Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Granola Clusters

We happen to have  a surplus of raw milk and all my men have been begging for granola.

So last night we made a batch of our favorite granola.  My guys like big clusters, so I tweaked our recipe a bit and everyone was cheering this morning when they discovered that this granola was nearly All clusters.

When I make granola it involves lugging out big five gallon buckets and there is Always a mess involved.

To save time and frustration I do an extra big batch.  If you want to try our recipe, feel free to reduce the amounts. I promise it won't effect the end product.

Peanut Butter Granola Clusters

Combine in a large bowl or bucket

  • 20 c. Rolled Oats or Rolled Mixed Grains

This time around I used   10 cups of Rolled 7 Grain Mix & 10 cups of Quick Oats

If you use all rolled grains and no quick oats, you may want to pulse about half of the rolled grain in a blender so that it is easier for littles to chew.

  • 4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut  -(you can swap sweetened and reduce the sugar a bit)
  • 3 cups Sucanat -(or raw sugar, or brown sugar)
  • 3 c. Raw Wheat Germ
  • 3 c. chopped nuts -(your choice - we often use peanuts)
  • 1 c. Ground Flax Seed -(or Chia Seed)
  • 2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

In a blender combine

  • 1 1/3 c. Coconut Oil (or swap for an oil you keep in stock if you don't use coconut oil)
  • 1 1/3 c Honey (measure it with the cup you measured your oil in and it will slide right out)
  • 1 1/3 cup of Natural Peanut Butter * (see note)
  • 2 TBL Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Water

Blend wet ingredients until combined and then mix the wet ingredients thoroughly into the dry mixture.
Spray your baking pans with non-stick spray or coat with oil or butter.
I divide this quantity between 4 large 12x18 sided cookie sheets.

Press the mixture down firmly, as if you were making granola bars.
You will need to bake these in two batches.
Adjust two oven racks to the center of your oven, place one cookie sheet on the top-center, and the other on the bottom-center.
 Bake at 350 for 15 min and rotate the pans from top to bottom and bottom to top and bake another 15 min until golden.
Allow granola to cool in the pans and then break into clumps. Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

If you have a powerful blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec) you can substitute 3c. of peanuts for the peanut butter and blend these with your oil, honey, water and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Farm Babies

The baby kids are so SWEET!

Full moon was April 18, our animals all had their babies the day before on the 17th.
This is Mulk's  right before she kidded.

Mulks is 1/2 alpine, and if I remember correctly, part  Saanen, Nigerian Dwarf.

This was her first kidding and she had two kids, both female, YEAH.  We had her bred with a friend's Nubian and the kids both have the long floppy Nubian ears and they don't look a bit like their mother.

The sow had six piglets and she balanced things out by having 5 males and only one female.  Arggh.

And four baby bunnies too. Here is the one of them, K says it looks more like a squirrel than a bunny. LOL!

Everyone is especially enjoying the cute bunnies and the funny little kids.  We chose to bottle feed our kids this time around and hopefully they will be easier to handle and more people friendly.  After the initial first days, the boys have taken over this job.

Nick is a natural around the kids and loves to take care of them.

I, personally, am floored at how many animals we have around this place. Five years ago I would never have guessed that we would be doing this. Shoot, even two years ago I might not have believed it.
But here we are, and strange enough I am enjoying the early morning milking routines, and I love seeing the boys relating with the animals.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


"Mom, you need to look in my ear, it kinda feels like there is a BB in there."

I narrowed my eyes just slightly and said, "Add, would that be because there IS a BB in your ear?  Maybe you had better come here."

He came over to the couch, where I sat nursing Lexie, and I peered down his ear canal.  Yes,  I saw the shiny BB lodged rather deeply in his ear canal.  He must have tried to get it out on his own earlier.  An inspection of the opposite ear revealed the same condition there.  BB's in BOTH ears? 

Honestly, we do have things to do around here besides filling our ears with BB's. 

I know that most people would head straight to the emergency room or the doctor's office to get this sort of thing removed "professionally". 
Around here, we don't have insurance to cover this sort of thing and ...........neither are we extremely doctor friendly.................surely I can figure out a way to get this out myself.  Right?
Besides, D was not at home.  We have only one vehicle, so I couldn't have gone anywhere had I wanted to do so.  What to do?

The tricky part is simply making sure that whatever I do, I do not push it down further into the ear canal.
  It was already too deep in the ear canal to tweezer it out.  

After some thought and prayer, I got a small bulb syringe and warm water and gently filled the ear canal with water.  Then I proceeded to gyrate his ear around in hopes that some water would go around the edges of the BB and maybe it would float up.  No such luck!  Next I had him flip his head over and we thumped around on his head a good deal and sure enough, out it popped.  Then we worked on the opposite side which didn't come out nearly as quickly, but finally it also came out.  
I had him banging on his own head, so it was a joint effort. :-) 
And just in case you are concerned, he wasn't crying, and was not in anyway injured by all this pulling, twisting, and thumping. 

I kidded him that I was just knocking some sense into his head, so it wouldn't happen again.  But we did have a little conversation where in we discussed the possible side effects this could have had, including an emergency trip to the Doctor.  Doctor is not a familiar word to my children and it carries a very SERIOUS stigma. 

Life is interesting, isn't it?  Do you have kids and BB's?  Beware!  :-)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Mommy's Little Helper

No, your right.....
 she doesn't Exactly help me.

But she would like to think she helps, and one day she will actually be a huge help.

For now, Lexie loves being in the middle of everything we do.  She wants to hold a book when one of the boys is reading to me, she loves to be right there on the counter or the table while I am cooking, or folding laundry or weeding.  She wants to hold something real, forget the baby toys.  A salad spinner is much more fun, or a big leaf of spinach.  If I am doing laundry she wants a piece of laundry, and yes, she will most likely end up sucking on it.  When I am weeding or planting in the garden she is happiest with a fist full of grass, or Henbit.

This stage reminds me that right here is where it all starts.  If we want our kids to work with us when they are older we have to let them hang with us when they are really to little to offer an valuable help.
We want them be involved and work hard later on in life, and this is easiest taught before they are three years old in fun ways.

At six months Lexie is already learning things as she hangs out with us in the thick of things.
 She is Mommy's Little Helper in Training.

Meet Nikka

She is Nick's identical twin sister.

Well, actually it is Nick with a wig that we picked up on our "Dress Up" shopping spree. 

But I think he is adorable! Don't you?

Last Friday I took everyone to the Goodwill Clearing House to find lots of cool dress up items.  We found some really cool stuff and some really crazy stuff too.  

I believe that, a child's dress up play is one of the ultimate creative play activities.  I think every child should have a variety of props to facilitate their playtime. 

I clearly remember being a very little girl, trying on a fuchsia hat and fake pearl necklace and snakeskin high heeled shoes at my neighbor lady's house and feeling so very elegant. LOL!
I think it was at that moment, gazing at my reflection in the bathroom mirror that I decided that I would always have dress up things for MY children.  
But it is funny, I don't have any high heeled shoes in my collection right now.  It seems that the popular items are holsters, Indian costumes, cowboy hats, camo, and wigs.  
Some day the girlie side of our dress up bin will be more fleshed out.  But we still have some things to share with little girls when they come to play.  A knight must occasionally rescue a princess, or kneel to a queen.  :-)

So as I mentioned earlier, we headed off to the clearing house to find fresh inspiration for our dress up bin. If you have never been to a Goodwill Clearing House, the way it works is pretty simple.  The super fast checkout is awesome!  You get a big blue plastic bin on wheels when you walk through the front door. This bin is lined with a clear bag, everything in the store is $1.19 per lb.  Fill up your cart, wheel it to the front, and up onto a scales and pay whatever it weighs x $1.19. 
Ok, so digging through piles of stuff is NOT my favorite thing to do.  But my boys LOVE it and they did most of it.  Since I was intending to get dress up things, anything else was just a perk and made our trip very low key and fun.  
I really should have the boys model our lovely creative finds, I am sure that they would be happy to let me do a photo shoot.  

We found:
  • a black cape
  • a Indian Vest
  •  a grandmother dress
  • two wigs
  •  a baseball outfit
  • a bright purple silk shirt
  •  yrds of tan fabric and red silk
  •  a Russian flag
  • a bright pink hat
  • a string of beads
  • green feathers
  • a cowboy shirt
  • a plastic holster
  • vinyl "leather" coat

Oh yes, and a whole set of little plastic Army Men and Cowboys and Indians.  The boys were ecstatic about this piece of loot.

The question from the boys is, "When can we go back again?" 
I think the answer might be "After we get a bigger dress up box".  LOL!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Back Online

Hey there my friends!
It is good to be back, and I am so glad to have a lovely new laptop.  It is a sweet little Lenovo Think Pad and I truly love it!  I cried no tears about parting with my clunky old Dell and it's dear broken hinges. I am really not sentimental in that way.  Actually, I am afraid, I am not very sentimental in ANY way.

The past two weeks have flown by and so much has happened in that time. I have lots and lots of pictures about everything from birthdays to gardening to nature notebooking.  And I do hope to have some time soon to post a few of these things.

The biggest events were my oldest son turned nine years old.  Goodness, when did he suddenly become so grown up?

 Lexie started sitting alone without any support.  Sweet little bitty that she is!

and again, laughing her silly little laugh.

 We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in Charleston, SC.  The camera batteries died and I didn't take any pictures.  But then, it isn't like you haven't seen us before.
We did have a lovely relaxing time.  Charleston was lovely, as usual. On our first night the reservation department had reserved the wrong dates for us.  All of the regular hotels in the area were booked full due to some events in the area. They ended up moving us for one night to the Lodge Alley Inn Resort where we got a two bedroom apartment on Meeting Street. Which cost us nothing at all, since it was their mistake. Sweetness!

This was nice mistake for us, though it was Friday night on Meeting Street and there was certainly a noise factor.  The funniest part had to be the valet parking.  It was late and it just struck me as horribly funny to park our GGB (Great Green Beast) with all of its grand diesel rumble at the curb of a Lodge Resort Inn.  Hah Hah! The utter discrepancy was just hilarious.
We enjoyed some great meals, walking along the Battery, through the market and downtown area as well as plenty of down time. It was so refreshing!

Lexie went along with us and she was a show stopper, as usual.  I know she is cute, but what I wasn't prepared for is the perfect strangers that asked to hold her.  In two days time I had six of these requests.
Uh, no....I don't  exactly pass my baby around to strangers.  Did they actually think I would hand over my baby gem?  For real?

I promise I'll be back soon with more photos.