45 Effective Ways Little Acts Lead to Big Changes

Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article by Kier Holmes, local landscaper, garden educator, writer and artist. Sign up today for her Herbal Tea Apothecary class on Monday, December 3rd at the Mill Valley Library.

With recent studies showing that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has hit record highs and many significant indicators are present in the ocean, weather, and land, below is a list of simple actions you can take to reduce your carbon impact. If everyone even changes their choices for one day, perhaps it will all add up to both a healthier planet and future for our children.

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Plant Natives

Any plant added to your garden helps out by increasing oxygen but take it a step further by planting natives that are better adapted to your area and use fewer resources. Natives also provide vital habitats and food sources for local wildlife and endangered species. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #savetheplanet #plantnatives #onething #womendoingcoolstuff #marincounty #itstartswithyou 🌼

Natural Pest Control

Support natural pest control. Instead of using nasty chemical pesticides to treat plant disease and garden marauders, try natural, organic methods like releasing ladybugs. These red coated beauties eat aphids by the truckload. Tip: release them early in the morning or at dusk. By rejecting chemicals that leach into the ground and harm insects, wildlife, fish and humans, you are positively helping the whole ecosystem. #itstartswithyou #littlethings #howyoucanhelp #savetheplanet #ladybugs #naturalpestcontrol #marincounty #littleactsbigchange 🐞

Stainless Steel Straws

Choose reusable stainless steel straws, eco-friendly paper ones or ditch straws all together. By 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish pound for pound. Scary! Tip: when you go to a restaurant request 'no straws' when ordering. #nostraws #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #savetheplanet #marincounty #itstartswithyou #howyoucanhelp #nomoreplastic #instatips πŸ₯€

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House Plants

Incorporate more houseplants into your work and living spaces to help clean the air of pollutants and chemicals plus boost your mood. The plant shown is sansevieria--it thrives on neglect, withstands low light and works at night absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Tip: add one to your bedroom. (Ganesh statue optional but recommended.) For more plant suggestions to help remove toxic VOC's from your breathing spaces, please visit my article at Sunset.com #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #savetheplanet #houseplants #cleantheair #itstartswithyou #howyoucanhelp #indoorplants #sansevieria #ganesha 🌱

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Local Farms

Purchase your produce from your local farmer's market to cut down on CO2 from transportation trucks used to deliver the goods, plus you'll be supporting your local farmers and economy. Thanks AIM Farmers Markets #farmersmarket #shoplocal #produce #littlethings #howyoucanhelp #savetheplanet #marincounty #itstartswithyou #littleactsbigchange πŸ₯•

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Think of the Bees

Help save the bees by avoiding pesticides and other nasty chemicals around the garden. Also consider planting bee-friendly plants like lavender, borage, rosemary and thyme. The bee population is in serious decline due to habitat loss and pesticide use. Bees play a monumental economic role as pollinators helping sustain agricultural production. Fact: 1/3 of the food we eat relies on pollination mainly by bees. #howyoucanhelp #itstartswithyou #marincounty #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #savetheplanet #savethebees #polinators 🐝

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Grow Your Own

Consider growing your own vegetables, herbs and fruits. Even if you are not successful and bug or deer intruders get the best of you and your crops, at least you probably learned a new thing or two along the way. Please always choose organic methods when growing your own edibles. For more helpful info check out Pass the Pistil and her inspirational new book: Grow What You Love. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange#marincounty #itstartswithyou #growyourownfood #savetheplanet #howyoucanhelp #backyardgardening #groworganic πŸ₯¬

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Reuse

Shop at a used clothing store instead of buying new clothes. This different form of recycling is often overlooked and undervalued. And though it takes time to sort through the motley crew of clothes, it can be worthwhile when you score a nice top for $2. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #usedclothing #recycle #marincounty #savetheplanet #howyoucanhelp πŸ‘•

Rescue a Pet

Consider adopting an animal from a rescue center or shelter. Sadly, each year close to 12 million dogs and cats are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them. Give an animal a second chance at a new life. #howyoucanhelp #rescuedog #littlethings #itstartswithyou #marincounty #littleactsbigchange #adoptanimals 🐢🐱

Awesome Teachers

With the school year coming to completion, let's take the time to truly appreciate all the stellar teachers who inspired, guided and nurtured our children. "The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book." This photo is of Danny Marsh (my son's outstanding 5th grade teacher) showing my son the wonders of silk screening. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #teacherappreciation #inspiration #awesometeacher #marincounty #howyoucanhelp #children #silkscreen πŸ‘¨β€πŸ«

Community Service

My son came home from school with a metal acknowledging his community service work. I believe that if our children learn to give back to their community, donate their time to help others and the environment, that they will gain skills, a sense of pride, and hopefully have more of an invested interest in protecting and contributing to the world as they grow up. #howyoucanhelp #marincounty #littlethings #communityservice #children #giveback #littleactsbigchange #lovemyson #volunteer πŸ†

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No More Plastic

Behold the evidence. The story goes that my son ordered a drink and clearly told the waiter, "No straw please." What was brought? A plastic cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw. My son was shocked and annoyed so he brought home a piece of the insanity to show me. On top of the non-listening waiter issue, why are they giving a 12 year old a "sippy cup"? I'm pretty confident he can handle glass. The lesson here? I dunno. Maybe that it takes time to educate and pivot certain people so let's not give up fighting for what we believe in...even if it means one straw at a time. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #marincounty #howyoucanhelp #lovemyson #nomoreplastic #nomoreplasticstraws #itstartswithyou #savetheplanet #instagood 🌎

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Natural Healing

Instead of reaching for the conventional medicine cabinet, snip off a piece of Aloe Vera and use the proven beneficial gel inside the stem to:
Treat burns
Soothe skin irritations
Calm rashes
Moisturize hair
Heal cold sores
Much more...
This aloe lives happily on my kitchen counter so when cooking burns occur or my arms have been attacked by prickly plants while landscaping, I can quickly get natural botanical help. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #naturalremedies #aloevera #plants #naturalhealing #instagood #marincounty

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Eat Less Meat

Zooming down I 5 the other day and seeing this massive field filled with cattle (and mistakingly rolling down my window and letting in the repulsive cow odor) reminded me to encourage all meat-eaters to go meat-free for at least one day a week. Cows release methane which is more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, capturing more of the sun's radioactive force. According to the Earth Day Network, if over the course of a year you ate one less burger a week it would equal taking your car off the road for 320 miles. All this meat comes at a price to our planet. #earthdaynetwork #littleactsbigchange #littlethings #meatlessmonday #goveggie #cowfarts #savetheplanet #itstartswithyou πŸ„

Natural Remedy

Consider non toxic approaches to pest control. I use cinnamon (as shown) to ward off pesky ants....seriously. I either dust it into ant holes in the house or make a cinnamon paste and cram it in where they are coming out. Please share any other natural tactics you use. Would love to know. :) #itstartswithyou #savetheplanet #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #marincounty #cinnamon #naturalremedies #nontoxicliving #antcontrol #goodtoknow 🐜

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Coffee Grounds

This idea is for the coffee drinkers in the world: consider reusing your used coffee grounds to perk up your garden. Turns out that coffee grounds are a great chemical-free fertilizer and are nitrogen-rich. They are especially beneficial to evergreens, acid loving plants like rhododendrons, and very attractive to compost-making worms. Another idea is to try using the grounds as a natural slug repellent. #itstartswithyou #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #goodtoknow #marincounty #coffeegrounds#savetheplanet #reuse #nontoxicliving β˜•

Choose to Refuse

Embrace Plastic Free time where the challenge is to 'Choose to Refuse' single-use plastic during this month. This morning I packed my husband's lunch in a glass jar that once housed salsa. If everyone collectively addressed our plastic waste problem even for one month then we could be one step closer to a cleaner, healthier world. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #plasticfreejuly2018 #plasticfree #itstartswithyou #marincounty #savetheplanet #goodtoknow #instagood πŸ₯ͺ

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Free Library

Let's embrace the power of sharing and community. This image is of our Little Free Library that we built (the first one we built was actually stolen--No kidding!) I went out to organize our library today and saw someone had added numerous books and put the encouraging sticker in there. Our Little Library brings us and hopefully our community inspiration and enjoyment, plus shares the love of books. Consider making your own Free Library for your neighborhood. #itstartswithyou #marincounty #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #freelibrary #sharing #community #freelittlelibrary #books πŸ“š

DIY Herbs

Consider growing your own organic herbs and then making your own herb salts, herb butters and herbed sugars. Today my son and I made rosemary salt. Plus we did a little experimenting: one batch was made with dried rosemary and the other with fresh rosemary, all from the garden. Personally I like the one made with dried (despite what most recipes call for). Either one, however, is super tasty on steak, potatoes or pasta. There is a surprising satisfaction in making something that's quite simple instead of spending a fortune for it at the market, plus you're saving on packaging, you're certain of the ingredients, and you have portion control so there's less waste. Contact me for the recipe if interested. #marincounty #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #homemade #herbs #homegrown #instagood #rosemary 🌿

Grow from Seed

Grow some of your own veggies, herbs and flowers from seed. Thinking this small produces big benefits: you get to know exactly what's in your bounty (you can control every step to ensure it's organic), access to a more diverse selection than what is sold in grocery stores or nurseries, money is saved, it's an excellent learning tool for kids to see where their food comes from, plus you can feel a bit like a proud homesteader on Little House on the Prairie--minus the swarming locusts and horse-drawn carriage. #seeds #littleactsbigchange #littlethings #gardening #homegrown #marincounty #instagood #inspiration #homegarden 🌱

Volunteer

My son and I volunteered at the Presidio Archaeology Lab. For 2 hours we wet screened the excavated soil and looked for historic treasures. I uncovered an old Indian head penny today and apparently it was the find of the day. When you volunteer your time you are giving back to the community and making a difference, plus sometimes you are given an opportunity to develop new skills and take on a challenge (and maybe get to wear a super cool rubber outfit!) There's something gratifying about volunteering, especially when shared with friends and family. #itstartswithyou #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #lovemyson #volunteer #archeaology #instagood #inspiration #givebacktothecommunity #picoftheday

Libraries

Let's celebrate our local libraries and all the amazing--and free!--programs and resources that they offer. Just the other day my son and I took an awesome free ukulele class at the San Anselmo library. Consider supporting your local library by purchasing some books at the Friends of the Library sales or donate your used books to them. #givebacktothecommunity #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #library #free #marincounty #books #freethings #instagood #inspiration πŸ“š

Nature Crafts

Get crafty with nature. In Garden Club today the kids and I made nature-inspired tic-tac-toe with beach rocks we painted and sticks we found. I think we could have played all day. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #nature #naturecrafts #tictactoe #beachrocks #kidcrafts #natureappreciation #gardenclub #millvalleypubliclibrary #inspiration #gardeneducation 🌲

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Children’s Museum

Remember to visit your local children's museum. In Marin we are fortunate to have the ever-impressive Bay Area Discovery Museum. Shown is an interactive space playing off of the artist Yayoi Kasama and the kids got to put stickers e v e r y w h e r e. #kidmuseum #artiseverywhere #littlethings #marincounty #kidart #inspiration #yayoikusama #giveback #dots

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Neighbors

Appreciate the importance of a good neighbor (although the official day is September 28). The photo shows a bouquet of stunning homegrown flowers that my uber-green-thumbed neighbor brought over the other day. It's those unexpected little things that you will later realize are the big things. Plus it's a good thing to have a good neighbor and even better to be one. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #neighbor #giveback #appreciation #marincounty #flowers #homegrown #gifts πŸ’

Try New Foods

Try a food you have never eaten to get your tastebuds thinking out of the box. At the farmers market we discovered tayberries--a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. The taste is extraordinary, like eating the yummiest deconstructed jam ever. Thanks to AIM’s CEO Andy Naja-Riese for showing me the way to these juicy gems. #farmersmarket #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #berries #trysomethingnew #marincounty#newfruit #eatlocal #instagood πŸ‘©β€πŸŒΎ

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Community Events

Join a community event to meet new friends, share interests, and become inspired. Shown here is the Great American Read event hosted by the always amazing Mill Valley Public Library. I was honored to work at this literary picnic, witness locals coming together to chat about the Great American Read 100 Best-Loved Books, and share an afternoon in the sun. #lovewhereilive #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #marincounty #millvalleypubliclibrary #greatamericanread #ilovebooks #community #getinvolved #greatreadpbs #inspiration πŸ“—

Play an Instrument

Take up a new instrument you've always wanted to learn. Playing an instrument enhances memory, builds confidence, widens your social circle and improves patience. Shown here is our new family member: a pinkalicious ukulele. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #learning #ukulele #somethingnew #pink #marincounty #inspiration #instagood 🎢

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Reusable Bags

Buy a reusable produce bag made from recycled plastic bottles. You will end using suffocating plastic bags and will be saving your produce by allowing ethylene gasses to escape--perfect for apples, onions and potatoes. Matt purchased this eco-bag from Good Earth. We're trying to help save our produce and the earth on every grocery trip. #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #marincounty #savetheplanet #recycledplastic #reusablebags #goodearthnaturalfoods #instagood #instaday #inspiration πŸ›οΈ

Earthworms

Add earthworms to your garden, especially vegetable gardens. Earthworms increase soil air flow, add important nutrients, improve soils moisture retaining ability and produce an optimal breeding ground for healthy bacteria. All these benefits come from their superior tunneling capabilities and their castings (aka worm caca). Worms in your garden help plants thrive and prevent the need for intervention in the form of commercial nutrients. Before adding these wriggling garden helpers, add food for them in the form of shredded leaves or compost. #littlethings #worm #organicgardening #savetheplanet #nature #marincounty #kidsinthegarden #instagood #inspiration πŸ›

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Reusable Food Containers

School is back in session which always starts the obligatory consumption of new supplies, like lunch containers. I am a complete recycler and try my best to avoid disposable items so it came as such a amazing gift when my son asked me to buy him these awesome reusable food wraps from U-konserve for his lunch. These smart wraps help prevent the one million plastic bags that head to landfill every minute. Just think, one meal at a time you can help keep the earth green. #littlethings #lovemyson #littleactsbigchange #reuse #kidslunchideas #marincounty #instaday #savetheplanet #instagood #inspiration 🌟

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Support Your Friends

Encourage everyone to support their friends on their creative journeys, personal paths and daunting undertakings in whatever capacity is possible. Shown is the Marin Magazine garden article that I wrote, and I was honored to have my inspiring friend Emily Murphy as my expert in the field. Emily has a new gardening book out: Grow What You Love.

Hope you all check out the article and her book :)and enjoy. #littlethings #marincounty #gardening #garden #marinmagazine #growyourownfood #passthepistil #eatorganic #inspiration #friends #instagood 😎

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Cloth Napkins

Switch from disposable paper napkins to cloth ones. Here are the reasons why:
1. You produce less trash with cloth.
2. Cloth napkins are more durable and attractive.
3. You save trees.
4. Kids can't secretly shred cloth under the table and make a heinous mess.
5. You can save even more money by making your own from old pieces of fabric or buying vintage ones from a thrift shop. Ours are lovely vintage linen passed down to me from a relative. A simple switch like this can truly add up to environmental, and pocketbook, savings. #littlethings #inspiration #savetheplanet #getcreative #marincounty #instagood #savetrees #littleactsbigchange

Choose non-GMO Seeds

Next time you're buying plants, choose growers who are committed to producing responsibly made plants. Today I bought this stellar salvia from Blooms: they don't grow GMO varieties, their pots are 100% recyclable, and they don't spray neonicotinoides which means they don't use an insecticide that harms bees. And as if that wasn't good enough, a portion of the proceeds from my salvia purchase goes to Make-A-Wish foundation in support of children. #bloomswholesalenursery #savethebees #shopsmart #plants #littlethings #marincounty #gardening #salvia #littleactsbigchange 🐝

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Shop Local

We all know that we should shop locally to further strengthen our community, reduce the use of fossil fuels from transportation, and enjoy a higher quality product but here's another reason: when you blow out your jean's knee on your favorite landscaping work pants made by Tellason and they fix up the hole in pure style then you really appreciate shopping locally. Thanks Pete! I would hate to see the alternative I would've cobbled together : a heinous iron-on patch from the craft store. #marincounty #tellason #shoplocal #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #jeans #selvedgedenim #instaday #sewing #gardening

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Local Organizations

Choose a local organization that your whole family supports and wants to rally behind. Our family learned about DXE SF Bay Area Animal Care whose belief is that every animal has an equal right to be safe, happy and free. Shown is Jack helping paint a fence at Charlie's Acres Animal Sanctuary where Matt, Jack and I volunteered this weekend through DXE. Charlie's Acres dedicates itself to the care of rescued farm animals. #dxe #charliesacres #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #volunteer #animalrights #instaday #instagood #family

Live Simple

While it's darn hard to live a simpler life when it feels like everyone is constantly asking us for more...of everything--do more, know more, make more, give more--we can still strive for, or at least fully appreciate, a life less crazed and notched up and one that is more meaningful and truer to the heart. This is the Table Top Farm Stand that I stopped off at thanks to Kirsten @fullbloomday. The stand gushes charm, community and honesty. I bought beautiful basil and cucumbers. A real find! Self-serve, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. #tabletopfarms #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #farmfresh #simplerlife #oldschool #farmstand #eatlocal #eatfresh

Reusable Cup

Bring your own reusable cup/mug/vessel when going to your favorite local coffee spot. Did you know that unlike most paper, single-use paper coffee cups are not recyclable because they are coated in a thin layer of a complicated plastic that is hard to recycle? A startling fact is that we go through half a trillion disposable cups a year. If you bring your own cup and use it again and again you are not only keeping trash out of our landfills but also saving money because most coffee shops will give you a discount. #marincounty #savetheearth #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #reuse #bringyourowncup #reducereuserecycle #flowers #coffeecup #instagood

Support Local

Celebrate the end of the week with friends and drinks! Choose a beverage made locally, like East Brother Beer created over the bridge in Richmond, Ca. In fact the owners live in my neighborhood which really makes me want to cheers to local-made crafters and the weekend! #local #beer #littlethings #littleactsbigchange #craftbeer #shoplocal #bayarea #instagood #instaday #happyfriday

Native Plants

Today consider choosing more native plants and less invasive plants. In Marin Magazine I write about this important topic: Space Invaders. In the article, I list top Marin invasive plants and discuss removal ideas. Please check it out to learn more and to help stop the spread of invasive non native plants into our prized open spaces. These plant bullies can cause environmental and economic harm and by avoiding and removing these invaders you are helping protect Marin's prized beauty. #marincounty #littlethings #littleactsbigchange#invasiveplants #plants #nativeplants #gardening #smartgarden #instagood #freelancewriter

Look Up

Just...look....up. This simple act helps gain a new viewpoint. I know I sometimes spend my days focused on the weeds and low hanging fruit and I just need a radical shift in both my posture and perspective. #littlethings #lookup #perspective #buildings #view #instaday #instagood #instaeasy

Appreciate Nature

While working in my client's garden a little friend visited me and was kind enough to let me hold him/her. Sometimes when I really pay attention and connect with the natural world everything seems brighter and more hopeful, even if it's just for a few minutes until the moment wriggles out of my hand and scurries away. #lizard #nature #natureappreciation #marincounty #naturephotography #littlethings #instagood #instapic #gardendesigner

Discover Your Jam

By finding a simple act that brings you joy, peace, humor or inspiration, you can rest a little easier knowing that when in need you can pull this trick out and gain personal/emotional/spiritual relief. Doing what makes us happy sometimes feels selfish or we worry it waists time or has no value but ironically the opposite result ends up happening. This morning my son found some old metal toy cars he hadn’t played with for years and was almost going to sentence them to retirement but decided to grab his great grandpa's tool and crush the crapola out of them for some serious stress release. Me, on the other hand, found my jam...making jam. Quick grape jam to be exact. He smashed cars and I smashed fruit. It was a good morning. #littlethings #lovemyson #instaday #instaeasy #inspiration #quickjam #stressrelief #marin #jam #takeahammertoit #instagood

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6 Pack Plastic Ring

Next time you dismantle a 6 pack of water, soda or beer, make sure you cut apart the plastic rings before throwing them away. If this plastic enters our oceans and other waterways as a whole piece, helpless creatures can get caught in it causing potential strangulation and starvation. Avoid unnecessary plastic entanglement by taking 10 seconds to cut apart plastic rings. My son took great pleasure in destroying this one shown. #littlethings #plasticfree #savetheearth #plasticrings #lovemyson #protectouroceans #marin #instaday #inspiration #instagood

NaNoWriMo

Now is the perfect time to sign up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) The gist is you need to write 50,000 words in 30 days starting this November. Not a small feat and if completed a mega accomplishment! Join me in doing something i've successfully shrugged off for years, probably because I didn't think I could squeeze out the extra time, maybe because I have too many choices and can't pick one, or potentially that wish to sign up was buried so deep it fossilized. Well, today is the day to dig up your writing wish and commit to 50k words. Let's do this together! #littlethings #writing #nationalnovelwritingmonth#novel #instaday #november #inspiration #writers #words #marin #nanowrimo

Kier Holmes is a local landscaper who has been designing, consulting and maintaining gardens in Marin for over 15 years. She is also a garden educator at Park Elementary where she encourages discovery, questions and getting hands dirty. Garden Educator Kier Holmes leads children in grades K - 3 in a garden story and hands-on activity. Garden Club meets for four Thursdays in September, March, May and July. When not designing gardens or looking for worms with kids, Kier is also a writer and artist. You can connect with her at kierandmatt@gmail.com.

Herbal Tea Apothecary
Monday, December 3rd
Creekside Room - 7:00pm

Join Kier Holmes and learn how to make your own healthy and delicious teas. Kier will discuss the healing properties of herbs (e.g., honeybush, rooibus, and oatstraw) and flowers (e.g., lavender, chamomile, and hibiscus) and then let you blend the ingredients to create your own concoction. She will discuss how to properly brew and store your teas. Everyone will go home with 5-6 tea bags, filled with their distinct blend, to enjoy later or give as a gift.
Registration required. Space is limited. Click here to register.