Category Archives: The Natural Family

How Do You Stay Natural When Visiting With Your Not So Natural Family?

We just got back from a wonderful family vacation.  We spent the week with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents – 12 of us total – on a lake for the week.  It was a beautiful, natural setting where got to play in nature and just enjoy the company of family we don’t see but once, maybe twice a year if we’re lucky.

All of us had such a good time.  In fact,  we’re already planning for another week together next year, and really are hoping to make it a family tradition each year from here on out.

That said – my husband and  I are very different in our viewpoints about many things and our lifestyle in general when compared with the rest of the family.  Not that being “the black sheep” isn’t a fantastic position; adding color and dynamics to an otherwise very similar group of people.  It just isn’t always easy.

As a result, sometimes, I think I bend my personal beliefs to fit the situation and in the end, we end up putting some of our natural family values aside during the visit.  Of course I’m sure the rest of the family has to stretch to visit our side of the universe as well – but mostly it’s usually us compromising.

But how much is too much?

This trip has been one of the more balanced mostly because we each had our own house and we could keep more of our own routines in tact.  This helped us “get away from it all” more easily than when visiting at another family member’s home where it feels more acceptance is really required.

But at the end of the day is it really OK to save face for the visit so everyone gets along?  Or, is it better to be very clear and keep your natural lifestyle together just like you would at home?

And, whatever you do, what are your ways of coping with the friction that can occur when you spend so much time with people that you love very much, but who, at the same time, are so different than you it becomes easier to get along if you put some of your natural family philosophy aside?

You don’t pick your family after all!  There are bound to be differences.  It’s how you cope with them that matters….and I’m not always sure I go about it as naturally as I can – and I’m almost certain I’m not alone in this.

So, I’d just love to hear more about your tips, tricks, and thoughts on staying natural when visiting with your not so natural family (and friends).  I think it can help all of us navigate these sensitive spaces we can sometimes tread with people we love that don’t always share (or in our case even take seriously) our natural view on things.



Happy Earth Day – Be Sure To Keep Celebrating All Year Long!

It’s so exciting that Earth Day has become the holiday it has.  With festivities planned world wide Earth Day is an event that is truly celebrated by almost everyone everywhere!

Here’s the thing though – we need more than just a day…we need a year long Earth celebration.

So today, as you celebrate Earth Day, think of some lifestyle changes you can make to decrease the impact you have on planet earth.  Then, keep going with them all year long!

Not sure what you can do to green up your lifestyle?  We’re always happy to help.  Browse our site, or if you have questions about natural living, ask away!

Helping us all live a more earth friendly lifestyle is the ultimate goal of starting after all.  And, there’s no occasion like Earth Day to start some new eco friendly habits you can keep all year long!

Happy Earth Day!

The Natural Mammas




The Peace of Cooperative Games for Family Fun

I think a lot about why my sister and I never really got along when we lived under the same roof growing up. I don’t think it was ever my parents intention to pine us against each other, but from day one of a younger sibling entering the picture there can be this need for the elder to pine for love and I think when these emotions aren’t nurtured enough things tend to take on a competitive nature between siblings in the home. That competition can lead to varying levels of dysfunction.

In our own home, when we introduced child number two we really concentrated on family. We included our oldest in every doctor visit, every decision and really took the time to stress that our family was getting bigger and that although there would be some new rules and there would definitely be changes, in the end we are a family and each of us is worth more than a pot of gold as long as we stick together and keep the love flowing.

This doesn’t mean that every day goes off without a hitch. We have had our moments; each of us. What it does mean though is that we really strive for healthy relationships in the house and talking about our feelings and acknowledging each other’s feelings when we are not in agreement. One area that remains fraught with turbulence is when playing games or talking about participating in sports or games at school.

I love to play games and never really worry about winning or losing. Our 5 year old loves to play games, but is far from losing gracefully. Our 2 year old loves to play games, but really her goal with games is very different than someone who can play the game by the given rules. To date, I had actually kind of morphed most games into a cooperative nature by making everyone work toward a common goal. We all love to play memory and matching games and our goal is not to see who can get the most, but to see how fast we can find all the matches; taking the game from competing with each other to working together toward a common goal.

cooperative board gamesThey actually make games that are cooperative games designed to promote working together, community and teamwork over competition. This is the first year that we purchased such a game. We don’t watch much television, but one show that is approved in our house is Richard Scarry’s Busy Town and we found a Busy Town cooperative board game that the whole family loves to play together. We all find objects to solve a mystery and although you play as individual players, the last four steps of the game everyone gets on a ferry together to get to the picnic before Pig Will and Pig Won’t eat all the picnic food.

What does the cooperative game make different about the gaming experience? I can only speak for our house, but when we play the cooperative games there is no crying about never winning, there is no quitting when another player moves ahead and best of all there is a whole lot of high fives and woo-hooing as we all work together to finish the game. We still play our traditional games like Mancala, Checkers and even Old Maid and Uno where turning the game cooperative is difficult if not impossible, but winning and losing these games has gotten much easier as we have all won and lost before together.

Learning to win and lose with grace and good sportsmanship is still involved and still a very valuable lesson that we learn from playing games and sports with one another, but building the confidence to deal well with these situations is exactly what the cooperative games bring to the table. If you love games and sports and want your child to develop healthy approaches to dealing with competition and teamwork, then check out cooperative board games for your family fun night!

You can find cooperative board games at this great website (and a friend of these natural mammas)