Easy Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas – Bento-box Style!

Anyone else besides me not a morning person? My wonderful children wake up every day at 5am. 5. A. M. Then they creep into our room and say those 3 famous words that every parent loves being woken up to…”Mom, I’m hungry”.

I’ve started making their breakfasts in advance and keeping them in the fridge. I love this because it’s better than cereal (my go-to breakfast most days because, again, not a morning person) and it buys me sleep. At this stage in life, I would pay for sleep. I would pay a lot of money for sleep.

I have found bento boxes to be the best thing since sliced bread when it comes to getting my kids to eat. I’m not sure what it is about the compartment thing, but they LOVE having their food separated. One of them doesn’t care to have her food touching each other, the other one is somewhat gross and mixes everything together, no matter what it is. I’ll let you figure out which is which…

egg muffins

Silicone muffin liners….yes yes and yes! Everyday, and in pink, of course. Whatever makes life easier, right?Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.23.03 AM

This oatmeal is so yummy and only has natural sugar in it! AKA…fruit! I’ve even made the “overnight” version, which is basically putting all of the ingredients into a mason jar and let it sit in the fridge overnight to “cook”. I like actually cooking it better, but that is always an option…

oatmealScreen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.23.11 AM

And yes, that beautiful, cute little blue egg came from one of my own Easter Eggers. I’m not getting around a dozen eggs a day from 14 chickens…and we are almost eating a dozen eggs a day as a family of 5! Does anyone want a coop tour?

I LOVE granola…and I love the way it makes the house smell when cooking! This was so easy to make! It could definitely cook longer if you like it crunchy, but I prefer it softer myself. I cannot believe I used to pay (a LOT) for my granola! This is soooooo much cheaper! It makes a ton too!

granola recipe
Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.23.33 AMWell I hope this inspired you to make some goodness! I’m on a roll lately with videos and blogging so leave me a comment if there’s something in particular you’d like to see/read about! Thanks for dropping by!

The End of Summer…the beginning of YouTube!

I’m so excited about both of these things! Summers are not my favorite, and this year has been no exception. It’s been hot and sometimes miserable, and the ever-present excitement of the new school year has been looming over my head…in a very good way. Kindergarten starts this year for my 5-year-old, and so our first year of “real” homeschooling begins!

And because that’s not challenging enough, I’ve decided to start a YouTube channel…mostly because I’ve been inside all summer thanks to the heat watching DIY videos, and I’m pretty super-inspired. And fall is on the way and so is school and fun and fun and fun…and yes, I’m pretty excited!!!!

So school is starting for us tomorrow! After testing the water for 2 years of preschool, I’ve determined that in order to homeschool we’re going to have to be year-round people. AKA…mama needs a break every 4-6 weeks, so we’re just going to shoot for small goals and go from there. I’m notorious for trying to pack WAY too much into our school time, something that I’ve had to learn the hard way this past year while trying to do school with a new baby. 4-6 time slots give me just enough time to cram in a whole lot, while giving myself a breather to rest and recharge. I’m pumped!

So a good ending to summer was a trip to a Sunflower Festival…pick as many free sunflowers as you’d like! It was wonderful! And while I know that we still have a solid 6 weeks left of summer, my planting guide is telling me to go ahead and plant some kale and broccoli, and the craft stores already have out their fall spread. So I’m calling it…goodbye summer, HELLO PUMPKIN SPICE!

IMG_7330 IMG_7328 IMG_7318

What’s New in the Garden

This spring thus far has been full of energy…and pollen. Lots and lots and lots of pollen. As I write this, I’m scratching my nose and holding off a sneeze…but I digress…

The hubs and I have gotten back into the yard and are making some great strides. After being in an RV for 3  years, the one thing I really missed more than anything else was having a yard, or more specifically, a garden. Last year’s garden kind of did terrible, mostly because I just couldn’t keep up with it like I should’ve once my pregnancy reached a certain point. This year I have all new energy and I’m ready to give it another go!

I’m a huge fan of Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Garden. His soil plan is basically 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost mixture, and 1/3 vermiculite. The upfront cost is kind of a lot (for dirt), but year after year all you need to do is add more compost to revitalize the soil. I love how this mixture drains so nicely during times of heavy rain.

My garden last year consisted of this mixture (kind of…my own version of it which doesn’t require measuring), but it didn’t have the boxed beds. Basically I piled up little beds that were 4×4 with the mixture. And as soon as it rained, my nice expensive soil went everywhere. So this year the hubs fixed that and I love it! It’s so much easier!

The garden is located in the foundation of what used to be a greenhouse. When we first moved in, the area was so overgrown we didn’t even know that the foundation was there! The good thing is that the soil was somewhat good…the bad thing is that it was a glass greenhouse and I’m pretty sure I’ll be finding shards of glass in the soil for the next 50 years or so.

It’s so much fun digging around in a 80 year old garden…you never know what you’re going to find! I’m still looking for a cannon ball from the civil war….who knows? Maybe I’ll find it!

Every year I look forward to the surprises my compost pile will bring. I have a pile for compost, and when I’m on top of my game, I’ll load up my compost tumbler, tumble it daily for a few weeks or a month and have fresh compost. Full disclosure…I’ve never been on top of my game. So thus, my pile for compost grows larger than my tumbler can keep up with, and I always end up with “surprises” at springtime. Last year it was pumpkins, this year it’s sweet potato and onion.

I think the thing I’m most excited about is my fig tree. I almost dug it up because I was so sure it was dead. But alas! It was just the very last thing to make a comeback! And I’m so glad! Of all the plants in the yard, this one is actually sentimental to me. It is a clipping from my grandparents’ fig tree, something I requested when my grandmother sold her house that I practically grew up in. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take before I actually get some figs from it, but I’m just glad it made it through it’s first winter in zone 7.

Thus far I’ve planted pumpkin, watermelon, corn (yes I’m way early on all of those, but with 3 small kids, if I don’t get it in the ground when I can I may not be able to ever get it in the ground, so I’ll risk it) beets, buttercrunch lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, peas, and companion flowers to attract pollinators. That’s just in 2 beds…I still have 64 square feet to plant!! Oh the veggies!

I found this wonderful (and FREE) gardening planner at Gardeners.com for those who do square foot gardening! It’s wonderful because it tells you just how many seeds/plants you should plant per square foot! Check it out!

Happy Earth Day!! #sharetheharvest

5 Years Ago…

It’s been 5 years since my firstborn made me a mom. I have been anticipating this birthday for months. 5 is such a monumental birthday! Old enough for “official” school, tall enough to ride rides at amusement parks and sign up for girl scouts (can we say “cookies”?!) and so many more activities! This girl never ceases to amaze me!

DSC_1118

As excited as I am for all the things she can do this year, there’s also this slight stab in the heart that I am nearing the end of “early childhood”. What a crazy thing to realize since I still consider myself a new mom. It was just yesterday that I couldn’t pry her off my leg when I left the room, and now she’s shoving me out the door.
DSC_1120

She’s itching to hang with the older girls and watch the big kids’ shows. Gone are the days of Elmo and Barney, something I keep thinking she’ll go back to. Here are the days of Barbie and mermaids. And as I write this, I realize that I can’t really remember the last time she crawled into bed with me in the wee hours of the morning. I wonder if those days are behind me as well. DSC_1123

But there’s little to feel nostalgic about when thinking about all she can do now. Coloring within lines, writing letters and her name, making family pictures, playing her ukulele and helping out her sisters to name a few. She’s planning a her own garden, decorating her own room, dressing herself and her dolls, and almost constantly saying “watch this mom!”. But my favorite…she has promised me that when she moves out of the house I can come too. Unless she’s mad at me and then I guess I’m homeless…
DSC_1140
The First-born’s 5-Year Birthday Interview
Nicknames: LV
How old are you? 5
Favorite Color: Pink
Favorite Toy: Guitar
Favorite Fruit: Apple
Favorite TV Show: Doc McStuffins
Favorite thing to eat for lunch: Spaghetti
Favorite Outfit: Dresses
Favorite Game: Playing Doc McStuffins
Favorite Snack: Cut up apples
Favorite Animal: Zebras
Favorite Song: Frozen
Favorite Book: Frozen and Doc McStuffins
Best Friend: Brooklyn
Favorite Cereal: Raisin Bran
Favorite thing to do outside: run with Brooklyn
Favorite Drink: Orange Juice
Favorite Holiday: Christmas
What do you like to take to bed with you at night? a stuffed animal
Favorite thing to eat for breakfast: pancakes
What do you want to be when you grow up? a veterinarian
Favorite season of the year: spring
Favorite movie: Frozen

Those standstill moments

10 minutes after the birth of my 3rd daughter, the assistant said something along the lines of, “Wow, she’s 10 minutes old already! Time flies!” She has 6 kids and gets it. As soon as motherhood hits, the clock speeds up. And now here we are already…1 week young today. 1 week of absolute heaven on earth! Things are good. Things are really good!

dsc_0057 dsc_0037 dsc_0050 dsc_0028

Many blessings to you and yours,

Jesse