Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Violet's birth story

The I'm BACK!!!!  Yes, I know it's been quite a long time.  Last time I wrote anything I had announced I was pregnant.  As many of you already know I had a beautiful baby girl named Violet Antonia.  She is 9 months old months and is a true joy.  I suppose I should re-enter the blogging world with her beautiful birth story that helped heal me from the traumatic birth I had with Audrey in so many ways. 

We had originally intended upon having a VBAC in the hospital with my midwife from Audrey's birth.  BUT the more I thought about re-entering a hospital the more it didn't feel right to me.  I felt I wanted needed a homebirth.  Unfortunately, in Louisiana HBAC's are illegal (homebirth after cesarean) You must birth unassisted if you want an HBAC.  That's a seriously sad statement.
 With this last pregnancy, I had an anterior placenta, it was not low lying or previa, but because it was not fundal, having an out of hospital birth was exed as well.  I am not a big fan of ultrasounds but was required to have a total of 3, which I did. I had one at 18 wks, another around 30 weeks or so to determine where my placenta was and another hours before Violet arrived. It was after this 2nd ultrasound that Carlo and I made a decision that to have the birth I truly wanted and deserved, I needed to head to The Farm in Tennessee.
 That evening I made a call and caught someone, Pamela Hunt.  I got my records about my c-section and my papers from my pregnancy and sent them over as soon as I could.  The OB's notes were so vague, that in order for them to accept me as a client at The Farm, those papers needed to be re-written and I needed an ultrasound that showed that my placenta was not previa. My ultrasound was on a Wednesday, my phone call to the Farm was the next day, and I sent in info. to have my records changed that Friday. I got the new information on the following Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week and on Thursday, week 31, I became a client at The Farm.
My midwife, Mimi, was loving, kind, and caring. She was just about to take her midwfery exam for certification and Pamela would also be attending my birth.  I was thrilled beyond belief. I could see my dream birth finally!!  I had phone appointments with Mimi weekly as well as regular appointments with my midwife in town.  Right as parade season for Mardi Gras started Carlo and I went to see The Farm.  Although I was already a client,  I wanted to make sure it was the place for me and that I was where I wanted to be.  We made the 8hr drive on a Saturday and drove back the next morning.  It was enough time to meet Pamela, Mimi, and Kerri (Pamela's apprentice)   I felt pretty good but still nervous. The Farm is quite isolated and I always considered myself a city girl.  At night it's pitch black and the nearest "big" city is 15-20 minutes away.  I still felt that I would make it work and this was the right thing to do.  That trip was taken 1 month before we were to head up for the birth.
On March 1st we left a family of 3 to head to The Farm. We made the big trip over 2 days. My  estimated due date was March 8th.   
It was a tough car ride! Audrey threw up two times! One time the first day, one time the 2nd day. We thought at first she was carsick,  but Audrey doesn't get carsick. By the second day I had caught something as well and was nauseous most of the trip, the last hour up to The Farm was grueling for me, but we made it!!!
We stayed in The Forrest house and arrived right before a big ice storm hit.  The house was beautiful!! It had a large kitchen with an eat in kitchen,  picturesque living room, formal dining room, 2 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms, one with a large tub.  We were surrounded by trees and beautiful landscape. The living room had a fireplace, baby grand piano, and floor to ceiling windows.  With all that said, there was something I noticed missing...TV!!!  Yes, there are no TV's in The Forrest house. At first, I was at a loss for words, but it was the best thing that could have ever happened to our family!  We had Carlo's computer and a DVD attachment. Audrey was able to watch a movie at night and we binge watched House of Cards after Audrey was in bed. While pregnant, the big bed, a queen bed with a tempurpedic mattress was SUPER uncomfortable. Therefore,  I slept in the small bedroom, a full bed, with Audrey, where I was more comfortable.  To say I slept well would be a lie.  I don't know many pregnant women who have slept well in that last stretch.
As far as appointments go, Mimi and Pamela came to see me a lot at first. They saw me 3 days in a row at and to tell you guys the truth,  I didn't like it. I didn't understand at the time, but do now.  You see, I had a lot of water, more than normal, and an anterior placenta.  This combination  made it VERY difficult for either of them to determine whether Violet was head or butt down. A breech birth is not an issue for The Farm, but it would have been a surprise to me. I also went to the clinic on Wednesday the 5th and Wednesday the 12th. Yes, I went over. By the second week, I was still not comfortable with my appointments...
 I loved Mimi and Kerri, but Pamela and I simply didn't click.  Please don't get me wrong, she is a wonderful person, but very direct and I just didn't connect with her like I did with Mimi and Kerri.  I had reservations regarding Pamela attending my birth and expressed them to Mimi and Kerri on the 12th. I had a complete breakdown on Tuesday the 11th. They took this as a good sign. A complete breakdown meant baby would arrive soon. Following my appointment, I met another Farm midwife, Staci, Pamela's daughter-in-law, and her apprentice Laura. Although I didn't get to speak with them for long, I knew they were both so funny, full of energy, and love. .
 Mimi came by the house later on the 12th and told us Pamela had decided it was best to not attend my birth, due to our lack of connection, and instead Staci and Laura would attend along with Mimi.  At my last appointment at the clinic, Mimi found out the night before that she had passed her midwifery exam.  She was thrilled!!! I finally felt great about my birth. I had my dream team!!!
Wednesday eveninig I felt some different pressure waves (contractions) but dismissed them. My pressure waves woke me up around 4am Thursday March 13th. I knew this was the start of something so I went back to sleep.  I slept until 7:30am and felt well rested.  They became more frequent around 9am which is when we called Mimi.  She came over around lunchtime and stayed for the day. Staci and Laura were attending an Amish birth and came over afterwards.
Audrey was having a great time with the new camera we got her just for this occasion. She was taking TONS of pictures of mama laboring, Mimi, Staci, Laura, and Carlo.  She actually took around 600 photos BEFORE Violet was born!!!!  She rubbed my back and took great care of me throughout the entire process.  She understood everything that was going on from us reading the books Hello Baby and Mama Midwife. 
Mimi tried to check me early in the day, but my cervix is quite high so she was unable to determine how far along I was. Staci finally arrived around 3pm and I was 5cm.  I was still having a good time talking and laughing. I didn't need to focus yet and we were getting quite a few laughs from the Amish stories Staci, Laura, and Kerri told!  Staci thought it might be a good idea around 4:30ish to take a trip into the "big" city so I could have an ultrasound.  Apparently, I had a bulging water bag along with a lot of water and an anterior placenta, and they were still uncertain whether Violet's head was down or not. THIS is where the story gets interesting.
Here I am 6cm packed into the backseat of Carlo's 4-runner. Carlo folded down half of his backseat so I could lean on the birthing ball as we drove.  Mimi was in the passenger seat, Audrey and I were in the back and we were following Staci, Kerri, and Laura in Staci's car.  We took the back roads through hill country!!! What a ride that was!! I was roughly 6cm when we arrived at our destination.  The tech was nice enough to stay open later just for me! I didn't see anything on the ultrasound but was just hanging out. Lol all I knew was that her head was down.  The ride back was more intense.  I asked that we take the more direct route back home due to my need to focus more.  Things were progressing nicely. Audrey took wonderful care of me and even held my hand on the way back.  What a sweetheart!  Once we got back I tried a rebozo around my belly and over my shoulders.  Think woven wrap like you are starting a FWCC (front wrap cross carry) instead of a baby I was wrapping my belly.  I squatted and simultaneously pulled the tails down.  It helped some, but just like with Audrey,  nothing was better than my hips being squeezed.  Prior to the birth, we asked Kerri to act as our doula.  She was wonderful, and the one who was squeezing my hips!
    My times may be off from here on out since there were no clocks and time is not something you care about in labor.   
Audrey went to bed around 7:30pm, the same time I was around 8-9cm, aka transition.  After her dinner, Audrey came in during a pretty intense pressure wave. I remember her saying "I want to give mama a hug and kiss." Kerri asked her to wait until mama's pretty song was over. As soon as I finished, I remember reaching out my arms and saying "Audrey kiss!!" I told Carlo beforehand that his main job was to take care of my baby because I was in good hands with 2 midwives and 2 apprentices.  I had tried several different  positions throughout my labor: towel rolls, side lying, the tub, hands and knees, and the burthing stool.  This time, I hated the tub, I remember saying water and immediately having coconut water brought to me. Lol I then  said tub as I started stripping as I walked.  I labored and birthed in the back bedroom, the room with the bed I did not like sleeping on. I used my hypnobirthing techniques throughout although did not listen to anything, not even music, during labor.  I had my low birth song as I did with Audrey and only a few times, on difficult pressure waves would I forget my hypnobabies only to be reminded by Mimi to melt like butter into the pressure wave. This quickly put me back into my trance. I believe I was fully dilated for 2 hrs waited nearly 2 hrs before my water broke. I remember asking to try the water once more. While in the bathroom before stepped into the tub, I had a particularly stron pressure wave. I hit all fours and said "hips!!!!" Loudly. Carlo was by my front and Kerri pushed on my hips and my water broke. All I could say was "thank God!"  Carlo said it sounded like a water balloon that was being chucked at a wall broke. It was loud. At that point I was lead back into the bedroom. I sat on the birthing stool with my feet up on it as well.  I remember Kerri was to my left, Mimi to my right, and Carlo was right behind me. I lost my focus a little around the ring of fire and said "I just want to see my baby." not realizing she was 1 pub away.  Staci told me to give it one more big try and she would be here.  I remember being cheered on and even having a new midwife walk in less than a minute before Violet was born. It was Carol and her energy was so positive and loving she felt like an old friend. She told me I had this. At 9:25 after 20 minutes of pushing and roughly 5 hrs of active labor I did it!! I had my dream VBAC.  As soon as she was born I knew it was a girl, my sweet Violet. All I could say was "I did it!!"  It was incredible. Carlo took a few pictures of me right after and one around 11pm when everyone left.  I don't remember delivering my placenta. I remember needing 3 stitches and being terrified of the needle! I kid you not guys, I had to hold Mimi's hand! Carol took care of Violet, clearing her lungs and all so she could breastfeed. She had her about 45 minutes. I held Violet immediately and snuggled her.  She was covered in meconium, like Audrey, which is why Carol had her talking to her. Carlo stayed right by her. They were on the other side of the bed.  Once everyone had left, Carlo took a picture and a a video. Violet's birth healed the wounds from Audreys birth and brought us closer together as a family. At 4am I got up to go to the bathroom, Violet woke up, and Audrey came into the room. I told Audrey to come with me and told Carlo to please change the baby.  I asked Audrey if she saw the baby.  She looked at me then went running into the bedroom and came  running back to me and said excitedly "it's a girl!! Just like I said!!" She was far too excited to go back to sleep so we hung out in bed as a family of 4. Audrey held Violet and we gave Audrey her birthstone necklace as a big sister gift.  She is the most wonderful big sister and Violet adores her every move. I am so very lucky to have had this experience and to have these two sweet special girls. 

The Forrest house

The ice storm that hit the night we arrived

Me, Audrey, Laura, and Kerri! Right before transition. 

Violet Antonia 6lbs 10oz 19 3/4 inches 

Tons of hair

Just shy of 2 hrs after she was born 

Holding her the first time

The most excited big sister ever!!!!

STILL the most excited big sister ever! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Baby and childcare recipes

Before my blog re-do this was a big feature.  Here it is again!! Stay tuned for a post on how to keep your little ones healthy via homeopaths and natural remedies during cold season



                                                        Basic Baby Powder  
Use after bath or diaper changes to soothe & protect delicate skin. These pure ingredients absorb      moisture that can cause irritation and chafing.
                                                        2 oz. Kaolin Clay
                                                       1 oz. Arrowroot
                                                       ½ tsp. myrrh powder
                                                       ½ tsp. comfrey leaf powder
                                                      ½ tsp. slippery elm bark powder
                                                      3-5 drops Lavender Essential Oil 
                Combine together & sift through a fine mesh sifter. Put into an air-tight container.  

                                                         Oil Treatment for Head Lice
                                                                 (EO=Essential Oil)
                                                              10 drops Rosemary EO
                                                              10 drops Lavender EO
                                                              10 drops Geranium EO
                                                   10 drops Eucalyptus EO (or Tea Tree EO)
                                                       2 oz. Sweet Almond oil – as base
 Combine the essential oils with the base oil & mix well. Rub oil throughout hair & leave treatment on for at least 1-2 hours. Apply shampoo & rinse hair well. Comb the hair with a nit comb after shampooing. Repeat the procedure in a few days. Be VERY careful when applying oil near eyes. If essential oil does get in the eyes, wipe it out with plain sweet almond oil, NOT water. The water can disperse the oil too quickly.  

                                                         Natural Bug Repellent Spray
                                                             4 drops of Peppermint EO
                                                             4 drops of Geranium EO
                                                             4 oz. of distilled water
 Combine the essential oils with water in a small 4 oz. spray bottle. Spray clothing & exposed skin, avoiding areas around the eyes, mouth, & nose. The peppermint will help cool you off on a hot day as well. Also, spray hat or hair to keep bugs from buzzing around your head.  

                                                                       Cold & Flus
FLOWER ESSENCES: available at most natural foods store, are gentle healing remedies made from flowers & plants. They work well with children & can be used in conjunction with any type of medication without causing complications or side effects. Good to use with children in times of stress. Rescue Remedy: add to bathwater or give a drop of two under the child’s tongue several times daily. This remedy produces a calming, centering feeling & is excellent during times of stress or trauma. Can be used on pets as well. NOTE: LOVE this for teething too, I give her a few drops right before bed

 At the first sign of a cold or flu, start giving your child frequent, higher than normal doses of Echinacea tinctures. For ex: a child of 4 would take 1/8 tsp. of Echinacea tincture every hour until the symptoms subside.

                                                                  Fever Reducing Tea
                                                                      2 parts catnip
                                                                      2 parts elder blossoms
                                                                      1 part peppermint
                                                                      1 part Echinacea root
Mix herbs & store in an airtight container. Add 1 C. boiling water to 1 tsp. of the mixture & steep for 1 hr. Administer every 30 min. See dosage chart for guidelines.  

                                                    Apple Cider Vinegar Treatments
To lower a fever, bathe the child in a tepid bath.  Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar into the tub.  Be certain there are no drafts in the room.  After the bath, quickly wrap the child in a warm flannel sheet.  Placing a drop or two of diluted pure chamomile essential oil on the sheet is very helpful.
Another treatment is to wrap the child's feet in a cool cloth that has been dipped in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.  Keep the child bundled warmly.

                                                                  Elderberry Syrup  
                                       This is the most popular herbal cold remedy in Europe.
 Use ONLY blue elderberries; the red ones are potentially toxic if eaten in large quantities. Never eat elderberries that have not been cooked first.
                                                      1 C. fresh or ½ C. dried elderberries
                                                                         3 C. water
                                                                         1 C. honey
Place the berries in a saucepan & cover with water. Simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes. Smash the berries and strain them through a fin mesh strainer. Add 1 C. honey, or adjust to taste. Bottle and store in the refrigerator. Will last 2-3 months when refrigerated.  

                                                             Ginger Echinacea Syrup  
This syrup is a delicious syrup that is very effective. Other herbs can be added such as: wild cherry bark & licorice for cough, valerian for restlessness, and elecampane for respiratory infection.

                                                          1 part fresh gingerroot, grated or chopped
                                                           1 part dried Echinacea root
 Follow the directions for making a syrup. Ginger is very warming. If the syrup is too “hot” for your child’s taste, serve the syrup diluted in warm water or tea.  

                                       Herbal Steam for Runny Nose & Head Congestion  
                  An instant remedy for sinus congestion & runny noses is an old time herbal steam.
Heat a large pot of water until steaming, add a drop or two of eucalyptus oil & have the child inhale this steam. If you grow eucalyptus you can add leaves to steam. Cover the child’s head & the pan with a large towel & treat for 5-10 minutes or until the sinuses open up. Instruct the child to keep her eyes closed tight, as the herbal oils can make them water & cause some discomfort. Because you are using a large container o hot water, ALWAYS stay by the child. Do NOT use the steam for children under 4 yrs. Old. You can also add some eucalyptus oil to a dehumidifier. Just a few drops though. NOTE: We have found that 5-6 drops works great for Audrey in the humidifier. Be sure for babies under 2 years old that it’s eucalyptus radiate and NOT globulus! I also, love to put lavender with the eucalyptus.  

                                              Treating Lung & Chest Congestion
A hot water bottle placed over the back between the shoulder blades helps loosen up phlegm & deep-seated congestion in the chest. Wrap a hot water bottle in cotton flannel to keep in the heat. NOTE: Do NOT put Vicks or any Vapo-Rub type salve on babies chests. Sometimes, this is known to collapse already stopped up airways! Scary stuff!!  

                                                           What to Feed a Cold
 What & how much a sick child eats will greatly affect the degree of illness. All dairy products, especially milk & ice cream, tend to make the symptoms of a cold worse. Sugar-rich foods should be avoided, so should orange juice, in spite of what the ads say. A large ice-cold glass of orange juice, no matter how good it tastes, is very acidic & will create more mucus & congestion. Instead, try a hot lemonade made with fresh squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of ginger, and a little honey or maple syrup to sweeten. Lemons provide Vitamin C, are alkalizing, and will help prevent illness. Grandma’s chicken soup (or miso or vegetable broth, if vegetarian) is really the best thing to eat when you have a cold or flu. The mineral rich broth, fluid, and warmth are all beneficial. You an also add medicinal herbs directly to the soup base. For example, Astragalus, dandelion root, burdock root, Echinacea, & even ginseng can be added for extra strength, nourishment, and vitality. Tie the herbs up in the cheese cloth & simmer in the broth with the soup. Remove before serving.  

                                                  Tea for Lung and Chest Congestion
                                                         2 parts licorice root
                                                         1 part Echinacea
                                                         1 part elecampane
                                                         1 part cinnamon
                                                         ½ part ginger
You can adjust flavors by adding more licorice, cinnamon & ginger to formula if needed. Combine ingredients & store in airtight container. Follow directions for a decoction. See chart on dosage.  

                                               Cough Be Gone & Sore Throat Syrup
                                                          2 parts slippery elm bark
                                                          2 parts valerian
                                                          2 parts wild cherry bark
                                                          2 parts licorice root
                                                          4 parts fennel seeds
                                                          1 part cinnamon bark
                                                          ½ part gingerroot
                                                          1/8 part orange peel
 Combine all ingredients & store in airtight container. Make a decoction following instructions. When finished, prepare syrup as instructed. See chart for dosage.  

                                                                For Sore Throats
                              Make a strong infusion of the tea & gargle for sore throat.
                                                                 1 part yarrow
                                                                 1 part sage
                                                                 1 part comfrey leaf
                                                                 1 part thyme
                               Combine & make tea as a strong infusion. Gargle for 1 minute.  

                                                                    Diaper Rash
Most diaper rashes respond readily to natural therapy. If the diaper rash is persistent & does not respond to natural therapies, it could be a herpes-related virus or yeast-type fungus. Consult your holistic practitioner or pediatrician in such cases.  

                                                          Reasons for Diaper Rash
Harsh, irritating detergents can leave a sopa residue on the diapers. Simply change soaps. Use mild detergents such as, Charlie’s powder. NEVER use bleach. Irritating foods affect the child’s digestive system. Spicy foods, citrus fruits, and other high-acid foods are major irritants. Teething, fever, and other stress-related incidents cause toxins to be released in the child’s system, which can sometimes be manifested as diaper rashes or other skin-related problems. Not changing the diaper enough. Ammonia builds up and actually burns the baby’s skin. Using cloth diapers allows the baby’s bottom to breath & let in healing air. Tight plastic pants & disposable not changed frequently can cause problems. TAKE OFF THE DIAPERS WHEN THERE IS A DIAPER RASH. Let the baby’s bottom be exposed to the air to dry it up.

                                                                Bottoms Up Salve
 A good recipe for diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, & irritated skin. If you don’t have the time for steep for 2 weeks or if there’s not much sun, let the herbs steep in the olive oil in a double boiler over very low heat for several hrs. Check frequently to be sure the oil is not over heating & burning the herbs.
                                                             1 part comfrey leaf
                                                             1 part comfrey root
                                                             1 part St. John’s wort flower
                                                             1 part calendula flower
                                                             Olive oil
                                                             Grated beeswax
Combine the herbs & store in an airtight container. Make a solar infusion by steeping 2 oz. of the herb mixture in 1 pint of olive oil for 2 weeks. This will creat about 2 cups of herbal oil. At the end o 2 weeks, place mixture in a double boiler & warm for 1 hr. over VERY low heat. Strain. To each cup of warm herbal oil, add ¼ cup of grated beeswax. You might need ot warm the oil a little longer to melt the beeswax. When the beeswax is melter, check for desired consistency; place 1TBLSP. of the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes. If the salve is too hard, add a little more oil. If it’s too soft, add a little more beeswax. Pour into a glass far and seal tightly when cooled. The salve does not need ot be refrigerated and will last for month (or years) if stores in a cool area.  

                                                                      Baby Oil  
This is an excellent all-purpose oil & it is wonderful to rub on baby after baths. It also makes a great massage oil for babies
                                                             1 pint apricot or almond oil
                                                              ½ oz. chemical free roses
                                                              1 oz. chamomile
                                                              ½ oz. comfrey leaf
 Mix herbs & oils together & let sit in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for 2 weeks in a warm, sunny spot. For a stronger oil, pour into the top of a double boiler. Slowly warm the mixture over very low heat for 1 hr. Strain & bottle. You may lightly scent with a few drops of pure essential oil such as lavender, rose, or chamomile. Use at room temperature only. Store in a cool place.  

                                                             Cradle Cap Oil
                                                             1 part dried nettle leaf
                                                             1 part chamomile flowers
                                                             1 part mullein leaf
                                                             Olive oil
                                                             Lavender essential oil
In a double boiler, combine herbs. Cover with olive oil. Cook over very low heat for about 1 hr. Strain and bottle. Add 1 drop of lavender essential oil to each ounce of herbal oil. Store in a cool area or the refrigerator. Oil should always be at room temperature before application. You can remove the “cap” & help regulate the activity of the sebaceous glands by gently massaging a mixture of the herbal oil in the scalp 2-3 times daily. Leave the oil mixture on overnight. The next morning the crust can be easily removed by gently massaging. Be sure no to pick at the scab or be too rough. Shampoo with a mild baby shampoo only when necessary.  
                                                             Tea for Cradle Cap  
                If cradle cap continues to be persistent, give the infant this warm herbal tea.
                                                          1 part red clover flower
                                                          1 part burdock root
                                                          1 part mullein leaf
Mix the herbs in airtight container until ready to use. Add 1 cup boiling water to 1 tsp. of herb mixture & steep for 30 min. Strain. Give the infant 2 tsp. of the tea 3-4 times daily for several weeks. Teething Often when a child has difficult teething, various symptoms will arise. Intermittent fever, diaper & other rashes, extreme crankiness, and diarrhea are not uncommon.  

                                                                 Catnip Tea
  This is an old standby for both child & parent during the teething times. Catnip is soothing to the nervous system & helps to relieve acute pain. The tea itself is not tasty, so you may wish to formulate with other gentle nerviness teas such as chamomile, rose, passionflower, or lemon balm

NOTE: This works WONDERS!!! We use it nearly every night to simply help both Audrey and I wind down. Nothing compares to it when Audrey is teething! She likes the taste of the tea, so we don’t mix it with any other teas.

                                                             High-Calcium Tea
 This blend is very helpful for all ages to give to the child throughout the teething period. It is effective if it is given several weeks or even months before teething begins. It supplies necessary calcium in a form that the body can easily digest & assimilate. Use it to supplement a natural diet rich in calcium.
                                                              1 part nettle
                                                              2 parts oats
                                                              1 part raspberry leaf
                                                              2 parts lemongrass
                                                              2 parts lemon balm
                                                              3 parts rose hips
                                                              ½ part cinnamon
                                                    Pinch of stevia to sweeten (optional)
  Combine herbs and store in an airtight container. Make a tea following directions for an infusion. Use the dosage chart to determine the amount used.

                                                                  Herbal Pops
Frozen catnip or chamomile pops are excellent for teething children to suck on. The cold helps numb the gums & relieves the pain.  

                                                            Seed Tea for Colic
                                                                1 part fennel
                                                                1 part dill
                                                                3 parts anise
                                                                3 parts chamomile
                                                                ¼ part catnip
                                                        A pinch of stevia to sweeten
 Mix the ingredients and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Infuse 1 TBLSP of mixture in 1 cup of boiling water and let sit covered for 45 minutes. Cool and strain. Give the infant teaspoon dosages every few minutes until colic pain ceases. This tea may also be given effectively in small doses before feeding time. Hyland Pharmacy has a homeopathic colic tablet that is very good. It is available in most nature food stores. Also, “Gripe” water is good for colic You can place your baby in a warm chamomile or lavender bath. If bottle fed, the baby can enjoy his feeding from the comfort of this soothing bath. You may relax the child’s stomach muscles by placing a towel that was soaked in hot bath tea, such as chamomile or lavender. Make sure the towel is warm NOT hot.  

                                                          Baby’s Bath Herbs  
                                            These herbs are something & relaxing
                                                        1 part chemical free roses
                                                        2 parts chamomile
                                                        2 parts calendula
                                                        1 part lavender
                                                        2 parts comfrey leaf
 Mix all herbs. Place a small handful of the mixture in a cotton bag. Add bag to baby’s bath, allowing the herbs to steep in the water. Use the fragrant herbal bag as a washcloth.

                                                  Garlic & Mullein Flower Oil  
One of the best herbal remedies for ear infections. It is important to treat both ears; the ear canals are connected & the infection can move back & forth. The oil will not only help fight infection, but also relieve the pain. Be absolutely sure the oil is warm not hot.
                   2 TBLSP. Mullein flowers (fresh flowers are best, but dried flowers may be substituted)
                                                     2 TBLSP. Chopped garlic
                                                              Olive oil
Place the garlic & mullein flowers in a double boiler or small saucepan. Add just enough olive oil to cover the herbs. Over very low heat, warm for 20-30 min. strain through a fine wire mesh strained lined with cheesecloth. To use: warm the oil in a teaspoon held over a candle or stove top. Warm only to the temperature of mother’s milk (about room temperature) Suction oil into a dropper & put several drops into the ear. Administer the warm herbal oil every 30 min. or as often as needed. Any extra oil will drain out on its own within a few minutes.  

                                  Chicken Pox, Measles, & Other Skin Eruptions
  This formula assists the body in warding off infection & lessens the uncomfortable effects of the rash                                      
                                                   1 part Echinacea root & tops
                                                   1 part astragalus root
                                                   2 parts oats (milky green tops)
                                                   1 part burdock root
 Follow the directions for making herbal syrups. At the onset of infection, administer 1 tsp. every hour until symptoms clear. Use 4-6 times daily during the course of an infection  

                                              Teas for Chicken Pox & Measles
                                                         1 part calendula
                                                         1 part red clover
                                                         2 parts oats (milky tops)
                                                         2 parts lemon balm
                                                         1 part passionflower
 Mix herbs & store in an airtight container. Add 1 C boiling water to 1 tsp. mixture & steep for 30 min. Strain, sweeten with stevia, honey, or maple syrup. Let the child drink as much as desired.  

                           Valerian-Burdock Tincture for Itching & Skin Rash
                                                1 part burdock root tincture
                                                1 part Echinacea root tincture
                                                1 part valerian root tincture
  Mix together. Give 1/8 tsp. tincture every 2 hrs. For some children, valerian acts as a stimulant. If you notice your child becoming more irritated & active after using it, discontinue immediately.

                                                        Oatmeal Bath  
Nothing is as soothing to itchy and irritated skin than a warm oatmeal bath. For extra comfort, place the strained oatmeal in a cotton bag or sock & add it to the bathwater. A couple of drops of lavender oil, in addition to being a relaxing nervine, has antibacterial & disinfectant properties.

 Prepare a big pot of oatmeal, adding 3 times as much water as usual. Cook for 5 min. Strain. Add the liquid to the bathwater.

                                                    Disinfectant Powder
 Mix up this herbal powder & keep on hand as a disinfectant. It can be sprinkled directly on oozing pox sores, helping ot dry them as well as preventing infection from setting in. You may also try sprinkling slippery elm powder over the sores. It’s so soothing & helps to stop itching.
                                                 1 oz. green clay
                                                 1 TBLSP. Comfrey root powder
                                                 1 TBLSP. Calendula flower, powdered
                                                 ½ tsp. goldenseal or chaparral powder
  Combine all ingredients. Sprinkle on skin sores to stop itching & promote drying. Store remaining powder in a shaker container or glass bottle with a tight fitting lid.

                                     Rescue Remedy Flower Essence Spritzer  
               Try spraying this spritzer in a child’s room to relieve stress & anxiety
                                3 ½ oz. distilled water 3 drops lavender essential oil
                                                 4 drops Rescue Remedy
                                                 1 TBLSP brandy
 Combine all ingredients in a 4 oz. spritzer bottle with a mister top. Shake before using. Use as a room spray as needed. NOTE: this works wonders!!!

                                            Suggested Dosages for Children

                                         When Adult Dose is 1 cup (8oz)

                           AGE                                                     DOSAGE
                     Younger than 2 years                                 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
                     2 to 4 years                                                2 teaspoons
                     4 to 7 years                                                1 tablespoon
                     7 to 11 years                                              2 tablespoon

                          When Adults Dose is 1 teaspoon, or 60 grains/drops

                          AGE                                                      DOSAGE
                     Younger than 3 months                             2 grains/drops
                     3 to 6 months                                            3 grains/drops
                     6 to 9 months                                            4 grains/drops
                     9 to 12 months                                          5 grains/drops
                     18 to 24 months                                        6 grains/drops
                     12 to 24 months                                        7 grains/drops
                     2 to 3 years                                                8 grains/drops
                     3 to 4 years                                               10 grains/drops
                     4 to 6 years                                               15 grains/drops
                     6 to 9 years                                               24 grains/drops
                     9 to 12 years                                             30 grains/drops                                    

           Herbal Teas

           The making of herbal tea is a fine art, but it is also blessedly simple.  For a medicinal tea to be effective, it must be administered in small amounts several times daily.  For chronic problems, serve the tea three or four times daily.  For acute ailments such as cold, fevers, and headaches, have the child take several small sips every half hour until the symptoms subside.  Use the dosage chart as a guideline for amounts.

          To make a tea, use one to three tablespoons of herb(s) for each cup of water.  The herb-to-water ratio varies with the quality of herbs being used, whether the herb is fresh or dried (fresh herbs are used in greater amounts than dried), and how strong you wish the tea to be.  There are several methods for making herbal teas.

             Infusions are made from the more delicate parts of the plant including the leaves, flowers, and aromatic parts.  Place the herb in a container with a tight-fitting lid, and pour boiling water over it.  Steep for 30 to 45 minutes.  The length of time you steep and the amount of herb you use will determine the strength of the tea.

            Decoctions are made from the more tenacious parts of the plants such as the roots and bark.  It's a little harder to extract the active constituents from these parts, so a slow simmer (or an overnight infusion) if often required.  Place herbs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a slow simmer; cover and continue to simmer for approximately 20 minutes.  Again, the length of time you simmer plus the amount of herb used will have a direct effect on the strength of the tea.

           Solar and lunar infusions utilize the light of the sun and moon to extract the healing properties of the herbs.  Thisis one of my favorite methods of making herb tea.  Sometimes after I've prepared herb tea on my kitchen stove, I'll place it in the moonlight or sunlight to pick up some of the rays.  I believe we are children of the sky as well as the Earth and that using these energies in our healing work adds a special touch.
           When making solar tea, place herbs and water in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Place directly in the hot sunlight for several hours.  For lunar tea, herbs can be placed in an open container (unless there are a lot of night flying bugs around!) and positioned directly in the path of the moonlight.  Lunar tea is subtle and magical; it is whispered that fairies love to drink it. 

Herb Candy
          To make herbal candy:
           1.  Grind raisins, dates, apricots, and walnuts in a food processor or grinder.  Alternatively, you can mix nut butter (such as peanut, almond, or cashew) with honey in equal portions, then proceed with the rest of the steps.  Note: If you're concerned about the use of honey in small children (due to report of botulism poisoning) then use maple syup, rice syrup, or maple cream.
          2.  Stir in shredded coconut (the unsweetened type found in natural foods stores) and carob powder
          3. Mix in the herb powders well. (Determine the dosage of herb by using the chart above. Divide the candy into once-daily dosages.
          4.  Roll mixture into balls.  Roll again in powdered carob or coconut.  Store in refrigerator.

          Because they are sweet, children often prefer their medicine in syrup form.  Syrups are delicious, concentrated extracts of the herbs cooked into a sweet medicine including honey and/or fruit juice.  Vegetable glycerin may be substituted for honey.  It is an excellent medium for the herbs and is very nutritious.
                 To make syrup:
                  1.  Use 2 ounces of herb mixture to 1 quart of cold water.  Over low heat, simmer the liquid down to 1 pint.  This will give you a very concentrated, thick tea.
                  2. Strain the herbs from the liquid.  Compost the herbs and pour the liquid back into the pot.
                  3.  To each pint of liquid, add 1 cup of honey (or other sweetener such as maple syrup, vegetable glycerin, or brown sugar).  Most recipes call for 2 cups of sweetener (a1:1 ratio of sweetener to  liquid), but I find it far too sweet.  In the days when refrigeration wasn't common, the added sugar helped to preserve the syrup.
                 4.  Warm the honey and liquid together just enough to mix well.  Most recipes call for cooking the honey and tea together for 20-30 minutes more, but this method cooks the living enzymes out of the honey.
                5.  Remove from the heat and bottle for use.  You may wish to add a fruit concentrate to flavor, a coupe drops of essential oil such as peppermint or spearmint, or a small amount of brandy to help preserve the syrup and aid as a relaxant in cough formulas.  Syrups will last for several weeks, even months, if refrigerated.

           Tinctures are concentrated extracts of herbs.  They are taken simply by diluting a few drops of the tincture in warm water or juice.  Most tinctures are made with alcohol as the primary solvent or extractant.  Though the mount of alcohol is very small, many people choose not to use alcohol-based tinctures for a variety of reasons.  Effective tinctures can be made using either vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar as the solvent.  Though they may not be as strong as alcohol based preparations, they are perfectly suited to children.
           Some of the alcohol in tinctures can be removed by placing the tincture in boiling water for five to ten minutes.  This method removes only about 50 percent of the alcohol, however.  Since alcoholic tinctures are quite concentrated, it is very important when giving them to children to follow the recommended dosage on the bottle or the guidelines on the dosage chart.  Remember, less is often best.
          If choosing alcohol as your solvent, select one that contains 80-100 proof alcohol such as vodka, gin, or brandy.  Half of the proof number is the percentrage ofalcohol in the spirits: 80 proof brandy contains 40 percent alcohol, 100 proof vodka contain 50 percent alcohol.
          There are several methods used to make tinctures. The traditional or Simpler's method is the one I perfer.  It is an

I give credit where credit it due:
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Remedies for Children’s Health. North Adams: Storey Publishing, 1999  
(I highly suggest you get this AMAZING book!!)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

blogs with wonderful toddler activities

Alright dear readers. There are more pictures of the fun activities we have been up to below.  This time I figured I would also tell you the blogs that I have been loving as of late and getting ALL of these activities from.  You can find the activites below on the following blogs, just check my pinterest!!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil'Divas

I Heart Crafty Things

Reading Confetti

Chasing Cheerios (although Melissa's posts have slowed down she still has all of her amazing ideas if you just search! It was here that I first got the idea to do a letter a week with Audrey last year)

Please check out my pinterest boards. I have one just for fall/Halloween as well as one with just Montessori activities. I also have baby/toddler things as well.

On another note, here are my fav. food blogs, they change from time to time and I discover new ones nearly every other week!

Naturally Ella
Oh my Veggies   (if you check out Kristens What I ate you can find links to TONS of other amazing blogs!! That how I discovered Naturally Ella AND Smitten Kitchen)
Smitten Kitchen 

this is a monster blot. I let Audrey pick the paint and she even drew the mouth. I helped her out and we cut it together. She also picked where she wanted the eyes

 another fun and simple craft. Those circles are simply a toilet paper roll dipped in paint and put onto a pumpkin I cut.  Audrey helped cut out the mouth and the eyes.  I curled the pipe cleaner. 

I think this was Audrey's FAVORITE Halloween activity.  I traced my hand and cut out some triangle shapes.  I put some red lentils, brown lentils, and large lima beans in different bowls.  She put where she wanted them and I hot glued them. She LOVES this monster hand

this one was pretty messy but Audrey had fun and honestly that's really what matters.  This activity called for sand but in lie of some I used sugar and colored it purple, orange, green, and black. (Halloween colors!)  I let Audrey paint what she wanted. She wanted a spider web so here is it Audrey's spider web.  After she painted it we dipped it in a bucket of sugar and voila.

Every morning Audrey and I go for a walk and on the walk we pick up 2 acorns, a Camelia bud, and 2 pecans.  We used the bud and acorns to paint this leaf I cut out.  She wasn't crazy that her hands got dirty but had enough fun for us to make 3 different leaves!

In case you were curious about Halloween and what was going on.  I made this Rapunzel wig.  This costume is bought but I have pictures of the one I made for Audrey.

Here is the front of the wig.  You can tell my little Rapunzel was thrilled with it.   Too bad she wouldn't wear it more than 10 min. on Halloween (it rained and so we had a party with her friends inside) and that Peggy and Eli destroyed part of it leaving me to take 3hrs to fix it! Oh well, she does occasionally put it on so it's not all is lost and I am pretty damn proud of it!!

Audrey really had fun making this.  These are the backs of 2 paper plates that she painted, it's purple of course! I let you paint the glitter as well and put where she wanted the eyes and the beak while I glued with hot glue since it wasn't sticking!