Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pillsbury Giveaway Winner Announced!!

The Pillsbury Baguette Chips Prize pack winner is:

sheryl schultz said... 55

italian cheese & herb :)

Congratulations Sheryl!! i'll send a email later this evening!!

Thank you all who entered! Watch for more fun giveaway in the future!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Berry Season

My wordless Wednesday posts are never really wordless. :) Four quarts of blueberries frozen so far, and they are really just getting started. We have 14-15 bushes now, and even with them producing well it's just not enough for my family of 4. i don't think we could ever have too many blueberries.

Black Raspberries grow wild behind the house. i picked enough for a batch of jam.

Red raspberries are doing good. The actual patch looks healthy and fantastic, but it didn't produce a lot of berries. Between the kids and the birds raiding them i've only picked about 2 cups so far...hoping to get enough for a batch of jam.

This patch of strawberries are running a bit late this year. They just started really producing well.

i won't have enough for freezing or for jam this year, but we've been enjoying the fresh berries. i'm always amazing how much flavor they have compared to the ones from the store. So delicious.

We LOVE berry season. My kids are out there every morning raiding the bushes. It's amazing i'm able to get any at all. i can't really get mad at them though, for choosing to eat fresh organic fruit. They snack on the berries all day and then don't ask for other snacks constantly.

i found three little ripe blackberries, but most of our blackberries are still very green. It will be a while before we can pick them. It looks like it's going to be a good year for them though.

Last year i found a patch of wineberries and transplanted a few canes on our back hill. Not all of the canes survived, but the couple that did are already sending up runners and shoots. It didn't flower this year, but next year i suspect i'll have wineberries. There is actually a huge patch behind Kenan's shop in Willis, so i'm planning to raid that when the berries are ripe. i would LOVE to get enough for a batch of jam, but doubt there will be enough for that. Maybe next year though. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pillsbury Baguette Chips Review and Giveaway! CLOSED

My family really loves to review new products. We recently had the opportunity to try out the Italian Cheese & Herb and Cheddar Sun-dried Tomato Pillsbury Baguette chips. These hearty chips are sliced from oven baked bread and topped with savory seasonings bringing the unique and contemporary flavors of Italian Cheese & Herb and Cheddar Sun-dried Tomato to gourmet snack chips. The delicious flavors and perfect texture of these crispy chips can help you round out any recipe.

i admit, when i read that it was baguette chip i was expecting more of a 'chip'. These are really quite small, only about 1"- 1 1/2" across...but they are packed with flavor! The size didn't stop my family from attempting to eat them by the handful! They really are very tasty (addicting!!) reminding me more of a snack cracker than a chip. We tried both flavors, and found them both equally delicious! i was wishing i had some spinach dip or hummus to dip them in....they would go perfect with either.

Since i was looking for a slightly healthier approach then just chowing down on the bag of chips, i thought i'd try them out on my homegrown salad. Wow! They were great, They really added a nice bit of flavor and a lot of crunch.

i also decided to them out as a topping for my broccoli cheese soup. Yep, just as fabulous! You can enjoy Pillsbury Baguette Chips for a wide range of occasions: eat them alone, add a bit more flavor to your favorite dip, spice up soup, or add some crunch to your salad!

You can try out these delicious chips now by downloading a printable coupon for $0.75 off one package http://bit.ly/PBCcoupon!

Win it:
The generous folks at Pillsbury and Myblogspark have offered one of my readers the same prize pack that i received for my review.

(3) Bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Italian Cheese & Herb
(3) bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Cheddar Sundried Tomato
{Approx. $18 Value}

Mandatory Entry: Leave me a comment letting me know which flavor you are most excited to try.

Please include your e-mail address or make sure it is visible in your blogger profile so i have a way to contact you if you win. Otherwise a new winner will be chosen!

EXTRA ENTRIES(make sure you did the mandatory entry above!!)
please leave a new comment for each extra entry. If you qualify for 5 entries, leave 5 separate comments.

2. Follow @Pillsbury on twitter. Leave a comment with your twitter id.
3. 'like' Pillsbury on facebook . Leave a comment with your facebook name.
4. Follow Pillsbury Ideas on Pinterest. Leave a comment with your pinterest name.
5. Follow my blog The Enchanted Tree (email or GFC) leave a comment letting me know you do.
6. Be a fan of The Enchanted Tree on Facebook leave a comment with your facebook name.
7. Tweet about the contest include @Pillsbury #myblogspark. leave a link to your tweet. 1 entry (can tweet daily)
8. Add my button (top left column) or add me to your sidebar on your blog 3 entries (leave 3 comments).

  • Giveaway ends June 23th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST
  • Winner will be contact by email, and posted on the blog.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen
  • This giveaway is open to US only

“Disclosure: The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

Sage's Birthday Doll & Outfits.

Last week i shared a few photos of the doll that i'm making Sage for her Birthday.

One of my biggest struggles with these dolls is making the clothing for them. It's not the actual sewing of the clothing that i have hard time with...it's the picking out of fabrics. Matching colors and create a complete outfit. i tend to get image in my head of 'the perfect doll' and then i get frustrated when i can not find the materials to make it happen.
Although i have a couple of Sage's baby dresses that will fit the doll i really wanted to make some outfits.

The first one i completed is this princess dress. This dress is made using fabrics i already had on hand. i would have done it a bit differently if i had gone out and purchased all new fabrics, but i'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. The crown still needs to be sewn, and i'm planning to make a matching one for my daughter. :)

Of course i HAD to make a mermaid tail . If you've followed my blog at all...you know how much we love mermaids. :) The top has elastic encased in matching fabric, and the shells are made from felt. i'm planning to also make a freshwater pearl necklace and some kind of headband/ hair ornament with shells and pearls on it.

Yesterday i whip up this tie-dye dress. i'm really pleased how well it turned out. i tend to have a bit of trouble sizing the dresses, since i never use patterns. This one turned out perfectly, and has a snap on the back to make it easy to take on and off. This was made out a t-shirt i had picked up a the thrift store. i've been finding a lot of these gorgeous tie-dye shirts that look brand new there. They usually have some kind of emblem or screen print on the front, but i can get enough fabric off the back to make several items.

Today i'm working on just one more outfit (i think!!). i'd like to make her a pair of pants, top and a matching sweater. Then i just need to come up with a bag or suitcase to store all the clothing in...and maybe another pair of shoes. :)

i'll post pictures of the completed doll/outfits next week. i'm so excited to give this doll to my daughter on her birthday. i know she's going to absolutely love her. :)

ps. i'll be posting the tutorial for elf ears and the quiver in the next day or two. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Elf sighting!

i spotted these little elves by the edge of the woods today. :)

i'll be posting a tutorial for these fun elf ears soon!
The quiver and arrows were made using a Lays stax can (pringles would work too), scrap felt and hot glue. Arrows made from sticks, feathers, and felt. i'll try to post directions for this too. :) It was very quick and easy to make, and turned out great!!

The beautiful rainbow fairy dress is by Sarah's Silks. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Garden Updates

The garden is really doing incredible this year. After 10 years of trying, i think i've finally figured it out...lol. In all honesty, the years of building up our (super crappy) soil is finally paying off. We've been adding huge loads of composted horse manure, and our own super rich chicken/goat poo laden compost to the beds for the last couple of year, and we are really seeing a difference.

This year we moved our potato bed off the front hill, and put it in the goat field. It's fenced in to keep the goats out of it, although they have both already gone under the fence just to show me that they could. Potatoes are potentially poisonous to goats (nightshade family) and they must not be very palatable, because neither goat nibbled them when they were in there. Instead they just made a mess of the mounds, and rolled around in the dirt for a nice dust bath. Nothing was actually damaged, and we hilled the potatoes back up. i'd been planning to plant some cucumbers, pumpkins and sunflowers along the fence...but now that i know the goats can get in there if they want too...i probably won't bother. If we ever get it secured enough that they can't get in i'm going to take advantage of the fencing, and plant all kinds of climbers in there.

Anyhow, we planted almost 50lbs of potatoes in the patch. We have the rest in the front garden. They are all doing fantastic. They are a lovely green this year, they look full and thriving and they are beginning to flower. In the past we've had problems with the plants looking tall and spindly and not really bushing out much. We've always harvested a good amount of potatoes, but always felt that the yield should be better. i'm hoping this year we'll have the best yield yet. i've removed just a few Colorado potato beetles, their larva and eggs. Not too bad though. i've actually been surprised how few i have found, last year they decimated one bed of potatoes before i even realized i had them.

The front garden, or technically garden #2. Is on the other side of our driveaway, along a nice empty stretch of land that is bordered by the woods. The garden is 12' x 45' and partially shaded. It's up a hill so it's hard to get a good picture of it. This garden contains 6 rows of potatoes, Bachelor buttons, Red Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Dwarf blue kale, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Lucullus Swiss Chard, green leaf lettuce, spinach, Red Russian Kale, yellow onions, Lacinato kale and 3 double rows of bush snap peas. i still have a couple rows to plant. :)

Here's the spinach, leaf lettuce (random potato), white Chard, Rainbow Chard and Dwarf blue kale.

This is red Russian Kale, it's doubled in size since i took this picture. It's a really pretty kale, i can't wait to start harvesting it.

This is a glimpse of the purple garden (Garden #3). This year we fenced it in entirely, and it has really helped the garden. i knew the chickens were pretty destructive, but i didn't really realize the extent of it. Without the chickens getting in to strip the kale, pull up the bean shoots and peas, scratch up my strawberry bed etc the garden is really looking amazing!! Unfortunately the fence which is a thick green plastic, makes it really tough to get a full picture of the garden.

i have three rows of purple flowering peas. One row is the Blue podded Shell peas, and then i have two double rows (both sides of fencing) of the Dwarf grey. Which produces purple flowers, but green peas. i also have two rows of the purple bush beans, a row of purple tomatoes (Cherokee purple, Black Krim and Purple Kalabash).

i've got two rows of the Redbor kale, which is supposed to be purple...but is more green than purple. The stems are at least purple. i read that the colder the weather the more purple it will be, so i'm going to try saving seeds on this and planting again in the fall. i really want purple kale!!

i also planted purple cabbage in here, and a couple Sicilian violet cauliflower. On the other end of this garden is two raised strawberry beds, my Asparagus bed, which is also full of butter crunch lettuce, dill and Cosmic purple carrots. My broccoli is also planted in the garden along with my salad garden ( spinach, a variety of lettuce, onions and garlic).

My main garden (garden #1) is just starting to come up, so i don't have any good pictures yet. i'm still in the process of planting this garden, although it is mostly done. i have most of my tomatoes and peppers planted in the garden. i'm also trying corn again this year, and i have a few rows of bush beans and soy beans. i have tee-pees along the back for purple pole beans, cucumbers and scarlet runners. Along the front i have a few hills of squash.

On the tiered garden on the front hill, is my sweet potatoes, more tomatoes and squash. The kids garden is also planted and doing well, but that will get's own post.

This time of year is so incredibly busy for me, but i love every minute of it (except maybe removing the potato bugs..yuck!).

How is you garden growing this year? Did you plant anything unusual?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Birthday Waldorf Doll

My daughter's birthday is coming up quickly, and i really wanted to make her a new doll this year. Although my girl has never really gotten into dolls, every once in a while she will get out the dolls i've made her and dress them up, or undress them, line them up and play with them for a bit. So even though i know a new doll isn't top on her list, it is the gift i wanted to give to her.

i actually made this doll body awhile ago, but have had a very difficult time finding the yarn i wanted for it. i'm constantly browsing the beautiful yarns on etsy, but everything i love is about $30+ dollars for about 45 yards. i need around 100, for a full head of hair. :(

So when i came across this lovely Berroco yarn that had been discontinued i snatched it up immediately. It was almost exactly what i had been looking for. Not quite 100 yards, but if i made the dolls hair a tiny bit shorter than i was originally planning it would work.

i'm pretty pleased with the way she turned out. i still have a few issues with her that are bugging me, but i'm not going to change anything. It just means i know how to make the next one better.

One of my biggest struggles with making dolls is the clothing. i never use patterns (although i probably should) and i can never find the *perfect* fabrics to use. i think actually picking the fabrics is the hardest part for me.

So while i was staring at the naked dolly trying to imagine an outfit for her....i remembered one of Sage's baby dresses that i had saved. So i pulled out the bin of old baby clothes and was thrilled to find it, and a couple of other dresses that fit the doll. This is the one i had remembered. i just added a ribbon tie string in the back and it fits the new doll perfectly. i crocheted her a pair of shoes and i want a new B-day crown for Sage and a matching one for the doll. :) i also hope to make her a handful of outfits, wings, some underpants and a sweater....but i feel like she is done enough that i don't have to stress about it now. yay!

This is my sneak peek. i'll post a picture of her complete, with full outfit/outfits when it's done.

i had put these dolls on hold while i was working on a few other projects, but am feeling like i'm ready to pick them up again.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Farm Rich Winner Announced!!

The Farm Rich Winner is....

BethElderton said... 13

I'd like the Jalapeno Peppers and the Mozzarella Sticks
bethelderton59 at gmail dot com

Congratulations Beth! Winner has been notified by email and confirmed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Freezing Broccoli

We grow broccoli every year. One of the biggest challenges with it is dealing with cabbage worms. Since our garden is entirely organic, we do not use any types of sprays or pesticides. We typically deal with the worms manually. Which means we hand pick off any worms or eggs that we find. It's really time consuming, and often times we still miss many of the worms. i wanted to try floating row covers this year, but never got around to purchasing them. So i was really expecting our usual wormy broccoli.

Our broccoli looked absolutely gorgeous this year!! i hand picked a handful of fat green worms off of it earlier in the season when it had just started, but really hadn't seen any after than. i figured they were hiding in the flower heads. Last week, i picked 18 beautiful green heads like the one in the picture, and didn't find one worm!!

Now, one of the issues we have when growing lots of broccoli is that it all tends to be ready around the same time. The window of opportunity for harvesting broccoli is about three to four days. This year we had a ton of rain...then it got really warm, so all of the broccoli had to be picked almost immediately. There is no way we could eat 18 heads of broccoli within 3-4 days... so i needed to freeze it.

The first thing you want to do with your broccoli is remove excess leaves/woody stem and them soak them head down in salt water for 30 minutes to remove any bugs or worms. Then rinse well. The broccoli needs to be blanched or steamed before freezing. i prefer to steam it.

Bring a deep pot of water to a boil. Start preparing your broccoli, and have a large bowl of ice water set aside so that you can quickly cool the broccoli.

Cut broccoli into serving sized pieces. Place broccoli on the steaming rack, over boiling water and cover.

Steam for 5 minutes. If you'd rather blanch it, you can place it directly in the boiling water for 3 min. Remove either by lifting up the steaming rack, or with a slotted spoon if you boiled it.
Transfer it immediately into the ice water and let it cool completely. Drain excess water, pat dry and package in freezer bags/containers and freeze immediately.

Freezing broccoli is really easy, and although it's not as good as fresh broccoli i like to use it in soups and casseroles. Broccoli cheese soup is a favorite in the winter, and the frozen broccoli will work perfectly for that.

* These direction came from the Freezing Foods at home booklet, that was handed down to me by my mother. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hahn Horticultural Gardens

On Sunday, after our trip to Mountain Lake, we stopped in Blacksburg to walk through the Hahn Horticultural Gardens. It's funny that in all of our trips to Blacksburg over the last 12 years, we didn't know this place existed. i found information about it while looking for things to do in the Blacksburg area. These garden are open year round, and free to the public.

The gardens are nearly six acres of teaching and display gardens located on the campus of Virginia Tech. The water gardens were by far the favorite place for the kids. Their is a beautiful waterfall and bridge, and the pond is full of koi fish and a pair of baby duckling.

i think they were used to being fed, because the duckling followed us everywhere around the pond, and the fish followed the ducklings.

i think my kids could have spent all day here. They had so much fun just watching the fish and ducklings. We also heard a frog croaking, and they looked everywhere but couldn't find him.

The gardens were really beautiful. There was lots of unusual flowers, trees and shrubs. Most everything as labeled so you could identify each plant. i've already forgotten the names of many of the flowers i took pictures of. :) This was a type of coneflower. i've never seen this color before and thought they were beautiful and unusual.

It was really fun to see the kids so enthusiastic about the different flowers and plants. Sage needed to know what everything was, and ever flower seemed to be more beautiful than the last to her.

This little tree (Japanese maple??) made a wonderful hideout.

i have no idea what these were, but they were HUGE and beautiful.

In the Shade garden resides a "garden sprite" - a sandstone rendition of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Maid in the Mud".

This big leaf Magnolia had blooms that were 12" across. They were really stunning!! We really enjoyed our visit to the gardens, and plan to make it a regular stop when we are visiting Blacksburg.

Before leaving we headed over to the Duck pond, another popular place on the VT campus. My kids both fell in love with this tree. It was huge and reminded us all of Grandmother Willow. Can you see both my kids peeking out?

Between Mountain Lake and The HH Gardens it was a really a fabulous day.