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It’s been a while now since Maiya has mastered her ABC’s, and of course I am just getting around to posting a video. Poor W,X,Y,and Z-they only get to be in the song about every other time she sings it. I couldn’t decide which video I liked better, so you get both!

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I’m a big fan of the changing seasons. Fall is my favorite. Cooler weather, changing leaves, apple pies, cider and donuts, pumpkin spice everything. ¬†Staying in on a gloomy day and baking is just what you do in fall. In my mind it’s required. Unfortunately for my mind, I live in a place where there is 300 days of sunshine. Have I ever mentioned how backwards I am? I LOVE gloomy days, and cold snowy days, and cool rainy days. In fact I am convinced that this state is giving me reverse seasonal depression. It has been 89 degrees the past two days. And that makes me SO ANGRY! I just want to wear pants and drink hot tea and bake things with pumpkin spice flavors. I know, poor, poor, baby. For now, I have found my compromise: making granola only requires the oven to be on for 15 minutes and if I do it at 10 pm, we won’t all melt!

I changed the original recipe a bit. Made it a little easier, cheaper, and now it’s Vegan! I didn’t have pecans, but I think it needs a nut for some more crunch. This granola gets clumpy, but it is not crunchy like the other recipe I use.

Happy Baking ūüôā

Pumpkin Spice Granola

4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas!)

1 Cup Pecans (or whatever nut you fancy)

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seeds

1/2 Cup Maple Syrup

1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon each of Cloves, Allspice, and Cardamon

or

Pumpkin Pie Spice , from the store or make your own

1. Preheat Oven to 350

2. In a 9×13 pan: Combine Oats, Flax seed, Pumpkin Seeds

3. In a small saucepan, over medium heat: combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and spices

4. Stir constantly, bringing to a boil

5. Remove from heat and add to dry ingredients, mixing completely

6. Bake for 15 minutes

7. Cool on a wire rack, store in an airtight container

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Here is a link to the original recipe:

http://www.thenheathersaid.com/2010/09/13/granola-is-not-scary/

Lac Lamond

We haven’t done much off-roading this summer, but today made up for it. We took a challenging, very rocky trail in the mountains that lead to a lake with a waterfall at about 11,00 feet. There is actually a lake above that waterfall also. Amazing to think that all of the water in this lake is snowmelt.

Here is a link to more pictures from our drive today.

IMG_9471

The older Mason gets, the less I think about milestones. I’ve stopped stalking parenting books and websites checking off lists of milestones he hit and agonizing over when he will make a “raspberry sound” or what the hell that should sound like. (Apparently that wasn’t his thing.) After a while I loosened up and let the kid be and next thing you know it and the milestones get more serious. He has had some pretty big ones lately and one REALLY big one coming up.

Last month Mason earned his orange belt in taekwondo and started a new school. He is only in half day Pre-K this year, but he goes to a K-8 “big kid” school and eats lunch at school. The lunch thing is a big deal! Especially now that I have to pack his lunch!

Today Mason did his second taekwondo tournament. The last tournament was pretty early on and Mason kinda twirled in a circle and yelled Ah! Last night when I asked him to practice his poomse he screwed around and made me wonder what he had in store for the next day. So today when he actually did his four-directional punch poomse I was a proud Mom! That sneaky kid acts like a goof, but he knows what he is doing! I wish you could see his face in the video when he is talking to the judges because he looked to confident and so much older. Which brings me to his next milestone. My baby will be 5 next month! That screaming little baby that we were terrified of is about to be a confident, smart, hilarious, and loving 5 year old. I just want to keep him home and hug him because in the blink of an eye he’s gonna be asking to drive the truck to prom. No dating until you are 30! You can drive when you are 45.

 

We ¬†generally like to avoid people and major goings ons during holiday weekends. This year we changed it up a bit with a STAYCATION! Are the news stations still using that word? Because I LOVE it! Isn’t it just the greatest when the news takes something that people already do and coins a cute little word for it and then uses that word so much that it must immediately be added to the urban dictionary?

“What are you doing for the holiday weekend?”

“Oh, you know, stick close to home, spend time with the kids.” ¬†or in Newspeak ¬†“We’re having a STAYCATION!”

Friday and Saturday we had a garage sale. Yes that did involve people coming to see us, but the key is they gave us MONEY! It is such a great feeling to clear our all of the junk from your house and end up with a clean house and some petty cash to spend.

Friday night, Clint went on a brewery tour in Denver with his friend. If you enjoy beer on any level you would love Denver. I however do not enjoy beer. While the boys were out we had pizza and wine (juice boxes too!) and ice cream sundaes. Now that is my kind of night! We also had the honor of introducing Mason’s best friend to Star Wars.

Intense focus

Sunday we ¬†packed a picnic and took a drive into the mountains. Somehow we made a wrong turn and ended up in Tiny Town. How could we pass it up? It’s WORLD FAMOUS!

Big Ford, Little Ford

Babyzilla!

Let me tell you, if it wasn’t for the ridiculous level of excitement from the kids I would be seriously upset about the $16 it costs me. Well the kids loved it and it ended with a playground. When you are a kid, what could be better? So yes, it was worth it.

Eventually we ended up on Guanella Pass at about 12,000 feet sourounded by almost 14er mountains. Kinda makes you feel small. And a little lightheaded-damn altitude.

Patches of snow that never melt

I got this mountain!

lack of oxygen happy smile

Best part of the weekend was Sunday when we had ICE CREAM FOR DINNER! We headed over to Sweet Action in Denver and experienced ice cream nirvana. Maiya got Milk Chocolate, Mason got crazy and got a sugar cone with Brown Sugar Banana ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. Holy cow! That ice cream was like the summer version of the best homemade banana bread your Grandma ever made. I got peanut butter ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels. Clint got the winner. Stranahans Whiskey Brickle in a warm waffle cone. I don’t know who Clint thinks he is, but he got the fresh off the press hot waffle cone. I don’t know what the urban dictionary defines as a staycation, but mine always starts and ends with ice cream.

More pics here

I’ve been in sort of a blog funk. Hahahahhahahahahahah! Blog funk! Yes, it’s the little things that crack me up. We went on a two week family camping trip through the midwest staying mostly in Northern Minnesota and Michigan. I had so many plans for blog posts and updates along the way. ¬†So what happened? I wrote a journal. Pen and paper! No electronic record of Maiya pooping in the woods or the kids catching their first fish with Grandma and Grandpa Ford. (Well ok, we took a lot of pictures.) And I’ll tell you what, I love sharing our goofy life with all of you, but it felt so good to be unplugged. And then we got back and when we aren’t busy with school and taekwondo, the kids have been like this:

(warning: if you have kids or old people sleeping near you, TURN THE VOLUME DOWN)