Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Conscious Kitchen Book Giveaway

CLOSED Congratulations #40 Kaytlyn

The Conscious Kitchen: The New Way to Buy and Cook Food- to Protect the Earth, Improve Your Health, and Eat Deliciously
by Alexandra Zissu

This overview was taken straight from Barnesandnoble.com

Alexandra Zissu walks readers through every kitchen-related decision with three criteria in mind: what’s good for personal health, what’s good for the planet, and what tastes great. Learn, among other things, how to:

- Keep pesticides, chemicals, and other harmful ingredients out of your diet
- Choose when to spend your dollars on organic fruit and when to buy conventionally grown
- Avoid plastic—including which kinds in particular and why
- Figure out what seafood is safe to eat and is sustainable
- Use COOL (country of origin labels) to your advantage
- Determine if a vegetable is genetically modified just from reading its PLU (price look up) code
- Decipher meat labels in the supermarket
- Cook using the least energy—good for the earth and your wallet
- Eat locally, even in winter
- Understand what “natural” and other marketing terms really mean
- Buy packaged foods wisely

Navigate farmers’ markets, giant supermarkets, and every shop in between to find the freshest and healthiest local ecologically grown and produced meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables—no matter where you live

With The Conscious Kitchen as your guide, you will never again stand in the market bewildered, wondering what to buy. You can feel confident you are making the best possible choices for you, your family, and our planet.

i recently ended up with two copies of this book, and thought i'd pass one along.

Want to win a copy of the book for yourself?

**Mandatory Entry**

Tell me one thing you do or plan to start doing to have a more conscious kitchen?

*You MUST do the mandatory entry! Bonus entries will not count, if mandatory entry is not done first!*

IMPORTANT: Don't forget to leave an email address so i can contact you if you win!!

{Leave separate comments for each entry or it will not count}

**Bonus Entries**
Bonus entries are not required. However, you may do one or all to increase your chance of winning! If you are already a fan, or already following that counts as an extra entry!

1. Follow The enchanted tree blog publicly on google friend connect, if you already follow leave a comment telling me you do. {1 entry}
2. Become a fan of The enchanted tree on Facebook if your already a fan, leave me a comment letting me know {1 entry} leave facebook name in comment

So, that's 3 entries total.

This is not a sponsored giveaway, i just had two copies of the book and thought it would be fun to give one away.

  • Giveaway ends Wed, July 7th 2010 at 11:59pm EST
  • Winner will be chosen via Random.Org., and contacted by email, i also always post winners name on the blog.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen
  • Giveaway open to USA shipping addresses only

Monday, June 28, 2010

Garden updates..kind of. :)

i don't have a lot of pictures to share of this years garden, it just isn't very impressive at all. i've had a lot of problems with insect pests this year. i garden organically and do not use any types of pest control other than manually picking off the insects. Occasionally i will spray with a cayenne pepper spray or soapy water. i think next year, i'm going to try floating row covers, because the insects have been so bad.

i planted about 20 zucchini plants...yes, you read that right 20. Well, only two look this one. The rest appear stunted, or just failed to really do much. i planted three zucchini per hill and it seems that one plant would do great and just shade out the other two. So with 20 zucchini plants, i'm still waiting to see if i'll even get any zucchini. A couple of my smaller plants are already showing signs of vine borers and i'm already seeing cucumber beetles.

Tomatoes are doing great this year, better than they ever have! There is no sign of blight so far. i'll try getting a pictures of the plants in my next garden update. They are about 3 foot tall, and getting some good looking tomatoes on them. This little green tomato is not quite big enough to pick, but just another week and we'll be enjoying some fried green tomatoes.

This is the first sunflower of the year! i had sunflowers come up on their own all over the garden this year. i moved a few around to border the garden a bit, but i didn't actually plant any. Despite not planting any this year, i have 7 in my front garden and 15 in my main garden. :) i hope they don't shade out my tomatoes too much. It does make for a pretty garden though.

i have flowers planted along the front edge of my main garden, separating it from the road. Every year i expand the flowers out a bit more, and every year they encroach into my garden a bit more. This year, they really look stunning, and are always covered in butterflies. Next year i'll work to thin them out more, but this year they look so amazing they are taking the attention away from my struggling garden. hee hee.

i call this cottage gardening, although it's really just an overgrown mass of flowers. Black eyed susan, oxeyed daisy, purple cone flowers, bee balm, tall purple phlox and holly hocks.
Sweet potaotoes are doing great again! Leaves are getting munched a bit, but not enough to cause any problems for the tubers growing under the soil.

This is a pretty crappy picture, but this is the kids garden. It's starting to fill in. Lettuce is raging, and then we've got a few peas...they were planted late and anly a few came up. Two rows of purple bush beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and a zucchini. :)

For some reason many folks are under the impression that i am a master gardener. ha ha. Yeah, i'm not. i love to garden, but that doesn't mean i'm good at it. This year, that is especially obvious...and everything is struggling. My neighbors all have beautiful gardens, but i know their secret formula. Apply round up to kill off the weeds. Add 10-10-10 chemical fertilizer, then dust everything in a nice layer of seven dust insecticide.

Yeah, i think i'll stick with my struggling organic garden. It may not be pretty, but i can feel good about eating the veggies fresh out of the garden and not have to worry about a layer of poison and what kind of affect it may have on me or the environment.

I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. ~ George Burns

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looking for artists and handcrafters!

This is a repeat post, but i am still looking for a few artists and crafters who are interested in being featured. i'd really like to start having a featured artist, once or twice a month on my blog.

It helps me to keep my blog active, even when i am not creating much. There are just so many amazing crafters out there, and i would love to help promote their businesses as well as share the fabulous products with my readers.

If you have a website, or etsy shop and are interested in being featured or having me host a giveaway. Please contact me at


Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Solstice baby!

This was taken 4 years ago, on June 20th. It's 4 days past my due date, and i'm roughly the size of a whale. It was super hot that day, and we hiked down to the creek to play in the water and cool off. Later that evening i go into labor and on June 21st, the Summer Solstice, my little Sage makes her way into the world.

She was born at 2:57am and weighed in at 8lbs 7oz and is 21 inches long. So tiny compared to my boy who was over 9lbs!!
We had been calling her our spring baby all along, and then she waited until the first day of summer to be born. :)

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

i finally got to give her the Dragonfly's Hollow doll, who just happens to be named Summer. How perfect is that??

Another super cool gift that she received was the My fairy Garden book by Maggie Bateson. The entire book transforms into a 3-d pop up fairy garden village, with doors that open, and paperdoll fairies. Inside there is an envelope to store all the fairies when not in use. This was actually a garage sale treasure my mom scored!

My parents and sister made a surprise visit for Sage birthday. We don't get to see them to often, since they live out of state, so it was really special for her.

Later that afternoon we played in the creek.

It's so hard to believe it has been 4 years already. It has been an amazing journey so far, and i look forward to all the days ahead of us. Happy Birthday Beautiful girl!
Happy Summer Solstice!

"That beautiful season the Summer!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light;
and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, June 19, 2010

pulling out our cloth diapers...

Even though my youngest has been out of diaper for about a year now, i have not been able to get rid of my cloth diapers.

i purchased my diapers 8 years ago, before all these fancy AIO's and pocket diapers became so popular. i bought an economy package from a website called earth baby, or eco baby...whatever it was, it's no longer around. My set came with 6 prowrap covers and two dozen Chinese prefolds. It cost around $72. As my baby grew, we upgraded covers (i purchased pro-wrap seconds) and purchased a dozen or two of the larger sized prefolds. The cost of our diapers was very minimal, compared to what folks pay for disposables. i would guess we spent well under $300 total.

When my son potty trained, i packed up all my cloth diapers and put them into storage. i pulled them out again when my daughter was born. i admit, by the time my daughter potty trained many of my diapers were looking very rough. However, we doubled them up or did what we needed to and made them work. i acquired a few new diapers through trades or giveaways. i always prefered the prefolds though. If they were really falling apart, we turned them into cleaning rags or recycled them into homemade swiffer pads . When my daughter potty trained i packed most of them up again, not ready to get rid of them completely.

Now 8 years, and two children later...i am pulling them out out again. i have to admit, it makes my heart thump a bit to see them hanging on on the line again.

No, no....no more babies here. Well, human babies anyway.

We just adopted another puppy. :) Sigh....
He's so tiny and sweet. This is Mr. Rufus Bigglesworth. He's a 6 week old beagle.
When our neighbors heard we had lost our beagle in Nov. they breed a couple of their beagles so they could give us a new puppy. How could we say no?

So, my cloth diapers are getting used again, this time as puppy bedding and piddle pads.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Berry Season has begun!

Have i mentioned before how much i love berries? Especially, when the fruit is picked straight from the plant, homegrown and organic. Berry season, is finally here..and it looks to be a very good one.

We have blueberries ...

and red raspberries...ready for picking. Blackberries and black raspberries are not quite ripe yet..but getting close. There's going to be lots. Enough for jam, enough to freeze, enough to gorge ourselves every time we walk out the door. i love this time of year, when the kids ask for a snack and i just send them outside to 'pick' something. Fresh berries, sugar snap peas, fresh green beans... we live on these in the summer.

Fruit salads, fruit smoothies, and berry parfait with fresh yogurt.
i truly feel blessed to live here, and have so much real food right outside my door.
i always look forward to berry season, and am glad that it extends through out much of the summer. OUr red raspberries are everbearing, so we'll get a new crop come fall. i look forward to making pies and tarts and having my freezer stocked in tasty berries again.
i love berry season!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mermaids in the making.

Last month i posted about my first attempt at making Sage a mermaid tail. She liked it so much, that i decided to make another, this time using some pretty cotton tie-dyed batik fabric i'd found. i did a few things differently with the design and love the way it turned out! It has an elastic waist so Sage can put it on and off all by herself. i like the cotton much better than the silky fabric. It's easier to sew, and more durable. She puts it on almost every day.

i've been intending to make her some felt 'sea shells' boobie covers...but haven't gotten there yet.
Hangin' with her favorite hen, Gylfie.

and dancing in the rain.

Sage's birthday is coming up on the solstice, and she'll finally be recieving her Dragonfly's hollow doll! i'm so excited!! :) i had some left over fabric from her mermaid tail, and so i made a matching mermaid tail for the doll she'll be getting. i'd like to make a few clothing sets as well, and some wings. i can't wait to give them all to her. Just another week, and my baby will be 4!

By the way, Dragonfly's Hollow is having another doll giveaway right now! So head over, and check out her blog for details and for a chance to win a fabulous doll of your own!

The last time i was out shopping, i decided to pick up a few more fun fabrics that i thought would make good mermaid tails. i'm hoping to have a few to sell, trade or gift sometime this summer. Keep your eyes peeled for them!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Butterfly madness.

Today while working in the yard, i noticed there seemed to be a lot of butterflies fluttering around. i grabbed my camera, and followed a few who led me to the Silky Dogwood tree in the front yard. The entire tree was covered in Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies.

We counted about 28 just on this one Silky Dogwood tree (we have two).

They kept fluttering about and changing places, and i'm sure there were more than that! Everytime Sage would startle them, the tree would just explode with butterflies, who would lift up just a bit then light back down on the flowers.

These are Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele and you can find more info about them here. We found and raised a Great Spangled fritillary caterpiller earlier this spring, and released the butterfly just a couple weeks ago.

The kids were fascinated by all the butterflies, and we tried several thing to get the butterflies to come to us. First they rubbed some of the flower pollen on their fingers and held their hands up, but the butterlflies showed no interest. So we picked one of the dogwood flowers, and held it up and one of the butterflies lighted upon it.

We did this several times, and had lots of butterflies come down and visit our flower. They were in such a pollen frenzy that you could almost reach out and touch them.

There are many trees and plants that you can grow to attract butterflies. The Silky Dogwood is one that will attract a variety of butterflies and birds It is a native tree, that produces blue-black berries. These fruits are particularly important for migrating songbirds. Making the Silky Dogwood a really good choice for natural landscaping and for turning your backyard into a wildlife habitat. Some other favorite butterfly attracting plants are Echinacea (Purple Cone flowers), Swamp milkweed, butterfly weed and Bee balm.

This website has lots of info on attracting butterflies and creating your own butterfly garden.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

The kids garden.

We got a late start on the kids garden this year. Sequoia didn't start working on it until school was out. However, both kids were very eager to plant again. Last year's kids garden did really well.

Kenan did the original tilling to get the soil ready, and then Sequoia used the hoe to get rows ready and pulled the weeds out. We then added some seasoned manure from the local dairy farm and turned it into the soil a bit.

It's amazing what a bit of rain can do. We always add manure and compost to our soil to continually build it up. Unfortunately, with that comes lots of weed seeds. Yes, everything you are looking at in that picture is weeds. They literally appeared overnight after a nice soaking rain shower. If you think it looks bad in the tiny garden, you should see my main garden...the weeding is never ending. Everytime it rains they come back full force. :)

Sequoia did all the weeding himself, and planted two rows of peas, tomatoes, pepper and lettuce. a few weeks ago.

Sage was very enthusiastic about helping too, and she put in two rows of beans, a row of turnips, zucchini and some flower seeds.

She refused any kind of help, had to do it all by herself. She would poke a finger into the soil to make a hole and then drop the seed in. Then she watered them and patted dirt over the seeds and said 'grow little seed grow'. She did this with every seed. :)

We got a really nice rain again last night, so it won't be long before these start to sprout. i look forward to updating with it's progress, and feel incredibly blessed that my children share my love of planting and growing things. They are always eager to eat the vegetables they have grown themselves, even ones that are new to them.

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden. ~Robert Brault

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cherry Picking.

Our neighbors, who live on the other side of the woods from us have three beautiful cherry trees in their yard. Every year they invite us to come and pick as many as we want before the birds eat them all or the rain knocks them out of the trees. They usually pick a few for themselves, but otherwise they are just wasted. The tree are completely loaded with yummy tart cherries, and they don't spray it or anything so they are totally organic.

Sage jumped and jumped, but just couldn't reached them.:)

So they climbed up into the trees.

Kenan and i picked 20lbs the first day, and then he went back and picked another 20lbs the next day. The trees didn't even look like they had been touched. The kids contribed about 40 cherries total to the bucket, and came home with full bellies and covered in sticky cherry juice.

Kenan and i spend the next couple evenings pitting and freezing cherries. i considered making jelly, but the cherries have a yellow flesh and don't keep their pretty red color. i think the jelly would probably end up a weird orange brown color, and not be all that appetizing. i also just love having the cherries in the freezer to use when ever i need them.
i like to freeze them separated on cookie sheets, and then transfer them to freezer bags once they are frozen. The kids love eating frozen fruit in the summer and they'll make great muffins and other goodies. i saved and froze all the juice too, and am going to make cherry sorbet with it. i made a cherry crisp last night, and am thinking about making some cherry muffins today. Do any have any favorite cherry recipes to share?

Blueberry season is just begining as well, and soon my freezer will be packed tight with frozen blueberries and then raspberries, blackberries and peaches. i feel incredibly blessed to live in a place where we have so much access to real foods.

Wordless Wednesday- Dragonfly

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Garden updates

i'm extremely behind on my garden this year. i just keep looking at the date, and then at the big empty patch in my garden...ugh. This has been a very weird year on so many levels. We had a lot of company this spring, and that and the unpredictable weather, just really through me out of my usual groove. i've been in no hurry to plant things, just slowly working on it in my time.
It's okay. i hate to say the passion isn't here this year, but the urgency isn't. The need to do it all right now, that i usually have...just isn't there. i've been taking my time, and i know it'll be alright.

We did get some of our cold crops in March, so we are now harvesting peas and broccoli.

We put in two rows of Sugar snaps, and the kids are always picking them and munching on them all day long. We love to eat them raw in the pods, or lightly saute them with a bit of garlic and sesame oil. i like to blanch and freeze these as well. They are great for adding to a stir fry or bean thread soup.

Our broccoli is doing great despite the warm temps. i've spend a lot of time picking off cabbage worms, and removing eggs...ahh...the joys of organic gardening. We put in 16 broccoli this spring, and 8 cauliflower. i'll be spending the next couple of days cleaning, blanching and freezing broccoli. One of the problems i have with broccoli is that it seems to ready to pick at the same time. i've tried staggering them a bit, but as soon as it gets really warm it wants to go to seed. My cauliflower was put in a bit late, and this is the first time i've tried growing it...so i'm eager to see how it does.

We put in 50lbs of potatoes again this year, and they seem to be doing quite well. They are flowering and have not shown any symptoms of blight...which is a huge thing for us. My tomatoes are looking great so far as well. Again they were put in a little late, but are growing well, flowering and not showing any signs of blight yet. This year i put in about 30 plants, all heirloom. i'd like to get a few more, and try a few in containers as well. We also put in Sweet potatoes again this year, 27 plants. So we are anticipating a really good crop. My squash and cucumbers are all having a rather slow start.

Blueberries are just beginning to ripen, and the bushes are loaded! We are still getting some strawberries, although they never do as well as they should. The chickens, birds and slugs tend to get many of them.
i did this years garden differently, abandoning many of our traditional rows for patches instead. i do have some full rows planted, like the peas, bush beans and soy beans. Other things i've put into small patches, or just planted in random places where i found room. It'll be interesting to see how it all fills in and grows.

i've already been seeing way more insect pests than ever before, especailly on my flowers...so we'll how it goes this year. i've been outside daily picking off what i can, and spraying everything is soapy water. Now if only i could get the rest of it planted! :)