It turns out that you don’t need special blocks or some other expensive stuff to practice building an arch and learn about things like keystones; all you need is a clementine. The 3 year old boy and I learned this over breakfast one morning last week. Considering the number of clementines in our fridge right now, I think there are a lot of arches in our future.
I feel like we are constantly searching for snacks around here; we need things that are HEALTHY pretty much all the time. Most of the time we eat fruit, nuts, raw veggies, cheese, and other truly whole foods snacks. We do, though, also LOVE to bake around here, and sometimes snack can be extra yummy (face it, fruit, nuts and veggies ARE yummy) and healthy at the same time.
In an effort to create a snackable baked item that met our many criteria, I spent months trying out granola bar recipes. In the end, we came up with one that is a hit with everyone we know except hubby. The boys recently took them to play at a friend’s house, and we came home with two requests for the recipe. I based our recipe on this one from Smitten Kitchen, but it is unique enough to be our own.
We do take the 8 ounce package of pecans and literally pulverize them with a meat tenderizer to make them both easier for the tiniest kids to eat and next to impossible to pick out; we can’t have them picking out the protein, now can we?
3 1/3 C rolled oats
2/3 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 t SEA salt (use twice that if it’s table)
1/2 t ground cinnamon
8 oz. pecan pieces
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix above together.
12 T fat (today was 8 coconut oil and 4 canola; I have used all coconut before (YUM!) and butter would be good too)
3/4 C honey (or maple syrup)
2 t vanilla
2 T water
Mix wet, stir into dry. I like to use my stand mixer. Press into a greased 9 by 13 casserole and bake at 350 for about 30 to 35 minutes until golden on the edges and a bit golden on the top. Cut while slightly warm, but wait until they are cool to serve. Serve too soon and they fall apart.
You can also completely alter the recipe by changing the add ins; instead of pecan and chocolate chips, try 2 to 3 cups of any combination of nuts, dried fruit, and/or flaked coconut. I have used raisins in the past; the boys didn’t like them as much. Gee, go figure. And I felt like the raisins burnt slightly where they touched the pan, but cinnamon raisin was yummy. We have made chocolate chip and cashew recently; those were a hit too!
Sometimes you have a rough night after a long week of wiping noses, holding, hugging, cuddling, and water pushing to help them all get through a tough illness. Sometimes your husband graciously lets you have first nap the next afternoon, and sometime, while you are napping, the house gets suspiciously quiet. Sometimes when you come down from your nap, after searching the house, you find this:
Sometimes you are keenly aware of just exactly how good you have it.
A certain baby boy turned 1 this past Christmas around here. We celebrated his big day a couple of weeks later with a small party of family, and we gave him some fun handmade gifts he’s really enjoyed. He also got his birthday crown and birthday shirt, but his mama didn’t get a decent picture of him in his shirt.
On Christmas afternoon we gave him some tree blocks we’d made for him. His older brothers both helped me sand these, and they have become a popular item for building around here.
Decorations for his shin dig were simple; I made him a name bunting to later hang in his room that we hung for his party.
We also spread the table with a simple piece of fabric, some leaf fleece place mats that doubled as our party favor, and a lion cake that he loved destroying the top of.
At his party he received a quilt I made for him. I started on this when I was just a few weeks pregnant with him, and I am thrilled with how it turned out. It is made entirely from hand dyed fabrics from my stash.
At one, this little determined guy of ours was walking and using about 10 words. He is a happy, content, persistent little boy who continues to surprise us with how quickly he is doing things. He looks up to his big brothers and wants so badly to be a part of everything going on around here. We are blessed to have him, and have all eaten up every day of his first year (and nearly 2 more months…).
I was determined this year that the valentine the biggest boy took to his classmates would be fun, gifty, inexpensive and NOT involve food, specifically candy. After much thought, we decided to great a beanbag toss game. It was actually rather simple; we designed a card, that with a few cuts and folds, becomes a target. We also sewed and filled with rice some tiny beanbags which we attached to the card with a heart clad clothespin.
If you need a last minute valentine for this year, you can get a PDF of the card we used here: valentine beanbag toss. We printed that, took it to a local copy place, and had it photocopied onto card stock. They also kindly cut them in half for me. Then we cut 2 inch by 4 inch strips of fabric, folded them in half right sides together, sewed up the sides, turned them, filled them about 2/3 with rice, stitched the top closed, and pinked the raw edges.