One more project before he goes

This old school bus has been quietly hanging out in our barnyard since Sage and his partner brought it home last August. (The irony of having a school bus parked at our place is not lost on me. I’ve been known to call it the “homeschool bus”, a mom joke that’s either met with exaggerated eye rolls or is thoroughly ignored.)

Its arrival on our farm marked both of my kids’ first ever school bus rides, but for one of them it certainly won’t be the last.

Because this bus will soon be Sage’s home.

The vision? A house on wheels for Sage and his partner Bear, to take them wherever they care to go. A rent-free, mortgage-free start in the world, so they aren’t tied down and have the freedom to explore.

Because rent, if you hadn’t heard, is off the rails and adventures await out there on the open road.

This tiny-house-on-wheels is their ticket to independence.

After a year-long slow start when they both were working full time (or better) to fund their build out, Sage began work on their schoolie in earnest in June, after leaving his job with just this task in mind.

And one bolt, one weld, one sanding pad at a time, slow but steady progress began.

I don’t want to diminish the scope of what they’ve taken on. This bus build is not small task. A DIY job of this scope, tackled by one or two people at a time? “Slow” is the operative word, a challenging, often exhausting, sometimes overwhelming reality for all involved.

And that slow march forward is how I ended up spending the past few days working with Sage down on the bus. It wasn’t much in the grand scheme, but I did my best for 3+ days, and hope to have more time available to contribute soon.

Because of all the projects he’s done, this is the biggest he’s taken on. Bigger than the 12 month project that was our swimming pond, his biggest completed project to date. Indeed, this bus build is a boggling enormous task, building a house from scratch inside of a metal box (a box that they already gutted down to the bones as well as modified, with an ambitious roof raise for more headroom).

So for Sage’s birthday this year, I offered my help, gifting him my time on the bus instead of a traditional gift. He gratefully accepted, and this weekend the two of us got to work.

For me, spending a long weekend out there by Sage’s side felt so reminiscent of every major homeschooling project he’s taken on through the years. It was a familiar role for me, though more goal-oriented this round than in free-form homeschooling projects he took on in the past.

Because growing up, he attempted countless ambitious builds–some to completion, others not. From potato cannons to plate mail, a go-cart to a trebuchet, a blacksmithing forge to our natural swimming pool (I owe you a blog post about that last one, I promise).

And the bus is a familiar repeat of those same ups and downs, starts and stalls, failures and triumphs.

Isn’t that life? We repeat, repeat, repeat, learning the same lessons time and again, year after year.

But the difference this time from those projects of the past is that quitting is not an option. This isn’t another just-for-fun-and-learning-is-a-bonus homeschooling project. And taking a break for a year or two (or forever) to let the passion have time to resurface isn’t a luxury he has.

There’s a deadline, a budget, an investment– a life plan unfolding. There’s a clock ever ticking as these two tackle one phase after another of this build, with little pause.

Like much of adulting, the only way out is through.

So the valley rings with the sound of pounding hammers, humming palm sanders, and the crackle of the welder. From now until school starts in a couple of weeks, it’s a daily grind. After school they’ll move to weekends and school breaks until it’s ready.

And I’m happy to keep leaning in and helping out, anytime I can manage.

As it turns out, I’m doing my own work (of a very different sort) while Sage plugs away at the bus. Because I’m trying to learn how to show up for them, how to listen and trouble shoot with the most supportive and encouraging attitude I can muster, and how to do all this without being annoying, overbearing, opinionated, or judgmental.

Which is, um, harder than it sounds.

And I’m working at not meddling in other people’s process or time management when it differs from mine, because it’s not actually my business (which is often).

So I guess I’m growing up, too, as this project grinds along.

But as a mom, it’s so much more than all of this.

Because my kid isn’t a kid anymore. He’s building his first home. They’re building their first home.

A home with wheels to take them wherever they dream to go; away from this farm where he grew into adulthood; away from our family and into his own.

And whew, if that’s not a big fucking deal, too, in so many ways for this mama’s heart. It’s good, but yeah, it’s also a lot.

But it’s time.

They’re ready, I’m ready. Let the fledging commence.

Because honestly, I’m rooting so hard for them now. And at the same time, I’m savoring the two decades of memories I carry with me from this life that we’ve shared. Because here we are, past the finish line of ‘kid’ and dipping ever so boldly yet cautiously into ‘adulthood’.

Damn, friends. This parenting gig is a whole lot more than I ever expected.

Hold on to your hearts out there.

And in the meantime, I’ll be doing the same over here with one hand, while the other pumps the air as I cheer them on their way.

Follow Sage and Bear’s bus build adventure on Instagram here.

A free repair clinic

Before I begin, a quick note:

Oh, my. Thank you for the warm and open-armed welcome back into this space. It was beyond my expectation. But it seems it’s something that many of us need. A little slow-down, a little reconnection, a little depth. So yes. Thank you, thank you. I’m so glad you’re here.

The state of the world has me anxious more often than not. I’m certain I’m not alone.

Politics, climate crisis, conspiracy theories, war, nationalism, racism, sexism, transphobia, loss of reproductive rights–there’s no shortage of bad news and fear for us to spin out on.

And sometimes I wonder if the small things I’m doing to help tip the world back toward wholeness are nearly enough. From how I’ve raised my kids (a slow, homegrown life with a focus on activism and justice) to the changes I’ve made in my business (biodegradable packaging, planting trees), to our home (buying second-hand, reducing consumption)–does it really make any difference?

And I have to remind myself that every conscious, upstream action is an act of rebellion. Every voice raised, every act of justice/equality/sustainability/kindness does nudge the world toward goodness. I know it does.

Things like how we parent, if we choose to have kids at all, how we spend our money, where we source our food, how we live, how we care for one another–all of these have the power to shape the world for good.

Even the smallest acts, like how we tend–and repair–the things that we own.

With that (and so much much more) in mind, I started meeting up with a small group of people last winter. We shared the common vision of starting a free repair clinic in our community. A place where our neighbors could bring their broken blenders and cantankerous vacuums, moth-chewed sweaters and blown-out blue jeans, and we could divert a small flow from the landfill tract, and guide and help folks to make their broken things function again.

A place where we could remember what communities have always known: how to help and take care of each other, ourselves, and the earth in one singular and joyful act.

And that’s just what we did.

Last weekend our small (but growing) volunteer group gathered with our tools and supplies to offer free repairs for our community. There were benches and bicycles, dresses and food processors, lamps and vegetable peelers, and so much more. We fixed sewing machines and unclogged vacuums, mended torn clothing and rewired frayed cords.

And we built connections and community.

Over a dozen people came to our soft-start, first-ever clinic, and we look forward to offering another busier clinic in October.

And I can hardly wait.

Because our small actions really can make a difference. I truly believe that. And something as simple helping our neighbors repair their belongings to keep them out of landfill for a little bit longer feels simultaneously simple and like a radical revolution to me.

Want to start your own free, community fix-it clinic? You won’t regret it! The book Repair Revolution is a great place to start. Buy your copy used, buy it from your local indie book shop, borrow it from your public library or from a friend. But if you can help it, please don’t buy it from Amazon. Because they’re certainly a part of the overconsumption + exploitation issues that we face in this world. And… stepping off my soap box now. x

Have you participated in a free community repair clinic or cafe? Share your experience below!

Slow Revival

Do you ever feel fatigued by a fast-paced, online world?

While I love staying connected with real-life and virtual friends through social media (and enjoy the opportunity for unexpected inspiration), those channels often feel superficial and leave me depleted.

Not the people but the algorithms–distorting who and what I see, pushing ads and videos, and the soundbite quality of it all.

It’s a look-at-me world where I increasingly feel I can’t compete and don’t belong; a place where we’re meant to battle it out to see who can be the loudest, flashiest, sexiest, funniest, or most beautiful.

To what end?

Because rather than catch your eye with videos of my fairytale life, crack you up with a catchy lip sync, or show off my flash mob-worthy dance moves, I just want to slow down, be real, and connect. Instead of making you envy my perfect home/family/children/job/self-confidence/life, I’d rather be vulnerable with you and share my thoughts in more depth than a 2,200-character caption will allow.

I’m ready to move beyond the soundbites, the wow-factor, and the time-devouring reels and just share these words, reaching for human connection in a virtual world.

Because I’m certain this technology we love can offer us so more than distraction.

So here I am. Back here, in this space I’ve loved for more than a decade. This space where I shared my life and found my voice for so many years. I stopped blogging because I thought it’s day had passed. But maybe it’s just time for a conscious, slow return.

I’d love to settle back in here and share ordinary, authentic snapshots of this normal human existence. Not perfection, no shouting “look at me!”, just this weedy garden, my messy kitchen, and perhaps something that leaves you loving your own imperfect, ordinary life that much more.

Not for viral likes and shares, but simply for us.

Are you interested in slowing down with me? Will you join me here, in this slower corner of the interwebs for an old-school blog experience? I’d love to hear.

Because maybe it’s not the technology that’s an issue, but our shifting relationship with it.

So here I’ll offer you a slower, cozy place in a world of fast pixels; an invitation to sink in, reflect, and go deeper. A place to embrace the beauty in the ordinary, celebrate everyday magic, and embrace the normalcy of our imperfections.

Are you in?

Leave me a note and tell me how you found your way here. Are you an old or new friend? How do you feel about me (and others) dusting off the old blogs again and slowing down, if only for a moment?

Then if you would, kindly sign up for emails through the link below. I promise not to spam you, but simply keep you in the loop when I post here. (Don’t count on seeing me on social media, since most who follow me there don’t see what I share very often.)

I can’t wait to reconnect with you, friend.


Ireland Herbal Retreat registration is now open!

On Thursday morning, I held my breath and hit “send” on an email to my herbal retreat shortlist: those who requested being the first to know when registration opened for the Wild Ireland Herbal Retreat. Yesterday I sent the same information to my general interest herbal retreat mailing list.

And just 48 hours after first hitting send, the upcoming Wild Ireland Herbal Retreat is already half-full!

Oh, my heart. Half-full in just two days!

I’m still trying to process it all.

I guess it’s just a deeply humbling experience to dream something into life (I’ve literally dreamed about this for the past two years), then have so many joyous people show up with a resounding yes to that dream.

Seasoned travels and folks who never have never left the country before; introverts and extroverts; the normally cautious and the unwaveringly bold. People from their teen years to more seasoned folks, some traveling alone and others with a loved one: all of them saying yes to the adventure of a lifetime.

And goodness, ya’ll. My heart is so glad. Because despite how broken things so often seem, we can still take what we love and share it, turning out something truly magical. And there will be people aligned with that vision willing to leap at the opportunity to help breathe it into life.

So thank you. Truly, deeply thank you for joining me in this delicious dream.

For those of you who missed the invitation to travel with me next summer, there’s still time to join! The next step is easy. Just drop me an email, and request that I add you to my herbal retreat mailing list.

I’ll get back to you before the day is out with all the information you need to see if this trip is your dream, too.

The information I send includes an overview of locations, activities, guides, and lodging; a tentative trip itinerary; and current COVID safety protocols. (Being an extremely COVID cautious person, I was relieved by the well-thought out procedures in place on the fall tour I took to preview our trip. And, of course, I’m here to answer any questions that you may have about the trip–COVID or otherwise.)

If you’d like to join me (or are even curious about what the trip will include) don’t hesitate to email! I’d be delighted to loop you in on all the magic that we’re planning for you next summer. It’s the journey of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Ireland Herbal Retreat

Last September, I posted these words:

New plan. When we can safely travel again, you come to Ireland with me on an herbal retreat. We tour off-the-beaten-path stone circles and burial tombs; connect with and learn from local herbalists, storytellers, and organic farmers; forage wild things; plant some trees; hike to some magical mossy groves; and ground out deeply on the Emerald Isle. Who’s game for this plan? ( She asks, fully lost in the dream/fantasy realm…)

And your reaction was off the charts. You were feeling it, too, and shared my vision of what might be.

And I couldn’t shake this dream.

Day and night it followed me, whispering in my ear. Of how life-changing it could be; how magical; how transformative.

Instead of ignoring that whispering, I set to work breathing it into reality.

The vision: an herbal retreat to Ireland in 2022.

A gathering where we can come together and learn about ourselves and one another, make medicine and magic, connect with the songs of the land, the trees, and our own hearts. A trip where we might journey through portals we’ve only imagined.

I envisioned a small, sacred gathering where we had space to heal what is wounded, find our voices, remember our truths, and hear the songs of the plants, the Earth, and–for some of us–even our ancestors.

I knew this was not a retreat I wanted to craft on my own, so I spent last winter researching local teachers and guides who might take us there. And that was how I stumbled upon Tara and Chris of Wild Routes Ireland.

I knew immediately that I had found my partners for this transformative journey.

The three of us connected through email and Zoom, and then (surprising even myself) I decided to join them this September for their fall Deepening the Roots tour: to meet in person and get a taste for their programming and a feel for their energy, so I could be sure it was a great match.

And that’s how it happened that just a few weeks ago (exactly one year to the day from when I first shared my Ireland Herbal Retreat dream with you) I found myself back in Ireland once more–here to join their tour; to meet, plan, play, connect, and get a taste for what we have in the store for you in 2022.

And oh my, friend. It’s going to be so, so good.

So just a few weeks ago, I embarked on an 11-day adventure with Chris and Tara and 20-some other intrepid souls through western Ireland. And while I attended wearing my ‘retreat-planning hat’, I lost myself again and again in this beautiful, soul-shaping experience in this lush and captivating land.

Day after day, I was utterly captivated by the places we visited, the guides who led us there, and the magic that enveloped us.

Time and again I forgot I was there for work, and slipped deep into the magic of this otherworldly land.

And that told me everything I needed to know about these people, this place, and these plants.

The two dozen of us journeyed together as we forged friendships and foraged mushrooms; wandered amongst ancient yews and lush mosses; tasted wild herbs, flowers, leaves, and fruits; made essences under the moon; and rooted deeply with our backs against trees countless centuries our elders.

We sang songs of gratitude as we encircled prehistoric stone circles and 500-year-old hawthorns, shared stories, and drank from sacred wells.

And though we arrived as a rag-tag group of strangers from four countries, eleven days later we departed as friends.

And now it’s my turn to get to business planning an Ireland Herbal Retreat of my own. An 11-day journey for you and for me.

Want to co-create this journey with me?

I‘d love your input! We are currently deciding between two potential retreat dates: July 12-22 or September 6-16. If you’re serious about joining me, let me know below which dates you prefer.

Dates are locked in! We’ll be journeying July 12-22, 2022.

Who is welcome? Anyone with a budding or blossoming interest in plants, herbalism, history, the sacred, and Ireland. Women, men, and non-binary folks are equally welcome, as are all races, spiritual beliefs, and backgrounds. Come alone or with a family member, partner, or friend.

The trip includes some moderate hikes on uneven ground (in whatever weather Ireland wishes to deliver) and is best suited for those comfortable with a moderate activity level. And while the programming is designed with adult participants in mind, mature, interested teens are welcome to attend along with a parent or guardian.

If your interest is piqued, drop me an email and ask me to put you on the Herbal Retreat mailing list! Then leave a comment below sharing the date you prefer most (July, September, or let us know if both dates work for you) along with one thing you’re excited to see or experience in Ireland.

Feel free to leave questions below as well, and I’ll get you answers just as soon as I have them.

Finally, pop over to follow me on Instagram and Facebook and find lots more photos and a few videos from these past weeks in Ireland. (I’m still there at the moment, traveling with my mom and my daughter for one more week.)

The video below from a past Wild Routes tour should also help get you excited for the trip to come!

Ten simple tricks to tame anxiety

The past year or two have really been… something. Anxiety, whether on a grand scale (climate, racial, social, pandemic) or smaller scale (motherhood, finances, work, clutter) can throw us off our game and leave us reeling. In my own life, anxiety has a tendency to spiral, where one worse-case-scenario after another ricochets around in my brain (all day, and, excitingly, sometimes all night).

It’s time to tame this tiger.

Below is a blog post I originally penned back in 2017.

Ah, life was so simple then. (wink, wink) Who knew anxiety could get this big, this fast, and for this many reasons?

The tips below have helped me for years to get a handle on my anxiety, whatever it’s roots. Try one of these tricks or try all ten, and see if they help loosen that knot in your belly, if only a bit.

I’m cheering you on, friend. You can do this.

Tame your anxiety tiger

As a kid I was anxious. Anxious that I’d get a bad grade or that my house would burn down, anxious that there was a monster under my bed or a murderer on the block.

Oh, and tornadoes. Those were really scary, too.

I spent my college years worrying about school, money, my future, and if my little house in the country had securely locking windows. Then onto motherhood and, well, you get the idea.

When anxiety shows up it hijacks my day, robs me of sleep, and makes it feel like everything is falling apart – though I can almost guarantee you that’s it’s not.

But now, in my 40’s, I’m finally getting a handle on it. Anxiety is no longer the order-of-the-day in my world. It’s a rarity, a call to action, an invitation to change.

I finally have some tricks up my sleeve so that when anxiety comes on strong I know what I need to do to get centered again.

And now anxiety has become a great reminder to get things back on track.

Needless to say, if you are in a mental health crisis please seek care with a trained therapist. This tools below are simply my way of dealing with the day-to-day of an anxious mind. 

Here’s my remedy. I hope it helps you.

Ten Ways to Beat Back Anxiety

Ten ways to beat anxiety like a ninja


No, it’s not always possible to dash off for a beach vacation when you’re feeling anxious or to take a break from your day-to-day busy life. But taking charge of your agenda but cutting some obligations off of your to-do list – even temporarily – can help.

Think in terms of the flu. If your body was sick, what activities would you have to cut?

Find the courage to cancel a visit, reschedule an appointment, or simplify a meal to buy yourself a little space to slow down.

This mindful practice can help you get centered and can put things back into perspective.

Sleep is vital as well.

When I’m feeling anxious I go to bed as early as I can and rest as long as possible. Grab some herbal tea (tulsi, lavender, kava kava, linden, and milky oats are all helpful for calming the nervous system), light a candle to focus on for a bit before you lie down, then tuck in (without a phone or computer). Let yourself unwind slowly to welcome sleep.


Social media can be a nice way to stay connected with far-away friends and family but it’s also an anxiety bomb waiting to explode.

Disturbing images, sharp comments, and just too much baggage are all easy to absorb when we’re feeling out of balance.

Take a media fast until you feel centered again, or simply create some limits on how much time you engage there.

Ten ways to beat anxiety like a ninja


With apologies to my friends who own the coffee roastery, caffeine is a big contributor to anxiety.

I had another friend once confessed, “I just can’t drink coffee. When I drink coffee I instantly turn into a really nasty mom.”

I get that. When I’ve had too much caffeine I have a shorter fuse and am more prone to anxiety. It also depletes magnesium in the body which has a very direct effect on our anxiety levels.

Cut the buzz.

Wean yourself slowly or go cold turkey. It’s your call. I love homemade herbal chai as a caffeinated tea or coffee substitute. I make a big pot of it every Sunday but don’t add the milk. Then I can drink it for several days without having to make a fresh batch.


(2021 EDIT: Now that I sell a Magnesium Mist, I’m rephrasing this section so as to not violate FDA regulations. I encourage you to Google “benefits of magnesium oil” to learn more.)

More than 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient – thanks to depleted soils, lifestyle choices, diet, and our health. (More on the reasons here.) Getting some absorbable magnesium in or on our bodies can be a game-changer to support a healthy lifestyle.

Magnesium is easiest for the body to absorb when applied topically, but if you are deficient you can use a combination of internal absorption and external application.


We love Calm. For an edible magnesium source it’s absorbable and clean. It’s also pretty sweet-tasting so I’m considering buying an unflavored bottle to cut a flavored bottle with it. Go slow with magnesium! Taking too much will result in epic diarrhea. You don’t want that. And please don’t ask me how I know. (Ahem.)


Magnesium oil is simply magnesium chloride that has been dissolved into an equal part of distilled water. No, it’s not an oil, but it is commonly called that because of its feel of it on the skin.

If you are magnesium deficient the oil may tingle, itch, or sting after application, so apply to your feet if you’re a newbie (or using on kids). With continued use, this sensation lessons until after a few days it feels simply like applying oil.

To make your own magnesium oil simply boil 1 C distilled water and combine with 1 C magnesium chloride flakes. Stir to combine, cool, and transfer to a clean spray bottle. That’s it. For real. Or you can buy mine, already made! Apply daily to feet or abdomen.

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths are also helpful, but not as good a source of magnesium as magnesium chloride.

Ten ways to beat anxiety like a ninja


Nature heals. Getting outside and away from the overwhelming business of our day-to-day life is a game changer. Biophilia, baby. Carve out even a few minutes to walk and breathe and be in nature and you will find your anxiety taking a back seat to your gratitude.

Whether that means a walk around the block, a visit to a city park, or a hike deep into the wood, find the green. It heals you.


Herbs, essences, and essential oils are powerful for body and mind.

A few favorite nervine herbal teas and/or tinctures that throw me a lifeline day after day include:

Tulsi (Holy Basil) flower and leaf

Milky Oats

Blue Vervain tops

Valerian root

Motherwort tops

Linden (basswood) flower and leaf

I can’t encourage you enough to seek out these herbs, and learn about how they impact our bodies and minds.

Flower essences are also a wonderful gift. While I make my own, purchased Rescue Remedy spray and/or drops are readily available at natural foods stores and coops. I carry one in my bag and use it daily when I’m struggling.

Essential oils can also be a blessing. When I was a new (anxious!) mama I created an essential oil blend for my colicky, rough sleeping (read: not sleeping) baby.

I was amazed at how well these essential oils worked not only for him, but also for me. Enough so that I relabeled the blend for adults and offered it undiluted for diffusers and baths as well. I also recently released a limited edition Peaceful Mind Mask Mist for the current world we live in. It’s been a huge support for me when I’m anxious and out in the world.

If you are stocking your essential oil kit for the first time or want to treat your anxiety with something you already have on hand, the following scent are tops for anxiety and can be found at your local coop or natural pharmacy:

Lavender – if you have only one single essential oil let it be lavender! Helpful for anxiety, sleep troubles, and skin issues lavender EO has countless uses.

Tangerine – a wonderfully bright and uplifting oil. Helpful for those prone to depression as well.

Ylang ylang – A complex, rich, floral oil for depression and anxiety. One of my favorites.

Always use essential oils properly diluted on your skin, or put them in a diffuser or bath. Never apply undiluted.

Ten ways to beat anxiety like a ninja


You weren’t meant to do this alone. Not parenting, not keeping a home, not the day-to-day grind of work and bills and life. None of it.

Find your people.

Call your mom, your sister, a friend, a counselor. Seek out like-minded people though a church, art collective, or parenting coop.

People were not designed to be solo, especially during difficult times.


Get real about what’s troubling you. Money? Relationships? Impending doom? Sit with it and mindfully focus on what you can control to remedy the situation.

Make a budget. Have a difficult conversation. Ask for help. Protest. Donate. Volunteer.

Because at the heart of anxiety is usually a specific fear or group of fears for the future.

Saddle up and take it on.

You’ve got this.


Anxiety is usually one big game of make-believe.

It’s our imagination, hard at work, making up worse-case scenarios for the future.

Pull the plug on this self-defeating loop. Write a new story. One that you might not believe yet, but that you want to believe in. And then write it again and again until you begin to believe it.

And then watch it unfold.

Because if your anxiety can use your imagination, so can your optimism. Which story do you want to come true?

And while you’re at it, practice gratitude.

There is so much for us to be thankful for. But when we’re drowning in anxiety it doesn’t feel that way. We see messes instead of magic, lack instead of abundance, a cloudy future rather than a gorgeous sunrise.

Make a habit of practicing gratitude.

While you brush your teeth, while you wash your dishes, while you drive to work. Start with ten things each day that you are thankful for.

Because gratitude can change everything.

Ten ways to beat anxiety like a ninja


Some days there is barely time to get food on the table, much less to meditate.

But slowing down – even for a moment – can be a game changer.

Take a few minutes (before you fall asleep if it’s the only quiet you can manage) to sit or lay silently and focus on your breathing.

Begin with your palms laid across your belly button. Breathe deep and slow into the place behind your hands at the very bottom of your lungs.

Feel your roots and your balance coming back.


Now place your hands across your upper chest. Breathe fully into your upper lungs.

And feel your heart again. Yeah, it might make you cry. But that’s healing work, too.

Be well, friends. Here’s to an anxiety-free future for us all.


Manage your day-to-day anxiety with these ten simple tips. #anxiety #naturalhealth #healthy #healing

Originally published in 2017.

We went rogue and didn’t school our kids. Here’s how it turned out.

This is a post about homeschooling (interest-led learning/unschooling in particular).

It’s not a post about how one parenting path or learning journey is better than another (it isn’t). It’s not a post that assumes all of us have the privilege to stay home with our kids (though I wish that we did). This post says nothing about the incredible teachers out there doing magical things all year long in our schools (but holy heck do I salute them and the life-changing work they do in the world).

And though we live in the country now, that’s new(ish) for our family, and much of our homeschooling journey took place in a little house in town (because learning happens everywhere).

Instead, this post is simply about homeschooling. It’s for parents and caregivers just embarking on this journey, or parents and caregivers already on this path but whose confidence is shaken in their decisions to keep their kids at home.

This is the story of our family’s experience, some 18+ years in. Here goes.

We raised two kids and never sent them to school.

We denied them the childhood rites of passage of school busses and lunch boxes; class bells and recess; homework, tests, and graduation.

And sometimes I worried: what if we got the whole thing wrong?

What if there’s a reason the path through childhood almost always begins and ends with school?

Because when you stay inside the lines and live life by the well-worn rules, you’re doing as you’re told. And if everything goes sideways, at least you did what you were “supposed” to.

But when you go rogue and chart your own course? If your child struggles and falls then the whole unbearable burden hangs heavy on you.

So, yeah, it was a little terrifying.

We did it anyway.

Straight out of the gate we charted our own course. No school, and hardly any “school at home” either.

Just two kids raised wild and true and free.

A blacksmithing forge, a (weedy) garden, and some unreasonably long road trips. A flock of sheep, a library card, and more art and craft supplies than we could jam into the cabinet.

We had math that looked like baking croissants, history that looked like an obsession with Norse mythology, politics that looked like protests, biology that looked like farm babies and foraging excursions.

I recognize the privilege of this freedom that we have and am grateful to have been able to make this choice for my family. Countless parents don’t have the privilege to even make this choice. Life, circumstances, poverty, or oppression have already made it for them.

To those in this reality, I see you. Know that there are as many beautiful ways to raise your family as there are families. And this is simply the story of the path we have charted. It’s not The Right Path. It’s simply our path.

So what has it been like?

Honestly, we’ve had so much fun.

My kids and I connected–deeper than my wildest dreams.

They had the space to grow up as slowly as they needed to while we chased fireflies, slept in the yard, and spent our days following the luminous threads of their insatiable curiosity.

Our life was built brick by brick of their wonder, curiosity, creativity, and dreams.

We healed what was broken and learned side by side. Day after day, year after year.

A friend (who works with children) once said to me, “Well, you know that your kids are exceptional. They’re not like ordinary kids.”

And I told him this:

“No, my kids aren’t like other kids, but they’re also not exceptional. They’re simply normal kids who never had to fit into a mold that didn’t suit them. They’re just kids, unbroken, who never stopped asking their questions and chasing their dreams.”

And I believe that.

Ordinary kids are exceptional if we just let them be who they are, and live their messy, beautiful, non-linear lives.

And suddenly here we are, all these years later.

They’re 14 and almost 19 now (where did the time go?). And I suppose the questions you’re asking are: was it really worth it? Do you have regrets? Did going rogue really work out for them in the end or are they hopelessly unprepared for life in the “real world”?

I know when I first set out, I was desperate to see the kids who’d grown up outside of the box. Show me the grown ones! How are they now? They could be my hope as I, too, broke the rules and forged my own way.

So here is my answer:

At 14 and 19, my children are thriving.

They’re both chasing dreams that are true to their hearts and living the lives that they’re called to. They have passion and friendships and depth and insatiable curiosity and know themselves better than most adults that I’ve met.

And as for the “real world”, that’s where they’ve been all along. They never stepped out of it and into those rigid walls.

So yes, they’re ready to get out there and in it, because they truly never left.

Are their lives perfect and is our home always ringing with four-part harmony? Of course not. Because we’re human.

We argue. We make mistakes. Sometimes we say hurtful words or do things we regret. But overall, our home is more harmonious and caring than I ever dreamed possible.

We truly like one another. Perhaps because of how deeply we know one another. And I credit that to the endless hours we’ve spend in one another’s company.

Did they suffer from their lack of school time? No. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite. Instead of suffering, they both truly thrived.

That said, this isn’t everyone’s right path, and that’s 100% okay, too.

Even if they have the resources to run with homeschooling, not every kid–and just as importantly, not every parent–is cut out for this ride.

You’ll never hear me say that’s one proper route forward. There are truly as many beautiful paths as there are people And for many, that path may shift with time. If you homeschool for a bit and then stop, that’s cool too. There aren’t any rules or litmus test you need to abide by. Just do you, and honor your kid.

Listen to your child, listen to yourself, then make the best of exactly where you are and what you’ve got to work with. I’m rooting for you, whether your path and mine are similar or not.

For those embarking on a similar path to mine, I’m rooting for you, too!

If you’re here for advice, I’d simply say this: stop worrying and start living. They’ll learn to read, they’ll develop social skills, they’ll become independent, they’ll follow their hearts.

Tell your neighbor that you don’t need a teaching degree to be qualified to teach your own; tell your mom that reading doesn’t need to happen at age 5 to be perfectly timed; tell your uncle that social skills are not tied to how much time your children spend with like-aged peers.

Hand out copies of “How Children Learn”, “How Children Fail”, and “Teach Your Own” like party favors to your nay-sayers.

And then get back to the business of living, playing, exploring, questioning, discovering, and learning alongside your kids.

I promise you this: you won’t regret it.

Mullein Tea for Lung Care

I’ve seen more mullein this year than ever before, and the timing couldn’t be better. This common weedy plant of dry, sandy, disturbed areas is a wonder for supporting healthy lungs–something so many of us can use this season.

Because mullein is abundant, easy to identify, gentle, and safe, it’s a great beginner’s herb for those exploring herbalism for the very first time! And now more than ever, this is an herb our bodies are calling for. (Read on for how to brew your own mullein herbal tea for weary lung support.)

When we’re inhaling smoke and other irritants (hello, wildfires) or even experiencing mild asthma symptoms, mullein goes to work to help us breathe easy again. Even here in Wisconsin, far from the ravaging fires out west and in Canada, the haze in the air is evident. And I’m deeply called to brew this herb to nourish my family and myself.

While I pause before I suggest we take more from this weary earth, I do believe in my heart that when we connect with the plants and the planet, we can help to heal our relationship to the Earth and begin the work of restoring the health of the planet we call home. As long as there’s reciprocity, the plants are here–just waiting for us to lean in and listen.

In my first book, Herbal Adventures, I give loads of mullein plant ID tips so you can confidently forage your own (clears throat and whispers: mullein≠lamb’s ear)! I also share several recipes (like herbal cough syrup, an herbal steam, and an herbal tea blend for cough and cold season). But it needn’t be complicated! Even a simple mullein leaf tea is incredible for soothing smoke-weary lungs.

And making your own couldn’t be easier.

Here’s how…

Mullin Lung Love Tea

Serving Size:
1 cup
10 minutes


  • 1 tbsp mullein leaf (fresh or dried)
  • 1 cup freshly boiled water


  1. Place mullein leaf in your favorite mug.
  2. Add just-boiled water.
  3. Cover and steep for 10 minutes or longer (up to overnight).
  4. Strain and drink daily as desired. (Seriously, ya’ll. That’s how easy this is.)

Alongside dandelion, white pine, plantain, bee balm, and five other wild wonders, mullein is one of the ten plants I feature in my first book, Herbal Adventures! It’s out of print (sad face), but you can pick up a signed copy on my website (hooray!)/ And when you purchase directly from me, I plant two trees for every copy sold (Take that, Amazon)!

Lemon, Lavender & Yarrow Digestive Bitters Recipe

Most evenings you’ll find me either drinking a big mug of hot herbal tea (current fave: a blend of Tulsi, fresh ginger, plantain leaf, and wild peppermint), or sipping a mason jar of fizzy water spiked with either a dose of motherwort or blue vervain tincture or a squirt of homemade herbal digestive bitters.

I have a few favorite digestive bitters formulas (my go-to being dandelion + yellow dock + burdock + cardamom + date), but also love experimenting with new combinations of aromatic, bitter, and sweet elements. We ended up with a windfall of meyer lemons this month, and I decided to adapt an old recipe of mine to include some new elements. Today’s experiment involved yarrow, burdock, dandelion, lavender, chamomile, lemon, and honey. And I think it’s downright delightful.

Digestive bitters ease digestive woes while boosting our nutritional absorption from the foods we eat. I love including all manner of healthful, local herbs in my recipes, and encourage you to adapt this formula to whatever you have on hand.

Want to make your own? My recipe is below! Do let me know how you like it after yours is ready.

Note: if you’re using the photo for your recipe (versus the typed up version below it), you may end up bumping up to a larger mason jar after your bitters steep for a few days if you find that your roots were thirsty, or if you don’t have enough room to expand and properly steep.

Lemon, Lavender, & Yarrow Digestive Bitters

Makes approximately 1/2 pint of bitters

  • 1 1/2 small Meyer lemons (or 1 regular lemon), washed and thinly sliced with the peels on
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp dried, sliced dandelion root (or 1 scant cup fresh)
  • 3 tbsp dried, sliced burdock root (or 3/4 cup fresh)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried lavender flowers
  • 1 tsp dried yarrow flowers and leaves
  • 1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 1/2 tsp raw honey
  • 1 1/2 cups brandy (=/-) – enough to cover herbs by 1 to 2″


  1. Combine all fruit, roots, and herbs in a pint-and-a-half-sized mason jar.
  2. Add raw honey, then top with enough brandy to generously cover the herbs and fruit by at least 1 to 2 inches.
  3. Cover with a non-reactive lid (or a lid lined with plastic, waxed paper, or parchment).
  4. Set in an out-of-the-way corner of your kitchen for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily or as often as you think of it. I strongly encourage you to taste your bitters throughout the process, so that you can participate in the magic and sense the subtle flavor shifts that happen over time.
  5. Strain your bitters through a mesh colander, squeezing firmly to extract as much liquid as you can from your herbs. Compost solids.
  6. Transfer bitters to a clean, dry glass bottle or jar (a dropper bottle is especially nice for daily use), then clearly label with name, ingredients, and date. To use, add to fizzy or non-fizzy water or (if you’re so inclined) to cocktails. If using to boost digestion (and why not?!), enjoy daily about 30 minutes before meals. Perfect to sip on while you finish making dinner!

Do you make your own digestive bitters? What’s your favorite recipe?