diy advent calendar

img_9877I want so badly this year to really appreciate and make the most of every moment of this holiday season. It just goes by in the blink of an eye, and I feel like if you don’t try to enjoy it, then it seems to be over before it even began.Β Charlie is becoming a very curious (too curious sometimes!) and aware little person and it’s been so fun to see him watching the lights go up around the neighborhood, in stores, and in our house. To say he is interested in these little boxes that popped up on the kitchen windowsill overnight is an understatement.

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I can’t take credit for the design. I browsed Pinterest (of course) for ideas and found so many! I toyed with an calendar of envelopes on the wall, jars on the windowsill, but settled on a modified version of this cute one from Oh Happy Day that uses small boxes with trees hot glued to the top. I adjusted for what I found at Michaels (small boxes, a set of 21 holiday trees for $10, and bought some pinecones and bells to fill the last 4).

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I’ve been wanting to do an advent calendar to celebrate the season for the last few years, but while I could have done it, it seemed silly to make one for just Mike and I. I also still don’t feel like Charlie needs gifts of toys or chocolate every day like most traditional advent calendars, so ours is one of easy festive activities like drinking hot chocolate, watching a christmas movie, or taking a walk around the neighborhood to ogle lights. Some are activities for Charlie, and others just Mike and I, so it’s a nice little combination of holiday activities.

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A few are pre-planned weekend activities like getting our christmas tree, going downtown to our town’s christmas tree lighting, and taking Charlie to sit on Santa’s lap. I can’t wait for December to begin so Charlie can open up the first box! I love how it turned out, and am planning to make this an annual tradition that our kids will look forward to.

 

 

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.