February 28, 2012

granola bar bliss

I feel like I can get my kids to eat healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But snacks during the day? Oh my. It's a whole 'nother story.

Ollie and Twain are still young enough to fall for my tricks. They think it's a real treat to eat nuts and raisins for a snack. Or apples with peanut butter. Or cheese. Or rice cakes + honey.

But Finn and Calvin have developed a taste for crackers and granola bars and their little hands ALWAYS gravitate toward those boxes daddy insists on buying(and I have nothing against crackers, etc.. but when that's all they want to snack on all day, it gets kind of old).

I've always wanted to make home made crackers but they seem kind of tedious. So you can imagine my absolute excitement when I found out that my sisters were making super easy, yet delicious, granola bars! I almost wet my pants I was so thrilled.

My sister Jessica got the recipe from this site. Jessica then gave the recipe to my younger sister Lindsay, who then passed it on to me. Group effort. And I am SO excited to share this recipe with you because it's my new favorite snack. I kind of tweaked the recipe to my liking. So here is my version! (Oh and I think I'm even more excited about these little digital recipe cards than this post! Aren't they totes adorbs?)

Here are the exact ingredients I used. The nuts were from trader joes and were already around 50% salted, so I only used 1/2 teaspoon of salt, rather than 1 whole teaspoon that the original recipe called for.

I used butter rather than coconut oil. Please excuse this unappetizing photo of my butter wad but I really wanted you to see it because I'm so in love with this kerrygold butter that I could marry it.

(My sister Jess turned me onto it and I can never go back to any other butter).

And the original recipe called for coarsely ground nuts. But I smashed them to smithereens with my pampered chef chopper. Because I wanted my granola bars to resemble the store bought Quaker Oats chewy granola bars. Oh and the original recipe also called for walnuts, but we are allergic, so we substituted and used peanuts instead.

Twain's squishy little hand was dying to help. So I threw that sweet lil monster in bed for a nap because he was getting all up in my grill. Plus it was an hour past nap time.

The instructions are so simple, even a 2nd grader could do it.
Finn-boy was a great helper, mixing things for me.

Ok and this is where things get a little hazy because I was induced into a yummy honey coma for a minute and could only come in and out of consciousness to drool and make yummy sounds.

Isn't this the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

It's melted butter, honey and vanilla. It reminded me of butterscotch and caramel, only better.

Just mixed my wet and dry ingredients and plopped it all into a lined pan and that's it!

I licked the gooey mess off my hands and died and went to heaven.

The original recipe called for 30 minutes in the oven, but I did 19 minutes because I know my boys like things chewy! But my older sister likes them crunchier and cooks them for 30 minutes.

And voila! So pretty!

My whole house smelled delish.

Here comes the hard part...testing these granola bars on my picky customers.

My success rate was 3 out of 4. Not too shabby for around here. Finn, my most picky eater, loved them and so I was thrilled. And Ollie and Twain loved them too! I was shocked that Calvin did not like them. He really prefers those fruit filled Nutri-Grain bars, so I blame them entirely. How can I compete? I was so very very upset. I'm crying as I type. Nutri-Grain is now officially DTM.

But with all the joy in the world, I packed one of these precious nuggets into Finn's lunch for the next day, all the while doing a happy dance.
This is what I have been DREAMING to pack in this boy's lunch for a long, long while now. Happy sigh.

And these granola bars are super YUM for you too! I could eat them all myself. Seriously these granola bars make me so giddy, I could sing to them. Ya know, right before I devour them.

February 19, 2012

there's a teenage boy in my house.

Aren't you wondering who this strange new boy is?

So grown up wearing these Adidas, I can hardly stand it.

Surprise! I did not adopt another kid. It's actually our very own Calvin Jack.

When Calvin wears this smallish flannel shirt(that Ollie actually wore when he was a gnome), he reminds me of the guy that works at my favorite antique shop. I actually like it when my boys wear shirts that are a bit snug because it looks sort of European. It's just my personal preference, mind you me.

Sometimes, when he is all pensive, he kind of DOES look like a mini-teenager, though.

But not to worry. He's the same sweet lovable huggable Calvin Jack that I've always known and loved.

He freely gives me multiple hugs each and every day, without me ever once having to ask. And he always tells me how much he loves me.

I just love this about him and hope that he stays this way, even when he does get bigger.

But for now, he's my sweet little twerp and I am just enjoying each and every day with him.

As you may have noticed, his cheek is still recovering from a crazy skid-out biking accident, which is still a slightly sore subject around this house...his mommy and daddy are still 'debating' the finer details of the incident;)

It's one of the main things John and I argue over: the safety of the boys and what they are and aren't allowed to do...etc. I come from a family of 3 girls and John comes from a family of 3 boys, so it's understandable that we come from polar opposite ends of the spectrum on this one. And I don't think there is one right or wrong parent in each and every situation.

One thing I have learned though, is that the more that I push my opinions, the less it helps. The more I back off, the more concerned about safety John becomes.

It's difficult for me to sit by and wince as these situations unfold.
You guys. Raising boys is sometimes really hard for me.

And God gave me 4. EeeK! God has a funny sense of humor that is for sure. But I love it, I love it, I LOVE it.

Even though I'm not always good at it. And sometimes, I really stink at it. And I imagine, it 's not going to get easier as they get even more wild and independent.

Sometimes I try to protect them too much. I know that is my propensity. So I am trying to ease up a bit here and there.

Because I DO want them to grow up as energetic mighty men of the Lord and I know that protecting them like they are little pansies is not going to accomplish this goal.

And so I must pray them into God's hands each and every day. That He will take care of them when I cannot/should not control the situation. Oh this can be hard, but in the end I believe that is the only way we will ALL remain sane. Otherwise, I'm just gonna go crazy...and I'm gonna drive the boys crazy too.

February 12, 2012


We went to church last, and Pastor Eric was taking about how when we TRULY open our eyes to see the presence of Jesus in our lives, then life makes sense. Life does not make sense when we just look at our earthly circumstances. But when we open our eyes to Christ and heaven, all of our tasks become meaningful because they are done for the glory of God. I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately.

Because guys...I seem to finally be settling down a bit as a mom. I'm staying home more. I'm simplifying life. Just doing what I feel is most important and life seems very peaceful yet meaningful.

Here is a smattering of what we've been up to lately.

1. FINALLY starting to become more domesticated. I've been cooking up a storm{and cleaning like a tornado}, which is HUGE for me. Because remember, I'm like a 12-year-old boy in the kitchen. Well, things are changing and I'm actually improving exponentially. Well, except for the corn bread and apple muffins that were inedible. And I'm dead tired from it, but go to bed with a smile on my face. I make chicken/veggie/rice soup every week.

I do have a dishwasher but with all this cooking, I cannot possibly fit all the pots and pans in the dishwasher, and I run it 2 or 3 times a day as it is. John always tries to hide this green dishwasher rack. Every time he puts it away, I drag it right back out. It's like a dysfunctional game we play every day. Do you have games like that with your husband? John always puts up the sun visors in my minivan and I keep putting them back down. I digress...

Further proof of my domestication: I made spanish rice, that involves the use of a blender, people. That's pretty fancy.

And to the right, you see the CPK spaghetti w/sauce that I have been making every single week. It's the bomb because it's not all marinara-ish. More oil-based, yum.

John asked me to watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I said "NO! It will make me crazy and paranoid and you will surely regret it!" He wanted me to watch it anyway, and guess what? It DID made me crazy and paranoid. But the one good thing I did take away from the show, was that it's up to ME to shape my kids' eating habits.

And it's renewed my efforts to try to do even better--you know, less processed foods and all. I thought John would regret this, because I'm kinda bossy in the kitchen now. But he's as happy as a clam with his new wife that cooks all the time. And just so ya know. I'm not against yummy food and treats. I'm just against all the crummy additives I cannot even pronounce.

2. I've been reading lots and lots of Bible stories with the boys. I read this one to Finn and Calvin {almost}every day after school.

My mom read this series to me as a kid. We are currently reading about Saul and David{my favorite}. And I remember reading it with my mom like it was just yesterday. These stories just stick.

And Ollie and Twain have been obsessed with this "googly-eyed" Bible, as my sister Jessica calls it.

There are days when they literally want to read this bible for hours. One day, Ollie read it for 3 hours! And even though sometimes I literally have to stop reading to them because my voice is gonna crack, it's one of my favorite things to do and makes me feel most joyful as a mama.

Jonah is a favorite, as can be seen by the *well-loved* bent pages.

And the other current favorite is Joshua, and they know it by heart. And afterward we sing the song, "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho...Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down".

And we have hand motions and sing loudly{and out of key}. And yes, I am a dork. The other night we sang and marched around our dark house 7 times in our light-up shoes.

3. Twain saw these kitty Valentines at Target the other day and completely flipped out over them. Sooooo.

They came home with us. But when we took them out of the box, they were doggies and only turned to kitties when you flipped the angle...because the are lenticular(I dislike that word, btw. Len-tic-u-lar. Ew). Well, Twain completely flipped out that they were not kitties. And I felt like it was false advertising since the box was plastered with kitty pictures. So I turned the box over and cut out all the kitty pictures and gave them to Twain and he was happy. We're kinda ghetto like that.

4. I bought this yellow and white striped sweater at Forever 21 last year and never wore it til the other day. Now I wear it almost every other day, with my red leather bracelet.

It's my new uniform so don't be alarmed if you see me wearing it all the time.

Katygirl told me that this red bracelet was the type the girls wear on Pretty Little Liars, so it's totally in style, k?

5. I make a smoothie almost every.single.night. I'm dairy intolerant so here are my ingredients:
frozen raspberries
frozen blueberries
coconut milk
It's sooooooo goooooooood. The boys love it, except for Finn, who boycotts the seeds. My blender is weaksauce and is unable to pulverize the seeds like the Vitamix can. One day Finn boy, one day...

6. I'm kinda embarrassed to admit this one because you are gonna think I'm like 82 years old.

I was getting adjusted by Dr. W the other day and she complained that my feet were getting too tight...probably from trompling around in my Bear Paws every day. She told me to go to Walmart and get Dr. Scholl's inserts to put in them, and I was very, very skeptical.
But I tried them yesterday and my life will never be the same. I'm walking around with such pep in my step. This is the happiest my feet have ever been and I want a pair of Dr. Scholl's for every single pair of shoes. Yup, I'm 82.

7. I've been going to Lassens every week to buy their seasonal organic produce that is on SALE at rock-bottom price. I still cannot believe the deals.
I feel like I'm cheating on Abundant Harvest, but a girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do.

February 5, 2012

on shoes

This is a serious post about kid's shoes, ok? Ok.

Soooooo. What's in a shoe? I have 3 main criteria for my kids' shoes.

1) fun color and style
2) durable
3) affordable

And Vincent shoes for kids had all that and MORE if you ask me.

Sadly my favorite kid's shoe of all time(Vincent, obvi) has left the U.S. and is only selling in European countries...probably due to our new lead laws that make selling in this country too expensive. Don't even get me started on the ridiculousness of the timing of this law, with our poor struggling economy.

Anyway, I am so bummed. These shoes are so colorful and go with all of our clothes. With their rubber-enforced toe and hard leather body, these shoes are built ford-tough.

SO easy to clean. Just wipe off that hard leather exterior. They are practically water proof.

And whenever my boys grew out of them, I just bought the next size up, and it was always a perfect fit.

Even though they retailed for around $50, I was always able to find them between $25 and $35.

And one more perk? The velcro. We are usually running late for school, so velcro makes it super speedy to get on each morning.

Now, I am at a loss. I don't know what shoes to buy them. I bought Finn some Keen shoes at zappos and they were too big and uncomfortable, so I had to go through the process of returning them.

I saw some cute Pediped shoes online and then read the review: after one wear, the leather was scraping off.

NO thanks.

And there were the super cute Kickers Jump shoes...$75. GASP! Who on earth would pay such a steep fee???

Finally I bought Finn a pair of navy blue adidas online and they work ok. I actually do like them.
Nice and sporty but not as durable as the Vincent shoes. They were getting thrashed outside when he played, so John sent me to Target to get the boys some play shoes.

While at Target, I instantly gravitated toward some plain grey velcro shoes...while Finn and Calvin went wild over some tacky cheap looking light-up clone wars shoes. $16.99.

"Nuh-nuh-noooo boys", I said nervously. "Those are ugly, come try on these cute shoes over here..."

{don't judge}

Calvin dutifully complied and I somehow managed to sway his opinion to the cuter shoes. Then all of a sudden some bells started going off in my head. "Davi, WHAT ONE EARTH ARE YOU THINKING??? These are PLAY SHOES. WHO CARES what they look like???"

{I am sure most of you have already come to this conclusion eons ago, so bear with me}

"Boys", I said..."Would you rather have the clone wars shoes?", I asked, giddy with excitement.

"YESSSSS!!!", they shouted with glee.

We picked out a pair for Calvin but could not seem to find Finn's size, so we went to Famous Footwear(because I had a gift card) in search of some fun shoes for him too.

And lo and behold. There they were folks.

In all their shining glory.

Light up, clone wars shoes.

Brand: Stride Rite.

My heart soared with happiness that they would at least have a good quality shoe on their feet. And they were on sale too. Still a bit pricy for play shoes but I had the gift card.
Yellow Commander Cody for Calvin(from $50 to $35) and blue Captain Rex for Finn (from $55 to $35).

We thought we'd return Calvin's Target shoes, because these had yellow accents. YELLOW, ya hear????

"Ok boys", I lectured, "These shoes are ONLY for playing outside, you hear? They are not for school or church", I droned on, pointlessly.

Back in the car, we cheered "hip hip hooray" for new light up shoes.

And then I had the dawning of yet ANOTHER realization{Boy, I'm a slow learner}.

"Boys," I said with excitement. "Would you like to wear your new shoes to SCHOOL tomorrow????"

And we all erupted into cheers and hoots and hollers. YES YES YES!!

I don't know why it took me so long to just 'let my boys be boys' and wear light up shoes to school.

We decided to give Calvin's light up clone war shoes to Ollie, instead of returning them to Target.

Ollie looked at them curiously and then put them on.

Stomp...stomp...light up...*bling bling* . He was absolutely mesmerized and starting stomping around and prancing for an hour that night, with the most glee I have ever seen over a pair of shoes.

Little Twain's face fell as he asked, "Everyone has new star wars shoes...but me?" He buried his face in my shoulder in devastation.

So guess what?

Yep, that's right.
I went BACK to Target and got Twain a pair too(I could not justify spending more on the fancy Stride Rite ones at Famous Footwear for such tiny feet that grow so fast).

I think it's safe to say that he loves them.

So here we all are folks, decked out in our new light up shoes.

Twain has such attitude with his fist pump, LOL.

Well, he looks tough until he starts snuggling with kitty.

Jumping for joy over our new light up shoes!

They look so happy.

Twain got a {wee}little bit of air here and I think it's cute.

One for all and all for one.

Random photo. Ollie found some sticks and looks like a deer.

If you have never had the chance to purchase your kids some light up shoes, I'd highly recommend it. They are all the rage.

Ollie could NOT WAIT to wear them to preschool and Cubbies to show everyone.

And Ollie then threw a wild fit when we said he could not wear them to church this morning. That was a problem. But I figure for one morning a week, it would not kill him to wear regular shoes.
And if they came in my size, I would totes wear a pair of light up{Rapunzel}sneakers too.

p.s. Yes, that is the first time I've said totes{and obvi} on my blog. I realize it's like *super annoy* to most folks. Muhahaha, but you can't publicly complain with my comments disabled. I feel drunk with power.