The kids and I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks this week, and this line from Chapter 3 of The Hobbit really struck me as applicable to the life of a stay-at-home mom. So much of what we do doesn’t really make for good blog posts, because it’s just nice, normal, everyday life. The crazy stuff makes better stories! As Anna and I ponder the future of this blog, we’re wondering how many times we can write about the value of staying home with our kids before it just gets redundant. What do you think?
On a personal note, I want to give a little ray of sunshine to moms who are in the thick of juggling diaper changes, potty accidents, and naps. In the past few days, I’ve had to drive to the next town over not one, not two, but FOUR times to get some things fixed on my minivan. I accidentally triple scheduled myself yesterday, and we were out of the house basically all day long. Here’s what I’ve realized: I am finally free of the after-nap chains! My youngest still needs an afternoon nap, but at two and a half, she is now flexible enough that she can go down at noon if I need to leave the house early afternoon or can hold off until 2 if I’m returning a rental van, transferring four carseats in the parking lot of a car dealership, and running errands that can’t wait until my husband gets back from his work trip. When all my other children hit this flexible stage, I had a new baby coming up whose sleep schedule required us to be home more consistently or pay a terrible price in overtired baby screams the rest of the day. I still believe in predictable nap routines, but I am appreciating the freedom to stay longer at park day without worrying about transferring a sleeping toddler into bed while hobbling on a yet-unhealed broken foot! I’m still in the little years for the most part, but I’m also starting to believe in the light at the end of the tunnel.
Remember my 50 pound back of oats? In addition to our morning oatmeal (with mini chocolate chips), I’ve been making oatmeal bread, oatmeal cookies, and lots of granola. Last week, I bought a bunch of bananas that no one ate, so I tweaked a few recipes I’d had on hand to make banana bread granola. Everyone loves it so much that I quickly started doubling the recipe and have made four batches so far! We have it for breakfast over yogurt, dry for a snack, and with milk after dinner for dessert. While I kept the oil from my starter recipes (attempts to sub with water or applesauce make the granola substantially less crispy), I cut back on sweeteners, since I was adding extra banana and sweetened coconut flakes. If you added in dried fruit, you might be able to cut the honey back to 1/3 cup. I didn’t have nuts on hand, but they’d be yummy. And when we eat it for dessert, I might be known to sneak in some chocolate chips…
Banana Bread Granola
7 cups oats (half rolled, half quick oats)
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 mashed bananas (about 1½ cups)
½ cup oil
½ cup maple syrup and/or honey (I use about half of each)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 275 F.
Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.
In microwave safe bowl, warm up maple syrup/honey until very thin (15-30 seconds) and mix with other wet ingredients. Stir into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Spread evenly on two cookie sheets. I like to use my baking stone because it prevents burning. If using metal sheets, line with parchment paper to prevent sticking/burning and for easy clean-up.
Bake for 45 minutes, stirring a few times midway to break up clumps. Turn oven to warm and bake for 15 more minutes. Turn off oven and leave granola in oven until oven cools off, another 30 minutes or so. Lengthen bake times for crispier granola, shorten for softer granola.