Friday, February 27, 2009

Holistic Therapies at Syrendell

Daddy graduated from medical school (but became a stay-at-home-dad...yay!), and Mommy is a retired elementary school principal (and now a stay-at-home mom...hooray!). Besides these conventional educational backgrounds, they love to infuse their holistic therapies throughout Syrendell. Daddy is a Feng Shui consultant and plays harp for pregnant mommies and premature babies. Mommy is certified in Leclaire Hypnobirthing, Wholebirth Prenatal Yoga, Infant Massage, Aromatherapy and Bach Flower Essences.

Two of the children were born at home, unassisted, and the last one was a pleasurable waterbirth, utilizing flower essences, essential oils, yoga and hypnobirthing techniques. The children enjoyed receiving massages from Mommy and Daddy! Harp, aromatherapy and Feng Shui continues to be a natural part of our daily rhythms at Syrendell.

In case other parents are interested in holistic trainings, we highly recommend the following:
1. Leclaire Hypnobirthing: She does 3-day trainings in beautiful Pacific Palisades, CA, near Malibu.
2. Wholebirth Prenatal Yoga: Robin's approach to teacher training is amazing, and you leave with a renewed sense of yourself as a person! 5-day trainings in the Santa Cruz, CA area, although she'll travel other places if you get a group together.
3. Infant Massage: These wonderful trainings are held all over the US. Teaching couples (some before the baby is born, but most of them after the baby is born) how to massage their babies is one of the most rewarding experiences. Be sure to go to a training by this organization, as they are the founders of IM.
4. Aromatherapy: Jade is a gifted aromatherapist and a wonderful person. She teaches in Washington state, but also offers a distance learning option. Info. on pregnancy is included.
5. Flower Essences: Bach is the most well-known and purchasing their products is fairly easy, world-wide. Trainings are all over the world. I also recommend Flower Essence Society, located in N. California:, Masters Essences (home study option, too):, and Star Essences (trainings annually in Santa Barbara, CA)
6. Feng Shui: Trainings in San Diego, CA.
7. Harp Therapy: Trainings in San Diego, UK, Netherlands, Japan.

Mommy created a holistic childbirth preparation course, Meditative Mama, that incorporates the above therapies into a 2.5 hr. workshop for pregnant mommies and their partners/families. She also trains others on how to teach this class.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Anatomy for Kids eBook, Feedback Please

In our daily homeschool lessons, the kids learn about the world around them. The beauty of bulb plants and flowers. The history of Africa. Artistic geometry. Playing the kalimba. Perhaps for all homeschooling parents, a core value is for our children to have a deep appreciation and respect for our world.

In creating
My Body, Anatomy for Kids
, we wanted the kids to also have an appreciation and respect for what's inside their own bodies. Freshly minted from the publishing desk of Syrendell, this book will be available in our Etsy shop as an ebook! For now, we would like some initial feedback from you, our blog friends. Please take a glimpse of these posted images from the book.

The book has 21 pages total, and designed for the parent to facilitate discussions and activities with their children, five and up. It is up to the parent to tailor the learning for age-appropriateness. Upon completion of the book, the child will have a cut-out figure with all the anatomical systems (skin, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, urinary, reproduction, etc) stapled together, a handy dandy quick reference companion!

Please offer your feedback (Is this a book you can use for your children? Do you see many science ebooks available for homeschoolers?). Email us at with your comments. Thank you.

The Dell

dell: n. A small secluded wooded valley. A vale.

Our homelearning space is known to us as the "dell". Because we call ourselves "Syrendell", dell is a nickname of sorts. The word "dell" brings up images of a beautiful, magical, wooded vale, full of fairies, sprites and gnomes!

We love our homelearning space...small, secluded and at times, full of wood! The changing seasons are honored by hanging colorful mobiles, and attaching window stars, mosaics or snowflakes to the glass. When the weather is warm, we open the sliding glass door and paint on the deck, extending the dell into the natural world.

We create a wreath for each season. The circle is woven out of wire by Ricky. All three children decide which type of leaf or other bits of nature to include in the wreath. We gather real leaves and make patterns to use later when we cut with felt. In the winter, holly berries are needlefelting. Spring is coming soon, and we will be needlefelting tiny eggs, birds and nests starting this week.

Our "Seasonal Spot" (aka, nature table) is a shelter built by Daddy with twigs from our backyard and reclaimed wood. A wooden tree puzzle shows us the season by the color of leaves (or lack of color). Our friend Gnomy likes to hang out in the Seasonal Spot. Seasonal fairies, finger puppet children, Syrendell Sprites, acorn families or other creatures often visit. Special stones, geodes, acorns, pine cones also can be found in the Seasonal Spot.

The dell features small chalkboards, a space for featuring books and projects that relate to the stories, holidays, S.S. block or science explorations of the week. Daddy's wood puzzles, wood stove, and tree blocks are found under a table, easy to reach for everyone! Our naturally-dyed silks, handmade crowns, play cloths and wooden clothespins are available whenever the mood strikes us. A large basket, full of percussion instruments sits near the foot of the dell, by the piano, as a nice transition space to wear we have our circle time.

Each person in the family has a frame on the wall made from twigs, featuring a watercolor, drawing, or crayon exploration. Baskets of crayons, finger puppets, geometric shapes and wool fibers with a drum carder, hand carders and needlefelters can be found throughout the dell.

We love the dell and try to tidy up when we can! It's our special place to learn, love and grow....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tree of Happiness Award!

What an amazing week!

We have also received the Tree of Happiness Award from Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes! We thank you, and we look forward to following your blog...sharing ideas.

We are nominating the following blogs for the Tree of Happiness Award!

1. Carle at

2. Linda at

3. Jenn at

4. Mama Roots

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lemonade Award!

What a nice surprise! Thank you to Linda at for nominating our blog for a lemonade award. How wonderful!

Lemonade Award

Here's how it works. Let someone know they have inspired you:

1.Put the logo on your blog or post
2.Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.
3.Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.
4.Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5.Nominate your favorites and link to your post.

It is our privilege to pass on some lemonade! These blogs inspire us every day to be creative with our amazing family. Thank you!

1. Kristie at
2. Lisa at
3. Melisa at
4. The "Hen" at
5. Marina at
6. Wood Sprite Mama at

7. Artemis Moon
8. Suzanne at
9. Carrie at
10. One Golden Sun at

Syrendelina by Joey Tan

Once upon a time there was a fairy and her name was Syrendelina. Like all fairies she was kind, sweet, and caring. She was from a magical land called Fairiedell. Fairiedell is a wonderful and pretty place where all sorts of fairies live, who are also called fairydell. There are water fairies, garden fairies, animal fairies, light fairies, and earth fairies. Syrendelina is a garden fairy. She and other garden fairies care for plants.

One day, Fairiedell turned gray and everything and everyone got droopy and sad. Syrendelina and all of the other fairies didn’t know what to do.

Then……… Swooosh Swiiiisssshhhhh! Fairy dust flew everywhere! Everyone gasped. Then the fairies looked closer and saw the fairy godmother of Fairiedell floating in front of them! Everyone smiled. Syrendelina tried to fly over to her but couldn’t. Syrendelina asked, “Fairy Godmother, what is happening?!”

“Don’t fear my darling,” the fairy godmother said in a gentle tone, “I am here to fix Fairiedell’s magic,” she explained. Then, she flew up and twirled in the gray sky! Fairy dust flew everywhere! All of the fairies danced in glee.

“Fairiedell is magical again!” said all the fairies. Syrendelina smiled as the fairy godmother fluttered off. “Thank you," she called up towards the beautiful sky at the fairy godmother. “Thanks a lot!”
The End

Syrendell Blogtale #1
Written by Joey Tan, 9 years old
Artwork by Rick Tan, older than Joey

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Origin of Syrendell the Name

Picture from Domingo Springs, Chester, CA.

In our never-ending quest for purpose and passion, Jennifer and I were brainstorming on ideas for life paths where we could share with others all the wonderful things we believe make lives so amazing and fulfilling and empowering. It would be awesome, we felt, to create a place, surrounded by nature, with structures designed to be sustainable, chic, modern, and welcoming, for kindred spirits to meet and learn and be inspired through art, music, crafts, wellness. This spiritual place had to have a name that would reflect this almost Utopian ideal. It was a combination of the words synergy, serendipity, synchronicity, and serene, with dell, a valley, or dale. At the time we created the name, almost two years ago, I thought of the song "farmer in the dell," and imagined how fun it would be to use that as sort of a catchphrase where we would host "fiber artists in the dell," or music in the dell," or homeschoolers in the dell." Syrendell was born.

Perhaps J.R.R. Tolkien imagined a similar utopia when he named the elven stronghold Rivendell or even the warm and fuzzy village of the Shire - no conscious relation to those two fictional places.

When the time is right, when resources are in sync, maybe Syrendell, the wellness center, will come to fruition. For now, we're happy with Syrendell, the homeschool place, the blog site, and the shop. Thanks for following our blogs. Soon to come: Syrendell blogtales!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Syrendell Sprites

With the gloomy weather hanging over head the past few days, we welcomed the visit by our magical friends, the syrendell sprites. This morning, with bouquets of flowers, twigs, and leaves in hand, they brought cheerfulness and joy. From them, we can appreciate the beauty of nature, found in the tiniest details of the flowers they lovingly hold. Cloaked in wonderfully vibrant hues, syrendell sprites signal the coming of the seasons. Only with a serene and open spirit will you hear them; they speak in whispered tones, they hum tunes learned from woodland creatures. Syrendell sprites, like the fairydell and hoblins, are children of Nature, finding sanctuary in the magical places of Syrendell.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our Labyrinth

As we meander down the sacred path through the bushes and trees in our back yard, we feel a sense of excitement as our labyrinth comes into view. We walk slowly, one person at a time into the spiral...breathe in...breathe out...pausing in the middle to meditate or visualize. Then, slowly we amble back to the opening of the circuit. After a journey through the labyrinth, we feel calm, grounded, and inspired....

We made a labyrinth in our backyard. It is beautiful, spiritual, calming, and magical.
After walking around the yard a few times, the kids decided that the back corner was the perfect space. We studied pictures of labyrinths from all over the world and we selected the design that we liked the best. Joey drew up a 7-circuit labyrinth, but then quickly decided that the paths would be too narrow. The design was modified to a 5-circuit labyrinth.
Next, we collected stones from the yards and placed them in the corners, the opening, and the middle. Fortunately, we found a bucket full of stones from Carlsbad beach, camping trips to Mt. Lassen and Idyllwild, trips to Lake Almanor, Lake Tahoe, and San Diego...beautiful stones from magical places! This was the perfect opportunity to infuse our yard with the energy of some of our favorite places.

We drew lines in the ground with sticks and then laid the stones on the lines. We spent a couple of weeks completing the circuits. During trips to dance, art and music lessons, we collected a few rocks and brought them home, always being carful to not take too much from one place.

A couple of geodes from the gold country, some agate and calcite from Idyllwild and an amethyst crystal were incorporated into the design. The crystal stands out of the ground at the top of the middle of the labyrinth, reminding us to pause and breathe.

After the rain, we fix any stones that have moved and find unique, pretty mushrooms that seem to have sprung to life over night. We think that the mushrooms are a sign that the fairies and gnomes love our labyrinth!