Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Monday, October 5, 2015

How to Make Banana Chips with a Food Dehydrator

If you buy banana chips from a store these may be perfectly whiteish-yellow with no browning but are covered in sugar and possibly coloring or HFC. Make your own banana chips with a food dehydrator and have a healthy snack on hand for you or your kids. They are exactly what you expect, just bananas! I know my kids come home from school and immediately want a snack. My son like to have banana chips on top of toast with peanut butter, talk about a healthy snack!


  • Slice bananas in 1/4-3/8" slices
  • Place on your food dehydrator trays in a single layer
  • Turn your food dehydrator temperature to 150 degrees
  • Cook for about 6 hours
  • Test to see if they are crisp
  • Allow to cool and then remove from trays
  • Enjoy!

Review: Finding Noah #FindingNoah (released to select cinemas on Oct. 8th)

My Thoughts:

I had the opportunity to review and advance screening of Finding Noah and wanted to share with you what I thought of it. This is a faith based documentary film that is rated for ages 12 and older, which I think is right because the content is more technical than could be taken in by children younger than that, although it is definitely a family friendly movie that you can continue to watch in case your children are around while you are watching it.

While I watched it the more I learned about Mount Ararat and the quest to find Noah's Ark, the more questions I had. I find it fascinating that most of the world has documented stories of a great flood occurring around that same period of time. What is even more fascinating is the analyzing of all these stories and how many similarities occur across the stories from vastly differing cultures.

I learned quite a bit about the dangers that surround mountain exploration and the ongoing political unrest existing in the area, both of which put these scientists, archaeologists and professional mountaineers in physical danger.

It was a very interesting documentary and I had to share information with my husband about what I had learned.

Check out the Trailer below so you can get an idea what it is about:

About Finding Noah from Fathom Events:

For over 2,000 years, man has been searching for the final resting place of Noah's Ark. Though there have been many attempts, few have been able to fully explore the one place specifically noted in the Bible: Mount Ararat. Located in Eastern Turkey, Agri Dagh or "The Painful Mountain" is the tallest mountain in the region and lies in the very center of a centuries old, geo-politically unstable hot spot. With constant threats of deadly rock slides, hidden crevasses, and glacial ice falls, the Kurdish Rebel held mountain poses great risk to any explorer, let alone those performing a thorough scientific investigation.

Join director/producer Brent Baum and the FINDING NOAH film crew as they follow an expedition of intrepid explorers on a perilous trek up to Mt. Ararat's desolate summit. There, using state of the art technology and real-time satellite imagery, this team of archeologists, scientists and professional mountaineers will begin a grid work of exploration unlike any before, hoping to finally resolve the age-old question: did Noah and his Ark actually exist?

Shot in never-before filmed locations in the harshest of conditions, this unprecedented feature-length documentary shows just how far men are willing to go to discover the truth. Narrated by Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise, FINDING NOAH is more than a quest for answers, it is a testament of the human spirit, where belief and the need for exploration transcend risk and limitation.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the post. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. No monetary compensation was received for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Easy Fleece Scarf for Kids to Make

Making a fleece scarf is soooooo easy that even my 5 year old son could do it and it's pretty inexpensive as well. I have instilled a love of homemade gifts in my kids (both receiving and giving) and he wanted to make this scarf for one of his friends.

Just cut one length of the fleece from a 60" width bolt of fleece. Cut it to your desired width between 6"-12", obviously if you cut it smaller you can make more scarves from one yard of fabric and if you watch sales you get it for up to half off at JoAnn Fabrics, and if you really want to be thrifty, check the area for remnant where they sell small pieces (which might be all you need if you are just making one) for 50% off whatever the current price is, so if it's half off you will get another half off that price on a remnant.

I pre-cut the rectangle for my son and let him cut the fringe. He was very proud that he made "clothes" for his friend and has since used other scraps of fleece to make scarves for his stuffed animals.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mushrooms 101

Before you get all excited that I have this wonderful bout of information to teach you about mushrooms, let me just start off by telling you that I just took a Mushrooms 101 class with my son at Rice Lake State Park. I thought that I would share what I have learned, basically so I don't forget about it. I am pretty stoked to learn more about mushrooming and identification and even more specifically foraging.

Let's first start off by telling you that our guide suggested that in the beginning when we are foraging, we stick to the Safe 6 Mushrooms in Minnesota. The above picture is Hen of the Woods, which is on the list of Safe 6 and some of this was sauteed up below in the picture of the spaghetti. It was delicious. It has a nutty flavor to it. He said that Hen of the Wood like to grow at the base of a tree and particularly like Burr Oak, but also grow on other oaks and trees.

This is a picture of the bottom side of an oyster mushroom (also on the Safe 6), but it is old and has gotten moldy, so we would not be harvesting it for consumption.

Just another picture of the oyster mushrooms. Sorry the picture quality isn't the best as I just had my phone with to use. Another mushroom on the Safe 6 that I have hunted for on a few occasions (but really it's only available for a couple weeks in Minnesota) is the Morel Mushroom (I had always heard that morels grew on dead elms, but our guide claims to find them on dead locust trees and to start hunting for them at the south end of a hill.) The other 3 Safe 6 mushrooms include Shaggy Manes (we did find some of these but I didn't get a picture and they were small ones which they said not to eat because with they are little they can be confused with something poisonous), Chicken of the Woods, and Puffballs. On our excursion we did not find the edible white puffball (which my kids have found before but we didn't know it was edible), but we did find the poisonous Pigskin Puffball.

Now, is the section of mushrooms that are not edible, which is actually the majority of mushroom you will find. This is a coral mushroom.

Here is my son showing off what our guide liked to call "Little Brown Jobs". LOL! My son really enjoyed going out looking for mushrooms.I actually think between the two of us, we found the majority of the mushrooms our guide wanted out group of 17 to find so he could show us the edibles and teach us about the different structures of mushrooms. I have some lingo to learn!

To be honest, I don't remember what he called these red ones but they were all over the place. We didn't forage any of them so I presume they were poisonous and they ar not on my Safe 6 list so we'll leave it alone.

 Some more that I don't know what they are. This top one has a honeycomb pattern instead of gills, like the one below. The one below has a thin dark stripe (or stem) that is different from a lot of the other mushroom we found. I did find one to show the group that had a veil, but I didn't take a picture of it before I handed it to our guide and he started staking it apart to show everyone.

Another thing he had told us is that honey mushrooms have a look-a-like poisonous mushroom, but if you take the stem and try to peel it, the edible honey mushroom will peel like string cheese and the poisonous one doe snot.

We did attempt to do spore prints, which he said is a really good way to help identify mushrooms and said to never eat anything with white spores. He showed us how to make spore prints with white & colored paper and covering the mushroom with a glass.

He also told us we need to be looking for edible mushroom when they are young and usually 3-5 days after a big rain is a really good time to go looking for them and the mushrooms will have bloomed.

 Our class split up the Hen of the Woods, so we didn't have a lot to saute up, but my son and I did enjoy some spaghetti with sauteed Hen of the Woods with zucchini (from our garden), garlic, onions and tomatoes.

He highly recommended we get the National Audubon Society  Field Guide to Mushrooms. I came home and promptly ordered this one from Amazon. He mentioned a couple other books worth picking up and I have requested those from the library to see what they are like before purchasing, since he only had these for us to look at during our class.

This was a pretty informative class and it was FREE! You should really check to see if State Parks near you offer events and class. Often they are free or very affordable

Thursday, September 24, 2015

25 - 4th Grade AR Books about The Planets & Space

AR Books about The Planets and Space

Earth's Crust by Conrad Storad
Mars: The Red Planet by Patricia Demuth
Planet by Melvin Berger
Rocky Planet by Kyla Steinkraus
Saturn for My Birthday by John McGranaghan

Eclipses by Nick Hunter
Greetings from Planet Earth by Barbara Kerley

Exploring Exoplanets by Deborah Kops
Meet the Planet by John McGranaghan
Our Solar System by Amanda Davis

Saturn by Susan Ring
Space by Chris Oxlade

Earth by Susan Ring
Uranus by Susan Ring

Giant Gas Planet by Kyla Steinkraus
Solar System by Sue Hamilton
Uranus by Larry Brimner

Earth's Layers by Jason Nemeth
Neptune by Larry Brinmer
Neptune by Susan Ring

Jupiter by Susan Ring

Saturn by Larry Brimner

Planet by Lynda Sorenson
Pluto by Larry Brimner
What's So Special About Planet Earth by Robert Wells