Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Crafted wooden toys, made with Love

When we are looking for new products to bring to Ulula, we use our heads and our hearts equally, in the belief that if both are in agreement, we feel that we have found the right product!

When we started looking to expand our range of toys, our hours of buying and trying led us to Hohenfried.

In this modern world, Hohenfried Heimat feels to us a real gem in our midst. Hohenfried is an open community of learning for disabled adults and children, providing sheltered accommodation, schools, and employment in organic agriculture, craft workshops, carpentry, gourmet kitchens, and bakeries. Hohenfried is not simply a ‘place’. It is a home; a field of learning, a gathering of people, wildlife and most importantly of all, purpose.

Sitting in the Bavarian Alps, the landscape alternates between woodlands and meadows with flowing transitions between nature and the areas of living and working.

For Ulula, the wooden rattles that came to our attention made us fall in love! The rattles are made in the community workshops, and are made entirely of local timber, cut mostly (and sustainably) from trees grown in the communities own grounds; the toys are beautifully machined, and finished only using pure vegetable oils.

The various rattles or greifling (clutching) toys are handmade to the renowned carpenter, pedagogue, and educational theorist Hugo Kükelhaus’s original 1930s ‘allbedeut’ designs. Kükelhaus was a well-known German architect, educator and environmentalist, who designed a range of special baby toys which promote sensory, motor skills and the imagination.

Hohenfried Dreilochring Rattle
This beautiful, chunky, handmade wooden rattle, containing two balls of beechwood securely enclosed within an outer ring of strong cherry wood, makes a lovely, gentle sound when shaken. The silky, smooth surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. A quality rattle, made with love, that is certain to become an heirloom. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

Hohenfried Kugel Rattle

This handmade wooden ball rattle is made of pear tree wood with an inner ball of hard cherry wood. The ridged, textured surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

“My mum had a rattle just like this, and as soon as she saw it at Ulula she had to get it for my little one – it already feels like an heirloom because of the familiarity, and my LO loves it so much x” Johanna

Hohenfried Urfisch Rattle
This fun, eternally classic, quality handmade wooden rattle contains a wooden inner ball which makes a pleasing sound when shaken. The multi-textured surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. A delightful rattle, beautifully made with love, that is certain to become an heirloom. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

 

Hohenfried Greifling Rattle
This lovingly handmade wooden ring rattle contains a central bar holding three loose disks which make a lovely sound when shaken. The silky, smooth surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

“Love this so much – it is so beautiful to hold, and just brilliant for my son – he is teething, and he loves a good gnaw!!” Anna

 

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

Making family traditions – celebrating Halloween together

Once September has passed, and we are heading towards Halloween, it is so easy to feel that the colder, dark days are dragging us down into our own forthlbtu9xywm of sleepy hibernation – the warm cosy bed in the morning is always harder to leave in October, and is Halloween really anything that we can celebrate as a family together anyway?

It was wonderful to discover through our reading that Halloween is also the Eve of Samhain, a pagan celebration of the New Year – an especially significant time, the Earth Goddess pictured as the Old Wise Woman who stands at the dying of the old year, on the threshold of the new*. What a wonderful re-frame of our year. No more might we feel that the winter is the last season of the year, and time to ‘survive’ until the spring, or that Halloween is something to avoid.

Perhaps then the trick is the sense we have grown up with that Halloween becoming something of a commercialised moment in the year, and the treat is that it is actually our doorway through to wonder and delight of what is to come!

Despite the costumes and frightening masks in the shops, marking the day Halloween does give us a moment in time to look towards, and prepare for, because even when your little ones are tiny, starting your family traditions – forming them, creating them, allowing them to develop around and for your family are all very wonderful exciting times.

Pumpkin carving is as simply or elaborate as your carving skills can make it; bringing the light into your home amongst the dark and cold eautumnleavespumpkincarvingpatternvening is a very special, meditative craft that you can do together as a family, or when the children as a little younger, you can make the magic appear. Allowing those pumpkins to shine out in the cold evening is a wonderful beacon.

When my little one was still only one, we carved our pumpkin and lit it on our nature table in our sitting room, and as she came in from the kitchen the sense of wonder and delight was so gratifying. She couldn’t have been more amazed, and we couldn’t have felt more pleased!

Halloween is a perfect time for a family story around the lit pumpkin. There is a wonderful story about The Little Hobgoblin: A Halloween Story: http://www.waldorfhomeschoolers.com/the-little-hobgoblin

Cooking together to make biscuits cut and iced into the shape of pumpkins or making a pumpkin soup out of the inside of your carved pumpkin are both activities that you can do together to allow the moment to be recognised and celebrated. It is a special day, and can be acknowledged in such small ways, but your little ones, they notice the feelings, and it becomes something they look forward to, year after year – however old and sophisticated they become!

It is always wonderful to focus on the animals and plants at this time of year too – noticing the squirrel tucking away the nuts for her long winter, and the leaves changing colour. There are things to notice in the garden too – seeing the garden plants fold back down into the earth; raking up the leaves for the compost heap. To us these are chores perhaps, but for our little ones, who remind us really of the wonder of life, these acts, these ‘jobs’, help us notice and appreciate the passing of the year, and the rhythms of our world around us.

The story of the enormous Turnip is always wonderful to tell as a story or as a puppet show, and even to perform together. We have always rather felt that if they had only asked the gnomes if they might pull the turnip, it would have been a lot easier… but then, ease is not the point of the story! http://www.outoftheark.co.uk/ext/pdfs/ET%20script%20for%20easy-reading.pdf

There are so manthe-root-children-1y wonderful stories, poems and songs to tell and share as we notice the leaves crunching under our feet, or when we think about the gnomes and ‘root children’ who carry the flowers, animals and seeds back to mother earth, to care for them until the earth is warm enough again for them. If you don’t know Sibylle Von Olfers Story, it is a wonderfthe-root-childrenul book, and she is a wonderful author.  https://www.florisbooks.co.uk/book/Sibylle-von-Olfers/Story+of+the+Root+Children/9780863151064

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

However you and your family mark this day, happy planning, and happy new year 😉

Heartbleed Bug Advice from Ulula Baby Food

Ulula & Worldpay Not Effected by Heartbleed Bug
Heartbleed bug logAs you may have heard in the news, a vulnerability, which the media are calling the “Heartbleed Bug”, was discovered this week in a piece of software that is used across much of the internet. I have checked with both our web developer and hosting provider as well as our secure payment processor and can assure Ulula customers that we have not been effected by this potential security risk.

The Ulula website site itself has never used the module in question and from our very earliest days we decided not to process payments on the Ulula website itself. Worldpay, as a leading payment processor, has an extensive dedicated security team to keep your sensitive data far safer than we could hope to do in-house. I am assured that Worldpay have not and does not use the effected module and that all systems are continually checked for potential vulnerabilities. All systems are working safely and you can buy your baby’s food with confidence.

Treating Morning Sickness Naturally

I often get emails from pregnant customers asking how to treat morning sickness from a natural approach so I thought I would put a few things down in writing. I suffered terribly from morning sickness myself during my last pregnancy and tried a number of natural approaches to treat the nausea. I was certainly not alone, as many as nine out of 10 mums-to-be experience nausea or sickness during their pregnancy.

The main cause of pregnancy nausea is thought to be the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which is produced in large quantities until your placenta takes over the functions of maintaining and nourishing the pregnancy. This is why pregnant mums are often told that the sickness will stop at around 12 to 14 weeks.

However other hormones, chemical imbalances, even infections and disorders affecting the inner ear can also be responsible, though rarer.

If you find you are vomiting many times a day and are unable to eat and drink without being sick, contact your doctor or midwife immediately as you may have a severe morning sickness, known as ‘hyperemesis gravidarum’. You may become dehydrated and need some treatment in hospital.

Naturally Treat Morning Sickness By Looking After Yourself

It is difficult to completely prevent morning sickness, as it is a natural and normal part of pregnancy. However you may be able stop nausea and vomiting from becoming a major problem.

Like many mums to be I found my morning sickness was much worse if I was tired, hungry, stressed or anxious. It is so important to regularly take time to care for yourself. Try not to become overtired, reduce stress as much as you can (using relaxation, and complementary therapies which help you to relax) and seek answers to any questions about your pregnancy to avoid anxiety from lack of knowledge. Get as much rest as possible and, if possible, consider taking some time off work.

Eating and Morning Sickness

Many mums find it best to eat little and often. Use a simple food diary sheet try to work out which foods suit you and which may make your symptoms worse. Rich, fried, fatty or highly spiced foods frequently make pregnancy nausea worse. If you are feeling very sick, don’t worry about eating a balanced diet at this stage. It’s better to eat something and obtain some energy from your food than not to eat at all.

Dear Sabine

Thank you for all your kind messages received with my orders. My baby loves the Holle spelt rusks, but the reason I have been ordering so many is because I have been eating them. I am pregnant again and they help with morning sickness! I also love the glass grater and thank you for having introduced me to it. Best wishes. Tansey

If you fancy something – and can be reasonably sure it will stay down – have it and enjoy it. You and your baby will soon catch up with the required nutrients later in your pregnancy when these symptoms will (hopefully) have subsided. If you fancy trying the sugar free Holle Organic Spelt Baby Rusks for yourself order a few packs and you’ll be surprised just how popular they are amongst the whole family. If you, like many other mums, find they help with the morning sickness you better find a safe place to keep them so they are always there when you need them!

Foods rich in vitamin B6 may also be helpful with reducing feelings of nausea. Such foods include wholemeal bread, fatty fish, raw red and green peppers, cod, turkey, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews,  chicken, beef and pork as well as certain fortified cereals.

Keeping Hydrated When Vomiting

Most importantly, keep well hydrated, sipping iced water, barley water or whatever you can manage. Many mums have told me that the Holle Organic Nursing Tea has helped them keeping hydrated while enjoying its relaxing properties. Taken at a lower dosage of two or three cups a day the tea is ideal to enjoy while putting your feet up and enjoying a bit of me-time. Ask for some free samples when you order your rusks and we’ll pop a few in to try.

Self-help suggestions for Morning Sickness

Ginger and Morning Sickness

Although it never worked for me, many sources will tell you that ginger is the best remedy for sickness in pregnancy. Although there is a fair amount of medical research to show that ginger can be effective against pregnancy sickness, it is not true that it is universally beneficial. For some women, taking ginger can make symptoms worse, trigger new problems such as heartburn, or even be unsafe.

Ginger is a common Chinese remedy, based on the traditional system of yin and yang and other opposing factors, including heat and cold. Ginger is a “hot” or “yang” remedy and will make sickness worse if you are already too hot – not only in temperature but also in terms of your internal energies. Ginger will suit you if you feel and look cold, want hot drinks, keep wrapping yourself up in layers of clothing and blankets, feel miserable, introspective and uninterested in your surroundings.

If ginger is appropriate for you, avoid ginger biscuits as these contain too much sugar and insufficient ginger to be effective. Any temporary relief from your symptoms will be due to an increase in your blood sugar levels. You could try making a tea from grated root ginger. Steep this in boiled water, leave it to cool and sip it throughout the day.

Ginger works in the same way as medicine, and it can have an adverse effect on your blood clotting mechanism. If you take it constantly for more than three weeks, you should ask your doctor to check your blood clotting. If you are taking prescribed anti-coagulant drugs, aspirin or other similar medicines, you should avoid it altogether. You should take no more than 3g of grated raw ginger a day.

Acupressure and Morning Sickness

You could try wearing wristbands which stimulate an acupuncture point (the Pericardium 6 or P6 point) which can relieve sickness. A review of different research studies concluded that acupressure can work for many pregnant women. Make sure that the button in the band is placed onto the acupuncture point. To locate it, use one hand on the inside of your opposite wrist, measuring up three finger widths from the crease between your hand and arm, between the tendons in the middle of your wrist. At the point where your third finger falls, lift the pressure off until you are just touching the skin and feel lightly for a slight dip – if you now press into this dip quite deeply it will feel bruised. Place the button on the wristbands at this precise point on both wrists – preferably putting the bands on first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed.

During the day, if you experience a wave of nausea, press on the button (one wrist and then the other) about 20-30 times at one second intervals, to give more of a stimulating boost to the acupuncture point. If you forget your wristbands, you can simply press on these two points, or ask someone to do it for you on both wrists together.

Aromatherapy and Morning Sickness

Although aromatherapy can help to relax you, many women find that their nausea is made much worse by smells and odours. However, if this is not too much of a problem, essential oils which can relieve nausea include lime, lemon or any other citrus fruit oil – or (occasionally) ginger.

Reflexology and Morning Sickness

Reflexology can also be relaxing – but make sure your therapist is insured to treat you in early pregnancy, as inappropriate reflexology can exacerbate your symptoms. If you do decide to try reflexology you should be prepared for a “healing crisis” where your symptoms become temporarily worse over the first 24 hours, as your body is “kick-started” into dealing with the symptoms.

Hypnotherapy and Morning Sickness

Hypnotherapy may be effective if your symptoms are exacerbated by being stressed, anxious and fearful, or if you have some ongoing emotional issues, such as relationship problems, a stressful house move, or if there is illness in your family.

Homeopathy and Morning Sickness

There are many homeopathic remedies which can be useful, but it is essential to consult an appropriately qualified practitioner, since taking the wrong remedy for too long can actually cause new symptoms to develop without dealing with the original ones.

I hope you find this post useful and if you suffer from morning sickness now, or in the future, I hope you are able to find some working solutions for you, your body and your individual circumstances. Please leave comments and let me know what else you have found helpful.

Preparing Purees for Weaning Babies – Watch a Free Video

A very popular product on the Ulula website is our glass grater for helping busy mums to prepare homemade baby food recipes when weaning their baby. Watch our short video to see just how simple and easy it is to use – it’s pretty amazing.

Glass graters have been used for generations by mums to prepare pureed fruit and vegetables when first weaning their babies. Using a glass grater gives you exactly the right consistency of fruit or vegetables you need when preparing your home made baby food. Experience shows us that no other grater can achieve this consistency with so little mess or waste.

We’re proud to be the exclusive UK suppliers of the glass grater. We are pleased also with our little video clip (it’s regularly downloaded by hundreds of site visitors) showing how to use the grater.

Dear Sabine
I just wanted to thank you for suggesting the glass grater…I was slicing my fingers on the metal grater before and willing to try anything! I have to say when it arrived I looked at it and thought it could not possibly work. However, I was amazed at how easy it is to use (and clean!) and what smooth, fresh, puree it makes!
So many thanks!
Kind regards

 

Paula