Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blueberry muffins (The best I have EVER made)

What you need
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2  teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Whisk together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup Add the 2 eggs and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping:
Mix together 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

The "Instant Gratification" Chore Chart....

The "Instant Gratification" Chore Chart....

So, a few weeks back, I decided to start an actual allowance, for my two girls. Typically I did a rewards system, but I wanted to really start teaching them about saving, the real value of money, and the value of  work ethic. I sat and looked up ideas, but nothing really seemed to catch my eye.

I started brainstorming.

Here's what I came up with...

An "Instant Gratification", chart.

Basically, the way it works is, that each day, they have a set of chores/responsibilities. If they complete the items on the cards, the get to collect their $1 at the end of the day (After I have checked that things have been done). 

The rules are:
Mommy checks before they collect their $1 
If they do not complete their tasks, Mommy gets to keep that $1 for that day. 

If Mommy has a bonus chore, they can potentially earn that $1, back.

The great thing about this chart is that you can update it as needed. The cards can be updated and replaced, as the child gets older, since they are only help by a push pin.

You can also set up a system where they start with $1 a day, then move it to $2, every other day, $3 every 3 days...and so on. This will gradually take them from encouraging by instant gratification (Which most children seem to respond well to), all the way up to teaching them that hard work pays off over time. It's completely up to you

Now, how to make it:

(This makes a chart for two children) 
-(1) 2 ft x 2 ft piece of particle board

-A 2 ft. x 2 ft sheet of cork

-(14) Screw in hooks 
(The kind of hooks used to hand coffee mugs)

-Spray adhesive 
(Or you can use a glue gun)

-1 roll of Scotch Expressions Tape 
(I used black, but they come in a ton of colors)

-(14) Push Pins (I used Clear)

-(14) Binder clips

-Measuring Tape


Start by Finding the center of the board. Use your tape to divide the cork board into anywhere between 5 and 7 days, depending on your chore chart requirements. You will need to make sure to measure.
 (See pictures above).

This tape is very easy to work with. 

Once the board is divided into sections, I used my label maker to make the days of the week. You can also print them out and use double-sided tape to attach.
Next, screw in the hooks. Make sure to center them in the space. This will hold the binder clips, that hold the $1 bills.

 At this point, you should be at the stage below...

For the Chore Cards:
I personally Used my printer to type up a checklist, then printed and trimmed it down. I then used doublesided tape, to attach it to some scrapbook paper. You can just use index cards, if that works better for you. 

I finished by laminating the cards, so that they would turn into dry erasable cards.

Attach cards to chart with pushpins, about halfway down the rectangular space.

Viola!!! Your "Instant Gratification" Chore Chart.

Sausage and mushroom Quiche

What you need:
1 9 inch pie shell, store bought or homemade
1 pound bulk sausage, cooked, and crumbled
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 green onion, sliced and diced
1 small tomato diced (I suggest de-seeding)
4 eggs beaten
1 pint half and half cream
1 1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Add sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes to pie shell. Mix together eggs, half and half, cheese, and 1/4 tsp of each salt and pepper and green onions. Pour egg mixture over sausage. Bake for 35 minutes or until center is set. Allow quiche to stand at room temp for 5 minutes before slicing. I serve these with dinner rolls or toast.

Air Freshener

File:Felt cloth.jpg

This is a fun craft for kids to make
What you need:
Essential oils
Fishing line
Needle and thread (My girls used yarn and children's plastic needles)

Cut out a piece of felt. You can make any design you'd like. We made a little guy to look like "Daddy". This is where you'd use a needle and thread. Drip 5-8 drops of essential oils in the center of the air freshener. Thread the fishing line through the needle, and create a hanger at the top of the freshener. Push needle through and tie a loop. Hang from mirror. When the sun hits, the wonderful smell of the oils will be released. This lasts at least a month, and if Dad really loves it, you can just keep adding drops of the oil as needed.

Chores for kids...

You've decided you'd like to start assigning chores for your children, but you aren't sure what chores to assign. Here are some ideas that will help point you in the right direction...

Ages 2-4:

Tidy-up their room: By age two, your child can easily do this. Show them how and get them excited for "Clean up". Before you know it, they'll be running to "Clean up" their rooms, like a big kid!

Help feed the pets: This helps teach responsibility.

Help with household chores, such as, dusting, folding clothes, and weeding the garden. Simple chores that you are not only supervising but participating in.

Ages 5-8: