Monthly Archives: May 2012

Take an art project and turn it Green — For OUR Earth & OUR Children’s Future.

Art Supplies. Eco-Friendly or Run-Of-The-Mill?

These days, with the force of  the Labeling Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA) child related art supplies are tested for safety. But, that does not mean that companies have to take the harmful chemicals out of their products before they put them on the shelves for us to buy. Oh No, it is quite the opposite, by law companies are not even required to list all the ingredients! This means that many art items still contain all kinds of health hazard toxins like lead (pencils/paint), acetone (instant glues), benzene & hexane (rubber cement), and arsenic (pigment in paint). Products labeled as ‘non-toxic’ tend to be misleading because they refer ONLY to the immediacy of the poisoning if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin. This means that they Do Not explain any long-term danger by using the product.
Scary!!

Children are especially vulnerable to toxins because of their small size, faster metabolisms and their still developing immune systems… this is why it is so important to use extra care with the products we give them to use.

We are now fortunate that there are companies that are making safer, eco-friendly products for our Little Munchkins. For example, crayons are being made from soy and beeswax instead of petroleum, and colored pencils are being made from recycled wood instead of killing beautiful, happily growing trees.

Generally speaking, it is more expensive to buy environmentally friendly art supplies, but if you invest you will have a piece of mind knowing that you are doing something better for OUR children’s future and well-being, as well as for OUR Earth.

A Wonderful Art Project for your Little One.

My Son, at 2o months old, is of the age that he can now express himself through art, which is really exciting! Last week upstate NY at the wonderful love baby inspired store Waddle n Swaddle I took him to his first toddler art class, and he really created something beautiful! I was so impressed that I took it straight to have it framed (I mean, good possibility I am being a bias Mummy here so take it with a grain of salt).

This is a simple enough project that can be replicated at home on a rainy day, or outdoors on a nice day. Word of warning though, be ready for the mess. We were both covered in paint by the time we finished up. I literally had to rinse Miles Storm in the bathroom sink before we headed over to the car.

For the project below I have listed some of my favorite green products -

You will need -

Instructions -

  • Dress accordingly! Like bare feet, nappy and a tank top.
  • Set the drop cloth down on the floor
  • Set the paper down on the floor
  • Rip pieces of masking tape off the roll and stick them randomly on the paper.
  • Somewhere on the piece of paper, stencil your child’s name and age with a pencil.
  • Trace your hands and your child’s hand on the painting, you can also have them lay on the painting and trace parts of their body.
  • Using pencils have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes.
  • Using crayons have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes.
  • Using water paint have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes.
  • Using finger paint have your child color on the piece of paper for 10/15 minutes. This is a great time to encourage other methods of expression like stepping on the art-work in bare feet
  • Slowly tear off the pieces of masking tape from the painting.
  • Let it dry.
  • GORGEOUS, go and get it framed!

In Williamsburg, there are 2 places that I know that Little Ones can take art classes. Caribou Baby Read More Willy B Mum

Miles Storm meets “Franklin The Pig”, the urban living legend!

Franklin the blue-eyed, micro-mini Pig is one of Williamsburg’s most beloved treasures. He spends his days (when the weather permits) out the back of Crest Hardware in their gorgeous over-flowing Garden. Last week, I was finally able to visit him for the first time with my Son, Miles Storm. We both fell in love with the Aussie Magpie look-a-like pig! He was so friendly, and beautiful.

According to the website Global Animal “Through a mostly vegan diet — he is allowed the occasional piece of cheese — Franklin maintains a trim weight of 39 pounds. It’s his fan base that’s growing. He can’t trot down the street without being besieged by paparazzi”.

Read More Willy B Mum

Miles Storm’s First horse-riding lesson at 20 months of age

Today was a milestone for my 20 month old boy Miles Storm. Yes, he had his First of many horse-riding lessons. And, I am so excited for him. He really is a natural and so fearless (like most children)…. perfect perfect age to get him on a Pony! It is very important, to me, that My Son is around a variety of animals as much as possible. I mean, he has always had such a gift with animals that I really do not have to push him into it. When we both visited Australia (a few months back), at the local wildlife park he was able to walk free with kangaroos, emus and dingoes which he loved. I had to keep taking him back! However, unlike Australia, there really is not many ways to openly expose children to animals if you live in New York City… besides having the cliché pets like dogs or cats! Luckily for Miles Storm, where I horse-ride upstate NY at Welywyn Stable also offers classes for infants. The youngest student they ever had is a little girl who was 15 months when she started, and now, at 3 years she is already post-trotting (raising up and down while riding). Pretty amazing right? The benefits of riding horses are endless – less allergies (if any), keeping fit and active, learning about and how to respect other beings, learning how to follow directions, improving balance and coördination, developing confidence and exploring freedom! And, learning how to properly care and feed an animal prepares a child for caring for others. All around, it is just wonderful experience! Welywyn Stable is about 2 hours north of NYC straight down the Taconic State Parkway in Milan (close to Rhinebeck). Classes for infants are $35 for half an hour and are more experiential than instructional. My Son’s lesson involved him first learning how to sit properly on a horse.. to feel comfortable, and how to hold on to the reigns. He was then walked around the barn with his teacher for 15 minutes. The rest of the time involved him watching how to take a saddle off and brushing the horse down. Horses are such magnificent, beautiful creatures and I also see this as a pure positive way to explain to him why he does not eat animals, and why his Mummy does not eat animals either! I know that he would be horrified to know that most lollies (candy) in the United States have gelatin in them which includes horse bones (awful). Not many Children know that by the way! Anyway, I cannot wait to watch the way Miles Storm progresses with his riding. It gave me such joy to see him enjoying such a beautiful thing!

Miles Storm at his first horse-riding lesson at Welwyn Stables upstate NY

Nappy Free in NYC! Let’s do this Miles Storm!

This morning, I attended the Diaper Free, Elimination Communication meet-up at Caribou Baby in Greenpoint. It was amazing, and I am so glad that I went. I feel so much the wiser now as to what the next steps shall be to get my 20 month old out of nappies. Better late than never.

I successfully practiced “EC” with Miles Storm from 7 months of age, however at around 14 months he just stopped going on the potty. He would cry every time I put him on it. He had regressed, and apparently this is quite common? It left me in quite a spot-of-confusion, especially as I really do not know any other Mummies who have tried EC who I could discuss with.

This is why the meet-up today was so enlightening, wonderful and amazing!

This past week, I have let my Son walk around the house without a nappy on as much as possible. I am doing this, with the idea that he will become more aware of his actions and start to be a little more responsible (in the most mellow way)…..meaning that he will start to get what is going on and start progressing towards the potty.

THIS IS WHAT I AM GOING TO DO.

* Whenever we are at home my little boy will be nappy free.

* I will have piddle-pads on hand to catch any accidents.

* I will constantly ask Miles if he needs to use the potty.

* He will go on potty as soon as he wakes up from any nap.

* When we go out he will now be in cloth training pants so he feels the wetness, thus making him more aware of his actions.

* Stop using nappies altogether, unless on long car/pram trips, and Overnight!

* If he has an accident, I will ask him to help me clean it up.

I realize that this is a LOT OF WORK, but I know it will be best for my whole family if he is potty-trained as soon as possible.

If you have any other suggestions or feedback, please let me know as I am on a mission and am All Ears!!

Going Nappy-Free in NYC!

The Beauty of my Grandmother teaching me to Knit, helped me through my Pregnancy!

I loved my Grandma, she was beautiful, and taught me so many wonderful things; in particular Knitting. I can never be grateful enough to my “Nanna Marge” for teaching me such a marvelous skill. I do not remember much about it – what I made or the real memories? I just remember that because of her I am an awesome Knitter.

When I became pregnant with my Son, the very moment I looked at that positive pregnancy test, I knew I had to do a lot of things, and one of them was not to drink alcohol for a very very long time. Keep in mind, I am Australian, and it is naturally ingrained in us from a young age to enjoy our alcohol. My husband’s family here in New York also drink wine with every dinner, and most lunches. It was going to be hard for me, I recognized that immediately, so how was I going to get through it?

It eventually dawned on me, or maybe it was my Nanna trying to reach out to me, that knitting was the answer. It was like a light bulb going off… like you see in the cartoons! I signed up at “The Yarn Tree” on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg Brooklyn, (sadly not there anymore), commencing weekly knitting classes to further my skills. During the 8 months I spent being pregnant I knitted my unborn Son all kinds of gorgeous fun jumpers, booties, hats and blankets. I was a Knitting Machine, oh yes I was!

Towards the end of my pregnancy my last project was more of a toddler blanket that would fit into his cot. I did not get to finish it though as Miles Storm was born a month early. However, today 20 months later, I am happy to say that I finally finished it and I am SO excited about that!!!!

The blanket is a vintage fan inspired design which I made from Alpaca yarn grown high in the mountains of Peru. I know it looks complicated but it is very simple to make, seriously!

THE PATTERN

Choose 3 different colours of yarn. Using a US 3 circular needle cast on 236 stitches.

Row 1 – Knit

Row 2 – Purl

Row 3 – K1, *(k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times, (k2tog) 3 times, rep from * to last st, k1

Row 4 – Knit

Rep Rows 1-4, changing colour every 4 rows, until blanket measures 35 inches or desired length.

BO loosely and Weave in ends.

I knitted this for Miles Storm

Let’s go to PLAY…. finally 20 months later!

I have planned on visiting PLAY since my Son was born having heard that it a wonderful place for early childhood, and today we finally made it… it only took me 20 months to get there! Time fly’s right, I do not have a baby anymore, I have a little boy!

The staff was wonderful, the place was very clean, bright and homely, although I have to say from all the pretty pictures and amazing reviews I expected to walk into Disneyland!

Read More Willy B Mum

My thoughts on the everybody-is-up-in-the-air-about-it Children’s book “Vegan is Love”.

How Wonderful that at this very moment every person, big and small, has the power to create a better world! We don’t have to wait to grow older, for laws to change, or for presidents to be elected. We can begin right now. (Ruby Roth)

Have you ever thought that it is strange that Children’s books with farm animal themes always say things like “Cows give us milk and cheese” and “Sheep give us wool to keep us warm”. They never say “We also kill animals and eat them” (and I know that is harsh but it is the reality). Why do we cover that up, and avoid that it happens? It is because it is horrible and scary and we do not want our Little Ones to become upset; which makes sense.

Last week, thanks to my twitter feed, I heard about the LA based author Ruby Roth’s new book Vegan is Love. I had never heard of Ruby before, but there sure was an uproar about her book on a lot of the parenting feeds I follow. Words I read included – disgraceful, outrageous and irresponsible. The interesting thing was, a lot of the opinions were coming from people who had not read the book, they could not have, as it wasn’t being released to the public till a few days later?

My Son and I follow a mainly vegetarian diet, and I try my best to eat vegan. My husband eats animals, that is his choice, I wish he would stop but that will probably never happen. Miles Storm and I do not suffer in food choices, if anything we eat an abundantly healthy diverse menu. My husband is an amazing cook and we are fortunate that he makes us all kinds of wonderful things like Lentil Bolognaise, Kale Pesto, Tomato and Farro, and his new Indian style Cauliflower.

The reason we are raising our Son this way is because I want him to make the decision, when he is old enough, whether he will eat animals. I very strongly believe that  it is a choice he should make. “Vegan Is Love” is going to be a great resource to explain to him what happens to animals that are killed for food, with the information he needs to make an educated choice.

Ruby made a good point, (on the  Today Show), when confronted with the opinion that her book is frightening saying “If it’s too scary to talk about, the reality of where those pieces of meat come from, then it’s certainly too scary to eat”.

Read More Willy B Mum

Best Kale Salad Ever Recipe

I love Kale, it is by far one of my favorite foods on the Planet as well as being one of the healthiest foods on the Planet. I love it as a pesto, I love it as a juice, I love it sautéed with garlic and olive oil and I especially love it in my favorite salad.

Kale is high in Vitamin A, C and K. It is also hailed for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities which have been known to work together to prevent cancer. It is also high in fiber, lowers one’s cholesterol, and helps with the body’s detoxification process. Long story short – it is really good for you and you should try to eat as much of it as your possible can!

Last summer, at our house upstate, we grew 16 kinds of kale plants in our Veggie garden and this year 6 of those plants grew back! Which was so lovely of them to do. This past weekend I was able to make my favorite kale salad which I picked up from a “Kale Loving” girlfriend a few years ago..

YOU WILL NEED

  • A BIG Bunch of Organic Lacinto Kale,
  • A handful of Organic Pine Nuts,
  • A handful of Organic Sultanas (Raisins),
  • Parmesan Cheese if you eat dairy, if not I use Brewers Yeast,
  • Sea Salt (amount used is up to you).

FOR THE DRESSING

  • 1/3 of a cup of Olive Oil,
  • One whole Organic Lemon juiced,
  • 6 Crushed Organic Garlic cloves,
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 of a cup of Red Wine Vinegar,
  • 2 tablespoons of sweetener of your choice – Agave, Honey or Maple Syrup.

Read More Willy B Mum