Milk Filter Paper

For any of you that have a flannel board and enjoy making story and play sets to go on it I’ve got a little tip for you.

Buy 15 inch circle non-gauze milk filters, a box of 100 costs about $15 including shipping. You can get them here.

Trim them to 8.5×11 inches.

I use my quilting square and a sharpie to make my rectangle

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Then cut them out. I usually hold 2 or 3 together and cut them all out at the same time, or use my rotary cutter to cut through several sheets at once.

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Run them through your printer.

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Cut out the pieces. They stick right to flannel, felt, fleece, and each other!

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I got these awesome printable shapes from MrPrintables.com, you can download your own here.

I have also printed out just the outline and then colored it in with crayons, colored pencils, and markers, they all work really well.

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These are thin for easy storage, and they are super durable. I have made several sets for my girls and they play with them a lot, I have yet to have one of them tear.

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Flannel Board

I’ve been wanting to make a flannel board for my girls for a few months now, but I was having a hard time deciding how I was going to do it. I started doing some research and found lots of different ways to make flannel boards, you can glue the flannel to cardboard, foam display boards that you find at the craft store, plywood, pretty much anything really. But the one I really liked I found here, it’s a really great tutorial on how to make your own flannel board on the back of a dry erase board, so you have the flannel board on one side and a magnetic, dry erase board on the other side. It took me a long time to find a dry erase board that I liked, but I finally found one on clearance at Walmart for $4.00. I was really excited! I got started right away and this project only took about a half hour from start to finish.
This is what my finished product looks like:

 As you can see, I chose to use a lighter blue flannel. Also, I didn’t add the ribbon and flowers. I might add ribbon at some point, but for now it’s just very simple. I did forget to fold my fabric over on the edges, so it’s already starting to fray, I need to find a way to fix that.

And this is the dry erase board side. This board is 23″x17″. I originally wanted to buy one that was about twice this size, and I’m so glad that I didn’t. This board is the perfect size, doesn’t take up too much room and is completely portable. I’ve already made a couple of stories for it, based on two of our favorite books, (I’ll post about those later) and it’s a big hit! My girls beg for me to tell them stories on the flannel board, and they have the stories nearly memorized and like to tell them to each other. I need to make a few more stories, I just have to decide what to do next…

Friendship Bread

My family really loves Amish Friendship Bread. I was wanting to cook some yesterday but I couldn’t because making the bread is a ten day process. So I started it yesterday and in a few days we’ll have bread! There are many places to find recipes for Friendship Bread, some websites even sell the starters, and will try to convince you that you must have a starter in order to make the bread. This is not true. You can make your own starter. Simply mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk in a glass or plastic container. Never in a metal container and never use metal to stir your starter, I’m not exactly sure why, but apparently coming into contact with metal ruins it somehow. I use a 1 quart, wide mouth mason jar, (I also make less starter, see below) it’s important for air to get to the starter, so instead of using the traditional lid and ring for the jar I put a piece of fabric over the top and secure it with the ring, it looks nice and bugs and dust stay out of it but it still gets air.

I mentioned before that this is a ten day process.
Day 1: Mix 1cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1cup milk in a plastic or glass container (If you already have a starter you would just stir it on Day 1)
Day 2: Stir
Day 3: Stir
Day 4: Stir
Day 5: Add 1 cup flour, 1cup sugar, 1 cup milk and mix
Day 6: Stir
Day 7: Stir
Day 8: Stir
Day 9: Stir
Day 10: Baking day!
On baking day you use 1 cup of the starter, mixed with other ingredients to make your bread. The reason it’s called Friendship Bread is because you then take 3 cups of the starter and give 1 cup of it to each of three friends along with the instructions and the recipe so they can make their own bread in 10 days. Then you save the remaining starter for yourself. People often get turned off to Friendship Bread because they end up with so much starter, and no friends left to give it too. There are a couple of ways to solve this problem:
1. Quadruple your recipe and use all 4 cups of starter instead of just 1. This is great if you have a party or get together planned and you want to stock up.
2. Don’t make so much starter. Instead of adding 1 cup of everything just add 1/2 cup. That way on baking day you have just enough to take one cup out to bake and leave some starter to start the 10 day process again.
3. Starter can be kept in the fridge for a while if you want to take a break, but still have some starter left. I’ve kept it in the fridge for as long as two months. (I try to remember to stir it once a week and occasionally add a tablespoon or so of flour, sugar and milk, just to keep the starter active.)
4. This works well with whole wheat flour. I use freshly ground whole wheat flour, the starter works better this way, and the bread is still delicious.
This is the recipe that I use: Amish Friendship Bread
I like to add raisins, my husband really likes to add chocolate chips, and my mother-in-law adds grated carrots. All variations taste good, and it’s great with frosting too. Friendship Bread is great to slice up and serve at parties. I usually keep some in the freezer for unexpected company. It freezes beautifully and even tastes good straight from the freezer.
P.S. I have discovered that this works well in the bread maker, I put mine on the ‘Sweet Breads’ setting, set the crust to medium, put everything in and turn it on, the recipe makes 2 loaves, but when I use the breadmaker I put all of it in and make one bigger loaf. This works well on the days that I need to make bread but don’t want to heat up the whole house, or just don’t have the time. If you’re doing it in the bread maker though, you might want to leave out the chocolate chips and other additions, we’ve discovered that it doesn’t cook right with the extras added.