Mama’s Peanut Butter Granola

I have had a couple requests for the recipe for the granola that makes breakfast easy in this house:)
Here it is!

In a large bowl, mix together…
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 t vanilla
2/3 cup TOTAL maple syrup and local honey (I do 1/3 of each, adjust to your tastes)
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar (key for texture)
2T Chia seeds (Don’t bother measuring… that’s about what fits in a cupped palm – close enough!)
2T Flaxmeal
1t Cinnamon

Then add 8 cups uncooked regular oats. Mix VERY well… you don’t want any dry oats. Add a bit more maple syrup if you need too.
Add 1/2 cup sliced almonds if you want… mix again.

Then bake at 325 for 8 minutes. Use a spatula to flip and stir a bit, and pop back into the oven for 3 or 4 more minutes… be careful, it burns quickly!

If you let it cool in the pans, you will get some nice yummy chunky granola.

Hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

Minimalist Mornings

I was lucky enough to stay home with my Littles for 5 amazing years after my daughter was born. Mornings were imperfect but leisurely, and there was no rush because the day stretched out in front of us. Those were the days of morning puzzles, chocolate pancakes, and pjs. Can you tell I LOVED staying home with my kids?

Then, I went back to teaching last year and our mornings dramatically changed. Now, we have to have two kids fed, dressed, and out the door by 7:45. At first, this was a bit overwhelming. When we found ourselves yelling to get out the door on time, it was time for a change. As we have been doing with everything in our lives, we have “decluttered” our mornings. We took a step back and decided what was important to us, and made sure we started with THAT.

What we realized was that our number one priority was to make our mornings more peaceful and loving. Yelling at the kids and stressing out at them, and then dropping them at school for the entire day just did not sit right with us. We had to do better, and so we made some changes.

1. Get up 15 minutes earlier. This applies to everyone, and applies to earlier bedtimes too.
These extra 15 minutes allow us some leeway for the inevitable issues that crop up, and make time for us to find lost shoes or have some extra snuggles without stressing out about getting out the door on time. The benefit? I can’t remember the last time I had to yell at my kids to get out the door. (Ooook, now I remember. But it’s been a while!:)) I get up about 45 minutes before the kids… I take a few short minutes to meditate or have alone time, shower and get ready (SO much faster with a smaller wardrobe), and then I crawl into bed (yes in my workclothes) to wake the kids up with snuggles and kisses.

2. Let go of perfect. My 3 and 6 year old pick out their own clothes. This makes for…um…interesting combinations.

But you know what? We’ve completely stopped caring. They are KIDS and they love dressing themselves. We give them loose guidelines due to that day’s weather and then let them go to town. Usually, they pick the night before, but either way, they both dress quickly when they get to pick for themselves. 20150908_074502
As for me… I stopped doing my hair every day. Every other day I use a little trick… I have a jar of corn starch mixed with about 10 drops of lavender oil. It is the perfect dry shampoo. I use an old makeup brush to apply it to my hair, especially around my face, and then brush it through and put it up in a bun or pony tail. In about 10 minutes the starch absorbs any excess oil and my hair looks washed!

3. Find your favorites. For breakfast, I mean. When I was a stay at home Mama, I would ask the kids what they wanted for breakfast. Now, I give everyone their favorite. Every. Single. Day. My husband, son, and daughter are all obsessed with Mama’s homemade granola. As long as I make a big batch on the weekend, all I have to do in the morning is set out two bowls of it (one with yogurt for my son, one with milk for my daughter) and that is what they have every weekday. If I have a couple extra minutes, I set out some fruit too… but if not, I don’t worry about it. They get lots of fruit throughout the day. My husband has granola with almond milk and blueberries, and I make a delicious protein smoothie with spinach, banana, coffee, and cocoa every morning. No thinking, no fighting… it works great!
(In the winter, we often switch to overnight crockpot apple-cinnamon-raisin steal cut oats…the smell gets us all out of bed!)

4. Be prepared for one day of hell. My kids go to an AMAZING Montessori school. The teachers there are not strangers to the occasional preschooler tantrum. After one such morning tantrum from my daughter years ago about getting dressed, I called one of her teachers for advice. Her suggestion was to shrug my shoulders and say to her with love, “What a bummer, I guess we have to go to school in your pjs!” My strong-willed sweetie didn’t back down, and I walked her right into her school in her pjs and handed her teachers her clothes. Let me tell you, that only happened ONCE. She didn’t like explaining to her beloved teachers why she refused to get dressed, and that one morning showdown translated into years of calmer mornings.

Seriously, put your pants on.
Seriously, put your pants on.

5. Alternative responsibilities. If you can swing it, taking turns with your partner getting the kids ready and driving the kids to school is a lifesaver. Every other day, we each get to go in as early as we want, and then on alternate days, we get to be the parent who sings songs on the way to school or gets the kids started on a “work” before heading out for the office.

These ideas have really helped us… I would love to hear what you have implemented to make for easier and more peaceful mornings at your house! Please share!