Friday, January 31, 2014

Homemade Granola

My blog has been on baby overload for the past year.  Although we love Hatley-Grace so very much, we are up to some other things in life.  I hope to update the blog soon about our new house, and life here in Florida, yet most of the time I just have a few minutes to talk about HG :)

I have finally found a great granola recipe, that is just too good not to share.  I love me some granola, with yogurt, milk or just plain, yet have never found a homemade kind that I loved until now.  The part of the store bought granola I love the most is how it has clusters.  I like to be able to pick it up and snack on it.  All the homemade kinds I have tried never did this.  Also, a lot of recipes call for so many ingredients that it feels more cost-effective to just buy it at the store.  BUT, I have found the perfect recipe that gives you yummy clusters and uses ingredients that I almost always have in the pantry.

I adapted a recipe from a blog called Barbara Bakes. Here is her recipe and the words in red are what I adjusted...
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed - I cut this to 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds- I use 1/4c whatever nuts I have on hand, peanuts, pecans...
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup of flax seed meal (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt- I reuse the 1/2 tsp. measuring spoon and do 1/2 tsp. sea salt 
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  1. In a large bowl mix oats, brown sugar, almonds, raisins, flax seed meal, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl heat canola oil and honey until warm, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract and cinnamon (This is the second time she says to add cinnamon, so I use 1/2 tsp. for both steps, in the dry and wet). Pour this mixture over the oat mixture and mix thoroughly until everything is completely coated.
  3. Spread evenly on a parchment or silpat covered cookie sheet. (I have divided the mixture onto two pans, this is not necessary but makes thinner clusters. It helps to press the oats firmly with a spatula so it is almost like a thin granola bar) Bake at 300ยบ for about 20 minutes until slightly golden brown. Don’t stir during baking (Do not stir, this is how you get clusters!). Cool completely and break into pieces. Store in an air tight container.

My sweet little helper
Try it out sometime, I don't think you will be disappointed :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

33 weeks

This morning Marty and I both commented to each other how much Hatley-Grace is talking.  She babbles constantly, when she is tired, when she is waking up, when she is eating...always.  This week, the "b" sound has been a favorite, along with her usual "m" sounds,"d" sounds and random sounds.

Hatley-Grace rolls all around to get to her toys, people, the coffee table...  No signs of crawling yet, but she is much more comfortable on her belly.

This week, Hatley-Grace tried butternut squash along with her usual solids.  She is loving carrots, and avocado the most right now and is starting to eat more, about 1/2 an oz.  I ordered a straw cup for her, and so far she has not been interested in drinking water.  She loves playing with her cups, bowls and spoons while I am cooking.  

Hatley-Grace had her first ride in the grocery cart this week.  I love having her up front and not confined to the carrier or car seat.  She loves smiling at all the old people that gush over her.  We seriously cannot go to the store without talking to everyone about her!  I'm glad she loves it right now.  I'm not sure if and when that stage is over :)

She is still a little bouncing queen in her jumperoo. I love that she sticks her tongue out right now when she is concentrating.  

Hatley-Grace loves sitting up and playing, yet she is not quite sure how to get down from sitting up.  When she tires of sitting, she squints her face, as if she is bracing herself for something painful, and falls backwards to lie down.  It is so funny to watch this process.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

32 Weeks

This weekend we went to our first high school retreat together, well I was pregnant one the last high school retreat, so I'm not sure if that counts :)  We planned on staying Saturday and Sunday, but HG refused to sleep outside of the comfort of her own plans changed.  We are going to be spending some time in the pack n play at home for a little while to ensure that we can travel again soon! 

 It was a cold weekend, so we had to bundle HG up in all her hand knitted gear from the family :)
 HG likes to scoot on her back, and has discovered the new TV in the living room.  It is very entertaining to try and have her play out of sight of the TV and to watch her wiggle her way to catch a glimpse.
 No matter how tired she is at night, bath time is always a favorite...or maybe mirror time is her very favorite.
 I love that some hair bows are able to stay in her hair now.  The headbands never worked well on her head, so now I feel like I can put sweet little bows on her all the time.  I wonder when she will discover them.
 I'm obsessed with citrus right now.  I hope that isn't a sign that I need vitamin C because of a looming cold.  Florida offers some of the best tasting stuff this time of the year.  Our little tree has been so enjoyable this season.  I think we are about to get a big harvest!
 Right now HG plays so well independently.  Marty swears we could leave her on the floor playing for hours without us.  She loves to hear rattling toys, and anything she can get in her mouth to chew on is wonderful.  Going to the nursery to watch a friends little girl is a fun treat every once and a while.  HG gets to experience new toys and lots of bright colors while she is there.  The room is bright purple with big flowers and  caterpillars on the walls.

 She never naps while we are there, but doesn't complain too much.  She does pass out on the way home, and takes a super long nap to recover.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

7 months

Hatley-Grace is growing and changing so quickly right now!

Weight (not official, bathroom scale weight): 16 lbs.
Clothing:  Depends on the brand, some 3 month tops, 6-12 month pajamas, and 9 month rompers
Diapers:  The medium length setting on the Flips, 4 snaps in for daytime, 3 snaps in for overnight inserts
Hair/Eyes:  Hair is light brown with some reddish streaks.  Eyes are still blue, yet some days some brownish green coloring shows up.

HG nurses around 7, 11, 2/3, 5, 7.  Somedays she is truly on a 4 hour schedule: 7,11,3,7 but always needs a little something at 5.  Other days she is more on a 3 hour schedule, 7, 10, 1, 4, 7.  I don't know when we will settle into the 4 consistently, but it is around the corner.

HG eats solids 2-3 times a day, depending on our events of the day.  She eats after she nurses at 7, 11, and the afternoon feeding 2/3/4.  She has tried avocados, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas and egg yolk.  She threw up the same day we tried egg yolk, so I'm going to wait a while to try that again, but everything else she has done wonderfully with.  Her favorites are bananas, carrots and sweet potatoes.  So far there isn't anything she refuses to eat, although she does just tolerate green beans :)  She is only eating about 1/2 oz. at most feedings, but is getting better at eating more and more.

HG is taking two naps consistently and sometimes a third depending on the day.  Her first nap is the best nap of the day, usually from 9-11.  Her second is around 1-3.  Sometimes she will cat nap around 4-5, but not if she has had two good naps.  At night, she sleeps from around 7-7.  This month she has not been as easy to put down to bed.  She wants to be rocked or nursed to sleep, and will often wake once or twice after "bedtime".  We are still working on this, and hoping increasing the solids will help.

Motor skills:
HG is sitting up securely now and plays with her toys.  She scoots herself around on her back pushing with her legs.  She rolls all around to get toys or travel across the living room.  On her tummy, she easily lifts her midsection and pushes her body.  She has not pushed up on her knees yet, so crawling may be a little ways off.  She can grab and pick up things with ease now, and engages with her toys much more.

Fun Stuff:
-  HG has started sleeping with her head jammed in the corner of the crib.

-  She loves to hear things rattle.

-  The jumperoo is still one of her favorite toys, along with the stackable rings and rattle blocks.

-  She loves when Marty comes home from work; she gives him a big smile whenever he enters the room.

-  She loves when the high school girls hold her and play with her.

-  She laughs and giggles when we kiss her neck, and tickle her belly.

-  HG will grab onto other's faces, necks, cheeks, and hair so hard right now!  When I get her in the morning, she greets meet with a double hand squeeze on my face and proceed to chew my shoulder or neck like she hasn't eaten in weeks.

-  She is just starting to prefer me holding her to others when its late or she is in a loud environment.

-  She babbles a lot now, and enjoys trying out new high pitched screeching sounds and grunting.

Dear Hatley-Grace,

I just talked to a friend with a newborn, and she described how she is feels like she is just surviving rather than living, at the moment.  I remember feeling like that with you all the time.  I'm not sure what month that feeling left, yet I love this stage of "living" with you.  Going out, having people over, altering your schedule, living our family life with you has been a bigger change this month.  I have seen that you can stay out past your bedtime and not turn into a big fat mess.  You can skip naps occasionally and be fine.  You are more flexible now, or maybe more truthfully, I am more flexible now.

I have been watching a trashy, girly tv show called the Bachelor with some girlfriends on Monday nights.  This past week, I realized that it was one of the first times I have been out of the house without you just for fun.  It felt good to have some time to do something fun for me.  I have to admit that sometimes I feel like you are always "attached" to me and I crave some separation at times.  I know I will look back on these times when you are a teenage girl and long for all the time we spent together this first year.  I never stop loving you even when I want some me time and I miss you when we are apart. Your Daddy is still a little nervous to be alone with you, mostly because he loves you so much and is scared to do the wrong thing :)

You have such a gentle disposition.  You are looking more like your Daddy, but your personality is more like me.  You are a quiet observer in a crowd.  You like being around others and being out and about, yet need to have some time at home to recuperate.  You are not easily upset by much unless it is bedtime.

We love you very much sweetie-pie!


Friday, January 10, 2014

5-7 Month Favorites

5-7 Month Favorites bumGenius Diaper Sprayer: Baby / Bright Starts Lots of Links- Solid Colors / Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo: Baby / Lucia's ( 0-12 M ) - Baby (0-12 m) - Girl - Socks - Trumpette / Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster - Brown/Tan: Baby / Clare Beaton's Farmyard Rhymes BB: Clare Beaton: 9781846867361:...

1.  Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo:
Before getting pregnant, I never ever wanted big kid items in my house.  I never really saw the need for them.  I still don't ever want my entire living room dedicated to HG's toys, but this jumperoo has been the best!  We keep it mostly in the kitchen, so HG can bounce away while I am cooking and cleaning.  I found this used on Craigslist, and it was in great condition.  Check out some used options before buying this one new, they are pretty pricey but worth it.

2.  Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster:
We started introducing solids when HG turned 6 months old.  This is a great alternative to a high chair.  It buckles onto one of our chairs and she can sit at the table with us.  It is easy to clean and we can take it other places easily. ( I will do a "feeding" board soon, I am still learning lots about all the equipment needed for all of this)

3.  BumGenius Diaper Sprayer:
Since starting solids this has been a huge blessing in taking care of the new poo.  Enough said.  ( I will do a board on cloth diapering favorites soon)

4.  Trumpete Lucia's (0-12m) socks:
These were given to us by my Aunt.  They are the cutest sock/shoe ever with big bows on the toes.  HG always gets compliments on them, and they stay on her feet so well!

5.  Vera Bradley Receiving blanket:
My small group girls gave this to HG and it is the perfect size and softness for this time of the year.  She loves to cuddle with it and play peek-a-boo.

6. Claire Beaton's Board books:
Love the illustrations in these rhyme books.  The teacher in my loves exposing my girl to the classic rhymes.  We have 3-4 of these books and the colors and rhyme patterns catch HG's attention.

7. Links:
This simple toy has been a favorite for months and will continue on as she develops and grows.  They are the perfect thing to chew on now that HG is teething.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

30 weeks

HG is continuing to learn how to eat solids this week.  She had green beans, and bananas for the first time this week.  She is still enjoying avocados, carrots and sweet potatoes.  I think she really likes carrots and bananas currently...but who can really tell with a 6 month old :)
She has started pulling my hand to her mouth when she wants more to eat.  We have tried the sign more, yet I think it will be awhile before she is able to mimic it. 

 HG was spoiled with lots of new toys for Christmas.  She loves her rings, blocks, books and bath toys.

 She will shake this block with a rattle all day long.  We really think we could leave her alone for hours and she would be content hearing it rattle.
She has started sleeping on her side and tummy some this week.  I always put her down on her back, according to the AAP suggestions, and it is fun to see how she settles into a good nights sleep.
Just today, she started sitting up more securely and was even playing while sitting.  She still flops back over after about 5 minutes, but she is more controlled while sitting.

HG is rolling all over the place.  She wants to roll under the couches, chairs and crib.
I don't have any pictures, but HG has started to "play" in her bath.  She loves the bath toys my Mom got her, and will kick her legs until the toys get close enough to grab.  She will squeal and scream and splash in the water.  I can't wait to get her in the pool once it warms up, I think she really enjoys being in the water.

She also is making a new growling sound, and whining sound this week.  I am seeing glimpses of some separation issues, so we are trying out the nursery at church and being with other people more intentionally as well.  I think this is a normal thing for 6 months, yet she has always been so good about going to other people, I would like to keep it that way :)

Until the 7 month update on the 12th, stay warm!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

29 weeks and Christmas Day

Christmas looked very different for us this year.  Not only did we have a little one to celebrate with, yet we did not travel over the holidays.  Earlier this Fall, Marty was asked to preach the Sunday following Christmas.  We knew then that we would be spending the holidays in Florida so he could prepare and deliver his first sermon here at Seven Rivers without the stress of driving all over the east coast to see the family.

We enjoyed a quiet Christmas as a family of three.  Our celebrations began with the Christmas Eve service at church.  We felt like such parents, going to the 3:00 service since it fit best with HG's schedule.  It was strange singing silent night with the candle lighting while it was still light out at 80 degrees :)  Marty and I enjoyed a special dinner that evening of fresh shrimp cocktails right off the boat, homemade bread with olive oil and balsamic to dip, and veggies/fruits.  We watched a Christmas movie and relaxed.
Christmas morning was just like any other morning with HG.  She is such a smily sweet girl when she wakes up.  I think she is a morning person like her Mama :)

Marty and I enjoyed a special sweet treat of scones.  I made my Aunt Lisa's cranberry scone recipe, and I added Jenny Hobick's orange glaze using an orange from our own orange tree.
I think HG may have been jealous of our scones while she ate her avocados.  Maybe another year you can partake in the sweets around the holidays, but not yet baby girl :)

We enjoyed our scones while opening presents together.  HG loved playing in the wrapping paper and tissue paper.

Hatley-Grace loved the Vera Bradley blanket my small group girls gave her.  I think this will become one of her favorites.  It is the perfect size for cuddling and snuggling.  They also gave her matching bibs :)  We are so blessed by our sweet girlfriends already!

And another shot from our day, because who doesn't love a baby in PJs and a big hair bow :)

Marty and I made omelets for lunch and spent the day watching movies and relaxing together.  Overall, I loved the slow pace of our first Christmas as a family of three.  We enjoyed our new home, fireplace and the calm before lots of family came to celebrate with us that weekend.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Carolyn Allen and Emily Pullen designs

We have two sweet friends here in Citrus County that are incredibly talented.  Carolyn Allen is able to capture our sweet family so naturally in photos.  She has an eye for snapping pictures and did a beautiful job on HG's newborn photos and our Christmas photos.  Emily Pullen is able to make anything beautiful.  She designed our birth announcements and Christmas card and I have some of her prints around our home.

Carolyn and Emily joined their talents to create Christmas cards this year.  I was thrilled!  Nothing is worse than trying to take the "right" picture for your card that everyone will see and post on their fridge for the entire month of December.  Marty is the least patient person when it comes to taking pictures, and to have Carolyn take our pictures was the biggest gift ever!  Not only did she get one good shot for the card, yet we have so many beautiful pictures we could fill a complete gallery wall in our home from this single 30 min shoot.  Here are some of our favorites:

I love sending and receiving Christmas cards, it makes checking the mail in December so much fun!  Here is the sweet card Emily designed for us.  She even included our new address, so we didn't have to send out "We've Moved" cards.  I removed the address, so it looks a little strange on the back, but she did a wonderful job!  Emily has an Etsy shop, click here to see her work.  

 I put our card in some frames to enjoy throughout the Christmas season.  I think it will be fun to get it out next year and see how much HG has grown and changed!