Wild, Sustainably caught, Alaskan seafood delivered to your door!

Facebook advertising got me again. But this time, I’m realllllllly happy I checked the ad out. It’s the Wild Alaskan Seafood Company. Upon Googling it, I see there are numerous companies along the same lines. This is the only 1 I have experience with. And being I’m very happy with it, I don’t feel the need to try others. Living in Wisco, we are surrounded by water. But honestly, I won’t eat anything out of the MS River. And fish out of Lake Superior or Lake Michigan is rarely seen in this part of the state (SW corner). My Hubby catches trout from local streams during the times of year that is happening, but we usually eat those immediately, and there are catch limits, etc. I have to drive an hour+ to get to a store that has any decent fish or seafood. Of course, it’s not cheap, and had to go through quite a journey to get to WI from wherever it came from. We really love seafood, and want to make it a more regular part of our diet. And now we are able to!

I can’t recommend the Wild Alaskan Company highly enough, for awesome fish/seafood delivered to your door! For our 1st order we got a sample pack of 12 filets (you can also get 24). It included Coho (4) & Sockeye(2) Salmon, Halibut (2) & Cod (4). They are 6oz filets, which honestly I feel is the perfect size! From there, they offer add-ons. I chose a 6pk of Sablefish + a pack of Prawns. Honestly, the Sablefish isn’t my favorite. Mainly, it’s a texture thing. I’ve tried it twice now and it’s just a bit soft for my liking. I really like a firmer, flakier fish. But that’s another reason I love this opportunity. I LOVE trying new things, have never seen Sablefish in Wisco in my life, and now I know I don’t love it. However, I learned that Wild Pacific Halibut honestly might be my favorite fish of all-time. White, flaky, absolutely delicious in 3 minutes per side. I enjoyed it with some sauteed broccoli + rice, the whole meal took minutes (rice was leftovers). I seriously, seriously love it and cannot wait for the next order, I will definitely be adding on more of that (there are many options for add-ons to your base box). The Prawns were very good, and I used the shells to make stock, which I turned into a seafood chowder. It was REALLY good!

There are some base boxes (like a 12 or 24 pack of this & that), and a bunch of add-on options. Also, their website is full of recipes & detailed info on each fish, the areas it is caught in, tips for cooking, all sorts of good info!! You can cancel at any time of course.

From their website:

What’s in the Box?

We proudly ship a wide variety of wild-caught species from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest including sockeye salmon, coho salmon, pacific cod, pacific halibut and wild Alaska pollock.

  •  12 to 24 Individually-Sealed Packs
  •  Ready-to-Cook
  •  Sustainably Harvested
  •  Caught & Processed in the USA
  •  Wild Caught
  •  Never Farmed or Genetically Modified
  •  No Antibiotics
  •  Flash Frozen & Shipped With Dry Ice
  •  Free Shipping

Here’s a pic of my 1st order. This all came to $200. Not cheap, no. It averages out to about $10 per serving. I always remind myself that if we were ordering the same serving in a restaurant it would be 2-3x the price. If you go with just the base 12 assortment, it comes to $10.99/portion. If you go with the base 24 assortment, it is $9.99/portion, and then you can add-on from there, if you choose to. I really, really am enjoying being able to reach into my freezer and pull out some seafood:

Comments from others in my group, when I reached out to ask if anyone else had tried them:

Nadine: “They’re a great company. Family owned & operated and the quality is great. I highly recommend. Especially if you eat seafood often.”

Kelly said: “We gifted this to my mom for her birthday. She was thrilled and spoke highly of it!”

From Anne, who ordered at the same time I did: “We’ve had two pieces of white fish, and 2 pieces of salmon. Very tasty! I like the portion sizes, too. Hubby has a hearty appetite and he finds the pieces large enough. For me, it was almost more than I could eat.”

Right now I have delivery set to every 2 months, but you can modify what you’re getting and/or change frequency. I ordered on a Monday, and had it by the end of that week. Once I got a ship notification, I had the order delivered the following day! Also, a fun bonus is it comes packed in dry ice. Which can lead to fun projects and experiments with kiddos 🙂

The random Fb ad I stumbled upon when I learned about them included a $15 off 1st order coupon. Once you order, you get a coupon for $25 off to share with others. So if you’d like to try it, use this & get $25 off your 1st order of any amount. Then you will get a coupon code to share with your friends/family too. And you get $25 of future orders if they use it!

Coupon for $25 off: https://wldaskn.com/w/Z6uRM4

Reminder on the power of being needed as a Mama

I have to admit, it’s been really nice getting used to being at the point in my motherhood journey that my kiddos frequently have sleepovers. For many years, until my Son was at least 7, they rarely happened, usually 1 night a few times/year, and he wasn’t super excited about it. Now, at 10, at least a few nights/week, their friends are here, or mine are at 1 of 2 of their best friends houses. One week, my Son had his friend over 2 nights in a row, then my Son was there 3 nights in a row! Us Mamas have a hard time saying no as long as the kiddos get enough sleep so they aren’t crabby, and the kids continue to get along well and help around the house as asked to. My Son and his bestie just can’t seem to get enough of each other. Often during the days and nights that my kids are away I’m working, either in the greenhouses during the day, or just getting stuff done around my home at night.

This weekend I had plans to see some friends from out of town who would be in my neck of the woods for the weekend only. I hadn’t seen some of them in close to a year. One of my friends is moving out of state next week so it was a good bye party for him as well. I had it on my calendar for weeks. None of them have children, and a few short years ago I would’ve said sorry, I’ll be home with the kids, hubby will come, you guys have fun. So it felt so wonderful to be able to say YES, my kiddos can go to their friends, I’ll be there. I’ve been missing this crew so badly. A couple of the guys I went to school with since kindergarten and they truly are like brothers to me. I worked during the day and my son was so anxious to go to his friends house I dropped him off in the morning, and said I’d bring his sister after work (they have 1 boy & 1 girl, same age as my kids, it’s so perfect!), then we’d go to the party. I was SO excited to see my friends, I was truly giddy. I pack up a bunch of snacks and other things for the kids, and go to drop my daughter off, and my Son is lying on the couch at friends house looking miserable. Oh no, what’s wrong I ask? I have a terrible headache 😦 And he looked just awful. He used to get headaches semi-frequently, and they would just take him out. I’ve never had a migraine, but it’s what I imagine a migraine would do to you. He seemed pretty hot so I grabbed a fan and asked if he could try to take a nap on their couch, but he broke down in tears and said can I please go home Mama? My heart sank. But there was no way I could make him stay there, nor could I possibly enjoy an evening with friends knowing my kiddo didn’t feel well. He kept apologizing: sorry Mama, I know you don’t get to see your friends often. Sorry Mama, I know tonight meant a lot to you. My heart broke for him. So I left my daughter there, told my Hubby to go the party without me (of course sick kiddos only have eyes for Mama), and went home. My Son took a bath and we snuggled on the couch, I rubbed his temples and he immediately passed out hard on our couch in front of a fan. I looked at the clock, hmmm, it’s only 5:30 (friends were playing yard games so wanted day light hours too), maybe my Son can still recover and I can go, the best of both worlds? We’ll have to see. I laid next to him feeling sorry for myself, but also remembering how powerful it is to be a Mama. He wants ME. No one else. The comfort of our home and his Mamas snuggles. How could anything in the world be more important? And he was just reminded that YES, I will drop anything, anytime, and be there for him no matter what. He’s 10, but I know those teenage years are coming fast, and he needs to know he can call me in the middle of the night and YES I will be there no matter what. He slept for 2 hours, woke up, sat up, and said: Mom, I’m ready to go back. I just needed a nap. And we loaded up, I took him back, where he actually spent 2 nights, he just got home a bit and had an amazing time. And I was with my friends by 8:00, got to surprise them with my presence and we had an epic night of reconnecting and laughing so much our bellies hurt. And not once did I have to worry about how my kids were doing, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I wanted to share this as a reminder that there will always be struggles, always the need to put ourselves last as Mamas, but there are also immense rewards and joys. As they grow, we are needed less and less, but we are still needed. It felt amazing to put my needs last, but then still be rewarded with the feeling that I did the right thing, and got to enjoy an amazing night with friends too. Heart & soul are fully recharged. At least for now 🙂

Toothpaste deal alert!

Toothpaste review and D E A L alert! Review: “I really am loving it and I would like to purchase a few more jars. I don’t want to be without it…best toothpaste ever!” She tried the cherry/vanilla which happens to be my favorite too! For a limited time, I’m going to offer this: instead of $9/jar + shipping, which ranges from $4/jar to $8 if you fill the flat rate envelope, I’m offering $10/jar straight up, shipping on me. I want to see how that works out. So, if you’d like to stock up or try it for the 1st time, please let me know ASAP. I’ll whip up a fresh batch between our Easter shenanigans this weekend. Details in the comments below (recipe, flavor options, etc). While supplies last, I know I’m low on some flavor oils, and don’t have a whole lotta jars on hand either. https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/recipes/eco-friendly-usa-homemade-toothpaste/

Adaptogens vs Modulators

One thing I want to start doing more of is moving really good Q & A that come up in my closed group page over to this site. This was the question: Anyone who is well studied on adaptogens? I love Poofy’s super shroom… is that considered an adaptogen? I’m looking at CHOQ and wondering what’s the difference and should I take both?

While I don’t necessarily want to give out medical advice here, I wanted to share the info that was shared regarding the topic in general. I wasn’t entirely sure on the difference between modulators and adaptogens myself. But I shared this article that I reference frequently regarding immune stimulators vs modulators, you can read it here. I was glad a college-trained herbalist in my group who is my go-to for advice on topics such as this weighed in. Here’s what she said regarding the difference: modulator refers to the immune system. Adaptogen refers to your adrenals and stress/nervous system response. Nice thing about mushrooms is that they are both modulators and adaptogens.

I’m a huge fan of Poofy’s Super Shrooms myself! I don’t take any supplements daily, but I do take the Super Shrooms several times/week. Growing up, and actually into my 30’s I did not like to eat mushrooms at all, I picked them out of any dish. But I’ve come to appreciate them now! But I was a bit leery of how this tincture would taste, if it tasted like a dried up mushroom I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy it. But the good news is, it pretty much tastes like alcohol, with a little bit of chocolate flavor even. It tastes nothing like mushrooms. It does burn a bit, but I’ve found I can tolerate it now. I just hold it under my tongue as long as I possible can (about 30 seconds).

I have come to have SO much respect for mushrooms not just on burger with fried onions, but for their plethora of medicinal powers. They truly are amazing little powerhouses! Here’s some info about Poofy’s Super Shrooms blend, and if you click on the link at the bottom you can read more about the particular mushrooms selected. Also, for a LOT more info go to PubMed and do some reading, there is a ton of info.

triple extraction process contains 14 different mushrooms! Take around 100 days to make this tincture!
1. Mushrooms are fermented to make the polysaccharides, triterpenoids and alkaloids more bioavailable. 
2. Hot water extraction, because polysaccharides are only water soluble
3. 90 days in alcohol, because triterpenoids are only alcohol soluble.  

Ingredients: Organic Cane Alcohol, Filtered Water, Mushroom Blend (Organic Reishi, Organic Cordyceps, Organic Chaga, Organic Mesima, Organic Lion’s Mane, Organic Turkey Tail, Organic Maitake, Organic Shitake, Organic Agaricus Blazei, Organic Poria, Organic Agarikon Suehirotzake, Organic Oyster, Organic True Tinder Polypore), Organic Myceliated Brown Rice (food for the mycelium)

I offer a 10% rebate on all 1st time orders as a thank you for registering as my customer., and EVERY order after that earns a 5% rebate! What you do: go to ‘login’ then ‘create customer account’ using my link. Then complete your order, shipping is free over $55. Afterwards, send me an email with your order # and let me know how you’d like the rebate, options are: PayPal, Venmo, check, Poofy gift certificate towards a future order.


A change for the Buying Club…

This summer will mark 8 years since I started offering a buying club. Way back then I was doing many reviews for products and I’d consistently get feedback such as: oh, I’d like to try that item but shipping is so expensive… And it dawned on me: why don’t I bring together a bunch of my favorite brands/products so you can pay just 1 shipping fee and try a bunch of samples & new items? The 1st orders were tiny, I did them on my kitchen table, at night, while my family slept, trying not to squeak the tape gun while I sealed boxes up. Then I moved to my Mom’s basement for a couple orders. The orders kept growing, and growing! I was doing 4 orders/year at that time & I needed more space. I rented an office in town for several years. At the height of the orders, I had no problem getting 125 orders. I even had to outsource data entry and hire my niece to help me fill the orders in a timely manner.

Fast forward to now. The timing of the orders has been set in stone years in advance: Feb, June, Oct. I send out at least 3 email newsletters before & during each order. I post almost daily reminders on Facebook… And the orders just aren’t coming in. There are numerous reasons, and we don’t need to get into them all.  Also, I just finished up my books for last year and I make so little income once it’s all said & done, and I put a ton of time into it. It has brought me great joy over the years to facilitate getting these great products to everyone, supporting the vendors we do (many are group members) and that joy has kept me going more than the income it has brought in. But honestly I’m feeling burned out by the whole process too.

So, we’re going to try something new: 2 orders/year, Feb & September & see how that goes. I will work on the line-up for Sep soon, so everyone knows. I’ll plan on it being pretty large, offering the most popular vendors. Taking a break may be the death of the club forever, or it may revive interest in it. I pay a considerable amount to host my Pure Play Kids website, and I look forward to having more time to grow that site. While I can’t stock all the personal care products from the vendors I offer via the buying club, I would be able to offer many shelf stable items from the vendors that we’ve all come to love.

All that being said, I will extend last night’s deadline until this Sunday (2/14) at midnight central. Anyone who would like to add on to your existing order, or place one last order before the break, email me at: ecofriendlyusabuyingclub@gmail.com

ALL DETAILS HERE: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/made-in-usa-2/eco-friendly-usa-buying-club-2/

A new life for this site….

While I’m not ready to turn my back on Fb entirely, I still enjoy a lot about the platform, I have been thinking about alternate ways to connect with everyone and most importantly to archive the great info shared there. And I know some have indeed cut ties with Fb entirely, I hear from them with questions via email. This platform is a resource at my fingertips yet entirely underused. I used to migrate info over here regularly, there are extensive archives which link to Fb threads that had a lot of info, but they’re all quite outdated now. My stats here tell me I have at least 200 unique visitors daily, some days many times that. SO, my plan is to try to get more dialogue happening here, as well as to migrate over important topics & info that come up in my Fb group. I’ve had comments turned off for many years (SO much spam, but I’ll deal with it), I’m going to enable those and I look forward to hearing from anyone who cares to participate.

I don’t anticipate daily postings, my goal is a few times/week. But when there is a flurry of activity in my Fb group, expect a flurry of activity here. I’ll work on getting more organized and creating tags & categories such as kitchen, bathroom, personal care, etc. And there is a search bar of course. Think of this as a supplement to what we already have going on in Fb, and I feel like a more permanent cataloging of the great info we share there regularly. In a couple months I will celebrate my 9th Blogiversary. I dislike having all my eggs in 1 basket, and currently, 11/12 of them on Facebook…

So, stay tuned!

If you’re not with us on Facebook but would like to be, here’s the link to my closed group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ecofriendlyusagroup

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!




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/

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/

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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