Monday, July 30, 2012

Crazy Weather Affecting CSA

For those of you who are part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) -- have you been affected by this crazy hot weather? Our CSA has been struggling because the heat has affected pollination, which means that means that we have been getting produce less than expected. However, I know that we accepted the risk along with the farm and we are in this together. Nothing beats local, organic produce, no matter how much of it you get each week. The awesome thing is that the farm also raises chicken and is trying to get members to recommend other ways that the farm can provide for them. It is so good to know that the farm cares about the members just as much as we appreciate all of the fresh, in season, organic produce that they provide us.

>> How has your CSA been this season?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - The Face of Summer

My first blooming sunflower = summer = happiness.  Sunflowers make me smile.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekend Gardening

Moved mulch. Removed a huge chunk of the blanket. Dug through insanely hard clay. Planted ferns. Added fresh compost (from my compost pile...yay!). Realized the ferns weren't quite in line. Decided that they would look better not aligned. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Accessorize with Paparazzi [Giveaway]

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Do you see something you just gotta have? Well, you're in luck! You can win $25 to Paparazzi By Melinda. Just use the easy Rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck! 

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Winner Announcement

The giveaway for the TheraNeem Nail & Cuticle Oil Pen has concluded! Thank you to all those that entered! Winner is listed below and has been confirmed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Support Your Plants with the Ultimate Plant Cage [Review]

I tend to have two experiences with plants: they wilt and die or they grow like crazy and I have to support them. I have always had difficulties finding the right support structure for my plants. When I discovered Global Garden Friends' Ultimate Plant Cage, I knew that this was the right solution for my problem. Not only does the Ultimate Plant Cage provide the right fully-adjustable support, but the Ultimate Plant Clips allow me to easily gather and secure foliage and vines.

Ultimate Plant Cage                      $17.95
Ultimate Plant Clips              from $4.99 
Source: Global Garden Friends
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Easy installation
Harder to install on growing/grown plants
Fully adjustable

Great support structure for any type of plant

The Ultimate Plant Cage was very easy to install. The box came with the following:

I needed to stake my tomato plant. Even though the plant was already grown, I could still add the base to it.  I recommend doing a trial run of putting the base together because it will be easier once you add it to the grown plant. (Please ignore the munched plant, deer must like tomato plants)

I used the Ultimate Plant Clips to secure the tomato branches to the Ultimate Plant Cage. Since I only have half of a tomato plant left, I used 2 poles. The best part about the poles is that I can adjust the angle and the length. As the tomato plant grows, I will be able to extend the pole to keep providing support.

I used these little clips to attach the plant to the poles. They clips were very easy to attach and allow enough room for the stem to grow. I like that the Ultimate Plant Clips do not suffocate the stem by being too tight.

I am very happy with the Ultimate Plant Cage and ClipsI love that the colors blend in with the plants. I have one Ultimate Plant Cage installed in the pot (above) and I hope to install another one in the garden.  If you are looking for a support structure for any of your indoor or outdoor plants, I would highly recommend these two products. 

Disclosure: I received the sample from the company in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. I am under no pressure to return the product to the company or to write this review. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Confession: Does Organic Produce Spoil Faster?

I have a confession to make! I do not use organic produce (from the CSA Farm or the grocery store) in a timely manner. I have a habit of letting stuff sit in the fridge for at least one week before I even think about using it. Obviously, produce begins to wilt, soften, and spoils. I composted about 1/3 of the organic cherries yesterday because they were moldy. Organic cherries are expensive. I felt bad that I let 1/3 of them spoil.

Is this left over from my pre-organic days where food would last 2 weeks before it started showing signs of wilting/spoilage? I do not know. Is it because my husband and I have both been working crazy long hours and we do not cook as often anymore? Probably. My head is so full of work, chores, and everything else that I do not have time to craft yummy dishes to utilize the perfectly in-season produce that I buy or pick up from the CSA Farm.

At least I ate a decent breakfast this morning...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil [Giveaway]

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
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Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Reducing Our Use of Paper Products [#CTWW]

This week's challenge comes from Reduced Footprints.

For the next two weeks refuse to use (or buy) paper towels. Yep, 14 days ... no paper towels. And ... to make things just a bit more interesting ... let's include paper plates and single-use utensils, cups, etc.

Or ...

If you never use paper towels or single-use utensils, please share how you avoid them. We'd like to know how you handle "messy" messes (like pet "accidents", cooking oil splatters & spills, etc.) ... and what you use instead of single-use products for picnics, entertaining, etc. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with tips and ideas to help us all live without these products and reduce waste.

I read the current challenge with my husband sitting next to me and laughed out loud. If I took away paper towels for two weeks, my husband would go into shock and fall to the floor trembling. Basically, he would not know what to do with himself if there were no paper towels in the kitchen.

Reducing our use of paper products like paper towels and tissues has been very challenging. The convenience of ripping off a paper towel to clean up a mess and the ease of throwing it in the trashcan is an act that has been ingrained in the common American's mind. Yes, you do not have to deal with cleaning a towel, but the amount of money spent on disposable paper products and the amount of trash it adds to the landfill is something that we should always keep in the front of our minds.

For this post, I am going to focus on paper towels because that is the biggest challenge I am currently tackling. Here are some of the ways that I have tried to reduce use of paper towels in our house:

Once the paper towel roll finished, my husband did not go down to the basement to get another roll for several weeks. We were both working long hours and must have not cooked as much. I put out some wash cloth size towels close to the area where the paper towels were. After a few weeks, he did get a roll because he was doing a painting job. Either way, a few weeks was awesome. 

Then, I hid the paper towel roll in the cabinet above the microwave. Out of sight, out of mind, right?  Wrong! This only lasted for a few hours. He must have gone on a hunt or found the roll accidentally.

I did order some organic cloth napkins for us to use.  We need to put them in rotation.
  1. Stock up on towels of all sizes (I found organic cotton towels at Tuesday Morning) COMPLETE
  2. Keep small towels (washcloth size) on the counter for easy access when cleaning messes COMPLETE
  3. Use the small towels when eating dinner to wipe hands and mouths In Progress
  4. Purchase cloth napkins for guests (on the To Do list) COMPLETE
  5. Purchase recycled paper towels or paper towels with smaller sheets
  6. Reuse lightly soiled paper towels for multiple clean up tasks
Since the laundry basket is located close to the kitchen, I just toss dirty towels right in. You can also purchase a hanging wet bag for the kitchen to toss your dirty towels into.

I have accepted that we will never be able to completely stop using paper towels, but there are actions I can take to greatly reduce our use of them.

>> What are your tips for reducing use of paper towels in the kitchen?

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