Monday, December 31, 2007

Special Event

Birth Through the Ages: Mothers of all ages are invited to attend this event presented by the Maine Association of Independent Doulas. This is a special night where mothers' young and old come together to tell their story and to bring birth of the past and present together. Held at the St. Joseph's Parish Hall in Ellsworth, 6:30 pm January 29th.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Belly Casting

Someone recently emailed me asking for information on how to do a belly casting. Since I took the time to write it all out, I thought I should post it here too! The casting material is indeed the same that doctors use, and is available at medical supply stores, usually coming in rolls 4" wide by 5 yards. For just the belly usually three rolls will do, if they want to cast the breasts and/or arms and hands around the belly I'd go five to six rolls. Cut into strips of varying lengths...twelve to eighteen inches for the longest stretch across the belly, a bunch of six inch ones for smaller areas or for finishing, and a few three inch ones for the bellybutton and nipples if you want a detailed cast. Have these ready and set aside in their appropriate piles before starting. Plaster sticks to hair and will hurt when drying and pulling off! Pubic hair, underarm hair, and every tiny little hair on mamas skin... a lot of folks use petroleum jelly to coat the skin and plastic wrap across the longer hairs... I use olive oil based salves applied *thickly*. Be sure this is done before getting started. Cover the area she'll be in, as this gets does wash out of clothes (hand wash please before machine washing) and off the floor in warm water, but a few sheets are a good idea. Make sure mama has a comfortable chair and position...she'll be sitting there for an hour most likely. Time for sculpting can be half an hour or more, and time for setting can also be half an hour or more. It's also a good idea that she has a bathroom break before being seated too. Have a glass of water or a sugar free lollipop for mama available during the process too... make sure the room is warm enough but not too warm (the cast will warm as it begins to harden, be sure mama is aware that this will happen), have gentle music sure mama is relaxed. Some folks laying the cast like to wear latex or silicone gloves... I do not. I think bare hands provide a more soothing feel for both mama and the person laying the cast, and as I said, it washes off in warm water. ("get messy, get involved" is one of my mottos!) If mama and space is ready, get a shallow basin filled with warm water. Run the strips of plaster through the water... I recommend left to right if right handed, right to left if left handed... with both hands. This wets it and also keeps it straight (so it won't stick to itself) Start at the bottom of the belly and work your way up. Overlap strips, and be sure to have at least two layers all around...also including some up and down and diagonal strips to reinforce. The more layers the sturdier the cast...but it also gets heavier for mama and takes more drying time. Too many layers can also blur the details of belly button, nipples and hands if included. Be smoothing the strips as you go..sculpting the plaster. When approaching the belly button and nipples, place one of the small squares over each of these areas and carefully mold them to the shape. The cast will begin the drying process in about ten minutes, so it will begin doing so at the bottom where you started before you get to the top. After the last layer is applied, the cast will need to stay in place for another twenty to thirty minutes. You will be able to see it starting to separate from the body and mama will be able to tell you it's ready by how warm and heavy it's getting. When the cast is ready to be removed, handle it very carefully. It will need to air dry for at least forty-eight hours. It will be hard to the touch, but until it has cured, it can sag under its own weight if not adequately supported. After the cast is cured, you can smooth off any rough areas with a sanding screen or sandpaper, and leave plain or coat with a sealer called gesso (available at the hardware store) before you paint or decorate it :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Barefoot Storyteller at The Inside Out Playground

December 26th: The Barefoot Storyteller celebrates the Grand Opening of the new Inside Out Playground, 5 Appleton Street Waterville! Storytime at 11am. January 3rd & January 17th, 2008: The Barefoot Storyteller storytime 11am at the new Inside Out Playground, 5 Appleton Street Waterville! The first and third Thursday of every month at 11am will be storytime with the Barefoot Storyteller at The Inside Out Playground. Coming Soon: Bi-monthly homeschooler book clubs at The Inside Out Playground.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Natural Gift Giving

Watching our child’s eyes light up with excitement during the holiday season is one of the many joys of parenthood. With our love, each year, many of us go to the ends of the earth, wait in long lines for hours and spend more than our budget permits in an attempt to create a magical experience for our children. More often than not, we return from our shopping trip overwhelmed and over budget. And when the holiday arrives, we are understandably disappointed to see our carefully found treasures thrown into a pile of accumulated things while our children move on to open the next package. Not long ago, the holiday season was a simple time of family traditions, gratitude, and gift-giving from the heart. The magic and beauty of the season did not come from how much one could receive but from how much one could give. Decorating was beautiful and modest with candles and branches of evergreens draping the doorway. Family and friends would gather together, bringing along homemade treats and small gifts of appreciation. Most gifts were made by hand and simple. Mothers would knit sweaters for their children and fathers would search local shops for the perfect gift. Children would receive much less but appreciate much more. A new set of blocks, a special doll, or a set of books would be cherished for years to come. Toys were natural and open-ended, leaving room for hours of imagination and free play. They did not blink, flash, need batteries, or keep children indoors for most of their day. How, in a world that is much different now, do we recapture the truth and surround our children with warmth, simplicity, and peace this holiday season? The Benefit of Natural Toys: Toys of today are much different than the basic and sturdy toys of our past. In addition to the more recent concerns of lead paint on some foreign-made toys, some of the components that are added to products made with PVC plastics have been linked to cancer and other serious ailments. “A recent Greenpeace study revealed that PVC softeners known as phthalates have been found to cause liver and kidney damage and disrupt hormonal systems in children (see "Teething Toxins," In Brief, March/April 1998). In response, several European nations have banned PVC toys altogether. U.S. toy distributors are still debating the issue.” With the very safety of our children’s playthings in question, many parents are choosing to buy natural toys and products for children this year. But safety is not the only benefit of items made from natural materials such as wood, cotton, silk, or wool. Children, like sponges, absorb their environment and the world around them. The quality and essence of the things that we surround our children with can have a direct effect on their behavior, health, and ability to learn. Holding something beautiful that is made from the earth has tremendous positive psychological effects on human beings. In fact, natural materials teach children correctly about the world around them. When a child picks up a rock that is made of plastic, it feels light and weightless. In nature, rocks are heavy and solid. Toys that do not require batteries invite open-ended play. This type of play sparks children’s creativity and requires them to finish the story on their own. Many electronic toys have a predetermined ending – leaving little room for imagination causing the child to lose interest quickly. More often than not, loud toys over-stimulate young children. Blinking lights, loud sounds, and so much going on muffles the child’s ability to hear his or her imagination speak. We must quiet the noise in order to allow our children to listen to the true magic that is within. Equally important is the fact that natural toys are better for the environment. Plastic can sit in landfills for hundreds of years and is not biodegradable. If you have a skill such as sewing, knitting, or woodworking, consider making your child something special this year. Not only does this send a message of love, but it also teaches patience. The time spent on creating something from hand is a wonderful way to show your children the benefit of working toward a goal. If you are not particularly crafty, there are plenty of retailers that sell natural toys online. Before purchasing, be sure to ask the retailer where the toys are manufactured and what materials are used during production. Quality over Quantity: Let us keep in mind that it is not only the quality of the gifts we give this year but also the quantity. How much is really enough? Before holiday shopping, take a good look around your home. How loved are your child’s belongings? Gifts lose their value when children are surrounded by so many things. It is unfair of us to expect a child to cherish a new toy when they are surrounded by so many of them. When deciding to purchase an item for your child, be selective and ask yourself the following questions: What purpose will the toy have? Does your child already have this type of item? Does it engage all five senses and encourage imagination? It is much better to offer fewer, higher quality toys that your child will get more use out of than an abundance of toys that will go unappreciated. This is a wonderful opportunity for parents to teach children the lesson of giving this holiday season. This year, many children around the world won’t even have a holiday meal, let alone presents. Talk to your child about this and then spend a day sorting through items that are no longer cherished or age-appropriate to donate to others. If the charity only accepts new toys, considering selling your items and donating the money earned to a worthy cause. Simplify and Reduce Stress: Much as young children take in the aesthetics of their environment, they also absorb the feelings and emotions of their caregivers. We must be mindful of the message we are sending to them during the holidays and throughout the year. Here are a few ideas on how to limit stress and create a more peaceful celebration for yourself and your children: Try to limit the number of commitments you make. When possible, combine functions to avoid excessive travel or entertaining. Consider scheduling some events for after the holidays so you can relax and truly enjoy the company of your family and friends. Create beautiful traditions with your children. String popcorn, make ornaments, or go caroling. Allow even the youngest child to assist with preparing the holiday meal, setting the table, or baking cookies. Demonstrate kindness. Visit a nursing home, adopt a needy family, or write letters to those who may be alone this holiday season. Children can add so much to the lives of others who have so little. Consider shopping online for many of your gifts this year. This is a wonderful way to save gas and reduce your stress by avoiding busy stores and shopping malls. Above all, let us remember that true happiness cannot be wrapped and placed under a tree. When we teach our children this, we have already given them the greatest gift. Eileen is a work-at-home mother to four daughters. She writes and publishes monthly nature guides for parents and caregivers of young children at and has many ideas and activities for parents on her blog at

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fund-raising event

Barefoot Books Fundraiser Standard Banner
The fund raising event that was to take place for the Spencer Family at the Buker Center in Augusta, on Monday December 3rd has been re-scheduled for next Monday, December 10th from 10am - 2pm at Sacred Heart Church on Summer St. in Hallowell. We will be having a used curriculum, homeschool business and more sale. Some of us will bringing toys to sell, books, curriculum and some of us will be sharing our businesses with you. Anyone wishing to donate to the Spencer's are welcome to deposit into a bucket and we will take it from there. Some folks will be donating a portion of their profits to the Spencers. Directions are as follows... From the Augusta end of Hallowell, pass down Rte. 201 through the downtown area, and take Temple St. on the right, which is just before the fish & produce market on the right. When you get to the end of that street ( it is very short), take a left onto Second St.. Almost immediately, take a right onto Chestnut St. Go over the railroad tracks and turn left onto Summer St. The church is the large white building on the right. From the Gardiner end of Hallowell, as you pass up Rte 201, the first entrance to the boat landing will be on your right, you will see the produce place on the left, take a left onto Temple St. When you get to the end of that street ( it is very short), take a left onto Second St.. Almost immediately, take a right onto Chestnut St. Go over the railroad tracks and turn left onto Summer St. The church is the large white building on the right. I'll be there, with stories to read to the children, and will also be taking orders for and selling from stock Barefoot Books, with 15% of the sales going to the Spencer Family. (if you can not make it but would still like to place a Barefoot Books order, please contact me and I will give the same 15% donation) Hope to see you there! Peace, Dawnella

nurturing mother, child & planet
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Saturday, December 01, 2007


Look for this sticker on books you buy from Mothers Moon/The Barefoot Storyteller (or elsewhere) as it means a tree has been planted to offset the publishing of the book. Learn more at:

Early December Barefoot Books Specials

On-line Special!! Free gift-wrapping on all orders placed before December 4th! Just click the "gift wrap" box upon check-out. And, all orders of $60 or more between now and December 15th will receive a free copy of "The Prince's Bedtime" .