Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gone Fishin'

This past weekend we drove a few hours and jumped state lines in order to vacation up at Island Park in Idaho. Truly, it is one of the most beautiful places I have had the privilege to see. Go, if you have the opportunity.

While gramps taught the three little munchkins to fish, the hubs and I had a good old discussion about fishing ... and our inability to do it. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I have never fished. Not once. Not even when my FIL was teaching my girls did I take the opportunity to learn.

Shame is a heavy burden.

I am not a big fish eater, so I have never felt compelled to learn. As my mindset shifts and the desire to become more self-sufficient grows, I feel the motivation setting in. Fishing is a basic survival skill that I must learn.

The Fishy Challenge, Part 1: If you do not currently have a fishing license, get one.

It is all about baby steps, right? I can do this one, easily.

I don't believe I have ever introduced our kiddos. Afterall, they are our motivation for everything.

Munchkin #1:

Munchkin #2:

Munchkin #3:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Over the Edge

Had a lot of fun with the whole family today. Scratched up the Teryx a little, but what are toys for?

Imagine all of the food storage we could have bought with the money it cost. *Sight* At least we are enjoying her...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dehydrated Mango Chips

Seriously, talk about a busy summer vacation this year. It all started off with a missing husband (not really missing, just a few states away for some training), then an incredibly cool vacation with said missing husband (our first real vacation), and a whole bunch of projects in between. Now that summer is winding down and the kids are getting ready to go back to school, I have a little time to catch up on all the things that have been going down around here.

Why don't I start off with one of my favorite treats? Ever had a mango chip? No? Well, get out your dehydrator because this goodness is meant to be shared. In fact, I learned about these chips from over at What a great idea, right?

So, the next time you are at Costco's or Winco's and see all of those amazing mangos for a killer deal, pick them up! You won't regret it (unless you allow them to perish in your fridge instead of making a few chips).

And, they are so, so simple to make. Come on! I don't do difficult; I do easy. And these are easy!

Dehydrated Mango Chips


Knife, mandolin or meat slicer

1. Rinse the mangos to remove any pesticides.
2. Peel the mangos with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler.

3. Slice the mangos as thinly as possible.

4. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the dehydrator tray.

5. Dehydrate at 120-135°F until crisp.

Tips & Tricks

*If you do not have a mandolin or meat slicer, look into getting one when you have the means. I used my mandolin for years and years before buying a meat slicer, but my meat slicer has become a staple in my kitchen. I use it almost as often as I use my calculator, which is my most used item in the kitchen (weird, eh?). I have a very inexpensive meat slicer and it works great.

*I also have a very inexpensive dehydrator, and it works perfectly. Yes, some day I would like to upgrade, but for now it gets the job done. My theory is simple, "don't spend a lot of money unless you have to."

*I dehydrate my fruit at 120°F.

*Before going to bed, I prepare my foods and dehydrate them overnight. Then they are ready in the morning!

*If the food is sticking to the tray, I place my hand on the bottom of the tray and gently flex the tray upward.

I like to keep my pantry stocked with mango chips for an after school snack. They are a great replacement for potato chips!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Displaced Ducks and a Bit of Closure

I stopped by my brother's the other weekend and saw the ducks. Remember the ducks we rehomed this spring because of a disgruntled neighbor? Yeah, those are the ones I'm talkin' about.

Talk about some awesome birds.

My nieces renamed them, but I was a little distracted with their overall awesomeness and missed the new names, so I'm going to refer to them by their ones.

Agent P is the male Rouen and he is still my favorite. His green head is glorious and his wings are tipped in purple. He had major potential the last time I saw him, but he looks even better than I had imagined.

Pascal is the female Pekin. The simplicity of her snowy white feathers speaks to me as a fellow minimalist. And as a fellow chatterbox, I am lovin' her chatter.

Is it any wonder that Pekin is a meat duck? She is huge compared to our chickens!

Now, I'm not big on fingernail polish, but wouldn't it be cool to paint her nails? I want to see her waddling my way with a little flare down there.

Anyway, dear brother of mine, thanks for letting us visit and check out the ducks. They look good and the girls were so happy to see them.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Day at the Shooting Range


We had a fun day at the range and the girls did great!  The new AR 15/22 is turning out to be a fantastic investment!

Hey, mom, you might want to turn the volumn down on the video - explicit language, ya know?  Sorry about that ...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ammo Storage - Part 2

Now that I had found a problem, it was time to find a solution. I needed some type of storage container that was:
1. Water tight (top priority...)
2. Easy to store (no odd shapes)
3. Ammo storage capacity (enough to be useful, yet light enough to carry)

After looking at several options, I decided to go with .30 cal ammo cans.

As you can see, I found two variations: a standard GI can and a reproduction plastic can. Both have there merits. Both can styles have a rubber gasket to keep the water out, stack very nicely on my storage shelves, and (to me) carry just the right amount of ammunition. The GI cans are nice in that they are nearly indestructible. Though, it can be difficult to find cans in decent shape and depending on where you're storing them, the sharp edges can tear up you shelf surfaces. The plastic cans appear to be a good compromise for non-battle field applications. They are new production and nice and smooth - I have since ordered 6 more plastic cans to aid in my transition.

Now that you have your cans, you also need to decide how to store your ammo in the can. I have found that the .30 cal cans work great for either boxed or loose ammo. Also, depending on where you live and how long you intend to store your ammo, it may be a good idea to throw in a desiccant pack in each can to avoid any moisture build up.

Ammo Storage

Today I learned a lesson in proper ammunition storage. In preparation for my trip to the range, I noticed I was running low on .22lr ammunition. So, off to my ammo storage to re-supply the range bag. I had been storing my .22lr ammo in an open plastic Tupperware (~3,000 rounds). When I pulled the box from my storage shelf, I noticed something was wrong... All of the packages appeared warped and out shape. I soon found that they were all soaking wet. After a quick look at my shelf, I realized that the distilled water, stored right above my ammo box, had been damaged (by an unknown juvenile assailant...) and had been slowly leaking for most likely weeks.

After discovering the mess, I opened every box and inspected them. They ranged from soaked to barely damp depending on where they were in the box. I left them open and let them dry in a fan overnight. Once they were dry, I inspected all the rounds and decided to dispose of any that showed signs of water damage or corrosion. Since this is my ammo storage, I don't want to take a chance in storing garbage ammunition. Below is a picture of my storage box and the damaged ammo - good example of the cost of poor ammo storage practice.

Luckily most of the rounds appear to be in good condition after drying out and two boxes fired OK today at the range. So, at least it wasn't a total loss.