who might be looking for some kind of learning they can incorporate daily. I was assuming 4 days per week was the most any of us can manage right now, so there are two weeks of outdoor challenge cards here based on that. I figure that by then, it may be cooler and/or we’ll be starting our year’s curriculum, Earthschooling.

You can find the link below the image, or click on the image itself. I hope your kids enjoy them as much as D,8, has been!

Outdoor challenge cards nature journal and math ideas image

Outdoor challenge cards

If you try them out I’d love to hear feedback. Thanks!

5 Easy (and delicious) recipes for Tea Time

This time of year, none of us want to be near the oven any longer than we have to, but you still want to make poetry tea time delicious (or your tea party if you’re a Downton Abbey Fan!)

We’ve been reading our poetry outside on the deck under an umbrella, and our tea looks a lot more like lemonade than actual tea some days, but we still love to set the table up with lots of food and enjoy a leisurely time together.

I sacrificed a 25 cent vintage sheet from my stash to make a pretty tablecloth for our (also vintage) oddly shaped table on the back deck.

I sacrificed a 25 cent vintage sheet from my stash to make a pretty tablecloth for our (also vintage) oddly shaped table on the back deck.

I’ve compiled this set of recipe links from around the web to inspire you; some like the lavender bread (so good!), can be made the night before after things cool off a little while others need a few minutes in the oven right before eating. What they have in common is that they’re totally worth making despite the heat! Enjoy.

photo credit Debbie on allrecipes.com

photo credit Debbie on allrecipes.com

 

1.Basic tea biscuits. You can tweak these light and fluffy biscuits to your heart’s content – try lemon zest in them and then fill them with clotted cream and raspberries picked from the garden, or just grab the Gay Lea Spreadables (real butter blended with unsaturated canola oil so it’s spreadable on a hot biscuit right out of the fridge).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Vanilla bean scones. Every good tea time needs scones! This recipe is a twist on the classic – delicious and so easy to make.

photo credit ReluctantEntertainer.com

photo credit ReluctantEntertainer.com

3. Downton Abbey Lavender tea bread. I was a little skeptical, despite our love of lavender, that my kids would eat it, but I had to scramble to get a piece at all.

Photo credit dot.com

Photo credit dot.com

4. Learn to make old-fashioned home-made English crumpets!

downton-abbey-earl-grey-shortbread-cookies from sugar and soul

5. Downtown Abbey Earl Grey Shortbread biscuits are a small taste of heaven. And only 5 ingredients, too.

If you’ve never experienced a proper tea time or dressed up for a tea party, you have been missing out on something rather wonderful! Here’s a link to a post on how to throw an afternoon tea party, in case you need pointers. Obviously, this collection of recipes I’ve shared doesn’t even begin to touch on all the food you can include…….thinly sliced, crustless cucumber sandwiches……..open sandwiches with cream cheese and strawberries, eggs all dressed up……..there will be something to make every participant happy.

Do you have a recipe that’s your “go-to” for tea time or tea parties? Please share in the comments!

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Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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5 Ways to Enjoy Whipped Cream This Summer!

It’s summer, and it’s scorching hot. If you’re like me, you still want to serve nice looking food, but without a lot of fuss and without turning on the oven. Here are 5 ways you can use whipped cream to make things delicious quickly – OK, there are 6, but this is a family-friendly blog 😉

  1. Iced coffee just got fancier. I need my caffeine fix, but I don’t have to have it hot.iced coffee with whipped cream
  2. Did you know you can make your own slightly healthier (and way tastier) jello with fruit juice? Add a tbsp of plain gelatin to a cup of boiling juice or water, stir really well, then add a cup of cold juice. Cranberry is particularly good….especially when you top it with Gay Lea‘s Real Coconut Whipped Cream. It’s dairy and nut free, and absolutely delicious.iced coffee with whipped cream
  3. Possibly the world’s fastest dessert….a fairy cake, whipped cream, and fresh fruit from the garden. D,8 loves to pick the fruit for this part!fairy cakes with fresh berries and whipped cream
  4. Scratch pancakes, more fresh fruit, and a squirt of whipped cream make a quick breakfast luxurious in under 10 minutes including mixing time.pancakes, fresh berries and whipped cream.
  5. The joy of a can instead of a bowl of it? You can do this with the last part!IMG_8815IMG_8816

What are your favorite ways to use Gay Lea Real Coconut Whipped Cream, or regular whipped cream, to fancy up a summer food? Share your ideas in the comments so we can try them out!

Gay Lea whipped cream

Disclaimer: I received special perks (such as getting to try out the coconut whipped cream) as part of my association with Gay Lea as an ambassador. All opinions are my own.

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Daisy chain tutorial (2 types)

Have you ever wondered how to make a daisy chain? Here are two different ways that you can make it – two tutorials in one post, so you can chose the level of difficulty that fits your child or yourself! This is a great floral crown craft for the summer solstice, garden parties, and weddings.

For either type, you’re going to want to pick nice long stems, and a couple of pieces of string to tie it together with – I’ve heard that it’s possible to do it with long pieces of grass, but whenever I try they break and/or snap off the daisy heads.

daisy chain pics 005

daisy chain pics 003

Daisy chain number 1 (easier):

Line up three daisies so that the heads are beside each other in a row. Tie it off at the base with a small piece of string and trim the string ends low.

daisy chain pics 008

 

Repeat, tying off three each time, until you have a big enough daisy chain for your crown or necklace or garland.

daisy chain pics 009

If you’re making it round, take a last piece of string and attach the two ends together. Wear it with pride!

daisy chain pics 021

 

Daisy chain number 2 (slightly more advanced):

If you can French-braid hair, you can make this! Start with three daisies and begin braiding the stems.

daisy chain pics 007

Continue, adding more daisies every few inches, and braiding them in. About this distance apart is where you want to add the next two or three daisies in:

daisy chain pics 006

The stems are self-eliminating, so you won’t end up with a big clump of stems at any point.

Take a small piece of strong and tie off the end, or tie it into its circle.

daisy chain pics 011

daisy chain pics 016

 

daisy chain pics 015

daisy chain pics 024

He’s just so darn cute. And a very good sport! I’m still completely smitten after more than 20 years.

Have you got any tips for making daisy chains, or other flower chains? Please share in the comments!

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Waldorf Window Sun Tutorial

The summer solstice is almost upon us, and we’re celebrating! D,8, made this easy summer craft, and he asked me to grab photos for making a step-by-step Waldorf window sun tutorial.

You’ll need:

-8 square pieces of kite paper (I bought mine at Happy Hedgehog Post’s store – not an affiliate link, just a plug for a friend who sells quality materials and craft kits) It doesn’t really matter what size as long as they’re all the same. We used 8 yellow and 8 orange, 6″ each.

-glue stick

 

How to make it:

Step 1. Fold your square diagonally, making sure to line up the points. As D is demonstrating, if you hold the points with a finger and then slide your thumbs down to fold the paper, it helps you keep everything lined up.

fold # 1 waldorf window sun tutorial

fold # 1B waldorf window sun tutorial

Step 2. Open your triangle, turn the square the other way, and fold again. Make sure that all your folds are crisp and flat.

fold # 2 waldorf window sun tutorial

Step 3. Open your square again, turn it so a point is up, and fold the sides in to the middle line as shown.

fold # 3 waldorf window sun tutorial

It’ll look like this when you’re done this part.

fold # 3B waldorf window sun tutorial

Step 4. Fold at one pointed end, from the top down to the middle line, over the bits you just folded – the picture makes it more clear than my somewhat awkward wording:

fold # 4 waldorf window sun tutorial

Do the same to the other half. It’ll look like this when you’re finished.

fold # 4B waldorf window sun tutorial

Now set it aside and make your other 7 exactly the same way.

waldorf window star tutorial showing all points made

On to the glue part!

Glue the each point the same way, except the last one.

waldorf window sun tutorial glue instructions 1

waldorf window sun tutorial glue instructions 2

Try to line those bottom points and the middle line up as well as you can.

You’ re going to glue the last piece differently. Turn it to the front and glue the first half on. Then glue under the flap that D is lifting to attach the second half.

waldorf window sun tutorial glue instructions last piece of paper

That’s it! You’ve now made a beautiful, happy Waldorf window sun. Stick it up – you can even use the same water-soluble glue stick – and admire from either side.

waldorf window sun tutorial sticking up on window

waldorf window sun tutorial view of sun from outside

If you’d like to try another, more advanced Waldorf window sun tutorial, Samantha has a solstice star tutorial here.

Have fun, and happy summer!
P.S. Are you following me on Pinterest or Instagram yet?

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Mullein nature study and journal entries

 

Do you ever have those days where your kids wake up in such “high spirits” that your ears are ringing by 7am? Yeah, me too, and yesterday was one of those days! I decided that some nature therapy was clearly in order for all concerned, so we went for a wander, and what caught our interest was some fairly newly growing  mullein. Naturally, we needed to do some mullein nature study!

I mentioned to D,8, that the Native Americans used to use it in their footwear for softness and added insulation, so of course he whipped off his crocs and tested it out. He liked it so much that he wore them for the rest of the morning.

At this point, K23 came out to see what we were up to (M had been up late writing a paper, so she was still asleep) and grabbed his camera to get some shots of the fronts and backs of the leaves.

mullein leaf front nature study

This posts contains affiliate links for products we used in our nature study. Clicking through our link if it’s something you decide to buy is always appreciated!

mullein leaf back nature study

Of course we had to bring a leaf inside to draw, and to inspect under our handy dandy new microscope! It almost looks like frost, doesn’t it? D speculated that since, according to the Handbook of Nature Study, (pages 237-239) mullein has these spiky leaf parts to hold moisture in longer, perhaps they are distant relatives of cacti…..something to look up another day (we’ve made a note in our questions notebook)

 

Handbook of Nature study page 573 mullein

D’s getting really good with using an index. This one for this book is huge so he gets lots of practice!

 

mullein leaf under a microscope front side

 

mullein under an eFlex microscope back side

D thought it looked like a map of a city on the back.

We wanted to learn more about how mullein was traditionally used, so we checked out an article from the Natural News.

We learned that as D had noticed, it grows in dry places and survives because of the deep-growing roots mentioned in the Handbook. It’s been used for respiratory problems, all parts of the plants, and has anti-bacterial properties. The article went on to say that it’s often used as a tea, so we steeped some mullein leaves -link is for where you can get some if you don’t have any-and tried it out (with local honey for some of us). It was really good, sort of green tasting, and would make, we decided, an excellent kind of iced tea this summer.

tasting mullein tea

Other things mullein is used for even today: as a sleep aid, for ear pain, migraines, rashes, cold sores, and as a poultice for bruises and arthritis. Wow……if it does even half of that we think it’s an incredibly useful plant to know! D has named it his “new favorite plant”.

mullein nature study journal page 2

mullein nature study journal page 1

mullein nature study journal page 3

Have you done any mullein nature study? Do you know of other uses for it? Please share in the comments!

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Ureadin: Strong enough for a sensitive skinned man!

Recently we were delighted to be offered the opportunity to try Ureadin, a line of products from Intega.

Our oldest son, K,23, “The Man Mountain”, spends a lot of time getting absolutely filthy as for work he digs septic systems, graves, works on house renovations……you get the picture.

As you can imagine, this requires a corresponding amount of time scrubbing himself clean again! Since K has very sensitive skin and has suffered from eczema since he was a baby, you can guess what havoc it wreaks on his skin and how much discomfort he is often in.

We try as much as possible to control the irritation with diet, but sometimes you need some extra help and in K’s case, with the amount of direct scrubbing with his problem areas (hands, wrists and lower arms in particular) we were itching (sorry, couldn’t resist!) to try Ureadin ‘s Ultra 10 lotion in particular.

Ureadin Ultra 10 lotion

The company’s claims for this were that it relieves itching and irritation and healed roughness, scaling,  redness, and cracking of the skin among other things. K was willing to put the claims to the test! He also loved that the scent is light and clean, so he didn’t get teased on the work site for smelling like a flower garden.

We chose a small patch to test it on in case K’s skin reacted badly. Here it is before – the photo’s a little dark but can you see how it’s across most of his inner elbow?:

Before Ureadin Ultra 10 lotion

Here’s that same patch two weeks later. All of it, almost completely gone, and not itching at all.

After Ureadin Ultra 10 lotion

SO much better…..and that patch had been there for almost a year despite our best efforts. K’s now expanded his testing to include all the other patches and we’re already seeing great improvement.

Intega also sent us their Podos gel, which repairs cracked and dry heels and feet, and my own personal favourite, their lotion spray! If you suffer from dry skin as K and I both do, then you know how awful it is when your upper back gets dry after a shower, right? Not to mention shins.

Ureadin Lotion Spray

Well, this stuff sprays on, soaks in pretty much instantly, and moisturized our skin all day until the next showers. Ahhhhhhhh. K has a lot of upper back and shoulder to spray, but this stuff hasn’t run out yet after almost a month of use.  It even helped when I accidentally burned my arms and shoulders gardening yesterday (I know, I know, but I was in the shade and wearing SPF 50.) As a bonus, it even offers an antioxidant effect.

In short, this Ureadin line has proved itself to be strong enough to please a big hard-working guy and relieve his dry skin misery.  If you’re an adult of any size, you’ll probably be as impressed as we have been. You can try Ureadin at Intega’s site, along with their children’s skin line and one for the acne sufferers.

Disclosure: I am part of the Intega Influencer Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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