Friday, March 19, 2010

A Few Good Things

The last few weeks have been especially difficult academically. We do school but rather haphazardly. My kids do some work and then quickly run off to do something else as soon as they can get away. I read aloud to them and after one chapter they ask if it can be done because they would rather play Legos or outside.

We have had a number of tantrums throughout the day when I ask them to do anything. I am feeling more and more like a schoolmarm and less like my kids are learning because they want to learn. So I have pulled back my expectations a bit and we read a bit and play a lot. We have even taken a little time to just go for walks and play at the park.

There are a few things that seemed to have gone well this week and hopefully will become habits.

One of the things we have been reading this week is The Children's book of Virtues.  After our scripture reading each morning I had been reading an article or two out of the Friend magazine. When we finished it I needed something else to fill in that space that would lead to some character training and discussion so I pulled the Children's book of Virtues off the shelf. The kids seem to have enjoyed the stories we have read from the book thus far. They really loved the story about the little please that lived in the boys mouth. Henry often asks me to see if I can find the please in his mouth now. The book isn't that long so I think I may jump to the actual Book of Virtues when we have finished. Of course when the April issue of the Friend comes we will read that again as well.

 Sophie is often asking me to let her make some thing. When I ask her what she has in mind it is always dessert type things. In my quest to eat more healthfully we haven't been baking cookies or cakes or any deserts really but Sophie still wants to cook something.  So we tried a new recipe for a treat that is a little more healthy but still fun to make and eat. We made Granola bars. I got the recipe off of a blog I had read (I wish I could remember where I got it and give her credit. I often just copy and print recipes without labeling them with where I got them).

Here is the Recipe as I copied it. 

Chewy Granola Bars
For Granola:
2 cups oats
3/4 cup puffed rice cereal
3/4 cup sunflower seeds, salted and roasted
1 cup crushed peanuts, salted and roasted
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
4 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

For Chocolate Sauce:
1/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. shortening

Spread oats on a baking sheet and toast in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Be sure to stir them every few minutes to avoid burning.  Once oats are done toasting, set aside and turn off the oven.  Line a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with wax paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.  
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, mix the brown sugar, honey, butter and vanilla.  Stir frequently, until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter and sugar mixture and mix all ingredients very well.  
Spread the granola out into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Add a sheet of wax paper to the top and press down firmly to make sure your bars are well compacted.  Let cool completely (about 2 hours).
Add chocolate chips and shortening to a double boiler and stir constantly until melted. Drissle chocolate over granola.  Allow to firm up (about 20 minutes).
Carefully transfer granola onto a large cutting board and cut using a very sharp knife and pressing down firmly to make a clean cut. Store in an air-tight container.

I don't make them exactly as they are described here. I don't usually use rice cereal since I couldn't find any that didn't have HFCS in it. So instead I broke up Multigrain Cheerios instead and they seemed to work just fine. I am sure any kind of cereal would work. I also didn't like the taste of the sunflower seeds (I don't think the ones I used in the first batch were salted and roasted. That could make all the difference!) So I just put some mixed nuts in the food processor and ground them up and put them in instead.  I have also put in dried apricots or craisins in place of the raisins. My husband took some of these bars to work and got many complements on their taste. My kids eat them and they seem healthier than cookies so I am thinking they will become a staple around these parts.

With the lovely Spring like weather I am not surprised that doing school is getting harder. But there have been a few things accomplished and that IS A GOOD THING!


Motherhood for Dummies said...

I soooo want to try those granola bars! They look great!

Bibliophile said...

I copied two photos from your blog entry today. The granola bars look really good!

Molly said...

You have a fabulous blog! I found it from part of the Spring Cleaning Blog Hop. I have the Mozart book so I didn't want to mess up your page by posting there but I look forward to learning more from your blog and I wanted you to know that I think it's really great!

the lazy reader said...

I love that last pic. What a goofy grin.