A Few Things I have Learned...

Monday, March 12, 2018

The last three months of being a parent of twins (and a toddler) has kinda rocked my world.  I remember hearing parenthood was hard before I had Fox, and then Fox was born, and it totally changed my world, but you can't really imagine what being a parent is like until it happens.  Same is true with twins.  People tell you it will be difficult, but you don't really know what that means until you do it.  Can you do it?  Sure, but it is still difficult.  So I have spent a lot of time thinking about what is important, what makes my life better and easier, and things I am grateful for.

This is a semi-random list, but these are the things I have learned since becoming a parent:

- Treating a shower like a treat makes every day as a mom better.

- Routine and good habits makes parenting 100% easier.

- Almost everything you need to do can wait until tomorrow (except loving your family).

- Staying in for dinner is easier than going out (especially when we have eggs).

- Getting outside improves my mood (and Fox's mood) by at least 50%.

- Imperfect isn't always bad.  One of my favorite sweaters is missing a button.  The mess of toys on the floor means Fox had a happy day.

- Gratitude for life and a little mascara makes for a beautiful mother.

- Making cookies always makes the day better.  Eating more than one cookie always makes the day go worse.

- Family dinner is insane, but totally worth it.  Do it every night and it will pay off.

- There is no such thing as doing nothing with your kids.  When I am sitting on the floor, holding my twin boys and listening to my 3 year-old, I am doing something important. They need me, and need my time, hugs, and listening ears.

Badger and Bear: One Month Old

Friday, March 9, 2018

Okay, so this actually happened at the end of December, but I love how I have a photo record of Fox's first year (didn't do so great on monthly photos after that), and decided I want to do the same thing for the twins.  It is so fun to see how much they grow and change through that first year.

(What so much of twin life looks like)

So, a few things about them at one month:

- They are still sleeping most all of the day.  We get eyeballs here and there, but for the most part, they just sleep.

- Definitely not sleeping through the night at all.  They are getting up to eat 2-3 times a night, sometimes more.

- Their fussiest time of day is typically between 7 and 9PM, where they take turns screaming for an hour or so.  Sometimes longer.

- They are intensely snuggly.  They love being held, and are so happy to snuggle up right into you to nap.

- A few people have asked about their twin connection, and at this point, I don't really see it.  They don't mind being around each other, but there is no calm that comes when they are together.  More likely they will accidentally whack the other twin in the face.

- They are still super thin and small, and make me want to protect them in a real way! Saggiest little leg skin.  It is SO sad.

- Badger is the squeakiest baby around.  During the night, we hear tons of little squeaks from him.  We always know who is awake, based on that.

Apple Cider Muffins

Monday, March 5, 2018

We are currently living in my in-laws house, and they happily have 3 or 4 large apple trees in the backyard.  This was one of the things I was most looking forward to, for moving into their house.  Then, last spring, a late frost killed almost all the blossoms on the trees, and we hardly got any apples last fall.  The few we did get had worms, and I was sort of crushed, since I had been envisioning apple pies, dried apple slices and frozen apple sauce to take us through the fall and winter.  

But, my in-laws had a good apple haul in 2016, and had juiced a ton of apples, and frozen the juice.  This is no apple juice from concentrate.  It is a truly transcendent experience to drink this apple juice. But once you defrost it, you have to drink it sort of quickly, so in trying to find ways to use up some leftover juice (because I almost never drink straight apple juice, so it is a little overwhelming in large quantities), I discovered these delicious (and decently healthy) muffins.  They are crumbly, sweet and really tasty.  Definitely worth a try, if you are looking for a semi-healthy snack.  

Apple Cider Muffins:
Adapted from Genius Kitchen
yields 12 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup apple juice or apple cider
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbs wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs cold unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Grease a muffin tin.

For the muffins: 
In a medium bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

In a small bowl, melt your oil, then add apple cider and the egg. 

Add all at once to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.  

For the streusel: 
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a small bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives.  

Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin tin.  Sprinkle some streusel over the top of each.  Add another tablespoon of batter on top, and finish with streusel. 

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool slightly, and remove to cool on racks.  These are best the first day.  Enjoy!


Weekly Menu Plan

Friday, March 2, 2018

Last week, I decided to skip my normal grocery shopping trip in order to go to the library and plant nursery for spring seeds. We had some food left in the house, and my mom was coming, so I figured I could wing it for a day or two and then sneak out when she got there.

I ended up putting together a grocery list with a truly tiny amount (maybe 6 items?) of items to purchase, and it was all thanks to the huge amount of beans we had in our pantry.

I love beans and with my new instant pot (thanks, Janssen!), they are a cinch to whip up.

Here is what we ate:

Chickpea and Carrot Salad:  I make this almost every time my mom comes, and it is almost always a coincidence.  But it is a good one.  Quite easy to whip together, super tasty and really cheap.  I like to use peanuts, and only use cilantro half the time (and never use mint).

White bean and bacon soup: This was a new one, and it was GOOD!  I made a couple adaptations, and will post it later this week.

Pesto Pizza: Homemade pizza crust, store-bought pesto and cheese.  So easy, so yummy.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Cabbage Bowls:  When do I ever NOT make these?  I make them almost every week, because they are always a win, and so easy and healthy.  I have 3 or 4 variations of them on this website.

Hoisin Stir Fry: This is another go-to super easy meal of mine.  The sauce is so delicious.

Delicious Dump Granola

Monday, February 12, 2018

A number of years ago, I decided to try my hand at making granola.  And I never looked back.  It has been the breakfast of choice for years and with the occasional exception, we almost always have a jar of it around.  I have had many variations, but this is the latest, and very easy, and can be adapted as much as you.

Basically, you dump it all in a bowl, stir it, spread it on a cookie sheet, cook it and you are done.  It is VERY easy and wonderful.  It really takes about 5 minutes, and it isn't too sweet (Adam's favorite), and has some nice chunks (my favorite), and tastes great when you add dark chocolate chips to it.

I have been doing the Daily Dozen app everyday for a few weeks, which asks you about a series of foods everyday to see if you have eaten them.  This checks a number of the boxes, and always makes me feel good.

Delicious Dump Granola

6 1/2 cups of rolled oats
2 Tbs millet
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped almonds
2 Tbs ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil (I like coconut)
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine oats, millet, seeds, nuts and vanilla, cinnamon and salt.  Pour the oil and sweetener over the top, and stir until it coats all the oats.

Spread onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat and flatten with a spatula.  Cook for 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool for 1 hour or so and store in a glass jar or tupperware for up to 2 weeks.

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