Archive for the ‘Minnesota’ Category


Winter: A time to dream of my spring garden

In Backyard Gardening,Minnesota,Organic,Organic Foods,Organic Gardening on February 17, 2015 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , ,

dandelions in the yard

It’s winter here in Minnesota. It’s cold and hard to believe Spring is ever going to get here, but I know it will & hopefully this year we can garden for real and grow some of our own food. Last year my seed babies all died 😦 It was because we were in a hurry up and wait moving situation waiting to get into our new house and they got left in the little recycle containers too long and then traveled in the back of the truck in the open wind for more than an hour which pretty much did the one’s that survived in. It was very sad.

The pic is from our yard when we moved in – a dandelion haven!

We have our spot for the new garden all picked out. We still have a ton of seeds from last year. I’ll probably get some more of a few things, but the big thing will be breaking the ground and getting it ready to plant. Right now it’s Minnesota prairie & last year it was horse pasture.

Last year all the garden’s around here got wiped out by late Spring and flooding. Even the farmer’s didn’t do that well unless they put in a late crop of winter wheat.

Still, I’m hoping to learn a ton about organic gardening and actually get some crops this year!




Our April Seed Babies For The Garden Are Growing

In Backyard Gardening,Minnesota,Organic,Organic Gardening on April 26, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Some of the new seed babies are in! So far we’ve started celery, sunflowers, cabbage, beets and lettuce from seed. We started the first batch on 4/13 and 4/14.   Tons of little seedlings are growing fast.

We’re reusing all kinds of plastic containers from milk jugs to plastic apple slice containers. We do have some of the individual plantable coconut fiber pots, but those cost money and add to the budget in planting a garden so I think we’re sticking with mostly our found and reused pot method for everything we start from seed. It may take more time to plant them later on, but the start up cost to gardening will be less.

lettuceWe’re about to plant the second batch of cold weather loving plants from seed. We learned you want to plant in batches so your crop doesn’t mature all at once. I know obvious, but if you aren’t an experienced gardener, maybe not. You also plant in batches so that the plants are in different stages of growth later on which is a natural help for pest control without chemicals.


We’re working on cutting our saved jugs into “pots” and deciding what we’re planting in the next batch of seeds to start. My four year old is loving watching the seeds grow into little plants, but it sure did take several talks to explain why we couldn’t plant a watermelon seed and eat a watermelon later that same day!















My First Organic Gardening for Food!

In Minnesota,Organic on April 7, 2014 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Florida Community GardenI’m very excited that we’re almost set to move into a new house and for the first time for me there is a lot of space for a kitchen and herb garden. I’m not a complete garden newbie, but I haven’t grown much more than peppers and tomatoes either…When I lived in Florida we grew oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines, star fruit, pineapple and papaya at various times, but my gardens there were more of the butterfly variety.

I know, I know, people say start small, but we’re planning a huge garden knowing full well it is going to be our nightly 3-season hobby for awhile and once crops start coming in we get to go learn all about preserving food too!

Here’s what I’ve got for seeds so far:

Beefsteak, roma and sweet tomatoes, regular cucumbers and pickle variety cucumbers, celery, sunflower, green onions, okra, heirloom baby lettuce, red lettuce and regular lettuce, yellow corn, regular watermelon, heirloom watermelon, jack o lantern, pie pumpkin, and small pumpkin, butternut squash, runner beans, peas, black beans bush, yellow wax beans, carrots, radishes, beets, green peppers, parsley, spearmint, chives, thyme, cilantro, basil, oregano, summer squash, eggplant, fennel, swiss chard, broccoli, dill, chamomile, tarragon, lemon balm, sage, rosemary, zucchini, pak choi, cabbage, endive, brussels sprouts and spinach!

We’re going to try kiwi if we can find it for shade-loving growing as well as plant some trees and vines like blackberry and raspberry. Luckily, it seems there is a lot that will grow in Minnesota despite the winters.

One other huge project: the new house comes with a big chicken coop and fenced chicken run. Yep, almost chicken newbie here…well there’s this story of us briefly having roosters in the city and one flying over the fence due to a neighbor’s dog and me laughing and laughing as my son, my ex and several random neighbors chased it for 20 minutes…after that the two roosters went to live on grandma’s farm. Thankful that this coop is pretty far from the house so I won’t be hearing them all day long as I work from home.

Our “date night” was even just spent at the local Half Price books checking out all the food gardening books and we found a few good ones to start…this should be an interesting adventure this year!

So, hey, if you read this and you know something about chickens, growing fruits, veggies and herbs “up North” in Minnesota or just want to say Hello, drop me a comment!




Paya Organics at the Kalahari (Wisconsin Dells)

In Minnesota,Organic,Organic Beauty Reviews,Organic Companies,Organic Product Reviews,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Wisconsin on June 19, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paya Organics Review

by Kristina Blasen (June 2011)

Last week, we were on vacation at Wisconsin Dells and spent a night at the Kalahari resort on our last day before heading back to Minnesota. It was pretty neat that they had Paya organics shampoo, conditioner and bath soap in the room.

According to their website, Paya products have:

•Biodegradable liquids and soaps made with natural and organic ingredients:
No Parabens, No Phthalates, No Mineral Oil

• Bottles made of PET, the most recyclable resin available

• Cartons & wrappers made with post-consumer recycled materials

• Cruelty free – never tested on animals

• All bottles and soaps are made in the USA

After being in the chlorine all day my hair was feeling dry and nasty, but this shampoo and conditioner worked great. The pool smell was gone and my hair was back to normal. It was strange though that the Kalahari is still using chlorine which is terrible for the body (lots of signs about showering off so you don’t get chemical burns and irritated skin, eyes, nose and throat were posted everywhere) when so many of the other hotels and resorts in Wisconsin Dells have switched to salt which is wonderful for the skin, not irritating and much nicer to play in!

We also stayed at the Wilderness Hotel where we had a great time, but they had the run-of-the-mill unidentifiable whitish shampoo in their bath though they had already switched to salt or some kind of non-chlorine mixture in their pools.


Organic mud shampoo is a no-go!

In Minnesota,Organic,Organic Beauty Reviews,Organic Companies,Organic Product Reviews on June 19, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , ,

A quest for organic shampoo and conditioner that works!

by Kristina Blasen (2011)

I tried the Terressentials organic mud-based shampoo (Left Coast Lemon Pure Earth Hair Wash) for about a month and overall it is a no-go so I’m back to searching for something better…and cheaper…preferably local…

I loved knowing that I wasn’t putting chemicals in my hair that are known to cause cancer, the Lemon scent was great and it made my hair super soft, but you have to order it in the mail and it is super expensive and you need a lot when you first start using it for your hair to adjust (according to their website).

Pure Earth Hair Wash by Terressentials

The big downside is that I have dark blonde hair and the mud shampoo significantly darkened the look of my hair and after repeated use the hair felt super soft, but also thick and gummy. I think this is because of the organic Castile based soap made from olive oil, since I tried a different Castile-soap and ran into the thick gummy feeling before. It isn’t all bad though, I love the Terressentials organic baby wash and their organic deodorant and I will order those again when I run out!

MasterCuts label sulfate free moisture shampoo




This time I’m trying out MasterCuts Moisture formula sulfate free shampoo and conditioner since they were on sale when I got my hair cut. These smell great, mildly fruity and for the first ten washes or so, all was well…until, there it was again, that gummy dirty hair buildup feeling [sigh]. It isn’t all bad though, one wash with a different shampoo every so often and these still work great!

MasterCuts label sulfate free moisture conditioner




Sample Girl Goes Organic!

In Minnesota,Natural Foods,Organic,Organic books,Organic Companies,Organic Foods,Organic Product Reviews,Reading Ingredients and Labels,Reading Nutrition Labels on May 26, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , , , ,

The Adventures of Sample Girl

The Adventures of Sample Girl by Kristina Blasen


Well, I wasn’t thinking of posting here about my book The Adventures of Sample Girl until I was making the sneek peek preview tonight and realized that I thought about going “organic” a long time before I ever started this blog!

There are some funny stories in here about how bad some of the “organic” samples I was giving out actually taste when I tried them out before serving them to the customers and how their “healthy” reputation didn’t always match the ingredients on the box!

Check it out!

Here’s a link to the free preview!

You can buy the book here:


Earthgrown Organics- Coconut, Walnut and Almond rolled dates

In Minnesota,Natural Foods,Organic,Organic Companies,Organic Foods,Organic Product Reviews on March 30, 2011 by organicconversion Tagged: , , , , ,

Earthgrown Organics

Earthgrown Organics

Coconut & Walnut Rolled Dates

by Kristina Blasen (2011)

Amazing, heavenly and wonderful. An all natural candy bar replacement. I got the Earthgrown Organics variety pack with unsweetened coconut rolled dates, almond rolled dates and walnut rolled dates to try it out. Ouch, the pack I got had a pound of fruit and was $6.99, there were probably 12 bars in there to start. (Ha, ha! I don’t know for sure because I ate some of them!)

I found these in the produce section at the local grocery store. Earthgrown Organics is a local company headquartered here in Minnesota too.

Walnut Date Rolls

Walnut Date Rolls

These date rolls have 110 calories each, so you get two for the caloric price of a candy bar, but trust me, these taste WAY better and they actually have some nutrition in them.

Dates have protein, fiber, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin A, and niacin – and a chemical-laden chocolate bar has what??

Dates are kind of neat actually, instant energy from all that natural fruit sugar, but the fiber made me feel full even though it was a tiny amount of food and the energy boost lasted all afternoon. No 4:30 p.m. nap, at least only one for baby and not for me too!