Friday, December 31, 2010

Winter Solstice Celebration - Part II: Topic - Coping Skills by Cody Dale

Cody Dale is a Child Behavior Specialist. She has been working with children for over ten years and has majored in both Early Childhood Education and Child Development. Cody began her career by teaching in an infant/toddler room at a pre-school in Huntington Beach, California. With high ratios and over-stimulated children, she found that she just wasn't getting the one-on-one time she really desired with kids and after two years, began her journey to becoming a nanny. Throughout most of her career, she was involved in RIE training. Just within the past year, her career has taken her down a very gratifying path and now teaches classes and workshops as a Parent Coach in both the Tahoe and Orange County areas.

In this post, I will be sharing what Cody discussed with us at our Winter Solstice Celebration. The topic was on how to understand what our toddlers/young children are going through in these learning/growing stages and how to learn coping skills to teach our children when they get upset and frustrated (or as my family likes to call it “big feelings”).

As mentioned in the book, “Connection Parenting – Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear” by Pam Leo, the author talks about when a child’s needs are met (i.e. when they are well-fed, well-rested and when they have been given emotional attention) how cooperative they are. One of the things children may not understand at this age is how to conserve energy the way adults can. When an adult thinks about a typical day, they think about all the things they have to do, and while that can be overwhelming, it does give us the ability to conserve energy throughout the day so that we don’t run out of steam halfway through. Children on the other hand, don’t have that ability. So even though you may have done your absolute best to get their needs met, a lot of times our kids expend all their energy in excitement or play and can then become tired and frustrated by the time us adults still have to run an errand (i.e. grocery shopping). This is where learning how to show our children coping skills come into play in situations like these. Or when children get frustrated with a toy, when playmates on the playground are doing something they don’t like, or when they want something they can’t have. Coping skills are important to have throughout life and now is a great time to teach them techniques that will work for them through adulthood.

One of the first things you need to decide as a parent is what kind of coping skills you want to introduce to your kids. When kids are babies, some parents offer methods, such as pacifiers or special blankets. But now that your kids are older they are capable of using other coping methods. One of the things RIE teaches is not to take away a child’s pacifier/stuffed animal or special blanket until they are ready. But as kids get older and become more active and more involved with school or classes, the less those methods work because they can’t take them everywhere (and if they do it keeps them from being able to fully participate in the activities they are doing). So creating coping skills that children can use anywhere and eventually can do on their own is important.

The following methods are techniques that Cody likes to use when teaching kids about coping skills:

1) Taking Deep Breaths

It sounds obvious but people don’t realize that even young toddlers can do this. However, you must teach them this technique BEFORE they are upset. It’s most effective to take a time when the kids are awake, fed, and happy and just show them some deep breathing exercises. Some children like pretending to be a dragon, or doing very loud over exaggerated breaths. After showing them the breathing exercise, you can explain to them that sometimes when you are upset it is really helpful to do these things. Remember, it will not sink in the first time, it is a skill that must be worked on, but they do learn quickly!

Another thing that RIE teaches is that it’s okay to explain to your kids emotions, such as telling them when you’re frustrated. This helps kids get in touch with their emotions and reassures them that everyone feels this way sometimes. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, you could tell your child (in a calm way) that you’re going to sit down and take some deep breaths. Sometimes even go further and asking them if they want to help can be beneficial. This is the age where kids love to be involved and help! This process could actually be fun for the child helping you and showing you their deep breaths.  And it could also be a bonding experience that will put both of you in a good mood.

The next time they are frustrated you can ask them if they want to take some deep breaths. They might not want to but feel free to do it yourself (especially if the situation is getting you overwhelmed too!) and a lot of times they will join in. Of course you never want to force them to use a coping skill because that is counter-productive and breaks down the bond between the both of you.

It is also helpful to practice skills that you would like for your child to learn before they are in a situation where they will need them. One good example is having tea parties to practice table manners before taking them to a restaurant. This of course works with coping skills, as well. A great suggestion is to play pretend with your child and ask them to show you different emotions.  Ask how they might act when they are feeling a certain way (sad, happy, excited, etc.). You could even ask them “If I was upset what could I do? Often times, kids may answer by saying “Try deep breathing”! This is a great way to teach them how to brainstorm and another way to reinforce coping skills.

Note: deep breathing exercises seem to work really well with both active and calmer kids.

2) Re-Centering Yourself

Another method that works really well for children is to take them into another room (preferably the bathroom), turn the lights down low and take a few minutes away from the situation to give a few snuggles. This could even give an opportunity to talk/ask them about their frustration (not to reprimand or scold as this, of course, breaks the bond). Alot of times kids become over stimulated and by doing this technique, it really helps them to calm down.  Just like most adults need time and space to re-center themselves (i.e. whether it's taking a few breaths to relax, meditating, etc) when they get frustrated and/or overwhelmed, children do too!

An example that Cody shared:

“One of the little girls I work with, named Samantha, has really done well with this. It’s actually something I have been doing with her since she was born (she’s now almost three). Samantha loves to snuggle and when she would get frustrated as a baby I would take her into her nursery or the bathroom, turn down the lights if I could and just sit and rock her for two or three minutes. She would lean into me and sigh and cheer right up and we’d walk out of the room both recharged. Now that she is older Samantha recognizes when she is frustrated (sometimes with a little help), and goes into the bathroom by herself. She closes the door (we have made the room baby proof and make sure we can hear her) sits in there for a few minutes, sometimes talking to herself and then walks out, cheerful as can be!"

If there is not a bathroom for a child to go to, they can always go off to a corner and turn their back to everything that’s going on and re-center themselves. Keep in mind that you will need to assess what your child’s personality is. Active children often get more frustrated if you use methods like sitting and calming down with a grown up. If you discover that re-centering technique isn't helping, perhaps going outside with your child and running around the yard a few times to release their energy would be more beneficial.  And if it's too cold, then perhaps dancing or doing jumping jacks or basically anything active that will help to release their frustrated energy.

3. Self-Soothing

Part of respecting and connecting with our children is reading their cues and allowing them to self-soothe (if they want to or are capable of doing). Children will give you signs of what they need in order to calm down. The trick is knowing how to read them!  As parents and caregivers, we tend to want to always help or "fix" things and sometimes we try so hard that we forget to take a minute and just stop and see what our kids are telling us.

Another example that Cody shared:

“One of the things that brought this to my attention is an incident I had with one of my kids, Charlie, a few years ago. One of my best friends had watched Charlie since he was born and they (along with myself) and the kids I watched had play dates nearly every day. Charlie was very comfortable with me and I had watched him on many occasions when his nanny was busy. However, one night when I went to his house, even though he greeted me with hugs and kisses and excitement, when his mom left he was really upset. He was crying and carrying on in a way I had never seen him. He was about two and a half at the time and I spent a few minutes trying to talk to him, asking him if he wanted a hug, explaining to him in a calm voice that mommy would come back, trying to distract him, trying to figure out if he was hungry or tired….and when I had tried everything I could think of I finally stopped and observed him and realized he was staying on the other side of the coffee table from me, showing me with his body language that although he wanted to be in the same room with me (he could have run to the other room), he didn’t want me physically near him. The more I thought about it I realized that anytime I suggested anything to him he got even more upset. Finally, I realized that all he needed was for me to simply sit there and be there for him. As soon as I did that he cried for another minute or so and then calmed himself down. He took some deep breaths on his own, put his head down on his arms and when he lifted his head he gave me a teary eyed smile and came over to me with his arms up for me to hold him. I picked him up and he cuddled on my lap for a few minutes and when he was finally calm I apologized to him for not listening to what he was trying to tell me and we had a great night.”

STOP, OBSERVE and really watch what your children are doing. So often they are telling us what they need with their body language or words, but we are so wrapped up in our own thoughts it is difficult to see.

Even children that have not been taught coping skills know how to calm themselves or will show you what they need to calm down. We see in videos with young babies that when they are overwhelmed by a situation they will turn their head away and not look again until they have calmed down. Many parents try and force kids to look at them or talk before they aren’t ready because they don’t realize that what these kids are doing is self-soothing!

Some kids will come over to you for a cuddle right away and just want to be held. Some will try to talk to you, some will run away and find a quiet corner, they WILL show you what they need! And one of the most important things you can do is to just stop and give them what they need. When you do this, they calm down so quickly you will be surprised (keeping in mind that sometimes what they need is sleep or food). Once they are calm, it gives a better opportunity for you to talk to them. For kids that run off and need alone time, give them a minute or two and then quietly and calmly go over and ask if you can talk. If they say “No” or give you an indication that they are not ready, try and sit down without saying anything. A lot of times they will let you stay in the room with them and within a few minutes they are ready to talk.

As adults we have so much on our plate that we always feel like we don’t have enough time, but when you stop and deal with these things as they come up, it takes a shockingly short amount of time out of your day and you really will make it up with how cooperative your child becomes afterwards.

This philosophy is also explained in Connection Parenting.  As quoted from the book: "It takes the same amount of time and attention to meet children's emotional needs as it does to deal with behaviors caused by their unmet emotional needs. Either we spend time meeting children's emotional needs by filling their love cup or we will spend time dealing with behaviors caused by their unmet needs. Either way we spend the time."

4. Emotional Coaching

When using Emotional Coaching, you must wait until the child is ready to do this. This doesn’t mean that the child is not upset anymore, but merely that their crying is slowing and their breathing is starting to return to normal. That is when they are able to talk and listen. Before that, all they need is a cuddle or someone to be there for them.

It’s very important not to invalidate your child’s feelings. For instance, if a child falls down, most parents/caregivers try to not react and tend to say “It’s okay”. This can actually be damaging to tell a child this. As part of social understanding, kids will look to you to see how to react but NEVER tell a child that it’s okay! The reason for this is because if the child was scared by a fall or if it does actually hurt and you invalidate their feelings by telling them “it’s okay”, it not only breaks down the bond between you two, (because you are not validating their feelings), but it may also leave them feeling confused and incapable of understanding what they really feel. We want them to be conscious of what their body is feeling and be able to articulate it. So it’s very important to ask questions instead of giving answers. If you think the child is okay you can stay where you are and say something like “Oh, you fell down, are you okay?” Don’t overreact because that will cause them to be even more upset.  Just ask instead of telling. This technique can be used for when they are sad, frustrated, etc.

In the past year, Cody has been researching the way the arts, specifically theater, helps kids with emotional behavior. She has found with kids is that not only do they absolutely LOVE puppets, but puppets can really help them understand their emotions. You can use puppets to show emotion (stories where one puppet is frustrated and the other puppet talks and helps the first puppet) as another way to show them coping skills. For instance, once they see a puppet deep breathing it can be a lot more fun to get involved. It can also help in communicating with your child by using the puppet. Alot of times a puppet is easier for the child to talk to. Either purchase a couple of puppets or even better yet, make it a fun project by making them. You can make them pretty easily with socks and a few arts and crafts or even with things around the house.

Emotion Coaching

What are the five elements of emotion coaching?

1. Be aware of a child's emotions

2. Recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching

3. Listen empathetically and validate a child's feelings

4. Label emotions in words a child can understand

5. Help a child come up with an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting issue or situation

Dr. Gottman's research found that children of emotion-coaching parents had more abilities in the area of their own emotions than children who were not coached by their parents. In other words, these "coached" children grew up to become what Dan Goleman has referred to as "emotionally intelligent" people. What are characteristics of these children? They:

• Are able to regulate their emotional states

• Are better at soothing themselves when they are upset

• Can calm down their hearts faster after an upsetting incident

• Have fewer infectious illnesses

• Are better at focusing attention

• Relate better to other people, even in tough situations like getting teased in middle school

• Are better at understanding people

• Have better friendships with other children

• Are better in school situations that require academic performance

***This information was taken from The Gottman Relationship Institute website.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Solstice Celebration - Part I

"Winter solstice! A time of transition in the annual war of light vs darkness, cold vs warmth, abundance vs shortage, life vs death! All people in our northern climes have tended to view this as the crucial time of year. A time to hold ceremonies designed to assist nature in rebounding from the path toward oblivion to one directed toward prosperity. A time to huddle at home with family and friends in love and worship, or a time simply to hibernate, as much as possible, sleeping more, and attempting to keep ones mind on other things.

It has often been said that the greatest joy tends to follow deep sorrow. What is so wonderful about the winter solstice is that once we are past that moment of time we can look forward to brighter skies. Slowly at first, then more rapidly as we go into January and February, days get longer and everything around helps us celebrate the increase of light. It speaks well for the human spirit that our greatest religious/spiritual celebrations take place at winter solstice time, as people radiate warmth of fellowship and love on these dimmer days. The festivals of darker days are really celebrations of light."

This really resonated with my feelings of how children are our celebrations of light!  So it was only fitting for our December gathering to be a Winter Solstice Celebration.  A year ago in December marked the Family Love Village's 1st Christmas gathering to welcome our very first guest speaker. That guest speaker was Cody Dale who spoke to us about RIE. For 2010's Winter celebration, once again Cody Dale was invited back to help us bring in the new year with a new topic on how to learn coping skills for our children.  The presentation will be fully described in Winter Soltsice Celebration sequel.  For Part 1, I wanted to share what we did for our celebration (especially since Part II will be a little on the lengthy side since there was so much important information that Cody shared with us).

As you might already know (from an earlier post), I have been participating in this 42-day online playgroup based on a book called the Abounding River which helps abundance, self-love, creativity, awareness, gratitude and generosity flow in your life. One of the practices is on being generous. I started thinking of how could the village create generosity this Christmas season. And at first I thought of Toys for Tots and how they help give joy to children in need which is a great idea but to me, just adds more to the consumerism and since it has to be a new, shiny toy in its new, plastic container, that it would be just one more thing added to our landfill (which all of you know me by now, I'm a geek for living green!) LOL

So I started doing some research on companies in the Los Angeles area that accepts gently used baby/toddler toys, books and clothes and found one called Baby2Baby. So I sent them an email to let them know I would like to host a drive to give presents to children in need and to see if they offer such a thing with their company during the holidays. I spoke to one of the founders and she was happy to accept the gently used gifts.

Unfortunately, after our gathering, when one of the village mamas (Eva) tried dropping off the items, she got lost and by the time she found the Baby2Baby location (7 minutes after their scheduled drop-off time), they were already closed. So Eva ended up donating all the toys and clothes to another wonderful non-profit organization (which I have mentioned in a prior post), Alexandria House - which is a transitional residence for women, teens and children in need. It felt good to hear that the children were really happy to receive these gifts and that the Family Love Village was making a difference in these kids' lives!

It was a wonderful evening where the villagers reconnected with some of the families that we hadn't had the opportunity to see in awhile (due to distance/location) and to welcome new families, as well. The potluck feast was a wonderful spread of Holiday yumminess.

To end the evening, I had passed out small pieces of paper to the families during dinner to participate in a ceremony to and for ourselves. I called it "Releasing of the Old and Igniting of the New" - where each person wrote down an old pattern/old behavior or thought that no longer serves who they are or want to be. Then on the 2nd piece of paper, each person wrote down a conscious behavior/pattern or way of thinking that they would like for themselves to become as conscious parents/spouses/individuals for the new year. After dinner, we all cuddled by the fireplace outside and shared what we wanted to release and set them free into the fire and then shared what we wanted to ignite in replace of the old. I suggested for the 2nd piece of paper to be kept somewhere where each individual can have easy access to it as a reminder of what we want to shift in our lives. Dalmacio and I put ours on our fridge. Although Dalmacio couldn't actually be there for the FLV gathering (due to taking care of our dog), we actually did this ceremony with my family when we had them over for Christmas dinner.

This ceremony was such a beautiful way for us to end our gathering.  It really resonated well with the the description of what the Winter Solstice represents - with winter being a time of transition (as mentioned in the beginning of this post) and why there are religious/spiritual holidays/rituals that surround this time of season; because the festivals of darker days are really celebrations of light. To me these pieces of paper can represent perhaps an unconscious way of being that we want to release so that we can let our conscious lights shine in the new year! Because it was such a beautiful experience, I think it will be a ceremony that the village can do together for years to come.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Building Community

A couple of weeks ago, I joined an online playgroup based on a book called The Abounding River by Matthew and Terces Engelhart. I was invited by my beautiful cousin Maya Hackett, the author of her own inspiring blog, Urban Organica to join her, along with other amazing and inspiring families and individuals. At first I found myself being in resistance because I was so overwhelmed with recently moving, unpacking and having just organized and completed the Family Love Village gathering on homeschooling (which I apologize because I haven't had a chance to re-read through everything from that night in order to write about it in this blog), as well as just cleaning up/settling in after my son, Andrik's blessing ceremony - which by the way all happened within ONE week of us moving to our new home. Yes, you heard it correctly, my family moved once again. That was twice within 4 months of each other. A friend of mine joked and asked if we plan to move every fiscal quarter. LOL No thank you!! We plan to stay at this house for some time! And yes, a house! An actual house!! No not yet bought - renting; but still, an actual house! :o)

So anyways before I go off on another tangent (for those that have been reading my blog know all too well I can do this), I wanted to talk a little bit about the book and the playgroup. So after Maya had explained what this playgroup blog was all about (again being openly resistant). LOL Even writing these words down sound ridiculous but to further explain, I was open, just not fully available to play wholeheartedly - especially about the part about writing in a THIRD blog! I mean come on, it's hard enough for me to write in 2, and now I've gotta write in a third one (which by the way, I seem to be writing in this 3rd blog more often than my other 2 - which after doing this playgroup, trust me- I'm one inspired writer who has lots to talk about in both my original blogs so don't you worry, my intimate group of dedicated readers! I've got plenty of love to share. Ok there I go again- on another tangent! lol). Back to the story. I wanted to be open and decided heck why not check it out. If several of my cousins and theirs spouses that I completely respect and admire are playing then why not check it out.

So yes, the book. The Abounding River - well the title definitely had a nice flow to it. And that's exactly what it's about. This book helps you to create abundance in your life. In this book you practice loving yourself, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day and experiencing being provided for. And I have to say that even though I’ve only just begun, I am really enjoying this playgroup. It’s a private online blog where we share our thoughts, feelings and experiences of the exercises given in the book. I’ve read books before and done exercises but this one is different, it feels really good to get the support from other families and individuals that are doing the book, as well. We’re creating community here with family members, friends and people who we have yet to meet in person but whom I feel I already know.

I know..I know - you may be wondering what does this have anything to do with what this blog is about? What does it have to do with families and love and villages, right? The answer: EVERYTHING! Not only is this a book (as well as a board game - intriguing right?) but the authors have built a whole community around this concept and now have several restaurants in the bay area (and one that I'm excited to announce is opening up in Los Angeles around Dalmacio's birthday March 5th) called Cafe Gratitude.

When I looked up the website, I was ecstatically inspired and even more excited to be part of the playgroup now! Their philosophy is everything that my family believes in and supports! Below is what I copied and pasted from their website:

We choose to work in partnership with vendors, customers, and the community in making choices that support the environment we share. Plastic containers & water bottles have been eliminated from our retail store, and we often request that new and treasured vendors repackage their products in cellophane or glass - just for us. But that is only the start. Here is a short list of the environmental commitments we are steadfastly loyal to:

  • If the organic variety of produce is not available, we do not choose conventional.
  • We use non-bleached, 100% cotton cloths for napkins. After being used, these napkins are sent to the auto industry for rag-use purposes. This creates an additional life-cycle and eliminates the use of harmful chemicals such as bleach, which is used in common laundering practices.
  • We filter our own water at all locations.
  • All our food scraps are composted and are often sent to the Be Love Farm.
  • We recycle our paper and cardboard.
  • Our dishes are washed with the most environmentally-friendly products.
  • All of our books, private labels, and menus are printed on recycled paper with soy based ink. Our offices also use recycled paper.
  • We take pride in our high standards, and we thank you for every dollar you share with us, further empowering our investment in the environment.
The community we have built is inspirational and we thank you for being a part of it. The gratuity offered to your server is shared with every hourly employee who worked that day. This means that every baker, dishwasher, kitchen line, bartender, host, and food preparer share in the generosity you bestow on your server. You not only provide for one, you provide for all. We have made it a practice to help one another in times of financial challenge, personal growth, during addiction recovery, healing from disease, repairing a car or even replacing stolen bicycles. We support one another’s artistic performances, share housing, and transportation. By experiencing the power of community, we take care of each other, knowing that the same support is available in return. Imagine EVERYONE working in an environment where, on a daily basis, you are celebrated and held as nothing short of amazing; every day, you are created as great!

Café Gratitude serves a menu of 100% organic, 100% vegan, local fare. Our food is free of refined sugar, flour, and additives. We have an extensive menu of raw foods and have recently expanded to serve cooked foods in many of our locations. We create all of our own food -from the produce bin to your plate - so we can avoid serving certain common allergens like wheat, soy, and peanuts. Over 45% of our produce comes from our Be Love Farm, and the compost from our Cafes is returned to the farm to nourish the next meal.

Yes, we love and appreciate the opportunity to open our doors seven days a week and serve the best organic food available, but even more, we are inspired by the awakening of our collective consciousness. Standing in the possibility that we are responsible for our experience of life, we encourage our community to focus their attention on qualities that inspire and empower, not just at work, but in all areas of their lives.

Okay I just fell deeply in love with this community just with reading the above statements from their website! This blends so well with my vision for the Family Love Village!  To be able to inspire and empower families and caretakers throughout the world as a collective consciousness towards gentle guidance/communication with our children and eco-holistic living is a passion I am willing to absorb my heart into fully.  I'm thrilled to be be in the game and connected with yet another community that believes in the same things that the village does! 
With this wonderful opportunity to play and practice with this online group and self-connectedness, I have been experiencing loving moments to and for myself. I've found that this is very sacred and vital for me to find the balance between doing my best to be a conscious mama (as my cousin calls it: a conscious parenting advocate), and to be a loving and conscious wife, as well as loving myself and getting my own needs met. Although this is definitely a fact that everyone needs to get their needs met in order to keep the happy sanity within the home, we don't always get them met. But thanks to the playgroup and the book, I am beginning a new journey towards re-discovering myself and planting new seeds along the way.

Gratitude is one of the vital keys to self-healing and self-loving. Thank you Abounding River and Cafe Gratitude for existing so that we can exist in a more loving, abundant and sustainable way. Here's to eating, living, and creating concsious communities!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homeschooling...Actually Lifeschooling is More Like It!

On Saturday, 11/20/2010, the village gathered at our new home.  Yes we moved once again (that was twice in 4 months) but this time it was to a house!  Yes, an actual house.  LOL

And we only had a week to unpack (majority of the stuff - several boxes ended up in my office for the time being).  I was quite the busy mama with helping to pack, move, unpack, organize 2 big events back to back (Saturday was the Family Love Village and Sunday was our son, Andrik's blessing ceremony) and both gatherings were at our new home. about needing a vacation!

But I do have to say that both gatherings were very successful - besides the part where I lost my camera. Yes the camera that had all the wonderful photos and footage of the homeschooling workshop. unfortunately there won't be any fun images for you to see for this post.  Sighhhh...ok moving on.

So although it was a cold and somewhat drizzly/rainy night, alot of families showed up!  I was very excited because not only did my cousins, Maya Hackett, Elrik and Franz Jundis travel from up North (Elrik who was also visiting from the Philippines) come down to be guest speakers but so did the author of Deschooling Gently and Zenschooling, Tammy Takahashi, as well as her son Cameron, along with Michelle Barone and Renee Smock.  And oh boy we're we all in for a treat with this wonderful panel of guest speakers!

Before I continue on, I wanted to give you references of what homeschooling and unschooling is?  Most parents, if not familiar with it, think of homeschooling as your child learning by themselves and isolated.  Of course the first thing that comes to mind to most parents is, "what about socialization with your child?  This could affect their social skills since they don't interact with other children".  Well this is quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.  There are definitely ways to have your child(ren) socialized (if not already in a group homeschooling type of environment) and that is by joining homeschooling/unschooling groups.  And once you start researching groups, you'll be pleasantly surprised with just how many groups are really out there in Los Angeles!

Ok back to what homeschooling and unschooling is.  I actually found a good post on the definition of homeschooling by one of the guest speakers, Tammy Takahashi.  For more great insights on homeschooling, (or as Tammy likes to put it, deschooling gently and zenschooling), check out her blog called Just Enough and Nothing More.  And one of the other guest speakers, Renee Smock actually gave me some really wonderful and informative links on unschooling and one of them gave a great description

So back to our gathering. I hate to admit it but not only did my camera get lost that weekend but my notes for that night weren't the best.  Not only was I hosting but I was also communicating back and forth with Andrik's nanny, Cindy who was watching our kids so that the parents could fully focus on the guest speakers.  So I had to be the messenger to the parents whenever their children were asking (a.k.a. crying) for them.  Lesson learned - must have my tape recorder at these meetings from now on!

So please forgive my not-so-organized notes of the evening.  But although I won't be able to share all of the golden nuggets of information given that night, I do have a wonderful list of references and books I will be sharing at the end of this post to make up for it. 

The evening began with the guest speakers introducing themselves and how they came about homeschooling/unschooling their children.  So here are the notes from that night, or at least what I was able to decipher from my chicken scratch.
My cousin, Elrik Jundis (Chairman of the Philippine Permaculture Association) has been homeschooled since he was young.  At the age of 7 years old, he learned how to cook and organized the meals for 30 boyscouts (which is very impressive for a child that young to do, if you ask me!).  Throughout his life, Elrik has been drawn to a Montessori style of homeschooling and actually worked in a Montesorri school.  In his experience, Montessori can be a perfect place to develop a child's sense of awe and appreciation for the divine. Also in his experience, it is one of the best systems for creating independence and critical thought.  Him and his wife are currently homeschooling their 2 year old son, Ravi with this method.

I'm sure most of you would like to know what Montessori is.  So here are a couple of links to peak your interest:

1. Montessori Method
2. Montessori Education
3. FAQ on Montessori

One great description that I would like to share on here is the concept of how the protection of the "best" in each child is through respect of choice and concentration:

"The most important discovery that Dr. Montessori has contributed to the field of child development and education is the fostering of the best in each child. She discovered that in an environment where children are allowed to choose their work and to concentrate for as long as needed on that task, that they come out of this period of concentration (or meditation or contemplation) refreshed and full of good will toward others. The teacher must know how to offer work, to link the child to the environment who is the real teacher, and to protect this process. We know now that this natural goodness and compassion are inborn, and do not need to be taught, but to be protected."

My other cousin, Maya Hackett (Elrik's sister) also spoke of her experiences of being homeschooled.  Since she didn't like being told what to do and thought outside of the box as a child, the traditional school system was actually stifling her learning (which both her brothers could attest to, I'm sure).  She has been unschooling her 3 boys with a Waldorf-inspired learning environment.  An extraordinary author of her own blog, Urban Organica has a medley of posts on the types of wonderful experiences her children learn in this type of environment.

For more details on the Waldorf Education, here are a couple of links to peruse through:

1. What Is Waldorf Education
2. Why Waldorf Works
3. Waldorf Education - a marvelous interview with Sarah Baldwin of Bella Luna Toys

And here is a brief description of the Waldorf Education:

Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is based on a profound understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child—the heart and the hands, as well as the head.

My other cousin, Franz Jundis (the youngest brother) didn't actually speak on the panel but held the loving space as a homeschooler for the gathering.  And even though no words came from his mouth during the presentation, his loving soul vibrated throughout the room.  And can I just say, not only is Franz an amazing healer, he gives thee BEST hugs!  :o)

Tammy Takahashi, author of Deschooling Gently and Zenschooling, shared her experiences with homeschooling her 3 children.  She shared the importance of being adaptable.  Unfortunately the school system is not teaching our kids how to adapt in school.  If we open ourselves to being flexible, especially when children are struggling or butting heads, we can take the blinds off and see what works for the child.    Children intuitively understand this.  They naturally adapt to homeschooling - parents do not.  What parents can do is just trust and know that our children will adapt.  You have to be really aware with your children to know what they are into, what their interests are.

There are 3 ways to choose for education:

1) Homeschooling - where education isn't in a traditional style.  This gives you freedom for you and your child.  You create your own curriculum.  Under the homeschooling umbrella is: Waldorf-based philosophy of learning, Montessori, being tutored (which is very detail oriented) to name a few.  There are different styles of homeschooling/unschooling - it just depends on what fits for your child and your family.

2) Enroll in a charter school - you meet with a counselor who provides guidance with a curriculum.  The beneift of this is it's free.  The downside is it requires some standards, such as testing. 

3) Independent study programs - which provide legal protection but the downside is you have to pay just like any private school.

Cameron Takahashi - Tammy Takahashi's 12-year old son was the most inspiring guest speaker on this panel.  It was his first time being a guest speaker and I have to say the villagers were impressed!  He got the most questions from us that's for sure and spoke eloquently and intelligently with his answers.   He shared his experiences of what it's like to be homeschooled and how socialization is definitely not an issue.  He's a very busy kid with homeschooling groups that he is a part of - one being the Huckleberry.

Renee Smock - a wonderful woman who homeschools her children (ages 6 and 8 years old).  Unfortunately this is where things started to get foggy and where I was getting pulled in several directions and was unable to write down notes.  Which of course I feel aweful that I was unable to write anything down.  She was definitely a very sweet woman who gave us an aloe vera plant as a housewarming gift!  Although I was unable to take notes at this time when she was speaking, prior to our gathering, she gave me a plethora of resources on homeschooling and unschooling.  I have her to thank for majority of the links that you will see listed below.

Michelle Barone - a licensed marriage and family therapist, as well as, a Certified NET Practitioner, Neuro Emotional Technique, which is a exceptional mind/body technique for trauma, stress reduction and changing unhealthy patterns.  (Note to self: must have her back to be a guest speaker on this topic). 

She holds four life California teaching credentials (K-12), Adult, Learning Handicapped and Severely Handicapped.  She has published numerous articles for parents, is a contributor to The Homeschool Book of Answers by Linda Dobson and presents workshops on a variety of topics pertaining to families. She has been homeschooling since 1987 and is one of the founding mothers of the largest secular homeschool support group in the Los Angeles areas. She has also been an expert witness for homeschooling custody cases and is the author of Finding Your Way.

Throughout the presentation, several parents were concerned about their kids being able to be socialized while being homeschooled.  Michelle wrote an excellent article on this topic called "Socialization and the Homeschooled Student".

Again, although I was unable to offer alot of important things mentioned in the actual presentation, I think there are definitely alot of resources available for your reading pleasure!  And speaking of resources, here is the list I had mentioned earlier:


1. Tammy Takahashi

2. Michelle Barone

3. Urban Organica - this is my beautiful cousin, Maya Hackett's blog on unschooling her 3 boys along with her creative crafts and yummy recipes.  I absolutely LOVE her blog! She just recently moved her blog to here.  I figured I'd give you both links so you can get a taste of her past posts and her new posts.
4. Sandra Dodd

5. Joyce Fetterol

6. Beginning to Unschool

7. Why I chose Unschooling, by Joyce Fetterol 

8. The Roll of the Unschooling Parent

9. Teaching vs. Learning

10. Life Without School Community Blog

11. HomeSchool Association of California - if you join their yahoogroup, it gives great resources and topics that homeschooling families share.

12. Wee Folk Art - blog on Waldorf homeschooling and crafts

13. Mudpies & Butterflies - a wonderful resource of a woman, Jessica Deltac, who creates/coordinates village parkdays & excursions throughout Los Angeles for homeschooling families

14. Huckleberry - Center for Creative Learning based in Newhall, CA


1. Deschooling Gently by Tammy Takahashi

2. Zenschooling by Tammy Takahashi

3. Finding Your Way by Michelle Barone

4. Parenting a Free Child by Rue Kream

5. Sandra Dodd's Big Book of Unschooling by Sandra Dodd


1. Anything by John Holt

2. Better Late than Early by Raymond Moore and Dorothy Moore

3. John Taylor Gatto

There are many different styles of homeschooling/unschooling.  And yes - it can be overwhelming to decide which to choose.  For my son, I will be exploring a blend of Waldorf and Montessori to see if this resonates with what he enjoys and thrives in.  My best advise to anyone interested in homeschooling/unschooling is to go through these links and resources on this post, do your own research and feel from your heart what you feel would be best for your child and your family.  I hope this post has inspired you to learn more and just know that if you do take this path with your children, you're not alone. There is a plethora of resources, support groups and community out there!

After this gathering, one of the moms had thanked me for organizing this topic and had referred it as "lifeschooling" - which as you can see from the title of my post, that I loved her description of it.  And it really is true - homeschooling, unschooling, Montesorri, Waldorf, Secular, whatever you want to call it - it really is about engaging with your child/ren, really honing in on what interests them with learning and most importantly, joyfully experiencing life with them. 

I would like to leave you all with something that Tammy's son, Cameron expressed to us adults that night that truly put a smile on my heart and what I feel is the epitome of what learning is all about:

"There is 'seeing' learning.  There is also 'hearing' learning.  And then there is 'feeling' learning - which is experiencing..."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Conscious Birthing with Special Guest Speaker, Elizabeth Bachner

Elizabeth talking about connecting with the baby in the womb
The Family Love Village gathered together on Saturday 10/16/10 for yet another wonderful event.  This time the topic was on Conscious Birthing with a very special guest speaker, our midwife, Elizabeth Bachner. 

Elizabeth Bachner, LM, CPM & L.A.C., who was voted DASC Midwife of the Year 2008, is the owner of GraceFull Birthing.  She combines her Medical skills as a California Licensed Midwife, Acupuncturist and Herbalist to provide both safety and care for your entire family.  Elizabeth’s passion for conscious choices in both birthing and parenting is supported by years of nanny experience, her undergraduate degree in Child Psychology from The Elliot Pearson School at Tufts University and as a graduate of Dr. Ray Castellino’s Foundation Training in Pre and Perinatal Psychology.  Elizabeth views birth as not only a sacred event but also as an initiation.  Every birth offers the parents an opportunity to learn what it is that their children want them to learn - in order to be able to parent them with grace.

Travis, Eva & Professor Rylo
The first topic that Elizabeth spoke about was connecting with the baby while in the womb.  This is such an important part of the parenting journey.  It all begins while the baby is growing in your belly.  Babies are fully present even when they are developing in your belly.  And they learn by example, so when the mom is going through the full range of emotions, if you actually talk to the baby and teach them how to be present with their feelings -whether positive or negative, these tiny evolving munchkins will begin to understand what feelings are and can differentiate between the feelings.  

I remember when I was going through some stressful moments during my pregnancy and Elizabeth had told me something that I will always remember and cherish as the beginning of my journey towards conscious parenting.  She told me when I'm feeling stressed, hurt and/or frustrated to let our lil munchkin know that these emotions that I was feeling were mine own - that these feelings were not his; that I was experiencing this sadness or frustration but that he didn't have to own these feelings as I did.  And to explain that I was sad because of an external cause and had nothing to do with anything that Andrik was doing.  To me, this made so much sense.  It just resonated with me because I truly believe that these souls even when they are developing in our tummies are conscious beings.  We are all made up of energy and whether it is positive or negative energy, all energy vibrates to a particular tune.  And whether we are expressing ourselves through words, emotions, and/or actions - it is all a way of communication.  So it would make sense that communicating consciously with our babies while in the womb not only creates a special bond between mother and child but also paves the path towards conscious parenting.

I did this throughout the whole pregnancy and still communicate to Andrik that my emotions are mine even up to this day.  Even when daddy and myself have an argument, I always explain to Andrik that we are arguing but it was not caused by him, that he is not at fault at all.  That way he can differentiate between our emotions and know that he is not to blame. As a side note, the most important part of Andrik witnessing an argument between us, is experiencing when we make up and show affection and empathy!

Mike, Hannah and their lil bun in the oven :o)
Tom, Gen & their lil bun in the oven
The next topic Elizabeth discussed was how to have a conscious birth - whether at home or in a hospital.  What is consciousness?  It is the state of being conscious; the awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts and surroundings.    Elizabeth went on to explain that conscious birthing begins with the choices of how you want to birth, where you want to birth, whom you want to be at the birth, creating a birth plan of what you want and don't want at the birth, etc.  It is a state of being aware of and embracing a birth that resonates for you and your family.  

Conscious birthing is also knowing the difference between pain and suffering.  The majority of births, properly supported by a provider and/or birth companion (such as a midwife like Elizabeth) who is experienced in helping women cope with labor, can occur with the mother un-medicated but not experiencing suffering.  Pain in labor is normal; suffering is not. It has been well documented that this support significantly reduces the need for pain medication, c-section, and other interventions. 

Conscious Birthing is also getting out of the Christian paradigm of feeling like you're "good" or "bad" and into the new way of embracing all and being present.  It is knowing that the storm is passing through us but the storm is not who we are.  It is also honoring the "No" and choosing who you want in the room while giving birth.  Conscious birthing is also having the support person knowing where they're attention is during the birth, being present and honoring what the woman needs during this time.  Every action, whether it's a bathroom break, taking care of yourself by eating or sending a text should be a mutual cooperation and support for the mom and baby.


The next topic Elizabeth discussed was how to give birth without guilt or shame.  The goal during birth is for the mom to be really present with what she is feeling or experiencing and to let go of any "secrets" that may make her feel guilty or ashamed.  For instance, "I need to fart but don't want anyone to hear me" or having secret judgments about the birth, such as "I’m supposed to birth with an orgasm or it won't be perfect!".  Elizabeth explained that birthing without guilt or shame is having no expectation of what your birth should look like, willing to go through the pain and experience the birth, that sometimes there is Karma and then there is Dharma and to trust your intuition.  She also mentioned that the hardest thing for mothers to get comfortable with is gas and poops during labor.  But during labor, you just have to take off your Wonder Woman cape and birth like a rock star!  :o) 

Elizabeth wanted to quote a magnet that she liked on my fridge that pertained to birthing like a rock star.  At the time, I couldn't remember the saying but when I looked on my fridge, the magnet that I had once thought was a strange quote made so much sense to me now:

"One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star." ~ Nietzche

Professor Rylo & Uncle Dalmacio

Sasha & Andrik
The last topic that Elizabeth covered was how to heal from afterbirth post trauma.  She highly suggested getting SUPPORT, getting rest and getting a new perspective - that you did NOTHING wrong!

Unfortunately at this time, Andrik was very active and needed my attention so I missed most of this part.  So I decided to do a little research on this topic and found some websites that I thought the Village readers would appreciate:

1) Healing Trauma
2) Healing A Traumatic Childbirth Experience
3) Healing From Pregnancy and Birth Trauma
4) Rebirth After Birth Trauma (I found this post very intriguing and inspiring)

Yvonne & Kien

Elizabeth ended the workshop with some loving and thought-provoking words to share with the villagers (which I had actually received from her notes that I printed out before the workshop and wanted to share):

What makes a good parent?  It is not what it looks like – it is what it feels like.  A good parent knows who they are (boundaries, how they feel, grounded, where they are in the world); is willing to make an effort; is able to be in relationship with kindness – and state boundaries with kindness and keep the child safe from harm.  That is what love is.

Kids learn by example.  Be the example of loving to your self, know your self, have healthy boundaries for yourself, create a safe space – feel safe in yourself… with love and kindness to all!

Elizabeth believes that when people are supported and trusted they are able to birth, parent and live with Presence, Connection and Grace.  Parenting begins way before the actual birth.  When parents feel well supported and trusted during the pregnancy and birthing process, they will create a strong connection to their inner wisdom and continue to parent in an ease-filled, joy-full relationship with their child.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Visit to the Trails Before Summer Ends

Summer was sadly coming to an end.  And all the fun activities to do during this season would soon come to an end, as well.  Well ok so not all the fun would go away for awhile but definitely going to the beach and going swimming might be out of the picture (until it gets hotter).  So with summer ending and Fall beginning, I thought what better way to spend a sunny day than with my fellow villagers on a beautiful hike!  Since moving to Topanga, my family had yet to check out the beautiful trails and thought this would be a perfect opportunity for 1) the Family Love Village to get together for a playdate and 2) to finally get a chance to go on the trails and submerge ourselves in nature!

Saskia on the left, our newest members Lauren & Isaiah on the right (her hubby Jarreau was at work) and my beloved Chachi (our furry daughter)
Our fearless tourguide, Saskia lead us through the trails and gave us some great natural remedy tips with certain leaves and trees. 

Did you know:

1) That tobacco leaves actually have natural healing benefits to it?  When boiling the leaves and using the water to wash in your hair, it can kill lice in kid's hair and animals, as well.  I also read that it helps with honey bee bites and dog bites.  When mixed with turmeric, rock salt and honey, it can be a wonderful remedy for whooping cough (please bare in mind, there is a process to doing this - I found this website to be helpful: Tobacco Cures.  You have to scroll down almost to the bottom to read the information).

2) That mugwort leaves have alot of beneficial natural remedies to offer.  It helps with poison oak (which was very good to know since there was some poison oak where we were hiking).  It also helps with indigestion, travel sickness and it is an agent that stimulates menstruation by increasing blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus and is a useful remedy for irregular menstruation, and menstrual cramping.  See Mugwort Remedies for further information on its benefits.  However, moms that are pregnant or still breastfeeding should not drink the mugwort in tea form since it is a natural uterine stimulant.  So I won't be using this anytime soon for cramps or indigestion but will use if it for my family in case we ever get poison oak.

This was definitely a good hike.  Not too hard yet we still got a good workout! 

Just look how beautiful the green mountains are!  Breathtaking!
After about an hour hike, we came back to the main house for more fun activities! 

While the lil ones played, the mamas prepared lunch. 

We also had the honor of Drew (an amazing singer and teacher) who gave us singing lessons.  There's Sonia singing happily away! :o)

Hmmm perhaps Sasha will try eggplant another day.  :o)

And then after eating some yummy lunch, we had a drum circle.

Andrik connecting with Lucas while Sasha connected with the camera! :o)

So the fun playdate had come to an end and so did summer.  But the Family Love Village gatherings are still coming...excited to share all the fun adventures for the next few months'  gatherings!  Excited to experience them and share with all of you.  :o)  See you in October!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moving On Up to the West Side (Humming to the Jeffersons Theme Song)

Hi everyone! Yes I've been a very terrible host these past few months and I have to admit it has been challenging writing in both my blogs. But I have very valid reasons! 1) I'm a mama to a very active 19 month old boy, 2) writing in 2 blogs with this mama brain of mine can create writer's block at times, and 3) we just recently moved!!! The last answer has definitely taken up alot of my time this past month. But I do want to apologize to all of you for not having the capability or creativeness to write...but that's about to change. ;o)

This post is gonna be short and sweet because I'm completely exhausted each night after a fulltime job, making dinner, getting my lil man to sleep and then trying to unpack at least one box a night...

What I wanted to express is how amazing the Universe truly is...and if we truly listen to the settle signs She gives us, we can truly manifest our dreams into fruition! This move is a wonderful example of this. For quite some time now, Dalmacio and I have been talking about how we want to move closer to the beach and in nature...and well, now we have both. We're about 5 minutes away from the beach yet peacefully isolated within the beautiful, breathtaking mountains.

Everything basically fell into place for us with this move. Our last place we were living at was nice and had its perks with a big kitchen and a laundry room with a washer and dryer but after 2 years living next to a neighbor who constantly yells at her kids was starting to take its toll on us.  Especially Andrik who was now fully aware of the negative energy and getting affected by it. Our 2-year lease was coming up and we would've had to sign another 2-year lease and I couldn't bare the thought of living another 2 years next to a woman who verbally abused her children.  And just by chance (actually just by God's beautiful plan), a place went up for rent.  And even though the place is smaller than our old place, the beautiful environment and the community is so much more spacious and loving than two of those old homes put together!

So yes I've been on hiatus for a lot longer than expected or have wanted.  But being a mama + writer's block + unpacking + enjoying the fresh air and surroundings has consumed my every moment.  I'm actually ecstatic that I posted the last 2 events that happened in June and July over the weekend.  It took staying up until 3AM to write in both my blogs but I did it!  Probably something I won't do again - especially when you've got a cute lil man waking you up at 7 the next morning to play. But two days later and I'm very relieved that I'm all caught up in this blog.  August we didn't have any Family Love Village gatherings because of our move but we will be back in effect in September!  So yes my fellow villagers and readers, I'm back!  And ready to share, connect, dig my toes into the dirt and get grounded with all of you!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer in the "Shade" - Sunday 7/18/10

The Family Love Village gathered for a fun playdate at a summer event called "Shade" - where the sandy beaches met the tides of good music and good vibes!  It was definitely a fun day where not only did the babies get to play in the sand but the mamas and dadas got to groove in the sand, as well!  A friend and well-known DJ within the community (Porter Tinsley) is known for throwing day events with house music.  When I heard this event was happening, I thought it would definitely be fun to get the families together and enjoy a day at the beach.  When I found out our very own villager, Travis Lea (a.k.a DJ FatFinger) was one of the headlining djs for this event, we definitely had to go and support!

DJ Daddy FatFinger and DJ Rylo on the 2x4's!
I love events like this where it's during the day and not only is there good music to dance to where you get to run into old friends but what is always a BIG plus is the fact these type of events are family friendly! 

I feel the best way to express this fun-filled day is to share through the pictures.  There is truth to that saying: "A picture is worth a 1000 words" - or something to that extent.

Here's a picture with Sonia, Sean & baby Sasha to the left, Dalmacio and Andrik in the middle along with Eva and Rylo to the right.  Travis must've still been djing.

Daddy and Andrik flying in the sky...

And here are a few pics of the babies solo:

Looks like someone is taking after mommy!

Sasha hooping!  And her mama ain't too bad either!  ;o)

Eva & Professor Rylo

 At the end of the day, if there's still a smile on your lil one's face, you've done something good!!  ;o)
Babywearing Mamas!!

Phew...what a day!  Dancing, building sandcastles, hooping...what a wonderful way to spend some family love time!  There will definitely be more of these precious moments to share and remember.  Until next time...

Naturopathy and Its Benefits with Dr. Michelle Gerber on Sat. 6/5/10

What is Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathy is a system of medicine that promotes optimal wellness and is based on the following principles:
• Do no harm--including choosing the most gentle effective therapies first
• Treat the whole person--physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
• Treat the cause--not just the symptoms
• Focus on prevention
• Treat each person as an individual
• Doctor as teacher--answer questions, provide information about any conditions, explain the treatment
• The healing power of nature--the body has an instrinsic ability to heal that needs to be supported, and following the principles of nature will usually lead to the speediest and most thorough recovery

Naturopathic medicine restores health by removing obstacles to cure and supporting the body's own healing processes. It combines the latest in scientific research and evidenced based medicine with traditional wisdom and natural healing practices.

Dr. Michelle Gerber is a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor and a Certified Professional Midwife who is trained in the art and science of medicine and natural childbirth. The very first time we met Dr. Gerber to see if she would be a fit for Andrik's pediatrician needs, we knew it was like a glove awaiting its hand to join matrimony! LOL It was very important that we had a holistic pediatrician who believed and supported what we believe in. We were very grateful to have found her. As a naturopath, she uses a variety of tools, including laboratory testing and imaging, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle coaching, botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, pharmaceuticals and more.

Knowing how wonderful Dr. Gerber has been with Andrik and learning all this amazing information from her, it just felt natural (no pun intended) to want to share this with the village. When I asked Dr. Gerber if she'd be willing to be a guest speaker for the village and she replied with a cheerful yes, I was so ecstatic - especially since she was willing to take time out of her very busy schedule (she's not only a pediatrician, she is also a midwife - double wow)!

Dr. Gerber joined us on Saturday 6/5/10 at one of the village family homes. She not only explained the benefits of Naturopathy but she also gave us a wonderful list for a natural first aid kit (see blow). She then stayed for a little bit to connect with us and eat some yummy food (truthfully this post has been long overdue and can't remember what was served) but believe me, it was yummy! :o)

Below is a list of the naturopathic first aid kit that Dr. Gerber gave us. There are some notes that my husband, Dalmacio wrote down that are underlined and in bold text that I thought would be helpful. Some of the notes are a little unclear so I apologize ahead of time if it seems a little confusing. Overall it gives a plethora of great products to buy to help build a first aid kit that is natural without all those harsh chemicals (minus the Children's Tynelol at the very bottom - hence the reason it's at the bottom of the list).

Naturopathic First Aid Kit

Arnica/Traumeel cream or Inflamyar cream
Calendula succus
Herbal salve (All Purpose Salve or another with calendula, comfrey, yarrow)
Castor oil
Aloe vera gel
St. John’s Wort oil
Chickweed salve or cream
Ear oil (Garlic and Mullein)

Rescue Remedy flower essence (for infants, can rub a little on their 3rd eye or where blood vessels are)
Immune support (Echinacea/VitC/Elder (in liquid form - strawberry flavor), Children’s Glycerite, or Immune A, etc.) - Berry Well (General Immune Suppor powder form)
Ginger tea
Antispasmodic tincture
Tummy glycerite and/or tea
Calming glycerite (helps in calming an overly excited infant before going to sleep)
Elderberry syrup
Herbal cough syrup

Thermometer (digital)
Organic black tea bags (great for drawing things out, i.e. abscess fluids from a toothache, draws out bruising in a black eye)
Thin cotton socks, thick wool socks
Neti pot
Flannel, cheesecloth or other thin cloth (can be used for castor oil packs or a band-aid?)
Hot water bottle

Onions, garlic, lemons (for digestion), rosemary, thyme, oregano (all 3 are anti-bacterial), turmeric, beets (or beet juice—for constipation) and cloves.


Several homeopathic companies sell home kits with many of the basic acute remedies included

Activated charcoal—for sever indigestion, migraines, and can be used in some types of accidental poisoning (always contact Poison control before administering anything)
Bentonite clay (mix with water as a topical paste for cuts and scrapes)
Carob powder (1 step down from Active Charcoal - helps with diarrhea)
Essential oils: Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea Tree, Thyme, Peppermint, Lemon Balm
Children's Tylenol (it may not be natural but can help bring a high fever down and only used when necessary and the consult of your physician)