Saturday, September 30, 2017

What to do with a lot of cabbage?

Another thing that we get several of this time of the year (from my father in law!) are some very large cabbages.  Now, I don't like to let good veggies go to waste, but I don't know how to make sauerkraut, and you can only eat so much cabbage salad...so what can you do to preserve it?

EGG ROLLS!!!

We make a big batch of egg rolls, working together as a family, and freeze them in batches that will make a great meal or addition to a meal.

Basically how we do it is we thinly slice the cabbages (thankfully we have a food processor) and sometimes shred some carrots too.  We put these in bowls and add some kind of cooked meat (this time we did chicken ones, pork sausage ones, and shrimp ones -- not all together haha, but three separate types of eggrolls.)  We mix up some kind of seasonings (usually like soy sauce, garlic, and whatever else we think would taste yummy together) and pour it over the whole mixture.  We then mix it all together and then put it into egg roll wrappers (following the directions on the eggroll wrapper package) and fry them up!  We drain them and cool them then put them into freezer bags and pop them into the freezer so that we can enjoy them throughout the winter!  Yummm! 

The family works together to get this done! :) 








Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Captain Bayley's Heir audio drama -- my REVIEW

Another road trip, another audiobook!  We recently took a trip to my inlaws' house and got to listen to a new audio drama, Captain Bayley's Heir by Heirloom Audio Productions.  We had previously enjoyed a different drama by Heirloom Audio, so we knew we were going to be listening to a top quality production.

Captain Bayley's Heir


Captain Bayley's Heir is a 2-CD set which actually has an online study guide to accompany it, so if you would like it for more than just an entertaining story to listen to, you can expand it into quite a study!

The CD begins with a little introduction of the narrator and then the story really begins.  Listeners learn who Captain Bayley is and are introduced to his household, nephew Fred, Alice (not biologically related to him, whom he has taken in and raised) and Frank (an orphaned nephew, raised by the captain as well).

Frank and Fred are students and seem to be in a kind of upper class compared to some in the neighborhoods.  Frank befriends a poorer boy (Harry) who cannot walk after he (Frank) saves Harry's dog from drowning.  Frank is a good fellow and helps Harry's mother find work with his uncle.

At school, there is an incident which causes Frank to be accused of doing something he has not done, something serious enough to threaten his expulsion from school.  He feels that everyone is against him, and when he attempts to get word to his uncle, to see if he, alone, would believe in Frank's innocence, no return letter comes, and Frank is devastated.  He (on the advice of Fred) decides to run away to America.  He finds a ship which will take him on as an employee and starts his journey across the sea.

Frank endears himself to the ship's crew and upon arrival in America, he is given a recommendation to another job.  He takes a job on a flat boat on the Mississippi and experiences scary times, but helps to overcome some rough patches.  He is appreciated as a hard and good worker by those he is around.  He takes other jobs and adventures which lead him to see a lot of bad in people, but also good.  He has folks around him teach him about God's love and grace.  Thanks to the riverboat captain he makes his way out west, joining with a group of men and heading to find gold.  They have adventures and differing degrees of success, though he still fears the disappointment that he thinks his uncle holds about him.  He ends up in the west, looking for gold as well as running another business venture, and...

I don't want to tell too much more of the story :) There are other twists and turns, but I think you ought to listen to it to find out!!


 If you are looking for more than "just" an audio drama, Heirloom Audio Productions also produced a study guide to go along with the story!  There are questions which help with guided listening (answering questions about what you're listening to) as well as "thinking further" which allows the listener to kind of process the story, think about how it might progress, why certain things were included in the story, how different things were done, and more!


The study guide also contains a lot of extra information about different topics in or related to the story.  At the end, there are resources to learn more about Victorian England and the American West, as well as some Bible studies which expand on themes heard within the story.

So, what did we think? Well, it was okay :) We being my husband and I and my 3 kids, who are in 12th, 10th, and 8th grade. We definitely thought the story moved kind of slowly and then...zip it was done, kind of dragged until near the end, when it was all wrapped up in a quick nice finale. But all in all a good story! We were a little frustrated with not feeling like some questions had been answered, one being, who is the heir who is mentioned in the title?  Was it Frank? Or Alice? Fred? Harry? Captain Bayley's biological daughter? All 5 of us mentioned that we didn't figure out who that was referring to.  Weird.

It is definitely a high quality production, easy to listen to, with great actors as the voices.  There are themes that naturally cause discussion, which is an added benefit!

If you'd like to read about what others thought, please click on the link below!
Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, September 24, 2017

REWORDABLE -- the uniquely fragmented word game -- my REVIEW



Looking for a good word game?

Our family had the opportunity to review the word game RE*W*OR*D*A*BLE, which is subtitled "The uniquely fragmented word game".   The game is played with cards which have letters or common parts of words on them (like "ion" and "ter" and such).  Besides the cards, there are tokens, which are like extra points for fitting certain criteria (like a word made with just blue and yellow cards, etc).

I played this game with my kids (17, 15, and 13) and we all enjoyed it.  It's a pretty fun word game, we compared it to a combination of Scrabble, Quiddler, and Rummikub.  You can make words, score certain points, and "steal" words from someone else by adding on to their word.

It is pretty easy to play "out of the box."  The directions are clear for the most part, and it seems pretty straight-forward.  We enjoyed it and will continue playing it.  It is made for 2 to 8 players, and the number of cards limits the time in each round.  There is strategy involved as well as just making words.  Players can increase their point values by choosing which words to make as well as planning words to correspond with tokens.

It's a fun game, we will definitely play it again.  It's easy to store, as the cards are pretty small and fit into a smallish box.  I'd recommend this game for sure!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fishing fun :)

Wow, we are enjoying this great weather, so warm for fall!  A fun evening and a blessing of fish for the freezer to fill our tummies this winter!

Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble -- my REVIEW


Are you a fan of suspenseful fiction?  This book by Colleen Coble, Beneath Copper Falls, is one you ought to check out.  It has some romance, a "clean" story (not full of bad language or objectionable material), and a lot of suspense.

Dana is a 911 dispatcher who is used to keeping things under control.  As the story begins, however, she finds herself in an abusive relationship which she needs to flee.  She heads to live with her brother and begin a new life in a new community.  Unfortunately for her, it seems that violence still remains near to her, with friends' investigations of a murder which ends in death for one of them as well as other scary occurrances.

Dana meets Boone, who feels that his physical scars are kind of a cross he has to bear for past actions.  They join forces in an investigation and . . . maybe predictably they start to care for each other.

Dana's former fiancee (the abuser) re-enters the picture, as other women are threatened.  There appears to be a serial killer at large, drowning women with no clues to his identity.

All this comes to a head when...  :)  Read it to find out!  I can't spoil the plot for you!

So...how did I like it?  Honestly, it was kind of creepy.  I'd like to think that it is not very realistic, having several people in the life of one person who are so abusive in similar ways, but maybe I've just been blessedly sheltered.  Just take it as it is, a suspenseful story meant to entertain.  It's easy reading, a good story, and will keep you wondering till the end!  I did guess who the "bad guy" was, early on, but then I wasn't sure...till the end!  Coble is a good author, holds the reader's attention all the way through the book, and writes in a way that is easy and enjoyable to read.  I will recommend this book, just know that it is a suspense, and (in my eyes) a little creepy (mostly in the descriptions of theh abuse.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Busy

Of course not every day is as filled with craziness...but here's how today went. . .



6:30 wake up/shower/read Bible
7:00 get kids up and started on math, help with math, correct math test
7:30 make lunch for kiddo going to community college
7:45 - 9:30 put air in car tire
                   pick up farmer friend's bank deposit to take to bank for her while in city
                   drop child off at community college
                   go to bank and deposit friend's $$
                   drive home
9:30 - 2:00 can tomatoes
                  can salsa
                   help children with homeschooling
                   read chemistry with son
                   3 loads of laundry (wash and hang to dry)
                   make lunch for husband and 2 kids
2-4:15 Drive 2 kids to farm to help out
            make hot pepper jelly
            do dishes/clean off counters and island
            clear out space in fridge for chickens
            pick up kids at farm
4:30 - 5:15 Help set up for butchering chickens
                   butcher a few chickens
5:15-6:30 get gas in car
                pick up husband's prescription at pharmacy
                pick up daughter at community college and come home
6:30-8:30 re-join the chicken butchering
                help process 45 meat birds and get them in the fridge (and neighbor's fridge)
                help clean up kitchen and butchering area from all that ickyness
                throw in a load of laundry
8:30-9:00 take child with driver's permit out driving for some after-dark driving experience
9:00-??? walk dog
               shower
               eat ice cream
               make grocery list for tomorrow morning
               write a blog post (haha!)
               check email and respond to important stuff
               dishwasher
               correct algebra test and aviation test
               move clean laundry off bed (uhhhhh...not folded yet, just moved off bed...)
               and more??
               sleep, soon, I imagine!

Hmmm...pretty busy day, huh?

In the midst of all this busy-ness, I am reminded of a verse I read this morning:  Proverbs 19:21, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails."

I also have been kind of struck by this song that we are singing for County Chorus (for Christmas), it's called  "Would I Miss the Miracle?" and it's kind of convicting...or at least a reminder to not get so caught up in day to day craziness that I miss what is truly important.  Here's an audio of the song:                 
Hmmmm, if that link above doesn't work, you can listen on this page: http://listeninglab.stantons.com/title/would-i-miss-the-miracle/454266/

Monday, September 18, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan -- my REVIEW


Ooohhh!  I just read a GREAT book!  This book you see pictured above is a new favorite, and I cannot wait for the second in the series!  Deadly Proof, by Rachel Dylan, is a great mystery story with a teeny bit of romance in it, that will keep your interest and find you reading later than you planned :)

The story centers on a legal case involving a pharmaceutical company being sued in a class action-type event.  The company has produced a drug which would help with extreme migranes, but the side-effect was tumors that grew quickly and produced deaths as a result.

Kate, a lawyer, is the prosecuter assigned to lead this case.  She begins her story by meeting with an employee of the drug company (a research scientist) who wants to give her some secret information against the company.  Unfortunately, before she can get the whole story, the scientist is murdered.

Meanwhile, the law firm defending the drug company begins working on clearing the case.  The head lawyer, who knows Kate on a social basis, is faced with some ethical dilemmas when he is instructed to do basically whatever it takes to win, including some shady or even just plain illegal activities.

Mixed in with this all, Kate is attacked on several levels and hires a security firm.  She and the bodyguard discover a mutual attraction, which is just a smal part of the story.

You will have to read this story to find out how the case progresses and is resolved.  It is not a very predictable story--lots of twists and surprises!  It is written in a very interesting way; it held my attention through to the end (which, yes, I admit, I did just keep reading, blocking out everything around me for that last bit!!)

This book is full of excitement, intrigue, scheming, mystery, drama, and a little romance.  It is very well-written, and covers different parts of the story (as seen from different characters' points).  It is also published by a Christian publishing name and has definite elements of faith and its importance, as well as being a "clean" book (no profanity or morally questionable content).  I would definitely recommend this as a great read!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

4-H

Just a little plug for 4-H!  Do you think of agriculture when you think of 4-H?   Well, that IS one aspect of it, but there are far more!  My kids have been involved in projects such as robotics, photography, poultry, rabbits, community service, shooting sports, knitting, sewing, and so much more!

If you're interested in finding a club near you, just call your county's cooperative extension and they'll hook you up with a club in your community (or you could just google it too!)

We highly recommend 4-H, not only for the projects, but also for the experiences the youth gain, such as public speaking, presentations, mentoring, community service, and more!

Children’s Books by Carole P Roman -- my REVIEW

My children are getting old!  I have one child going into 12th grade, one going into 10th grade, and one going into 8th grade.  Long gone are the days of picture books and story books, read over and over and over again.  (Well, I DO still get that opportunity occasionally when babysitting, but it’s not a part of our everyday life anymore!)  So…why am I reviewing children’s books, then, you might ask?  After 3 children and so many hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours… of reading picture books to and with my kids, I am certainly not a stranger to them!

Carole P Roman Blog

The books I received for this review are all by the same author, Carole P Roman.  I received four different books, they are as follows:  Being a Captain is Hard Work (A Captain No Beard Story), One to Ten –Squirrel’s Bad Day, If You Were Me and Lived In…Italy, and If You Were Me and Lived In…The Mayan Empire.  Four very different books, and I’m going to tell you about each one of them!  Yay!  J




Books by Carole P Roman

Okay, the first book is entitled Being a Captain is Hard Work.  This is in a series called Captain No Beard.  You might guess (correctly) that it is a pirate-ish themed book.  Well, it’s about a little boy pirate with a full crew of animals and young children.  The theme of this book is that the captain thinks he knows everything, stubbornly plows ahead, ignoring all the advice from the others, and runs into difficulty before realizing how he has brought trouble on by refusing to listen.  Good theme, right?  One we all (even adults!) need to learn.  I really like that theme!  The book, however, is not a favorite of mine.  It’s kind of cluttered with names of characters who aren’t really introduced, some of the dialogue is childish, other parts sound as if an adult were talking…and I guess (from looking at the info at the end of the story) that they are also trying to teach cloud science (what different types of clouds are).  All in all maybe too much going on.  


Books by Carole P Roman

The next book is One to Ten, Squirrel's Bad Day.  I didn't really like this book.  The premise of the book is that Squirrel has lost a load of nuts and is discouraged.  The suggestion given by rabbit is that he put a numerical value on how bad something is, and to look for the good that comes out of a situation.  The book is written as if for very young kids.  From my experience, though, if you ask a young child what is a big number, they might say 5.  Or 100.  I'm not sure that it would be feasible to expect a child to give a number value for how disappointing something is.  The redeeming factor to this book, for me, is the illustrations.  They are beautiful watercolor works of art throughout the pages.

  (Here are some of the impressive artworks from the One to Ten book by illustrator Mateya Arkova)



The next book was If You Were Me and Lived In. . .Italy.
Books by Carole P Roman

This book is a very nicely written book for young kids about Italy.  This would be a great book to 
read alongside a study of Italy or Europe.  It's definitely not a book for a young reader to attempt by him or herself, but a great book to read together with an adult, as a part of a curriculum or separately.  The word sections are varying lengths, but with an adult, this would be a great learning resource.





Books by Carole P Roman


The final book I got to review was If You Were Me and Lived in The Mayan Empire.   I thought this book is a very valuable resource for ones learning about the Mayan empire of long ago.  The book gives good information in an easy to read, easy to understand format.  I learned a lot about the culture by reading this book!  The illustrations are basic and flat, but the information is very full.  This book would be a great tool in a homeschool curriculum about ancient cultures or world history (or the development of language, or other topics!)  The one thing that surprised me about this book is that this book is suggested for ages 8-14.  I think that's a little high.  My 12 year old read it and thought that though the information was good the book was a bit childish in format for her.  I wouldn't consider using this with an older child.






So -- two of these books I would recommend (the If You Were Me and Lived In. . .   books), and two I didn't care for.  If you'd like to see what others' thought about these books as well as other books by the same author Carole P Roman, please click on the link below!




Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, September 9, 2017

More seasonal wealth :)

This time of year, when veggies are so abundant (thank you Lord for the garden's bounty!) IT FEELS SO DECADENT!!!  Eating these delicious and colorful meals is a blessing of the season.

We are truly blessed.

Tomato pie again!

One of our favorite meals of the summer...Tomato Pie!  Just right when the garden is filling with those gorgeous delightful tomatoes!  

Have you ever had it?  It's so easy to make!

Here's what I do...slice up a bunch of tomatoes and let them set for a little while.  I put them in the collander so that they drain a bit.  

Put a pie crust into a pan (I just buy them...yup, lazy maybe, but it's why I can get these made!) and then pop the tomatoes into the crust.  Mix a little bit of chopped basil and a little salt in.  

Mix some (1/2 cup?) mayonnaise with some (1/4 cup?) parmesan cheese and spread this on top of the tomatoes.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or till the crust and mayo mixture is browned.  

Remove from oven and let it cool for 15 minutes or so until it solidifies a little.  (Sometimes it's a little soft still, but it's still delicious!) 


DELICIOUS!!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Is There Anything Better Than Candy? Box-Tract – my REVIEW of this Halloween Gospel Tract

Do you “do” Halloween with your family?  I know that a lot of people have mixed feelings about this event, but my family has always trick-or-treated, dressing up for the door-to-door visits with neighbors.  When we lived in a different state, they called it “Beggars’ Night” which seems really quite odd to me, but hey, I guess it’s kind of what happens!

Well, don’t let me go down too many rabbit trails J  Regardless of whether or not you participate in Halloween events, chances are you know some folks who do.  The product that I am going to tell you about is a great tool for both camps to use to tell people about Jesus at this time of year.  The “Is There Anything Better Than Candy?  Box-Tract” is just what it sounds like, a box which is a tract, and its title is Is there anything better than candy? This Halloween tract (box-tract) is produced by a company called Let the Little Children Come and they have created a wonderful tool for this time of year!  This product is a package of twenty sheets which contain a punch-out shape which looks like a multi-colored flower, but you bend the petal-looking parts up and slide them through a slot and…voila!  You have a hollow paper pumpkin, just ready to fill with yummy sugary-ness or something else of your choosing.  On the outside of the pumpkin it asks, Is there anything better than candy?



This is not just any little paper container for candy.  The inside of the pumpkin is six variously colored petal shapes.  On each of these petals is part of the answer to that question (found on the outside of the pumpkin…Is there anything better than candy?)  The first petal answers with a Yes! … It’s being God’s friend.  The sequential petals go on to explain why we need Christ and how to come to be a part of His family, ending with a sample prayer.  The explanations are clear, concise, comprehensive. 
Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract


I love this product!  I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to share my belief in Jesus and to open the conversation about it.  Everyone’s looking for candy this time of year J How about adding in a message? 

The pumpkin is just the right size to fill with little candies such as Hershey kisses, little candy bars, or other wrapped candies.  You could also fill it with something like peanuts or even candy corn or or or J You can imagine lots of things to fill it with! 

So what about you who don’t “do” Halloween?  How about Thanksgiving!  Pumpkin d├ęcor is all around at Thanksgiving as well as pretty much throughout the fall.  These are not overtly Halloween-ish and can really be used at many different times. 
Let the Little Children Come Halloween Tract
We plan to use these with our neighbors as well as to hand out to friends at their harvest party.  We live in quite a rural area and don’t get trick-or-treaters, but we do have lots of friends with young children who we plan to give these to.  I’d certainly recommend them!  You might want to also check out the Let the Little Children Come website to find other tools for sharing Christ with you young friends and neighbors.


If you’d like to read more reviews of this product and see how other families are using them, please click on the link below!


Is There Anything Better Than Candy?  {Let The Little Children Come Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Seasonal wealth--pickles!!

Phew!  Lots of cucumbers this year!  Pickle-making is in full swing.  It seems that every year I try new pickle recipes and then forget which ones I used.  Same this year :)  When I have 4 5-gallon buckets of cukes to use up, I pretty much just get them in jars...and then forget which were which :)  So this winter we'll be having surprise pickles haha.  Glad my family has pretty liberal taste as far as foods go!

:) How about you?  Are you working on preserving garden produce?  Do you have favorite recipes you use?