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Friday
May032013

DIY Summer Nature Camp - Fun in Your Own Backyard!

At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum” is a one-of-a-kind resource.

The At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum offers 8-weeks of backyard summer fun! Pictured: A DIY Telescope from Imagine Childhood, Make a Shadow Sundial from Mama Scout, Make a Native Bee Condo from A Natural Nester and A Trip to the U-Pick with Slow Family Online. Learn more: http://ow.ly/k7w8b.

For parents looking to avoid pricey camps and connect with their kids this summer, the new At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum is the answer. Designed to connect kids with the natural world in a fun and engaging way, this DIY camp guide, from blogger and writer Elizabeth Sniegocki of A Natural Nester, offers activities, crafts, recipes, and ideas, all organized around eight weekly themes. The eCurriulum (available for download on May 20th), is a full-color, reader-friendly PDF document that can be read on a computer or tablet, or printed out. Pre-orders can be placed now for $39.99 at www.NaturalNester.com

“For years, I’ve been doing ‘camp mom’ with my two daughters, organizing our projects, outings, and media choices around different themes for each week they are out of school,” says Sniegocki. “My camp mom is the inspiration for the nature camp eCurriculum. It offers all kinds of activities and ideas in an easy-to-follow guide, so parents can focus on making memories with their kids in their own backyard.” 

For the At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum, Sniegocki has brought together a significant group of “camp counselors” – a collection of creative bloggers and writers – to guide campers through the fun and educational lessons, activities, outdoor projects, recipes, crafts, field trip ideas, and book and media suggestions that accompany each of the eight weekly themes. Geared toward children ages 5-11 (but adaptable for all ages), the camp’s nature-based themes are: An Edible Garden; Sun Fun; Ponds & Frogs; The Night Sky; At the Beach; Rain, Rain; and A Spot in the Shade. 

“The themes and material are designed to connect kids with the natural world through play, and discovery, and good, old-fashioned fun,” says Sniegocki. “For example, campers will learn about planetary proportions while snacking on ‘honey popcorn planets’ during The Night Sky week. They’ll experience growing their own food by planting a ‘pizza garden’ during An Edible Garden week. And they’ll explore weather and rainfall by building a ‘DIY rain gauge’ during Rain, Rain week.” 

In addition to the submissions from outside camp counselors, Sniegocki herself contributes to the At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum with a brief introduction and lesson for each weekly theme, at least one of each week’s nature-fun ideas, and tutorials for two ‘all-summer-long’ projects: Keep a Nature Journal and Create a Curio Cabinet. The eCurriculum also includes an introduction on the importance of getting children in nature, written by Susan Sachs Lipman, social media director for the Children & Nature Network (www.childrenandnature.org), and author of the book Fed Up With Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World and the blog Slow Family Online (www.slowfamilyonline.com). 

“The eCurriculum format is really ideal. Participants receive the entire eight-week guide at once, so the themes can be implemented in any order, from nearly any location,” says Sniegocki. “This way, the program can be customized to fit any family’s summer schedule. The camp could also be followed together by a group of friends or neighbors!” 

Pre-orders are now being accepted for the At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum, which will be available for download on May 20th. For more information or to place an order, visit www.NaturalNester.com

Meet the At-Home Summer Nature Camp Counselors:

 

 

Elizabeth Sniegocki is a writer, naturalist, suburban homesteader, and mother in Sarasota, FL. She writes on seasonal and sustainable living, wholesome cooking, community building, conscious parenting, and more for various print and online publications, and on her blog: A Natural Nester. Elizabeth also offers a seasonal nature journaling eCourse, A Sense of Place, to help others connect to nature and self. Learn more about her work atwww.NaturalNester.com, and connect with Elizabeth on Facebook at www.facebook.com/anaturalnester and Twitter @anaturalnester.

 

 

Monday
Mar252013

Zentangles: Doodling as a Form of Art

by Stacey Libbert, Running Monologue

Photo provided by Mommy Labs

I am a life-long doodler.  I doodled in my notebooks as a child.  I doodled on the phone book as I sat and talked on the telephone.  I doodled in the margins of my notes in college and in staff meetings.  Even now, I doodle on my church bulletin or my calendar or my journals.  Some teachers thought I wasn’t listening if I was doodling, but nothing could have been further from the truth.  If anything, when I was doodling, I was listening more intently and deeply than if I’d been sitting with my hands folded neatly on the desk in front of me.

Doodling brings a clarity and focus to my hearing, my processing and my learning.  It’s one of the greatest tools I ever used as a student, writer and artist because doodling opens up creative pathways in my brain where my best ideas find their way to the page. 

Doodling is a form of prayer at times.  It is a form of creative thinking.  

I have become a huge fan of art journaling, sometimes filling as many art journal pages as written pages, and one of my favorite forms of art in those journals is something called a Zentangle. 

Simply put, Zentangles are repeated patterns, often in black and white, that are put together in creative designs to create a piece of art.  They are intuitive, imaginative, and beautiful, and best of all, anyone can do them.  Children also find them very appealing and accessible.  

Zentangles are super easy because they don’t require a lot of material.  All you need is paper and a black gel pen or fine-point Sharpie and a willingness to let your imagination flow.  

Because I am a dedicated journal keeper, I began a Zentangle journal.  I carry it with me in my purse and pull it out when I am bored or have some free time or if I’m in a long meeting.  I’ve even taken to cutting my patterns out and pasting them onto painted pages in other journals. 

I also pull it out and work in it with my children at the dining room table.  We put on some music, chat about our day, and let our hands doodle all over the page.  The result is always interesting.   My daughter likes to add lots of vibrant colors to hers while my son’s are big and dramatic.  Either way, each zentangle is as unique as its creator, and it serves as a wonderful way to wind down at the end of a long day, to breathe deeply, to not think too much.  They are, quite simply, one of the best meditations around.  

If you’re interested in learning more about Zentangles, you can visit the official website .  There are also some great books available as well as hundreds of images on the Internet to get your creative juices flowing.  One of my favorites can be found at Mommy Labs.  Rashmie has great examples and thoughts on the process of zentangling.  Check it out.

Stacey Libbert is a writer, artist and mom in the mountains of North Carolina.  She spends her days writing, exploring the world, and doodling in the margins of her papers as often as possible.  Stop by to say hello and visit her at Running Monologue.

 

Thursday
Mar142013

This Week's Win! March 14 

Two lucky subscribers will win a two-pack of books from Microcosm Publishing!

 

Make It Last: Prolonging and Preserving the Things We Love by Raleigh Briggs

Raleigh Briggs has published yet another gem of a household reference book.Fixing zippers, waterproofing, canning, drying herbs, mending seems and windowscreens… these are just some of the everyday activities we could all do to make things last longer and preserve their wonderfulness in our lives! It is a short, simple read that takes us back to basics… the info our Home Ec. classes would teach us if they still existed!

 

 

 

 

 

Barefoot in the Kitchen: Vegan Recipes for You by Ashley Rowe

Packed with comics, drawings and helpful asides and over 70vegan recipes, Barefoot in the Kitchen is an entertaining and extremely accessible way to bring the joy of animal-free cooking into your own kitchen!

 

 

To enter to win this two-pack of books: 

1. Become a Bamboo subscriber

AND

2. "Like" or comment on the Bamboo Facebook page's "This Week's Win" posts OR leave a comment on this blog post!

Good luck!

Tuesday
Mar122013

SouLodge: Online E-Course Offers a Safe Place to Journey Within

Green Room Blog Special Section: Wisdom Workshops

by Joli Forbes

Photos by Stacy de la Rosa

 

I got out my journal and favorite pen, sat down with a quiet mind (and a quiet house!) and eagerly signed in. This was the first thing like this I’d ever done for myself… and I loved every minute of it… even though sometimes it was hard, sometimes I had to look stuff up (some definitions you’ll find here in case you need ‘em too!), and sometimes life made focusing a bit challenging… but I found a way to persevere because I’m worth it.

SouLodge is a sacred space for women to gather to learn about Earth Medicine, the Divine feminine experience and journey through our mind’s eye with the aid of ancient animal and plant wisdoms. (Earth Medicine is defined by The World Health Organization as “The medicine that refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.”)

Creator and SouLodge.com guide, Pixie Campbell’s bio states, “she is a Magician, interested mostly in transforming what isn't working into wisdom: that which works.” That is what she’s teaching in SouLodge. She teaches us how to transform perspective by diving in, noticing, appreciating what we find, then clearing out and lovingly embracing all that is within the light and love that is us. Campbell is a writer, an artist, a teacher, and a wise woman who holds retreats and gatherings, writes and produces workshops and courses that are designed to reignite our connection to the earth, creativity, and the depths of our individual and collective souls.

My class’ animal totem was the Panther and we were doing fear-challenging shadow work. It is the kind of stuff nightmares are made from -- what am I afraid of? Why don’t I feel I’m good enough? Why aren’t my ideas taken seriously? What do I hide from? Deep, dark stuff.

I learned it was time to release my darkest story to the universe. I set it free to a group of strangers then to my friends and, while I was an emotional wreck through the writing process, I feel much clearer and without sadness about it now. I have also moved houses, changed patterns and shifted toward success and prowess. I am different now. And I am grateful.

Pixie Campbell will be launching an online painting course and “Self-Care the SouLodge Way.” And Campbell told me that the next Soulodge totem, while she remains elusive, will be a “certain fuzzy, hopping creature who teaches us to thrive by means of prolific and fertile creativity.”

SouLodge is an ongoing, Shamanic soul journeying “e-course retreat” that you can purchase on a month-by-month or yearly basis and learn about the journeywork associated with that time of the season. It touches on animal totems and guides, medicine wheel teachings, meditations, and includes links, live podcasts and downloads. This is an awakening experience available whenever you are ready… for $19 per month it’s a wonderful investment into self.

SouLodge.com and/or Etsy.com.


 Joli Selten Forbes is a Bamboo contributing editor, freelance writer, photographer and poet. She is a mother, dancer, gardener and foodie who instigates change in her home and community for what she calls the “Revolution of Consciousness” currently underway. She holds a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon who's professional bylines can be found at  yourdailythread.com, Flaunt, Shape, Bon Appétit, the LA Times, Press Democrat, Orange Coast Magazine, Minnesota Law & Politics, URB, and many other magazines and newspapers. She is also a regular volunteer for local organizations like Food Not Bombs and music/art festivals like Lightning in a Bottle.

Tuesday
Mar122013

I (Heart) the Earth! Thoughts on Growing an Eco-Conscious Child

by Donna DeForbes of Eco-Mothering

 

“The earth is sick, Mommy.”

This is what my six-year-old daughter has learned from my years working for an environmental organization and talking about pollution, fish kills and global warming. 

Now that I am removed from that immediate environment, I wonder about such a negative message. Does it inspire action or does it feed hopelessness? 

My recent focus on the law of attraction tells me like attracts like. Repeating statements like “the earth is sick” builds on that negative energy and tends to create similar situations. Another way of looking at it: I see only negative situations through such a filter. I focus on the oil spills, the violent weather patterns, the displaced polar bears… and become blind to the good things happening in the world. And there are good things. 

The earth has survived for over four billion years, after all. It has learned to heal itself. It’s atmosphere and temperature and the life forms they support may change, but the earth itself keeps evolving. It may seem “sick” from our human perspective, but I’m pretty sure this planet will outlast us. 

This is not to say I don’t care about ecological issues anymore. I do. I believe in connection with nature. In striking a balance with other species. In taking action. What suddenly irks me is the message of scarcity that often prevails in environmental activism: There’s not enough. Use less. We’re running out. Think small. 

As I’m learning in other areas of my life, scarcity provokes more Scarcity and its bullying cousins: Fear, Negativity and Hopelessness. And aren’t they a fun bunch to be around? Feelings of scarcity do not inspire generosity. Feelings of abundance inspire generosity. People who are barely making ends meet typically do not donate to charities. Prosperous people donate to charities.

At home, if my daughter, Sofie, thinks there’s not enough of something for the whole family—blueberries, for example—she fears she won’t get her share. This leads to behaviors of whining, hoarding and obsessively comparing everyone’s share of berries to see who got the best deal. Fun times. 

However, I notice these behaviors are absent when Sofie believes there are plenty of blueberries. Maybe it’s because the fridge is fully stocked or she knows we’ll buy more or she sees our blueberry bush fruiting. When my daughter feels this abundance, she eats her berries joyfully and is more apt to share them. 

The eco-activities we engage in as a family—recycling, composting, gardening, second-hand shopping—I prefer to do in a spirit of joy and love for the earth. We bond as a family and we reap the rewards (as does the planet). If we engage in such activities out of obligation or fear, they become chores that eventually fall to the wayside. And nobody has any fun.

When I notice sudden compulsiveness (Oh no! I tossed a #5 yogurt container in the trash! The earth will die because of me!), I know I’m coming from a place of fear. And I can tell you from my Catholic upbringing how effective that is. People are motivated to do things out of fear for only so long before they rebel. 

This may be a fine line of distinction, but I believe it is an important one. The same action taken under two different motivations often produces different results. Coming from a spirit of lack tends to put focus on the problem, whereas coming from a spirit of abundance brings about solutions. And solutions are what this planet needs. 

In the end I want Sofie to be eco-conscious, but I hope that stems from believing the earth is a source of abundance. I want her to rejoice in its waters and forests, its mountains and creatures. To notice its beauty, not just its trash. To view it as a haven, not only a force of destruction. To act joyfully, not fearfully. To replace messages of scarcity with messages of abundance: There is enough for all. Love more. Do more. Think big. 

I’d rather hear my daughter say, “I love the earth, Mommy!”

Donna DeForbes is a writer, graphic designer and green mommy blogger who aims to uplift others and inspire change. She is passionate about books, art, the environment, clean design, natural parenting and living authentically. Her Eco-Mothering blog shares tips and stories on green parenting plus eco product reviews and giveaways. A Philly native, Donna currently lives in Rhode Island with her progressive husband and precocious six-year-old daughter. Follow EcoMom on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EcoMom.DeForbes) or Twitter (@EcoMom_DeForbes).

 

Friday
Feb082013

We Got the Beat...

by Stacey Libbert

 

I had a stereo, a hairbrush, and a box full of thrift shop dresses and my grandmother’s old nightgowns.  I twirled and kicked, spun gloriously around my bedroom floor, grabbed hold of the bed post, my makeshift dance partner, waved my arms and hands in the air and sang every word to every MGM musical I knew.  I was a star.

It would be easy to say, “If I had a dollar for every hour I spent watching myself mime the words to Judy Garland’s songs or the dialogue from Gone With the Wind, I’d be rich,” but I don’t need a dollar.  The hours themselves are what really made me rich.

They gave a shy, quiet girl who dreamed of being able to openly express herself hours of creative, wildly imaginative play.  Oddly enough, those hours in front of my bedroom mirror were some of my happiest.

Even now, I enjoy a good whirl around the floor in front of a full-length mirror.  Maybe I’m a closet diva.   And my child is a full-on, put-it-all-out-there diva who has no hesitation about displaying her awesomeness on a regular basis.  As soon as she was able to bounce her diapered bum to the beat, the two of us have enjoyed “spontaneous dance parties”.

In time, her brother joined us—first, as an innocent bystander in the baby sling and later as a full-fledged member of our spontaneous dance troupe.  His little boy dance style is more aggressive and looks more like exaggerated martial arts moves than actual dance moves, but they are musical and joyful and BIG. 

That’s the thing about spontaneous dance parties in the privacy of your own home.  You can go BIG all the way.  It’s a moment of total freedom, a dose of wild abandon.  It’s medicine for the soul.

Conventional wisdom will tell you that these kinds of activities are good for children.  They encourage healthy exercise and provide an outlet for creative expression.  I agree whole-heartedly.  But I will also assert that those who need it most are not necessarily children. Children, by definition, are wild artists, original dancers, radical singers, and generally free spirits.  It’s who they are, who they were born to be.

It’s us older kids who have lost some of our luster, our shine, our BIGness.  Dancing, singing, flinging one’s hair up and down like the lead singer of an 80’s band is sort of weird… possibly irresponsible… and definitely embarrassing.  Who are we, these grown up people with responsibilities to behave in such a way?

Well, in the words of Marianne Williamson, who are we to not do those things?  One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set yourself free.  Become a child again.  You have wise teachers to guide you in this dance.  Watch them.  And then jump in.  Dance with them.  Be a star.  Let them be stars.  Make the sky shine a little brighter.

 

A Few of Our Favorites

“It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.” 

 

Say Hey by Michael Franti

Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets

Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry

Respect by Aretha Franklin

Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys

We Got the Beat by The Go-Go’s

Three Little Birds by Bob Marley

Be OK by Ingrid Michaelson

Whole Lotta Shakin’Goin’ On by Jerry Lee Lewis

Me and Julio Down bythe Schoolyard by Paul Simon 

 

Stacey Libbert is a mom, teacher and writer living in western North Carolina.  You can find her at her blog, Running Monologue.  Stop by and say hello.

 

Saturday
Jan192013

This Week's Win! January 19 - January 27

One lucky subscriber will win an eco-friendly watch from Sprout Watches!

 

 

Fashion-forward design and a unique combination of eco-friendly materials meld to form this Sprout model, which features an ivory corn resin case, buckle & fixed bezel, gilt crown, khaki organic cotton strap, mineral crystal, cork dial with gold Arabic numerals, indexes & logo plate and sweep second hand. Get ready for adventure by pairing it with an organic cotton t-shirt and cargos. 

 

 To enter to win this women's eco-friendly watch valued at $50 from Sprout Watches: 

1. Become a Bamboo subscriber

AND

2. "Like" or comment on the Bamboo Facebook page's "This Week's Win" posts OR leave a comment on this blog post!

Good luck!

Wednesday
Jan162013

Winter Tea Ceremonies

by Stacey Libbert, Running Monologue


One of the most beautiful things about winter is the opportunity to create warmth inside the home.  For our family, this means layers and layers of old quilts, a fireplace, candlelight, warm soups and homemade bread, wooly socks and the smell of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. 

It also means hot tea.

My children have always loved a tea party.  Tiny ceramic pots, cups and saucers painted with dainty roses are placed lovingly on the table and filled with warm concoctions of milk and sugar and a little bit of tea.

Last year, my daughter discovered the tradition of having an actual teatime.  For some reason, this resonated with her, and she begged to begin serving tea in the late afternoon as part of our “coming in from the cold” ritual.

It has been a lovely addition to our afternoons.  Rosy cheeked and shivering, we stomp the mud and snow from our boots, shed layers of wet clothing, and toast ourselves by the fire as a kettle of water begins to whistle on the stove.

Then we pour and wait.  Waiting for the aroma of tea brewing to hit our nostrils and warm us all over again.

I don’t know what it is about a cup of warm tea that pleases them so much. 

For me, it’s about the slowness of it all, the chance to sit and rest and visit with these people I love so dearly. 

Kid-Friendly Tea Options

Lemon balm, lemongrass, ginger, chamomile, mint, red teas with rosehips and hibiscus, honeybush, rooibos, and tulsi.

*Special note: Children with ragweed allergies may react to chamomile, so monitor closely.

Check out Groove Tea, an organic, fair trade tea company that blends teas specifically for children.

 

Stacey Libbert is a writer, teacher and mom living in the foothills of North Carolina.  You can read more about her adventures in raising children and goats and brewing the perfect cup of tea at her blog, Running Monologue or visit her on Facebook at Running Monologue.