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Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of the Natural World

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Special thanks to Storey Publishing for providing a review copy of this book.

Have you ever kept a nature journal? Made sketches of what you have viewed in your yard or on a hike? As a photographer, I tend to take pictures. It is my way of journaling. Munchkin, on the other hand, enjoys sketching and drawing. Sometimes she’ll take a picture, so she can sketch the image later. Other times, she’ll use a live object for her sketches. Whether sketching or taking pictures, the act of observation makes you slow down and enjoy the little things in life.

Beetles are the most diverse group of organisms in the world. About 1 out of 4 creatures on Earth is a type of beetle.

Nature Anatomy reminds me of a nature journal. It’s like glimpsing into Julia Rothman’s view of the natural world around her. Unlike a traditional nature journal, this book is broken down into sections, so it flows a little better as a book.

The sections include:

  • Common Ground – a look at the earth, minerals, and landforms.
  • What’s Up? – a look at the atmosphere, weather, sky, and moon.
  • Come Close – a look at flowers, insects, and plants.
  • Take a Hike – a look at trees, leaves, mushrooms, and the forest.
  • Creature Feature – a look at animals of all shapes and sizes.
  • A Little Bird Told Me – a look at birds, feathers, eggs, and nests.
  • Head above Water – a look at bodies of water, water critters, and the seashore.

Birds clean, realign, protect, repair, and waterproof their feathers by preening. Birds may preen several hours a day.

The book isn’t limited to nature sketches and normal nature facts. It has fun odd tidbits as well as different activities. It even includes some crafts and recipes.

If you enjoy nature and want a different kind of nature book with interesting full-color sketches, then you may want to check out this book.

Nature Anatomy Description:

In her new visual guidebook, Nature Anatomy, noted illustrator Julia Rothman invites readers to share in her delight at the small wonders of the natural world. With more than 700 original full-color drawings, this book is chock full of irresistible images accompanied by intriguing facts. From the shapes and names of mysterious mosses to the anatomy of a mushroom, the phases of the moon, and the interior of a beaver lodge, Rothman’s illustrations are sure to awaken the natural curiosity of people of all ages.

About the Author:

Julia Rothman is the author of Farm Anatomy and Hello NY. Her illustration work has appeared in numerous books, magazines, and newspapers, and she designs a line of stationary and wallpaper. Her favorite place to explore nature is Prospect Park, near her home in Brooklyn, New York.

Nature Anatomy Details:

  • Author: Julia Rothman
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, January 2015
  • 224 Pages; 6 1/2″ x 9″
  • Full-color; illustrations throughout
  • $16.95
  • Paper with flaps
  • ISBN: 978-1-61212-231-1
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Final Chapter of Homeschooling

Munchkin's New Glasses

It’s hard to believe that we’re in our final chapter of homeschooling. In a little less than two months, Munchkin will be walking across the stage to receive her high school diploma. Where has the time gone? Earlier this week, we received the information on the graduation ceremony, and her diploma was ordered.

As we wrap up her final high school classes, we look to the future and what it may hold. Preparations are being made for college, and decisions are being explored for different career paths. My little girl is blossoming into a beautiful young lady both inside and out.

We’re enjoying the final days of our homeschool journey and treasuring the time together. The past years have been in preparation for this moment in time. We started out doing everything together, and now, she is pretty much independent in her schooling except for the grading and help here and there. The transition to college will be interesting for all of us.

Homeschooling, while challenging at times, has been a blessing for our family, and I am thankful for this wonderful journey.

For I know the plans I have for you.

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Against the Grain by Nancy Cain

Against the Grain

Special thanks to the publisher and Blogging for Books for providing a review copy of this book. This post may contain affiliate links.

Against the Grain has beautiful photography that draws the reader into the book and makes them want to try out the large variety of recipes available. It promises tasty treats that are grain free.

I appreciated the layout of the recipes as they were easy to read and follow. The little personal stories included with the recipes added that personal touch which I enjoy. It allows me to get to know the author a little better.

The recipes for us were hit or miss which was a real shame. Generally speaking, the recipes that didn’t require tapioca starch or didn’t require much tapioca starch turned out fairly well. On the other hand, the recipes that were heavy on the tapioca starch had chewy (not in a good way) texture that we did not enjoy.

Against the Grain, while promising to be a wonderful gluten-free book, ended up being a bit of a disappointment.

Against the Grain Book Description:

Nancy Cain came to gluten-free cooking simply enough: Her teenage son was diagnosed with celiac disease. After trying ready-made baking mixes and finding the results rubbery and tasteless, she pioneered gluten-free foods made entirely from natural ingredients–no xanthan or guar gums or other mystery chemical additives allowed. That led her to adapt many of her family’s favorite recipes, including their beloved pizzas, pastas, and more, to this real food technique. In Against the Grain, Nancy finally shares 200 groundbreaking recipes for achieving airy, crisp breads, delicious baked goods, and gluten-free main dishes.

For any of these cookies, cakes, pies, sandwiches, and casseroles, you use only natural ingredients such as buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and ripe fruits and vegetables. Whether you’re making Potato Rosemary Bread, iced Red Velvet Cupcakes, Lemon-Thyme-Summer Squash Ravioli, or Rainbow Chard and Kalamata Olive Pizza, you’ll be able to use ingredients already in your pantry or easily found at your local supermarket.

With ample information for gluten-free beginners and 100 colorful photographs, this book is a game changer for gluten-free households everywhere.

About the Author:

NANCY CAIN is the owner of Against the Grain Gourmet, a line of gluten-free breads and pizzas available at supermarkets and natural food stores nationwide. She lives with her gluten-free family in Vermont.

Against the Grain Book Details:

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (February 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385345550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385345552
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Retail Price: $27.50
  • Electronic Versions also available
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VeggieTales Noah’s Ark

VeggieTales Noah's Ark Review

We have been VeggieTales fans for quite some time at our house, so I’m always happy to check out the latest releases from VeggieTales. Munchkin was a little disappointed that her favorite VeggieTales characters have received a makeover as she liked them the way they were all throughout her childhood.

Sadly, this is the first VeggieTales movie that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy. It felt more like a parody of Noah’s Ark rather than the biblical version with a VeggieTales twist. The main focus of this particular video is trusting in God and His plans for our life rather than being stuck on our own plans. It’s a wonderful lesson that everyone – young and old – needs to learn.

The story begins with Noah’s son, Shem, and his new bride coming back from their honeymoon. They arrive home to find Noah building an ark where Shem had planned on building his new home near the family’s citrus orchard. The ark, which looks like an orange wedge, needs to be quickly finished according to God’s plans. Shem is not happy about this as it conflicts with his plan. The vast majority of the movie is about how Shem is creating different plans to get off the ark.

Shem builds hot air balloons and other contraptions in an effort to leave the ark while the earth is still flooded. During the storms, the ark springs a variety of leaks which the girls patch with tar using caulk guns. The animals, on the other hand, are quite happy as they get pampered including taking dips in the hot tub. At one point, the ship is attacked by a giant squid. In the end, Shem realizes that God’s plans are the best plans.

Like I said, we normally enjoy the VeggieTales twist on bible stories, but we just didn’t get into this movie like we have previous movies/shows. It felt like they were making fun of Noah’s Ark rather than just giving it the traditional VeggieTales twist. I sincerely hope this isn’t the direction that Big Idea is taking with their VeggieTales line.

Disclosure: I received a sample to help facilitate the writing of an honest review.


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An Afternoon Horse Grooming Session with GROOMA

Grooming Dixie

Special thanks to Hamilton Pets for providing a sample GROOMA medium bristle horse grooming brush to test out with our horses.

It was a beautiful day outside today. The sun was shining, but there were a few clouds in the sky to help keep the sun from constantly beating down on us. A nice breeze was blowing. It was the perfect day for a thorough grooming of the horses. They are both shedding their winter coats. Dixie had a much thicker coat than Phantom, so she’s shedding like crazy.

Grooming Dixie with Phantom in the Background

The horses were quite mellow when we headed outside, but they got rather excited when they saw they were in for some pampering. Phantom, being his normal self, decided to stand further out at first just to see what we were up to before he made his way over to us. Dixie, on the other hand, when right up to Munchkin and immediately relaxed as the brushing began. Soon, she was dozing off as Munchkin continued to brush her. Yes, she was loving this new brush.

Grooming Dixie while Phantom tries to steal the brush

It didn’t take long for Phantom to decide that he wanted in on the grooming. In fact, he started trying to steal the brush from Munchkin as she was brushing Dixie. He kept at it until Munchkin groomed him for a little while.

Grooming Phantom

He loved this brush. Normally, we’ll use a soft brush on his face, but the long bristles on this medium brush were a big hit, and he didn’t want Munchkin to stop. She spent a good bit of time going back and forth between the two horses. Needless to say, the horses love this brush. It’s a good fit for both my hand and Munchkin’s hand, but it’s a little small for Daddy’s hand. He prefers something a little larger.

Dixie enjoying her grooming session

The brush did a great job getting rid of a lot of Dixie’s winter coat. She was certainly happy and content with the entire process.

Phantom after grooming

The brush was firm enough that I was even able to use it on Phantom’s mane to get some of the dirt out of it. He did not want his grooming session to end.

GROOMA Medium Bristle Grooming Brush Review

The GROOMA Medium Bristle Horse Grooming Brush has a comfort, non-slip grip with finger indents. The 3/4 sized brush was the perfect size for my hands as well as Munchkin’s hands. The little indents make it easier to hold the brush. The horses loved the long, medium bristles. If you have larger hands, like my husband, you’ll probably prefer a full-sized brush. The brush is well made and looks like it will hold up well to routine use with our horses.

Grooming Phantom with Dixie

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