Amy and Simon Blog

The Natural and Healthy Lifestyle we Discovered Along the Way…

18 years ago… July 24, 2017

Eighteen years ago, I had this brand new, sweet and healthy, blue-eyed, chubby little girl. After her first round of vaccines she stopped growing. At four months old I was told to start solids early to try to get her to gain weight; that just weakened her immune system and she got sick. She was diagnosed with Failure to Thrive soon afterwards. At this point she was so tired of throwing up after each feeding that she would nurse as little as possible and suck her fingers instead to avoid it.

On my own accord, I had began weeks earlier trying to change our families diet for the better to fix some issues. I took away dairy, then wheat, but it wasn't until I took out gluten that I noticed that the baby stopped throwing up after nursing. It only took three days of that and it was gone. After my daughter was no longer reacting to the food I ate, I worked several months to wean her from sucking her fingers and taught her to be a good little nurser. She was able to maintain her weight and slowly gain weight, she was weight checked every month and continued all her scheduled "well" visits. At a year old, she was only sixteen pounds, but she had good muscle tone and was content. She didn't start to gain weight at a more normal rate until I stopped vaccinating her after eighteen months old. She had a growth spurt years later, when I started detoxing her body of the vaccines.

At the same time my daughter stopped throwing up, I also noticed that our new gluten free diet had cleared my two year olds infant acne that he had since he started solids. This started the long journey to where I am today and the decisions I make about food, medicine, doctors, child- rearing, education, etc.

Over the years I have gone through times that I doubted what I had learned and I tried to just forget about it all, but there was always a physical or emotional side effect from someone making me go back to it. Believe me, it is not easy to be the odd one out, never fitting in, and having very little support.

So before you try to educate me with the latest research, please consider that I have already done the research and have seen the results myself. You can find research out there to support any outcome you would like to believe, but how do you know what is real? I live with the results everyday. Please don't try to dis-prove me, all you end up doing is discounting the last eighteen years of my life, with or without realizing it. We all try to do what is the very best for our children, I am no different. Please respect that and the things I do and I will do the same for you. I am all for knowledge and research, but do your own research, or at least research where the research is coming from. You'll be surprised at some of the sources and who funds specific research. I trust what I have learned from my own experiences as a mother and as a volunteer who has helped many new mothers. I've seen the results myself, not in theory.


What’s a mom to do? June 24, 2015

The education system in America is broken, it must be. How is it that a child, a highly intelligent child, that just graduated high school with a true thirst for knowledge and whose main desire is to go to college to learn more, is unable go? And the reason being that, said child can’t go because the parents are new to the game, don’t have the prestigious contacts and the finances to send the child. How do we expect to build a better country if most of the people in the higher education system are there because they were told to go there, not because they want to be there?

As a parent, what do we want for our children? Ultimately we want them to be happy, right? And what do the experts say that makes up happy? Doing what we love. So it can be said that finding what you love and developing it your whole life would cause someone to have a happy life. Right? So what do you do when you have a child whose passion is learning? Well, you foster that passion like you would for the the child that has a passion for music, or soccer, or horses; you do what you can to make sure the child experiences all kinds of learning and continues to develop that passion.

This fostering of passions does not apply to only one child, but to all your children. Well, what if you have nine, like we do? Do you only do this for the first few? No, of course not. Well, at least, I thought not. But now I have to reevaluate. You see, it is my first child that has this passion for learning and now that he has graduated high school and I can’t give him the one simple thing he desires (to continue his education), I am thinking maybe we went about the whole thing wrong.

Maybe we shouldn’t have allowed him to explore his world to the extent he wanted to. Maybe we shouldn’t have let him just read the encyclopedias and dictionaries. Maybe letting him study a subject to his heart was content wasn’t a good way to go. We knew early on that this child was very intelligent. Using words well before his first birthday, singing recognizable tunes at a year, knowing his colors and counting soon after a year. By eighteen months he had over a 300 word vocabulary in two languages and had been speaking full sentences for months. I was told at that point I could easily teach him to read, but I didn’t. I waited until he decided he wanted to read. Which when he decided that, it was only a couple months before he was off and reading real books. But maybe that was the wrong approach.

Because he was so far a head and had this natural thirst for knowledge, we decided to homeschool him so he could develop this passion as far as he wanted. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do. When he took his first standardized test ever, he was not prepped or shown how to do well on it. He just took it and received a 97 battery (CAT test, 4th grade level, given at the end of what should have been 3rd grade). Maybe I should have prepared him, given him practice tests, shown him what to expect. Taught him concepts instead of letting him understand and learn them all himself.

When he asked for more formal schooling because he felt that other kids were starting to know more then he did, I found a hybrid classical school (two day a week) for him to give a try. With no formal schooling they put him in a grade based on his birthdate and a lower grade math. He did beyond well. On the Iowa testing that year he scored 13+ on all but maybe one area. He took the next year to do a few years of work so his grade would better reflect his level. Maybe I shouldn’t have let him do this. Maybe I should have let him stay where he was, or maybe I should have put him in a “real” school at this point.

Now he is ready for the high school years and we go with an accredited homeschool co-op, knowing full well, he wants to go to college so transcripts would probably be a good thing for that. He, of course, excels. His worth ethic and genuine interest in ALL of his subjects is nothing but commended by his teachers. He discovered his knack for speech writing and reciting those speeches, as well as his love of drama. The next year, the same, he continues to excel. Starts the year off with the PSAT, no prep and scores a 186. He decides at the end of the year to take the SAT so he can dual-enroll his junior year. He takes the SAT with no fancy prep course, studies for a week. Once again, as with all his standardized testing, no prep, he does well (1910 overall, 740 in writing). His junior year, he dual enrolls for science (college physics, receives an A) and designs his own English course as he continues to take classes through his accredited homeschool co-op. Starts the year with the PSAT, no prep, except for previous standardized tests, and gets just over a 200, qualifying for the National Merit Scholar honor. He applies for GHP (Governor’s Honors Program) in Communications and won at the high school level and represented our local public high school at the state competition. At the end of the year he takes the SAT again (increasing his overall to 2140, 740 now in Reading too) and a week later, with just that week to study, the ACT (31 overall, with a 36 in English).

At the beginning of his junior year he decided he wanted to attend a more intensive high school for his last year or two of high school. He had his goal set to get into one of the most prestigious in America, Philips Exeter Academy (PEA) in NH. Yes, a forty-six thousand dollar a year, high school. No he did not get in, most likely because they would have had to foot the bill, they knew very well that our family of ten (at the time) could not afford their school. But they did offer him a nearly full scholarship to attend their summer school that summer. Which we drove him to and once again he excelled. He took three classes, receiving passing grades in all and two with honors. He tried out for and received a role in the summer play and also participated in a sports program while there.

For his senior year, since PEA did not come through, we enrolled him in a local college prep high school. He signs up for four AP classes since he never had access to them before, as well as environmental science, public speaking, drama, chorus and tried to continue his weight training program on his own at school (which was stopped by the school within a few weeks unfortunately). He also decides to take two SAT subject tests at the beginning of the year (no prep, of course), one in English (710) and one in French (670) Not only did he excel in school and enjoy learning in all his classes, he also got to compete against other students from other private school in drama, chorus and model UN. He got a major role in the school play. He got to use his French for teaching kids at an international school, as well as participate in a French immersion weekend. He was inducted into the Thespian society, received an award for have over a 3.5 overall GPA. But did he graduate with honors? No. Should he have? You decide.

So here I am. I have this kid whose passion is to learn. He wants to go to college for Economics, a course he feel in love with his junior year. His love for it strengthened at Philips Exeter, where he received honors for it. He wants to work in the government, as a diplomat or what have you, and I can’t even send him to college. Although he fits the main description for most of the prestigious colleges, a true love of learning, he can not get into most of the colleges he has applied to. He can not compete with other high school graduates who have had eight or more AP classes, who are in the honor society, who have been trained to get good grades on the SAT, who have the connections and most importantly who have the MONEY. So I have to sit by and watch my son watch all his classmates from PEA and this prep school get into colleges he would like to go to and some he wouldn’t, with big scholarships that most of them don’t need and some of them DON’T EVEN CARE or appreciate. It breaks my heart to watch this.

We were so relieved when he would finally have some guidance for college, as we obviously knew nothing.  The college counselor at the high school obviously didn’t know what to expect with my son’s past experiences. He didn’t get into most of the colleges he applied to and the back-up school, he still remains on the waiting list. He wanted to go out of state; we were not told that would be nearly impossible to afford, so the colleges he did get in to are impossible to send him to. A $36,000 a year scholarship doesn’t mean much for a college with a $70,000 a year cost, for example. Since completing school my son has started applying to local public and private schools, giving up his dream for an out of state liberal arts school that excels in economics. Of course, he has gotten in with no problem, but all the merit based scholarships that he would have received are gone for the public ones and the private ones are still too expensive, even with the scholarships. The Hope scholarship will cover all of tuition, yes, but tuition on a public school is a fraction of the cost of everything else. And the Hope scholarship only covers a small portion of the private schools tuition. The bill will still be over $10,000 and my son can only qualify for a $5,500 unsubsidized loan. Our only option seems to be to do a gap year and see if he can qualify at these state schools for some merit based scholarships to help reduce the cost so he can pay the rest with an unsubsidized loan. A GAP YEAR for a kid who just wants to go to school and learn, truly, that’s all he wants.

So did I go about this all wrong?  Was letting him experience all ways of learning a bad thing?  Should I have put my child in the school system all along?  He would know how to take a test and get an even better grade. He would have all the classes his classmates had access to. He would have all the honors he deserves. His college counselor would have been better able to gauge where he could go to school. BUT would he have this genuine love of learning, the desire to really want to continue his education? That thing that all the top colleges are supposedly looking for.  Or would he have the same indifference towards college as most of his classmates?

I did my best to foster his passion, is that wrong? Now what?

What’s a mom to do?


Enter to Win an Awesome Cloth Diaper Package from The Green Nursery!! February 24, 2011

Enter to Win an Awesome Cloth Diaper Package from The Green Nursery!!.


Who Says You Need to Buy Pureed Baby Food, or even make your own? May 28, 2009

This is our youngest at 7.5 months eating her lunch today.  She has never had baby food and never will.  She doesn’t need it as you can see…


Georgia Parenting Conference (CERP sessions for Healthcare Providers) May 1-2 February 8, 2009

La Leche League of Georgia Annual Conference now registering!!!  $15 off if you register by March 1st!!!

Check it out!  The featured speakers are:

Marian Thompson, co-founder of La Leche League and Another Look

Dr. Bob Sears

Diana West, IBCLC

Lysa Parker, co-founder of Attachment Parenting Intenational




Halloween? November 2, 2008

Here’s the gang with Papa all dressed up are ready to go.  This year we had three English soccer players, two cats, a dinosaur and one little sweet pea.  Nana stayed at the house and handed out goodies to the neighborhood kids.


People are usually surprised to find that we do Halloween.  How can you do that with the candy?  What about the whole anti-Christian thing?  Well, we’ve always done Halloween.  The kids love to use their imagination and dress up.  

It’s not about the candy and never has been.  What we have always done was let the kids collect candy and then they have fun handing it out to the other kids or this year we dropped it off with Nana and let her hand it out as we went to other houses.  

The other issue has never really been an issue for us.  We have always known it is the eve of All Saints Day, or All Hallow’s Eve.  There is tons of information on the origins if you want to look it up.  We don’t mind if people don’t feel the same way and decide not to participate, to each his own, but it does annoy us when they tell my children they are doing something wrong and God doesn’t approve.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!


Born at home, finally…. October 20, 2008

Filed under: Attachment Parenting,Family — Amy and Simon @ 11:25 pm
Tags: ,

It’s another girl for the Hukin family!!  Now that is one big brother with five little sisters to watch over.

10 days late!!!!

Born October 15th, 2008


9 pounds, 4 ounces

21 inches

This is her, only minutes after being born in our bathtub.  Amy was awoken with labor pains at 3 am.  Woke Simon up about 3:30.  We prepared the bedroom and bathroom for birth and called the midwife around 4.  The midwife and assistants arrived around 5.  Out she popped at 6:21.  It was a peaceful birth with soft music and candlelight.  She didn’t come out crying, she just looked at all of us with as much awe as we looked at her.

So why do we have our babies at home, we’ll have to get to that question soon.  In our minds it’s the only place babies should be born.


Where have we been? August 22, 2008

It seems like forever since we posted last.  Sorry about that, it seems as we get closer and closer to our due date, our days get shorter and shorter.  We have about six more weeks.  We have a lot to post before we can get to our present everyday lives.  We wanted to give you a little outline of what you can look forward to reading about on this blog.  

After the schooling thing happened we became blessed with our third pregnancy, right before we moved back to our second home (after we finished helping out the family business).  This is when we dove-in to learning all we could about being healthy.  So our next topic will be about whole food vitamins, homeopathy, essential oils, herbal remedies etc.  We’ll discuss some of the products we like best and still use today, like Rainbow Light, Body Balance, Young Living products, Traditional Medicinals, Garden of Life, Bach flowers etc.  And some of the new products we use today, like Zrii, Xocai, Nordic Naturals, etc. (See other links at the right.)

 This is a chronological list of our life lessons we would like to share on our blog: 

  • Homebirth:  We had our third child at home, then the fourth, and then the fifth and now are planning for our sixth homebirth
  • Colic:  Don’t be fooled there is a reason for it.
  • Soy:  The very un-healthy “health food”
  • Breastfeeding and La Leche League:  Amy became a LLL Leader.
  • No more “Well-Baby” visits:  Our last trip to the pediatrician.
  • Stuff, who needs so much:  Living through a hurricane or two, or three.
  • Raw Feeding:  The natural pet diet.
  • Chiropractic:  Is it just for injury?
  • Autism awareness:  There are just too many kids on the spectrum, why?
  • Respiratory distress:  Sounds the same in infants as well as adults.
  • Microwaves: don’t use them at all!
  • Fluoride:  a bi-product of the aluminum industry
  • Real Milk and other raw foods
  • Living with extended family:  Welcoming parents to live with us.
  • Neurological Chiropractic
  • Fish oil supplements:  Why so important?
  • The grieving process is important: Things don’t get better until you do it.
  • No sugar + no grains + no dairy =happiness
  • We really do belong for a reason:  Learning our own religion.
  • Giving is only giving, when nothing is expected in return
  • Naturopath, Homeopath, Chinese Medicine and other alternatives
  • Quantum biofeedback: non-evasive testing
  • Xocai:  the healthy chocolate?
  • Applied Kinesiology
  • Mercury:  how much can one really get in utero?

We also asked the kids yesterday to tell us what are the things that we do differently from their friends’ families.  In addition to the weird way we eat and the things above this is what they came up with to discuss: 

  • No TV or videogames in our home
  • No candy and how we handle holidays, especially Halloween
  • Music always available
  • No rewards, just expectation to do what is right

This is just a little preview of what is to come.  There will most likely be other topics stuck into the list; as we re-live the events it is certain more of our life lessons will surface.   If you have any questions or comments you are always welcome to email us at  We are happy to answer any questions about past and future topics or if you come across a product and what to know our thoughts.  Whatever, we are here to help in your journey to a more natural and healthy lifestyle.

We hope to compile an email list of those interested in a more in-depth knowledge of the topics we discuss.  Please let us know what you want to know about!  If you are interested in being added to the list, just shoot us an email.

Have a great day and we’ll try to get some writing in before #6 decides to join us.  Remember to live the life you love and love the life you live!  


Why do our kids learn at home? August 12, 2008

Our first child was quite unique. He was a very early talker so we had the unique experience to know what our child was thinking before most people. Children know a lot more then we give them credit for. The amount of things they understand before they are a year old is amazing.

We figured by the time our son was three (Summer 2000) there was no way we could keep up with his rate of learning we had no choice but to enroll him into the best private Montessori school in town. To give you some little examples of his abilities, by twelve months he could hold a tune and sing a recognizable song; at his eighteen month well baby visit, he had a 300 word vocabulary in two different languages and spoke articulate complete sentences, and for what it’s worth he knew his ABC’s, colors and counting to eleven at least.

Well, we were wrong. We watched our very intelligent young man become a very timid child. He began to bite his nails; he stopped referring to his father as Papa because he was told that was wrong. He started changing and his love of learning was not the same. We thought that being in a Montessori environment with three to six year olds would let him continue at his own level, but instead it hindered his learning capabilities and he was only there from 9am to noon! Four months of that was more than enough. After that we let our little guy learn the way he wanted to learn, ON HIS OWN.

Because of the way he was, we became child-led homeschoolers, or shall I say more unschoolers. We never forced anything on him. If he didn’t like it we didn’t do it. We let his love of learning alone. We should have done that from the start. Thinking back we had always, until we put him in school. At eighteen month, we remember the doctor telling us with his vocabulary skills we could teach him to read quite easily by doing such and such. Well, we didn’t force the issue and when he decided he wanted to read, he was able to do it within a few months of working on it on his own. He was pre-school age when he did this.

We have applied the same principles of unschooling to our other children as well and they all have learned different things at different times. It is not about what they should be doing at what age. It’s more about “what do they want to do, what do they enjoy.” It is unnatural to stop learning something that you are interested in so you can learn something else. Why not learn all you want to learn about a subject, and then move to what you want to learn about next?

Some of our children enjoy “school work” at times, and not at other times. They are unlike our first, who always did everything by himself. The difference is our children will ask us to help them with it, instead of us telling them to do it. The only time we have to make them do something is for our state testing policy. They have to test every three years starting in the third grade. Our children do attend weekly Religious education classes, but for the most part they want to because it pleases us and they see us doing our part in our Church as well. They must feel like this is the way they contribute to our Parish Community. They are also involved in other aspects of our Church voluntarily. It helps to be a model of the behavior you want from your children.

You might be wondering how we teach a second language to our children without making them do anything. Well, basically it is as simple as, Amy speaks English all the time and Simon speaks French all the time. We have books, games, cd-roms, and workbooks in both languages at all levels. They can choose what they want to do. Our oldest speaks English to his mom and French to his Papa. He can read in both languages, but not as well in French because he doesn’t feel like he needs to. Maybe someday he will decide to and maybe someday the others will decide to speak French to their Papa just like their big brother does. Who knows, but it is up to them.

In our opinion, Unschooling is an extension of Attachment Parenting, which comes from Natural Living or following your instincts. As an attachment parent you give your child what he needs, when he needs it. That’s the natural way.

Amy: As a La Leche League Leader I see a lot of mothers who are looking for way that things should be done instead of following their own instincts. I try to ensure them that only they know what is best for their children, they just need to follow their instincts. It is my opinion, that in our society it is hard for parents, especially new parents, to follow their instincts because there are too many “experts” out there. Only the parents know what their children need. Sometimes parents get a feeling that something is wrong, but don’t know why. When the “experts” are questioned, the parents are told they have nothing to worry about. If this happens enough, the parents lose their instincts and the children suffer because the parents really do know what is best and they know when something just isn’t right. So stop listening to the “experts” because only you are the expert for your own child(ren)!

So in conclusion, our children learn at home because it is the natural thing to do. It fits into our natural lifestyle. It just makes sense to us.


You can’t help to sing along, everyone loves ABBA tunes August 8, 2008

Filed under: Attachment Parenting,Education,Natural Living — Amy and Simon @ 11:22 am
Tags: , , , ,

This was posted on one of our homeschooling yahoo groups today.  We just had to share.  Enjoy!!!


I Will Survive (the first year of homeschooling) *

Originally written and produced by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris 

Originally performed by Gloria Gaynor 

Mercilessly altered with apologies by Natalie Criss 


First I was afraid 

I was petrified. 

Kept thinking I could never teach 

‘Cause I’m not certified. 

But we spent so many nights 

Reteaching homework that was wrong. 

I grew strong, 

so now I teach my kids at home! 

We study math 

and outer space. 

I just kept on despite the fear 

with a big smile across my face. 

I bought a set of Base Ten blocks. 

I bought books with answer keys. 

My parents think we’re nuts, 

but they don’t even bother me 


Come on, let’s go walk out the door. 

We’re on the road now, 

’cause we’re not home much anymore 

My friends would laugh and say we’d be unsocialized. 

I heard one mumble 

that I’d give up by July. 

Oh no, not I! 

I will survive! 

As long as I know how to read 

I know we’ll be alright. 

I’ve got all my life to learn. 

I’ve got energy to burn. 

and I’ll survive. 

I will survive. 


It took all the strength I had 

not to fall apart. 

Decided to attend 

a play date at the local park, 

and I met oh so many moms 

who offered eagerly to help. 

They used to cry. 

Now they hold their heads up high, 

and so do we! 

My kids are cool! 

They’re not those chained up little people 

stuck inside at school. 

So if you feel like dropping by 

and just expect us to be free 

you’d better call ahead first 

’cause we’re probably busy!