Thursday, June 28, 2012

How Do you do your laundry? #BlogChallenge Day 28

I like to go pretty crunchy (natural, green, whatever) with my laundry.
To a one gallon container add:
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda
Fill 3/4 full with hot water and shake until powders are mostly dissolved (I use a plastic 1 gallon vinegar jug so that its easier to shake and pour). Add:
  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap (I'm currently using Dr. Bronner's Almond Hemp)
Fill the rest of the way with water and invert to mix. This will separate and become a little lumpy, but I just shake it before each use. This recipe originally called for two gallons of water but I made it more concentrated to save space. More water may equal less lumps. I use two Tablespoons per load in my HE front loader. There are 256 tablespoons in a gallon, so I should get about 128 loads.

I have noticed some fading of dark colored knits when using borax in the laundry. This doesn't bother me too much since most of our cloths come from thrift shops :-)

Fabric Softener:
Distilled white vinegar
4 homemade dryer balls
Myers Green Day Lemon Verbena dryers sheets (not as effective on static as the dryer balls! I only use these 'cause I got them on sale).

For Diaper Laundry:
I'm trying out Eco-Sprout right now and am happy with it so far
Dawn Original dish detergent worked well for occasional "stripping" of noxious fumes that accumulated over time. I soaked the diapers with the detergent for a few hours and then washed them without any soap until there were no suds left.
I always add a little vinegar to the fabric softener compartment for diapers too.  

I do a lot of cleaning with cloths instead of paper towels. I have learned from experience that you should hang wet cloths to dry instead of throwing them in the laundry pile wet. That will prevent stinky gross stuff from growing on it! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Dream "Me" Day: #BlogChallenge Day 25

What is your Ideal day of "me time", without thinking of money, time or any of life's other normal stresses?
 I wonder, in thinking about this subject, will I become discontent? No, because it is such a fantasy I don't even long for a day like this. I am so blessed!

I wake up at 8am, eat my oatmeal and drink my tea in peace. I head out into the garden to take pictures, dead-head, and putter. Then I head out for a few hours at the spa with friends--massage, mani-pedi, light lunch. The afternoon is spent at a local yarn store picking out skeins of hand-spun and/or hand-dyed yarn and then a garden tour. Supper is king crab legs--lots of them! Dessert: creme brulee and tiramisu. Then a romantic evening with the hubby includes a Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra concert, dancing (in this dream we both salsa :-), and a walk on the beach (oh, look! Now we're in the Caribbean! I think I'm getting carried away.) Getting home, I snuggle with my sleeping little boy and look forward to being climbed on all during breakfast tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blendtec Blender Giveaway!

I have teamed up with Kate n' Kaboodle to celebrate the final giveaway in her Funtastic Summer Event. The Funtastic Summer Event started June 10th with dozens of fun, summer themed giveaways! You can find all the giveaways here! The Blendtec Designer Series Wildside Blender is the Swiss Army Knife of Blenders because it can do the job of many appliances. It a whole juicer, a meat grinder, a latte machine, a bread mixer, an ice cream maker, a grain mill, coffee grinder, milkshake mixer, and a blender all in one! The sleek design features an illuminated, easy to read, touch screen with universal icons. This enables effortless selection of blend cycles. Blendtec created pre-programmed blending cycles to to produce optimum results for a wide range of blending tasks. Making a smoothie is as easy as a touch of a button! Just add your ingredients and press the "smoothie" icon! Want total control? The revolutionary new slider interface gives you absolute control over your blender speed. Touch anywhere on the slider to jump right to any speed, and slide your finger up and down to fine tune your blend. The Wildside Jar is BPA free and has a total volume of 90 fl oz. Clean up is a breeze with the flat, sealed, touch area and smooth motor base design. Just wipe it off with a damp cloth! No more messy buttons! The small, sleek design allows the Blendtec Designer Series Blender to fit under most cabinetry so it is easily accessible. This blender is more than a pretty face! With over 1500 watts of power, the commercial grade motor is the most powerful motor available for home use. The Blendtec blender is build for speed and power! The precision-machined socket connects directly to the motor, resulting in a finely-balanced motor assembly. This reduces vibration and noise, which is critical at the motor speeds you will see with the Blendtec. The air-flow design keeps the blender cooler enabling the blender to have a longer life.
Want to see the Blendtec Blender in action? Check out all Kate n' Kaboodle's Blendtec reviews!
Make sure you also check out all the giveaways in Kate n' Kaboodle's Funtastic Summer Event!
Blendtec Online Blendtec Facebook Blendtec Twitter Blendtec Pinterest
Buy It
The Blendtec Designer Series Wildside Blender can be purchased on the Blendtec site for $499.95.
Win It
One very lucky reader is going to win the Blendtec Designer Series Wildside Blender, a $500 value!
Open to U.S only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Favorite Eco-friendly Thing: #BlogChallenge Day 24

My favorite eco-friendly choice is to buy what I can in bulk and store it in glass jars. It is thrifty, reduces packaging waste, and is just plain pretty! I found someone on Cragslist who was selling 2 huge boxes of jars for $20

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dumbarton Oaks, One of My Faforite Gardens: #BlogChallenge Day 23

Some of my favorite blog posts of the past are from my trip to Dumbarton Oaks Garden in Washington D.C. They were so beautiful to visit and inspiring to photograph! This is my favorite:

Dumbarton Oaks Part 3: From Formal, to Fanciful, to Gardening Pebbles


Here are the others:

Dumbarton Oaks part 1

Dumbarton Oaks part 2

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Flowers: June 22, 2012

Short on words, long on flowers.

Clematis 'Jackmanii' and Digitalis ambigua

Oak-leaf Hydrangea 'Sikes Dwarf'

Oak-leaf Hydrangea 'Sikes Dwarf'

I haven't killed the container flowers yet!

Primary colors: Salvia 'Caradonna', Sedum 'Oracle', Gaillardia 'Burgundy'

Monochromatic: Geranium 'Rozanne' and Lavendar
Linked up at Fertilizer Friday

Childhood Aspirations: #BlogChallenge Day 22

As a child, what dis you want to be when you grew up?

Initially I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, but that didn't last much past kindergarten. When we did mash-ups as tweens I think the three most commonly picked professions among my friends and I were
  1.  Homemaker
  2. Photo Journalist
  3. Interior Designer
Interior designer is such a laugh for me since I've always had a horrible time making any type of decorating decision, and I find so many styles appealing that I have no style of my own. I don't know why we always picked interior designer--too many episodes of Designing Women, I guess!

Hey, I also wanted to let you know that there is an awesome yarn giveaway going on at Not Your Average Crochet! Its open until 6/26/12.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Words of Wisdom: #BlogChallenge Day 21

I saw this on the white board at my pediatrician's office:

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Well, I'm sure now I will hear about people putting tomatoes in a fruit salad! What I like about the saying is the simple illustration of wisdom--simple enough that I remembered it!

Win One Gallon of Coconut Oil! #SummerCelebration

Summer Celebration
Welcome to the Summer Celebration Giveaway Hop, hosted by Happy Mothering and Organic Mama through the Green Moms Network! As part of this fabulous event, a group of bloggers is each is offering an eco-friendly giveaway worth $25 or more on their blogs! After you finish entering my giveaway, be sure to visit the other participating blogs, which are listed below the Rafflecopter form. Good luck everyone!

The latest thing I've been doing with coconut oil is grilling! I oiled the foil on which I grilled some fish tonight and yesterday I grilled up sweet onions to go with our burgers. Just brush slices with coconut oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill on skewers, in a grill basket, or on foil to keep them from falling through. Absolutely delicious!

I like them more well done, so I should have put them on 5 minutes before the burgers.
Now for the giveaway!
Gold Label Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Win 1 gallon of  Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America's source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil? You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:
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.

The giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents 18 and over. There is one mandatory entry and all the rest are optional. Have fun and happy hopping!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I am proud of...Sweeping: #BlogChallenge Day 19

Before our son was born, my husband swept the house once a week. I love that man! Now, with a toddler, a cat, a dog, and babysitting, it needs more attention than that. A lot more. I struggle with housecleaning. I am working on growing the desire want  a clean house, rather than just ignoring dirt because I don't want to clean. For the past week I have swept the kitchen and dining room at least every other day! I'm quite proud of myself :-)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Garlic Lover's Roasted Chicken Breasts: #BlogChallenge Day 18

Sometimes I try to do my weekly shopping trip "early" (9am) in the morning so that I can find meat that is price-reduced for a quick sale. I recently scored a club pack of split chicken breasts for $0.99 per pound. I often cook and shred chicken to put in the freezer so that I can save time cooking dinner. But chicken be so blah and I rarely get excited over chicken. I decided to up the flavor of my roasted shredded chicken with garlic and lemon. I couldn't keep this chicken out of my mouth! And it goes perfectly in any dish I add it to. I think it would also be great for a pot-luck batch of chicken salad or bbq chicken sandwiches. Love it!
Garlic Lover's Roasted Chicken for Freezing
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-5 lbs. split chicken breasts, skin removed
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a small bowl.

Place chicken on a baking pan with meat side up. Pour mixture over the chicken and rub it around, if you feel like it.
 Bake for 1 hour or until juices run clear when you poke it with a knife.
Let sit until cool and remove chicken from bones, storing in freezer bags or containers of your choice.

Makes 8 cups shredded chicken

Linked at these yummy sites:
Kelly's Passion for Nutrition

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Renting Textbooks Makes Life Easier

Recalling my cash-strapped college days, I have some very clear and bitter memories involving textbooks. The worst scenarios, in my opinion:
  • At least one of your classes, maybe organic chemistry, decides to upgrade to the newest edition of the textbook. Consequently, there is no way to buy a used copy = $$$$.
  • You stand in line at the bookstore for hours only to get $12 for a book you paid $70 for. Or to find out that next year they will be using a new edition. Argh!
These memories are why I am impressed with
Some of the aspects that appeal to me:
  • You can save 40-90% off bookstore prices.
  • They have flexible rental periods and a 30 guarantee to get your money back if you drop the class.
  • You can highlight in the books!
  • No membership fee.
  • Free shipping both ways.
  • No need to box up the books--they provide pre-paid envelopes.
  • The option to buy the books if you want to keep them. This seems like a good idea for homeschooling families who want to try out a curriculum. Just for kicks I looked for my highschool math, Saxon, and they have it! 
On top of all that, CampusBookRentals gives a portion of their proceeds to Operation Smile, an organization that provides life-changing operations to repair cleft palates in children whose families cannot afford it. What a great way to give back! 

This is a service that definitely could have made life easier for me and I would recommend that those looking for textbooks should check it out. 

This a sponsored post for which I received some form of compensation. All opinions are my own and I only recommend that which I would personally use or think would be beneficial to my readers.

Am I a Couch Potato? [#BlogChallenge] Day 16

Uh, yes, I really am. I grew up loving to read and hating the sun. I love staying at home and doing "nothing". Reading, cruising the internet, watching sports--I am very good at sitting still. That's one reason I was surprised by falling in love with flower gardening. Its active and it takes place outside! But it is just so fulfilling.

This week, Caleb had roseola. He had a fever of 102 for 4 days and just cried and slept the whole time. I did very little as I tried to mother him through this most miserable time so far in his little life. He feels better, thank God! Now I have to wrench my lazy brain out of the do-nothing rut its is in. So I forced myself outside into the garden for a few hours--and I feel so much better. I like to spend three or four hours gardening in a week. We also take some short walks a few time a week. Short because our old Great Dane starts to drag after just a little ways.

I'm looking forward to the two vacations that we are taking this summer, since they will involve a lot of outdoor activities. Its good to put ourselves in the position to be active. I really do enjoy it! As long as there is shade :-)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Flowers: Late Spring

Clematis 'Jackmanii' and Digitalis ambigua


Thalictrum glaucum or Dusky Meadow Rue

Hydrangea 'White Dome'

Astilbe 'Peaches and Cream'

Surprise! A friend in the compost pile.

A Humble Photo of a Proud Knitting Accomplishment [#BlogChallenge Day 15]

Today's prompt is: Post a photo I've taken that I'm proud of.

Goodness, isn't that what I do all the time? I am unjustifiable proud of my photography since its my camera (point and shoot, no less) that's doing all the work. I highly recommend the Canon Powershot A590IS (there are newer models out). Moving children are not its forte, but its great for still life!

So I'll change things up a bit--no flowers! I'm proud of this humble picture because this is the bootie that taught me how to knit. I knew Caleb needed something to keep his feet warm and I thought this pattern was so cute. It was way beyond me though, so I watched youtube and videos over and over again. I pursued this project obsessively and ended up with two slightly-imperfect but workable booties that I was very proud of.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Afraid of Giving Advice: BlogChallenge Day 14

I have always been afraid of giving advice, as well as of making decisions or taking the lead, because I don't want to be the one responsible for the results! Also, I hate to disagree with people, so its easier to keep quiet and not risk stepping on toes. I have been trying to change this mindset, though. I realize that I do have wisdom sometimes and its good to share it. The results are not in my control and that's ok. So here are 15 things I have learned from experience that will help you in life.

  1. That voice you hear that says "you suck" is a lie. Everyone hears it and you are not alone.
  2. Accepting God's love changes everything.
  3. Most people are struggling with their own insecurities while you're worrying about yours.
  4. Giving in to fits of anger only leads to more. If I punch the wall, I am not satisfied and am more likely to throw something.
  5. Cursing only makes me angrier.
  6. Prayer, gratitude, and words of blessing help diffuse my anger.
  7. Praying for people on the roads has helped me overcome my fear of semi-trucks and my quick temper (anyone see a theme? :-)
  8. Depression is a sucking black hole that feeds on itself. When you see the first signs, fight it! Identify lying thoughts and face them with the Truth.
  9. If your the forgetful type like me, write things down, set an alarm, and ask someone to remind you (I so need to work on this one).
  10. Don't be shy, you have something to give.
  11. Judgmental people are wrong, but we are not their judges either.
  12. Seasons of the year and of life will pass. Find what you can to enjoy and treasure in each of them
  13. Children are a blessing from the Lord. Not an easy blessing, but not a curse.
  14. Get enough sleep whenever possible--you'll feel better
  15. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Me of the Future: #BlogChallenge Day 13

Where do I see myself at the end of the year? A few thoughts:
  • Mothering an almost 2-year-old
  • Praying, asking friends and searching the internet on how to mother a two year old
  • Knitting up a storm
  • Hopefully still blogging
  • Eating things I preserved this summer
  • Loving, trusting, and serving more
 I planted Blanket flowers (Gaillardia 'Burgundy') in my front garden, but I was excited to see them growing wild in the sand in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Consequently, I added a lot of sand when I planted my gaillardia.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nordic Naturals Review

Do you eat 7 ounces of fish a week? I rarely do. That’s the amount recommended by the American Heart Association in order to receive enough essential Omega 3 fatty acid. I have seen many advertisements for Nordic Naturals fish oil and omega-3 supplements in several organic and green living magazines. The ads always appealed to me because they declared that their fish oil had no fishy taste. Tasting fish for hours after taking the generic brand is unpleasant and discourages me from taking them regularly. I recently learned more about Nordic Naturals.

Nordic Naturals was founded by Joar Opheim, a Norwegian who came to California in the 1980’s to finish his MBA. He couldn’t find the high quality fish oil that he used at home so he would bring suitcases full of Norwegian fish oil with him. “Driven by his Norwegian heritage, knowledge of fish oil, and love of science, Joar was inspired to contribute to advancing fish oil quality and industry standards.” Some of what they have achieved in their products:
  • Exceptional Freshness
    Protection from fishy smell, taste, and harmful free radicals
    Freshness, which ensures product integrity and biological efficacy, may be the single most important quality of fish oils. Nordic Naturals' patented, oxygen-free manufacturing process maintains the freshness of fish oil used in our products, with peroxide values (indicators of freshness) well below the European Pharmacopoeia Standard limits. The lower the peroxide value, the fresher the fish oil. 
  • Award-winning Purity Levels Protection from harmful environmental toxins Every batch of oil used in Nordic Naturals' products is third-party tested for environmental toxins including heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs, ensuring that every product exceeds international pharmaceutical standards and is at least 750 times purer than fish. Nordic Naturals was ranked #1 out of the top 10 fish oil brands in Norway for freshness, purity, and highest concentration. 
  • Great Taste
    Unsurpassed freshness equals great-tasting fish oil
    The key objections to taking fish oils are taste and aftertaste. Nordic Naturals utilizes proprietary enzymatic and oxygen-free processing technologies to ensure a completely burp free product. Our patented encapsulation process also adds natural fruit essences into both the soft gel and liquid oil for a light, fruity taste.  Excerpted from Why Nordic Naturals

I was really impressed with the taste of the Algae Omega—a light, clean lemon flavor. Not a single fishy burp! It is also about to be certified as vegan.

Another exceptional quality of Nordic Naturals is their commitment to environmental and social responsibility. They strictly use sustainable fishing practices and they give back to communities all over the world, including in Norway and the U.S. It feels good to support such a company.

You can find Nordic Naturals in stores or at their website. I was psyched to learn that my local natural foods store, Green Hut LLC, will be carrying Nordic Naturals products!

I received a free product in exchange for a review of Nordic Naturals. All opinions are my own.

Beware the Teeter-Totter: #BlogChallenge Day 12

I know I'm not alone in saying that I've been hurt on a teeter-totter (or see-saw if you prefer). I've heard many stories from friends, but no one quite like mine. More than once I was up in the air when the other rider decided to get off.
This was much worse than that.
I don't remember how old I was --maybe 7. I decided to sit in the middle of the teeter-totter while my friends rode up and down. I sat on some plastic thing that covered the bar and gripped it with my fingers. As the see sawed, the metal of the the teeter-totter crushed my pinky against the metal of the support bar. It is said that my dad could hear me scream 4 baseball fields away.
A chipped bone and a bunch of stitches later, I was doing ok. But I will always have an inch-long valley through my right pinky fingertip.

I am actually very grateful that that was the worst injury of my 30-odd years.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Slugs, Art, and Best Day: #BlogChallenge Days 10 and 11

I sat down this evening to write and it took less than a minute for me to realize it wasn't good timing. The room was hot, the computer was hot, and there was still a half-hour of daylight to spend in the cool outdoors. So I bolted for the door to do some weeding and dead-heading. Ahhhh. That felt good. Except...
So many slugs.
It was probably the combination of the weather and the timing, but I have never seen so many slugs in the garden. On one campanula alone, there were 26 easily-visible slimy devils. I guess I know what has completely defoliated my golden creeping jenny :-(
Its bad here, but its probably worse in the UK.

Sunday's Question: What piece of art would you love to have in your home?
How could I possibly decide? So many beautiful works in so many styles, How could I narrow it down to even 5? I might as well just move in to the art gallery!
I like Gustav Klimdt's use of color and gold leaf overlay. He has some really beautiful garden and nature paintings too.

...And I just spent 30 minutes trying to pick one landscape painting. I cannot. Lets just say that  I love the feeling of open space in a big landscape.

Speaking of space, I love the Hubble Telescope images. This is the Orion Nebula.

Monday's Question: What was the best day of your life?
The day that we experienced the fulfillment of God's promise to my husband and I that if we lay down our selfishness and fear, He would bring something far better.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

#BlogChallenge Day 9: Cooking Disasters of the Past

I'll keep this short and sweet in order not to relive the angst, shame, and fits of cursing/throwing things caused by cooking disasters. I always seem to get persnickety ovens and if I follow the directions for temp and time, it is rarely (heh) completely done. This happened a lot in the first months of marriage and was especially irksome once when we had company over and a casserole took 2 hours to cook. Actually, I served them a still-pretty-doughy biscuit pizza casserole. Yuck! That oven really was broken. I have learned from experience that my current oven oven needs 25 degrees hotter and 10 minutes longer than stated in a recipe. I really should get a thermometer in that thing.

Now to cleanse the palate...Verbascum 'Southern Charm' is blooming.

Friday, June 8, 2012

#Blog Challenge Day 8: Favorite Guilty Pleasure

Quality dark chocolate is my favorite guilty pleasure and I eat it almost every day. I don't feel all that guilty about it since its full of antioxidants, mood boosters, and stimulants for tired mamas. I do feel bad about the price though. I try to only spend $3-$4 a week on chocolate and usually buy the bars that range from $11-$14 per pound. There are some that are $20+ per pound! See, I'm exercising restraint :-)

My guiltier, even embarrassing, guilty pleasure is eating out at buffets. No need to choose between this or that, you can have it all! Salt and pepper chicken, Mongolian BBQ, "sushi", crablegs (if you are willing to stand in line and fight for the tongs). Real sushi buffets are amazing (and just a little scary). And Golden Corral? Well that's almost too many choices, because if I try everything I want to, I will actually die.

But then the regret: "I thought I wanted to live a healthy lifestyle. I am so dehydrated. I thought I had more self-control. I think I going to pop. I spent all that money and have no left-overs!"

In a few months the guilt fades away and the buffet longings come back. Now I have bared my soul...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blogger Opportunity: Free Sign-ups for Blentec Blender Giveaway

The first I tried to make mayonnaise my wimpy blender ruined it. It was looking great until the poor thing could no longer form a vortex and the mayo "broke" Thanks to the internet I was able to make a new batch using the failed one, but I made sure to stop pouring in when my blender could no longer handle it. All this to say, I would love a quality blender! I know I'm not alone. Here is an opportunity for bloggers to be part of a Blendtec blender ($499) giveaway for free. Stop by Kate n' Kaboodle to sign up. Then come back June 25th to enter to win!

#BlogChallenge Day 7: This makes me happy

So much makes me happy that I am overwhelmed with gratitude in this season of life. Here is my son playing in water with Gran on Memorial Day.

Review and Giveaway: TheraNeem Nail and Cuticle Pen

I recently had the opportunity to try the TheraNeem Nail and Cuticle Pen from Organix South. Until recently, I knew very little about Neem oil but I really like what I'm learning about it, as well as the Organix South company.
About Neem
The Indian Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is native to India and Burma and is able to grow in a wide range of conditions except cold weather and saturated soils. As well as providing shade and sequestering green-house gases, the Neem tree has been used for medicine, cosmetics, rope, tea, glue, wood, fertilizer, pesticides, insecticides, lubricant, and oil for lighting and heating. For cosmetic purposes, Neem oil is beneficial because it is packed with antioxidants and nourishing fatty acids. It is similar to tea tree oil, but doesn't contain the skin-irritating turpinols of tea tree oil. I have heard of the use of Neem oil in agriculture as a natural and safe pesticide. Extracts of Neem are effective against at least 200 different insect species, including mosquitoes, while not harming beneficials like bees and ladybugs. It is also effective against certain human fungi, which is why it is used in a nail treatment.
About Organix South
Organix South is the world's leading manufacturer of certified-organic Neem products. I really like that all their ingredients are labeled, most of them are organic, and they pay fair-trade prices to the growers. Their mission statement is: to offer a synergy of organic, therapeutic and cruelty free herbal products that are great for the whole family, your pets and the planet too!
My Experience
Being a gardener and a nail biter really does a number on my cuticles. They are always ragged and I often get hangnails (for which I take full responsibility--darn nail-biting!). Add to that the frequent hand-washing after diaper changes, and my fingertips are often dry and sore. Thankfully, our family doesn't suffer from fungal infections, so I have been using the Theraneem Nail and Cuticle Oil for its soothing and protective benefits. The following are my observations:
  • The brush applicator is very convenient and easy to use. I like the feel of the brush on my skin.
  • I really  like the ingredients! Check out all the healthy oils:
    • Ingredients: Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*,Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Seed Oil*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Supercritical CO2 Extract of Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Leaf*, Supercritical CO2 Extract of HippophaĆ« Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil. *Certified Organic Ingredients. --FYI "Supercritical" means a highly concentrated extract, such as 50:1, meaning 50lbs of leaves makes 1lb of extract. 
  • It smells a little strong at first, but not like the garlic smell of Neem. I can definitely pick out the rose geranium oil. Personally, I like the smell and kept inhaling my fingertips to get a fresh whiff. The scent tapers off pretty quickly.
  • The oil soaked in quickly and left no taste! It may be silly, but that was significant to me. I have used tea tree oil on my hang-nails to sooth and heal, but it leaves a bitter taste behind. While that might deter nail biting, its an unpleasant surprise when eating. (That's my beef with hand-sanitizers, too.)
I am enjoying using this product and would happily recommend it.

Buy It: You can buy Theraneem nail and cuticle pen from the Organix South website.
Win It! Organix South is giving you the opportunity to win a Nail and Cuticle Pen here at Garden Me. Just enter the Rafflecopter below. contest is open to US residents age 18 and over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases” 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blogger Opportunity: Free sign-ups for diaper giveaway!

Just Add Cloth
I'm excited to tell you about a fluffy giveaway bloggers can participate in for free! Not a blogger? When this great giveaway starts on July 16th, you can enter to win right here at Garden Me. 
Sign ups are now open for the Hot Fluff Cool Baby giveaway event! We are giving away a $300 cloth diapering prize pack from Greenie Beanie Bottoms! Head on over to Just Add Cloth and sign up for this free event!

#BlogChallenge Day 6: Nicknames?

This will be short and sweet! Actually, I have so little to say about nicknames that I wondered if I should skip this one. I don't want to start a bad precedent for myself, though, and I always take any chance to post more pictures of flowers.

The only nickname I have is a shortening of my name to Chels. I like it. It makes me feel like people are comfortable or familiar with me if they feel free to shorten my name.

Growing up, my brother call me Chubbsy. Brothers are swell.
Bearded Iris, 'Batik'

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

#BlogChallenge Day 5: Short Term Goals for June

I tend to float through days and weeks without setting goals. I'm guessing this is not a good thing. I admire people who know what they want and have a plan to get it. I'm still stuck on step one--knowing what I want to accomplish. Its not too hard to set short term goals though. Here are a few for June:
  • Write a blog post every day for some blog challenge you may have heard of ;-)
  • Learn to make kombucha with my friend Jane.
  • Finish knitting projects (all giftts, so very hush-hush).
  • Take Caleb to the beach (Lake Ontario) at least once.
  • Finish the garden project I'm working on for a friend.

Mock Orange, Digitalis ambigua, and Lady's Mantle all blooming now

Lemony Quinoa Salad

This quinoa was such a fresh and flavorful side dish. It was originally meant to be a type of tabbouleh, but I utterly forgot the 3/4 cup chopped parsley! I really liked it with just the mint. I served it with Tessa's Vietnamese Grilled Chicken. So good!

Half eaten...yum.
Lemony Quinoa Salad
Time to make: 30 min.
Serves 4
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups water
  •  1/4 cup diced sweet onion or sliced green onion. I used vidalia.
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice I used from concentrate
  • 1 large clove of garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, Pepper and Cayenne pepper to taste
-In a saucepan, bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Transfer to a plate to cool.

-Combine onions tomatoes and mint in a medium bowl then stir in cooled quinoa.

-In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne. I used about 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and a pinch cayenne.

I served it immediately, but it can be refrigerated for a few hours as well.

Linked up at these great sites:
Tiny Tip Tuesday 
Delicious Dish Tuesday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Recipe Sharing Monday

Monday, June 4, 2012

#BlogChallenge Day 4: Why the blog name Garden Me

My very first blog post was about why I chose the name Garden Me. The intensity of my passion for designing, planting, and maintain flower gardens surprised me. I was so grateful to find that I loved something that is so good for the body, mind, and spirit. I found that many of the things I was learning about gardening were also true about spiritual growth and life in general. I want to be willing to let my Creator garden me.
The Pool Garden in Summer