Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Making Breakfast Cereal

Ever make your own non-granola breakfast cereal? Making this particular kind isn't hard at all, though it does require a bit of planning ahead. It comes out a lot like Grape Nuts. The original recipe is found in Cooking from Quilt Country, though as with almost every recipe, I've tinkered a bit.

Graham Nuts

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
2 cups buttermilk or soured milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, spices and zest, if using, in a large bowl. Gently stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Mix completely. Spread batter evenly onto a large, well oiled, baking sheet with a spatula.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until firm and medium brown. Remove from pan and cool for several hours or overnight before proceeding to the next step.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Break cake into chunks (and try not to let your kids eat too many pieces as a snack). Put the chunks into a food processor and pulse until it forms large crumbs. Divide between two large baking sheets with sides and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until crumbs are deeply toasted.

Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

In my family, some people prefer to eat with milk, as with any other cereal. Others prefer to mix it into yogurt. Do as you see fit.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Camping and Critters

Over the weekend, the whole family went on a camping trip to Montgomery Bell State Park. It's only an hour or so from home, but fall seems much further progressed there. The trees were lovely and the air was cold.

The former was a good thing -- the latter, not so much.

We went with our homeschooling group and stayed in rustic cabins. Rustic means, in this case, unheated and full of critters. The first night seemed filled with sounds of rustling and scampering and I saw a mouse when I went to the bathroom. In fairness, it isn't as if we don't have mice at home. In fact, we came home to three dead ones caught in traps, but at least we catch them in traps, mouse poop isn't covering every surface and I don't hear them doing mousey tangos across the floor at 3 a.m.

And as I mentioned, the air was cold. The one thing that allowed me to get any sleep was my three year old. If one must go camping when it is cold, take a three year old with you. At that age, they sleep pretty soundly, they are warm and cuddly and they are still small enough to fit inside a sleeping bag with you. I do not recommend one year olds however. At least not ones that are used to sleeping in their own bed, because although said child might decide to scream for hours in the cold and unfamiliar portacrib, she doesn't actually want to sleep with you either. One year olds tend to wriggle, cry and start slapping you in the middle of the night. My husband and I played musical children, trading grouchy one year old back and forth for the nice, cuddly three year old.

After the first night, I swore we wouldn't be staying a second. After the second, I was glad to be going home, but also glad we had toughed it out for the whole trip. We had good company and I will probably even consider doing it again next year, if we get a chance. But first, I need to recover from this trip. Right now, I'm glad to be in my moderately warm house with mouse traps to catch the critters.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quick Takes


It's turned definitely fallish around here in Tennessee. It is grey and rainy, but we haven't had a frost yet, so many plants from the summer are still trying to hang on. They look pretty pathetic though. My basil lives, but I don't think there are enough good healthy looking leaves to make more pesto. I hope I got enough to carry me through most of the winter.


Speaking of fall, I finally put up my fall wreath on the front door. Replacing the - ahem - spring wreath. I kind of forgot all about summer this year.


The little one is extra cute these days. She says more and more. Her first sentence was, "I need mil." She's not weaned yet, but she really likes a cup of milk. She also brings me her shoes and says "Shushushu" whilst thrusting them insistently at you. Only 15 months old and already worried about fashion.


This tough guy had a birthday this week. He may be only three, but if you ask him, he says he's ten.


I'm reading the kids the second book in the Tom Trueheart series now. We read the first before the second was even written. It ain't great literature, but it's a page turner for sure. Any book recommendations for when we're done?


Thanks to a friend giving my seven year old a crochet hook and yarn for her birthday, we're both trying to learn how to crochet. The basic chain isn't so hard, but I'm not getting how to turn very well. I think I need to schedule an actual lesson with my friend soon. YouTube and written instructions aren't cutting it.


Sometimes changing things up is just what the doctor ordered. My Kindergartner has been fighting reading lessons a lot of late. She's making us both frustrated. Yesterday, instead of doing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (a book I do highly recommend and that we're almost finished with) we did several lessons in Little Stories for Little Follks. We did more and she loved it. In fact, she was extra happy, because we did worksheets! Kids are weird.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. Smiley

As soon as he learned how, my little boy has been Mr. Smiley. He smiles and smiles and smiles. Sometimes he smiles in good cheer. Sometimes it is more of an evil grin.

He's full of mischief. He's terribly bad sometimes and my walls are covered in his art. But when he smiles at me and wants to "tuddle," my heart melts. I'm afraid for all his naughtiness he might just have me wrapped around his finger.

Happy birthday, boy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Covering Their - - -!

I need to address a very serious problem in modern parenting. Okay, not really. It's more like a very minor annoyance. Some diaper companies do not provide any differentiation between diaper sizes.

My two children in diapers wear almost the same size and some diapers come without numbers, design changes or any other way to indicate size. Since my kids are only one size apart, it isn't even that easy to hold up the diapers and compare sizes. One could, I suppose, use cloth diapers, but I don't want to.

Some companies understand this. Costco's Kirkland diapers have a different animal on each size. Luvs print a teeny tiny sizing number on them (so as long as you aren't blind you can tell the difference), but the scenting in Luvs makes them unacceptable for children with eczema. It has been so long since I bought Huggies and Pampers mark their diapers, I think, but it has been a long time since I bought any.

But the two store brands that I buy most often -- Kroger and Target have not figured this out. I opened new boxes of diapers for my children the other day and they are covered in adorable blue and green polka dots. Identical polka dots. Baffling polka dots. I took a Sharpie and wrote initials on the bigger kid's diapers, so I could tell the difference. How hard would it have been though to make numbers on the diapers? It could be the store's way of testing everyone for color blindness -- "If you can't read this number, you need to get your eyes checked!" Or something.

It's not a matter of large importance in the world, but I deal with the little things all day long. They get to me. I may not be ready to promise the world change they can believe in so that I can win a Nobel prize, but I do change a lot of bums, and a logical marking system for diaper sizing on all brands and styles would help me out a lot.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Has It Been a Whole Week? Back for More Quick Takes...


It's been a busy week all around, beginning with the oldest girl's seventh birthday party on Sunday. We had several of her friends and their families over for hot dogs, s'mores, cake and lots of play. I can't believe she's seven.


Somebody (probably "Not Me") had an accident in the powder room, it seeped under the toilet and the whole room smells. Ick!


I didn't get around to making lesson plans for this week and it is really showing. I've been fumbling around trying to figure out what we should be doing and this week has been kind of a wash. However, the birthday girl got sick to her stomach on Monday, kids went on a field trip to a play of Tom Sawyer on Tuesday, we went to the park on Wednesday, had a First Thursday Mass and home school group meeting, where I started feeling weird and went home to spend the rest of the day in bed. So today is the first normal day anyway -- though I still feel weird.


I can't decide if I'm sick or not. I don't have a fever, but I'm extremely tired and just strange feeling. I just want to crawl back in bed, but my children always seem to follow me and make lying in bed some what less than restful.


My outside laundry drying seems to be at an end for the season and I am surprised by how much I miss it. For two weeks it rained pretty much every day and when the sun finally cam back it was much cooler. I, rather excitedly hung clothes out to dry on the morning of that first sunny day. By evening, many of them were still damp. The sun's angle has changed quite a bit, and without the direct sunny and heat of summer, the clothes just aren't drying. So I suppose it's back to the dryer. However, I doubt I would have loved hanging the clothes out in the dead of winter anyway.


After hearing about them from several friends, I picked up one of the Mitford books the other day. I accidentally started with the second. I'm still undecided as to whether I loved it or not, but it was a nice, gentle read. Nothing too extraordinary and nothing dirty, but just a nice snippet of lives in a small town. I think I'll check out another next time I'm at the library.


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Our Little Flowers and Blue Knights groups are making holy cards for each of the saints the kids study. On the front the kids are coloring a picture of the saint and on the back they glue a prayer or passage of scripture, and then we laminate them. We wanted to give them something to color so that they would be more involved in the process. I turned to my favorite source for beautiful saint coloring pages, but Charlotte does not have a drawing of every saint we need for the year. Since I can scribble a bit myself, I offered to draw coloring pages for our group and since I'm going to the trouble of making them, I figured I might as well put them out there for other people to use. I have discovered I am not good at fingers or eyes, but these have turned out ok. Check the side bar for those I've done so far. I'll be putting more up throughout the year as we study more saints in Little Flowers and Blue Knights.

More Quick Takes at Jen's.

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