Monday, July 20, 2015

Blueberries are here!

UrthChild has moved to the beautiful Berkshires! There is so much to love about this little corner of the world, but one of the best things is having access to so many wonderful local organic farms that provide us with delicious bounty all summer long. Blueberries are currently in season. Our children picked 4 pints for us on Friday and we're still deciding on all the wonderful ways to use them. Smoothies are a given, and probably some muffins, but trying to decide between a pie or a tart!

The amazing thing about blueberries is that in addition to being so yummy they are also a super food, and are one of nature's most potent antioxidants. By neutralizing free radicals in the body they help protect against cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections. 

Do you have a baby at home? Blueberries are great finger food for your baby over 6 months- to be on the safe side make sure and cut them in half so that they don't pose a choking hazard. Although in my experience, babies like to squish them first anyway! A healthy- and messy - snack!

What are you favorite ways to use blueberries? Any amazing recipes to share?
Congrats to Jill from  Meet the Dubiens, a wonderful food and craft blog, for possibly the cutest use of blueberries we've ever seen:
From Meet the Dubiens

Wishing you a wonderful day!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Nourishing Traditions for Babies and Children

Several years ago, I came across Sally Fallon's classic book, Nourishing Traditions:  The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.  Since then, I have been forever grateful to have found that book.  I suppose I had believed what industrial food companies and some dietitians and doctors maintained:  Stay away from fat!  Avoid cholesterol!  Raw milk is dangerous! etc., etc.  Published in 1999, the book promotes healthful practices, such as eating fermented food, that have now thankfully become trendy.  Even though my family and I lean toward a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, I continue to find Fallon's book indispensable.  

So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that Fallon had teamed up with Dr. Thomas Cowan to write The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care.  I pre-ordered it, and it just arrived a few days ago.  Since then, I sneak any moment I can to read through a page or two at random.  

The book covers a lot of ground with topics such as pre-pregnancy nutrition, newborn interventions, vaccinations, nourishing the growing child, and coping with childhood illness.  Much of the book appears to be written with two influential thinkers in mind:  Rudolph Steiner and Weston A. Price.  And I am so happy to see a book on infant and child health talk about things like electromagnetic fields, organic bedding, and the importance of rhythm to the developing child.  While I encourage everyone to take a look at this great book, like any book on child care, you can disregard what doesn't work for you:  For example, I have found Sally Fallon's advice to feed baby a soft-boiled egg yolk extremely beneficial, but I don't think I'll have my baby try her "Brains for Baby" recipe anytime soon! 

At UrthChild, our Superfoods department has some Fallon-approved food, such as coconut butter, sprouted nut butters and sprouted nut snacks, organic probiotics, and more.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012


On Saturday, the power truck pulled up outside our home.   "What are the chances we'll get our power back today?" I asked the electrician.  With a broad grin, he replied, "100%!"  Music to my ears.  Our power finally came back five days after Hurricane Sandy took it.

The tree that took out our power.  Notice the electrical pole that was broken in half!
During the outage, we were fortunate to have heat and the ability to cook.  We don't have a TV, so we were used to entertaining ourselves in low-tech ways.  But running the business was hard, and I hoped that people would be patient (most were, thankfully!).  Not having phone or cell service for a few days was an inconvenience.  On the bright side, neighbors stopped by to commiserate.  An inspired decision to use raw almond milk before it spoiled to make hot chocolate not only lifted our spirits, but also will likely become a treasured childhood memory for my daughter.  What could be better than drinking rich hot chocolate by candlelight?  We felt like we were at Angelina Rumpelmayer's.

The neighborhood kids enjoying the fallen trees.  This spruce tree was about 100 feet tall.  I was later informed that the two girls on the left (my daughter and our next door neighbor E) had spotted an evil green witch who had knocked the tree over!!!  Yes, an evil green witch named Sandy!

Despite these enjoyable moments, we were eager for the return of electricity to help put this experience behind us.   What was one of the first things I did?  I got the vacuum out and started cleaning.   I felt the need to sanitize myself from this experience.  On a more practical note, it was surprising to see how dusty and icky the house looked after the storm.  After not being able to see properly for days, I felt a sense of satisfaction as I chased down little dust bunnies and zapped up every little crumb.  But more than anything, it felt good to try to clear up the stress and fatigue of the last week in some small way. 

Still, sadness lingers.  You can't look out a window and avoid scenes of destruction.  An e-mail from a friend today spoke of her family finding a rental to share with neighbors after returning to homes with a foot of sea water.  I think of her beautiful clavichord, harpsichord, and Mason & Hamlin.  What will become of these treasures?  Her home, beautiful with its endless stacks and rows of books?  But her e-mail was so chipper, in her usual way.  Her family is safe, together, and in a comfortable place.  Pumps have moved the water out, and movers arrive tomorrow.  They are grateful, and so am I. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

what would you do with a $500 gift certificate?

We're giving away a $500 UrthChild gift certificate!  Just in time for the holidays!

If I could enter (which I can't) and win, there is so much I would get.  I'd probably pick up that Sarah Waldo organic wool coat I've been dreaming about for my daughter.  I'd also get some Annmarie Gianni organic mud mask for me.  For my little guy, I have my eye on the Oeuf Lightening Bolt Jumper.  There would still be ***plenty*** left over for toys, toys, toys.  And art supplies!!!  And if you're expecting, you could pick up an entire organic layette or an organic crib mattress.  The possibilities are endless!  

So, enter today (see links below).  All you have to do is complete the entry form and submit your favorite green baby, family, pregnancy photo.  Ask grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends to submit photos on your behalf to increase your chances of winning (though the gift certificate would technically be awarded to them if they won, maybe they'll use it to buy some holiday gifts for your little ones!).  Public vote will determine the winner, so get the word out to vote for your photo.  It's $500 that's up for grabs!  The photo submission period ends November 12.  Voting will be held November 13-21, and the winner will be announced November 29.  Good luck!

Sweepstakes website:

To access from a mobile device

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

home health kit, part 2

We recently returned from the most wonderful trip to Maine.  We spent the better part of a week visiting our friends (you can follow their adventures on the lovely Crafting Mama Librarian Blog), who graciously took us to The Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine.  The Fair is sponsored by and a benefit for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, and is truly a fair like no other.  If you haven't been before, be sure to keep the Fair on your radar screen for the future.

One of the vendors at the Fair was a company called Avena Botanicals.  They are the first Demeter-certified biodynamic* farm in Maine, and offer a vast selection of hand-crafted herbal remedies.  The majority of the plants used in their remedies are grown on their beautiful 32-acre farm.  I purchased a few of their remedies to add to my home health kit, including the Be Well and Herbal Zinger herbal compounds to help with cold and flu season.   I also bought the Immune Soup for overall immune health and support; I am looking forward to brewing it up this weekend!

And finally, the favorite in our home (as voted by my five-year-old daughter), the Flower Fairy Cream.  Who could resist that?!  I am seriously thinking about asking Avena if I could bring some of their amazing remedies to UrthChild, but in the meantime, visit their online store.  And share with us the remedies you have in your home health kit and tips for staying healthy this fall and winter!

*  The principles of biodynamic agriculture were first outlined in a series of lectures by Rudolph Steiner, who also founded the Waldorf education system.  According to Avena Botanicals, while biodynamic farming adheres to the same practices as organic farming, a fundamental element of biodynamic agriculture is "to help heal the earth by using specially made preparations that are applied to the soil, leaves, and compost pile following the natural rhythms of the day, the seasons, and the moon and planets.  Steiner taught that the regular use of the biodynamic preparations would help garden soils be more open and receptive to receiving the spiritual impulses radiating from the cosmic forces. He also believed that the vitality of the food and herbs we ingest, revitalized by the use of the biodynamic preparations, would help humans be more fully conscious, more spiritually awake, more aware of the divine energy present in all of life."  (Source:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

10% off storewide sale

Keep a little spare change in your pocket during our 10% off storewide sale.  
(Well, there are a few exceptions to our sale at the manufacturer's request...  
Sorry, but Sunwarrior products and Pacific Rim Woodworking furniture are not included in the sale.)

Oeuf Hug Me Sweater in organic baby alpaca wool

Use coupon code 10012 during checkout to get 10% off.  Sale ends October 1.  
Happy shopping!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

thank you, annmarie

In my early 20s, I felt that everything about my appearance changed.  My skin went from clear to combination with trouble along the T-zone.  My hair went from straight to wavy (and not in a good way!).  I must have been going through one of Rudolph Steiner's seven-year changes.  For years and years now, I've been waiting for another seven-year change to come along and fix all that went askew in my early 20s.  

Enter Annmarie Gianni.   On a tip from my friend Muneeza at Healthy Moon, I gave Annmarie's natural skincare products a try.  There are a few things that make her products unique.  First, you'll notice right away that they are packaged in Miron violet glass.  This keeps the natural ingredients inside the bottle protected from light, increasing the shelf life of the product.  Some say the violet glass also imbues good energy.  Second, Annmarie is a stickler for pure ingredients.  Everything in her products is organic, wild-crafted, non-GMO, and completely and totally chemical free.  And with ingredients like Life Everlasting Flowers, how can you resist?  Third, the first ingredient in her products is "Love".  There must be something to that because my skin, my heart, and my mind just feel better when I am using her products.  I feel like I am treating myself with love and taking the time necessary to care for myself.   

We have been so impressed with Annmarie Gianni's products that we have brought her entire line to UrthChild.  You can purchase them here, and be sure to click the "Video" tab for each product to see Annmarie dishing on natural skin care.  If you'd like to try her products, use the coupon code "AnnmarieLove" for 15% off through October 15.

Over several blog posts, I want to take some time to introduce you to her products and pass along what I've learned.  This first post in the series will focus on five important tips I've learned from Annmarie.  The second post will discuss Annmarie's regimen and tips for caring for oily, hormonal, and combination skin.  Finally, we'll move on to talking about normal and dry skin types.

So, let's start!  Like I said, the first post in this series will focus on the top five important -- and surprising tips -- I learned from Annmarie.  Many of you may know these, but it never hurts to hear it again!

 Tip #1.  If you have oily or combination skin, use cool water to wash your face.  Cool water helps close the pores a bit so they don't release as much oil.  On the flip side, if you have dry skin, use lukewarm water to wash your face.  This will dilate your pores and help them open up more to release needed oil.

Tip #2.  Never use harsh scrubbing on your face.  I definitely did this to my skin.  Because I would break out, I figured I needed to clean harder.  Instead, scrubbing simply irritates skin and pushes toxins, dirt, oil, and make-up down into your pores, clogging them up.  Instead, use a fine facial scrub to help exfolitate and cleanse.
Annmarie Gianni's Ayurvedic Facial Scrub
Tip #3.  Creams are out and facial oils are in.  Oil loves oil.  Nourishing facial oils mix well with the oil in your pores, and as a result, are more easily absorbed by your pores.  This ensures that nourishment and healing oils are carried into your skin to reverse problems.  Creams, on the other hand, are difficult for your skin to absorb and can clog you up.

Tip #4.  Speaking of oils, never skip adding oil to your face...even if you have oily skin!  You need to nourish your skin, which a healthful facial oil can deliver needed nutrients.  Also, facial oils will not clog up your pores like a cream, and can help calm overactive sebum glands.

Annmarie Gianni's Coconut Body and Face Oil
Tip #5.  Protect your skin's acid mantle.  Your skin has a slightly acidic layer that is secreted by your pores.  Because it is acidic, this mantle kills bacteria and other nasties that want to get into your skin and cause trouble.  Harsh cleansers or cleansers that are not slightly acidic will damage or "strip" this delicate acid mantle, and therefore hinder your skin's ability to fight off blemish-causing bacteria.  

Annmarie Gianni's Aloe-Herb Cleanser
Okay, next up is the regimen for oily and combination skin...stay tuned.  In the meantime, give Annmarie a try and take 15% off her products at UrthChild through October 15 with the code "AnnmarieLove".