Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tropical Traditions- Organic, Raw Honey review and giveaway!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for virgin coconut oil.  You can read all about the different uses for coconut oil here.   They sell many different products using coconut oil, like skin moisteners and hair care products.  Did you also know they sell tons of other organic/natural products? i was given the opportunity to review another product from Tropical traditions and was surprised by the variety of products they sell. They have everything from organic foods, to hair care items to cleaning products! 

 i chose to review their Canadian Raw honey, because we love honey and i was almost out. i typically buy local honey  from a farm here in Floyd county, but it isn't certified organic and i was excited to try the Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey after reading it's description.

 Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey comes from the frontier areas of Canada, and is only harvested during a 6-week period in the summer. Tropical Traditions is the exclusive source of this premium organic honey in the U.S. Most commercial honeys available on the market today come from bee farms, where the bees are controlled within a certain area and get their pollen from usually only one kind of flower. Many of the plants that produce these flowers (clover, orange blossom, etc.) are grown with pesticides and fertilizers as well. In addition, almost all honeys on the market are pasteurized in high heat and filtered, removing many of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes.

Tropical Traditions Organic Raw Honey has not been subjected to the heat of processing, only warmed enough to flow (same temperatures the honey would see inside the hive). We select only premium honey that is pure, smooth and creamy, with the consistency of soft margarine at harvest. It contains live yeast and enzymes, because it has not been processed. It also contains pollen because it has not been filtered—merely screened.
Fine textured crystals are characteristic of totally pure, unheated, unprocessed, raw honey. Properly crystallized honey has a fine, smooth texture. Crystallized honey preserves natural goodness and doesn't drip. 

My thoughts on the honey? OMGoodness!! It is so good!!  The taste is good, but the consistency is amazing!  We love honey, but it really is messy. We typically buy the local honey that comes in canning jars, and i have never figured out a good way to get it out of the jar without dripping it all over the rim.  Even the squeeze honey bottles end up sticky. The Tropical Traditions honey doesn't drip at all. It's thick, smooth and creamy like spreading  peanut butter. Perfect for spreading on hot biscuits or toast.  My kids have been eating honey & peanut butter sandwiches almost every day since we received our jar to review.  We really love it!
You can purchase Tropical Traditions Raw Honey here. Right now it is on sale for $13.99, it is regular $20.99. If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and i will receive a discount coupon for referring you.
Tropical Traditions has generously offered one of my readers a  jar of their Raw Honey!
TO ENTER - Please subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter   and enter uing the rafflecopter form below. You may have to wait a minute for it to load.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Summer Travels- Center in the Square

 i'm a weekend behind on my summer travels blogging. On the weekend before last, we took a trip over to Roanoke to visit the Science Museum of Western Michigan.

The Museum is located in the Center in the Square.  It has been quite a while since we have been there and there have been lots of changes!

The first floor now has a small aquarium with interactive tablets that contain lots of information about the fish in the tanks, word searches and other educational puzzles/games.  This was really neat, and the kids really enjoyed it.  Our Greensboro museum passes gave us free admission to the museum.  

The science museum had a traveling exhibit about parasites called Eww! What's eating you. Really, not sure what was scarier the parasites or Carrot Top. 

 We each spun the wheel of Misfortune. Both kids spun a tick bite w/ lymes while Kenan and i were lucky enough to only get a tick bite. Not all that funny since Sequoia was treated for Lymes last year, and i know 2 people being treated right now. The ticks are especially bad this year and Lymes is everywhere.

The Science museum is really small, but the kids still really enjoyed it.

They just added a new butterfly garden upstairs, and i was excited to check it out. i love butterfly gardens.

The butterfly gardens are new. They have a really nice set up, but the butterflies were kind of lacking. They only had the native butterflies, primarily Painted Ladies and Fritillaries.  

This is a great Spangled Fritillary. We get tons of these at home, so they were not that exciting, but it was still fun to walk through. In a few weeks they are supposed to be getting the non-native butterflies and we'll be going to back to see them.  They do have an area where you can see the chrysalises hanging, and watch the new butterflies emerging. 

After visiting the butterfly garden we walked up to the rooftop Pavilion. i didn't get very good pictures, but the pavilion is really pretty. They have rooftop gardens, a fountain filled with lily pads, solar panels and  a beautiful view of the city.  The Center in the Square also has a history museum, theatre and other things. We really have never explored the whole thing.  

After visiting the museum, we walked down and browsed the market square. They always have tons of fresh locally grown produce and hand crafted artwork.  Across the street is an eatery with severeal different restaurants inside.  It made for a really nice day trip.  

After leaving Roanoke we headed back towards floyd and stopped just outside the county to hike at Bottom Creek Gorge but that will a separate blog post. :)  

Lots of fun adventures this summer!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wild for Bees- free seeds and upcoming giveaways!

For a limited time Burt's bees is giving away a free flower seeds!  Click on the picture or head over to the Burt's Bee home page to get yours! i'm not sure how long this deal will last, so hurry!!

i just received a jar of Tropical Traditions raw honey, and will be posting a giveaway in the next day or two! Make sure and check back for your chance to win your very own jar of raw honey! This stuff is fabulous!

i'm will also be posting a feature and giveaway for a product from Old Silver Apiary in the next week!

So Yay! Lots to bee excited about this week! ;)

Summer Travels- Greensboro Science Center

One of my favorite things in the summer is taking family day trips on the weekends. It has been a long time since we have done any real traveling. Having lots of animals has made it difficult for us to go away for more than a day or two.  Kenan works long hours during the week, but he usually takes Saturdays off and so we always try to plan something fun to do.  We love to visit science museums, state parks and different areas along the blue ridge parkway.  

Two weekends ago we headed down to North Carolina to visit the Greensboro science center. We've been here before and always enjoy it.  It's about a 2 hour drive, but i decided to pick up a membership so we can visit a few more times over the summer. On the June 29th they will be opening their new Sciquarium so we will be heading back to check it out.   One of the neat things about the  Greesboro science center is that it is considered both a science museum and a zoo. So the family membership gives us FREE admission to over 300 Association of Science & Technology Centers (ASTC) nationwide. http://astc.org/members/passlist.htm   AND free or discounted admission to  more than 160 zoos and aquariums worldwide.  http://www.aza.org/reciprocity .  It's really an awesome deal.   

The kids love to explore the inside exhibits. There is lots to look at and learn.  

The kids had a blast in the Tornado tunnel. They got to experience what it feels like to be in a tornado with wind speeds of up to 78 miles per hour. 

The Animal Discovery zoo  is small, but it's still a really nice area to walk through.  The tigers have a pretty large area, with big rocks to climb on a  creek/pool to cool of in. Often times the tigers tend to hide out up on the rocks, but both of them were very active while we were there. The female was playing i the pool, and the male would come right up to the 'spray zone'.  :) 

The Javan Gibbons were also extremely active and fun to watch. They were climbing and swinging all over their area just like acrobats.  We watched them for a long time. They would chase each other, and swing so gracefully from just a couple of fingers. We also got to see the baby gibbon being bottle fed inside the animal nursery.  

There are chicken, guineas and peacocks wandering freely around the zoo. This male peacock would randomly yell out and then display his feathers proudly. He put on quite a show.

He put on quite a show.  i am always amazed at how truly beautiful they are. 

We always enjoy our visit here, and right across the back parking lot is a really nice park. There is a lake, with paddle boats, picnic shelters and play grounds.  We always spend some time playing here before we go.

After all of the craziness of the last couple months it is nice to fall back into our summer routine. We have a lot of lazy days during the week spent in the garden, the woods or down at the creek.  The lazy days are my favorite part of summer, but weekend trips are a fun change. 

This past weekend we used our science pass to visit the Science museum of West Michigan, and next weekend we are heading to the Knoxville Zoo and the Hand's on Children's museum in Johnson city, TN.  There are so many new and fun places to visit that are only a few hours away.  

We are looking forward to a fun filled summer! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

There and Back again. We are finally home.

 We are home.  What a long strange trip it has been. Almost 5 months after our house burned, 3 temporary residents and we have finally found our way back home.

It isn't much, but it is ours.

Having lost everything, and then spending several months in a furnished house where nothing belonged to us, there is something to be said about having something to call your own.  We are slowly filling it with lovely things we have been gifted or collected. My new fruit bowl was hand carved  locally in Floyd.   A french press i found at the goodwill. An antique coffee grinder we purchase from a garage sale, and kitchen towels a gift from my grandmother.  The blue mug that now holds my kitchen utensils was a favorite of mine recovered from the fire. It is cracked and chipped, and missing it's handle but i am still happy to have it back.

i used to have a stained glass dragonfly in my kitchen window. i used to love to look out at the garden while washing dishes.  i am now on the opposite side of the yard. i have a beautiful moon wind chime hanging in the kitchen window (thank you Cathy!) and i can still look out at my garden while washing dishes. 

Of our three cats, Talulleh was the only one found.  She has spent the last 4 months living in Kenan's glass shop.  She too seemed very happy to be home.  

We officially moved in on June 1st. So we have been scrambling to make up for missed time.  4 months away from home, and the gardens and flower beds are completely out of control.  i'm still struggling to finish planting my garden, and even though many things are getting planted too late...i'm still happy just to be here planting them.

Now that we are here we have begun the stages of trying to rebuild. i spend an extra ordinary amount of time online searching house plans, and realty and alternative housing options. We still do not know what we are going to do.  We have a very limited amount of time to lock something in with the insurance company or we basically forfeit the money they would be contributing to the rebuild.  So although we are home, we can not even begin to relax yet.  Still so much to do and think about. 

The first week that we were in RV the kids told me 'this feels just like our old house. Like we have always lived here'.  i almost cried when they said it. i admit i was worried that pulling them away from the comfortable home that we were renting might be a mistake. The 'moving again' was so hard on all of us that i really questioned whether i was just being selfish in wanting to come back here. 

So many people have said 'Home is where the heart is. It is not a physical place it is something you carry with you.' Although i agree there is some truth to that, as long as our animals were not with us, our hearts could never totally feel at home.  We had a huge emptiness caused by the separation.  Returning home has given us a sense of peace that has been missing for months now.  We are back on our land, back in our garden, and back with our remaining animals. 

We are home.