April 30, 2010

Card Making to Save Money

Rub on hearts and swirls, tag with rub on letters and fibers
Stamped design and then added glitter to the eggs, layered with textured paper

patterened paper emphasized with green glitter, edges inked with pink
Floss tied down the spine. "mom" square on a pop dot.
 Seems May and June are serious card months at our house. We have Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, and anniversaries all together. What's a frugal gal to do?? I like to use my scrapbooking rements to save a little money and make them when possible. Maybe these cards can spark some ideas for your homemade cards.  I'd love to see your work to give me inspiration, so please share a link in the comments.
dry embossed the birdhouses and rubbed with sandpaper, added ribbon behind and some torn patterened paper
Stamped letters and distressed with white paint, matted on blue and pop dots. Added small brads on the bottom to balance.

Rose rub on and small tag with rub on and fibers
Torn mulberry paper with rose rub ons, used Quickuts for letters and square punches for matting

Stamped beige paper to create pattern and stamped "birthday", used rub on letters for "mom" on tag with fibers. All mounted on a maroon paper.

April 25, 2010

Gardening with Chickens

In the wintertime, our empty garden is a perfect place for the chickens to forage. They are like little rototillers, churning up the soil for us. They get all kinds of yummy bugs and worms and we get fertilized soil.  It's a wonderful symbiotic relationship. However, when planting time comes, it's a whole new story.

The Girls are very interested in anything resembling a seed or plant. If you don't want your seed to turn into chicken feed, you much have to shove it into the ground while they aren't looking otherwise they will go and dig RIGHT where you planted!  Not to mention pecking at the fragile seedlings. I'm all for free ranging and sharing my extra veggies, but the Girls have been officially banned from my spring garden!

April 18, 2010

Super Cute Name Board Giveaway

A friend of mine is giving away these amazing name boards. They are so cute and a fantastic blessing for a child. All you have to do to enter is post a link on a blog or on facebook. Check it out at http://www.theneemashopblog.blogspot.com/.

these are hand painted name boards....they have become a sweet part of many homes, including ours, where our children pray to grow into their names & these verses become a part of their hearts at an early age. These are $23/ea. I have a book that I have used that has name meanings & verses, though you are free to tell me if you have a verse already picked out.

To purchase a name board you may contact mailto:contacttheneemashop@gmail.com.

Promised Land Granola Bars

I love simple recipes that kids can help with. Even my two year old can make this one. It's very sweet and more like dessert bars than power bars, but you could add some wheat germ or flaxseed meal to up the nutritional quotient if you like. This one has no eggs, so you don't have to worry about them licking their hands. The reason it's so sweet is it was used at a previous Vacation Bible School to teach the kids how sweet life was when the Israelites entered the promised land, hence the name, Promise Land Granola Bars (which would make a great homeschool lesson). They are sticky goodness, but if you like a more chewy granola bar, check these out. They are more like Quaker Oatmeal bars. This recipe below reminds me of those cheap, Little Debbie granola bars you find near the other Little Debbie snacks. Like a snack/treat all rolled into one. My kids LOVE this one.

Promised Land Granola Bars

4 c oats
1 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 c flaked coconut
3/4 c melted margarine
3/4 c orange marmalade

Grease a 9x13 or 10x15 inch pan. The smaller pan will make thicker bars. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Here's the part for the child...
Combine the oats, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add other ingredients and mix well.  Pour the mixture into the greased pan, pat down and bake for 12-15 mins (the deeper pan will need more time). Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

April 6, 2010

Strawberry Freezer Jam

I was part of a "twitter party" recently and we were discussing healthy snacks for kids. Besides being completely overwhelmed by more than twenty people "talking" at once, it was really cool. I am always intrigued by this topic. (Hopefully some of you got to watch the Jamie Oliver cooking program that I mentioned before.) I wasn't sure if the twitter party would be a bunch of experts talking about snacks or a bunch of moms looking for ideas. It was a good mix of both. I picked up a few tips and hopefully I passed a few on to others. I know one topic that came up was making foods at home instead of buying them. To this end, I would like to share last year's crop of strawberry jam. This year I did actual pressure canned jam, but I really like the fresh taste (and ease) of freezer jam. It's easy because you don't have to "can" the stuff (ie, put it in special jars and heat seal them). The best recipe for strawberry freezer jam is right in the package of Sure Jell. I like using the Certo package because it's the easiest and faster of the group, but you can buy the regular powdered version and follow those directions. In making jam, you know exactly what goes into it (a LOT of sugar unless you buy the low sugar kind of jell) fresh fruit and pectin - that's pretty much it.

Whatever kind you make, strawberries are coming into season and this jam tastes like summer. Not at all like the kind you buy from a store. It's so *strawberryied* tasting it's perfect as a topping for ice cream.  Or blend the two together and you have strawberry milkshakes. Put it on top of waffles, sourdough pancakes, or my personal favorite...a slice of freshly baked honey wheat bread, cream cheese and a dollop of this stuff.  Yum!!

Strawberry Freezer Jam

2 cups crushed strawberries
4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
1 pouch Certo fruit pectin (by Sure Jell)

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

You need containers to hold 4 cups of jam. Wash and dry the jars or plastic (best to use the dishwasher). {As you can tell, I just reused some old jars I had already. When I'm actually pressure canning, I use the ball jars, but this is just going to go into your freezer, so they don't need to seal, but they do need to be clean.}

Clean and crush strawberries thoroughly. {I use a potato masher because it leaves me with big chunks of strawberries which my family loves. If you do it in the food processor or blender you will end up more like stawberry jelly with some seeds. It's personal preference like pulp or no pulp in OJ.} Measure exactly 2 cups smashed fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally. {This is why making freezer jam tastes so good, it isn't cooked.}

Mix pectin and lemon juice, add to strawberries. {This is the only place I deviate from the recipe. I just add both of those to the sweetened strawberries.}

Fill all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of top. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in freezer up to 1 year. For the jars that you freeze, just thaw them in refrigerator before using.

April 5, 2010

Natl Cornbread Festival

The National Cornbread Festival is such a fun event in South Pittsburg, TN (near Chattanooga). We enjoyed going last year and hopefully will go back again this year (April 24th and 25th). It's a typical fair with a cooking contest rolled in. Sponsored by Lodge Cast Iron, you can even take a tour of the factory to see cast iron being made. Totally cool. We managed to get a free cast iron skillet by using a special coupon at their "seconds" store in town. The kids loved trying all the different cornbread recipes in Cornbread Alley, some sweet (apple cornbread fritters) and some spicy (cheddar jalapeno). It's a small town feel with RC Cola and Moon Pies everywhere, but big time fun for the kids. Hope to see you there!


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