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New Milestone: Learners Permit

New Driver

It’s hard to believe that Munchkin is old enough to begin her journey to becoming a licensed driver, but she’s now 6 months (or so) away from getting her drivers license. How did that happen? While she’s not one of those teens who is super excited to drive, she does understand the importance of knowing how to drive and getting a license.

She’s been going through her drivers education course online. Since she completed it last week, it was time to head over to the MVD to apply for her learners permit, so she could begin the driving portion of the learning.

Today, we drove her over to the MVD, so she could take her written test for her learners permit. She walked away with her temporary permit with the actual permit to arrive in the mail in about a week or so, and she helped drive us home.

We are fortunate to not live in a super crowded area. Plus, we have lots of back roads that are perfect for learning to drive. The trip home was filled with hills and curves but very little traffic – perfect for a beginning driver. Driving on a highway at 65 miles an hour can be pretty intimidating, but she did really well.

She can apply for her graduated drivers license in 6 months after she completes the required hours of daytime and nighttime driving. She has a lot to learn in that time, but I’m positive that she’ll take it in stride and learn what she needs to learn in order to become a safe and responsible driver.

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Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey

 photo FermentedVegetablesbyKirstenandChristopherShockey.png

Special thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.

I admit it. I love pickles. I’ve loved pickles since I was a toddler. My daughter picked up that passion for pickles as they quickly became one of her favorite snacks. It’s very rare that you won’t find at least one jar of pickles in our fridge.

Fermented foods have been used in our family for as long as I can remember. Sauerkraut has always been a staple of football season – especially New Years Day. While I’m not personally a fan of sauerkraut, I grew up with its distinct smell and flavor, so it holds many fond memories.

I remember pickled eggs and beets as part of the family reunion table spread. Homemade relishes were the norm for those big family functions. Yet, they weren’t part of our every day lives as some of those traditions – other than special events – had slipped away with the convenience of store bought goods.

What I didn’t know at the time was that those traditionally fermented foods were actually good for us. There is a big difference between the foods that you find in the store and the foods that you ferment traditionally at home. The problem was that making these foods has become a lost art. It’s an art that I wanted to learn. I knew that it would take some time, and we may not like everything. Some things we may like as we adjusted to the unique taste of these new foods, and others we would just pass by as it wasn’t for us. Either way, I looked forward to the adventure of trying the traditional art of fermented vegetables.

Fermented Vegetables contains the tools needed to learn the art of fermenting vegetables. The first 3 chapters cover the basics of fermentation including the science of fermentation and the tools needed for the craft. The next few chapters cover mastering sauerkraut, condiments, brine pickling, and kimchi basics. There is even a section on storage and troubleshooting. You then jump into the detailed instructions for fermenting 64 different fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Because the recipes are broken down by type of fruit/herb/vegetable, it’s easy to just head to the section for the item you have on hand.

The chapters and recipes are filled with helpful tips, information important to safe fermenting, and interesting facts and tid-bits about various herbs, veggies, and more. The story at the beginning of this chapter brought a smile to my face as it’s about sauerkraut, and I’ll say that it has me rethinking my stance on sauerkraut. I just may have to give making my own a try. **grin**

Once you have your fermented goodies made, you’ll want to make sure they you actually use them. The Shockeys have you covered with a wide variety of ideas and recipes for using your fermented veggies, herbs, and fruits. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a lot of gluten free recipes in the mix. I appreciated the fact that recipes were labeled gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan if they fit into those categories as it made it very easy to look for gluten-free options for my family. The recipes are broken down into sections: breakfast, snacks, lunch, happy hour (cocktails), dinner, and dessert.

The appendix includes a very helpful section on how to tell if your ferments are good or bad. If you’ve ever done any form of fermenting, you know that foam, scum, and mold are part of the process. This section explains what is okay and what is not okay. It also goes into the importance of the veggies staying in the brine so they don’t go bad. There are even a few pictures to help with identification of the good, bad, and the ugly.

Finally, there is a resource section that includes places to get the supplies that you need, informational websites, and conversion charts.

I have a feeling that it won’t be long before I become one of “those” people who have all different kinds of ferments in different stages all lined up in a row. Of course, the first thing that we got going was pickles. We’re still messing around with the spices and fermentation time to get them just the way that we like them. Yum!

Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten and Christopher ShockeyBook Description:

Make lacto-fermentation part of your kitchen. A classic preserving method, the process yields nutrient-dense live foods packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and probiotic goodness. Master the techniques for making sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and fermented condiments, and then explore how to apply those simple skills to fermenting more than 60 fresh vegetables, herbs, and even a few fruits.

In addition to 140 recipes and suggestions to an intriguing array of ferments, you’ll find delicious recipes that bring your creations to the table as part of any meal.

About the Authors:

Kirsten K. Shocky and Christopher Shockey created more than 40 varieties of cultured vegetables and krauts to sell through their farmstand food company. Selling led to teaching, and they now host classes and workshops at their farm. Kirsten maintains their blog at www.fermentista.us. They live on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612124259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612124254
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Retail Price: $24.95

Disclosure Statement

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Wordless Wednesday: Praying Mantis vs Tomato Worm

Praying Mantis Eating Tomato Worm

Munchkin found the praying mantis feeding on the tomato worm when she was checking the tomato plants for tomato worms.

Not the best video as I had to use my phone since my camera battery died, but it was still interesting to us to see this whole thing.

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Review: Homemaker’s Friend 2015 Daily Planner

The Daily Planner by Sue Hooley

Special thanks to Sue Hooley for providing copies of the planners for review purposes.

Planner Description:

This easy-to-use Daily Planner is designed especially for homemakers.

As a mother of six, Sue has learned that her day can seldom be scheduled the same as the previous day. She can’t fit every task of her day into the time slots offered in other planners. Her 2015 Daily Planner is versatile and it helps a homemaker to organize her days and duties effectively.

About the Creator:

The Daily Planner was designed by Sue Hooley, wife of Dan for 24 years and mother to six lovely children, two girls and four boys ages 5-21. The planner was developed after several years of motherhood and homemaking. Sue understood that a homemaker’s day can rarely be scheduled and structured the same as the one before – not every task can fit neatly into the time-slot allotted by other planners. Since her first publication in 2010, thousands of homemakers have benefited from the daily planner.

2015 Planner Details:

The Daily Planner Weekly

My Thoughts:

The Daily Planner is a beautiful, easy-to-use planner that has a bunch of thoughtful extras that I love. First, I want to tell you a little about this planner in general. As I go along, I’ll highlight some of the specific features that make it different from many of the other planners out there.

The 2015 Planner features a lovely glossy, laminated cover showcasing a gardening scene with Exodus 33:14 written out. Each section (year, month, week, tasks, projects, info, and shopping) has a tabbed page that features the same image as is on the front of the planner.  It has a place for notes and gives a little word of encouragement.

The Year Section has mini calendars for both 2015 and 2016 as well as a place to write down the important dates for each month of the year.

The Month Section has a two page per month calendar that has a note section as well as mini calendars for both the previous and the next month. If desired, you can cut away the extra paper along the dotted lines to create tabs for each of the months.

The Daily Planner Shopping Lists

The Week Section has a two page per week calendar that has a location for the menu plan for each day. It also has a spot for writing down the tasks for the week. It includes a mini calendar for the month as well as an encouraging verse for the week. Each of the right-handed pages has a dotted line in the corner where you can snip off the corner which allows quick access to the following week once you have concluded the current week. I love that it’s super easy to find my place in the closed planner thanks to this simple but brilliant feature.

The Task Section simply features two column lined pages with a header line at the top for creating task lists.

The Project Section has two lined blocks per page with a header space at the top of each block for recording your projects and events.

The Info Section has 3 columns per page for recording name, number, and address of your contacts.

The Shopping Section has one of my favorite special features. Each page features 3 lined shopping lists. The unique feature is that these shopping lists are perforated, so you can easily tear them out of your planner for easy use at the store. By making these lists perforated, I actually use these lists on a regular basis.

I’ve been using the 2014 version of this planner since July, and I can honestly say that I wish I would have been using it all year because it works for me. While I do use an online calendar to sync all the family happenings, I prefer to use a paper planner for my every day use. This planner has been particularly useful due to the thoughtful little touches including the removable shopping lists. I look forward to using the 2015 planner this coming year.

 

CWA Disclosure Statement

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Review: Bugs by Will Zinke

Bugs

Special thanks to Master Books for providing a review copy of this book.

Book Description:

Within these vivid, full-color pages children will discover God’s purpose for creating insects, and the corruption caused by sin. They will also see the world’s largest insects, insects designed with camouflage, the most beautiful insects, the weirdest insects, and more!

With their alluring beauty, incredible design features, and limitless variety, bugs are living testament to an all-wise, wonderful Creator. What you will see page-after-page are these creatures doing just what they were designed to do, and doing it well. God is amazing!

About the Author:

Will Zinke has been a science teacher for over ten years, recently serving overseas for three years in Kenya assisting a local mission. He and his wife help at the Creation Adventures Museum, and are presently homeschooling and homesteading their family.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group (September 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890518351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890518359
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Retail Price: $14.99
  • Electronic version also available

My Thoughts:

Bugs: Big & Small God Made Them All is a fascinating book filled with full-color images of creepy, crawly critters. It’s broken down into sections about amazing creepy crawlers, jumbo giants, weird & wonderful bugs, bugs in camo, and bizarre and beautiful bugs. The book concludes with a words to know section. There are even 12 removable, sturdy fact cards that feature 12 bugs with their important stats.

As soon as the book arrived, Munchkin snatched up the book and began looking at all of the incredible bugs. The little creepy cool facts were interesting quick reads before we dug into the more detailed information.

The first chapter features common insects that we see every day, but they’re presented in a way that makes us think a little more about what makes them special or creepy. Both good and bad bugs point to our Creator as well as to sin that changed His wonderful creation.

The second chapter immediately grabbed our attention with the HUGE bugs. It was fascinating seeing and learning about these large bugs from around the world.

The third chapter gave us a close-up look at some strange and fascinating bugs including bugs like the ironclad beetle that kids like to decorate with jewels while they are living and the giraffe weevil that has a crazy long neck.

The fourth chapter highlights bugs who are experts in camouflage. These bugs are amazing. It’s fun looking at how well they blend into their surroundings.

The fifth chapter gives a glimpse into the bizarre and beautiful world of bugs. It was interesting to learn that some of these beetles are so beautiful that they were and are still used as jewelry. Some of the bugs have crystals and brilliant colors on their bodies. Of course, a chapter like this wouldn’t be complete without a look at butterflies, moths, and dragonflies.

The final page before the words to know section includes images of 10 different bugs with the scripture references where they are mentioned.

If you have someone in your home who is interested in bugs and you want a book presented from a Biblical viewpoint, you won’t want to miss adding this book to your home library.

Moms of Master Books Disclosure Statement

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