Thursday, June 9, 2011


Yesterday Clara said, "Mom, you need to put more granola in the container," as she munched on the last few bites of cereal.

Today the girls spent hours making granola.  It's been much too long since homemade granola has been in the cupboard.  Several handfulls have already been munched on.

Training my children is so rewarding.

Mix the following in a very large bowl
2 to 3 pounds oats
6 cups of mix-ins (I used coconut, craisins and sliced almonds today, but the fruit and nut mix-ins are pretty flexible, sometimes I use raisins, pecans, walnuts, diced dried apricots, banana chips, flaxseed, wheat germ, seeds, etc)

Whisk the following in a small bowl
1.5 cups oil
1/3 cup water
1.5 cups honey or maple syrup
1 T salt
3 T vanilla

Pour the liquids over the dry mixture and coat well.  Spread this mixture on an oiled cookie sheet.  Bake at 200 degrees for one hour until golden brown.  Stir every 10 minutes.  This should make about 4 cookie sheets, so your oven will be on for a few hours!  If you use more than one sheet at a time, sometimes the granola isn't as crisp, and will form a chunky, sticky mass, but it's still super tasty!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sick Perks - or not?

Today I am torn.  There is the perk of delegating, training my kids from a chair and eating tasty food, because once again, I had them all working together in the kitchen to prepare dinner.  I'm not sick, per se, but I still don't feel great, and I'm so exhausted after standing and working for long periods of time.  I can't even walk up a whole flight of stairs.  That's not a perk.

Another non-perk is not finishing the costumes I'm already dreadfully behind on.  Apparently, despite my best efforts to defeat this part of me, I am a procrastinator.  I know the Renaissance Faire comes every summer.  Last year I purchased everything for my new skirt, shirt and vest thing, but then I became overwhelmed creating (without a pattern) a Queen Lucy from Narnia outfit for my eldest daughter.  I've never done anything that complex, especially without a fool-proof guide.  This year, I have started my own costume, but only a skirt and shirt have been completed (well, both still need hemming).  I may be wearing the same dress I've worn for the past many summers to complete another Narnia dress.  This time she wants to be Queen Susan.  Although the dress last year is long enough to make up for her huge growth spurt, it was a bit snug around the waist last year, and won't fit around her now.  It needs to be altered for my youngest, so I hope a hem will do.

I started last week on this Ren Fest project, but I underestimated the amount of fabric for Susan's dress, the colors of the red and gold applique bled together to make a lovely pink, didn't have the proper color of orange for my shirt, etc.  Then I got sick and I've barely accomplished anything this week!  This is definitely not a perk of being sick.  I think I'll still make the deadline of 2 completed new costumes and 1 altered dress by next Saturday, but it will be tight.  I will probably still be emphasizing my "weakness" and inability to cook, clean and do laundry until then....  Ahh, the perks of being sick.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sick Perks continued...

Blackberries were on sale at Sprouts last week, so I grabbed 10 little boxes hoping I could make a few jars of blackberry syrup.  Then I got sick.  Almost a full week of them sitting in the fridge didn't help their juiciness, but I put my girls to work.  I was still weak from not eating for 2 full days, so I did some sitting and monitoring.  I guess that's
Perk #3 of being sick - sitting while training my children and delegating tasks.

The Ball Blue Book of Canning Recipes didn't have a recipe for blackberry syrup, but since the jam recipe is the same for all the berries, I decided to just swap berries in the blueberry syrup recipe.  If I could follow directions, maybe I'd be able to better make syrup, but instead of a sugar syrup that gets syrupy, I put the sugar in the berries (AGAIN).  I didn't learn my lesson last year with the blueberry syrup, but I made a note in the recipe book this time.  After hours and hours of stirring and straining blackberry juice, we ended up with half the pints it says we'll end up with - 2.  Jim says it's the best syrup ever, so I guess it was successful.  It's also very thick, since I didn't follow the directions properly, but I would have preferred 4 pints.  The girls did a great job and I felt like I did a good job of training today!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sick Perks

I got sick on Sunday with some stomach thing.  It's horrible, but there are perks to being ill, I guess.

Perk #1
Lay around a lot and catch up on some reading (I've been reading the All New Square Foot Gardening book).

Perk #2
Jim and Clara made cookies.  Clara adores the Food Network and watched Paula Deen make White Chocolate Coconut Cookies.  They're fantastic!

image from