Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Making Granola

So, I have a confession to make... I love Granola! However I do not love paying granola prices. You knew I was a granola loving hippy didn't you?? It's true, so I decided to save myself a few bucks and make it myself. My favorite site for recipes is Allrecipes.com which is where I found my base granola recipe. *Disclaimer* I have only made it twice and it is far from perfect, but it is a good starting place.

2 bananas
1 1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup hot water
I tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
8 cups quick cooking oats ( I used old fashioned)
8 oz of dried fruit (optional)
8 oz of slivered almonds (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F

2. Puree the bananas and dates in a food processor. Add the brown sugar, hot water, vanilla and cinnamon; mix well.

 I used chopped and whole dates because it is what I had on hand.
 This is what it should look like before step 3.
 3. Pour into a large bowl and add oatmeal.
 4. Spread onto two large cookie sheets and bake at 250 for an hour and a half stirring frequently.
 (I only cooked mine for an hour and I thought it looked done.)
 Don't forget to stir it or it will burn. I couldn't eat the first attempt, but my husband did...
This is what it looks like when it's done. I don't add the fruit or nuts until I am going to eat it because we all have different tastes. I like mine with fresh blueberries, walnuts, soy milk and a little honey drizzled on top. Mike likes his dry with raisins. If you like your granola on the sweeter side I suggest adding some brown sugar or even honey. Like I said this is a basic recipe and it can be adjusted to your taste.
I store it in this awesome Tupperware container that Mike's mom gave to me.

I spent most of the process on my computer right beside the oven so that I would remember to stir it about every 20 minutes or so. I was listening to music, drinking a beer, planning dinner and the kids occasionally came around to entertain me.

 The witch

 And the Ninja with a bag on his head and a cape?

It was a fun day!! I love days off!!

* Thanks to Susan Johnson on Allrecipies.com for the recipe http://allrecipes.com/recipe/granola/detail.aspx

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another year ends...

    The years end is always at time of reflections, a time for looking back and taking stock. Where have we been? Where are we headed? And what have we learned along the way. I am always thrown back by how my mood changes after Christmas. Every year it is a big surprise that I get the after Christmas Blues. I don't think i'm the only one, all year there is this build up of excitement , then we wake up the day after Christmas and we are sad that it is over.
      Life occurs in stages you take the good with the bad. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and you feel like you'll be there forever. Other times you are on top of the world and you feel like you always will be. It's okay to feel this way, it's completely sane and normal. This condition can be further complicated when someone close to you is going through conflicting stages. (I know this is beginning to sound like a self help book, but bear with me.) Be there for your friends and family when they are going through things, despite what you may be going through. Not only can it help them, but it may help to get you back in the place that you need to be. There comes a time to recognize it for what it is. It's life. You can't control it, but you can't let it control you either.
       So that's it, go out into the world and love each other. Be there for one another. Let the spirit of Christmas be with you all year long. Have a happy and safe New Year.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A whirlwind of thanks!!

      I'm sitting in my living room on this beautiful Sunday morning, in silence reflecting. The kids stayed with their Grandparents last night and I was able to get a full night sleep and awaken refreshed. That in itself is a rarity around here. The past two months have flown by and there have been so many changes for all of us. Violet started Kindergarten, Mike started a new position at Morris Broadband, I opened a new business and started working after 4 years of staying home, and Zeke has a new teacher as well as many new friends in his class this year. All of these wonderful changes have been like a whirlwind of excitement, fear, and sometimes chaos. It has been a beautiful thing for all of us, but as with anything, it has come with many challenges. The biggest challenge thus far has been time management, imagine that, a struggle I have always faced, even as a stay at home mom. I am so thankful for my amazing family and friends that have made it all possible.
      I am reminded every day that I am surrounded by extraordinary, loving, kind people. So many of my friends have gone out of their way to buy produce, crafts, and flowers. Some friends come by every week, some old friends, some new, some tried and true. I am so grateful for all of you and you know who you are. My mother and father in law have helped with the kids in countless way. Picking Zeke up from school, keeping them over night, picking them up from my work, watching the stand while I take them to a party, taking them to a party because I'm sick. The two of you are so greatly appreciated and I would be lost without your help. My mom has also come through on several occasions and taken the kids off for a day of fun. One friend of mine, was there first thing on the morning that I opened, she is my biggest buyer of tomatoes, she has helped with my kids, she has always been supportive, listened as I rambled on about my fears and apprehensions, she is a supermom in my eyes, (heck, she's just a super person!) and I love her dearly. Andrea, thank you for always being there.
      Last but most importantly, the man who stands beside me, encourages me to follow my dreams, father to my children, and best friend. Michael, thank you for encouraging me, listening to me ramble and bitch when things aren't going my way, hugging me when I cry, easing my fears, and most of all thank you for being an amazing dad. I appreciate so much for the time that I was able to be a stay at home mom while you worked in a job where you weren't always happy. And thank you for pushing me to follow my own dreams and desires. I love you!
     I am writing all of this down to all of you for two reasons. One is because I cannot thank you enough for all of the love that you all give me. Everyone of my friends and family hold a special place in my heart. The second reason is that I want to always remember how you all have made me feel. Starting a business is a scary thing and I have had your words of encouragement and lovely faces to help me through it, that my loves will never be forgotten. Thank you!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend was Memorial Day weekend. We spent the weekend camping at Mt. Pisgah campground, which was our first camping trip of the year. Violet had Friday off so we drove up in the morning after dropping Zeke off at school to find a spot. We found a nice spot up on a hill and set up the tent before heading back down to get everything and pick Zeke up from school. We found a spot down the road from some friends and the kids spent the day running back and forth. I locked the keys in the car and luckily some friends helped us break into the car. I had put some potatoes on the fire and completely forgot about them while we were locked out of the car. So for dinner we only had chicken sausage. Friday night we had all of our camping friends over for smores at our site.

Saturday we woke up and Mike made an awesome breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese wraps. I realized that Mike is a much better camp cook than I am and that maybe I should let him do all of the cooking when we are camping ;) We spent the morning hanging out at the campsite and walked up to the camp store for some coffee. Saundra came up that afternoon and we hiked through Pisgah Inn's Staff Quarters up to Buck Springs Lodge to spread some of dad's ashes. It was a great hike and the kids did an awesome job. The view was beautiful! That night we went to Pisgah Inn with some friends for dinner and then went to another friends campsite for dessert.

Sunday morning we woke up early and hiked up Mount Pisgah. The kids did a great job. Zeke struggled a little and complained about his legs hurting and I told him that it was okay because my legs were hurting too. I spread some more of dad's ashes at the top and back down the mountain.

After the hike we headed back to break down camp and head home. On the way back to town we stopped at the overlook where we were married and I spread some more of dad's ashes. It was a great weekend. I know that dad would be glad that I was able to spend the whole weekend outside with my family. I miss him a whole lot, but I know that he is still with me.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Cherry Tree for Caleigh

     A good friend of mine is having a baby this month and for her baby shower I wanted to give her something that she and baby Caleigh would love and enjoy for a long time. She had told me that she wanted a Vinyl Cherry Tree for Caleigh's room to match her crib set. So, I bought brown and white vinyl from the internet and pink from Michaels. I borrowed a friends Cricut to cut out cherry blossoms and i'd like to say that I got right to work, but I procrastinated for a few months. All the while I was picturing and planning in my head, and on paper what this tree would look like and how it would turn out. I used an idea that Meredith had found on the internet and using that I sketched a tree on newspaper in Violet's room.

   Then I cut piece by piece from this template and put it on the wall with masking tape first to make sure that it turned out as planned.
It is actually flip flopped from the first drawing, but that was the easy part.
 It took about 5 1/2 hours to cut and apply the tree it's self.
 I left Meredith with the flowers to place them where ever she liked.
 And she made the birds herself with scrapbook paper.
I am so happy for Meredith and family and can't wait to meet Baby Caleigh!!

Spring has Sprung

      Wow! I can't believe that my last blog was in February! Time flies when you are busy mom of two. We have had a lot going on, and sometimes we click into survival mode. Doing what we have to do from day to day without anything extra being tacked on. Spring came early this year and that means lots of extra work. We have started some seeds and we will be planting them in the garden next weekend. We are planning to grow corn, peas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, Zucchini, jalapenos, and serrano peppers. I spent some time weeding the garden today and I found a volunteer pumpkin growing. The kids had rolled the pumpkin around the yard last fall until it completely turned to mush. I am excited with the prospect of having our very own garden and being more self sufficient. I have always loved the idea of living off of the land and this is as close as I've ever been. In years past we have grown squash and tomatoes, but never have we tried to this extent.
       Volunteer Pumpkin

        In March I was fortunate enough to go to the NC Head Start Conference as WCCA Parent of the Year. I was able to attend some classes, spend time with Emily and enjoy my first 'vacation' without Mike and the kids. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun, even learned a little, but I missed Mike and the kids terribly!

It was nice to get prettied up for a special occasion. 

       The end of March was the Kindergarten fair and the first week of April was Kindergarten Registration! My baby girl is growing up so fast!! We applied to several area schools, two of which are year round, lottery schools. We received a letter yesterday that Violet got into our first choice school!! And we are excited for her to start in July!

Violet after her first professional haircut

     In April we went to spring break at Myrtle Beach with Mike's Family. We had a great week of fun in the sun. We visited Myrtle Beach State Park, spent a lot of time on the beach, some time in the pool and even made it to Ripley's Believe it or not. We had an awesome time and were glad to come home after an exhausting week of vacation.

The kids enjoying the beach together. 

    Violet and Zeke finished up there Monkey See Monkey do class at the Flat Rock Playhouse- YouTheatre. It was a fun class with music and creative play. Mike, Karen and I all volunteered at the spring festival. YouTheatre is a great program and I am excited that Violet will be going to summer camp there for a week this summer!! We have a short summer, but I assure you that we will make the best of it! I hope you are all well. Much love, Rebeccca


Friday, February 24, 2012

Finding my self in the woods

I took a walk today, all alone, in the woods. You see, I was introduced to Meditation at the beginning of the week, where I was taken on a visual journey through the forest. It was very peaceful and calming and ever since then I have wanted to take an actual journey into the forest. Today was like seeing everything for the first time. I have hiked with the kids often for the past two years, but there is something magical about being there alone. I always hear people say, "Don't go hiking woods alone (insert scary scenario here.)" I have been hiking solo for years, I grew up in the woods, they are my home and my spiritual connection. I feel completely safe and serene in the woods. From the moment that I step into the forest, I see God all around me. I feel his presence with the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, the rustling of the leaves, the creaking of the trees, the chirping of the birds. I feel like my whole body relaxes and takes in the beauty around me. Today I walked slow and let it all soak in. I stopped several times to admire the view, to breathe the air, to pray and give thanks for everything good in my life. In this quiet hour alone. I felt more myself than I have in years, I didn't worry about what happened before or what was to come, nothing mattered except for being completely present in that moment. Today was a gift and I accepted it with open arms.