Friday, March 28, 2014

chocolate "apples and bananas" bread


"I like to eat, eat, eat, apples & bananas..."

Every night we sing this with Caleb during dinner.  So when I came across this recipe for banana bread, and decided to substitute the oil with applesauce, I couldn't get this song out of my head!

After finding a few brown bananas in the freezer, I did a little search for "what to do with over-ripe bananas" and found a great round-up of recipes.  With a name like "Triple Chocolate Quick Bread" I had to give this recipe a try!



Chocolate "Apples and Bananas" Bread
adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet's Triple Chocolate Quick Bread
makes 2 loafs

1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c applesauce
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 overripe bananas, mashed ( about 1 cup )
1 1/2 c whole wheat white flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/4 c milk

1. Preheat your oven 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and applesauce, mix until just combined.
3. Add eggs, bananas, vanilla and milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix gently, do not over mix.
5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder,baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
6. Divide batter in 2 greased bread pans. 
7. Sprinkle 1/4 c. chocolate chips on each loaf, gently stir into the batter.


8. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.  
Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.  

We've been eating on this bread for over a week now and it's a great healthier alternative to my ice-cream addiction!  What are some of your go-to healthier sweet treat recipes? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

sensory fun: 6-9 months


Before Caleb was born, a friend of mine warned me that little ones get bored spending all their time at home and getting out is just as much for them as for us.  So for the first few months of Caleb's life, we planned weekly play dates with friends and trips to the library circle time, but as the snow started falling and the temperatures dropped, so did our trips out.


With the massive amounts of snow and arctic temperatures, Caleb and I have been spending most of our winter inside.  And sure enough, both he and I were getting bored not only with one another but with all of his toys.  In an attempt to help foster is exploratory spirit and get us out of the bedroom, I created a few discovery baskets to keep in the kitchen and bathroom, which was helpful while I was cooking and showering.


While our little guy has more toys than he could possibly play with, I wanted to create some opportunities for some fun sensory play during these long, cold, and gray winter days.
I thought I'd share a few of the sensory activities we've been trying this winter for those who may be in search of some fun, interactive, boredom-busters!


One of the easiest sensory activities has been meal time.  When Caleb began showing interest in food, I started offering him a variety of foods with different textures.  We tried steamed vegetables, fruits (he's a big fan of apples and bananas), and cooked beans.  He loved playing with the food on his tray and slowly more and more went in his mouth.  It was fun to watch this progression over time from just playing to actually eating.  You can read more about our adventures in baby-led weaning here.


After a particularly rough night of teething, I thought it might be fun to see him play in some of the freshly fallen snow.  I think overall he enjoyed playing in it, but was a little frustrated that it melted so quickly and he wasn't able to chew on it to relieve his teething pain.  We talked about how cold and wet snow is and when he was finished, I used a warm washcloth to warm his little fingers.  It was a great opportunity to introduce opposites.


One weekend while my mom as visiting we put together some sensory bottles.  I used small water bottles as I thought they were the perfect size for Caleb's little hands, and wanted to focus on the concepts of light/heavy and loud/quiet. Each of the bottles is filled with items found around our house or for a few dollars at the craft store.


For this set of bottles I used crinkled strips of aluminum foil, feathers, dry beans, colorful pom-poms, soap and water (with blue food coloring), and pebbles.  You can fill the bottles with anything really, check out these for loads of ideas.  Leave some empty space in the bottle to allow for movement then hot-glue the lid on for safety.

Caleb and I play with these nearly every day.  Sometimes, I use them to introduce concepts of light/heavy and loud/soft (this boy loves sound!).  I'll give Caleb a single bottle to explore and talk about it's properties (ie. colors,size, sounds, movement), then I'll introduce the opposite bottle and compare the two.  At this age it's all about exploration and exposure - he's not going to identify these properties independently right now, but rather I'm helping him to give meaning to this big world around him!


Our most recent sensory activity has been rice.  I filled a large bowl with dry rice and allowed Caleb to use some measuring cups to scoop and pour the rice. He loved the feeling of the rice on his hands.


While he definitely took the opportunity to taste a little in the beginning, very little of the rice actually went his mouth...however lots of it ended up on the floor!  When he was finished, I put him in his highchair to watch me clean it up with the broom - someday he'll be able to help clean up the rice too, learning even more important developmental skills!


It's so much fun to watch Caleb explore new things, everything is a learning experience!  If you're looking for more ideas for your little one, you can follow my pinterest board here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

12/52


"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Caleb Roscoe: A quick weekend trip out East to visit Grammy and Poppy meant a little extra sunshine and warmer weather.  Bring on Spring!!!

see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}

Friday, March 21, 2014

our little family.


As I was cleaning off my camera, I came across this fun picture of the three of us.  I love how it depicts just what our life is like right now...Caleb really is the center of our world!!

I had a moment of sadness as I wished we had more photos of the three of us together, but after some searching on the blog I realized that I have posted a photo of the three of us a number of times since Caleb's arrival!  I was so excited to find these and hope to get at least one family photo a month this coming year.  I love the idea of maybe one day creating an album out of them!

You can see all of the photos here:

Caleb's birth, and our very first family photo
Caleb's first baseball game
Family photos taken by my sweet friend Mackenzie
Caleb's Baptism
Christmas
New Years
Saturday mornings
Just us

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

dear caleb // week thirty-seven


Dear Caleb,

Nothing makes me happier than seeing the look on your face when Daddy comes home each day.  The two of you have such a special bond, one that only a father and son can have.  These past few months it's been so amazing to sit on the sidelines and watch your love for one another grow.

Those early weeks and months were hard for Daddy.  He felt helpless in the storm of your tears and cries for Mama.  It was hard to watch as your time together was often cut short the minute I spoke or walked into the room.  Over the past few months your need for Mama has dwindled a bit and you're happy to spend time alone with your daddy.


You seem to sense the time of day he's supposed to be home from work and often start babbling, saying "da-da-da-da" in anticipation.  The minute he walks thought the front door, you perk up, and get the biggest smile on your face.  You crawl right to Daddy and climb up in his lap, reaching for his face as if to say "hello, Daddy, I've missed you!"


The time you get to spend together is such a blessing to your daddy as well.  He loves your one-on-one time and has started taking you on "boys only" trips to the hardware store.  I see the two of you getting into some fun projects over the coming years!

Little one, know that you and your daddy have something special!  And though it's mama writing these letters, your daddy loves you more than you can know!

love you forever,
mama

Read more letters to Caleb here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

11/52


"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

Caleb Roscoe: This boy loves his baths, which are a near daily occurrence now that he insists on eating everything in sight!


see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}

Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 garden // starting seeds


Despite the bitter cold, and the never ending snow (we got another 7 inches dropped on us this past week!), we have already begun to start our 2014 garden.

Over the past few years we've tried a variety of seed starting processes, most of which have failed miserably, as you can see here, here, here, and here.


This year we're using soil blocks again. We tried soil blocks for the first time last year using one of these which allows us to make our own soil mixture.  Hopefully this year, we'll have more success as we're using heat mats and a fan to help with moisture.


So far we've started a few kinds of peppers, onions, and cabbage along with some lavender and parsley.  Over the next few weeks and months we'll continue to add to this list and hopefully by our frost-free date we'll be ready to plant lovely seedlings straight into our garden!


We're really looking forward to getting back outside and growing more in our garden this year!

Monday, March 10, 2014

10/52


"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

This is us. Sunday, March 9th.  Spending the afternoon at the farm.  It's not a perfect photo (note our wiggly boy's blurry hand!), but it so captures who we are in this moment!  Thanks mom for being willing to step behind the camera and catch this for us!

see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}

Friday, March 7, 2014

date night


The other night we got a sitter and went out on a date, just the two of us!  We enjoyed great conversation over coffee, dinner, and even stopped for dessert on the way home.  It was a wonderful evening together right in the middle of a crazy week.  We are both thankful for these moments together and soak up every minute we get to be "just the two of us" again.

Long before we had Caleb, we recognized that our relationship needs regular dates.  For us this has meant about once a month leaving the house and doing something together, usually spending a few hours enjoying a cup of tea/coffee at a local coffee shop just talking.  We recognized that our conversation during this time was much more rejuvenating than our day to day dinner conversation.  By leaving the house, we were able to remove ourselves from the distractions of daily chores and the countless projects on our fixer upper.  Last year, when we set a monthly budget for the first time in our married life, we built in a date night each month, it's just that important to us!

When Caleb arrived all that changed.  Over the past 8 months, it's been hard to find time for just the two of us.  Between naps and feedings (Caleb's exclusively breastfed), and continuing to move forward on our house and etsy shop, it feels like we're passing Caleb back and forth trying to shovel a few bites of dinner in our mouth before moving onto the next task.  When we had time together, it felt foreign.  I can remember the first night Caleb went to bed around 7:30, leaving us with nearly 2 hours of time together, we just sat on the couch and marveled at how unfamiliar and awkward that felt.  Caleb had become an extention of us, a crutch of sorts that we couldn't be without! It was in that moment that we realized that we had been telling ourselves that we didn't need time together because he needed us, but in reality we didn't remember how to be us without him!  It reminded me that before I was a mama, I was a wife and if I was going to continue to be a good mama, I needed to continue to be a good wife!

Our first real date was on our anniversary, when Caleb was early 5 months old.  We spent the entire day away from our boy and it was hard!  I cried as we drove away, and was distracted much of the day wondering how our baby was.  But I made it and hours later as we pulled in the driveway I was overcome with excitement to see my little guy!

Since then we've had a handful of nights out and each one reminds us that before there was Caleb, there was us. And we kind of liked us!  We're a team and this journey in parenthood requires an incredible amount of teamwork.  It's important that we continue to nurture our relationship with one another so that we can be a great team!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

currently



enjoying this daily devotional each morning before Caleb wakes up

eating eggs every morningfor breakfast and...

dreaming about our plans for chickens this spring

loving spending all day with my wild, crazy, and inquizative boy

wishing the snow would melt

listening to RadioLab like it's my job

reading this book with a group of friends

working on a new business venture

creating more space in my studio

feeling inspired by this sweet mama and her adoption journey


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

dear caleb // eight months



Dear Caleb,

As the pages of the calendar keep falling off, mama and daddy keep falling more in love with you and you're big personality!  At eight months old, you're a bundle of energy, curiosity, and persistence!  You rarely stop moving.  Even when being held, which you love, you're wiggling and kicking those chubby little legs.  You aren't a big fan of sleep, there's too much exploring to do!  And when there is something you want, you fight for it!  You've mastered pulling yourself up on just about anything you can grasp, you seem to really enjoy your new perspective!!


Your curiosity has given you one amazing little pincer grasp!  You have made it your mission to find (and put in your mouth) any small item you can find....current fav: little bits of paper left behind from mama's hole punch.  You LOVE all kinds of paper; the sound it makes and the way it tastes!  In addition to eating any paper in sight, you will eat any food in sight.  At the rate you're going, you're going to catch up to daddy in no time!  You love feeding yourself and especially love when it's a messy meal, which means you get to play in the bath after!


Little one, you're so much fun and we can't imagine life without you!

love you always,
mama & daddy

Caleb at one monthtwo monthsthree monthsfour monthsfive monthssix months, and seven months.  Read more letters to Caleb here.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

9/52


"A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014"

One of these days I'll get a photo of more than just this little man, but for now he's the star of the show!
see more of our 52 project here.

{joining the 52 project at Practising Simplicity & Living Arrows at I Heart Snapping}