Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lunch Box Granola Bars

School is starting this week so in honor of that I thought I would share with you a homemade granola bar.



I have tried 3 different recipes for homemade granola bars and I liked two of them they are Granola Bars III (that’s what I made this time)  and Playgroup Granola Bars.  One important thing to remember when making granola bars is to not over bake them. If you want a nice chewy granola bar bake them until the edges are just turning brown and the middle looks set, but not firm.



I printed off a label for them that I made up.  I wrapped them in wax paper then foil then placed the label over the seam to keep them closed.  I think I ended up with 14 or 16.  I have 14 wrapped I’m just not sure if some of them were eaten before I got a chance to wrap them.



School anyone?? Actually I love summer and I love having my kids home, I’ll be sad to send them off this week.  Especially since I’ll have 3 going this year… they grow up way to fast. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

gingerbread cheesecake

When I was looking for a dessert for family night,  I came across this recipe and thought I would try it out.


The recipe is for your favorite gingerbread cookie.  You bake some of the cookie dough  into cookies to crumble on top about 5-6.  Then you put some of the cookie dough in the bottom of a 9 X 13 to form the crust.  Then bake it according to the directions  of your recipe. BUT after I made this I thought you could really just make a “graham cracker” type crust with a bag of gingersnaps and butter.  Then crumble some of the leftover cookies on the top when you were done.  If I ever make this again, I would do it like that.


The cheesecake part is

14 oz. of sweetened condensed milk

8 oz. of cream cheese softened

1/3 cup of lemon juice

2 cups of cool whip thawed

Mix the first three ingredients together until well blended and then fold in the cool whip. Refrigerate for at least and hour. It really does taste better cold.  I would also like to try this recipe with a baked cheese cake.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Boys Room

If you think the girl’s bedroom is small the boy’s bedroom is even smaller. Some of you will have bigger closets than my boy’s bedroom.  This is really the only way we could place the furniture and I really couldn’t get that great a shot of the room. Anyways the boys received the girls old twin over twin bunk bed.  Which was fine except the youngest is only 15 months old, and I was kinda worried about him being in a big bed so soon, but it’s been just fine.  We normally kick them out of the crib at 18 months anyway. 


In the boys room I painted the ceiling, cleaned the carpet and touch up the blue paint. I also painted over the stars around the top of the room.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The girls room

Last week I spent a lot of time cleaning, redoing and reorganizing the kids bedrooms.  I have been trolling craigslist for a while now looking for a twin over full bunk bed.  I finally found one for a good price that was in great shape. So there was only one thing left to do…get to work!

The girls told me they had out grown the pink, so it had to go. I didn’t take any before pictures with the furniture, but this space below is were the bunk bed was.


The toddler bed that is standing on it’s head was right there smashed between the two dressers. Then under the window was another dresser.


It also had a wallpaper boarder that had to come off, but it came off super easily.


The girls picked out a really nice green color.  I painted a couple of coats of the green, I was worried the stripes would be hard to cover but they weren’t at all. I also cleaned the carpets in here, it’s amazing what a little carpet cleaning can do for a place. 029

Their new bed, I have never had kids share a bed before but it’s working out great. My 7 and 3 year old share, and there is so much room I don’t think they even notice each other.  We had to put one of the dressers at the end of the bed so we could access the closet.  I’m not in love with the bedding and neither are they but we got it for free from a friend and my pocket loves free, so we will use it for a little while.


It’s a small room but the new bunk bed helps out a lot.  I’m happy with it and so are they.  Win, win!


It’s not one of those kid bedrooms full of antiques and looks like it came from Pottery Barn but it does look like a 9,7 and 3 year old live there and that makes me smile.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Dresser Doctor

A lady asked my husband to take this dresser to the dump for her.  He brought it home and I immediately wanted to try and make it better. But it was missing a drawer and it looked kinda rough.  I asked my DH about it and he said that the lady had the extra drawer and he would ask her if I could have it and if she wouldn’t mind us keeping it.  I picked the drawer up the next day and went to work.


First I pulled off all of these lovely plastic things.  They came off really easily, then I patched, sanded and painted the holes/ drawers.  018013

then I cleaned, scrubbed and otherwise disinfected the entire thing.


I decided to keep the old handles, I kind of liked them, plus they just don’t make things like this anymore.  I know some of you are thinking that there is a reason for that.  BUT I kind of think they’re charming. Anyways I did spray paint them a nice black color. Then I sanded and painted my guts out.


And here she is now.  I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of it before it was put in my girls room, but I think you get the idea.







Someday I imagine it painted a nice red color and used in our family room under our t.v. holding DVD’s and the like.  But for now it’s still a dresser.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

English Muffins

I have always wanted to try and make homemade english muffins.  I think it’s so cool that you cook them on a griddle, plus they’re super yummy.  I found this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens Bread book.
The Recipe

5 1/2 – 6 cups of flour

2 packages of active dry yeast

2 cups of milk

2 TBS. sugar

2 TBS of shortening

2 tsp. salt



The directions
In mixer bowl stir together 2 cups of flour and the yeast.  In saucepan heat milk, sugar, shortening and salt until warm. I used the microwave worked great! Add to flour mixture and beat on a low speed for about 30 seconds, scape side of bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes, add as much of the remaining flour that you can mix in with a spoon.  Dump it onto the counter and work in more flour until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic.  Cover and let rise until it doubles in size.  Punch in down and let it rest for 10 min.  Roll out dough to a 1/4 of and inch thickness and cut into 16 circles.  I just divided my dough into 16 parts and shaped them into balls it worked fine and it was easy. Dip both sides of dough into cornmeal.   Cover again and let rise until they are nice and light. When they are finished rising place them on a ungreased griddle and brown on both sides.  You can try and cook them the entire time on the griddle or you can brown them on both sides and finish them up in the oven. 
The Pictures
We made ours into egg sandwiches and had breakfast for dinner. YUM!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pick a Peck of Pickled…Pickles??

I know I haven’t been blogging much but food stuff lately but mostly that’s because it’s August and August for me is major canning season. So I have been a little busy.  But if you make pickles we really, really enjoyed a bread and butter pickle recipe that I found on allrecipes. You can find it here.

I started with 25 lbs. of awesome pickling cucumbers. 


Slice everything up (I used a gallon of sliced cucumbers per batch) and put them in a large bowl with the salt (I only used 1/3 of a cup of salt not the 1/2 a cup that the recipe calls for). 


cover it with ice and let it sit for about 3 hours.


If you want to can them follow the directions for canning bread and butter pickles in your ball blue book.   They turned out SUPER CRUNCHY and YUMMY.  Just how a pickle should be.


Other random pickled things.  I canned super yummy three bean salad.  If you want that recipe it’s in the ball blue book.  (I don’t use lima beans though cause YUCK).  I also made 14 quarts of Dill pickles.  I haven’t tried them yet, I hope that they turn out crunchy too, because soggy pickles are NASTY!!  I don’t use the ball blue book recipe for dill pickles, I have NEVER had success with that recipe so this year I tried a different one.  It they turned out I’ll share the recipe with you sometime down the road.  


My 25 lbs. of cucumbers turned into this, well this plus 6 more pints of bread and butter pickles.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Laundry Soap

Ever since I discovered you could make your own laundry soap I have wanted to try it.  Recently we had a disaster at our house, I have no idea how this happened but I had a brand new bottle of (190 loads) laundry detergent, and spewed itself forth all over my laundry closet.  I wanted to cry, scream, curse, but I refrained.  I took us about 5 hours to clean it all up, it was 1/4 of an inch deep underneath the washer and the dryer.  And it’s a laundry closet that’s in a hallway, so there wasn’t a lot of room to pull the washer and dryer out to clean underneath them and then as soon as you move one of them,  more soap comes pouring out from under the other one.  ANYWAY HUGE MESS!!!!  SO after working on this mess for so long my nose was fried and I DID NOT want to smell laundry soap EVER AGAIN!!! Then I remembered that homemade laundry soap doesn’t smell so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try it out.


Anyway here we go. I used the following recipe and directions.  P.S. this stuff is SUPER thrifty to make, it works out to like 3 cents a load!!

You will need

2 cups of washing soda

2 cups of Borax

1 grated bar of Fels-Naptha soap. 

1/2 cup of Dawn dish soap



Grate the Fels- Naptha really fine.  You’ll want it more fine than this when you make your soap. Or you’ll want to stab your eyes out waiting for it all to dissolve in your boiling water.


I used one of my old pots and filled it with 1 quart of water and brought it to a boil then I added the not so finely grated bar soap. Heat until the bar soap is completely dissolved.


When it was dissolved I poured it into this 5 gallon bucket.  And added the two cups of borax, and washing soda, and the 1/2 a cup of Dawn. Stir.


Then add 2 gallons of water. I actually used my stick blender to give it a really good mixing it worked really well.


I had an empty laundry soap container (thanks to the disaster) that I poured all my detergent into.  BUT the laundry soap supposedly needs to be shaken or stirred before each use, so you might not want to go this route, but it’s been fine for me.


My makeshift funnel, cause I don’t have one.  Weird I know.



So a couple of years ago I purchased this set of measuring spoons and cups at the Dollar Store.  I keep them in the garage and use them for measuring non food items, like fertilizer, borax, and what have you.  It’s been great totally recommend it.


My children came up with the name of our laundry soap.  Clever, I know.


So far it seems to be working fine, but it’s only been a week.  I’ll let you know if I hate it in the end.