Monday, November 9, 2015

Sheila's Homemade Granola

One of my goals of 2015 is to eat healthier and consume less sugar. One of my "go to" snacks is Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon of agave nectar, and 1/4 cup of granola. I LOVE this stuff! It's filling, healthy, and a sweet treat during the afternoon that packs some protein. The problem is, is that most granola mix from the store and VERY high in sugar. I don't honestly need that much sugar in my granola, I really just like it for the texture.

I remembered that my MOL makes her own granola and it is totally delicious! It was crunchy, sweet, but not too sweet. She sent me the recipe and I made it! IT WAS DELICIOUS! I only swapped the raisins for cranberries in mine (my husband doesn't like raisins) and the wheat germ with ground flax seed.

Up close image of the spices, cranberries, and almond slices.

Best of all about this Granola recipe, it's super healthy for you. Just compare my food stats to Udis, Natural Artisan Granola, Original (my normal "go to" granola).

Sheila's Homemade Granola

Sheila's granola recipe has less calories and less sugar. It was totally worth the little bit of effort it takes to make your own granola. 

Sheila's Homemade Granola
 5 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup flax seed or wheat germ
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix oats, brown sugar, coconut, wheat germ, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Stir water, oil, and vanilla extract into the oat mixture; spread onto a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy, about 1 hour; transfer to a bowl. Stir raisins and almonds through the granola.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Motherhood Reflection

I've been meaning to write a post for quite some time; yes I have been on quite the hiatus.  It all started when we were busy building our first home.  Nathan and I spent countless hours completing various projects; "sweat equity" as it's called. After we moved into our home (and bought a puppy!) another big event started to occupy my time: I became pregnant with our first child. Needless to say it's been a whirlwind!  It's funny looking back on it now how quickly the time has passed since that morning I took not one but two pregnancy tests (you know, just to make sure it was real).  Seeing that today is Mother's Day - and my first Mother's Day - I couldn't think of a better time to reflect and write about this new and momentous title of Mom.

How I told my husband. He came home to find this on our kitchen island :)

The moment I found out I was in fact pregnant I cried and I laughed and felt elated and incredulous all at once.  Just the day before I had confided in Nathan that, for reasons I won't go into now, I thought I maybe was pregnant but had had a very early miscarriage.  "It just wasn't time," I remember saying.  And yet, here I was with two positive pregnancy tests.  I went into our living room, knelt down by the couch, and thanked God. I praised him for this child.  I prayed for my little baby and their sweet soul.  I prayed that they would come to know and love God.  What a great responsibility I had been given!

The next 9 months went by quickly.  We took childbirth classes and I read everything I could get my hands on.  Although I was excited to meet this baby, a sweet little girl, I was so focused on labor and delivery.  I was so afraid and focused on preparing for the pain I wasn't thinking very much about how much I would love her and how my life would change and how I would cope with the challenges of raising a child. I was completely unprepared for that aspect of parenthood. Needless to say, at 5:01 a.m. on November 16th, I delivered our little girl.  I made it through labor - in fact I did GREAT, if I do say so myself! And our sweet girl was absolutely healthy and perfect.  But again, I just wasn't prepared for how much our little Charlotte Mary was going to rock my world.

I knew my life would change but I didn't realize just how much.  My entire purpose in life is different; my existence is entirely devoted to the care and nurturing of this child.  Everything I see, everything I read, everything I do, everything is different, because I am a Mom.  I see all things, including the love of God and the love of my own parents, in an entirely new and clear light. What a gift.

How was I to know that every little event, from her smiles to new milestones, would make my heart feel like it was going to explode?  I truly was not prepared for the absolute heart-wrenching joy and love that would ensue once I became a mother.  With every day that passes my heart grows and I love her more than I even thought possible.  When I look back on my nervousness now, about letting go and becoming a Mom, it's silly how much I worried.  I had no idea how much I would adore being a mother to this little baby.  I suppose I simply couldn't have known. She taught me to love in a way that I didn't know was possible.  Being a Mother is the great blessing I've ever known.

Happy Mother's Day to my own amazing Mother and to all the mothers out there.  We are blessed.


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Saturday, January 31, 2015

My 2015 Resolutions

A few weeks ago I posted on the Review of My 2014 New Year's Resolutions and today I am following up with my 2015 Resolutions (and crossing my fingers that I keep most of them!) I hinted in my last blog that we have a lot going on in 2015! This year, hopefully, will be the year that we will remember for a long time! (Not sure if it will be a good thing to remember or not!)

So here are my 2015 Resolutions, in no particular order!


In years past I have always wrote I wanted to "lose weight" to get my pre-baby body back.Well, newsflash (probably more to me then the rest of you) it's not coming back! Gone are the days of tight skin on my tummy and a metabolism that allowed me to eat Jimmy Johns and ice cream multiple days of the week. This year my goal is to be healthy. Don't get me wrong, I am a pretty healthy person and workout 5+ times a week. However, my diet is BAD. I am constantly on this binge eating roller-coaster. You know the one...eating healthy for 4 weeks, then eating HORRIBLE for 3 weeks ...and repeat! I have decided for me and my family (probably against their choice) that we are going to eat healthier for good. What does this mean? It's very simple in three little steps:

1. Eat Out Less- We eat out WAY too much! We enjoy food and going out is a fun thing for us to do! However, it's so expensive and the food is never really honestly that great! The plan is to try to only eat out twice a month (maybe with the occasional Jimmy Johns for lunch.)

2.  Eat Less Sugar- Maybe it's because on New Year's Day I watched a bunch of food documentaries about the amount of sugar our nation is eating, but it was scary! It's very addictive and I know that I have a HUGE problem with sweets! My goal is to keep my sugar intake to only 30 grams a day and lessen the amount of candies, sweet breakfast cereals, and cookies my kids get.
3. Cook With 1-Ingredient Foods- Just like it sounds. It's really pretty simple. I am just going to try to make things from scratch myself more (which I do a lot anyways) and use less of the prepacked food items.


Do you ever have something you have always wanted to do? Like learn a new language, learn how to fix a car, learn to not hit curbs when you turn corners? Well, 2015 is the year that I am taking up a new skill....or I should say I am learning something new. I find when you become an adult and have kids you end up hitting this wall where you have all these ideas of things you want to learn, but never really make time for them. This year, I am making time for it...uh really we are making time for it. My husband and I are doing learning it together. I really don't want to go into much details, but it's an activity my husband have started learning this last month (without the kids) and it's been a pretty fun time! I'll go into more detail on this later on in the year.


Yes, this was on my last post but this super cute table is from Shanty2Chic (or something very close to it) will be sitting in my dining room at the end of 2015! We have already started cutting the boards for it to make it happen.

My husband and I, for a long time, have been wanting to have a rental property. When a nice looking foreclosure came on the market, we put in an offer on it and it was accepted. The house has quite a bit of work to do on it, but overall is a pretty cute place. I'm super excited to get in there and rip out my THIRD set of shower doors! {see this post} I hate those things! I can't wait to post blogs on all the repairs we do to this place as well. Some day, hopefully soon, this place will be a cute little house for a family to live in....and when I say a family to live in I mean OURS! {Read More Below}

It's almost been four years since I wrote this post on the house we moved into here in South Dakota. In short, we found our current house on a beautiful acreage with a pond, but the house has a lot of problems. We LOVE our land and after consulting over eight contractors on remodeling our current house, we made the decision to bulldoze and build a new house. The last four years we have saved, invested out time in the land, and waited for the time to come that we felt we should build. I am excited to say that the summer of 2015 we should break ground on building this house. (Barring any unforeseen circumstances.) Our plans are to move into our rental house and build a new one on our current land. We still have a lot of work to do before we can make this dream happen, but it's getting closer!

Well that's all my goals for 2015! I know I am a bit late on posting this blog, but my life is a little crazy right now and I am just happy I was able to write something up before 2016! 

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Review Of My 2014 New Year's Resolutions

It seems like every year I write New Year's resolutions but every year, I never really update the blog on how I did with them.  I have to be honest, most of my resolutions go right out the window within a few months...but doesn't everyones? I wrote this post last year about my New Year's resolutions and I thought now would be a great time to update them before I decide my goals for 2015.

Here are my 2014 New Year's resolutions in review:

1. Lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight.
Here's the same picture that I posted last year and still I find it a little embarrassing, that I gained 60 pounds while pregnant.
I lost most of the baby weight through calorie counting and working out 5 times a week, but the remaining (and elusive) 10 pounds I couldn't get rid of. So in 2014 I changed up my dieting plan and tried some "fad" diets out there. I did Paleo for a month, Power Protein for a month, 3 day Lemonade Diet, and 21 Day Fix Diet. Also, I increased my workouts to 6 times a week. So did I lose the weight....NO! And actually I am up 4 pounds, so that puts me at 14 pounds to lose. I will rant more about this in my 2015 goals. 

2. Build this table.
This super cute table is from Shanty2Chic and I couldn't be more in love with it. We had removed 39 trees from our yard two summers ago and we had some of the trees milled into boards for us. They have been sitting in the basement waiting to get the bark removed. In 2014, we did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the boards. However, January 1st hit this year (2015) and my husband and I got after cutting the boards down to size and remove the bark. We are making some progress on this! We are about 75% done with the bark on all the boards and my super sweet neighbor is going to let us borrow her shop tools to plane the rough boards smooth. 

3. Get organized.
Like most Moms, I felt completely unorganized in my life. 
Between all the kid things, the dishes, the toys, the puzzle pieces, the dog, the laundry my life is all sorts of unorganized. I spent the better half of 2014 organizing cupboards, toys, rooms, etc. and it worked out great! I created the cool puzzle organizer for my son's puzzle pieces.
I also created a cool Lego Table for my son's legos, that I have yet to post on. However, all my efforts of organizing this house will be wasted in 2015. More details on this in my 2015 New Year's Resolutions to come. 

4. Be More Present.
My friend Greta over at Modern Garden wrote the goal of being more present in life for 2014. What a great resolution!
Honestly, in 2014 I was more present. I had to be. I have a very precocious 4 year old son who wants to learn all the time. We spend hours with him reading books, doing math problems, writing, making science experiments. He takes a lot of my time and it sort of made me regret not starting him in preschool earlier then age 4. We also have a spirited, very independent daughter that has had her struggles this year with eye surgeries and stomach issues. Life of a mother is always busy right?? In addition to all my mommy duties, I still work from home and 2014 was my busiest year since having kids!

5. Climb the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Yeah, I know crazy goal right and did it happen in 2014? NO!
I blame the US Department of State for issuing a travel warning to any American citizen going to Kenya and that pesky Ebola for getting in the way. It's an adventure I know my husband will make one of these days, but we would rather be safe then sorry on this trip! 2014 was not without travel, I feel like every year we go more and more places. In 2014, I went to Kansas City, Omaha, Dallas, NYC twice, Vegas, Colorado, Oklahoma, St. Maarten, and California! (Typing all that made me exhausted!) 2015 we have started planning our year trips, but trying to keep it down because of some major life changes we will be facing. Again, more on that in another post.

There's my 2014 New Year's Resolutions updated! As I predicted, many were not accomplished but I feel good that a few were. Even though I didn't accomplish all on my list last year, we did accomplish a lot of projects around the house. We finished the little bit we had left on the fire pit, we dug landscaping trenches around all of our 500ft of  bushes and filled it with wood chips, I added a new 150ft of landscaping to our side yard, we built a dock, and we stocked bass in our pond.

As I said above, I have some big plans for 2015 so stayed tuned for my upcoming post on my 2015 New Year's Resolutions and plans for the year!

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