I feel like I’m part of a secret club. There, I’ve said it out loud. Becoming a mom has made me feel privy to a world I never knew I was missing out on because, well, I never felt like I was missing anything. And, truly, a life without children in it can be an absolutely wonderful thing, full of interrupted bathtub soaking, and novels and magazines that are expediently read (instead of sneaked at, sporadically, over the course of months), and late, late nights out that don’t involve the need to cast furtive glances at your cell phone for calls from the sitter. A childless life can be just grand, without question.
But when Huxley came along 2 1/2 years ago, well, for me, life just got better. It got sillier and messier and less predictable and exasperating and, most importantly, overflowing with love. The first time my son told me he loved me, unprompted, I swear, a unicorn stepped into the yard, a leprechaun came out of hiding from behind a rock, fairies sprinkled pixie dust over our heads, and a choir of angels serenaded us from on high. All true.
You get the gist of it. I fell in love, in a completely new and fascinating and exciting and unconditional way, forever. As this was my first child, though, I also encountered a super steep learning curve when it came to determining what felt like the best way to feed, nurse, dress, diaper, sleep, and otherwise care for my wiggling, glorious, tiny babe. I’d looked to the writings and research of Sally Fallon before, when employed as a medical assistant and nutrition consultant at a medical practice in south Asheville and found that everything she had to say completely resonated with me.
A few months ago, Fallon, alongside Dr. Thomas Cowan, published a book on caring for babies and children. Now all of the health and dietary recommendations I’d been applying to myself for the past few years has a companion for kiddos. I’m so smitten with this book. Whether you’re looking for dietary, medical, or dental suggestions, it’s all here.
I’d like to share my enthusiasm over The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by giving away a copy of the book to one small measure reader. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment stating a natural parenting practice you currently employ or intend to someday employ. If you don’t have children but know someone that might appreciate the book, feel free to enter; simply leave a comment about a childhood memory of baby or child care you recall experiencing personally.
I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Thursday, May 16th, at midnight EST. This giveaway is open to residents of North America only. In your comment, please be sure to leave a means of contacting you should you be the winner, via either a link back to your own website or blog, or by including your email address in your comment.
While I in no way feel that life without children in it is in any way lacking, I can only speak for myself when I say that adding Huxley to the mix has enlightened (and challenged!) me in ways I’d never have imagined. I regularly tell soon-to-be-parents friends of mine that parenthood is the hardest work I’ve ever done, with the biggest payoff. I adore being Huxley’s mom and can’t wait to see where our journey together takes us.
I like to think of myself as a bit of a soap connoisseur. Well, kind of. Here’s the deal: for years, I worked in the HBC (Health & BodyCare) departments of a number of natural foods stores. We dealt with soap in these stores on a daily basis, whether that manifested as unloading bars of it from packing crates, straightening it on display shelves, or attending staff trainings (and getting free samples!) from various vendors of it.
Over time, I came to appreciate all that goes into soap-making. Natural soap-making, that is. Get me near a bar of synthetically scented, chemically-laden soap and let the headaches begin! All-natural, pure soaps, though, are a thing of beauty. I could sniff, and hold, and bathe with, and otherwise adore them forever.
My maternal grandmother, Granny, who passed away this October, provides my greatest childhood soap-related memory. She and my grandfather, Pop Pop, owned a large, stone house in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. As soon as you entered their home, into the foyer, there was a walk-down bathroom immediately to the left, situated under the staircase. Gran always had a bar of linden-scented soap in there. To my tiny nose, it was the most transcendent fragrance imaginable. To this day, whenever I catch a whiff of linden, I’m immediately transported back to epic family gatherings (my father was one of 8 siblings), unparalleled in their abundance of food, laughter, and shenanigans (my dad’s twin brothers, Pete and Lloyd, were always up to something….still are, in fact, kind of the brown-haired-now grey-haired, older version of Fred & George Weasley of Harry Potter fame).
Today, I have the immense pleasure of introducing you to my current soap crush. Farmer Jane Soap, locally based in Fairview, N.C., is a purveyor of fine goat milk soaps. A sponsor of small measure since back in July, Molly Hamilton and Sydney Green, the forces behind the soap, are near neighbors turned soap makers. The goats supplying the milk used in their soap are milked by hand. Furthermore, the Farmers Jane employ a number of sustainably minded business practices, including:
*Keeping the herd small, so as to avoid overgrazing.
*Raising the goats on pasture and brush.
*Use of completely all-natural plant and animal-derived ingredients.
*Exclusive use of recycled and recyclable packaging materials.
Here’s a description of what goes into each bar, from their website:
About quarter of every bar is fresh, creamy goat milk that gives extra moisturizing properties and a more neutral pH that is almost the same as your skin’s. That means it’s not too acidic or too alkaline, so it doesn’t leave your skin feeling either dry or oily. Our soap also contains olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil, just enough water, and lye that is made neutral by the time the soap is finished. You are bathing with nourishing vitamins, minerals and proteins every time you lather up.
Molly generously provided several sample bars last summer, and, having spent all the time with soap mentioned above, I can assure you, these are quality goods, friends. Expertly scented, creamy and soft on the skin-just what you want in a bar of soap.
And now the generosity of Farmer Jane is being extended to you. Today I’m pleased to announce a giveaway of two gift packs of 3-4.5 ounce bars of lovely goat’s milk soap. Yeehaw! Here are Molly’s descriptions of the soaps included:
Honey Oatmeal: Two skin nutrients,ground oatmeal and local honey, make this soap great for sensitive skin, as well as a gentle exfoliator
TLC: Teatree, lavender, and clary sage essential oils combine to make a healing and great smelling soap. We use a green French clay in this soap which provides color and helps draw toxins from the skin.
Lavender: Classic relaxing lavender scent
Citrus Ginger: A refreshing, spicy, citrus-y scent–warming and invigorating
Lemon Poppyseed: This soap makes a great scrubber. I especially like it in the kitchen where the lemon essential oil rids my hands of garlic (onion, etc.) scents.
Rosemary: Pine-y and fresh, this soap is stimulating and good for oily skin.
This is the soap you want to be using, on your hands, face, babies-everything. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment stating your favorite soap scent. I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Wednesday, April 10th, midnight EST. In your comment, please leave a means of contacting you should you be the winner, via either a link back to your blog or website, or by providing your email address in your comment. I’ll contact the randomly selected winners directly, so it’s essential that you leave me a means of being able to do so in your comment.
Either way, do check out Farmer Jane Soaps. They’ve got a good thing going, in so very many luxuriously emollient, divinely scented ways.
When Melissa Frueh first sent me an inquiry about becoming a sponsor, Huxley was sitting right beside me at the dinner table, in his high chair. I opened the link she provided for her site and, nearly immediately, yelled out “Holy Crap!” Which, also nearly immediately, Huxley repeated, loudly. Lesson learned. Kids really do copy almost everything you do.
My enthusiastic declaration owed to my excitement over the wares on offer in Melissa’s shop, Sqrl & Bee Studio. I was especially taken by her mobiles. I mean, come on. How amazing are they?! Using natural, found, and organic materials (where available), Melissa’s wool rattles, mobiles, and other felted crafts are tested to meet CPSIA standards to be lead- and chemical-free. So, not only are they lovely to behold, they’re quite safe to literally hold, and squeeze, and otherwise love, to boot!
Melissa generously suggested a giveaway, and, given my “Holy Crap!” outburst, I heartily, readily agreed. And so, today, we’re giving away the adorable felted crown pictured above (the one shown in the last two photos). Given Huxley’s love of Where the Wild Things Are, I can only imagine how much he, and any child, would love pretending to be Max, or engaging in any kind of imaginative play while wearing it.
To be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below, telling me one of your most beloved childhood toys. For me, it was all about Strawberry Shortcake and her cadre of baked good-named buddies. I wore those toys into the ground (literally, as I was simultaneously quite the tomboy!), and still get misty eyed whenever I see the Purple PieMan.
So, what about you? In your comment, please be sure of leaving a means of reaching you, should you be the winner. You can do this by either leaving a link back to your own blog or website in your reply, or by leaving an email address to reach you at in your comment. I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Wednesday, March 20th, midnight EST.
Let’s let the wild rompus begin, shall we?!
Several years ago, when I was pregnant with Huxley, I was on YouTube for some reason, probably watching old Joan Jett, or Billy Idol, or Queen, or Stevie Nicks videos, you know, like you do, when I found the most amazing video ever. This little French girl has the best imagination, and I immediately knew she possessed the sort of highly creative, free, wild thinking I wanted for our pending bundle of joy.
Glenn and I work hard to encourage imaginative thinking in Huxley. We pay attention to whatever he indicates a preference or proclivity for and do all we can to foster and cultivate it. Of course, he’s just 2 years old, so his interests change by the second (books! drums! blocks! coloring! mud puddles!). That said, certain affinities seem to keep repeating themselves, and we’re on the watch for them.
On our honeymoon (we spent two weeks traveling via train between Paris, Monaco, and Rome), we watched an incredible BBC documentary about the British architect Thomas Heatherwick. We were completely smitten by him, his creations, and his story. As a child, Heatherwick’s parents paid attention to his developing interest in building things, taking him to science fairs, constructing projects with him, and otherwise doing what they could to encourage his budding affinity for building. And now, as a highly acclaimed international architect (remember that amazing metal starburst with the flaming cauldron from this summer’s Olympics? That’s my boy Thomas, all the way), it’s obvious that his parent’s encouragement in creative, imaginative thinking paid off.
Which leads me to today’s giveaway. Sarah Olmsted of the book, blog, and online shop Imagine Childhood has been a small measure sponsor for some time now. She’s clearly possessed of the sort of imagination and creativity that we’ve been helping engender in Huxley. She contacted me last week, about the possibility of a giveaway. Since I’ve long loved every product in her store, and have praised her book here in the past, I welcomed her offer.
Before I tell you what the giveaway includes, let me detail a bit about Imagine Childhood‘s store. As Sarah tells it:
… a little nature… a little imagination… a lot of play. Toys, tools and activities for growing minds. Imagine Childhood is a family owned and operated company offering high quality environmentally conscious toys and activities that encourage exploration, creativity, and open-ended unstructured play.
Sounds great, right? It is! I’m especially fond of the site’s posters. All of their offerings are wonderful, though, so choosing a favorite is impossible, but for one lucky small measure reader, you won’t have to choose! Sarah and Imagine Childhood are generously giving away a $75 gift certificate to the shop! To enter the contest, simply visit Imagine Childhood, and then leave a comment here telling me something you found yourself especially fond of.
I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Wednesday, February 20th, at midnight EST. Please leave a means of contacting you in your comment, via either an email address or a link back to your own blog or website. If you only leave a comment, with no contact information, I’ll be unable to reach you if your number is the one randomly selected, and that would be a real pity, so, please, let me know how to contact you in your reply.
Even if you don’t win the gift certificate, you still can win some savings, as Sarah is also extending a a 10% discount for small measure readers valid until 2/20/13. Simply enter “smallmeasure” at the time of checkout.
Thank you, Sarah and Imagine Childhood, for this generous giveaway, and thank you, small measure readers, for inspiring me and my family to be more creative and imaginative each and every day!
*All images above courtesy of Imagine Childhood.
Do you remember, back in high school, the “cool girls”? You know, the ones that had the on-trend clothes (Doc Martens and flannel, in my case), the ideal haircut (died black, in the style of Siouxsie & the Banshees, of course), and rocked out to the best music in their cars as they drove out of the parking lot after the final bell (anything grunge or industrial back in my day, coolest of all if no one had yet heard of the band).
There was Alana and Juila my freshman year, in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. Lydia was too cool for school my sophomore year in Swannanoa, N.C.. Finally, Chandra and Shelly were the cool girls come junior year in Morehead City, N.C.. I was always looking up to these girls, and others, wondering how they managed to pull things off so expertly, and if I’d ever manage to do the same.
It’s safe to say that I’ve mostly outgrown finding people “cool.” Occasionally, though, I’ll meet a woman I find so intriguing, so inspiring, and so captivating that I get cool girl goosebumps. You know what I’m talking about. Such is the case with my friend Jess, floral designer, mama, cook, huntress, and all-around righteous lady that she is. My girl Amanda has also totally got it going on. And then there’s Geninne.
I’m not sure how I came across artist Geninne Zlatkis’s blog, but it was like finding a cool girl all over again. The photos, the house, the drawings-all of it was just perfect. While not my particular aesthetic, per se (she’s considerably more minimal than I am), her overall look is so well curated, and so tasteful, and so evocative of easy, natural elegance that I was hooked from first view.
Lucky for us all, Geninne has gone on to publish her very first book, full of her brilliant work. Making An Impression: Designing & Creating Artful Stamps is both a feast for the eyes and an expertly crafted tutorial on crafting your own hand-carved stamps. I was so excited about this book that I asked Lark, the publisher, if I could keep the review copy they provided for myself, and then greedily asked for another to give away.
And so, I’m here today with a fantastic holiday giveaway. Making An Impression will go to the lucky home of one small measure reader. Woo hoo! All you need to do to enter is just tell me what you used to think was “cool” to you. I’m pumped to hear your answers. It’s funny, isn’t it, just how much some things used to influence you and how now, in your wizened years, they’re just people, or places, or music. Aging and experiencing humanity in all its forms will do that to you!
I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Wednesday, December 12th, midnight EST. Please leave a way to contact you if you’re the winner in your comment, either by linking to your website or blog, or providing your email address in your reply. I’ll randomly choose a winner next week and contact them directly for mailing information.
Even if you don’t win, check out Geninne’s gorgeous book and evocative blog. Chances are you’ll fine a “cool” lady in her, too!