Our Purpose

Our purpose is to generate awareness, education, and support for holistic parenting and to provide a nurturing, open-minded and respectful community for parents to share these ideals. We serve to encourage moms (and dads) in their efforts to parent naturally and to raise their children holistically, to help holistic moms find others with whom they can connect and to continually educate ourselves and our families about alternative health, mindful parenting, natural healing and environmental stewardship.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

January Meeting Details

Sex, Cries, and your same old mate:
A Talk about Sex After Baby

In this discussion, you will be able to talk, laugh, share, and perhaps, problem solve about the realities of being a new parent but also a loving, romantic partner. Studies have shown that a for a majority of couple's satisfaction with their relationship goes down after the first baby is born. Let's talk about some of the effects of birth, hormones, sleep deprivation and touch overstimulation, but also focus on how to keep connected to your partner and your sexuality through this life cycle too.
With Melissa Fritchle, MA  Holistic Psychotherapist Intern and Sex Therapist Intern at Process Therapy Institute

When:   Tuesday, January 5th at 7:00 p.m.
Where:  Rozenhart Family Chiropractic
             4620-B Meridian Avenue
             San Jose, CA 95124

Please R.S.V.P. at the Evite  

Put this night on your calendars!  See you there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

November Monthly Meeting Recap: Discussion on Consumerism

I am woefully overdue in posting this recap of our November Meeting -- I apologize!  I will post December's Meeting recap when I get notes from those who attended.  I had a sick daughter to tend to who really could have used the massage information given out in December's Meeting!

Our group discussion was on the topic of Consumerism.  How can we resist the culture of consumerism ourselves while also teaching our children to value the simple joys of life?

First, we discussed what a healthy level of consumerism is.  Clearly, living in the Bay Area, none of us are complete homesteaders and we need to do some shopping.  We clarified the difference between shopping for needs and shopping for wants.

When we shop primarily for wants, we fall prey to overabundance.  When we have too much stuff, it actually leads to waste.  We buy more to store the stuff we already have.  We buy more because we can't be bothered to sort through our stored stuff to find the item we need.  We become so overwhelmed with stuff that we need a break from it.  Some, unfortunately, find relief by going shopping (?!?).  It's a downward spiral when we shop primarily for wants. In order to curb this pattern, it is recommended to "purge" your home of excess regularly.  While it may seem wasteful to give away items to charity, recycle them or simply them throw away, when you simplify your home, your mind will follow suit and become less excessive in its consumption.

Shopping for needs requires some mindfulness.  Of course, food, clothing and shelter basics are often no-brainers.  Other purchases require some thought.  Do I actually need to buy this item to accomplish my goal?  Will my life be improved/simplified by bringing this item into my home?  A member recommended that we ask ourselves a series of questions to determine whether an item is a need; Who is the item for?  What is the purpose of the item?  Where will it be stored/consumed?  When will it outlive its usefullness/leave the home?  If you really want to consume less, keep yourself out of opportunities to do so.  Don't walk into a store or visit a website without a purpose in mind -- no window shopping.  

The value we hope to instill in our children is that life is not about accumulating things.  An abundant life is one in which we own less and experience more.  Teach them this lesson through your family activities.  Reduce, reuse and recycle those things you do consume.  Some members are committed to not bringing logos into the home.  Logos often bring with them a host of underlying values of consumerism for status.  Other members find community service to be a great way of showing their children how rich their lives are and how to give to others with far less.  A book was recommended to help with ideas on how to espouse living better with less:  "The Simple Living Guide:  A sourcebook for less stressful, more joyful living" by Janet Luhrs.

With the holidays approaching, we all brainstormed on ideas for giving that don't involve excessive consumption.  Here is a list of the ideas we came up with:

-- Show the kids the Heifer International Catalog and allow them to choose the animal that they would like to donate to a community.

-- For those who are crafty, make items for those who would appreciate them.

-- Give gifts of experience rather than tangible goods, such as:
    Spa treatments
    Cooking Classes
    Community Center Classes
    Children's Musical Theatre Tix
    Season Tix, Movie Tix, Gift Certs for activities like Kayaking or to Regional Parks
    Hotel Stays, touring events, museums
    Dinner Theatre (like Montalvo)
    Summer Camps, Roaring camp train ride

Giving simple, non-stuff gifts is something that we can control.  What about being on the receiving end of the Christmas stuff onslaught?  How can we communicate to our family that we actually want less?  This is especially difficult when kids and grandmothers are involved! We all know that one of the great joys of being a grandma is to buy lots and lots (and lots) of toys for the grandkids.  Telling her to reign it in is pretty hurtful to some grandmothers and makes you feel ungrateful.  There comes a time, however, when you need to communicate the values that you are trying to live.   One member had a great method of how to approach this touchy subject.  She always puts her requests in a "sandwich."

She layers a positive thought
with the negative (what you want changed)
followed by a positive

For example;

Positive:  "Mom, you are such a great grandmother.  You are always finding ways to bring smiles to    the kids' faces."

Negative (what you want): "What has really been making them happy lately is not having to argue about cleaning up their toys.   We have really made it a goal to only have X number of toys out at a time and it has really changed their behavior.  They fight less and play more!  If you are thinking of them for Christmas, you might find some classes or other experiences that don't involve tangible "stuff" to argue over."

Positive: You are such a great piano player, maybe you could play for them sometime and teach them some basics.  I know that we would love to come over to hear some Christmas carols!"
Another way to approach consuming less is to think about the way that families interacted before all of the technology entered our homes.  Card games, cooking a meal, playing soccer at the park, going to the theatre, bowling.  These all have something in common -- you do them TOGETHER.  One family member is not individually staring at a computer screen while another stares at his iphone and another at the television.   It is amazing how our consumption choices impact our daily lives.  Let's be mindful of this and build the lives we want by being very choosy when it comes to consumables.

It just so happens that Mothering Magazine posted this article via their facebook page today.  This is a great example of a family living an abundant life on less.  Check it out.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October Monthly Meeting Recap: Environmental Toxins

Tuesday night's meeting was a great one.  Our guest speaker, Linda Kincaid, shared some important information on testing your home for major environmental toxins.  While Linda is knowledgeable on many chemicals commonly found in the home, she chose to focus on radon and formaldehyde for Tuesday's presentation.

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. Its presence in your home can pose a danger to your family's health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually (EPA).   Radon is naturally-occurring and can be found in many areas of the country.  Linda has found that it does not often occur in high levels here in the Bay Area flatlands, but has found dangerous levels in homes located along the mountain range from Monterey to the North Bay.  One member from San Carlos was highly recommended to test for radon due to her location in this range.  She handed out free radon testing kits to ensure that your home has safe levels of radiation.  Linda cautioned that radon comes not only from  what lies beneath our homes, but also from what we bring into our homes.  She passed around a radon detecting machine with some samples of marble and granite counter tops.  The granite (especially red granite) emitted elevated levels of radon.  This is something you may want to consider when renovating your kitchen. 

Linda is currently working on a research project focusing on formaldehyde levels within the home.  We have all heard about the chemical off-gassing of common household items like mattresses and carpets.    Formaldehyde, a common chemical in new wood products and finishes, is an irritant and an asthma trigger. Other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) cause similar symptoms (Kincaid) .  New building materials emit substantial amounts of these chemicals initially, with emissions decreasing over time.  Linda brought a new topic to light many of us had not considered;  furniture made from particle board.  Particle board (MDF) is now commonly used in place of natural timber.  The reasoning for this is that MDF is much cheaper to produce as well as reduces the falling of virgin timber.  The downside to MDF is that it is created by mixing sawdust with formaldehyde-containing resins and pressing them into boards.  This material is the basis for most laminated furniture, flooring and cabinetry.

Linda told a tale about a client of hers that had collected a house full of such furniture from Pottery Barn.  For years, the formaldehyde gas emitted by this furniture didn't seem to bother the family.  Their home was drafty and had a high turnover of interior air.  This flushed out much of the gas.  The family decided that it was time to upgrade their home by making it more energy-efficient.  They added insulation as well as double-paned windows.  While this upgrade certainly reduced their heating/cooling bills, it also reduced the air-exchange in their home.  They effectively sealed in the formaldehyde gas.  Within a few months, the family members became so sick (lung irritaion, fatigue, sore throats) that the Father needed to take a leave of absence from his job.  As the medical bills piled up and no cause for their maladies was found, they decided to hire Linda to evaluate their home for toxins.  What she found was levels of over 300 parts per billion (ppb) of formaldehyde in their home.  Just 100 ppb of formaldehyde will cause illness in most adults.  The family vacated the house and put the furniture in storage.  After properly ventilating the house, the formaldehyde lowered back down to levels of 20-30 ppb.  Linda recommends shopping for furniture at thrift and antique stores in order to avoid the formaldehyde present in modern, MDF-based products.  

Another interesting point that she brought up is that new homes acquiring a "Green Point Rated" standard, tend to have the highest levels of formaldehyde amongst homes she has tested.  This is due to the "sealed" nature of the homes for energy-efficiency as well as the high concentration of manufactured wood products in the homes.  

If you would like to test your home for formaldehyde, the process is pretty simple.  Check out her Formaldehyde Testing 101 Article for instructions.  In the meantime, open windows and doors at least once a day to bring outside air into your home and try to reduce/eliminate any purchases of pressed particle board in the future.

If you would like to read more about Linda Kincaid's research, she has a treasure trove of articles available at The Examiner.

Next month's meeting topic is "Fighting Commercialism."  This is an especially challenging topic during the approaching holiday season.  Bring your ideas for less commercial modes of celebration.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our trip to Arata Farms Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay

We all had a great time at the Pumpkin Patch yesterday.  The first words out of T's mouth this morning were "I wish I could go to the pumpkin patch one more time."  With not much in the way of crowds, we had full run of the little park.  They really have some great spots for fall photo taking.  The colors are so crisp and vibrant.  After everyone worked up an appetite, we went up to the brewery at the marina for fish and chips.  Mmmmm. . . the calamari was fantastic.  My husband is not a fan of calamari, so I rarely get to order it when we go out.  I got to order it yesterday and didn't even have to share!  Actually, I did have to share because it was way too much for one person to consume in a sitting.  The kids loved having their own private room in the restaurant where they could play fort under the tables without too much opposition from their overstuffed parents.  I must say that both the farm owners and the restaurant manager were more than accommodating to our group.  They really went out of their way to ensure that we had great times in Half Moon Bay.  I really recommend both of these establishments and will certainly return next year.  Here are some photos of our wee members:

I've deleted the captions because I realized that I really shouldn't post the names of the kids online.


L is seriously considering whether she wants a hayride-induced labor.

And this wasn't taken at the farm, but some Liederhosen on this beautiful boy will brighten your day.