Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Homemade granola bars--so easy and no baking required!!

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We're a little obsessed with granola around here. We make our own granola, which we sprinkle over our yogurt in the morning and eat by the hand-full as a mid-day snack. I multiply the recipe at least 6 times over so that we have granola to last us for at least a couple of weeks (and it's the perfect solution to a sweet craving and a full belly...without the guilt). If you want to try it yourself, here is the recipe that I use. I throw some peanut butter in there too and don't always add all of the fixings, depending on what I have on hand in our pantry. But as long as you've got the oats and honey (and peanut butter, in my humble opinion), you're good to go!

After mastering granola (it took a few tries to get it perfectly right), we've moved onto granola bars. Because really, isn't it better to know exactly what is in your food?


Mya is an expert granola bar maker, and an ever better granola bar eater. She's got it down to a fine science. Mix ingredients, eat hand fulls of chocolate chips right out of the jar...repeat...repeat.


If you want to give these a try, I promise you they're super easy to make...and ridiculously delicious. Way better than the store-bought kind.


*Here's a quick tip before you get started--buy the large flake oats since they're less processed (even if the recipe says otherwise). We buy this huge club pack bag since we make granola and granola bars so often, but they also sell smaller bags in a variety of brands.

Anyways, here ya go..quickest, easiest recipe ever.

Enjoy!!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 packed brown sugar
2 cups oats (not rolled oats!)
1 cup rice krispies cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
a hand full (or more) of chocolate chips

*****
 In a small saucepan, heat up some butter, honey and brown sugar over medium high heat. Stir it together and let it bubble for 2 minutes. You want all the brown sugar granules to dissolve.



While that is doin’ it’s bubbly thang, pour 2 cups of oats into a bowl with 1 cup of rice krispies. 


Remove the hot mixture, stir in some vanilla and pour over the dry ingredients.






Stir to coat them all evenly and throw in some chocolate chips as you stir. 


Press firmly into a lightly greased pan. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top and cool on the counter for an hour or so.



Cut into bars, and voila!! Homemade granola bars 



Delish!!

**
Oh, and a few fun pics to sign off for the night from this afternoon during our little impromptu dress up time. Who says costumes are only meant for Halloween??



Terry got a nice little surprise greeting from the cutest little bumble bee and a raccoon ever when he got home from work.

Happy Tuesday!! (And happy last week of school everyone!)

Friday, 21 June 2013

The art of being present

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Sometimes I catch myself. Sometimes I don't.



I actively try to pay attention to it. But there are moments when I forget. Moments when I get lost in my thoughts or my email account, or my television show, or what I'm going to make for dinner, or my own exhaustion. But I try.

Terry and I both try...to be present.

It's not always easy to do. But especially since having kids, I've realized how incredibly important it is.




You know when you're having a conversation with someone and their eyes glance up at you occasionally, but their thumb is actively scrolling through their emails on their phone? They're still talking to you. But they're not present with you. Their mind, eyes and thoughts are continually scanning for more. Their brain is working overtime to do two things at once. But from a distance it looks like they're with you, engaging in conversation with you. But really, they're not--not fully, at least.

Or when you're playing with your kids, but really your brain is thinking about the laundry piled up in the basement, the to-do list that's a mile long or how you just want to tear out your kitchen cupboards and start over. Sigh.

My kids know it. They feel it.

So I try to be aware of it.


I'm not always great at it, since honestly, it's not always easy with the fast paced, busy, technology-filled world that we live in. It's easy to keep your phone attached to your hip, waiting for the sound of the ever-present notice of a new email, Facebook message or text. It's easy to sit there with your child, stacking one block on top of the next to build the biggest tower ever, while quickly scrolling through Facebook to see what people are up to. If you glance up occasionally, smile and throw in a few words like "Wow, nice job Mya!" or "It's getting so tall!"...I'm covered, right? She'll think that I'm really there with her, engaging with her, present with her.

But she knows better.

She always knows better, because she catches me Every. Single. Time.

Her behaviour changes when she knows that I'm not really there with her. Her demeanour changes and she lets me know that I'm not giving her my full attention. There's no tricking a 2yr old.


So I find myself thinking frequently about being present throughout the entire day. Purposely trying to catch myself. Purposely trying to let go of everything that my mind is running after, and instead just sitting and soaking up every inch of the moments that I'm with my kids. There will always be time later to check emails, figure out what on earth I'm going to make for dinner that night or check off the to-do list priorities.

Carter and Mya want me to look at them. To focus on them, to breathe them in, to talk to their little souls, to make them feel like nothing else matters at that moment--because really, nothing else does really matter. They want me to turn my brain off and fall completely into their little imaginative world of play and make believe. They want me to be completely and utterly with them...present.

Kids can teach us so much about how to live life properly--simply. Imagine if we were able to be present with everyone who we encountered? Imagine if we were able to focus on the great things that were happening right now, this very minute--instead of worrying about what might happen tomorrow? Imagine if we were able to soak up every great moment throughout the day since our brains weren't running after a million other thoughts?

Throughout this whole mothering experience, I'm always feeling like I'm trying to teach my kids everything that I know. But to be honest, they are probably teaching me more each day about living life the way that it's meant to be lived than I'll ever be able to teach them.

To my two littlest loves...thank you.

Erica xo











Monday, 10 June 2013

Wedding Love

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There's something about a wedding that I just love.

Maybe it's the fancy clothes that you have to put on just moments before you leave, to ensure that baby spit up or sticky toddler fingers don't land on you as you head out the door.


Maybe it's the beautiful decorations...
 

 
or the mounds of delicious food...




S'mores bar, Gillian? Could you think of anything else more fabulous??

  maybe it's the beautiful bride who I just love to watch float blissfully through the day...


or maybe it's the dance floor--okay, it's definitely the dance floor.

I think though what I've realized is that what really draws me to a wedding is the feeling that weddings bring. It's literally a room full of people who are celebrating love. Celebrating the start of something wonderful. Celebrating someone's dreams transforming from a plan into a reality, right before our eyes.

It's not often that you get the privilege to watch someone's life transform, to watch someone's family and friends come together for the sole purpose of loving them and celebrating them.

Terry and I had the opportunity this past weekend to celebrate the love between two wonderful people who put together an incredible event, an amazing day and a fantastic party. Gillian and Kevin, you blew us away.

I looked around the room at one point during the evening at all of the smiling faces, the people dancing and the laughter at each table and realized that what I really love about weddings is that they provide such a fantastic break from life. There were undoubtedly people at those tables who were going through their own struggles, who may have been heartbroken, who may have been dealing with hardships...but within all of those magical moments of love that weddings provide, we all get to step out of that for a moment and focus on something wonderful, something beautiful, something happy. I watched one excruciatingly heartbroken mama rip up the dance floor with her friends and throw her head back laughing as she spun around to each new song that the DJ played.

If not for just that one reason alone, weddings just make me happy.



       
   
Gillian and Kevin's whole day was full of intricate details which didn't go unnoticed and great times with wonderful friends.



Then if you bring everyone outside and hand out huge sparklers, we all feel like we're five years old again as the sparks make us squeal with excitement and the smoke above our heads makes a wedding all of a sudden turn into a fun event that no one will ever forget.



Congratulation Gillian and Kevin! Wishing you a lifetime of both magical, romantic days...and normal, every day moments--all of which make life so fabulous.


Love,  Erica xo

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Beach

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It looks like we know what we're doing, doesn't it?

Those cute sunhats positioned perfectly, sunscreen slathered over every inch of our bare skin, kids in full body bathing suits, feet in the sand, sun shining down on us...

Pictures can sometimes tell a thousand lies.

You should have seen us just moments before.

We were 'those' people at the beach the other day. It still makes me laugh thinking about it.

After a quick decision to plan a day trip to the beach, we packed up the van full of towels, bathing suits, snacks, sunscreen and sand toys and headed out early that morning.


We're not exactly beach people. We love the beach, but don't usually make a point of taking day trips specifically out to enjoy the sun and sand. And it was very clear once we got there that we were surrounded by avid beach professionals.

As we piled our double stroller full of all of our beach stuff, strapped the kids in and headed towards the sand, we found out very quickly that we weren't exactly prepared.



With a huge golf umbrella in hand, Terry took the front of the stroller and I took the back--and we heaved that beast through mounds of dry sand all the way to our final destination.

As we placed our blanket down and slathered the kids up with sunscreen, we looked around to see couples soaking up the sun on their beach chairs, complete with cup holders and foot rests. Their huge beach umbrella's sat perfectly in the sand, while music played from their stereo systems which were clearly beach-proof and purposely designed to withstand the reality of the sand.


Then there was us...with our golf umbrella (cause that'll do, right?), double stroller and absolutely no way to keep that darn umbrella in the sand. And then there was the wind...good grief there was wind.

So as we created a make-shift umbrella holder out of our double stroller, Terry took Mya down to the water and I sat on our blanket and nursed Carter.



As I settled in with him and got comfortable, I sat there thinking, "Hey, we've got this. Look at us! Professional beach goers. We fit right in".

And just as that thought passed my mind, I was startled by a lady's scream.

I looked up in disbelief and pulled Carter off of me as I watched our gigantic golf umbrella flying across the sand, directly towards a group of tanning girls.

I quickly put Carter down on the blanket and started running--literally running after our run away umbrella, screaming "Look out!" as I ploughed through the sand.

As I tore down the beach, I took a moment and looked back to our blanket only to see Carter with hands full of sand, ready to take a bite.

"TERRY!!" I yelled.

He looked up from the water with Mya, completely oblivious to the absolute scene that his wife was causing a few meters away.

"The BABY!! He's EATING the sand!! And the UMBRELLA! THE UMBRELLA!", I screamed as I continued to tear after our huge weapon flying down the beach towards people.

Everyone was watching.

I just about died.

Apparently we aren't professional beach people.

So after Terry saved Carter from choking on sand and I saved our gigantic umbrella from slamming into those tanning beauties, we huddled back to our blanket and tried to pretend like we didn't just cause the biggest scene on the beach.

Thank goodness there were so many other great moments that day to make up for it.

From sand play...


...to salt water taffy....




...to ice cream on the street.


We had a fantastic day. Regardless of the fact that we're definitely not professionals.


'Til next time, beach. 'Til next time.

Erica xo







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