Hello from the midwest, where we’re in the midst of a crazy non-winter weather phenomenon.
Our city is a confused bunch of sneezy people, consistently over- or under-dressed because who the heck knows what our day will bring. Not snow, that’s for sure. We’ve had not one day of sledding. Our trees are blooming, daffodils are sprung. All signs point to Spring…and there’s a forecast of snow for Saturday.
We just dress in layers.
Plus we’ve been too busy to worry about temperatures.
First off, the kids decided to ditch gymnastics for swimming lessons at Little Fishes Swim School, and in just a few weeks both were moved up a level. Even Finn, technically too young for the next class, graduated from “toddler lessons” to ones that don’t include me…it’s just teachers and students.
I’m not even sad.
Other new activities were soccer and chess lessons. This month we’re testing out Kidzxplor, which is basically a membership program that let’s us try out a bunch of things without committing our busy lives to them. Finn loved his Kickaroo’s class at Vetta Soccer, and I loved that it didn’t involve me signing up for a session of 10 classes.
Ethan loves chess and we thought a private lesson at the fabulous Chess Club and Scholastic Center would be fun. It was! He loved his teacher and couldn’t wait to get home to show dad his new moves. If you aren’t sure what your kid is into, or just have commitment-phobia like me, check out Kidzxplor…they just added a new pricing structure to meet any budget. I love the variety of classes, short notice sign-ups, and easy cancellations if your schedule changes (not like that ever happens, ha).
Sunday was spent participating in an amazing new St. Louis organization called We Stories. The moment I heard the owners Adelaide and Laura featured on St. Louis Public radio, I knew we had to be involved. We Stories wants to help parents communicate with their small children, ages 0-7, about race and racism by providing resources and a community of like-minded families. For generations there’s been an idea that if we just don’t talk about our differences, having “color blindness”, everyone will be ok and see each other as equals. Now we know the opposite is true, we need to make a concerted effort to bring up the topics of race with our kids, talk about skin color and cultures. It’s something we’ve made a effort to do with our kids, especially Ethan since he’s at an age where he understands oh so many huge concepts. It’s hard and uncomfortable at times, but so important. And there’s clearly plenty of families interested in participating in this community because in 15 months We Stories has enrolled over 450 families, that’s like 800 kids, in their program. We’re so excited to be involved!!
At the We Stories launch event we were given a tote bag full of children’s books specifically tailored to our boys’ wide age range. So far, we love reading Ron’s Big Mission and People with Ethan, while Finn has enjoyed Happy in Our Skin and is pretty enamored with Squeak, Rumble, Whomp Whomp Whomp…you have to be in a good mood to read that one since it’s full of sounds…made by you. Finn’s also very taken with Please, Baby, Please, a book with the sweetest illustrations and a story that speaks directly to his age group.
A sad part of our weekend involved a tough decision. For weeks our sweet Buff Orpington, Georgina, has been mercilessly tortured by our other chickens. She wasn’t allowed to perch at night, even when we added another perch, and couldn’t be in the vicinity of the others without being attacked. So we took her to the farm…no we really did…where she will hopefully have a better life with her original hatch-mates. Tears were shed. Over a chicken. Who knew?
As if he didn’t have enough gaps, Ethan lost yet another tooth. If he loses anymore, we’ll need to start pureeing his food. At least he’s symmetrical now!
And we went temporarily insane, deciding to take Finn to his first theater movie because we couldn’t wait another minute to see the Batman Lego Movie. Ethan was SO excited, especially when I presented his Lego Batman t-shirt (via H&M, had that in my back pocket for weeks). We are huge fans of the original Lego Movie and this one did not disappoint. It is hilarious and the plot is actually really good! Finn was a champ, eating popcorn, drinking water, playing with the reclining seat, and, finally, snuggling his blanket which we’d brought as an emergency intervention.
So that’s what’s been going on around here. Stu’s in town this week, yay!! And every day just feels one step closer to Spring Break…
Homemade granola bars, who has the time?
Ok I’m not trying to be “super healthy mommy” here. Never do I shy away from a snack bag filled to the brim with Cheddar-Blast Goldfish, it is a food group around these parts.
But every now and then I have a mini freak out thinking about how I love to cook and should probably be making homemade confections for my darling children. Don’t they deserve delicious oatmeal and coconut oil creations for their tiny bodies?
Before you gag, know the recipe I’m about to share takes exactly 30 minutes from start to finish, and that includes 22 minutes of baking time. Kids like them because they have chocolate chips, parents like them because they have healthy stuff. Be that mom who pulls a Tupperware container full of homemade goodness out of your diaper bag, impress your friends with your homemaker-ness. These delicious bars have been proven to actually cancel out whole handfuls of goldfish with whole wheat flour and applesauce sweetener, I swear.
Ethan LOVES these bars, announcing the other day, “Mom, these bars wouldn’t really be that good without the chocolate chips, but with the chocolate chips they are REALLY good.” Sweet. Have another one.
So after many trials, reducing oil and sugar, testing on my friends (and their children), I’ve got a treat to share that will please kids and parents alike for on-the-go snacking pleasure. I always use my favorite chocolate, Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips, which are a treat in and of themselves.
Try them and tell me what you think!
Healthy Kid Friendly Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
Adapted from a recipe by Halfbakedharvest.com
Get a printer-friendly version here
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
2.5 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips, preferably Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
**For an extra fun candy crunch sub M&Ms for the chocolate chips!
Preheat oven to 350 and grease or line with foil a 9 x 13 baking dish. Mix all ingredients but chocolate chips in your stand mixer. Just throw them all in together and stir. Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips and mix 20 seconds more. Spread evenly in pan, sprinkling remaining chocolate chips on top, and bake for 20 min, then check. If they are “jiggly”, give ’em another minute or two. Mine usually take exactly 22 minutes. You may be tempted to dig in, but these taste best when completely cooled. I keep mine in an airtight container for up to five days…though they probably won’t last that long.
Makes 12 good sized square bars, 285 calories each. (I like to make mine smaller, getting 24 snack size bars out of a batch.)