How to keep 10 kids busy for a LONG TIME (plus yummy granola bar recipe)

Last week I hosted a playdate with 10 kids 4 and under.  It went great!  It was an awesome sunny day and my kids were pretty antsy so we headed outside pretty quick.  After awhile I pulled out an old favorite that I haven’t done much with lately — “painting” with water.  It was a total hit!

Here’s what you need:

 

Add water, sunshine, kids, and some kind of wall, gate, fence, sidewalk, rock, tree or toys to paint:

 

Then, go sit down and put your feet up! You might even get to talk to some friends for a bit! This kept them all busy (and quiet!) for quite awhile.  Its totally going into the rotation for our spring and summer afternoons outside…

I also wanted to add the recipe for the AMAZING homemade granola bars that we also enjoyed that morning.  I’ve been in the market for homemade (but easy) snack foods for my kids, and this one fits the bill.  Sadly, I have no gorgeous photos of them, but my cousin does (thanks, Sarah, for the awesome recipe)!

Homemade Granola Bars

2 c. old fashioned oats
3/4 c. wheat germ
1 cup crushed almonds (I was out of these and used pecans)
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. coconut oil (also didn’t have this, so subbed dairy-free margerine)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c. dried cherries, chopped (or any dried fruit!)
1/3 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

I added 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, as well.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop nuts (I did it in the food processer). Mix oats, almonds and wheat germ on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast them in the oven for about 12 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes or so to keep wheat germ from burning.

Meanwhile prepare an 11×13 glass baking dish by lining with waxed paper and lightly spraying (or brushing) with cooking oil.

Remove oat mixture from oven and let cool. Turn off oven.

In a medium sauce pan, combine brown sugar, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract and salt over medium high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat (if you over do the boiling the granola bars will be hard, not chewy).

Put the oat mixture in a large bowl and add coconut and dried fruit (and seeds if using), then pour in the partially cooled caramel sauce. Mix everything really well, ensuring you coat all the oats with the caramel sauce since that’s what will hold your bars together.

Add the chocolate chips and stir gently.

Spread out the mixture into the prepared pan. Put another layer of waxed paper on the top and press down firmly to compact the bars so they stay together.  Remove waxed paper and let cool for an hour or two.

Pull them out of the pan with the waxed paper and cut.  You can make them into typical “granola bar” size by cutting into two columns lengthwise, then 10 rows crosswise, or into smaller bites for the littler ones.

YUMMY!

This post is part of the Mom’s 30-minute blog challenge, over on Steady Mom

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