Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I am posting this blog as an entry in Mamapoekie's radical parenting blog carnival..

However,keeping in "theme" with this blog it will be herbally based.

My kids are hyper, no strike that, my kids are insanely hyper. We are an unschooling family who spends a majority of their day completely in unstructured learning. We are outside, inside, reading, playing, moving and shaking, and by the time it comes to bedtime I'm pretty beat. My kids however, are not.
I will be honest bedtimes aren't easy for us, and they used to be a lot worse. Oh the act of putting them to bed went smoothly enough, but as soon as we would leave the room, the trouble would start, and it wouldn't stop. 50 attempts to "go to the bathroom", 100 different instances of "I need a hug" or "can you tuck me in?" All in themselves no big deal but this is the 50 time just in the last 20 minutes!! This doesn't include all the "infighting" and the "please don't make Mommy come down there, I can hear you, go to sleep please."
Now at this point we can cue the "well you need a routine" crowd. Well we have one. We have had several in fact over the course of the years, (the kids are 5 and 7) and none of them seemed to be very helpful. You can't believe how exciting even the most boring book can be to a kid who is NOT going to bed anytime soon.
I have, at long last, found a bit of an answer to our little problem. Passion flower and lavender.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.) is one of my very favorite herbs for relaxation. Lavender is a nervine, and a sedative, and it also smells just wonderful. (Or at least I think so.) In this instance, I just use a dab of essential oil on their pillows.
Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) is also a sedative. This we usually sip as a tea or make into lozenges. To make the lozenges you first simmer about 1-2 tablespoons of passion flower in 1/2 cup of water for about 10 minutes, then strain the plant material keeping the "tea." You can add honey at this point to the hot "tea", we used to but my kids don't seem to notice that I stopped so I don't think I will anymore. (he he) Then add this "tea" to 1/2 cup of slippery elm powder and mix.

There doesn't that look yummy? Next you turn it out on to a space where you can roll it out, using extra slippery elm powder as you would flour, if these were cookies. Your going to cut them out like cookies too, only using something really small. I use the top to a salt shaker that I have.

Then I just leave them out to dry on a cookie sheet. Occasionally I have to turn on the oven REALLY LOW and finish the drying in there for a few minutes, but it can be rather damp here on the lake. We keep some lozenges made up because, hey, life happens. We're not even always home 20 minutes before bedtime, or maybe we haven't realized it IS almost bedtime!! I like to have them for those instances.
Most nights we snuggle up to a nice cup of passion flower tea and read our story. Unwind from the day and enjoy each other. Then time to tuck in and drift off to sleep smelling the lavenders. (We've also added some ocean/nature sounds coming from the next room.) Do we still have the occasional straggler, a "defiant" child protesting their right not to sleep? Sure. But it doesn't last as long.

What does any of this have to do with being a "radical parent" probably nothing, but it was really the only thing I could think of to write about.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Natural Hair

There are a lot of ways you can "go natural" with hair care products. You can spend a small fortune on pre-made products that still contain the occasional questionable ingredient....or, you can make your own. These are two easy recipes I use often for my family's needs.

For this I combine 1 cup of liquid castile soap to 1 cup of water and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. I usually mix all the ingredients into a spray bottle for easy application, but you can really do this into any container that takes your fancy. I have not really gotten into making my own castile soap (yet!) but there are some really great recipes here: Castile soap recipes if you would like to try and do so.

"Hair rinse/detangler"
For this I infuse an herb or two, usually rosemary or horsetail, in apple cider vinegar.

I usually make this at a ratio of 1 cup to one quart. So in this instance I have 1/2 a cup of rosemary and 1/2 quart apple cider vinegar. I let sit at least over night and strain the next morning. Then I add 1 part water to to my 1 part vinegar infusion (in this case 1/2 quart of each) and I have my hair rinse. I also keep this in a spray bottle for easy application.

I have also recently stumbled upon this list of recipes that looked really good so I thought I would pass them on. Long Locks hair care recipes