This post is the eighth in the series “Homemade Mother of the Week.” If you know a woman who is thoughtfully sharing her passion for the planet, families or the well-being of others, please nominate her for this special recognition. Send an email with all the details to firstname.lastname@example.org
This week I’d like you to meet Laura Mueller. I met Laura when I was shopping for a new all-natural make-up line, and she introduced me to the Jane Iredale brand. I was so happy with the product and in-store experience that I decided to make Laura our newest Homemade Mother of the Week.
Laura started out as a nurse, but as her awareness for natural healing and healthy living grew, so did her desire to reach more people. She and her business partner Judy Zabielski recently opened a naturally focused store and website called Acacia Organics based in the Chicago suburb of Barrington. As a mother of three busy boys and a fellow eco-warrior, I am happy to recognize Laura as a Homemade Mother of the Week!
Homemade Mothering: Welcome, Laura. So glad you can join us! To get started, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Laura Mueller: I was raised in Johnsburg, IL but, originally a south-sider born in Blue Island, IL. I now live in Wauconda with my husband Devin and our three boys – Remi (11), Rylan (10) and Reiden (8). I am a registered nurse and have been since 1988. I worked many years as an ER nurse and taught paramedic class. I also worked for many years at Children’s Memorial Hospital. I dabbled in dermatology and pharmaceuticals including home infusion and home care nursing/management. I also currently work as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. I assist attorneys with their medical malpractice or personal injury cases. I work behind the scenes to help them screen cases to see if they have merit and I also help them build their case for court. I still do a little nursing too. I work with the elderly and help them organize their medication so that they do not overdose.
My husband is a lieutenant firefighter/paramedic at the Wauconda Fire Department. My boys all play ice hockey (and my husband too) and they LOVE it. We spend many hours at the ice rink. Our favorite team is obviously the Chicago Blackhawks.
HM: Why did you decide to go into business for yourself? Why an organic/natural products store?
LM: I’ve always wanted to own my own business; I have that drive in me. I also needed something that had flexibility because there are days that I would like to volunteer at school or maybe the boys have a day off from school or are sick. It’s hard to work for someone and always ask for a day off. I didn’t like that trapped feeling.
Why organics? Because that’s how we live our lives. My kids eat a lot of fruit and veggies. When we looked at how much they were eating we decided that organic was the only option. How could we knowingly put pesticides into our children’s bodies knowing that they are toxic? We also see what a difference safe bath and body products can make. When my son was a toddler he had terrible rashes. We were using the common “baby” products, but little did we know that just eliminating those toxic products would clear his rash. Simple as that. Also – after my third son, I was having some hormonal difficulties. I begged my gynecologist for help. Her response was awful. She didn’t care. That’s when I ventured out to fix myself.
HM: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting the business started?
LM: Helping our customers. They stop back to say thank you because we made a difference in their lives. New customers stop in because their friends are talking about how we helped them and they were told to come to us for help. Just seeing that we are doing good – it’s awesome!
HM: How do you find new products?
LM: Research – every day. Lots and lots of research. Sometimes we find new products because our customers recommend them.
HM: What are a couple products that you are most excited about right now?
LM: Our Premier Research line. There is simply not a better nutraceutical supplement line out there. No one compares. This line is free from toxic fillers. We are going to begin testing for nutritional deficiencies through kinesiology (muscle testing). It is basically your body telling you what you need and don’t need.
I am also very excited about our new infrared sauna. We will be up and running in any day now. This sauna is so wonderful for your health. You can burn 600 calories in a 30 minute session of relaxation and bliss. It’s great for detoxing.
HM: What are you doing to teach your kids about eco-conscious living?
LM: They are very aware of recycling and littering. They also don’t drink out of plastic water bottles. They have their own stainless steel water bottles, and we also make our own “Gatorade” type drink for after their exercise. We mix coconut water, pineapple juice, orange juice, pink salt, coral (for magnesium and calcium) – they LOVE it. And, they don’t get any artificial color, flavor, etc. They are also very aware of how to read a nutrition label.
HM: What is one simple thing you think all families can do to help the planet?
LM: Don’t use plastic water bottles. It is my understanding that plastic never goes away. It just gets smaller and smaller – so as it gets into the ocean, it will break down, the fish will eat it and when we eat fish – we eat the plastic water bottles full of BPA and everything else.
HM: When you’re not working, what do you like to do with your time?
LM: Ha – what do I do with my time… I clean the house, take the boys to and from hockey practices and games and work on my legal business. I also exercise. I work with a personal trainer who is amazing. When we opened the store, it was very hard to find time to exercise. Something else always came up. I started back a few months ago and the way I feel is so amazing now. I feel stronger.
HM: My readers love trying healthy new recipes. Will you also please share one of your family’s favorite recipes?
LM: One of my family’s favorite ingredients is kale. We wash it and then I trim it from the rough center stem. Then spread it on a cookie sheet and cover it with olive oil. I mush the oil into each leaf with my hands. Then I bake at low heat until it is crisp. Then, sprinkle with pink salt (from Premier Research). Tastes like a potato chip. The kids ask for this all of the time.
Support a fellow eco-mom and check out Acacia Organics at www.acaciaorganics.com. If you’re in the Chicago area, stop by her store at 100 E Station St in Barrington, IL.
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