a recipe: granola

Do you ever feel like you go through phases with food? You’ll make something four weeks in a row, start thinking of it as routine, and then switch to something new? That’s granola for us. We go through phases with it. I’ll make it a ton, and then go a few months without making it once. Lately, it’s been happily put back into my weekend baking routine. We scoop it onto greek yogurt for breakfast and snacks, and Mike takes the occasional scoop directly into his open mouth for those moments when snack desperation strikes. It’s a sweet, but not too sweet, and crunchy, but not bone-crushing treat.

img_6651This recipe is customizable in a hundred ways or more, but this base is a great place to start. Dried coconut, flax seed, raisins, dates, and peanut butter are all things that we sometimes, but not always throw in. This time around we kept it simple and basic. So good.HOMEMADE GRANOLA

What you need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups mixed nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (like vegetable or coconut)

What to do:

+ Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

+ Mix oats, nuts, and salt in a dutch oven or large baking pan.

+ In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, maple syrup and oil.

+ Pour over oat mixture and stir.

+ Cook for 45 minutes or until oats are toasted, stirring every 15 minutes.

+ Let cool and store in a covered container. Will keep for about 2 weeks.

**If adding any dried fruits, or chocolate chips mix in after your granola has cooled. Coconut, peanut butter and flax seed can be added to the granola before baking.

Also pictured are cream cheese carrot cake muffins – recipe here! What have you been making on repeat lately? Anything good? I’m on the hunt for some new fall recipes to put on rotation.

pumpkin carving at home.

img_8755This past weekend was just the absolute best. Last year at pumpkin carving time I had a big postpartum belly with a newborn slumbering in his bassinet, but this year our one-year-old was fully awake and involved in our weekend festivities. The weather was giving us it’s very best Florida fall (60’s in the morning/evening and 80’s during the day), and we took full advantage by spending every minute we could outside. Saturday we went to the beach for the most beautiful day with a boy who is obsessed with the waves and sand. I finished up Charlie’s halloween costume with Hocus Pocus and hot chocolate after bedtime, including lots of help from Mike.

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Sunday though! Mike put Charlie’s new birthday wagon together, and we took him for some spins around the yard. Ah! He loved it. His smiles as we took very slow turns around the backyard were so good. After an afternoon siesta, we finally carved our pumpkins. They mold so fast in the heat down here and Sunday was the absolute last day we could carve with other things happening this week. After some adult knifework, Charlie got into it and dug his hands into the pumpkin goop. It was a MESS. Thank goodness for having a backyard. Mike and I ended the weekend with roasted pumpkin seeds, an honorary lighting of the pumpkins, and Ernest Scared Stupid (Mike’s favorite Halloween movie).

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It was just the kind of weekend I want to bottle up and keep on the shelf to look back at anytime I want a little burst of love for our family and for this season of life!

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What did you do this weekend? Something wonderful I hope!

the friday post – vol. 14

It was an eventful week at our house. Charlie’s birthday, a dinner out for Mike’s work last night, the Halloween dance at school for me another night, and Charlie’s one year check up complete with shots. Phew.

I’m also starting to feel very pregnant this week at 25 weeks. We go in on Monday morning for our anatomy ultrasound, so we’ll find out if this baby is a boy or a girl! I remember feeling like Christmas was coming early when we had our ultrasound with Charlie, and I’m starting to feel that tingle of anticipation that I had last year.

I can’t believe it’s Halloween next week!! We still haven’t gotten Charlie a Halloween costume, but he’s been wearing his little pumpkin outfit nonstop. Such a crowd-pleaser when we go out and about. This weekend we must get him something, or else he may have to be the paper bag prince.

In our entertainment news, I’ve been obsessed with listening to this podcast called Homecoming. It’s a fiction podcast, so it’s kind of a combination of feeling like you’re listening to an audio book and a tv show. So good. I’m saving the last episode for my drive home today after school.

Plans this weekend include the beach, laundry, a clean house and long walks around the neighborhood to check out everyone’s Halloween decorations.

handmade halloween cards.

We sent out these little handmade Halloween cards over the weekend. Aren’t they sweet?

I saw a tutorial on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and immediately put them on my crafting list. I love browsing Pinterest for ideas, and it always gives me a little burst of festivity around this time of year. Right now my feed is a a cornucopia of holiday crafts, decor, cozy foods, and baby things.

These cards were a fun little way to kick off the holiday season. I’ve tucked a couple away to remember Charlie’s tiny hand at one year old and sent the rest off in the mail to all of our nearest and dearest.

Click here for instructions for how to make some handprint cards of your own!

In other crafting news – I made this pumpkin yarn garland for the mantle a couple weeks ago, and started knitting a bright red, festive hat for a very special gift come Christmas.

charlie turns one!

I just can’t even believe it’s already been a year (and a day) since this little ragamuffin came into the world! In some ways I feel like he was born just yesterday, but in others it’s like he’s been in our lives forever. He has brought us so much joy, and it’s been so crazy fun to see him grow. They go through so many changes in the first year! He’s just such a real little kid now. I can see him starting to lose his baby-hood which makes me sad, but it’s a. He runs everywhere, always wants to be outside, loves Wendy and ,

We celebrated the little man with a small batch of cupcakes, a birthday crown, some presents, and lots of reminiscing about this day a year ago. I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures here from his first year.

out & about: at the pumpkin patch

We had the most glorious fall pumpkin filled weekend, trip to the pumpkin patch included. If I’m being completely honest, I was very distracted the whole trip by how hot it was. I couldn’t even look at the apple cider donuts! That part was unfortunate. BUT Charlie loving the pumpkins made it totally worth the trip! He also really loved picking up and examining every piece of hay lining the rows of pumpkins. His little face and the way he’s holding his dada’s hand in these pictures just makes me smile.

This place is always insane crowded when we make our annual exodus. I’m talking parking a mile away and walking kind of crowded. But we got smart this year and went right when they open at 9am. We got a reasonable parking spot, and only needed to eat one popsicle! We stayed just long enough for some pictures, a popsicle under the tiki hut, and to find the perfect little pumpkin to take home. It’s sitting in the middle of our kitchen table and will stay there until Thanksgiving – or until it gets soft. Whichever comes first. 🙂

In case you find yourself in the neighborhood: 

Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market

Hours

Location

More adventures in and around Florida, here!

the friday post – vol. 13

Whoa it feels like eons since the last one of these things, am I right? This week was a little wonky with our little bug going home from school sick on Tuesday and staying home to fight the virus for a couple days. Feverish babies are no fun, but it was nice to get some extra sweet snuggles, lounge around in jammies and to take in lots of disney movies on the couch. Today is a teacher professional development day, so it’s been an easy week school-wise. We’re in the thick of the school year now, and time is just moving along with no holidays in sight until Thanksgiving.

Charlie’s been doing some funny new things lately – pointing at everything, saying “dada” “mama” & “baba”, grabbing his hair with his yucky food fingers during meals, and running around everywhere on his own two feet. He’s obsessed with the backyard – especially butterflies and bougainvillea blooms, and turns ONE on Tuesday!

It sounds like we’re heading to a work thing for Mike on Saturday, but other than that, we’ve got not a thing going on. We’re planning to get Charlie (and us) a family membership to the Zoo for his birthday next week, so I’m thinking we might make a little early birthday trip there this weekend. Charlie’s at just the right age to start looking at all the animals.

Mike was in Denver for a bachelor party last weekend – solo mommy all weekend eek! But we survived! I’m just looking forward to being two parent strong this weekend, getting Charlie’s few birthday presents wrapped, and whipping him up a Halloween costume.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? Something wonderful, I hope!

xx, em

simple joys: seasonal candles

I’ve been seriously getting in the mood for the next few holiday filled months – Charlie’s birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and then another little one’s birthday to celebrate in February! It’s not feeling much like fall yet in Florida – and probably won’t until it’s snowing everywhere up north. Not the worst problem in the world. Even here though – the air is feeling just the tiniest bit lighter – humidity letting up just a fraction and cooling off enough in the evenings for a jaunt around the neighborhood.

I’ve been bringing the fall feeling into our house bit by bit over the last few weeks. A yarn pumpkin garland on the mantle (a great how to here, if you’re up for a seasonal craft), a wooden witch and scarecrow from mom, mini pumpkins in every windowsill, gourds on the table and ghosts on the front porch. But my real piece of simple seasonal joy comes after Charlie goes to bed every night. After gently shutting his bedroom door, Mike and I tuck away the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and straighten up the day’s ephemera – pushing chairs in, tossing dirty socks in the hamper, stray blocks put in their basket. I throw snacks into lunch boxes and put coffee grounds and water in the pot for the next morning before making my way back into the living room.

But before that ever satisfying moment of sitting down on the couch and being done for the day – I’ve been taking a detour to the mantle to light the current candle on rotation – Apple Pumpkin. There’s nothing particularly fancy about it. I picked it up a few weeks ago at Wal-Mart for a few dollars. There’s just something about a candle burning bright that makes it feel so cozy and festive in the house. It’s nearly down to the bottom of the jar (I burnt my finger trying to light it the other day), which means I’m about due for a brand new candle. A five dollar investment that has been bringing me such a nice little spark of joy lately. It’s a nightly event that adds to the festive air of the holidays – Cranberry Mandarin for Thanksgiving, Frasier Fir for Christmas, and pumpkin everything in between. Just a little flame of happiness sitting on the mantle for cozy weeknights at home.

we’re expecting!

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A bit of a belated announcement, but I wanted to have this here for posterity’s sake. Our family is going to be growing by another little person February! A totally unexpected addition to the family, but now that we’ve had a few months to recover from the shock, we’re so excited!

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I have such a tiny bump in these pictures compared to today. I’ll hit 23 weeks on Tuesday and this baby is already stomping around in my belly like they own the place. Luckily, my mild morning sickness that made me want to lounge on the couch and nap all day wrapped itself up at the end of the first trimester, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since! I have a hard time wrapping my mind around being over the halfway mark already.

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Second pregnancy with a (very) little one running around is definitely a different experience than the first.  For those of you doing the math, Charlie and our second will be about 15 months apart. We’re scheduling our anatomy ultrasound this week to see if this baby is a boy or a girl. Squeee!

we’re home!

Finally! After what ended up being nearly the entire month of June, we’re back at home for the rest of the summer and it feels good. We started June with a weeklong trip home to the Midwest to see friends and family. Then, Mike surprised me with a 30th birthday trip to Niagara Falls. We just got home on Saturday from a week at the beach with the Metroka family. All such a good trips. I can’t wait to put together pictures and stories from our travels and to get back into a little bit more of a routine. So many good things to share!