Big, big news (a new book)!

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If you’ve been around here a while, you know my passion for putting down my laptop and phone, pulling on my boots, and getting out there with my kids–no matter the season. 

Since they were small, we’ve taken any excuse we could find to toss the to-do list aside and dive headlong into seasonal projects, recipes, and celebrations (both when we lived in town and here on the farm). 

To immerse ourselves in nature and the magic that exists when we unplug and connect with each other and the seasons, all through the year. From boisterous summer adventures to quiet winter celebrations, nature–and time together enjoying it–offers us so much.

Because this is where the memories happen.

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So when Herbal Adventures was finally out in the world and my editor came to me to ask if I was willing to write a second book, I jumped at the chance.

And I knew exactly the book that I wanted to share. 

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In my heart for more than a decade had been a book that was begging to be written: a book of joyful, creative, seasonal activities for kids and their families to enjoy together, no matter where they call home.

With projects that are simple, accessible, sustainable, and fun (and best of all, almost always made with supplies you already have on hand). Projects that are as fun in the city as they are in the country; when done alone, as a family, or with a gaggle of friends.

A book that helps you find meaningful ways to celebrate of seasons, no matter what else your family holds dear.

And so a new book was born. The Unplugged Family Activity Book.

Because there is such fun to be discovered when we put away our devices for an hour, a day, or even longer. And wherever you are is the just right place to start.

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Within these pages, I invite you and your loved ones to connect, create, and play all year long. There’s no right or wrong way to unplug–all we have to do is begin. And with simple projects, delicious recipes, and joyful celebrations, you’ll find that more fun awaits than you ever imagined–all through the year.

With more than 50 projects, crafts, and recipes, plus ideas for gatherings to share with family and friends, there are adventures to be had in every season.

Host a springtime tea party, where you’ll nibble shortbread cookies and craft a mossy fairy garden in a teacup.

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Or gather with friends for a summer potluck party. Blow giant bubbles,  race leaf-and-bark boats, or camp out in your own backyard.

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In the fall, enjoy a harvest party with your friends. Create a fall leaf rainbow, sip mulled cider, and bake bread over a campfire.

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When winter comes, celebrate the longest night of the year with twinkling ice lanterns. Try your hand at candle dipping, make your own play dough, and pen your wishes for the coming year. 

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The Unplugged Family Activity Book includes ideas for four seasonal celebrations to enjoy with family and friends, plus instruction and recipes for:

  • Candied violets
  • Herbal first aid balm
  • Rose petal tea
  • Teacup fairy gardens
  • Infused honey
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Summer flower buntings
  • Giant bubbles
  • Homemade dragonfly wings
  • Mulled cider
  • Felted acorn necklaces
  • Autumn gratitude tree
  • Decorative lanterns
  • Baked apples
  • Winter stargazing
  • Maple lollipops
  • A giant snow fort
  • Dried citrus garland
  • Plus dozens more crafts, projects, and recipes! 

In The Unplugged Family Activity Book you’ll fall in love with every season–wherever you call home. So grab your family and friends, and get ready for an unplugged adventure that will last all through the year.

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Best of all, The Unplugged Family Activity Book is already available for pre-order! (Release date scheduled for the Summer Solstice, June 2020.) For those looking for independent booksellers who will be offering my book, look no further than the links below, or request that your favorite indie book shop carries it come June. 

My Website, LüSa Organics (signed copies!)

Indie Bound

BAM! Books-a-Million

 

Friends in the UK, Canada, and Australia, you find links to retailers in your region here.

Or add your name to the email sign-up form below, then I’ll be sure to drop you a note when my new book is released.

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And finally, A huge thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to keep writing by reading my words here, purchasing copies of Herbal Adventures, and dropping sweet notes in my inbox through the years.

I wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for your unflagging encouragement and enthusiasm. I mean that with my everything.

P.S. In other news, Herbal Adventures has been translated to French, and is coming out later this month! You can find the French translation here and a link to both (all three?) of my books here. The fun never ends! 

Leave a comment below telling me what you think about this upcoming book. Are you on a mission to unplug with your family just a little more? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear about your journey. 

Love,
Rachel

 

 

Elderberry Gummies Recipe (plus six tips to support your immune system, all year round)

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Cold season, the flu, and now the dreaded coronavirus. Many of us worry to some degree about falling ill in the winter every year, especially during the bridge between seasons when the weather swings unpredictably from cold to warm.

And with the onset of every potential pandemic, we worry even more.

OUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE TO ANY VIRUS? A HEALTHY, ROBUST IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Today, I’m over on Happy, Healthy Family (the LüSa Organics Blog) sharing six of my favorite tips to support a robust immune system.

Find all the juicy details (including my elderberry gummy recipe) here!

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Our friend Al

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The world lost one of its finest yesterday. And my, will he be missed.

Our friend Al (whom I’ve introduced you to time and again here on the blog, plus countless more on Instagram), ended his battle with cancer yesterday, after a fast and fierce run.

And my, will we miss him.

Al lived more in one season than most of us do in a lifetime. He lived with passion and authenticity and humor, and shaped the world for the better during his too-brief time among us. What an inspiration he has been for my kids, for Pete, and for myself. He made us laugh, he worked hard by our sides, and he taught us so much.

I can’t help but hope that an eternity of quirky inventions, bad puns, and off-grid magic awaits him somewhere on the other side. Complete with epic prairie burns, well-equipped workshops, and endless gardens in which to tinker away forever. (With no garlic mustard or honeysuckle to distract from other pursuits.)

Travel well, dear friend. This valley won’t be the same without you.

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Turmeric, Lemongrass, and Cardamom Shrub Recipe

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Since I quit drinking alcohol 2 years back, homemade herbal shrubs have become my main squeeze for an evening drink. A splash of homemade shrub syrup added to fizzy water fills the void left by Malbec nicely (without the headache!).

Shrubs are easy to make, probiotic, and absolutely delicious. Also know as “drinking vinegars”, they are sweet + sour and nourishing.

I make mine with organic, raw apple cider vinegar, local raw honey, and whatever flavors speak to me at the moment. Added bonus: homemade shrubs are a zero- or near zero-waste drink option (especially if you have access to local vinegar or make your own, which is surprisingly easy.)

I wrote about shrubs in my book Herbal Adventures. (You’ll find a dandelion shrub on page 88 and a citrus and white pine shrub recipe on page 161. There’s also an elderberry switchel, which is similar to a shrub but a bit quicker from start to sip.) I also share my love of shrubs in Taproot Magazine BLOOM a year or so back, and there are still back issues in stock if you would like the recipes (and open-ended make up your own recipe guide).

Today’s shrub is made with lemongrass, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, aromatic clove, star anise, allspice, and lemon. And it’s divinely delicious. If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, improvise. It’s surprisingly adaptable, so go off the rails and mix it up with whatever flavors you have on hand, using the instructions below for inspiration.

Ready to make your own? Then grab some vinegar, honey, fruits and aromatics. My recipe follows!

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Turmeric, Lemongrass, and Cardamom Shrub Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lemon, halved + gently squeezed (reserve both peel and juice to add to the jar in step 1 below)
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp whole clove
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp ground, dried turmeric (a 1″ piece of fresh would be even nicer, but I was out)
  • 1 large ginger root (just smaller than your palm) sliced, smashed, or grated. (No need to peel.)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a mason jar.
  2. Fill 2/3 to 3/4 full with apple cider vinegar
  3. Top off with honey, and stir or shake well to combine.
  4. Infuse in a lidded glass jar out of direct sunlight but at room temperature for 7 to 14 days, shaking daily or as often as you think of it.
  5. Strain your shrub, squeezing to extract as much goodness as you can from the fruit and spices. Compost solids, and transfer liquid to a clean glass jar.
  6. Add a splash to fizzy water and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator. (Will keep for 6 months or more.)

Are you already crazy about shrubs? What’s your favorite combination?

Good morning, 2020

20191220-_RJW9948.jpgGo to the woods. See more sunrises. Walk in the open air. Marvel and wonder at the magic that surrounds us. Stand beneath the stars and feel miniscule.

Unplug more. Play. Talk to plants.

Be brave. Speak up. Stay true. Be kind.

Create beauty. Work fiercely for change.

Remain vulnerable and run deep with empathy.

Never stop feeling. Laugh more. Build community. Teach and learn. Listen. Grow.

Finish what you’ve started.

And most of all, be authentic and real in everything you do. Good morning, 2020. I’m ready for you.

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Thinking outside of the (to-go) box

For challenge 6 in One Small Step (the LüSa Organics sustainability challenge), we’re thinking out side the take-out box.

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I’m looking at where to put those leftovers when you’re dining out. I think this is a timely tip for the holiday season and for everyday.

I put together a simple take-out kit that I store in my car, to grab whenever we need it that I thought you might be interest in.

Read the post here, then leave a comment letting me know your thoughts!