Homemade Grape-Nut Cereal Recipe

While the Handyman and I were away for a few days, the children stayed with my mom, where they discovered her homemade Grape-Nuts.  All three fell in love with it and insisted they must eat a bowl for breakfast every morning. Since it has been such a hit at our house, I thought I’d share the recipe with you.

Homemade Grape-Nut Cereal

Ingredients:

2 c. old fashioned oats

2 c. whole wheat flour

2 c. white flour

2 c. cornmeal

1 c. brown sugar or Sucanat

2 c. buttermilk

1 c. molasses

2 tsp. baking soda

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Mix buttermilk and molasses, then combine with dry ingredients.

ImagePress into a greased baking pan.  I use a large 11 X 15 lasagna pan.

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Bake at 300* for 1 hour.  Remove from oven. (This is when you break off a chunk of hot steamy goodness and enjoy it with a cold glass of milk!  This is also a good time to have something else ready to pop in the oven and cook.  It takes a lot of energy to heat an oven up, so why not make good use of our resources and get some other baking done while we wait for our cereal to cool.)

Cool for one hour.  Break “cake” into chunks.  Depending how fine you want your cereal you can crumble by hand or chop in the food processor.  Spread cereal out on a large baking sheet (or two).  Bake at 300*, stirring every 10 minutes until crunchy.  (I bake mine about 30 minutes; they will get crunchier as they dry.)  Spread cereal out to cool.  I usually bake late at night so I just throw a thin towel over them and leave them dry over night.  If you like your cereal finer yet, you can put in back through the food processor.

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This cereal is good in a bowl with milk (as my children will tell you) or sprinkled on homemade yogurt.  We have also found that if you process it very fine in your food processor you can substitute it in recipes that call for graham cracker crumbs such as for the crust of a cheesecake.

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Frugal momma strikes again!

imageI love having my littles ones help me in the kitchen. Especially now that my 5 year old has appointed herself head dishwasher! ( We will see how long that lasts.) What I don’t love is having my kitchen chairs pulled all over the kitchen and having multiple children trying to climb on one stool so they can see what moms doing and lend a helping hand. Some time ago in an effort to combat this problem I started looking for solutions and I came across The Learning Tower. While I was very impressed with the reviews I read, there was no way I was going to part with $199 to buy one. Fast forward 6 months…,imagine my surprise this evening when I popped into one of our local thrift store and saw this pushed into a corner with a sticker that read $3.99! Oh yeah! For $4.24 (including tax) this lovely stool is in my kitchen. Granted it has some wear and could benefit from a fresh coat of paint but for now, I’m just tickled with this thrift store surprise!

Making the most of Back to school clearance..for Christmas??

Christmas is my favorite holiday!  Okay thats no surprise, what other day is more important to a Christian than the day we celebrate the birth of our Jesus?  But, I have to admit that I love that Christmas  puts my planning and organizing skills to the test.  As an event planning junkie, this is my superbowl!   As of today there are 101 Days until Christmas.  Let the fun begin!

Today I wanted to share with you how I am planning for Christmas by hitting some of the Back to school clearance bins.  For most the the large retailers the window for deep discounts after the start of school is fairly small.  That time is right now!  I went to one of our local discount stores this week and came home with 3 bags of “school supplies” for under $6.00.  While I am generally not a fan of bringing more “stuff”  into our home, for me keeping a gift closet has been helpful. 

So what did I get?  In addition to more plastic school boxes, I got novelty pens and pencils, sticky notes, a few magnets, bookmarks, keychains, coin purses, dry erase stickers and incentive charts.  So now what am I going to do with this stuff?  Most of these items were 10cents each. (Not bad, eh?) Ive been toying with the idea of a treasure chest in our school room, so some may go there.  But, here are a few ideas I have for Christmas.

If you are one of our neighbors….we may be bringing you Peppermint Sticks dipped in white chocolate, packaged in these red sliding pencil boxes.  I thought it would be cute to let the girls decorate the packages.

If you are my nephew, you may be getting lots of new “busy bag” activities packaged in these plastic pencil boxes.

If you are my daughter, you may find some of these fun pencils and sticky notes in your stocking.

Planning ahead not only helps keep the Christmas rush under control because I can get things purchased ahead of time, it also helps spread the expenses out, making it less painful on the budget.  Are you planning for Christmas yet? Are there things that you do to control gift giving costs?  Id love to hear from you!

Homemade Laundry Soap

I’ve heard so many great things about this laundry soap recipe that I finally decided to give it a try.

It only takes 6 ingredients and goes together in less than 5 minutes. Here is what you’ll need.

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1 (3 lb) container of Oxi Clean

1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of 20 Mule Team Borax

1 (4 lb) box Arm and Hammer Pure Baking Soda

1 (3 lb 7 oz) box Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda

6 (5 1/2 oz) bars Fels-Naptha soap (You can also use Zote soap)

1 (55 oz) container of Purex Crystals

While I’m not a big fan of Wal-mart, or any big box store for that matter, I purchased all of the needed items in one place for less than $30.00.  This recipe is flexible and can easily be customized to fit your needs.  For instance, most of the recipes I found for this called for the large 55oz container of Purex Crystals.  I’m not big on fragrance in my cleaners so I used the smaller 28 oz bottle.  I used the “fresh spring waters” scent and my laundry has a nice light, clean scent coming out of the dryer.

My biggest concern making the soap was grating the Fels-Naptha.  I put it in the freezer overnight before shredding. My Kitchen Aid food processor shredded it without even hesitating. I dumped all the ingredients in the large Tupperware that I am going to store it in and gave it a mix.

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 I have a Maytag Neptune front load washer and I am using 2 tablespoons per load. I have tried it with more delicate clothes as well as on my husband’s heavily soiled work clothes and it works great!  This is the first time that I have made a DIY cleaner. With such great results, I’m excited to see what else I came whip up in my kitchen.  One product I am in love with is Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Lavender Countertop Spray!  So now I’m on the hunt for a recipe for something similar.  Any suggestions?

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The Family Clothesline

Last winter my clothesline inadvertently got broken while we were bringing in wood so, this year I got a new one. I was so glad when hubby put it up, it was the first project this Spring. I love to hang out clothes! I know to some it sounds strange to some but I love the smell of line dried clothes. I love the act of doing it, somehow it is soothing to my soul. Its also good exercise. I also love knowing we are using the free solar and wind power God has given us rather than using propane. I do think eventually we will need another one since I have no problem filling this one. Or perhaps Ill have to start spreading more loads out during the week instead of doing most of it on one day.
I love my new clothesline because:

1) Its twice as big as the old one.

2) Its near the swing set so the little ones can play while I hang out and fold clothes Plus, I usually get help for at least the first half of the basket 🙂

3) Its in a better spot, so most days the clothes dry much quicker in the new location.

Color Cubes

Its been a fairly warm summer here in Ohio and since we decided not to put the pool up this year we have been having all kinds of other fun water related activities outside in the yard. I dont remember where I saw this idea last year but the girls had so much fun mixing the colors and watching the ice cubes melt. Not only was it fun to cool off in the little splash pool but we also talked about primary and secondary colors..so they learned something too! The girls fingers were a little stained when they were done but if you ask me a small price to pay for an hour of giggles.

I used ice cub trays and an egg keeper to make the ice cubes just because I thought it would be fun to have dfferent shapes. I put 3 drops of food coloring in each cube. As it ended up when I took the cubes out there was enough dye residue in the trays that when I filled them again there was plenty of color to make another tray.


bumGenius 4.0

Just thought Id update on our new adventure into all-in-one cloth diapers. Since I liked the bumGenius 3.0 diapers so much I decided to order the bumGenius 4.0 and check it out. It works really well! I also love that it is adjustable and is a one size fits “all” diaper. The bumGenius 3.0 diapers we got were in size Large as Jacob is getting a little big for the mediums. I love the way they stretch on the sides for a great fit. So, yeah a good investment I think. In case you’re interested, www.cottonbabies.com has the bumGenius on sale for $15.25 through March 20, 2011.

New Diapers

I have to share my first experience with All- in -One diapers. I used disposables with our older daughter, cloth diapers were barely a fleeting thought. I had several ill fated attempts with our younger daughter. However Mowgli on the other hand will be a year old in a few weeks and we are still using cloth diapers with him. Up until this point we have used prefolds with covers. We’ve used mostly the Bummi Super Whisper Wrap which have been really great. I was placing an order at http://www.cottonbabies.com/ – (gotta love free shipping ) for another bag of Rockin’Green when I decided to take a quick look at their clearance page. They had bumGenius 3.0 all-in-one diapers for $9.95! So I decided we’d try them. They are super cute and fit great so I think I am going to order a few more. I also got a bag of the new Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer and am excited to see how it works. Heres Mowgli cruisin’ around the ottoman in one of his new diapers. So cute!