Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Simple Things and the Whingdingdilly

Today I have been very busy doing simple things. I made a bunch of batches of soap a couple of weeks ago, so I was wrapping them in fabric and putting them on my inventory shelves.

I cut up some fresh juicy strawberries for a snack and even I, the chocoholic of chocoholics, had to admit they rivaled chocolate for tantalizing my taste buds. Of course, chocolate covered strawberries can be considered a food of the gods- but plain strawberries are fantastic. I also made a great big batch of granola-see recipe at the end of this post.

I was thinking about soap and berries and even tho much has changed through the years, really, no one has really come up with something better than soap to get you clean or something better than strawberries for a healthy snack.

So, why do the educators think they have to keep coming up with new ideas to teach kids all the time?

I mean, a combination of books, writing and ciphering have passed the test of time. Throughout the centuries, the three R's have formed the foundation of what an educated person needs to know. Once you can read and communicate, then there is nothing you can't learn, nothing you can't try. It is time tested and really very simple.

I think back to when my kids were little-I did then what I preach now-read, read, read. Read to your littles, read to your olders--read, read, read. When our three older boys were pre-schoolers it became the custom for each child to pick out a book for me to read to all of them. Whoever's book it was, that child sat on my lap. It worked great. The other two sat on either side of me and we enjoyed adventures with Dr. Seuss, Harold and his crayon, the Berenstain Bears and so many others. We found new authors and devoured books by them.

One of the gold nuggets we mined was the author Bill Peet. Once the head animator for Disney Studios, Peet wrote the most engaging picture books. I think perhaps The Whingdingdilly was our favorite, but later when I read Capyboppy to the kids, we loved that too. And, when the kids were much older I read them the autobiography of Peet, to everyone's delight.

Books stand the test of time-whether reading to our kids or reading to ourselves, they are simple things, but oh so enriching-just like soap and strawberries! Pretty simple stuff, but they can't be improved upon.

Jill's Famous Granola
[well maybe not famous, but Bob eats it every morning for breakfast]

Mix together in a big bowl:
6 Cups of old fashioned rolled oats
6 Cups of rolled 7 grain or more rolled oats if you can't get the rolled 7 grain
3-4 Cups of nuts, seeds, coconut, any combination. I like to put in at least 1 C of raw sunflower seeds and 1-2 cups of unsweetened coconut. Then I add slivered almonds, chopped/broken pecans and or walnuts.
1T ground cinnamon

Mix together in another bowl or large measuring cup:
1 Cup oil [not olive, it is strong, I like organic virgin coconut oil, but canola or corn is fine. It should be liquid, so if it is semi-solid, heat it up]
1 Cup honey or maple syrup
1 T vanilla

Pour honey/oil mix over rolled oats mixture and stir well.
I put a large piece of parchment paper in a huge pan, but you could use two 13x9" pans. Line with parchment paper if you want a quick clean up. Pour in granola. Bake at about 300 degrees for 30-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. I put my big wooden spoon in the oven door, so it is open a little bit. This lets the moisture escape, making a nice crunchy granola.

When lightly brown, remove from oven and let cool a bit. At this time you can add dried cherries or raisins. I usually grind up 1/2 cup of flax seed and stir this into the hot granola.

Store in a air tight container after it has cooled. It will keep for a really long time, but Bob always eats it pretty quickly, so I really can't judge how long it will really keep.



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