Extras from June Buying Club

Email me to claim your items: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com. I’ll pack your order up and charge exact USPS shipping prices, you pay, I ship. Next order is in Oct.

Redmond: https://redmond.life/

Earthpaste @ $7/tube: 1x spearmint sweetened, 1x spearmint w/ charcoal, 1x spearmint unsweetened, 1x peppermint, 1x cinnamon

Realsalt, fine, refill pouches: 1x 16oz. @ $8.29  2x 26oz @$10.39

1x 10oz bentonite clay @$12.85


Salonsolids: https://salonsolids.com/

1x 8oz conditioner, mint @$20


Frontier:  https://www.frontiercoop.com/

Stinging nettle leaves, not organic,  ½# @$9.45


LuSa Organics: https://www.lusaorganics.com/

1x tangerine tooth soap @$6.75

1x dish soap bar @$6.95


Molly’s Suds: https://mollyssuds.com/

3x 120 loads, peppermint @$21.99

4x 70 loads, peppermint @$13.99

1x oxygen whitener @$12.99

Dish soap @$7.99:   2x unscented, 1x lemon, 1x lav


Luffa Gardens: https://luffagardens.com/

4x dish sponges, 2pk @$7.95

2x 5” @$7.45


Vejibags: https://www.vejibag.com/

3x standard @$20, 3x LG @$22, 3x XL @$25


Poofy Organics: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

1x Dish Liquid, citrus @$15.50

1x Baby lotion @$16.50

1x Dandruff Shampoo @$20

1x Pest Protection spray @$12.50

1x medieval EO blend (roller top) @$13.50

1X sunscreen tube @$18

1x All-purpose spray concentrate, spirited mint @$27.50

1x Digestive Enzymes @$24.50



Rada Cutlery: https://radakitchenstore.com/products/quick-edge-knife-sharpener?_pos=1&_sid=b8a5ce18b&_ss=r

1x knife sharpener @$7.60


Mountain Rose Herbs: https://mountainroseherbs.com/

1x Earl Grey Tea, organic, reduced from $19 to $15


Meli Wraps, 3 pack of wraps, all are same pattern within pack: https://www.meliwraps.com/collections/all

3 of each print available @$22:   pineapple, purple papaya, bloom, kahanu

5x 4oz jars of my homemade toothpaste w/ calcium @$9. Flavor options: strawberry, blueberry, lemon, orange, bubblegum, cinnamon, spearmint, peppermint

Add on anything in stock via Pure Play Kids: https://pureplaykids.com/









Homemade Kombucha How-To by Jess

So, I’m a newbie to the whole Kombucha world. I honestly hardly ever drank it before I started making it myself. I tried it a few times & thought, it’s okay, but honestly I really didn’t WANT to like it because it’s so expensive. I’m a huge fan of iced tea & have been making that by a gallon or 2 for years, always from loose leaf tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. But when a local friend asked if I wanted to try a couple of bottles of Kombucha that she had brewed, I accepted. One was ginger, one was blueberry. They were SO good! Then from there, she offered me a SCOBY, and the rest is history! That was right before Christmas, and I’ve managed to keep the SCOBY alive & thriving since, and am absolutely loving making this stuff! Now, it’s hard to imagine my life without this brew in it!

Again, let me say I’m a newbie. But I’ve shared my love of this brew with my online group over the past few months, and many of you have asked me to share my tips & experiences with you. So, here’s my post based on my experience. There are TONS of other blog posts out there. So if you want more background on the history,  health benefits, etc, Google away. My goal is to keep this on the brief, basic side. It’s SUPER easy, SUPER cheap, and SUPER delicious!

TO START: Ideally you need to find someone local with the starter SCOBY, it’s a weird-looking gelatinous blob, and it should come with ~1cup of starter tea (remnants from the last batch, you always save a little). I see Amazon and other online sites do have it for sale if you can’t find something locally. I have no idea which brands are better than others (if anyone has experience ordering online, please let me know). I have been doing 1 gal at a time, going to up it to 2 because I love it so much.

Tips on what tea to choose. It’s my understanding the SCOBY does best with some caffeine. I do see that some use green tea, but the advice from my friend who I started from, and the bit that I read before getting started myself was that black tea is ideal. You can do loose leaf, but using bags just makes it super easy.  I’m using Newman’s Own Organic Black. I get a box of 100 for ~$6 at my food co-op. I use 8 bags/gallon, so that’s ~$.50 for tea. The recipe I’m following is this: 8 black tea bags + 1 cup of sugar per gallon of brew. I use organic turbinado (raw) sugar (for everything in my home). I need to weigh/price 1 cup next time I fill up my jar at my food co-op, but my guess is that it’s around $1/cup. So that means 1 gallon of kombucha comes in at around $1.50/gallon. Read that again, especially if you’re buying it regularly in a store. $1.50 PER GALLON!


DIRECTIONS: Here’s what I do–bring 1 gallon of water to boil in my stainless steel stock pot. Add 1 cup of sugar, stir to dissolve. Add 8 black tea bags, steep for 3-4 hours, until the brew has cooled down to room temp. Temp is important with kombucha, too hot & it can kill the SCOBY, too cool, it will take much longer to brew. Taste it after 1 week, do you like the basic flavor? If you let it sit too long, it will have more of a vinegary bite to it. Room temp is ideal for brewing, 70’s is great. We heat with wood, so parts of our house are frequently in the 80’s. I settled on our back utility room as the ideal spot, and it has worked very well. Now that we’re getting out of wood heating season, I think I’ll just leave the 2 jugs on my kitchen counter in some dead space under the cabinets.

It’s a 2 step process of fermentation. The 1st step needs to have aerobic (with air) activity. So you need something like a towel or pillow case as a lid for your container. Fruit flies can get through cheesecloth. 1 of my jugs has a pillow case as a cover, the other has a towel. I let the 1st ferment sit ~1 week. Your 1st brew you might want to let sit a bit longer, as your SCOBY is growing in health.

The 2nd ferment is when you add the flavors you want!  This process requires anaerobic (without oxygen) activity. So after letting the tea sit with the SCOBY for 7-10 days, you transfer it to an air-tight container with some fruit. My friend sent a bunch of Grolsch bottles with my starter SCOBY. I used those several times when I was just brewing 1 gallon at-a-time. Once I decided to up my production, those bottles seemed too small. So I started using quart jars, and they are working perfectly! I started simple, a jar of blueberry, a jar of strawberry. Then I started doing combos: straw/blue. Then I added ginger to those. Basically I do a layer of each fruit. The more brews I do, the more I experiment. I LOVE blue/straw/ginger, then I added pineapple to that, THE best! But I also love ginger/raspberry/aronia.

The sky is the limit when playing with flavors. So you fill your jar to the tippy top and let that sit at room temp for ~3 more days. The longer you let it sit, the more carbonation you will have. Also, certain berries/fruits ferment quicker. Again, temp plays a role too, so a winter brew will ferment slower than a summer brew. My friend told me a story about opening a strawberry ferment & it shooting all over her kitchen, soaking her ceiling. I’ve not had this happen YET. But wise advice is to open with a towel over your lid. The awesome thing is, you can totally customize your brew to your liking. Like it sweeter? Add a bit of sugar to the 2nd ferment. Like it really fizzy? Let both ferments sit longer. I prefer mine on the flatter vs fizzier size.

It is possible to kill your SCOBY. When you handle it you have to make sure your hands are super clean. My friend who I got mine from killed hers once while dividing it for a friend in the past, it grew mold after she separated it. She assumed her hands weren’t clean enough. It is ideal if you have a friend locally who knows what they’re doing, as I was able to have my friend come look at mine several times & assure me that it was healthy looking and as it should be. If you start googling healthy scoby vs moldy ones, there are tons of pics.

Did I mention it’s SUPER easy, cheap, delicious & actually good for you?! Below is my prep for the 2nd ferment, get a bunch of jars ready. Wide-mouthed quarts are PERFECT!

After 2-3 days, I’m itching to get drinking my brew! The fruit floats to the top, so I usually scoop a bunch of it out with a spoon (and save it for a smoothie!) then pour the rest of the jar from the full quart, to an empty quart, straining anything that I didn’t scoop out. Then I refrigerate & start enjoying!

I love it on ice. I store it in quart jars, but usually drink it out of my favorite Mason jars, the 22 oz tall, wide-mouthed jars! I rarely drink coffee anymore, this is my morning wake-up. So refreshing, hydrating, delicious!

My 2nd Kombucha jug arrived & is working on its 1st continuous brew. My Hubby & Son are loving these brews so much too, I went from doing 1 gal, to 2 gal, now I’ll alternate between always having a 2 gal batch going and the 2nd ferment of the other happening. I LOVE this stuff, one of those things that wasn’t even on my radar a few short months ago, now I can’t imagine the before time!

Dispenser by Anchor Hocking: https://amzn.to/3aMO3XT

Spigot: https://amzn.to/3dIN2BQ

I’ve had the exact same dispenser since 2014 and it has held up great. I routinely used it for iced tea before my recent Kombucha days. The only thing I wish was slightly different would be that the hole would be down closer to the bottom a bit more. You have to tip it towards you to get the last few quarts out. But it works, and I’ve not had any issues with leakage.


That is my basic how to. Did I leave something out? Still have questions? Let me know! Again, I’m a total newb, but find this super easy, delicious, and cheap!



Eco-friendly USA 8 year blogiversary!



Tomorrow is the 8 year anniversary since I took the plunge and launched my original Facebook page: Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in the USA (I’m not good at being concise)… Since I have a super busy day out of the house tomorrow, I wanted to mention it today while I’m thinking of it.
On 2/22/12, as my 1st born was 3 weeks from turning 1 year old, I thought: maybe I should launch my own page to share these lists of great companies/products I’ve found while staying up late researching. Maybe others care about safe products made in the USA too? And I went for it. And I got my 1st ‘like’, then another, then another. That original page is just a couple likes shy of 14K, this closed group came several years later and is approaching 6K members, and my website averages 100K unique views annually.
I just want to remind y’all that this Mama of a 9 (almost) & 6 year old, who lives out in the woods of rural Wisco, with no neighbors, continues to count her blessings that y’all value what I have to say. That we share similar values. That you take the time to contribute knowledge you have on particular subjects. I firmly believe it does take a village to raise the next generation. And for many of us, a big part of that village is online. I’m feeling extremely grateful, blessed, and excited, about 8 years of sharing my beliefs and values with others that care. Here’s to another 8, 18, 28 🙂 ♥

Poofy Organics now available in Canada!

BIG DEAL ALERT: Canadians can also enroll as Guides! I’m going on 6 years as a Guide, 7 as a customer and I have never been happier. There are many great changes coming in 2020!! Any questions, let me know! https://ecofriendlyausa.poofyorganics.com/

Black Friday-Cyber Monday SALES!

Here are a few sales I wanted to draw your attention to:

POOFY ORGANICS: 15%, No code needed, but you must be logged in as a customer to see those 15% off prices reflected. On top of that, I am offering a 5% rebate off your subtotal if you use my link. Create a customer account by going to login>create account. Shoot me a message or email after you order (ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com), and let me know if you want your additional 5% back via: check, PayPal, gift certificate. I will also be giving away 10 $20 gift certificates, selected randomly after the Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale weekend is over. My link: https://ecofriendlyusa.poofyorganics.com/

POOFY CBD: Poofy CBD is having a ONE DAY sale, Cyber Monday, 15% off all CBD products, again, must be logged in as a customer. I will add all these orders to the Poofy gift certificate drawings: https://ecofriendlymamausa.poofycbd.com/#

PURE PLAY KIDS:  Will I be having a Black Friday weekend sale via Pure Play Kids? No, I will not. I strive to offer items NOT available on Amazon. I take pride in signing Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) agreements with my vendors. Meaning we all agree to the same price, no one undercuts to gain more sales. I offer $6.95 flat rate shipping, always, and at that rate I lose on every order as only a flat rate envelope can ship for that much.

I have what I will have for the holiday season stocked. I will not be ordering anything else. The Pure Play Originals are all extremely limited, once those are gone, they are gone forever, almost all are down to less than a dozen items.
So, I hope you’ll keep me in mind when you’re doing your holiday shopping. Your purchase helps ensure other small businesses keep doing what they’re doing. It breaks my heart when I go to re-order from a business that the former Pure Play owners used to order from, and I learn they no longer exist… Every purchase is a vote, and I appreciate YOUR vote for made in USA quality items. https://pureplaykids.com/

BAREFOOT BOOKS: I am hosting a Barefoot Books online event. This weekend will feature 25% off + free shipping on orders $60+. The books are not printed in the U.S, but they have a strong sustainability mission, and I ADORE the books. We have a lot of them, they make up most of our curercnt library, and I cannot wait to add more. Here’s my link: https://www.barefootbooks.com/events/view/22890/jess-brandt/?bf_affiliate_code=000-25ae-22890&fbclid=IwAR2WyAMCfc3l7peA0I4KDf6RizRMP5qzJesBTExVleo0jSUn8pGlHa–fjs



Please do not miss out on this 23rd order of my Eco-friendly One-Stop Shop!! Early bird specials end at 11:59pm central on 10/7, final deadline is 10/13 at that same hour. All details here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/made-in-usa-2/eco-friendly-usa-buying-club-2/

A small, organic, family farm needs help ♥


My best friend is in need of help. Her certified organic apple orchard has 10% of the crop it should, if that. We’re talking maybe 3,000 bushel instead of 30,000. It sucks so bad because there is huge demand for her apples, especially as vinegar.  But this year, out of nearly 20 she’s been there, the crop is not there. You can see it when you drive up. Some trees have a few apples, many have none. Some will have one branch that looks great, the rest of the tree is bare. It is so sad.


This woman is my inspiration to always do what I can, when I can, where I can. To do better, to do more. She truly lives her life as an example of being a good steward to the land, an amazing Mom, a fantastic friend, a surrogate Auntie to my kids. Many don’t realize that there is a small list of approved sprays that can be used on organic crops. She refuses to use ANY spray for anything. Instead she relies on beneficial gardens and bugs, pigs who root up the ground and eat insects, she understands and values the complete ecosystem she has on her ridge, and understands how it works together. This year, something happened, and the apples aren’t there like they have been every other year since the orchard was planted. I know our local community is going to band together & help as much as we can, but I also know some of you have a few extra bucks that you are willing to send to a good cause. And I assure you, there are few causes I will ever feel better about supporting than this one. I have already made a cash donation, and will be donating as many hours as my time as I possibly can to help her produce items for the boxes she will be sending out.


If able, you can PayPal donations in any amount (please click on photo below & read details). If able to donate $150, you can choose to receive a gift box full of goodies from the orchard this fall, in time for Thanksgiving, all certified organic. She has worked her butt off, as always, to harvest all the bounty the orchard provides all year: berries of every kind get made into jelly, garlic gets ground into powder, herbs get harvested & dried, elderberries into syrup, etc. What apples they are able to harvest will be made into pie filling & vinegar. And if you can’t donate, I 100% understand! Please offer well-wishes, prayers, good vibes, whatever you believe in, up to the Universe so that this family can stay on the land they love & see another, better apple season ♥



A Go Fund Me page has now been created too. They have a huge goal, but together, many small donations will get them there! https://www.gofundme.com/f/turkey-ridge-organic-orchard?utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0gLSKxg8qbfXl-b-Yq72mEZsGFP3cv_oPBHR9VgRi29YPavifdCNpF-GQ


Pure Play Kids FREE SHIPPING weekend

I’ve never done this before, but I’m now offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed now through Monday evening! https://pureplaykids.com/

You can claim buying club extras and have them ship together as well: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2019/07/16/june-2019-buying-club-extras/

Be the change you wish to see….

It makes me so happy to know that the next generation(s) are being raised to refuse single use plastic. For my kids, bringing our own straw and refusing a lid is the norm. A month or so ago, I had taken our straws in to wash them and forgotten to put them back in the vehicle. We went out to eat and I accepted a straw, as I tend to dump ice water all over myself when the ice shifts if I try to drink out of a cup. My Son: MOM, you taught us to say no to straws, what the heck are you doing?! Total straw shaming, and it made me SO proud!

While shopping, my Son helps find the option with the least amount of plastic. We needed bunny food today. I grabbed a medium sized bag, but it was plastic. He says: Mom, the larger bag is paper, and then we won’t need food for a very long time too. Yes, yes Son, you are absolutely right! So, SO proud.Oh, and he’s 8!




Here’s our set-up. Not cheap for the 4 Decorative Dots straws + the hemp carrier (from GlassDharma), but as a family of 4, this is perfect for us! I’m a firm believer in making quality investments that will last many, many years. 100% made in USA, reusable, eco-friendly materials, win-win-win! And seriously, while I feel like my kiddos don’t listen at times, when I really want them to, they show me they are paying attention… Be the change you wish to see in the world!



Reflections on a mental health crisis

I decided to gather up the many posts I’ve done since my Dad had a “nervous breakdown” on April 15th. I, and many others, knew he was having a rough spell. Record breaking floods damaged his shop a few months prior, and looking back, that was the beginning of a downward spiral. He slipped into depression, and as the stress and anxiety of his super busy season in the greenhouse business started skyrocketing, one day he walked in and said he could not do it anymore. Those of you in my closed group page have been following along, and the kind words of support and wisdom from your own life experiences that you’ve shared with me are priceless. I felt like I should gather all those posts up, so that’s what is below.

4/9/19 6 days before my Dad’s breakdown, I posted this…


I’m feeling the effects of being part of the “sandwich generation”, and I know I’m not alone. My Dad isn’t super old, just 61, but is suddenly starting to grapple with retirement, passing on his business (and I’m not interested), major life decisions & I’m his go-to for helping grapple with it all. That, combined with homeschooling my 2 kiddos, no day care ever, full-time family + managing my multiple small businesses, planning an addition on our home… I’m feeling like a sandwich, maybe a grilled cheese, all smooshed, gooey, and melty 

The next 6 weeks are super, super busy for me. I work in my Dad’s greenhouses pretty much daily, trying to help him keep his shit together, lol. Then home to the family & all that entails. So, if you only hear from me once/day, don’t worry, all is okey dokey here. Just doing my best to keep this sandwich together 


This is a very tough post for me to share, and I’ll keep it brief for now… Many of you know how close I am with my Dad, and I recently mentioned that he was having a pretty rough time grappling with major life decisions. Monday morning he had a complete breakdown & is currently in the hospital receiving much needed psychiatric care. I’m so thankful he was able to get in and that he is getting cared for, and I’m not talking about him in past tense. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see a loved one, and especially your Father, completely losing their shit. Thankfully, he is very loved by soooooo many people, and we’re all here for him & to see his business through the busiest month of the year in his absence.

If you’ve never experienced mental illness or true, clinical depression 1st hand or 2nd hand, you can’t even imagine how painful it can be. I’ve seen sad people, people in a funk, but OMG, true depression is awwwwwwful. I never, ever, evvvvvvver would’ve thought of my Dad as someone capable of ending his own life. But seeing him in the state of mind he was on Monday morning, I see how people do it, and I’m thankful he didn’t have a gun in reach. The despair is so great, and they can’t think clearly for 1 second, they just want it to end.

I could go on & on, and I will share more over time. But for now I need to let you know that I have to step it up big time & run his business for him for the next 2 months. When I get home, I want to spend every waking second with my family. And that means I’m going to be MIA from my beloved group(s) for the most part. Keep on being awesome to each other please, and know I’m thinking of you, and it will keep me going knowing you are thinking of me too!


My mind has been blown after learning that I’ve been peeling a banana all wrong for my almost 40 years on this planet. Some of you surely know this, but the thought never crossed my mind that there was any other way to get into a banana than from the stem end. But as you know, often you smoosh up a good chunk of the top of the banana trying to bust into the stem, we all like our ‘nanas on the green side. I usually grab a sharp knife and cut into the top if I’m near the kitchen. My kids refuse to eat the smooshy part so give it to me or toss it if I’m not around.
What blows my mind about this new revelation that peeling it from the bottom side works perfectly, every time, is I feel it’s an incredible analogy to life in general. We spend decades doing something one way, and think there is no possible other way to do it. Then one day, you see that banana in a new light, and spend the rest of your life doing it the new way. This has been a huge reminder to me. Think outside of the box. Question everything, even something as simple as how to peel a banana. There is ALWAYS an alternate way of looking at a problem,and usually multiple solutions. Just because you’ve done something one way for 40 years, doesn’t mean it’s the only way, or the best way.
And guess what, I learned this banana hack from my kids who saw it on a YouTube video! But turns out, it’s how monkeys do it, of course!! https://www.thekitchn.com/why-you-should-peel-your-banana-like-a-monkey-206322

I cannot thank y’all enough for the kind words of support during this difficult time with my Dad’s health. I have had so many stories shared via pm and email from this group, as well as numerous stories shared from local folks here in SW Wisco who have learned of what we’re dealing with… I swear, you’d be hard pressed to find a family who has not had a Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister, Mom, Dad, Aunt or Uncle who has dealt with a mental health crisis. And it truly is a crisis until we figure out how to best get that person back to the best semblance of their former self.

It really sucks to see a human spirit truly broken, and that’s what I’m dealing with currently. The stories shared make me cry, sad and scared, but also happy, hopeful, and grateful. Life. Is. Tough. But broken pieces can be put back together with the right glue…. I’m working so hard to be that glue my Dad needs. And I so appreciate the positivity and love that the Universe is sending my way as I do the very best I can 


A glimpse into the place I’m spending more waking hours than my home these days: the 2 greenhouses I’ve grown up in. The thing that’s hard to swallow for me is that just about every person that comes here raves about how this is their happy place. They have their own stories of rough times, heart break, loss, depression. But flowers make them happy. It’s sad that the man (my Dad) responsible for all this (with my help) has lost the spark himself. Tending to all this for 35 years got to him. We’re trying so hard to help him find that passion & spark within him still. In the meantime, I’m here, surrounded by all this beauty, 8 hrs/day, 7 days/week, for the next month (so why you’re not hearing from me much, I hardly have a minute to sit down!).

One of many things I love about home-schooling is it allows my family to be together in many different situations. It hasn’t been easy for me to go to what would normally be a few hours/day here, to full-time. But with our flexibility, they are able to spend time with me here, and really, truly help doing many tasks. Just like I did when I was their age (my Dad has been doing this since I was 4!). I have so many fabulous friends and family members who have, and will continue to, be down here in minutes flat if I need them. It really reminds you how good the world is, even in times that seem desperate!



It has been very interesting seeing the different reactions to my Dad’s mental health crisis. Those who have been through a crisis themselves, or seen a loved one go through a total, complete breakdown get it. They completely understand. There is no pill that works overnight. A few days or weeks off does not suddenly make you back into the person you used to be. Something inside my Dad’s brain broke….

Those who have no 1st, or 2nd hand experience with it can’t comprehend it. I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend it prior to seeing it myself. Many in the community don’t know all the details, they just know he is taking time off. Random person, as an example: it’s cancer, isn’t it… He had a heart attack, right? Me: no, he is just completely burned out, he’s taking some time off to refocus on the future of this business. Them: oh, well it must be nice to have that time off, I’m burned out in my job too, tell him to get back here if he’s not physically ill… They just do NOT get it that mental illness is as real as if he had a heart attack, or cancer. He needs serious time to heal. Part of me wants to say: Yes, he had a heart attack, he’ll be off for the next 3 months at least, comprende!?

For those that don’t know: telling someone experiencing extreme, clinical depression to “suck it up”, “just deal with it”, “everything will be okay”, “we’re all going through it, it’s just the way of the world”… Those are the absolute worst things you can say. What you can/should say: I’m here for you. I hear what you are saying. I agree, everything may not be okay, but I’m here to help any way I can. I love you no matter what.

I’ve learned SO MUCH about human nature in the 3 LONG weeks since something in my Dad’s brain broke. For the most part, I’ve learned that humans are extremely kind, caring, compassionate. And that has been extremely wonderful to see 1st hand! 



I want to wish all the Mamas in the group a super awesome weekend full of love. Those that aren’t Mom’s, just have a great weekend still 

I share the SuperMom cartoon every year at this time, it makes me chuckle. But as we know, there is no cape, no magical powers to get through life day in and day out. Some days are rough. Some are glorious. Some are both combined. The last few weeks have been very tough for my family, but we’ve found our groove, my Dad knows I’ve got this, and that is allowing him to do what he needs to do to heal. It truly feels amazing to be able to able to step up to the plate, and give life your all, when life needs you to. And I know someday I will be in need, and my community will be here for me.

All right, time to sell, sell, sell these plants we’ve been tending to for months. 1st customers of the day just walked in, it should be non-stop until Sunday at 5pm. Much love group friends!


I’m taking care of all my Dad’s bills at the moment, today, the bill from the hospital arrived. He spent 5 nights in the Psych Unit. The damage… $16,500. $11,000 for room & board for 5 nights + a bunch of misc. charges. His insurance paid for all but $15, that is what he owes, thank goodness. But can you imagine if someone in his situation, the lowest, most desperate time in their life, did not have insurance?? They are a couple weeks post-hospitalization, and they get a bill for $16K for their stay. It’s really, really hard for me to comprehend that we can’t take better care of people in desperate times of need. I don’t have the answers, but I know I have a lot of questions…


I’ve had so much support in getting through the last month since my Dad’s “nervous breakdown”, it has come in many forms. My Auntie’s who live several hours away have wanted to help, but weren’t really sure how. Well, yesterday they each drove 4 hrs to my cousin’s home nearby and spent the day making freezer meals for my family. I’m so, so excited about all this goodness that was just delivered: chicken curry, stroganoff, zuppa tuscana soup, vegetable pesto soup, thai chicken, turkey/black bean chili, meat loaf and mashed potatoes, stuffed peppers!

If a friend or loved one is experiencing a difficult time, and you want to help but don’t know how, consider just making a double batch of whatever you’re making that night, and deliver a meal. It really means a lot to have one less thing to think about when I go home tonight!



I feel like I’ve gained such a valuable perspective in the 5 weeks since witnessing my Dad’s complete mental breakdown. Those of us around him knew he was completely stressed out, and feeling overwhelmed with even small things, but we just keep telling him: it’s going to be all right, everything is fine. But no matter how many people who love you dearly tell you that everything is fine, that doesn’t make it true if you don’t feel that way yourself.

This realization has helped me understand how important it is to truly listen to others, let them know you hear them, and you empathize. Sometimes everything is not okay, and admitting that is necessary.

Today I took my Son to the dentist for his 1st cavity, getting numbed up and all of that. He was SO nervous. The old me would’ve said things like: it’s no big deal hunny, there’s nothing to be scared of, you’re worrying for no reason. But the new, more understanding me said: I hear you, I understand you’re scared, it’s your first round of work and it’s OK to feel nervous, I’m here for you. And I reminded him how we walked out of the last dentist who said I could not be there to hold his hand during the procedure. That we were at this dentist because I understood how scary the uncertain can be, and I would never not be there for him.

And he did super great. And I felt great about really, truly hearing him & not dismissing his concerns. Dismissing the concerns of others is ridiculous. Their concern is REAL to them, and that’s all that matters.


I’ve been sharing insights as I have them over the last 7 years since starting “bloggin”. I feel like I’m having them more than ever in my life in the 5 short weeks since my Dad had a “nervous breakdown”. It’s crazy how so much can change in a short time. Also, as I live in a small town, people have been coming to me and sharing their stories of tough times & hardship. Of overcoming them, and of failures they’ve witnessed in their family in trying to overcome them. It has been a very intense few weeks, to say the least.

My latest revelation is this… I have been searching for 4 leaf clovers my entire life. In high school and the few years after, I worked on a flower farm where we spent all day outdoors cutting flowers that went to Farmer’s Markets in larger cities and wholesale florists across the country. During our breaks we’d always sit in the grass and look for 4-leafers. I had a very good friend who would regularly find them. Me, never, ever. Last Summer, we were on a hike during a camping trip and just entering the trail head, my Son, 7, says: there’s a 4 leaf clover, as he plucks it. Not trying at all, just observed that there it was. My Hubby caught the 1st ever Musky (huge fish) of his life later that day.

Lately, my Son has been coming to work with me in my Dad’s greenhouses, for entire 8 hr days! In-between customers we head out to the grassy space in-between our building and the next, and lay in the grassy clover patches looking for 4-leafers. It is truly blissful, I cherish these moments, yet we haven’t found a single one, out of thousands, and thousands of them. Yesterday I took him to the dentist. We were 1/2 hr early so went to a park down the road from the dentist. We laid on our bellies & looked for 4-leafers for 1/2 hr. It was super, super fun. But we didn’t find a single one. Fast forward a few hours later & we get home and my daughter wants to go for a bike ride. I walk down our quiet road while she peddles. It is lined with clover, and when I’m totally NOT looking, there it is. My 1st ever 4-leafer (in memory at least, since childhood), I’m a few months shy of 40 years old.

The reason I wanted to share this is: I really, truly feel like us humans often try too hard, we overthink everything. When we just be, just exist, and disconnect and be one with nature, that is when we experience the real deal. I know I can stress and stress over something. When I finally disconnect from it, I see it in a new, more clear light. And this is what I’m trying SO hard to relay to my Dad 





I’ve had many emails and pm’s asking for updates on my Dad and it is so, so heartwarming to know how many of you are thinking of him & I, as he heals from his “nervous breakdown” for lack of a better description….

Honestly, I’m still very, very concerned about him. More than ever actually. I spent the last 6 weeks ensuring that his business was taken care of, those were his immediate overwhelming concerns. Like every, little thing was completely overwhelming. Well, now the crop is all but sold, his other part-time employee is able to handle it from here until the final plants are sold. Turns out, that was the EASY part…

The “what’s next” is the extremely difficult and worrisome part. He absolutely, positively is completely burned out still, and showing every sign of major depression. He has ZERO love or joy for what he has made his life for the past 35 years, like he hates it. But starting a new job at 61 is, of course, completely overwhelming. He feels like the only viable option is to force himself to go back there and keep on doing it. And it is so concerning. For the 1st time in my life, I can see how others consider taking their own life as the “easy” way out. And it’s terrifying.

Tomorrow is his 6 week follow-up with his Primary. He has no refills on his anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds. They honestly don’t seem to be helping. So the roller-coaster of adjusting/altering meds begins… And I’m terrified for him. His partner can’t be there tomorrow so I’m going with him. Here’s a prime example of the sandwich generation: going with my Father to an appointment at 11:15, taking my Son to the dentist at 2. I wouldn’t trade being here for him for anything in the world, but I will absolutely admit that this is a very, very tough time to keep my spirits high.

I saw the following quote recently, and it hit home. You can be surrounded by people who love and care for you immensely, but depression robs you of feeling that love. It is truly heart-breaking.


Today was a tough day. My Dad came into his shop for the last time for the foreseeable future. Right now we’re saying closed for the Summer, but in reality, it might be sold by Fall, and today truly could have been his last day in the place he’s practically lived for 35 years. It was emotional for both of us for sure. He continues to apologize for all he’s put me through in the 7 weeks since his “nervous breakdown”. And while yes, it did put many extra duties on me, it was no biggie. Mainly all I’m worried about is him. I went to the shop a bit ago to water some plants at the end of the day and found this note lying on the counter….

Honestly: true, unconditional love is all he’s ever shown me, and it makes me so, SO happy that I’ve been able to pay that back during the absolute lowest time in his life. This note is more than enough “payment” for what he’s put me through in the last 7 weeks. And he IS getting better. One day-at-a-time. Slowly, but surely, were seeing it. My advice: love unconditionally, it rewards the giver as much as the receiver!



UPDATE 6/18/19: At his 6w follow-up with his Primary he requested the Western Blot to test for Lyme Disease, thanks to my urging. I cannot believe this was not done previously. Well: POSITIVE for 5 out of 10 bands on that test. Finally, we have some answers. Many of his symptoms correlate to those of Lyme. So now he is beginning a 30+ day course of antibiotics to beat it down, and we take it from there. Stay tuned….

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