Homemade Granola and a Kid Friendly Snack

Josh has been into granola lately, and I came up with a pretty good homemade toasted coconut/almond granola that the whole family loves.

Ingredients:
½ cup brown sugar
4 cups oats (can use gluten free)
½ cup sliced almonds
¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
Optional: dried fruit (I skip this part)

Method: Preheat oven to 300. Break up any lumps in your brown sugar. Mix brown sugar, oats, almonds and coconut. In a separate bowl, combine honey, oil and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread evenly onto baking pans or baking sheets (I used two pans). Bake for 1 hour and stir every 15 minutes for even browning. If you find your granola is browning quickly, reduce temp to 250. Remove from oven and place in a separate bowl and allow it to cool. If you wish to add dried fruit, add it after it has cooled and store it in an air tight container.

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If you are interested in a strictly Paleo granola, check out this recipe of Caveman Crunch granola that I’ve made in the past. It is also very yummy.

There are so many things you can add granola to. I even made some strawberry granola muffins. I just added things as I went, so I don’t have an exact recipe, but if I make them again, I’ll be sure to jot down what I used. They were pretty good and were great for breakfast, paired with some hard boiled eggs.

The kids particularly love these “peanut butter”, banana, granola bites. It’s easy. Slice bananas, put peanut butter (we use sun butter or almond butter, too) between two banana slices to form a “sandwich,” and roll it in granola. Instant yumminess!

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Give it a try, I’m sure your kiddo’s will love it.

What a difference a year makes.

Wow, what a difference a year makes. It’s easy to get caught up on not seeing changes every single day, but this comparison puts things in perspective.

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Pregnancy is never “easy on the body.” While I was pleasantly surprised how fast I was able to bounce back after having Aerie (with a healthy diet and exercise, of course), I knew it would be a much different journey after the twins.

Besides the obvious of gaining more weight, having a much larger belly, and just the extra wear and tear it puts your body through, I was also faced with the quick reality of having two infants at once, plus a busy toddler to take care of during the day (and don’t forget those sleepless nights.) I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to get into a good groove. I didn’t have as much free time to prep and plan meals. I was exhausted during my workouts. Lucky for me, the twins started sleeping pretty good through the night at about 3 ½ months, so at least I had some extra sleep.

But, when it all came down to it, I knew that excuses would get me nowhere. Of course I was tired. Of course I had less time to prep and plan meals, let alone actually eat. I decided enough was enough, I put on my big girl pants (determined to shrink out of them 🙂 ), and was on a mission to get my body back. After having twins and all. Heck, after having 3 kids in 17 months.

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The bottom line is, YES, your body DOES change after pregnancy. For most women, it’s not as easy to bounce back. But it is possible. Yes, it takes work. But it’s worth it. Nothing feels better than being able to throw on any outfit and know that you will be comfortable in it. And nothing feels better than being able to carry all three of your kids all over the place, keep up with them, and just be everywhere at one time without feeling out of breath and overwhelmed. Nothing feels better than feeling STRONG, and knowing you worked hard to accomplish yet another hard task.

Get out there and make it happen. It is possible. And remember, if you have ANY questions, ask me. It’s my mission to help other moms feel comfortable in their own skin.

Now get out there and conquer the world! Or at least your own little world. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to smile and pat yourself on the back every once in a while. Because, lets face it, you are amazing! 🙂

Dot Painting. An easy, instant, masterpiece

My kids love to paint. They love to do anything, actually. There’s nothing better than watching my kids simply love life.

Anyway, today’s painting adventure was simple, but fun. Even for the twins.

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Take finger paint (I use crayola washable, non toxic paint), and put different color dots all over the paper. Give your child a paint brush and let them go to town. It actually creates a pretty nice painting. Gage especially loved it, and even offered a helping hand to his brother.

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Family Fun and Baseball Games

I absolutely love family time. None of our family lives close to us, so it is always a blast when they visit. My Grandma, Aunt Kelly and Uncle Greg came for a few days and we jam packed a lot of fun into a couple days.

First, we had a birthday reenactment for the boys. My aunt and uncle were unable to come up for their actual birthday party, so we celebrated with some dragon cupcakes, and had fun watching them dig right in, just the same as they did their birthday cakes. Aeriella also got a special princess cupcake made just for her. My Grandma had them made from the same woman who did Josh and my wedding cake. They were quite delicious!

Aeriella and the boys took many walks around our neighborhood with my Grandma, Aunt and Uncle. Aerie found “pirate treasures” and introduced my family to all the neighborhood dogs, especially her favorite dog “Meatball.” She has a blast around other people. My little darling isn’t shy at all.

Of course the boys were their normal, crazy, happy selves and entertained everyone with their curiosity.

And it wouldn’t be a visit without hitting up a Pirate’s baseball game. We even took Aerie with us this time. We got a sitter for the boys and the rest of us headed out for a quick dinner and to catch the game. It was raining all day, and even during dinner, but cleared up for the game. My Grandma is a huge sports lover (as is my Uncle Greg), and my Grandma was in her glory showing Aerie around the ballpark. Aerie even got her first taste of cotton candy, and of course, loved it. She sat still the entire time, and loved watching the game. She was especially fascinated with the mascot, and learned the “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” song, which she has been singing ever since. It was a great experience for her to share that time with my Grandma (her GG).

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We were sad to see them leave, but can’t wait for their next visit!

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Pinterest Fun

I saw this activity on Pinterest and immediately knew Aerie would love it. The best part is it’s super easy, and of course I had everything I needed already on hand.

All you need is baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, something to put the liquid in (I used an old muffin tin),a dish, and a dropper/syringe of some sort.

Start by covering the entire bottom of your dish with baking soda. Divide up some vinegar and add different colored food coloring to each dish of vinegar. Use syringe or dropper to suck up your vinegar/food color combination and squeeze it into the baking soda. Watch it “erupt.” The reaction of the vinegar when it meets the baking soda causes it to fizz up. The different colors just make it cooler to look at!

Okay, so they aren’t huge explosions, but they entertained Aerie for a long time. She loved it!

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Double Dragons- A Reflection on Rockson & Gage’s First Year

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So, you’re a parent of multiples, eh? Why, yes. Yes I am. I can’t believe my Baby Dragons are one year old. They aren’t babies anymore. This past year wrote a whole new chapter in my journey of life, and really was the beginning of discovering a whole new amazing path that our family will walk through. We have gone from a family of just Josh and me to a family of five in less than two years. It’s still unbelievable to me. I don’t know what concept is harder to grasp- simply how fast time flies, or how monumental it is to become a parent.

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This past year was nothing short of amazing. In every way. And before you stressed out parents out there get all guarded and are ready to jump on me because you think I’m going to say how easy it was for me, take a deep breath and calm the eff down (in the nicest way possible, of course). It’s hard. Amazing doesn’t always mean easy. Amazing, in most cases, results from a series of difficult, life-changing events. Amazing is many, many sleepless nights of not one, but two babies crying. Two babies needing to eat, two babies needing diapers changed. Two babies just needing… you! As a parent, you are learning them. You’re learning what their cries mean. You’re learning their temperament. You’re learning what they need. You’re learning to be a parent to newborns all over again. And in the background, you’re searching the internet and reading all the articles you can to stay up to date on everything possible that can keep your children safe, healthy, comfortable, and happy. You’re scouring each ingredient on baby shampoo bottles to make sure they don’t have cancer causing agents. You’re searching for ways to sanitize your entire house using household, natural ingredients. You’re searching webmd.com to see if that little sniffle your little one just had is the start of some serious life-long medical condition. Haha. Yes, really. You are. You’re searching for all the right answers on how to be the perfect parent.

The reality is, there is no “perfect.” We all know that. There’s no point in even hashing out all of that. We just have to dig deep within ourselves to be the best we can be. The best US that we can be. Not how you compare to the mom next door, or the “perfect” mom in an online forum. How you compare to YOU, and pulling out that honesty card that makes you really consider “Am I REALLY doing the best I can?” “What can I do better?” and most importantly “How can I achieve that?”

This past year has taught me so much. I’ve learned that worrying never goes away. I’ve learned that messy floors and dirty hair don’t matter. I’ve had the opportunity to stay home with my kids and really watch them grow. I’ve gotten to see all their firsts. I’ve had the opportunity to be the number one role model/teacher in their learning and development. I am so grateful for that.

I’ve also watched my family grow as a whole. I’ve watched as Josh and my relationship has grown even stronger. I’ve watched Aeriella blossom into such a wonderful little girl and caring and sweet big sister. I’ve watched her try to take on the “teacher” role in showing them things and trying to teach them the way she sees me doing. I’ve watched the boys go from tiny little munchkins to dexterous, active boys. I’ve watched them examine things and play with them as they figure them out. I’ve watched closely to see those “ah-ha!” moments where their face lights up as they figure something out. I’ve watched their personalities become. I’ve watched them as they started to really interact with each other and with Aeriella. I’ve watched them laugh. And smile. And laugh. And smile.

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So, how bad was it? That’s one of the first things expecting parents of multiples ask me. And my response is always “It’s not nearly as hard as everyone told me it would be.” And that’s my honest answer. Sure, it wasn’t easy. Do you really expect it to be? But every step of the way has been nothing short of amazing. I think success in any situation is really derived from your attitude towards the situation. You’re tired, you’re cranky. You haven’t showered in days and your full coffee cup is now cold. You have spit up all over you and now someone is blowing the horn outside and woke up your finally sleeping baby. Of course you’re angry! It’s okay. Take a deep breath, calm yourself down as you walk upstairs to get your baby, and greet your baby with open arms and a warm smile. Cuddle them and make them feel secure. Besides, they don’t know any better. And they won’t always just need you. Embrace it as best as you can. Make the best of the situation. They really do feed off your energy. I truly believe that. In order to control the situation, you must first control yourself. And yes, I learned that from my husband. He is a smart, smart man. 🙂

With one year behind me, I can only look back and honestly say that I wouldn’t change it for the world. Not one thing. Rockson and Gage are such happy, sweet, beautiful and “easy” little boys. They are always smiling and laughing. They’re great eaters and will eat anything you put in front of them. If I would have to pick a favorite food for them, I would say bananas. They love responding to daddy’s “calling” aka his whistle he has for them. When they hear it, they get all excited, sound like they’re panting as they giggle and get to him as fast as they can. It’s the cutest thing, ever!

Rockson is my little “Lover Boy.” He absolutely loves to cuddle and give kisses. He is also a thinker. He examines things for a long time, and sits patiently until he figures out how it works. He used to be my more “needy” boy until he became mobile. That newfound freedom brought along a lot of independence, and he loves to just play on his own or with Gage and Aeriella.

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Gage is my little “Wild Child.” He’s reckless and unpredictable. He’s a go-getter and has no time to sit and examine things. He picks it up and goes right for it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. He has the most incredible laugh I have ever heard. I just love all the little quirky things he does, like bounce on his knees all through the house. He is also very independent, and loves to explore on his own.

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They LOVE being together. They learned from an early age that two minds work better than one. They are constantly together, trying to figure things out. I love watching their minds work together. I love how Gage will just grab something out of Rockson’s hand and try to “get the job done” quicker. I love how Rockson will sit and wait patiently while Gage rummages through things as fast as he can, and when Gage gets sick of figuring it out, Rockson resumes his “project.” It’s amazing, it truly is.

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Twins. Ah, I still can’t believe they’re mine! I must say, I am so excited for this next year. I love how they are starting to communicate more. I can’t wait until all three are talking and communicating amongst each other. I can’t wait until all three are up in the middle of the night and sneak down on their own to jump in bed with Josh and me. I love these moments. I love being a mom. I love being a mom of multiples.

Oh, and did I mention… What a great year it was to have twins… The Year of the Dragon. Pretty cool. They were born in April, which is also Josh’s birthday month, and the “diamond” birthstone (symbolic to our family & business), and they were born on the 16th, which is Josh’s lucky number. Even without all that superstitious stuff, I’d say we’re pretty lucky, indeed.

Happy First Year, Rockson and Gage! I am so happy and blessed to be your mom!

Adding Color & Fun to Your Kids Noodles

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A fellow twin mom friend of mine added some color to her twins noodles. I figured; why not give it a try! It works with pretty much any noodle, I would imagine. Just add food coloring to your water as you boil and voila. Nothing wrong with adding a little bit of color to make their food more fun!

I tossed the noodles in olive oil and topped with shredded mozzarella cheese. They loved it, as you can see!

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Bekki (the mom who shared this with me) has a great blog that you should definitely check out. Especially if you love getting messy with your kids. She’s got some great ideas, such as edible finger paint, as well as pictures from an amazing first birthday bash she threw for her girls using the Thing 1 & Thing 2 theme.

I love hearing and seeing new ways to make food fun for kids. Please share your ideas!

Tonight, I’m trying a bedtime snack of homemade strawberry/greek yogurt popsicles dipped in chocolate. I’m attempting to make that chocolate “magic shell” paleo, so we’ll see if it works. If not, it will just be a big, sloppy, yummy mess. As long as I’ve got the boys cleaned up and in bed before Aerie’s and my weekly ‘Dance Moms’ date, we’re good. I guess I’ll start snack time early! Stay tuned!