Out In the Winter Garden

containers chard, parsnips

celery/peas winter2013

parsnips

brussels

lemon tree

orange tree

The winter garden is growing ever so slowly. Maybe too slow. We are keeping the snails at bay with freshly crushed and baked eggshells throughout the garden but with the random hot weather and very cold weather that keeps cycling through, I think the plants are confused. We have herbs growing inside and some spring time seedlings as well. I’m excited to get them planted outside but the weather has been so hot. Our lemons are waning but the orange tree seems to be continuously producing. We have so many oranges we have run out of ideas on what to do with them. Do you have any orange recipes? What’s happening in your garden?

I’ll Never Go Back To Store Bought Granola

I’ve read in several places that if you make homemade granola, you will never buy store-bought granola again. It has been on my list of want to try for a long while but of course, I never did and kept buying it at the store. Well, this weekend my husband ran out of granola. He usually eats a bowl of granola and yogurt every morning. Instead of putting it on my grocery list, I thought it was a perfect time to try to make some of my own. Maybe it would come out okay. I strapped baby girl on my back and attempted my first try at homemade granola. It didn’t come out okay, it came out wonderfully delicious! And it was so easy to make. I’m telling you right now… I’ll never go back to store-bought granola. I used the recipe from here but tweaked it quite a bit because I didn’t have many of the things the recipe called for. You should try it… I’m telling you it won’t disappoint.

what you need

my helper

wet ingred

dry ingred

slab granola

baby likes it

Homemade Granola (adapted from Orangette’s Daily granola)

Dry Ingredients:

5 cups rolled oats

2 to 3 cups raw pecan or almond halves (I used just pecans)

1 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

3/4 cup canned organic pumpkin (the original recipe called for applesauce but mine had already gone bad, so I used this in its stead and it worked marvelously).

1/3 cup maple syrup (once again, the original called for brown rice syrup and I had none so I used maple syrup).

1/4 cup honey

2 tblspoons coconut oil (original called for vegetable oil and we were out. Coconut oil worked just fine).

1 tsp vanilla extract (I added this in for a touch of vanilla flavor to it).

preheat the oven to 300

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Mix well. In a small bowl, mix all wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and mix well. Spread the mixture onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Set a timer to go off every ten minutes while the granola bakes, so you can rotate the pans and mix the granola so that it cooks evenly. Let the granola cool on the pans. Scoop cooled granola into an airtight container. Enjoy!

A New Photography Project

So the year before I got pregnant, I wanted to start doing a yearly creative project. I had discovered The Sketchbook Project online and decided it was just the thing to get my creative juices flowing. It ended up being harder than I thought and although I did finish the project and there is a little journal of my silly drawings in the Brooklyn Art Library now, I didn’t quite put my heart and soul into the project. The following year, I stumbled across another great project. Emily’s Dollhouse challenge was just the thing to really get my creative juices flowing. I was really on a roll with this one (take a look back if you’d like) and then… I got pregnant and that project fell flat on its face. Fast forward to now. Ever since having the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world, I’ve been carrying my camera around like it was sewn onto me and I’m just really enjoying photography in general. It’s become my new hobby and I’m trying to read as much as I can about how to do it right. I joined in Jodi’s fun every week and when I came across this the other day from those same people who did The Sketchbook Project, I thought it might just be a good thing to get me thinking about more than babies and cute family pictures. So every so often, I’m going to post what I’m doing for this photography project. I’m excited and a bit anxious to see if I can do it. This week’s prompt was difficult and it’s only the first week.

Things Found: The Letter A (the letter A, hidden in every day places and objects, anywhere but in an intentional letter A)

DSC_0340

sewing A

tree A

nature A

Weekending

picture project

yeast

granola

homemade granola

playtime

sunset out our door

stroller walk

anacapa brewing

brewhouse

brewgramps and gram

nana

auntie katie

dinner

good day

This weekend was warm one minute and chilly the next. I worked on getting pictures into frames and up on the walls, Jeff prepared his yeast for brew day, I made some incredibly yummy granola (which turned out so good, it will have to have its own blog post all together), lots of playtime with Ellie boo bear, we had some fantastic sunsets out our back door, took the in-laws to a local brew house and sunday was official Brew Day. Jeff hasn’t had the chance to brew beer since before Eloise was born and he has been itching to do so since we moved into our new home. Well today was the day – and he invited his mom and dad and my family to share in the experience (My mom and dad and sister made it). The weather was beautiful and we all spent the day outside learning to brew. We ended the evening with an early homemade dinner (because that’s the way we roll around here with a six month old- dinners at 4:30). A quick but packed with goodness weekend. How was yours?

The “Gramma-made T-Shirt Quilt”

After posting yesterday’s monthly Eloise picture I realized I don’t have any story for “the Gramma-made t-shirt quilt” Ellie sits against each month. It’s such a wonderful, special quilt and it does have a back story that I thought I would share today.

story of the gramma quilt

My mom is a quilter. She has been making beautiful things with her hands for as long as I can remember. But taking care of four children and a husband for thirty-two years, she hasn’t had much time to really quilt. However, now that all four of her children are grown, she can devote the majority of her time to making her rag quilts and selling them on etsy, which she enjoys immensely. When I told her I was pregnant, I could see the quilting bug swirling around behind her eyes. She was giddy with ideas of Gramma-made blankets to swaddle her first-born granddaughter with. I was thrilled to receive these handmade goodies for my baby girl but had one request (okay, I had a lot of requests), I wanted a t-shirt quilt made out of the fun, whimsical shirts I used to wear as a preschool teacher. I loved wearing these shirts every day to work. The children would comment on them and we would talk about what they found on my shirts. The children would relate the characters on my shirts right back to the books we were reading in the class. This made wearing these silly shirts every day, extra special. When I left teaching to stay home with my daughter, I wanted to do something special with the shirts and knew making them into a quilt would be fantastic. My mom had made each of my siblings and I our own t-shirt quilts with shirts from our high school choir/band days. I treasure that quilt and use it regularly as a picnic blanket now. With this baby t-shirt quilt, my mom finished it just in time for the baby shower. It was hung as a centerpiece.

char likes the baby quilt

char really likes the quilt

picture taken by my Mom

picture taken by my Mom

wall hanging

picture taken by my mom

The adorable fabric used in the middle of the t-shirts is this. While I was pregnant, I was drawn to reds and Little Red Riding Hood for some reason. I thought this fabric would be perfect with my literary t-shirts. So now that baby girl Eloise is here, we have used this blanket almost every day in some way. At the moment it’s our go to picnic blanket or outdoor play blanket. And of course, you see it every month in Ellie’s monthly photo’s. We love this quilt and are so very thankful we have a Gramma who loves sewing for us!

playtime

fun in the sun

checking out her blanket

baby girl loves her quilt

A Very Merry Half Birthday To You

Eloise 6 months

Yesterday Ellie turned Six months old! A half of a year! Wow! It’s just flying by, but I am soaking it all in and taking plenty of pictures too. You are becoming so animated and lively these days. You are practicing all sorts of sounds. Sometimes you will spend a day rolling the mamamama’s and dadadada’s and lalala’s around in your mouth and other days you go right back to the familiar raspberries you have so mastered and forget about the new word-like sounds. Lately you’ve taken to this growling noise. Sometimes you growl when your diaper is wet, other times you growl before you get tired and sometimes you just growl because it’s a cool, new noise you’ve figured out how to make. You are moving your body into all sorts of positions, rolling over, scooting on your belly and sitting up on your own with assistance. Pretty soon you will be crawling away from Mama I’m sure. We love you so very much my baby girl. Keep smiling and singing those sleepy songs. We are very excited to see what tomorrow brings!

* I will be taking a picture every month for Ellie’s first year with her bunny and her Gramma-made t-shirt quilt.