Holistic Moms Network is a cool enough group for local and online support for living holistically, but it’s even more fun when you get to meet people in person from different chapters around the country. The non-profit organization is holding its annual Natural Living Conference on Saturday, October 25 in New Jersey at Montclair State University just outside of New York City.
Okay, it’s not in DC, Maryland or Virginia, but it’s only about four hours away. By car. Last year I got to meet some of the leaders from California chapters. They had to be on a plane for more than four hours!
Breakout sessions include:
- Yoga Basics with Kristen Ambrosi
- Living with Food Allergies with Amy Hull Brown
- Making Healing Tinctures and Infusions with Jessica Cicerone
- Contemporary Homesteading with Jay Gruen
At just $55 for the whole day or $40 for a half, the event is a great deal for all the information it will impart as well as the goodie bag treats and all the other samples you’re likely to find in the exhibit hall. There, parents can learn about wonderful products — food, skin care, and more – and services like Well Amy. One could really spend the entire day in the exhibit hall (and you can do just that for a reduced rate of $20).
The conference is an adult-focused event where babes in arms are welcome. Children may come into the exhibit hall for a reduced price ticket ($10) but need to pay the full rate if they require a seat in the sessions and workshops. The keynote is in the morning and the film screening and Q&A is in the afternoon. Lunch can be purchased separately.
And if you’re looking to make a trip of it, I’m told there is plenty of fall fun to be had in New Jersey, including pumpkin and apple picking. Budding artists might enjoy the Montclair Art Museum, future naturalists will want to explore Brookdale Park and Verona Park, and animal lovers will get a kick out of Turtle Back Zoo. TripBuzz has a list of Things to Do With Kids in Montclair, NJ, and the New Jersey Mommy Poppins site also has a list of 15 Fun Things to do in Montclair, NJ along with plenty of additional ideas for exploring the area and for weekend happenings.
So take the family up with you if you have a partner, friend or family member who can treat the kiddos to some New Jersey (or even New York City) adventures while you learn lots of wellness tips to nourish your family and connect with other like-minded parents.
Holistic Moms Network has over 100 chapters around the country. In the DC area, there are HMN chapters in Arlington/Alexandria, Northern Virginia (Fairfax) and Loudoun County. The Burke/Springfield chapter will be relaunched soon. Anyone can start a chapter, too. There’s an awesome leader meeting on Sunday, October 26, the day after the conference, so if you’ve been thinking about starting a chapter, now might be a great time to see what that’s like!
Simplicity Parenting is one of the books I had out last week at the Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria daytime meeting on “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health,” and I was excited when a member told me the book’s author, Kim John Payne, was coming to speak on October 11 at a daylong event organized by Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery, which is celebrating its 50th year serving families in Takoma Park.
The flyer for the Saturday event reads: “Looking for ways to support children in being calmer and happier, more focused at school, finding it easier to comply with family rules and become less picky eaters?” The school elaborates: “In this lecture and workshop, Kim explains why less is more and presents four simplicity pathways you can take to help your child feel calmer, happier and more secure. This is the work and the workshop which provided the inspiration for Kim’s book by the same name (published in August 2009). It presents not only the four simple steps, but examples of how to bring “the power of less” into your home on a daily basis.”
The event runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, and is taking place not at the school (which has one of the most amazing natural play areas I’ve ever seen!) but rather at Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (GPS: use 8525 Fenton Street), three blocks from the Silver Spring Metro Transit Station. Click here for parking information. Payne will lecture 9-11 a.m. Lunch follows 11-12 and is provided in the $60 fee (or $55 per person if coming as a couple or pair); vegetarian options and some gluten-free options are available. Then, from 12 to 3 p.m. will be the workshop portion of the day. Register at www.acornhill.org.
There are a lot of Simplicity Parenting pieces I have tried to incorporate into our family life, including scheduling in quiet time and do-nothing days and limiting media. So far this school year we’ve stuck to no weekday screen time. Well, not counting Nationals baseball highlights. I expected my daughter would attend a Waldorf preschool like her brother, but when she was offered a spot in the Montessori class at my son’s public magnet school, we saw how much simpler it would be for the family to have them in the same place with the same daily schedule. If I hadn’t had chronic health issues, we might have still done the two-school shuffle, but in the absence of perfect, consistent and streamlined will have to do!
At the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27, we learned about many wonderful recording artists, authors and others providing support for yoga with children and providing training.
Check out this list of Resources for Children’s Yoga taken from the conference exhibitors, sponsors and speakers and organizations mentioned by speakers and exhibitors.
For lots of us, Mother’s Day brings more than a bouquet of organic roses; it brings up a lot of emotion about our role as daughter, mother, partner and more. Other than Scary Mommy.com‘s hilarious take on what mothers really want, most of the emails I saw about the day from blogs and businesses were beyond cheery. If I watched commercial TV, I expect I might have been overwhelmed by images of silk and sweets. The richness and complexity of this day often isn’t given adequate space. Read More
If you’ve been waiting for a reason to unplug your family, take advantage of this week! (And if you haven’t been waiting for a reason, check out this NPR piece on how plugged-in parenting is negatively affecting our kids).
Maybe the weather will cooperate, and with a little planning you can extend after-school playtime all the way up to the time your kids help you make something fun for dinner.
See what’s growing in the garden. Weed it. Or plant seeds for the first time.
Plan a picnic. Or just eat outside at a restaurant where you can’t see CNN or ESPN from the patio.
If allergies are keeping you from getting outside this week, consider spending some craft time to make mother’s day art projects for grandmothers, or get a jump on father’s day!
If going off screens seems nearly impossible, and you feel like you need some kind of input that is not you or your children with just each other (because not afternoon is full of skipping around the room with smiles), at least try just a soundtrack instead of the whole visual feast that is whatever movie your kids are begging for. Children could draw what they hear people singing about and make their own storybooks, act out the music with puppets, act it out in costume.
If you find yourself about to cave, consider limiting screen time to watching family videos or photo slideshows. (A little bird told me that Shutterfly has 40% off photobooks and other stuff through Tuesday, May 6 at 11:59 p.m.!)
And heck, I might even let my son read about Screen-Free Week on my screen for a few moments. I could print something, but if he gets to read on the screen and click a few times, that might buy me some, well, buy-in on skipping screens for the rest of the week. And maybe his little sister will listen to him.
Those of you out there who don’t have full-time childcare but still manage to regularly eschew screens of all types, please do let us all in on how you make it work! (And still feed your family. And bathe, at least sometimes.)
We’d love to hear in the comments and on Facebook about works for you. And for the rest of us, please let us know if you’re choosing to participate this week or not and why. Share your strategies and status updates! Or, better yet,
just share your planned-for strategies, then put down your device, and forget the updates until the week is over!