Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I happen to be a messy cook and a messy herbalist. :) You will not find any nice/awesome/"it took me two hours to get this photo" pictures here. This is real life. I don't have time for that!

Monday, June 16, 2014

My herb happenings

I have a friend in town who has resparked my interest in all things herbal.

So far, I've made some lotion and some black drawing salve (to pull out splinters/spider venom/glass/basically anything you want pulled out of your skin).

We decided to start a little herb club, with just the two of us. :) We meet once a month, learn about an herb and make something together. Last month was the drawing salve. This month we are making cough drops for the winter (two different kinds) and so far on the list we want to make dit dow ja (muscles/bruising-which requires buying vodka-gasp! Haha it's to be used externally-see D&C 89 for the proper use of alcohol: to wash our bodies!), she wants to make calendula salve, which I'll be making in Utah too, and we are planning out the rest of our herbal adventures this Thursday.

I decided to start some tinctures for this winter. The first is what I'm calling "The get better tincture" it should be pretty calming/maybe even sleepy tincture-echinacea (for the cold/flu/immunity booster), raspberry leaf (same, and all the beneficial minerals and vitamins), rosehips (vitamin c, among other exciting things), chamomile (to calm), catnip (calming/upset stomach).

The second tincture is with elderberries... And only elderberries. It is smaller, but it will probably only be used if we get the flu.

I'm planning to make an 'herbal day-quil' for J. He has to work, he needs energy and something to actually HELP the sickness, not just boost his energy enough to get him through the day (although, I'm hoping this tincture does do that too). It will have astragalus (need to order-this I'm hoping boosts him), mint (clean sinuses), elderberry, raspberry leaf, rosehips.

What an exciting summer! It feels good to once again be prepared for winter and have things in my cabinet to help my family.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Meditating Children

"I think we pay too little attention to the value of meditation; a principle of devotion... Meditation is one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord." David O. McKay

We started meditating/listening to meditation mantra music a couple months ago.  We recently started listening to something together (the kids and me) at some point during our mornings together.

When we do this our days go so smoothly. Rico even comments throughout the day, "Mom, this is a really nice day." They love learning the different hand movements.

Deddy's favorite mantra to sing is Long Time Sun .  Rico's varies. At the moment he loves By Thy Grace. They chant it throughout the day together.  At one point it repeats "Allah, Jehova, Rama, Sa ta na ma" Yesterday, Deddy chanted ALL DAY LONG "jehova, grandma." It was hilarious. They love to watch that particular video. So grandma's, if you were feeling extra love, it was from him.  :)

Rico says it makes his body feel better. I know what he means. I have more patience and understanding. I know that with praising God you can totally transform. I think meditation and chanting mantras while praising God elevates your entire being.  Our house is functioning better than it ever has.  

I found one that you do for your children: to remember the divine spirits that they are and to help them turn to God. It is beautiful.

Just give it a try! Try meditating to one of these for a week and see if there are any changes.

If you are worried that meditation and Christianity cannot co-exist, I invite you to study your scriptures and pray about it.  Psalms 5:1, Psalms 19:14. There are SO many more.

For those who need healing. 

I am loving this one. It helps with communication and brings you into balance. It is supposedly the "base" mantra for all other mantras. I especially love that video because she teaches you how to do the hand movements (I think called the mudra). And her voice is beautiful.

If you go to spirit voyage website and search the mantras you can find the translation and meanings. 

“Meditation centered upon divine realities is the very essence and soul of prayer. It is the silent reaching of the soul towards the Eternal. More petitionary prayer without meditation is a body without a soul, and is powerless to lift the mind and heart above sin and affliction.” James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, Vol. 2.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Our Parenting Style

I wrote this on my private blog awhile after Rico (our first) was born.  Maybe it will help a new mother out there!

While I was pregnant I researched a lot of different things:
*healthy eating for pregnant women
*common problems/how to prevent them
*aftercare of the newborn
*vaccinating while pregnant
*natural remedies for common ailments
*pregnancy testing, including Rho Gham, blood sugar, group b strep

...the list goes on and on...

Literally the day after he was born I realized I hadn't read one thing on breastfeeding, how many wet diapers a new born should have per day, how much do they sleep, what are the common milestones and when do babies usually reach them. I guess I had figured that I would "just figure it out" or "it would just come naturally." I have come to realize I am not as much of a "natural" mother as I thought I was going to be. Yes, I do know when to nurse, when he needs to sleep and so on, but that has taken months. During the first few months I didn't really quite know when he needed to nap or go down for the night. People would say things like "Looks like Mom knows best" when in reality I felt basically lost. I started praying for guidance. I prayed for quite a while to know how we were supposed to raise our son.

We have received a lot of advice on how to raise him. The most often given is to just let him cry. Put him down in bed at night and let him cry. If he's playing and starts crying, let him cry for awhile before you get him so he "knows" that sometimes he just has to wait. When he was two weeks old, after trying this a few times, I broke down crying wondering why I wasn't allowed to hold this completely innocent baby who just wanted to be held and kissed and cuddled. It was then that I realized that maybe that kind of parenting wasn't for us. J didn't like it either but since we had been told, mostly by our parents that that was the way to parent, we did it.

We have come to realize that times are different. Crying-it-out may work for some families, but it is not a one size fits all parenting style. How could our loving Heavenly Father  send us to Earth and expect all babies to obey this rule. We all started out as different intelligences and having different constitutions. Why would this somehow change once we reached Earth?

Our baby is a high-need baby. There, I've said it. He likes to nurse every 2-3 hours, if he doesn't he whines and gets mad at me. He likes to nap a few times a day and when I am a little late on nap time, he fusses and sometimes refuses to go down. If he really starts to cry and we don't give him what he needs the cry gets louder. He won't stop, like I've read tons of stories of babies doing--he.won't.stop.crying. He likes to sleep with us. If he's in his crib, he'll last for a little bit, but sleeps much longer and better when he's snuggled next to us. He likes to be worn in a wrap. He wants to be held almost constantly  and to save my arms and sanity, we've adopted the wrap. He loves watching when I make food, clean or just wander around. He loves going on walks in the wrap and looking at the birds. He likes playing with people. Yes, he can play by himself but will "last" much longer on the ground playing if someone is sitting with him, as I am now--he is not a self soother. He is intense. He is unpredictable and can be draining. 

Now, to some we may seem to be spoiling him by wearing him a few hours a day and letting him sleep in the wrap, rocking him to sleep, sleeping with him, letting him nurse, for the most part, when he wants to. But, every child born is different and all have different levels of needs. Some babies can roll around all day and be held enough to feed and be rocked to sleep. Some don't need to be rocked to sleep. Some babies are like mine. They crave the attachment of mom and dad. They NEED to be held and nursed often. I feel like he doesn't feel secure without it. 

The Baby Book has saved my mind from exploding in frustration and confusion in wondering what it is that Rico wants. I have struggled in knowing how much I'm supposed to hold him; how I'm supposed to get the house clean to my standards and wondering if a schedule would be better for our family. 

So, after praying for quite a while and reading a lot of different things on parenting and babies and needs/wants I finally gave in to Dr. Sears. It was a huge relief when I opened this text-book like book and started reading about high-need babies. How to get him to sleep better and that co-sleeping actually has scientific backing--mothers breath out enough carbon dioxide to stimulate a new-born's breathing. There is also proof that wearing a baby does not make him spoiled and that the idea of spoiling a baby is ridiculous. Rico was inside of me for 9 months getting every bit of nourishment and love from me and that doesn't stop when the cord is cut. He is a baby. A BABY. He is not an adult, or a tween or a child, he is a baby. He needs his diaper changed, needs to be fed constantly (especially with breastmilk) and most importantly he needs to be nurtured. Mothers are the best nurtures. I am very glad that I did not give in to the advice that was given and listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost who was pointing me in the direction of how best to care for my son. The best part about this parenting style is that it fits us. It can be easily adapted as Rico grows and as we have more children. 

James Jones has a wonderful, spiritual, scientific and scriptural parenting program. We plan on using it when Rico is old enough to start understanding different concepts. He believes that the first two years are a time of nurture. Babies need to feel secure. They need to feel that they are worth something and that their parents can be trusted and that people are basically good. I have been wondering, if I fail at the first two years, will he believe me when I tell him The Church is true? Will he believe me when I tell him that his father in Heaven loves him and wants to be with him for eternity? That only in temples can sacred ordinances be performed to seal families for time and all eternity? If his trust starts building at birth, have a done a good job so far? 

I believe that how we parent from the time our baby is born throughout the rest of their lives matter. I want Rico and our other children to know we are telling the truth when we say The Book of Mormon is true and I know this because I have prayed about it. I know that if your father and I and you keep the commandments and do what The Lord wants us to do we will be together forever and have worlds without number. 

Now, I don't think our parents did a bad job. Actually I'd say they did a great job. I am saying that now there are different resources and points of view and we are trying one out because the other one wasn't working for the three of us.

So, yes. I have a high-need baby. He is in no way a bad baby. He has different needs and I think J and I are finally figuring out those needs and caring for him in the way he needs to be cared for. If it weren't for J's support with every aspect of our parenting style, it would not work. He has a tremendous capacity to understand things that I don't and to explain things over and over until I comprehend. This parenting style makes sense to us and it's "working" like it should.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Upcoming Womens Conference

I am planning to go to the upcoming Womens Conference this Saturday.

Is anyone else? I have a friend who isn't and isn't too thrilled about it. She thinks it must be in response to the recent happenings of some women in the church in the last year.

I hope they'll inform us as to why this is being started and why 8 year olds and up are invited to attend (why not just young women and relief society?). I feel that our one women's conference in September is enough-and I haven't ever wondered why there wasn't one in spring. I wonder if this one is going to be any different and if not, why do we need two?

Any other opinions out there? ? ?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Standing while Montessori-ing

My friend sent me a post about boys,  and their energy level. If you haven't heard or experienced it.... it's high!  Rico is also a spirited boy (which deserves its own post).

Anyway, I have read post after post, and seen countless pictures of little boys sitting and doing their work. Am I missing something? Do these mom's (or dad's) snap the photo at the precise moment?  Are these boys sitting nicely for long periods of time?  If not, where are the posts about it?

I'm putting it on the world wide web for all to read: MY SON WON'T SIT STILL. He needs to move his body. Asking him to pay attention while sitting quietly and reverently is almost painful for him (except at church). OK, not painful, but near impossible. And then....he acts bored. He starts saying "no" and "I don't know" even though he can and we are doing something really fun that he should say "yes" to. 

Today, I had a brilliant idea (it happens once in awhile). He was matching the names of colors. He was starting to wiggle and starting to look bored. I said "run around the couch." "Run back the other way." I high fived him every time he went around.  Then I handed him another name; he matched it quickly and then stared at me with his perfect grin.  I told him to run again. He ran,  high fived and went back the other way.  Matched quickly again and kept going.  He finished quickly and asked before we went up for his nap when he would get do it again. Success.

I need reminders. My son needs to move his body. He focuses better with an outlet for his energy. He needs to sing,  dance, pretend, imagine, jump. This does not mean anything is wrong with him.

On the contrary: he is interesting, lively, lovely, entertaining, energetic, dramatic, caring and smart. He has eyes you can't lie to. And ears you can't lie to. He remembers everything. 

My son won't sit still for nomenclature cards. But if he's running, he'll do them faster than me!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Prepping the Activity

I am not the best at prepping for an activity.  This is something I'm trying to work on.  Activities always go better if I'm not scrambling.  I'm calmer, they are too and usually we have fun. 

Below are a couple of activities I had set for the boys.  The clothespins were for Deddy.  Geometric shapes with toothpicks for Rico. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014


What about fevers?

"And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate-" Alma 46:40

I love that we have a scriptural reference for a specific illness.  I love the Book of Mormon. 

When my babies had fevers, the routine didn't change.  I gave them milk and lots of snuggles. 

When they were a little older, just to help them sleep (very rarely) we would give them some acetaminophen.  Sometimes we still do this.  Deddy is a restless sleeper when he's sick and this seems to help him rest more easily. 

I am with the group of people that believes fevers really aren't a bad thing (most of the time).  They are alerting the body that it is time to rest and that there is an infection or waste of some kind that is trying to be eliminated. 

Making sure kids are going to the bathroom seems to help fevers.  Constipation keeps the waste in the body.  If kids are old enough to take pills, using Dr Christophers lower bowel formula will quickly remedy a constipated person.  :)  For younger kids, a catnip enema if you are really concerned.  Make up a glass of catnip tea, proceed with the enema... near or in the bathroom/tub.  Raspberry tea keeps things moving, so will a smoothie with some extra greens and fiber (we use flax seed if we need any extra).

If you feel the fever is too high or you are at all worried, a natural fever reducer is a catnip bath.  I have used this once with Rico and once with Deddy and it helped quickly.  Catnip and Chamomile are great before bed.  I fill up a bowl of water, steep the herbs and add to the bath water. Yarrow tea is another excellent fever tea.

I rely on the fever to help rid the body of excess toxins, bacteria or viruses.  So, usually I don't try to bring it down.  I use herbs to help the body when needed. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wintertime Illnesses

Sick Deddy

There are a few standards in our house for when we get sick.  They differ depending on the sickness and my "feeling" at the time.  I always like to say a prayer to know how best to help my family and I feel like I am usually drawn to one or several of the methods below:
Colloidal Silver: some people think silver is a crock.  It works for us.  My niece contracted hand, foot, mouth disease and was over at our house just before being diagnosed.  We all took silver liberally and none of us contracted it.  Sometimes all a sore throat needs is a little bit of this and the cold never progresses.
Elderberry tincture: great for sore throats, strep, colds, flu. Antiviral and antibacterial-it is a great remedy. 
Kyolic: this is a very concentrated garlic product-supposedly odorless (I can smell it a little).  We prefer the liquid form: it is easily hidden in juice or tea.  This can even be taken as a maintenance measure.  You can find this among the garlic products in the health food section. 
Echinacea tea: antiviral/antibacterial, This been had been studied scientifically and is proven to shorten the length of the flu. It tastes amazing and my kids like it even without honey.
Raspberry Leaf Tea: this is my "go-to." Sore throat, cold, flu, fever.  This tea is also antiviral and antibacterial,  contains many minerals and vitamins, including calcium, and we drink a lot of it in our house.  J and I prefer this tea cold. 
I never sweeten tea with sugar.  We almost always use honey or nothing at all.  I have given my kids tea from the time they drink liquids other than my milk and I think because of that they rarely turn it down. 
Dr. Christopher says to be wise in how you offer tea to children and they'll learn to like it.  I know this isn't true for all people-J being one of those who still doesn't like tea-but even he has come to appreciate it.
Learning to care for myself and my family has been rewarding.  I love being able to help our bodies "help themselves."