Thursday, February 23, 2017

Oatmeal Jam Bar Mix-in-a-Jar ~ Free Printable Recipe Kit


"As they gathered about the table, Mrs. March said,
with a particularly happy face,
"I've got a treat for you after supper."
A quick, bright smile went round like a streak of sunshine."
~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Do you ever stare at the rows of jams and jellies in your pantry and get discouraged that you have not used them up? Here is one of our favorite ways to enjoy a health"ier" sweet treat while utilizing some common pantry ingredients. So, next time you find yourself in a "jam", throw together these simple dessert bars! They can even double as breakfast bars on some special day! 


I prefer to prepare batches as pre-made pantry mixes. This can be quickly accomplished while you have out all the ingredients! It is especially simple with our recipe kit which includes the directions, jar labels and instruction labels. I like to make up six jars at a time but larger families may want to make a few more. 


To Make the Mix ~

Place inside a quart-sized jar the following ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour * (or gluten-free flour blend)
  • 1 1/2 c. oatmeal (press mixture down after adding oatmeal to make room in jar)
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar  (or coconut sugar, muscovado sugar, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. salt  (we use sea or Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1/4 c. chia seeds (optional) * I include these for the added crunch, fiber, antioxidants, protein and amino acids, essential minerals and vitamins A, B and E. Unfortunately, I think most of the essential fatty acids are destroyed in the baking process. 
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

* Variation: You can also use 3/4 c. whole wheat flour and 3/4 c. regular flour for a healthier blend. However, due to the shelf life of whole-wheat flour, the mix would only keep for 6-months. With the white flour it will keep for 1 year.

Once ingredients are added, place the lid firmly back on the jar and give it a good shake. The mix is now complete. Simply label and attach directions to the jars (our printable is shared at the bottom of this post).



To Prepare the Oatmeal Jam Bars ~

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.

Dump the homemade mix into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add:
  • 3/4 c. coconut oil (melted) *

* Variation: You can substitute the coconut oil for the same amount of cubed, cold, unsalted butter. Just scatter the pieces of butter over the flour mixture and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture is moist and crumbly.



Stir ingredients together until moist and crumbly.
  • Measure 2 loose cups of the mixture and press it into the bottom of the greased pan. Smear 1/2 cup of jam/jelly gently across the top. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the jam layer and press down carefully until the crumble is somewhat firm. Bake until the top is golden brown for approx. 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack and then cut into bars. Refrigerate for a firmer bar.
OR

* Variation (for a thinner bar): Add 2 loose cups of the mixture and press it into the bottom of a greased 9 by 12-inch pan. Smear 1 cup of jam/jelly gently across the top. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the jam layer and press down carefully until crumble is somewhat firm. Bake until the top is golden brown for approx. 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack and then cut into bars. Refrigerate for a firmer bar.


The nice thing about making your own mixes is that you can control the quality of ingredients and avoid all the artificial additions. Instead of iodized table salt, we are able to use the healthy sea or pink salts. Instead of baking powder laden with cancer-causing aluminum, we can choose the "clean" version. Instead of bleached sugar, we are able to use a more natural version of sweetener. It is a win-win and a wonderful way to build up your pantry!



HERE is our printable recipe kit (you may also want to add it to your recipe book). Do you like to do these kinds of make-ahead projects? I adore them!

P.S. This recipe will also be featured in our upcoming "food storage/pantry" cookbook as I have been doing my own homework to find recipes made directly with shelf stable foods from the pantry. I hope you enjoy it!



You may also be interested in our other printable recipe kits for:
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).  Recipe was slightly adapted from here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Just Finished Reading ~ An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa M. Alcott



"And Polly didn’t think she had done much; but it was one of the little things which are always waiting to be done in this world of ours, where rainy days come so often, where spirits get out of tune, and duty won’t go hand in hand with pleasure. Little things of this sort are especially good work for little people; a kind little thought, an unselfish little act, a cheery little word, are so sweet and comfortable, that no one can fail to feel their beauty and love the giver, no matter how small they are. Mothers do a deal of this sort of thing, unseen, unthanked, but felt and remembered long afterward, and never lost, for this is the simple magic that binds hearts together, and keeps home happy. Polly had learned this secret.

She loved to do the “little things” that others did not see, or were too busy to stop for; and while doing them, without a thought of thanks, she made sunshine for herself as well as others."

~ Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl



'“Things worry me sometimes, but I just catch up a broom and sweep, or wash hard, or walk, or go at something with all my might, and I usually find that by the time I get through the worry is gone, or I’ve got courage enough to bear it without grumbling,” answered Polly, cutting the brown loaf energetically.

“I can’t do those things, you know; there’s no need of it, and I don’t think they’d cure my worrying,” said Fanny, languidly feeding Ashputtel, who sat decorously beside her, at the table, winking at the cream pot.

“A little poverty would do you good, Fan; just enough necessity to keep you busy till you find how good work is; and when you once learn that, you won’t complain of ennui any more,” returned Polly, who had taken kindly the hard lesson which twenty years of cheerful poverty had taught her."

~ Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl



“Well, whatever you do, Will, don’t have a great, costly church that takes so much money to build and support it that you have nothing to give away. I like the plain, old-fashioned churches, built for use, not show, where people met for hearty praying and preaching, and where everybody made their own music instead of listening to opera singers, as we do now. I don’t care if the old churches were bare and cold, and the seats hard, there was real piety in them, and the sincerity of it was felt in the lives of the people. I don’t want a religion that I put away with my Sunday clothes, and don’t take out till the day comes round again; I want something to see and feel and live by day-by-day, and I hope you’ll be one of the true ministers, who can teach by precept and example, how to get and keep it.”

~ Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl



“To be strong, and beautiful, and go round making music all the time.” Yes, she could do that; and with a very earnest prayer, Polly asked for the strength of an upright soul, the beauty of a tender heart, the power to make her life a sweet and stirring song, helpful while it lasted, remembered when it died.

Little Jane’s last thought had been to wish with all her might, that “God would bless the dear, kind girl up there, and give her all she asked.” I think both prayers, although too humble to be put in words, went up together, for in the fulness of time they were beautifully answered."

~ Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl



"Polly tried to conquer the bad feeling; but it worried her, till she remembered something her mother once said to her, “When you feel out of sorts, try to make some one else happy, and you will soon be so yourself.”

~ Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl



{Recommended Ages: Young Ladies 12 - 100 years}


~ An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

Have you ever read this nourishing novel? It is so refreshing!
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Art of Home-Making Mondays ~ Please Join Us ~ Link Up 145


"If—and the "if" is broad and deep and long—the little ones are faithfully trained by the parents in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (dear, quaint old phraseology, fine, subtle and pervasive as lavender scent!), if sacred songs and Bible stories and tender talk of the Saviour's love and the beautiful life of which this may be made a type and a foretaste, keep in the minds of the little ones at home the sanctity and sweetness of the day of days, there is a shadow of excuse for the failure to make room for them in the family pew. Even then the tree will grow as the twig is inclined.

The mother whose knee is the baby's first altar, who gathers about her for confession, for counsel and for prayer sons and daughters who will, in older and sterner years, call her blessed for the holy teachings of their childhood, will teach them to find, with her, the tabernacles of the Lord of Hosts "amiable," i.e., worthy of all love and fidelity. The chrism of motherhood consecrates a woman as a priestess. Neither convenience nor custom can release her from the office. Let not another take her crown."

~ The Secret of a Happy Home, Marion Harland (1896)

 
There are so many wonderful features in the making of a home. This is a place where I would love for you to share your love for anything home-related. Homemakinghomeschooling and homesteading are all a part of the lovely art of home-making!

~~Please link up posts in the spirit of Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 (such as recipes, godly encouragement, DIY's, frugal living, child-raising, medicine making, preparedness, gardening, home decoration, school lessons, sewing, crafts, etc). ~~ You are welcome to share as many posts as you like!


Here are some lovely features from last week's link up!

Please visit a few and leave some "comment love":








Make Your Own Parisian Shopping Bag by The Sportina


And finally, congratulations to Joanna P. for winning the Lila Rose Hair Accessory Giveaway!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On to this week! For the sake of our readers, please link up appropriate and wholesome home-related articles and leave out any giveaways, advertisements, etc. Thank you for understanding! I can't wait to see what you all have to share! 

**Please also note that the posts shared on this link up from other bloggers do not necessarily reflect my own personal views or opinions (meaning I do not condone every article that may appear here). Like all literature, please discern everything you read with the Holy Scriptures as your lens.**

Please copy the button below (html code is in box below it) and share on your blog post or side-bar so others can come and join in the link up as well!


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Budgeting and Beautifying in the Bathroom ~ A "Shabby Chic" Frugal Farm Lifestyle ~ Entry #5


"Every wise woman buildeth her house..."
~ Proverbs 14:1a

Good morning, afternoon or evening, ladies! Thank you for joining us for the next installment of "A "Shabby Chic" Frugal Farm Lifestyle. Today we are sharing our pretty and not-so-pretty (but all very practical) ideas in the bathroom -- from beautifying your space on a budget, to bath and body care and all the little fun and frugal details in between! Why do we call this thrifty series "shabby chic"? It is because we want to share that you can take a "shabby" economy and make it quite "chic" in your home with the right set of eyes. Let's glean from the Proverbial homemaker and start "building" up in the bathroom!

I wanted to show a peak into our bathroom so that you can see it is not state-of-the-art. There is nothing new about it but it is still pleasing to our family because we keep it nice, clean and with little touches of love.


"Every room in the home serves a specific purpose, so the decor of each must be approached individually. Focusing on the particular function of the room, is an important first step in deciding how to decorate it."
~ Rachel Ashwell, Shabby Chic
The idea in our "shabby chic" frugal farm lifestyle is to focus on displaying the utilitarian items in a room to the best advantage for a simple but serene setting. Oftentimes we think we need mounds of money for an attractive home but in truth, it is just a few artful arrangements that make the coziest home. As I mentioned before, when we first moved into our old farmhouse, we did not remodel anything but simply began with a fresh coat of paint. That does wonders! We also removed an accordion door from a little closet area in our bathroom and allowed the pleasant contents to be seen and be more accessible (such as the piles of freshly laundered bath-towels).  The remaining undesirable toiletries such as personal products, razors and so forth were placed on the lower half of our shelves and were covered with a curtain to block the clutter. This didn't cost us anything but changed the whole look of the outdated bathroom. Perhaps there is something simple you can do to spruce up yours?


Taking our cue from Ms. Ashwell, we can see that the ordinary, needful things in each particular room make for the best decoration! This eliminates the cluttery feel while still making things pretty and "shabby chic". For instance, your cotton balls, q-tips and band-aids can be placed in these easy-to-make (and practically free) apothecary jars and can be adapted to any personal style. This allows you storage space for these items while making your bathroom attractive.


Fresh flowers and herbs from your backyard make the most loveliest (and free) accessories! We are always able to find something outside to use in a humble bouquet such as wildflowers, mint, lavender, roses or rosemary.

The only true "purchased" decoration used in our bathroom is this painting. Everything else is a useful necessity. I think the lack of clutter is beauty in itself. You can also see that our toilet is quite a relic! :) 

"Clean, simple, private, luxurious, and practical: These are the words that best describe a Shabby Chic bathroom. The basics of any bathroom should be functional fixtures that provide plenty of space for displaying toiletries, towels, and other bits and bobs."
~ Rachel Ashwell, Shabby Chic

Another idea is to display what Rachel Ashwell calls "bountiful piles of pretty soaps". We keep a good stock in our home as they have a long shelf life. Soap can be stored beautifully in baskets, decorative bowls, large jars or wide vases. If you have perfectly rectangular bars, they can be cut in half as there is a luxurious feel when you have a large amount displayed. When storing bulk soap for "show", I like to remove any commercial wrappers to give it a classic, clean look.


A few "chosen" bars can even be wrapped with scrapbook paper, wallpaper scraps and/or ribbons and presented in a dainty tea dish for added appeal. I love to use my vintage milk glass dishes but you can use discarded candy dishes or any other special item that you may have stored away. I also enjoy printing out vintage soap labels and wrapping excess bars with them for an antique feel. For rustic decor, you can decorate soaps in recycled brown paper-bags and add some natural twine for a final touch.   Any way you do this, you can create an attractive vignette for pennies while keeping a good supply of soap in your Proverbs 31 preparedness stash!


The same principle can be applied to other toiletries. Recycled glass containers can store mouth wash, homemade bath oils, bubble bath, toner, astringent, etc., while looking darling! Just apply pretty stickers, glue on some lovely clip art or decorate the bottles with beautiful lace. I also like to apply corks for an old-fashioned feel. These can be useful and attractive displays! Here is a gorgeous romantic printable page (shown above) which is courtesy of The Graphics Fairy. You will find a botanical inspired label page here, a French inspired page here, a dainty floral bathroom label set here and an apothecary set of spa labels here. With a few recycled bottles and jars, you have a frugal yet fancy toilette!



Shower curtains are also a wonderful way to dress up and remodel a bathroom on a budget. Perhaps your shower area is undesirable to look at? Simply place a curtain rod across and hide the whole thing! Even though you have shower doors and so forth, there is still no reason why you can't cover the whole operation with a pretty piece of fabric! Whenever I see an inexpensive and pretty shower curtain, I scoop it up and am able to change my decor according to the seasons.  I use the pastel prints for spring and summer and the darker patterns for fall and winter.



I have also re-purposed twin flat sheets (these are found in abundance and very inexpensive at thrift shops) into beautiful shower curtains with a simple hem and some button holes. Curtain panels can be reworked to obtain the same goal. With clean walls, a fresh piece of lovely fabric and attractive displays of your toiletries, you have yourself a pleasant organized room for pennies! 


Now, moving along to the nitty-gritty! Let's start with the towels. In our home, we have a rack behind the door and a few hooks hung around the bathroom. Everyone in the family has a designated hook to keep their bath-towel and knows to use it for a few days. The concept is that you are technically "clean" when you come out of the shower. This means less laundry for the household, less detergent used, less on the electric bill and less water consumed from constant wash loads. Bathroom towels can really add up! It may gross out some of you but I assure you, you can get used to it if you really want to shed expenses and your workload -- not too "shabby" if you ask me! :)


"The biggest mistake that people make with their locks is over-washing them. There are plenty of good hair-care products available these days. But even the best shampoo, if used too often, will tend to dry your hair and wash away important natural oils, no matter how much conditioner you apply afterward."
~ Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

Another way we stretch money which is also healthier for your hair is to shampoo and condition less. Yes, less ladies! Shampoo (and conditioner) do add up and e$pecially with all the long hair in our household! (I cringe to put all this personal information out there but if it helps someone to free up their finances via micro-managing, then I will take my chances.) In the summer when it is stickier and greasier due to heat, I wash my hair twice a week. In the autumn, winter and spring, it is generally once a week. As Rosemary Gladstar further explains, "at first this will feel uncomfortable. But the "squeaky clean" feeling we have been taught to achieve is, in essence, hair that has been stripped of its natural protective oils." So you see, by being frugal, you are also being very beauty savvy and "chic"!  I know there are also methods to keep clean hair with baking soda and an apple cider vinegar rinse. These are thrifty options you may want to consider. I am keeping these ideas in my back pocket and may try it one day.


Besides shampoo and conditioner, we don't buy any fancy body products but keep a simple bar of soap in the shower. While body wash is nice, it is not necessary and does add up. When you squeeze the contents out of the container, you are using up mounds! A bar of soap-in-hand is less waste. Even legs can be shaved with a simple bar of soap and lather.


Other bath and body items can easily be made yourself! I used to buy so many products until I was forced to clip the budget. It was amazing how "fine" I lived without them all! Your face can be washed gently with ground oatmeal (just mix a bit with water or milk each time you wash to form a paste and gently rub into your skin -- for extra luxury you can mix in dried rose petals, calendula, chamomile or honey). Follow this with a simple astringent/toner (i.e. inexpensive witch-hazel) and finish off your beauty routine with a dab of coconut oil (and if you are able -- a few carefully chosen essential oils based on your skin type).


We also make our own room sprays, body scrub, bath salts, lip balms, deodorant and so forth. Though I only use hairspray on Sundays, you can easily make up your own for pennies if you wanted to (visit Our Simple Homestead for the recipe)! We share all of our bath and body tutorials here if you are interested and there are many frugal recipes in our Ebook too. These products all add up and you will be amazed at how much you are able to save if you choose to simplify your beauty routine. This often means using more natural products which is an overall blessing to your health and quite chic these days! 


Regarding the rest of the expenses, the toilet paper, q-tips and cotton balls are purchased in bulk for the price discount. The bathroom cleaning products are all made frugally (you can find a variety of our recipes here) and instead of purchasing tissues, we use handkerchiefs (there is a stack sitting in a basket in our bathroom at all times). I know that many of you have excellent ideas to save money in the bathroom and I would love for you to share them! And I hope I haven't frightened you all away with all the gory details! It is just that I promised to be real descriptive in this series because in my experience, the $avings are all in those little things called detail$! Happy homemaking!

All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them). Rose label clip art is courtesy of the Lilac and Lavender blog.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...