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November 24th, 2013 | Family, Giveaway, Homemaking | Permalink | Comments (87)

 

LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls

Have you ever put wool felt balls in your dryer?

No? Well then today I’d like to introduce you to my friend Cyndi Prince.

Cyndi and I have a lot in common—we live in the same community in midcoast Maine, and we are both mothers and business owners aiming to provide healthy, natural, and chemical-free products for children and families.

 

Cyndi Prince, LooHoo Founder

Cyndi is the founder of a great company called LooHoo that produces wool felt dryer balls here in Maine. She formed the business shortly after the birth of her son, having learned about the harmful effects of the chemicals in dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

Wool dryer balls are a natural alternative  that soften clothes safely and really speed up the drying time of large loads of laundry, including cloth diapers. Cyndi has produced her dryer balls in a beautiful variety of hues that brighten up the task of doing laundry and make it more fun!

The inspiration to create LooHoo grew out of  Cyndi’s creative passions (she is also a photographer), and her desire to create a consistently high quality wool dryer ball from local resources, durable enough to last for hundreds of loads.

While I love to hang my clothes on the line, it’s hard to do during the long Maine winters. That’s when I rely on my dryer more. I started out using three LooHoo balls a couple of years ago, and now have six in my dryer. I can attest that they really do speed up drying time, which in turn cuts down on our electric bill and reduces our carbon footprint.

Being the fan that I am of LooHoo, I was delighted when Cyndi generously offered to give away a Deluxe Starter 3-Pack to three readers of Moon Child

LooHoo Deluxe Starter Pack - colors

For today’s giveaway, LooHoo is pleased to offer the following gift to THREE winners:

A Deluxe Starter 3-Pack of LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls

The set comes in an attractive box, making it a perfect gift for a green mama. (LooHoo felt balls are also fun toys and great for juggling!)

Each prize (a $27.99 value) includes free shipping within the 48 contiguous United States. The giveaway is open to all readers, but a winner outside the continental U.S. will be responsible for the cost of shipping.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post letting me know what you think of this product. For additional entries, share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or on your own blog, and leave a separate comment for each action taken.

Comments will close at 11:59 p.m. PDT on Saturday, November 30. Three winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced on Sunday morning, December 1.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In addition, Cyndi would like to offer Moon Child readers 20% off their first purchase at loo-hoo.com through December 1, 2013. To receive the discount, enter the code BellaLuna20 into the discount code field at checkout. Thank you, Cyndi!

Leave your comment here to enter and let me know what you think!

Sarah Baldwin signature

 

 

Comments are now closed. Many thanks to all who entered.

Here are our three winners, chosen by Random Number Generator:

#1  ANANDAH, who wrote: “I would love to try these balls. I recently felted an 8 eight inch ball with a felting needle. The ball was the head of a millet baby I made for my son’s Waldorf school. The first millet baby I’ve ever made!”

#2  MELISSA, who wrote: “I’ve been wanting dryer balls for a long time and these look fantastic. The colors are also very calming.”

#3  THERESA, who wrote: “These seem great! Would love to try them.”

Congratulations! Cyndi will get your LooHoo Dryer Balls shipped right off to you. Hope you’ll report back and let us know what you think.

And don’t forget, the coupon code above is good at loohoo.com through the end of the day!

 

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November 10th, 2013 | bella luna toys, Natural Toys, String Games, Sunday With Sarah, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

 

In this week’s video, I discuss the benefits of string games such as Cat’s Cradle for children’s learning, and why a simple finger string is my favorite stocking stuffer or party favor for children 5 and up.

Did you play Cat’s Cradle or other string games as a child? Does your child play? What are your favorite string games?

 

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October 16th, 2013 | Art, Waldorf Education | Permalink | Comments (9)

Hey, Friends! Happy Autumn!

I apologize that it’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Sunday with Sarah” video. I love connecting with you through my weekly video series, but we have been so busy at Bella Luna Toys getting ready for the upcoming holiday season (be on the lookout for the dozens of new natural toys and crafts we will adding for the season!) that it’s been a challenge to find time to turn on my video camera each week.

Hoping to be back with you in video land soon!

In the meantime, I get questions by email weekly about Waldorf education, parenting, and toys. I realized that when one person writes, it is usually with a question that many others share.

So rather than replying privately to individuals, I thought it might be helpful to post those questions and answers here, for others to benefit from.

This week’s question comes from Nicole, a recent LifeWays grad who recently began teaching Parent/Child classes in Florida.

QUESTION:

hello sarah,

i hope you are enjoying the fall in maine. it’s finally beginning to cool here in miami although that means that we have highs in the mid 80′s and low in the high 70′s!
i wanted to introduce crayoning to my mommas in my parent child group this thursday and just happened to read something by barbara dewey that confused me. contrary to what i have learned she says that the young child needs stick crayons to draw those archetypal drawings and block crayons shouldn’t be introduced until first grade. i can see her point as drawing houses, stick figures, etc would be hard with block crayons. now i don’t know what to tell my parents. should i present both sides and allow them to decide? any ideas or thoughts on this topic?
thank you,

Nicole

 

ANSWER:

This is a great question, Nicole! It is a question on which not all Waldorf teachers agree, and one for which there is no clear answer.

In addition to the idea that stick crayons are important for being able to draw archetypal figures (with which I agree), there has also been a lot of research conducted within the last couple of decades that suggests that the use of stick crayons also helps to develop a child’s grip and their pre-writing skills. Developing this “triangular grasp” is also connected with brain development.

On the other hand, block crayons seem to be easier for younger children to hold and they are less likely to break, which is why they were used exclusively in Waldorf early childhood settings for so many years.

From my understanding, block crayons were originally developed for use by Waldorf grade school children over the age of seven to create borders in their main lesson books, as well as wide expanses of color when creating a drawing with sea or sky.

Without a definitive answer, I chose to offer both types of crayons to the children in my kindergarten class, believing that each type of crayon offered benefits and that children would instinctively choose the crayons they needed developmentally.

I found that in most cases children would choose the stick crayons to draw people, animals, trees, and other representational figures. Some of the 5- and 6-year-olds would imitate me as I drew, and use the sides of block crayons to create sea and sky. I found that 3-year-olds tended to gravitate to the block crayons, and you might find that block crayons are more appropriate for the 2- and 3-year-olds in your Parent/Child classes.

Joan Almon, a leading authority on Waldorf early childhood education, wrote the following article which you might find helpful:

Crayons in the Kindergarten: Block or Stick?

Parents and teachers new to Waldorf education often seek “rules” and have the feeling that there is one correct “Waldorf way.” As you delve deeper into this work, you will learn that there are many areas of ambiguity and difference of opinion among Waldorf teachers. It is always best to do what makes sense to you and to have a reason for your choice.

Your choices may change along the way as you learn more, and spend more time observing the children, and that’s okay! One should never let one’s teaching get rigid and bound by “rules.” That kind of teaching is not living and breathing.

Hope this helps. Let me know what information you decide to share with your parents!

With warmest wishes,

 

 

Have a question on Waldorf education, parenting, or play? Leave it here, and I’ll do my best to answer them all in future posts!

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September 22nd, 2013 | Archives | Permalink | Comments (0)
Grandmother, granddaughters, kissing

"My Daughters only get to see their Beppe (Grandma) once or twice a year when she comes to visit from the Netherlands. They joy is unbounded every time she visits. They love they share is so precious!"

Congratulations to Kait De Luna Sea who submitted the winning photograph in Bella Luna ToysGrandparents Love Photo Contest on Facebook!

Kait’s photo of her children kissing their grandmother received the most votes and Facebook likes by a wide margin, and was chosen by our judges as the winner. Kait will receive a $100.00 gift certificate to Bella Luna Toys.

Thank you to all who submitted such beautiful and cherished photographs. Together they created quite a moving tribute to the love of grandparents.

Warmly,

 

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September 8th, 2013 | Childhood, Family, Giveaway | Permalink | Comments (1)

 

I want to share a little secret with you.  I can’t wait to be a grandmother.

Not that I want to rush my kids into having children! They are only 18 and 21. But I AM very much looking forward to the birth, someday, of my first grandchild.

So many of our customers at Bella Luna Toys are grandparents and I LOVE talking with them when they call. When I share my secret with them, they tell me that being a grandparent is more rewarding than they ever could have imagined, and that it’s different from a mother’s love for her child.

They describe an unconditional love, and an overwhelming desire to shower their grandchildren with gifts and affection, and that tell me that it should be a grandparent’s right to spoil their grandchildren!

Below is a childhood picture of my grandmother — born Sarah Laird, who later became Sarah Baldwin when she married my grandfather, and for whom I was named.

Grandparent's Day

My grandmother was one of the most special people in my life. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of summers spent at my grandparents’ house, in the country on the eastern shore of Maryland.

As I got older, my grandmother was someone in whom I could always confide, without fear of judgment. I felt her unconditional love, and could share things with her that I would never tell my parents.

Well, today is Grandparents Day, and while many have complained that it is a made-up holiday, created by the greeting card industry, I think it’s a lovely reminder to take time to reflect with gratitude on our relationships with our own grandparents, and to appreciate the special bond that our parents share with our children.

Grandparent's Day

While I was reflecting on the topic of this week’s blog post, I started looking through family photos and came across this favorite (above) of my dad, who was a banjo player, singing and playing for my one-month-old son, William.

Then I started thinking about how much fun it would be to see YOUR cherished photos of your children with their grandparents.

So I decided to host our first ever photo contest at Bella Luna Toys!

Our contest is hosted on Bella Luna Toys’ Facebook page. You can enter and find all the details there. We are accepting photo submissions through September 14, 20013 at noon, when the voting will begin. The winning photograph will be announced on Sunday September 22 and the winner will receive a $100.00 gift certificate from Bella Luna Toys!

If you are not on Facebook, no worries! Simply e-mail your photo to support@bellalunatoys.com and will will enter your photo in the contest.

So, Happy Grandparent’s Day to all you loving grandmas and grandpas! 

And to all you mamas and papas, be sure to let your parents know how much you appreciate them—not just on Grandparent’s Day, but all year round.

 

 

What are some favorite memories of  YOUR grandparents? What do you most appreciate about your parents’ relationship with your children? Share your reflections and stories here!

 

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parenting presents mothers fathers I’m Sarah Baldwin, a Waldorf early childhood teacher, mama to two Waldorf grads, author, and owner of Bella Luna Toys. Here I share my thoughts on childhood, play, parenting and what’s going on at Bella Luna Toys. More

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