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Vegan Super Bites

This is a simple and delicious treat to make for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. It’s full of superseeds so it packs quite a punch in the morning. 

 
Vegan Super Bites
 
Combine all ingredients in a stand up mixer (or use a sturdy wooden spoon).
 
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup quick oats
5 Tbsp agave syrup
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/4 cup ground flax seeds 
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp maple syrup
 

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After mixing together well, scoop out one spoonful at a time into the palm of your hand and form a compact ball. Set aside on a parchment covered cookie sheet. When all the mix has been formed into balls, move the cookie sheet into the fridge to let them chill and become firm – around 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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pancakes

Maple Oatmeal Superseed Pancakes

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1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup oats
2 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax plus 2 1/2 Tbsp water)
1 banana
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 cup maple syrup

Combine dry ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt, chia and hemp seeds. In a standup mixer combine milk, oil , maple syrup and banana. Add in dry ingredients and flax egg. Cook in preheated, oiled cast iron skillet or griddle.

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Peanut Butter Granola Muffins

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The arctic blast has reached us all the way down here in Texas. So I have been baking comfort food for the kiddos. They absolutely love the peanut butter granola I prepare.
 
But lately I’ve been on a superseed kick, so I have been adding them in where ever I can.
 

I typically bake a triple batch of my peanut butter granola recipe, and lately I have been adding 2 tablespoons each of chia seeds, hemp hearts, and ground flax seed to the oats before adding the liquid ingredients. They give the granola that extra kick of goodness.

I was inspired after browsing recipes on Evernote’s Food app and discovered a recipe for these peanut butter granola muffins. After preparing granola today, I took some and prepared these muffins for the kids. 
 
Peanut Butter Granola Muffins
 
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup granola (use a spatula to break apart clumps)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 banana, mashed
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2 1/2 Tbsp water)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
 
Mix together maple syrup, milk, peanut butter, mashed banana, coconut oil, and vanilla. 
 
In a separate bowl combine flours, granola, and baking powder. 
 
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together. 
 
Add flax egg and chia seeds and mix to combine.
 
Pour batter into cupcake cups in a muffin tin – cups should be almost completely full.
 
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick or knife comes out clean after inserting.

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The Ever Scholar

I’m working on a new project. Well, it’s not really a project so much as a mission. I have always been a book worm, having several books in queue at any given time. But over the last several years, between the pressure of growing a career and the pressures of growing a family, my personal reading habit has suffered.  

 
Now I find myself moving into a new phase. We are officially done growing our family, and my youngest, at 7 months, sleeps though the night regularly. My home routine s becoming more regular as the children get a little older. While my life is far from calm, with a husband, four kids and four dogs, I am finally able to find small lulls to focus on myself again. 
 
Even though I’ve gone through college and graduate school, I will be the first to tell you I still have a lot to learn. I’m not going back to school, though I am about to start a year-long course that I’m really excited about (I’ll post more details on that soon). What I am doing is reading, lots of good books, on a variety of subjects. And I’m not settling for passive reading, just to log books as “read.” I’m reading books “actively,” taking notes and annotating as I read, following rabbit trails when they appear, participating in online book groups and discussions. 
 
I realized that, as I record my notes on the books I am working through, I’d love to share them with others. Since I’m reading several books at a time, and also doing an in-depth Bible study as well, I have decided a new site would be the best thing for sharing. I will be posting my Bible sudy notes, book journaling and other personal scholar notes over at the The Ever Scholar.  I would love to have you follow my reading progress there!
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A Day with Snails

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Okay, maybe snails, pill bugs, worms, and lots and lots of dirt. 
 
We spent the afternoon in our backyard Saturday, enjoying the warm weather and each other’s company. After some family work, tidying up the yard and cutting grass, the kids had a blast exploring under rocks and collecting their favorite pill bugs. 
 

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While the kids enjoyed the bugs and the sunshine, I put in some much needed time in the garden. I didn’t use my garden boxes last year on account of my pregnancy, and honestly hadn’treally considered doing one this year since we will be moving once the house sells. But we ultimately decided it was worth the effort to have some some garden produce while we were still here.  
 

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So I mixed compost into two of my raised beds, and planted lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. I will need to cover the beds if we have any really cold nights, but it felt great getting things planted. I’m looking forward to many wonderful salads soon!
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Dissolving, Solutions, and Crystallization

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We just wrapped up  A9: Dissolving, Solutions, and Crystallization. We started our week with some reading, to get an idea of what happens when various substances are put into water. We recently added Chemistry Pre-level I from Real Science-4-Kids as a reference book, and Chapter 6 (Mixtures) was a great introduction to what we covered this week. 

 
Part 1: Some things dissolve: Solutions and Mixtures
 
We covered a few basic concepts first. 
 
What is a mixture? When we combine difference substances, we have a mixture. We talked about a mixture of diffferent types of fruit in a bowl, and various toys in a box. Then, we talked about making a mixture by putting a solid into a liquid, like when we combine sugar and water.
 
For a demonstration, we made up a sugar solution as a demo. After stirring our sugar, we watched the granules slowly get smaller and finally disappear. Our solid dissolves, which means the substance, in this case sugar, comes apart into its basic particles and interact with the particles of water. This makes a special kind of mixture called a solution
 
We compared our sugar water mixture to a mixture of flour in water. After stirring a small amount of flour into a glass of water, we observed our mixture remain cloudy – our flour doesn’t come apart to interact with the water molecules as a solution but instead remains just a mixture.
 
Part 2: Soluble and Insoluble
 

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After comparing sugar-in-water and flour-in-water, we then explored a variety of materials to see what was soluble and insoluble. While we did some basic kitchen items, like vinegar and baking soda, we also found some fun objects like a matchbox car, a small block of wood, and a plastic toy. The kids enjoyed stirring these to see whether they would dissolve.
 
Why don’t certain objects dissolve? This was a great opportunity to review our earlier lesson on solids, liquids and gases, where we learned how objects’ particles are either very close together (in solids), interacting but not closely packed (as in liquids) or not in contact with each other (in gases). Our solid objects, with particles closely packed together, were not able to break apart and interact with the water particles. We prepared a chart to record our observations. 
 

A9Soluble_Insoluble_Chart 

Part 3: Crystallization
 

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We dissolved salt in water to observe not only the process of salt dissolving and forming a solution, but also of salt particles forming crystals. We recently learned about about evaporation, when the water molecules leave the liquid state and go into the gas state. Any solids that are dissolved in the water are left behind and reformed crystals
 
To help with our observation, we placed a couple of teaspoons of our salt solution on a dark plate, and left out to evaporate. We later observed a crusty film where our salt solution was before evaporating.
 
We also made a straw by twisting up a piece of paper and securing with tape. This straw was then placed in a jar of salt solution. Our liquid wicked up the paper straw and after the liquid evaporated, a salt crust (crystals) was observed on the surface of the straw.
 
This lesson helped reinforce our earlier lessons on the particle nature of matter, and the states of matter. Understanding this particle nature is essential for upcoming lessons on atomic and molecular motion.