Making family traditions – celebrating Christmastime together

Ulula is based at Rush Farm, a biodynamic farm in Worcestershire.rush-farm-2

The farm has been a wonderful means of meeting and making new friends from across the world through the splendid WWOOFer volunteers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), who have come from around the world to help us on the farm and soon become one of the family. This means that we now feel very much that we are an international family on the farm; as international as our Ulula family of wonderful worldwide customers🙂

We may not be ‘together’ on the farm across the winter months (a time of rest for the farm so no volunteers are needed), but sharing our winter traditions and memories is very special.

rush-farmOur winter family and community traditions are instilled in us when we are little, and these memories and feelings stay with us as we grow up, and we bring them into our world anew when our own little ones arrive.

These traditions are unique to each family, region, country and each generation, and we carry them with us, whether we are stay in the country of our birth, or find ourselves somewhere different. ‘Different’ brings opportunities – for both enjoying, and learning other families’ traditions. We blend them into our very own happy ever afters. Just as it should be x

Over the next few weeks we will share some of our international farm family’s memories of the Advent and Christmas period:

Andrzejki – Poland (St. Andrew’s Day)

On the last night of November we are celebrating Andrzejki (Poland – St. Andrew’s Day). This year it’s celebrated on the night between 29 and 30 November. 

party-glitter-ballAndrzejki is the last party before advent, and like any other Polish celebration, there is a feast with loads of food and drink and more… because this is the last day before lent (Christmas Lent) so people eat and drink as much as they can! The next opportunity will be on 26th December! Andrzejki is quite an awesome party: you want to party hard, so you could survive nearly one month without any!

andrzejki-2013

A part of this celebration on Andrzejki is that this is the night of rituals and fortune foretold (mainly about our relationships). The most popular tradition is that you melt candle wax and put the melted wax through the eye of a key, then cool the wax in a bowl of water. The shape you get can tell you the future – you’re checking that shape using a light and watching the shadow on a wall – and based on that shape you are foretold something about your future partner.

wax

Happy Andrzejki to us all x

radek-and-asia

With love from Radek and Asia… our fortune telling worked beautifully x

 

 

Making family traditions – celebrating Advent together

We light one candle shining bright
Upon this Holy Advent night
Fill our hearts with loving might
Lead us to Christmas Day’s brilliant light!

candle-2

This Sunday marks the first Sunday of Advent, or as we know it in the family, ‘gnomie’s advent’.

When we were little we would wake up on this Sunday morning to discover a  wonderful new world had arrived in front of our eyes – sometimes on a table top, sometimes set on a shelf within a book case. With swathes of cloth making a beautiful sky and a mossy grass seat for the lovingly handmade gnomes our wonderful mum had created for us, the Gnomes were set at work amongst our earths treasures of crystal and rock. It was a very special discovery to have as a little one, and it has been such a precious gift that we have been able to pass onto our little ones now that they are looking around their world in wonder and delight.waldrof-winter-nature-table-crystal-gnome

So this weekend let’s celebrate all things in our earthly Gnome realm! Here’s a song to march to together as we take a walk this weekend looking for other special rocks and stones to add to your Advent display:

gnome

March of the Gnomes
Ho, ho, ho, we gnomes all walk in a row (march in a circle)
Ho, ho, ho, we gnomes all walk in a row
We hammer and knock the stone and the rock (use arms to hammer)
Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!
We hammer and knock the stone and the rock
Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!

 

There are some really beautiful gnomes available to buy these days, with so many skilled crafty people about, but if we want to have a go for ourselves, there is a wonderful tutorial for a felted gnome here: http://www.lauraleeburch.com/2010/11/needle-felted-gnome-ornaments-tutorial/

gnomes-1-e-450x299

What else may we do to celebrate this first Advent? We are lucky enough here in the midlands to be close to a German Market which has become part of our Advent family traditions, and of course, as the children become a little older, and more outward facing and interested in our extended friends and family across the world, our family traditions shift, become added to and enriched with our experiences.

When we were fortunate enough to visit the historic city of Krakow this summer, we also learntkrakow_advent_market about the way that Advent is celebrated here too, and it made us want to be there!  On the first Sunday of Advent, the beautiful city square “Rynek” gets decorated with fir boughs, garlands, Christmas trees, and twinkling lights and booths are set up for their Christmas Market.

So, after a visit to the local Christmas market what next? Of course! The Advent Spiral.

Last year full of cold and poorly family we made a beautiful spiral out of cloths on the snug floor, but the year before we were able to meet with friends and sing together as the children young and old walked towards the Christmas light.

advent-spiral

Looking ahead in our family Advent picture the gnomies will be joined by their friends the mermaids and water fairies, then the butterflies and fairies of light and air, and finally the fire fairies warm and bright.

What are your Advent family traditions? Do share! Wishing us all a very happy Gnomie Advent x

When your little one is suffering with constipation

Constipation is bad enough when you are a grown up, but for little ones it can be miserable.

Constipation can occur for all sort of reasons; sometimes it is because of diet, some children have a sensitivity to foods and their bodies reaction is to experience a stool firming effect – constipation and for some little ones it is not what they eat but for example too little fluid intake. However it is common and in most cases, easily resolved.

How Holle can Help – when you are what you ‘Holle eat’!

Certain foods can have a stool firming effect, whilst others can have a stool loosening effect. If your little one becomes constipated avoid feeding constipating foods for a while or feed them only in small quantities.

Rice Porridge can have a firm stooling effect, in which case, you can happily swap to Holle Millet Porridge (gluten-free) or Rolled Oats Porridge which are both stool regulating.holle-organic-millet-porridge-with-rice

Carrots, bananas and raw apples can sometimes cause constipation in babies and complicate their digestion. Good alternatives are parsnips, pumpkins and cooked apple and pear.holle-pure-organic-pear-baby-food

As in all aspects of parenting, there is always an element of trusting your instincts – and those of your baby. If your little one refuses to eat a certain porridge, or fruit, or vegetable, they might well be instinctively self-selecting – telling you what they don’t need, and that may well help you find what they do need in order get themselves comfortable once again.

The beauty of Holle is that the company and their nutritionists, understand this completely – both scientifically and instinctively – and have produced a good selection of Demeter quality foods to support your little one’s needs. For a helpful and handy list of all the Holle Jars and their guide to introducing solid food take a look at the Holle Nutrition Guide.holle-demeter-baby-jar-nutrition-guide

How can I tell if my little one is constipated?
If your little one is straining to do a poo, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are constipated. When it comes to a baby’s bowel movements, there is often no normal number or schedule. Similar to adults, babies’ bowel movement patterns vary. Poo can also change in texture from day to day.

If you’re concerned that your baby may be constipated, look out for these signs:

• Crying and discomfort, irritability or pain before doing a poo
• Dry, hard, pellet-like poo that she has trouble passing
• Fewer than three bowel movements a week
• Foul-smelling wind and poo
• Loss of appetite
• A hard belly
• As odd as it sounds, very liquid poo can be also be sign of constipation. Liquid poo can slip past the blockage of hard poo in the lower intestine. If you see this, don’t assume it’s diarrhoea. It may be evidence of constipation.

What causes constipation?
There are several possible reasons why your baby may be constipated:

• Formula milk. A formula-fed baby is more prone to constipation because formula can be harder to digest than breastmilk, causing poo to be firm and bulky. A breastfed baby is unlikely to get constipated. Breastmilk produces poo that is almost always soft, even if a baby hasn’t done a poo for a few days.
• Introducing solids. Babies often become constipated when they start solids, as their bodies learn how to manage new foods. Low-fibre foods and not enough fluids also contribute to constipation.
• Dehydration. Your baby may be refusing milk because she’s teething, or is poorly with a cold; Your older baby may not be drinking enough milk or water with her solid foods. Whatever the reason – if your baby isn’t getting enough fluids, she may become dehydrated. This can cause dry, hard poo that is difficult to pass.
• A medical condition or illness. Occasionally, constipation can be a symptom of a food allergy, food poisoning, or a problem with the way the body absorbs food, known as a metabolic disorder.
• Worry – maybe about a big change such as moving house, starting nursery or the arrival of a new baby.
For more information and advice click here NHS

Babies who haven’t been weaned
If your baby is constipated but hasn’t started to eat solid foods, the first way to treat them is to give them extra hydration between their normal feeds. The Holle Nutritionists recommend for little ones’ the Baby Tea which contains the herbs fennel, aniseed, caraway and camomile, which together act effectively to relieve wind and support and encourage healthy digestion.holle-organic-baby-tea

The Tea can be taken either on its own, or if your little one is still drinking Milk, the Tea can be mixed in with your Holle Infant Formula by using 1/3 Holle Tea and 2/3 water. Do not use more water than recommended on the packet when you make up the bottle.

“Absolutely love this milk started my baby on it at one week old for a top up with my breast milk as I found it too hard to express breast milk! My baby girl took to it instantly and has had no negative side effects, although I found she was constipated (this is normal for breastfeed baby’s as they absorb all milk) although I did email ulula to ask if they had experienced anyone else having constipation, there customer services was incredible and suggested making the formula with 30ml of their kinda tea and they sent me some samples to try! Instantly this relived my baby’s colic and constipation! She LOVES the milk so much that TBH would chose the formula over the breast lol but she is happy with both! I would highly recommend both these products!” Vicki

“Hi, We we’re giving breast milk & bottle but now only give bottle milk & our 4month old was getting constipation. I read somewhere to give him a tsp. of juice which worked but I didn’t want to be giving him so much sugar all the time, I read a review on this website from the goats milk that said they use this tea. I ween him off the juice now & his poo it great. I use little tea pot & get three bottle from one tea bag. It works fine & saves me some money. Thanks Holle x” Charlotte

Constipation in children
Constipation is common in childhood, particularly when children are being potty trained. As well as infrequent or irregular bowel movements, a child with constipation may also have any of the following symptoms:

• loss of appetite
• a lack of energy
• being irritable, angry or unhappy
• foul-smelling wind and stools
• stomach pain and discomfort
• soiling their pants
• generally feeling unwell

If your child is constipated, they may find it painful to poo. This creates a vicious circle: the more it hurts, the more they hold back. The more constipated they get, the more it hurts. Even if pooing isn’t painful, once your child is really constipated, they will stop wanting to go to the toilet altogether. The Weleda Nappy Change Cream is a must for sore bottoms.cal_nappychangecream75mltubeen

Ways to help prevent and relieve constipation in babies and children:

• Make sure your baby/child has plenty to drink – this includes breastfeeding and formula milk feeds.
• You may want to try gently moving your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion or carefully massaging their tummy to help stimulate their bowels.baby_body-oil
• Once weaned successfully, give your child a variety of foods, including plenty of fruit and vegetables which are a good source of fibre.
• Encourage your child to be physically active – it really helps.
• Get your child into a routine of regularly sitting on the potty or toilet, after meals or before bed, and praise them whether or not they poo each time. This is particularly important for boys, who may forget about pooing once they are weeing standing up.
• Make sure your child can rest their feet flat on the floor or a step when they’re using the potty or toilet, to get them in a good position for pooing.
• Ask them to tell you if they feel worried about using the potty or toilet – some children don’t want to poo in certain situations, such as at nursery.
• Stay calm and reassuring, so that your child doesn’t see going to the toilet or mealtimes as a stressful situation. You want your child to see pooing as a normal part of life, not something to be ashamed of, and food and eating as their friend, not something that ultimately hurts them.

If your little one’s constipation is not getting better don’t struggle on alone; do please consult your GP or Health Visitor for support.

Making family traditions – celebrating Martinmas together

lantern-walkBefore our little ones came along, we’d best confess that Martinmas wasn’t a part of our lives, but being invited to be a part of first the story, and then the singing as we strode out on our Lantern Walk at their kindi that first November was wonderful! We discovered this amazing opportunity to be together under the stars, singing with our lanterns. How fabulous!

It has now become a family tradition for us to celebrate this special day – we sometimes make new lanterns, and sometimes we use last year’s… we always make sure we have one each of course! The anticipation of waiting for dusk to fall and getting our wellies on to walk is wonderful!

Sometimes we walk as an extended family group, and one year when ill health restricted how far we could go, there were just the two of us and we wandered along the pavement beside our home singing away together!lantern-walk-drawing

We had never made a relationship with what Martinmas actually is, but have enjoyed enormously learning about it for this blog! Martinmas is on November 11th, and is a wonderful festival.  “This day celebrates the burial of St Martin of Tours (316-397 AD) who devoted much of his life to establishing Christianity in France, and became one of her patron saints.”*

Many of you will perhaps know the story he was most famous for – that of meeting a poor beggar at the city gate, who was shivering in the cold.  Martin drew his sword and cut his own cloak in two and gave one half to the beggar.  Legend has it that Christ appeared to Martin in a dream the following night dressed in the piece of cloak Martin had cut.

“Martin’s half cloak brought hope and comfort to the beggar – his compassionate gesture may warm us also, and protect us from wintry despair.”*

gnomes-with-lanterns

To celebrate Martinmas, we carry lanterns, walking together, singing, as a symbol of the small light we can shine into the dark wintery world. When we make our paper lanterns, we are making a protection for the flame that joined us and began to shine for us at Michaelmas. Our lantern light may be only one small, fragile light, but each and every light “brings relief to the darkness”*.

Here are our own two favourite Lantern Walk Songs:

dsc08945I go outside with my lantern: A Lantern Walk Song
I go outside with my lantern, my lantern goes with me.
Above the stars are shining bright, down here on Earth shine we.
The cock does crow, the cat meows, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

I go outside with my lantern, my lantern goes with me.
Above the stars are shining bright, down here on Earth shine we.
So shine your light through the still dark night, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

Glimmer, lantern, glimmer: A Lantern Walk Songdsc08957
Glimmer, lantern, glimmer.
Little stars a-shimmer.
Over meadow, moor and dale.
Flitter, flutter, elfin veil.
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tikka-tikka-tik.
Rucoo, rucoo.

Glimmer, lantern, glimmer.
Little stars a-shimmer.
Over rock and stock and stone.
Wandering, skipping, little gnome.
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tikka-tikka-tik.
Rucoo, rucoo.

lanternIf you want to learn the tunes, there are wonderful video clips here:
http://astorytellingofcrows.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/lantern%20walk%20songs

A beautiful story which could be told through perhaps a puppet show or simply by being told to listening ears before your lantern walk can be found here:
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/images/stories/Journal_Articles/GW3808.pdf

All Year Round includes instructions and patterns for three different lanterns, or these sites also have wonderful suggestions for your family lanterns: http://lusaorganics.typepad.com/clean/2011/10/how-to-make-paper-lanterns.html

Which ever songs you sing, and wherever your lantern walk takes you, have a very happy Martinmas!

*All Year Round: Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, Marije Rowling

Making family traditions – celebrating Bonfire Night together

“Remember remember the fifth of November,bonfire
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot.” Anon

The sorry-old-tale of the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament  in 1605 has been well preserved in our British folklore. It is fun to find ourselves teaching our little ones the poem, and sharing how we celebrated this day when we were little – because each family has their own way to celebrate together, and we share these ‘traditions’ when we share our memories.

This celebration also gives us a wonderful reason for a family bonfire and the sparkles of fireworks that brighten the night sky. The perfect time for us to say together this wonderful poem:

Fireworks Nightfirework
Who is drawing pictures on the black night sky?
Swirls of red and yellow up so high, so high?
Noisy cracks and bangs make the babies cry.
Who is drawing pictures on the black night sky?
 Julie Tonkin

 

The ritual of a ‘celebration fire’ actually stems back of course from pagan times – the key moments of the year such as the transitional moments of spring and autumn were celebrated with a fire, and even now, most of us love the occasion of a bonfire – flames can be so mesmerising and heartening to watch, and of course, making the bonfire is such a special act for the whole family to be a part of. A favourite song of ours to sing when we are making is bonfire is:

Heave and heave-ho**bonfire

Dray the branches to the heap,
To the heap, to the heap.
Drag the branches to the heap,
Heave and heave-ho.

Pile them high and stack them steep,
Stack them steep, stack them steep.
Pile them high and stack them steep,
Heave and heave-ho.

Pack the spaces strong and firm,
Strong and firm, strong and firm.
Pack the spaces strong and firm,
Heave and heave-ho.

Stand well back, it’s time to burn,
Time to burn, time to burn.
Stand well back, it’s time to burn,
Heave and heave-ho.

When we were little, in our family, we would enbaked-potsjoy the bonfire, the sparks, the flames, dancing fire fairies, and of course, the being out late!! Then our parents would cook baked potatoes in the embers, wrapped in tin foil – delicious!

Bonfires are a wonderful opportunity for little ones to ‘stay up late’ – and this time with permission! To be out under the night sky is very special, able to gaze at the stars above, and enjoy the fire fairies amongst the flames of the fire.

And, of course, it doesn’t have to be a large the-gnomes-around-the-bonfirebonfire.

A small fire for your family of gnomes is perfect, especially if together you have been gathering collecting-for-autumntreasures collected in your garden and on your autumn walks, which can be brought together to create a wonderful way to celebrate the end of Autumn; A Gnomes’ bonfire party*!

To create a Gnomes’ Bonfire Party “prepare a small fire… and allow it to establish a good bed of hot embers. waiting-for-the-conker-to-pop

Seat all the Autumn Garden gnomes comfortably at a suitable distance from the fire and then gather every pod, leaf, cone and other scrap from the Autumn Garden that the gnomes have not been able to use, and feed them into the fire one by one.

They will each burn in an individual way – some with a bright flare, some with a crackle, some with a shower of golden sparks. (Chestnuts and acorns that have not been pierced with a knife may explode, so be sure the fire is guarded.) Take time to enjoy each ‘firework’, but leave the pine cones until last – if the conditions are right and they are undisturbed, they might turn to gold before your very eyes!”

And for the Gnomes?? Perhaps a feast as a rcakeeward for all their hard work…

 

…but be quick! It will soon be gone!its-going-fast

 

 

 

 

bonfire-gnome

 

However you celebrate this night together, happy Bonfire Night!

 

 

 

 

*All Year Round: Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, Marije Rowling   ** Julie Tonkin, and Candy Verney – adapted from a traditional song

Today is International World Pasta Day!

Pasta has long been a favourite dish for children and adults alike; highly nutritious and a great energy source, served either with a vegetable sauce or just with some cheese, it is a quick, simple, delicious meal that we all enjoy. With gluten, or without, there is a pasta for each of us. To celebrate the special occasion of today, we have taken a look at what each kind of pasta says about you** but we leave the pasta shapes and the Mie Noodles to your imagination – let us know what you come up with😉

Spaghetti: Warm hearted

If spaghetti is your go to pasta, you are csm_mais-reis-spaghetti_minikuerbis_gemuese_01_117f7f64d9warm hearted. You gravitate towards the classic and never fail to help a friend out. Choosing spaghetti means you are sympathetic and kind. You are also open-minded and sensitive, and you always listen when someone needs you.

http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-spelt-spaghetti.html                 http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-corn-rice-spaghetti-gluten-free-pasta.html

Penne: Easy goingalb-gold-organic-emmer-penne

If  penne pasta floats your boat, you are easy going. You are relaxed and do not have an anxious bone in your body. Even-tempered and mellow, your day to day life may get hectic but you never let that get in the way of things you truly care about.

http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-emmer-penne.html

Rigatoni: Determined

csm_mais-reis-rigatoni_spinat_pilze_01_28a5780239If you like rigatoni, you are determined. Anything you set your mind to, you accomplish. There is no limit when it comes to what you can achieve. Your resolute outlook on life keeps you focused and gets you places.

http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-corn-rice-rigatoni-gluten-free-pasta.html

Farfalle (for us the Pantacce Tricolour): Energeticalb-gold-organic-pantacce-tricolore

If farfalle makes your heart soar like the butterflies they are shaped like, you are energetic. Doing nothing all day bores you. You have to get out and experience life! If you like farfalle, you are active, spirited, and have a bubbly personality.

http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-pantacce-tricolore.html

5. Gemelli: Creativealb-gold-organic-strozzapreti

If you are one with gemelli, you are creative. You have incredible original ideas and are artistic. You are innovative, original, and gifted. Choosers of gemelli are imaginative and resourceful.

http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-strozzapreti.html

6. Elbow: Generousalb-gold-organic-einkorn-drelli

If elbow pasta is the one that you want, you are generous. You consistently show kindness towards others. You are always thinking about how you can do more for your loved ones.

http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-einkorn-drelli.html

7. Rotini (Or in our case, Fusilli) : Fearlesscsm_buchweizen_mit_currysauce_02_cf54be97aa

If rotini is your one true love, you are fearless. You are bold, courageous, and brave. Your intrepid outlook on life allows you to live to the fullest. You are lionhearted and not afraid of anything.

Who knew! With this exciting new knowledge, you can enjoy choosing your pasta supper to match your mood!

http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-corn-rice-fusilli-gluten-free-pasta.html            http://www.ulula.co.uk/alb-gold-organic-wholegrain-spelt-fusilli.html  http://www.ulula.co.uk/seitz-organic-gluten-free-buckwheat-fusilli.html

** http://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/what-your-favorite-pasta-shape-says-about-you/

A Holle Weaning Harvest Festival

The nights are drawing in; the heating is back on, and what better way to feed our next generation than on a harvest feast of gluten free pumpkin and plums! Holle prides itself of making meals for babies which are easy and convenient for the parents, and nutritious and organic for the little ones.

Holle Organic holle-organic-pumpkin-with-rice-baby-foodPumpkin and Rice is an ideal combination of vegetable and a gluten free grain. The Holle Organic Pumpkin and Rice is ideal if, as can sometimes happen, your baby has developed a tendency to constipation after introducing root vegetables like carrots – switching to pumpkin as a weaning vegetable for your baby is usually recommended. http://www.ulula.co.uk/holle-organic-pumpkin-with-rice-baby-food.html

Holle Organic Pumpkin and Chicken – is a mild tasting chicken meal that appeals to babies during the later weaning stage one. Using chicken holle-organic-pumpkin-with-chicken-baby-foodfrom a new initiative in Germany which raises the male chicken to Demeter certified organic standards, this mild tasting Chicken meal is perfect for weaning. http://www.ulula.co.uk/holle-organic-pumpkin-potatoes-and-chicken-baby-food.html

Holle’s NEW organic baby porridge is a real gluten free treat for babies. Finely puréed pumpkiholle-organic-vegetable-porridge-pumpkin-rightn provides it with a delicious pumpkin aroma that, combined with maize and rice, creates a delicious meal. Easy to prepare using either breast milk, baby formula or just water for a delicious and wholesome porridge for your baby. http://www.ulula.co.uk/holle-organic-vegetable-porridge-pumpkin-maize-rice.html

Holle Organic Apple and Plum Baby Food is a smooth and fruity pudding for your bholle-organic-apple-and-plum-baby-foodaby, made with 81% biodynamically and organically grown fruit. Ideal for use in your baby’s porridges, on its own in the afternoon or as a snack when your baby feels hungry.   http://www.ulula.co.uk/holle-organic-apple-and-plum-baby-food.html