How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Making homemade cheese is not as hard as it may sound. Mozzarella is by far the easiest cheese I have made. It also takes the least amount of special equipment. All you need is milk, citric acid, liquid rennet, and cheese salt. You will also need a big heavy stock pot to cook it in and a heat proof bowl to continue to heat it in as you knead it.

I learned how to make my own cheese by reading Ricki Carroll’s book, Cheese Making.

Click the picture below to check it out on amazon.

The first thing you need to know about making mozzarella is you need unopened, cold milk, straight from the store. Whole milk is best, but you can make it with lower fat milk, it just won’t have a nice consistency.

I buy my milk at Braum’s because they don’t use hormones on their cows. I’m super concerned about the effects of the hormones that are passed on to kids and how it effects their development, so I avoid them as much as possible. One batch of mozzarella that may be around a pound takes one gallon of milk.

Before you begin cheese making, make sure all of your spoons, pans, bowls and everything that will touch the food is sterilized.

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
Delicious, tender, flavorful, soft cheese.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ teaspoons of citric acid
  2. 1 gallon pasteurized whole milk
  3. ¼ tsp. liquid rennet
  4. 1 tsp. cheese salt
Instructions
  1. Grab a big ole pot that will hold the gallon and have room leftover, and pour the milk in.
  2. Get a small bowl and add ½ cup cool water and 1 ½ teaspoons of citric acid. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Get another small bowl and add ¼ cup cool water and ¼ teaspoon of rennet. Stir until dissolved.
  4. Heat the milk on low to 55 degrees.
  5. Add citric acid solution while stirring.
  6. Heat the milk to 90 degrees stirring constantly.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in the diluted rennet with an up and down motion for 30 seconds.
  8. Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  9. Check the curd. It should look like custard, but you should be able to see the thinner whey liquid. It’s almost clear. If the whey liquid is still milky, let it set longer.
  10. Cut the curd into squares with a knife.
  11. Place the pot back on the stove and heat it to 105 degrees gently moving the curds with your spoon.
  12. Remove from heat and continue to stir slowly for 5 minutes.
  13. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2-quart microwavable bowl.
  14. Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off the whey.
  15. Save the whey to use in soups, or other dishes for added nutritional value. We soak our grains in whey to break down the phylates.
  16. Microwave the curds for 1 minute.
  17. Drain the whey again.
  18. Gently fold the cheese over and over like you are kneading bread with your hand or a spoon to distribute the heat.
  19. Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each, draining and kneading after each heating.
  20. Add salt.
  21. Knead quickly until smooth and elastic. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it’s done.
  22. If it doesn’t stretch, it’s too cool and needs to be heated more.
  23. Roll it into small balls and eat warm or place them in ice water for 30 minutes.
  24. Cover and store in refrigerator.
  25. Curds are best eaten warm.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/
 making homemade mozzarellacooking mozzarella cheese, homemadehomemade mozzarella curd

stretching homemade mozzarella cheesefinished warm homemade mozzarellastretch of homemade mozzarellabeautiful homemade mozzarella cheesecooling homemade mozzarella cheese

Check out Ricki’s book for more information on making mozzarella and many other cheeses.

It’s so much fun to make your own cheese! You’ll feel like a mad scientist or a mighty warrior that can do anything AND it’s so good!

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How to Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

How to Make Your Own Healing Salve and Sore Away Pain Relieving Cream

How to Make Your Own Healing Salve and Sore Away Pain Relieving Cream

Healing salve is great for healing up chapped lips, dry skin, cuts, scrapes, bruises or just about anything else you can think of. It helps heal bites, burns and other skin irritations as well. I don’t know what I would do without my little tin of salve. It does a great job at helping me heal up all of my mishaps and garden accidents.

Making my own Sore Away Topical Pain Relieving Cream is amazing. All you have to do is rub it on and in a few minutes, your sore muscles or aching back feels so much better. Once you try this Sore Away, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

natural body products, little sprouts learningnatural products, essential oils, little sprouts learning

Do Terra essential oils are pure and cut way down on my allergy troubles that can occur with essential oils. Information shared on this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and has not been evaluated by the FDA. These are simply recipes that I use.

Using natural ingredients on my body makes me feel great.

natural bug repellent, little sprouts learning

Natural Healing Salve
Salve for aiding in the healing of scrapes, cuts, burns, or other skin irritations.
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Ingredients
  1. ½ C. Coconut Oil
  2. ½ C. Olive Oil
  3. ¼ C. Beeswax
  4. 2 Tablespoons Lanolin
  5. 10 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. Place beeswax and oils in a mason jar in a pan of water.
  2. Heat over low heat, stirring until all beeswax is dissolved.
  3. Add lanolin and stir over heat until melted.
  4. Remove from heat and add Lavender Essential Oil
  5. Pour into containers to cool. I use empty Altoids tins.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/

 

Natural Sore Away Pain Relieving Cream
Cream for relieving deep muscle aches and body pains.
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Ingredients
  1. ½ C. Coconut Oil
  2. 15 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  3. 10 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil
  4. 10 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  5. 5 Drops Lemon Essential Oil
  6. 5 Drops Wild Orange Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. Place coconut oil in a mason jar in a pan of water
  2. Heat on low heat until coconut oil melts.
  3. Remove from heat and add essential oils.
  4. Pour into containers and let come to room temperature and harden.
  5. This cream will melt when temperatures are above 74 or so degrees, so make sure you keep it in a sealed container if it won’t be just sitting on a counter.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/

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How to Make Your Own Healing Salve and Sore Away Pain Relieving Cream

What NOT to Do When Starting a Family Childcare

What Not to do when Starting Family Childcare (1)

Starting a family childcare can be a daunting task.

There is so much to learn and know in family childcare to keep a business like this flourishing. You wouldn’t believe some of the mistakes I have made. I have been doing family childcare for over 21 years. I asked my seasoned provider friends and we put our heads together to come up with a list of things we wish we would have known when we started to help you start your childcare off on the right foot.

It’s a business, not a hobby. 
  • Don’t let parents pay at the end of the week for care. Get paid in advance. Parents should pay for care before they receive it. If you collect payments on Friday, it should be for the following week. Then no one can leave owing you money.
  • Don’t accept late payments. No pay, no stay. Enforce this or you will burn out very quickly. No one wants to work for free. It’s the parent’s responsibility to pay for services they expect. It’s not your fault. If they go to Walmart to buy groceries, they can’t leave the store without payment. Life doesn’t work that way and daycare is no different. This is how you make your living, don’t’ forget. It’s a business, not a charity.
  • Don’t give discounts. That’s like saying, your income is more important than mine, and you will end up resenting that. This is your business, you work with your heart, but you have to run the business with your head. Be business minded so you can make a living doing what you love.
  • Don’t forget to get a deposit for the last weeks’ care before you start keeping kids. This will prevent so many future problems. Put it up and if something happens, use it to pay yourself.
  • Don’t charge too little for care because you’re new. It’s hard to raise your rates later. Trust us on this one! My contract states rates will increase in September each year. Sometimes they don’t, but when I need them to, it’s there. I don’t feel bad about raising my rates because prices go up on everything. Many providers are scared parents will leave, but you are worth it.

daycare business practices

It’s your business, you make the rules.
  • Don’t forget your families needs. Your family comes first. It’s tough to put family first when other families are presenting their needs to you, but make sure you make your own family a priority. You are the mom and wife to some really special people and they are your number one priority. Obviously you need to be a reliable provider, but if your family needs you, don’t feel guilty. Daycare parents will understand. Do your best to be reliable for them and they should be okay that you are human.
  • Don’t be a pushover. Set rules for your business and STICK TO THEM. Don’t make rules you’re not willing to enforce. Decide what is the main priority for you and focus on that and let the small stuff go. My pet peeves are being late to pick up at the end of the day and paying late. All the other stuff is minor to me. So I tell everyone I want to be paid on time and close on time and it works out fine.
  • Don’t be influenced by what your clients want. Make your rules for you. Set up hours that work for you. Set up payment schedules that work for you. It’s your business, do what you need to. If you give and give to everyone who asks, you will burn out quickly and be miserable.
  • Don’t let people run over you. Stand up for yourself. Parents are not going to see that you can’t pay your bills or can’t get your kids to their events on time. You have to tell them what you want. If you try to be nice to people, they will take advantage of you. Keep it professional. Treat people how you would want to be treated.
  • TRUST US ON THIS ONE
  • Don’t keep your friend’s kids, your neighbor’s or your spouse’s co-workers. Do not mix business with pleasure, just don’t. My rule is, if I can see your house from my yard, your kids can’t come here. If you work with my husband, your kids can’t come here. Many times if you enter into business with your friends, you won’t be friends after.
  • Don’t do something you don’t feel is quite right for your business. Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Do what feels right to you.
  • Don’t take a family into your family childcare if it’s not a good fit. Choose your clients wisely. Just because you need kids, doesn’t mean it’s best to take a family. Work with families that are a good fit for you. There’s no sense taking kids from a family of fitness trainers if you run the couch potato daycare. They will not be happy and neither will you. Not everyone will get along with every provider. Some families will love me and some will not, it’s okay.
  • Don’t give in to pressure to be something you’re not. Be true to you. Your program should be unique to you. You have a special gift to share. Embrace it and do you.
Family Vacations are a must for continuing to love your job year after year. Family time is important, especially when you live at your job!

Family Vacations are a must for continuing to love your job year after year. Family time is important, especially when you live at your job!

Take care of yourself
  • Don’t forget about you. Make time for yourself. You can’t take care of everyone all the time without taking time to take care of you. Take a bubble bath after work, go for a run, drink lots of water, remember to eat nutritious meals, read a book, go out for a drive, whatever you need to do to unplug from your daycare day. This job takes all of you, your whole being, so make sure to fill yourself up daily.
  • Don’t forget to learn. Take all the training you can, read all the books you can, get as much education as you can and learn as much as you can about your craft. The more knowledge you have; the better provider you will be. The better provider you are, the more you will enjoy your job.
  • Don’t treat the job like it doesn’t matter. Be professional. Clients will respect you more if you act respectably. Remember that each family you work with is talking about you. What are they saying? You want it to be good. That’s how you get more business. Give respect and expect it.
  • Don’t be isolated. Network with other providers. This job is very isolating. No one will understand what your day is like. Your mom won’t, your husband won’t, no one will. Don’t expect them to. Be prepared to feel a little shut off from the outside world because you are confined to your home. It takes some getting used to, but you can learn to enjoy it. Reach out to other people who do what you do. Share ideas with them. It will keep you sane.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. It will drive you crazy. Focus on the big picture. Your dishes and paperwork can wait. Hold the babies, watch the butterflies, make a mess. It’s okay.
  • Don’t forget to take a break. Take vacations! You need time off just like everyone else. You will be a better provider because of it. I promise.
  • Don’t work more than 11 hours a day. It’s tempting to be everything for everyone and meet everyone’s needs, but you are only human. Set reasonable limits.
Be serious about your business, it matters!
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare. Pre plan each day and BE PREPARED. Cook ahead, plan activities ahead, get out supplies ahead. This will save you!
  • Don’t be wishy washy. Be consistent with kids AND parents.

booty check easter egg hunt

  • Don’t do it all on your own. Get parents involved and you will have more fun. Parent involvement is great for your business. Do things with the parents, invite them to events, have the kids make things for them, ask them to bring supplies, and get them engaged.
  • Don’t waste your money on cheap plastic toys. Buy quality toys that will last. Wooden toys that will last forever are a great investment. Cheap plastic toys that are inexpensive will be broken in no time. Invest in quality. Also, you don’t need your house overflowing with toys, a few quality toys will be much better in the long run. Kids can get overwhelmed with too many options and become bored. They can also get aggressive from being overstimulated. It’s easy to get over excited and buy too much. Isn’t that true in all areas of life? When I was a newer provider I thought in needed everything but I found out over time that less is more when it comes to supplies.

cooking spaghetti pie with kids

Trust us, we have been there and done it.

You will thank yourself later if you keep these things in mind when starting your childcare. You can save yourself a lot of frustration by starting your business in a professional and well prepared manner. Starting with good habits will make your job fun for years to come. Family childcare is a hoot, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had, and I’ve been doing it for 21 years and I still think the same thing every single day (almost).

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What Not to do when Starting Family Childcare (1)

Gardening with Kids

Growing and using cabbages

Gardening with kids is one of the most amazing and rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. I have been a family childcare provider for 21 years and over the course of that time, I have tried and tried to grow things with my kids. I come from a long line of farmers and have always been interested in growing food, but I just had no instincts.

Gardening has a million benefits. There is nothing better to teach your kids. 

 

Five years ago, I was invited to a class to teach childcare providers to garden with their kids. I was so excited and immediately fell in love with everything about it. I set the goal to teach as many kids as possible to grow food, to teach as many people as possible to teach this to kids, and to grow as much of my kid’s food as possible here at our house.

I failed so many times over the years because I didn’t know the basics of how to garden, and Doug, the gardening teacher in the class, changed all that for me with the information he shared with us. 

kids harvesting kohlrabi

How we got started

First, I got help from a daycare parent to build some simple beds and mix dirt, then we got our free bed from the garden class, then we built more beds, and then we asked the neighbor for some land and built and expansion. 

Overall, we have over 50 raised beds, some are as small as one foot by two feet and some are as large as 3 feet by 10 feet. It’s a hodge podge. We built many from discarded materials, got a small grant, collected money from local businesses, daycare parents, and family members, and put a ton of money into it ourselves, but we built a paradise to teach kids. Click here for more details about how we did it. 

You certainly don’t have to go this big, kids can learn a ton in a couple of five gallon buckets full of dirt. You can plant a lot in a 3 by 3 foot bed and so much learning can happen with that. You can have one tomato plant and find dozens of learning opportunities with just that. Please don’t feel overwhelmed by the volume we’ve chosen here. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It can just be something!

healthy living-gardening with kids

The garden has ups and downs

There are so many things you can learn in the garden and if you don’t know how to garden yourself, you can do like we did and learn while you teach your kids. We are by no means experts, but we have a lot of fun figuring it out. My husband is a big help and I certainly could not do it without him. 

 

15 Ways to Organize Your Way to a Better Day

15 Ways to Organize your Way to a Better Day

Do you spend your days and weeks feeling like you are chasing your tail? You may just need to organize to be able to handle all you have to do in a day. If you carefully plan your day and organize all of your needs, you will feel in control and on top of things instead of spending all your time putting out fires.

HOW can I get organized you ask?

 

It’s not as hard as you think. It’s about prioritizing and planning ahead.

  1. One of the best things I can recommend is to make sure you take time for you. Whatever it takes and whenever you can get it in, you need to take at least 20 minutes a day to take care of you. If you spend all your time and energy caring for everyone else, you will not be able to continue to do a good job. No one else is going to take care of you, it’s your job.
  2. My second piece of advice is to put away the electronics. Facebook, television, Pinterest, and games are a HUGE time suck. Less of that means more time to get on top of what needs to be done. I promise, you won’t miss it. Leave the TV off and enjoy more living and less watching. ways to get organized daily
  3. Make out a schedule of the hours in a day and a list of all your priorities.
  4. Now, most importantly you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep so you will be able to function at peak performance. You need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, so go ahead and start at the time you usually get up. Go back at least an hour earlier (I promise this will help you tremendously) and mark off the 8 hours before that for sleeping. If you usually get up at 7 to get to work by 8, plan to get up at 6. Then mark off the hours from 10-6 for sleeping. At least TRY to get this much rest. organize your day
  5. Now, mark off how much time you need to get ready for work.
  6. Now you are ready for work. You can take some time to work out, take a walk, read your Bible or spend time in the quiet, whatever you do to center yourself and prepare for your day, schedule 30 minutes for that.
  7. Next, make something for breakfast and EAT it. If you don’t fuel your mind and body, it will not keep up with you. Schedule breakfast time.
  8. Leave 15 minutes earlier than you need to so if you get stuck in traffic or have some other distraction, you will still be on time for work. Less stress equals a better life!
  9. The best thing to do is get as much ready the night before as possible. I totally recommend advance preparation. You’ll be amazed at how much more effective you are if you do this.
  10. When you get off work, you need to figure out what’s for dinner and get that going. Eating dinner sitting down at the dining room table has been proven to help families connect and build relationships. Make sure that’s a priority as much as you possibly can. Get dinner prepared, eat, and enjoy your family. While you are cleaning up dinner, you can pack lunches as well. You might as well get as much done as possible while you have the mess out.
  11. Next comes homework and bath time for the kids if you have them. Get all of the paperwork you need together for them. Once the kids are taken care of, make sure you get your clothes and their clothes prepared for the following day. Do you need to iron something? Do you need to pick out and outfit for them or are they old enough to do it themselves? Do you need to throw in a load of laundry?
  12. Once everything is prepared for the following day, you can tidy up the messes in the house (enlist your family to help in all of these tasks, helping builds character and teaches kids self-help skills and discipline)
  13. Now you have some time to sit and relax. It’s so nice to relax when all of the work is done and everything is in order for the day. You’ll be amazed how much being prepared with help improve the quality of your life. Notice I did NOT say to watch 5 hours of tv or sit on Facebook all night long. Building the relationships at home is the first priority.
  14. I don’t watch a ton of tv because I have a ton to do. Honestly, there are not that many things I enjoy watching. Most shows are so trashy these days, there is not a lot of value in them. I do enjoy a few things and I usually watch tv for a few minutes before heading to bed because it numbs my mind and makes it stop thinking. I need that to relax enough for sleep sometimes.
  15. Another great way to wind down is to rub a little lavender essential oil on your feet. I love it because It calms me and helps me fall asleep. I know that I am a much better spouse, mother, provider and human when I am rested. For the sake of everyone around me, I make sleep a top priority. Please don’t ask my mom about this. I have been pretty bad when I was sleepy before.

Make sure you are taking care of you. Make sure you make yourself a priority. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and are taking the time to drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Making a list of what has to be done and putting it in order of importance can help you tame an overwhelming list of to dos.

I promise if you take charge of your day, it will stop ruling you and you will feel on top of things and in control. It’s a wonderful feeling!

Here are a couple of other great posts about how organization can help you live better:

Organize Your Way to Less Food Waste

 

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15 Ways to Organize your Way to a Better Day

How to Save Money on Back to School

How to Save Money on Back to School

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine. I love a great deal on back to school. I wait until this time of year every year to stock up on crayons, markers, paints, glue and glue sticks. I also buy folders and spiral notebooks for writing. I LOVE a bargain.

You might be wondering how to navigate all the sales and get the best deals. The best suggestion I have is to use patience. Be willing to watch and wait. Don’t get in a rush to get it all done at once. Every week after the week of the 4th of July, different stores have different things on sale.

This year, a group I’m part of called Replenishing Oklahoma is doing a back to school supply drive for a local school that serves underprivileged students. We are kicking our sale shopping into overdrive to get the very most we can for the money we are raising. We are looking for mass quantities of supplies.

The first thing you need to do is check out the sale ads for the week.

 

Make a list of what you need. Write next to each entry the bottom dollar prices for those items. I have a mental idea because I buy so much of it, so I kind of know what prices are the best around.

back to school savings

Walmart has less sales and more everyday low prices than other stores. Staples has some of the best sales around. I try to keep up with the sale flyers to Staples, Office Depot/Max, Walmart and Target. I also compare prices on Amazon. I used this article from Passionate Penny Pincher to come up with a list of some basic best deals. Then when I see a sale, I can tell if it’s a good one or not. Amazon is usually the best price when buying in bulk, but for single items, I didn’t find any best deals.

She’s got a great site here, check it out for tons of saving ideas!

Please keep in mind that Crayola, Elmer’s and Fiskars are far superior products.

school supply savings, back to school money saving

Generic or Rose Art crayons and markers just do not work as well, stick with Crayola. Elmer’s makes much better glue sticks than the off brand. You might as well throw your money in the trash before you buy that junky glue. Fiskar’s scissors are the only ones young kids can be successful with. You don’t want your child to struggle because their scissors are crap. You won’t be saving if the kids can’t use the supplies you buy.

Item                                      Walmart Regular Price   Target Regular Price       

Crayola Crayons, 24 ct.                   .50                               .50

Elmer’s Glue                                    .50

Elmer’s Glue Sticks 2/pk                  .50

Pink Erasers                                     .48

3 Prong Folders                                .15

70 Sheet Spiral Notebook                 .17                               .17

Filler Paper 150 ct.                           .82

Crayola WASHABLE Markers           1.97                             1.97

Crayola Markers                              .97                                .97

Highlighters, 2/ct.                           .77

Index Cards                                    .48

School Box                                      .57

Crayola Watercolor Paints, 8          1.97

Crayola Colored Pencils                   .97                                .97

#2 Pencils 20/ct.                            .97                         

You also notice that Target doesn’t beat Walmart on everyday low prices. If you want a one stop shop, Walmart is the best deal.

saving money on back to school

Check out the website for Staples, Walmart, Target and Office Depot/Max if you have those stores nearby. There is a link on the landing page that says weekly ad, that’s what you need. Find the things on the list that are on sale and check this list to see if it’s a better deal.

Be careful because lots of times, the sale price at one store is more than the regular price at another. That’s how they get cha. Make sure of the limit you can purchase AND if you have to buy something to get it. This week there was an Office Depot/Max ad that offered a package of pencils for a penny if you spent $5.

Here was the deal I made: There were 24 packs of Crayolas on sale for .25 each limit 3, packs of 5 highlighters on sale for .25 each limit 3, Sharpie markers on sale for .25 each limit 3. We needed all of those items for our supply drive, so I made the deal of 3 packs of crayons, for .75, plus 3 packs of highlighters, bringing it up to $1.50, plus 3 sharpies for .75 each, bringing it up to $2.25. Then we picked up three packs of index cards that were on sale for $1 each for a total of $5.25. When you add the penny for the pencils, it came to $5.26.

Office Depot back to school savings deal

These items rang up $27.37 and we got them for $5.71 including tax.

 

The key to getting the best deals is to plan ahead with the ads. Then after you do that at a couple of stores for two weeks or so, head to Walmart and get whatever else you still need.

groupon

Another amazing way to save is to use Groupon Coupons. You can get discounts at Target, Walmart, Amazon, Staples, and Office Depot by checking here at Groupon Coupons to find even further discounts on the school supplies you need. Click here for instance, to print out a target coupon to get a free $5 gift card if you buy selected school supplies. You could get your glue sticks and scissors at Target and get a $5 Target card to use on something else.

You can use this link to get 20% off or $10 off $50 purchase at Office Depot. You can even shop for your supplies online and get this deal on your total order! Then you could pick up at the store for free to save on shipping. Amazon and Walmart have similar pages on Groupon where you can print coupons for things you need or find special deals through Groupon on stuff you’re looking for. Check the Groupon Coupon website to see what they have to offer. 

When it’s time to work on back to school clothes, check out JCPenney or Kohl’s for great deals on clothes for back to school. Grab some great sales on shoes at Footlocker. These Groupon Coupons are a percentage off your whole school clothes shopping order or whatever else you’re needing at home. Groupon Coupons has so many great ways to save. It can make your back to school shopping so much less painful!

I love checking there before I make a purchase because usually I can find a way to save even more.

 

Go check out Kohl’s for a great deal. You can use the 15% off your order coupon to get a great deal. There is lots of stuff at Kohl’s on sale right now, you can use the Groupon Coupon link to go straight to the sales as well.

Follow Groupon on Facebook or Twitter so you won’t miss a thing! 

Back to school shopping is an expensive time for families. Doing whatever you can to make it more affordable is always worth the effort. I hope you save a bundle with some of these ideas I have shared with you today.

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How to Save Money on Back to School

Scrumptious Peach Crumble

Scrumptious Peach Crumble

We love peaches around Little Sprouts. We LOVE eating peach crumble too! We have an amazing peach barn called Livesay’s in a nearby town and we LOVE to frequent it all summer long. From about June to about September, they are cranking out peaches and we are enjoying them. Click here to see how we save peaches for a taste of summertime in winter.

peach crumble pie

One of our favorite recipes is peach crumble.

homemade peach crumble

I don’t like pie crust and it takes time to make it, so I just make the kids this pie with no crust at all. I just toss the fruit in the pan and cover it with a yummy crumble and everyone is happy.

peach crumble topping in ninjapeach crumble recipe

peach crumble baked recipeWho doesn’t like peaches? I mean, wow, they are so good. We freeze them in summer to have them all winter. This peach crumble is a great recipe for frozen or fresh peaches. Make sure you start with really tasty peaches. Don’t use those nasty Styrofoam tasting grocery store peaches. You’ll be disappointed with anything you make from them. They just don’t taste good.

crumble peach pie recipe

Scrumptious Peach Crumble
Crust free peach crumble with real food ingredients.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups sliced peaches
  2. 1/2 cup raw sugar
  3. Pinch salt
  4. ¼ c. whole wheat flour
  5. ½ c. old fashioned rolled oats
  6. ½ c. (one stick) butter
  7. ½ c. raw sugar
  8. ½ c. flour
Instructions
  1. Toss peaches in salt, ¼ c. flour and ½ cups sugar.
  2. Place in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Cut butter into cubes.
  5. Add oats, remaining flour and sugar.
  6. Work together with your hands until chunky.
  7. Pour over top of fruit.
  8. Bake at 350 until fruit is bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Little Sprouts Learning http://littlesproutslearning.co/

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Scrumptious Peach Crumble

Peaches, Using and Storing Garden Produce

Peaches, Using and Storing Produce

Peaches can be used to make hundreds of different things. My kids love to eat them raw by the pound. I do too! We use them to make Peach crumble. Click here to see how we make it. We use them to make peach syrup for pancakes, mmmm. We bake peach muffins, peach pancakes, and peach bread to name a few things. You can substitute them for any other fruit in any of your favorite recipes.

You can save a ton of money by buying things in season and they taste better because they are fresher. If you buy peaches out of season, they have to come from further away. Also remember places outside of the US have different food growing laws and there are many things they can use on their food such as humanure, that are illegal in the US for safety reasons. Another great reason to buy local.

We are working hard to grow our own peaches at Little Sprouts. We have two little trees that produce some fruit for us, but we are working on growing more. We love to buy bushels of fresh peaches from our local peach barn and save a bunch of them for winter. We are not allowed by USDA or DHS to serve home canned foods in daycare, so I freeze them for future use. You can also dehydrate them and they are delicious like candy.

Any way you preserve them, they will not taste better than when you started. Make sure you get delicious fruit to begin with. Our favorite is Red Haven. At our peach barn, Livesay’s Peach Barn in Porter, Oklahoma, they sell the most delicious Red Havens you can imagine. Don’t use those yucky Styrofoam tasting grocery store peaches. Make sure you get a quality peach to begin with. If you are within 500 miles of Porter, it’s worth the drive to get them from Livesay’s.

Livesay’s also has their own cookbook with a ton of ways to use peaches. Check it out if you go to the barn to get your peaches. 

peaches, ready for freezing

To freeze peaches, first you need to get a big stock pot full of water up to a boil. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Wash your fruit well. Drop them into the boiling water a few at a time. Let the peaches boil in the salted water for 3 minutes. Remove them. Plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Leave them in the ice water until your next batch of peaches are done blanching. Then drain them.

Slice your peaches, or half them and remove the pits. Be careful because sometimes a little bit of the pit can be left behind inside. Run your finger inside the hole the pit left to make sure it’s all soft. Biting into a pit is not fun.

Peaches, Using and Storing Produce

Once all your peaches are sliced in sizes you like, you can freeze them in quart size freezer bags. I do not peel my peaches. I feel the skins are nutritious and I don’t want to waste them. If you wanted to peel yours, you can slide the skins off easily after they are blanched.

Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag. Peaches will save for months in the freezer. I thaw them in a bowl and serve them partially slushy. We call them slushy peaches. They taste similar to eating a canned peach, but the flavor is amazing. Canned peaches from the store having nothing on these babies.

Peaches, Using and Storing Produce

In the winter, when there is no tasty produce around, we open a bag of our peaches and thaw them and say, “TASTES LIKE SUMMER TIME”. It’s a tradition.

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Peaches, Using and Storing Produce

I Bet You Didn’t Know THESE Garden Wows!

I Bet You Didn’t Know THESE Garden Wows!

Garden Wows!

Here are some things I have learned about the garden that made me say, WOW! 

Did you know if you harvest the cabbage from the middle of the plant instead of cutting the whole stem or pulling it, you may get more cabbages? Four or five more plants will come from the center where you cut it. More food for less time and money.

cut cabbage, garden wowbaby cabbages, garden wow

Did you know if you cut the bottom leaves off the brussel sprouts and leave only the top five, your plant will grow taller and put on bigger sprouts because they will have more room to grow?

luffa gourds

Did you know luffas are a gourd that grows on a vine and NOT something from the ocean? Click here to see more.

More Garden Wows…

Did you know leaving your bolted plants to flower provides early food for bees and other pollinators?

Did you know there are more microorganisms in one teaspoon of soil than all the people on earth? Did you know that chlorine in the water supply kills them and so does tilling and pesticide use?

Did you know dirt is not dirt?

Did you know you are actually growing soil for garden success?

Did you know green beans, if left to mature will turn into drying beans? All beans can be eaten as green beans when immature, the seeds are eaten when mature, and if left to dry, can be stored for long periods of time as dry beans?

Did you know leaving your spent plants standing in the garden during winter prevents erosion and gives places for insects to hibernate such as solitary bees that are wonderful pollinators for the garden and a very important part of our eco system?

Did you know a gorgeous moth transforms from a tomato hornworm? Click here to see its beauty.

More Garden Wows…

 

Did you know walking onions are perennials? Did you know there are many great perennials for the garden to save you time and money when growing food. Asparagus, lovage, good king henry, and artichokes are a few of them.

Did you know you can soak your seeds in tea and it softens the casings? Did you know chamomile is anti-fungal and soaking your seeds in chamomile tea will prevent dampening off?

Did you know swallowtails love fennel, dill, parsley, and carrot tops? Click here to see how to plant a garden that attracts them.

swallowtail caterpillar

Did you know if you grow veggies, you are less likely to waste them?

Did you know if you grow basil next to your tomatoes, it makes the tomatoes have better flavor?

Did you know the greens from cole or cruciferous crops are edible too? Broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi leaves are delicious sauted, in soups, or even raw.

Did you know the seeds of birdhouse gourds and calypso beans are gorgeous and so interesting? Click on the pictures to see more. 

Did you know garlic scapes (the flower heads) taste amazing?

Even more Garden Wows!

Did you know ladybugs and their larvae were voracious eaters of garden pests? So are lacewings, spiders, birds, snakes, and many other insects and animals. Praying mantises and several other garden bugs eat beneficial insects AND pests in the garden. 

Did you know tomato cages, the three legged kind they sell for tomatoes are useless? You need something taller and much, much more sturdy. 

Did you know the flowers of bolted cole crops like broccoli and brussel sprouts and edible and totally sweet and delicious?

garden wow, kale blossoms

Did you know if you snip the flowers off your strawberries, they will grow more strawberry plants instead of berries?

Did you know monarch populations are dropping at an alarming rate, they only eat milkweed as caterpillars, and they need your help? Click here to learn how to be a butterfly hero.

monarch caterpillar, wildlife habitat in preschool garden

Did you know kids are 80% more likely to eat something they have grown and even more likely if they help prepare it in the kitchen?

What kind of garden WOWS have you learned?

I want to mention some super exciting news! I have been invited to do a webinar on Gardening with Kids so if you’re interested, sign up today. It’s free! Click here to join. 

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I Bet You Didn’t Know THESE Garden Wows!

Summer Party Fun

Summer Party Fun

There are a ton of fun parties you can have with your daycare kids without breaking the bank. I like to keep a party as simple as possible to cut down on waste for the environment AND hassle for me. Kids will have just as much fun with a pack of side walk chalk and some homemade popsicles.

When I need supplies for my daycare parties, I always turn to Oriental Trading Company because I know they will have what I can afford. I can order it quick and have supplies for the whole summer. They have tons of cool stuff for any party and plenty of fun party favors for the kids to have a treat to take home.

watercolor relief art for preschool

We have several parties planned at Little Sprouts this summer. We have had an art party and a water party already, but we have more coming up. Click here to see how to throw a fun art party. Oriental has tons of cool art supplies for your little artists to enjoy.  

water day fun in the sprinkler

We have more water parties on the agenda. I love to give the kids bubbles. (I zip tie the bottle of bubbles to the chain link fence to keep them from dumping them all out the time). I love to have reusable water guns too. We are not supposed to have toy weapons at daycare, but Oriental has tons of water squirters that aren’t shaped like guns. They have sharks, ladybugs, even lemons.

For our last water party, we made homemade, fresh squeezed lemonade and froze it in reusable popsicle containers. They were delish. Along with some cubed up watermelon, they kept the kids hydrated while we played outside for hours. You could make a lemonade theme for your water party. Oriental has a ton of fun lemon themed things. So fun.

teddy bear picnic plates

We are planning a teddy bear picnic for friendship week. Click here to see our last one. All the kids will bring their favorite stuffed animal to eat with them and we will have a picnic outside. I could even get little teddies to send home with each child. We could do a luau themed teddy bear picnic. I could have leis and grass skirts for the kids to wear. The possibilities are endless! 

At the end of summer at Little Sprouts, we are going to have a back to school bash. We are going to have bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and fun games and puzzles. I spotted some fun back to school pencils to send with my kids who are leaving me for school this year. I’m going to grab a pack of those.

Don’t forget what’s coming up at the end of summer this year, the Olympics! We are going to have our own mini Olympics here to celebrate just like we do every time the summer Olympic games are played. We can get US Flags AND multi country flag decorations from Oriental. I am planning to teach the kids a ton about colors by using all the colorful flags from all the countries. I’m going to talk to them about our country and what it means to live here while we celebrate the games. This is a great opportunity to teach them about getting along, cooperation, sportsmanship, friendship and so many other things the games are about.

We are going to get red and blue star shaped bubble necklaces, red white and blue everything for our USA team to use in our Summer Olympics. It’s one of my favorite things to do and I cannot WAIT until August when we get to do it. I love watching the Olympics, I love playing games like them, I LOVE everything about them. I love passing that on to my kids. We will come up with some games to compete in so keep your eye on the blog to see the post about our Little Sprouts Olympic games. We are going to have gold medals we can get from Oriental as well. How much more fun could that be! USA, USA, USA!

This suggestion is based strictly on my opinion. I will receive products free of charge by the company to provide my suggestions. No other type of compensation was received. All ideas and opinions are my own. I do regularly buy from Oriental.  

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Summer Party Fun

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