Monday, September 20, 2010

30% off Coupon - Hobby Lobby

This week's coupon for Hobby Lobby is for 30% off of needlework kits. Just thought I would post this if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Oatmeal Playdough Recipe

Today, my kids and I tried a new playdough recipe. They are busy creating with their little hands as we speak! This oatmeal playdough recipe has a different texture than regular playdough, so it offers the children a different sensory and creative experience. I found the recipe at , and I made a few minor adjustments to it to ease some of the stickiness. It is rather sticky as the original recipe is written, so I added some cornmeal and some extra flour until the dough was the perfect consistency. The above posted website also has many other kinds of playdough recipes to try out, if you are interested.

Oatmeal Playdough

1 cup of flour
2 cups of oats
Food coloring
1 cup of water
Extra flour

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Mix desired food coloring with the cup of water. Slowly add the water/food coloring mixture to the dry ingredients, mix together well. Knead the dough by hand to continue to mix (will be sticky), then add cornmeal and extra flour a little bit at a time. Continue to knead and add cornmeal and flour until dough is a good consistency for play.

P.S. The picture is a birthday cake, made with the oatmeal playdough, by my 5 year old.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Really The Same As Sugar?

Recently, there has been more awareness about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and its effects on the human body. Because of the negative press surrounding HFCS, the FDA is currently being lobbied to change its name to "corn sugar" on ingredient labels.

HFCS is increasingly difficult to avoid. Most processed foods contain it, and the reason for that is because it is cheaper for manufacturers to use HFCS in place of sugar. HFCS is sweeter than sugar, so it takes less to sweeten a product. It is also cheaper because it is made from government subsidized corn crops. Yes, that's right. The government is subsidizing the nation's junkfood in a roundabout way. So much for the war on obesity, right?

Speaking of the war on obesity, a recent study on HFCS vs. sugar found that HFCS caused an increase in weight gain and an increased difficulty in the ability to lose weight. The study was conducted at Princeton using rats. One group of rats was fed HFCS, while the other group was fed sugar. Both were given the caloric equivalents of each item. The rats fed HFCS showed more problems with weight than the sugar fed rats.

Chemically, the HFCS and the sugar appear to be similar, but evidence is showing that how the body processes the two substances is different, thus leading to the weight problems with rats. Other health problems associated with HFCS include diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. It causes elevated insulin levels, which are also connected to cancer and heart disease, among other things.

HFCS is found in just about every processed food product there is, it seems. From obvious products like soda pop and candy and sweets, to less obvious things such as ketchup and barbecue sauce. The best thing is to read your labels before you decide to purchase a product, and to avoid HFCS if at all possible. Some companies have made the change to eliminate HFCS from its products because of increased awareness, but there are still plenty products that contain it.

For further reading, I have included links to a few websites:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cabbage Casserole Recipe

I tried a new recipe tonight, it turned out pretty well! Cabbage has been on sale around here, so I had some that I needed to use up. I found a recipe for a cabbage casserole intended to be a side dish, so I tweaked it and added some hamburger and made it into a main dish. My husband, who is usually wary of anything that has alot of vegetables, informed me that this recipe is a keeper.

Cabbage Casserole

1 medium to large head of cabbage
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (or more according to preference)
2 cans of cream soup (cream of mushroom, cream of potato, etc.)
1 pound ground beef, browned
cracker crumbs

Slice cabbage and boil for 5 minutes. In a 9x13 baking pan, layer cabbage, hamburger, cream soup, and cheese (2-3 layers total). Top with cracker crumbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbling and slightly browned. is where I found the original recipe.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Free Learning Website

I just discovered another great free learning resource today! It's called , and it has all kinds of free printables for math, english, phonics, social studies, spelling, and holidays. Go check it out!

P.S. The picture is the logo from their website.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Free Learning Website -

I stumbled across an excellent parent/teacher resource today online. It's called , and it has printables for abc's, phonics teaching tools, as well as interactive applications to use as aids for teaching children to read. Best of all, it's free! It does have an online store where you can buy curriculum that goes along with what is online for free, if you choose to go more indepth with their program. As the mother of a preschooler and a kindergartner, I will be keeping this website in my stash of resources.

P.S. The picture is the Starfall logo and came from their website.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

List of Baking Ingredient Substitutes

We've all been there before. In the middle of following a recipe, you realize that you are out of a specific ingredient. In a pinch, I have used substitutes to save the day. It has saved me an extra trip to the store (which saves time and gas money), and my recipes usually turn out fabulous despite using a substitute. I thought I would do a post on common baking ingredient substitutions for a reference to use when you are caught off guard in the middle of a recipe.

1 tsp baking powder = 1/2 tsp cream of tarter + 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/4 tsp cornstarch

1 cup buttermilk = 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk

1 tsp allspice = 1/4 tsp ground cloves + 1/4 tsp ginger + 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 square baking chocolate = 3 tbsp cocoa and 1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp cornstarch = 2 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup self-rising flour = 1 cup all purpose flour + 1-1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt

1/4 cup cocoa = 1 square unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)

1 tsp cream of tarter = 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar

Also, most of your baking fats (butter, margarine, oil, etc.) can be interchanged in a pinch. I have substituted oil for butter many a time when I was out of butter. My recipes still turn out well.

If you need to substitute something else I don't have listed, I would suggest doing an internet search to find your answer. There are all kinds of substitute suggestions out there! I tried to stick to some pretty basic substitutes in this post, I hope you find these helpful!