School is almost out around these parts and even we obsessive homeschoolers snap the whip just a little bit less often in the summer. Those last few weeks of school are hard-going. I think it's because human beings have a tendency to psychologically prepare ourselves for only the designated amount of time required, and no more. If we know school gets out on June 1st, then we start dreading school around the end of April. If we know a marathon is 26 miles long, then we start feeling wiped out around mile 20. If we know that a pregnancy is nine months long, we start to gripe and swell around month seven. Well, I usually complain my way through the whole thing, but still. So here's what I propose: tell the kids that school gets out in August. Then on June 1st, surprise them by yelling "School's Out!" and promptly squirt them with a bottle of silly string. I think it might just cure end of school year burn out. And if that doesn't work, you could always try these oatmeal peanut butter- raspberry bars. They seem like the perfect afterschool snack, especially when you've got a passel of hungry little mouths around 3:30 PM. When I was babysitting a million and one babies last week, I got the idea for these bar cookies. I never actually made them, because I was babysitting a million and one babies. See how cute they are. This is just a sample section, since they couldn't all fit in one picture. Aren't they sweet? They're hungry too, and sick of school, so you better get mixing. My family found them to be the perfect afternoon snack. They were hearty and delicious, and the perfect cure for May's sick-of-school blues. Hang in there, kiddos. You're almost there.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars with Raspberry Preserves
Estimated Cost: $2.50 for 12
Notes: These would be delicious with just about any flavor of jam or preserves, so be creative.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter (don't use natural style)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour (I used half whole wheat)
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup raspberry preserves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter with brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Stir in powder and salt. Gently mix in flour, then oats. Pat half of mixture into prepared pan. Spread with preserves. Crumble remaining mixture over the top of the preserves. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and set. If you want them to slice perfectly, let them cool and then chill for 30 minutes. If you don't care, dig into them warm with a tall, frosty glass of milk.
Rhubarb Strawberry Jam