Cinnamon Granola with Honey Roasted Almonds

My kids are addicted to carbs. Graham crackers, breakfast cereal, Goldfish, scones—if it crunches or tastes like a cookie, they want it. That’s why I’m so excited about this fantastic homemade cinnamon granola (with—bonus!—sweet honey roasted almonds, yum).

Hearty cinnamon granola with honey roasted almonds

This recipe comes compliments of our good friend Heidi Scott. I love the list of wholesome ingredients packed with protein and fiber, like wheat germ, whole oats, and ground flaxseed, plus natural sugars (honey and maple syrup). I even snagged a jar of locally produced honey at a farm stand a couple weeks ago just for this recipe, although, I confess I swallowed a few spoonfuls first just for fun. Every good chef taste-tests her ingredients, right? This rule is especially true when dealing with chocolate.


I hope you enjoy this homemade cinnamon granola as much as my family does. It’s delicious by the handful for snacking, mixed with dried fruit, sprinkled over yogurt or ice cream, or served with warm or cold milk and sliced fruit for breakfast. Yum!

Cinnamon Granola with Honey Roasted Almonds
For the granola
  1. 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  2. 3 c. oats
  3. 1 c. shredded coconut
  4. 1 c. wheat germ
  5. 1 c. ground flaxseed
  6. 2 T. cinnamon
  7. 1/2 c. water
  8. 3/4 c. coconut oil
  9. 1/2 c. honey
  10. 1/4 c. maple syrup
  11. 2 t. vanilla
  12. 1 t. salt
For the honey roasted almonds
  1. 1 c. sliced almonds
  2. 1/4 c. sugar
  3. 1/8 t. salt
  4. 2 T honey
  5. 2 T water
  6. 2 t. vegetable oil
To make the granola
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the flour, oats, coconut, wheat germ, flaxseed and cinnamon. In a small saucepan over low heat, mix water, coconut oil, honey, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until the coconut oil melts and everything is well blended. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Spread into two 15-inch jelly roll pans or cookie sheets and bake 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours (depending on whether you prefer your granola softer or crunchier) or until dry and golden brown. Stir with a spatula every 30 minutes and break up large pieces. Watch after 1 hour to prevent burning. Cool completely, then add the honey roasted almonds.
To make the honey roasted almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a large sheet of wax paper or parchment paper and lay it on the counter for later. Spread almonds onto a cookie sheet and bake 4 to 5 minutes or until fragrant and light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and salt; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine honey, water and oil. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the almonds and cook until the almonds have absorbed the liquid, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar mixture, remove from heat and immediately spread the almond mixture over the waxed paper. Allow to cool and break apart. Stir into the granola and store in an airtight container.
Haven Help Us

It’s a Carnival Around Here

My baby is no longer a baby. Where oh where did the last five years go? How do our kids grow up so fast?? [sniff sniff]


When I decided I will allow my youngest to turn 5 instead of being little forever, we figured we should get down to party planning. This year’s theme: a carnival party!

Carnival Party Header

If you’ve been reading over the past month, you’ll remember this post where I shared a picture from Pinterest of a popcorn bar. I’ve been just itching for a reason to host one. Well, everybody has popcorn at a carnival, right? I got to live out my dreams! Thank you, Delaney, for allowing Mommy to fulfill her popcorn bar needs through your birthday party.

Popcorn and birthday cake sounds a little heavy though, eh? How about ice cream!! Since we’re having a popcorn bar, let’s have an ice cream sundae bar, too. So that’s exactly what we did.

Here’s the party in pictures for you!

Carnival Party-3

Carnival Party-2

Carnival Party-4

We had regular popcorn along with caramel corn, M&M’s, pretzels and peanuts. Everyone got their own polka dot bag and made a personalized popcorn “mix.” They had great fun mixing and eating.

Carnival Party-1

Of course, we had to have pink lemonade to go with our popcorn!

While we were eating our popcorn, we attended the Carnival Dog Show! My sister was in town visiting with her dog, Oliver. Oliver has been taking agility classes and was a fabulous performer showing us how he could bow, weave through the poles, and jump the fence!

Carnival Party-5

Carnival Party-6

Carnival Party-7

After the dog show, we had a water balloon toss (and fight), which was the favorite part of the party for many! Sorry I don’t have any pictures of that. I was being attacked by water balloons and a friend was holding my camera for me!

Then it was present and birthday treat time. The wrapping paper was quickly tossed aside and fun games and baby dolls were the center of attention. While the kids looked the gifts over, I prepared a cup of ice cream for the birthday girl. We put a number 5 candle in the ice cream and sang happy birthday. Then it was sundae time! The kids (and adults) had a blast at the sundae bar. We had a variety of ice cream flavors, chocolate syrup, pretzel M&M’s, mint M&M’s, and waffle cone pieces for toppings.

Carnival Party-8

It was a really fun party and at only an hour and a half in length it was perfect for the little kids. It was super easy to plan and super easy to prepare the party food!

Have you had any parties lately? What was your theme? Did you have a popcorn bar??




Five Favorite Summer Reads

We’ve been reviewing lots of children’s books lately, but today this one is for the moms!

5 favorite summer readsHere’s a glimpse into what we’ve been reading, and we hope you’ll find something to enjoy among the mix as well.

1. A Million Little Ways // Emily Freeman
million little ways
A simple look at how everyone is an artist. No matter what you do, you were made to create art and give glory to God. That art could be homemaking, owning a business, or simply being the best wife or mother you can be. Love this encouraging book!

2. Start // Jon Acuff
I am in the midst of reading this book right now and love the encouragement it gives you to just go ahead and do what you should do. You will make excuses forever. This book is applicable on so many fronts. Go ahead and just START!

3. The Nesting Place // Myquillyn Smith
nesting place
Love. This. Book. It is such an encouragement to me as a very imperfect decorator that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. This book chronicles the journey and many houses of The Nester as she realizes she can’t keep waiting on the right house to settle into. She begins to embrace right where she’s at and makes each place a cozy home for her family. Lots of great decorating ideas, too!

4. You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream // Holley Gerth
Have some dreams and ideas floating around in your head? Do they seem impossible yet your heart really wants to pursue them? This book will be encouragement for your soul. Holley walks you through discovering your God-sized dreams and how to follow them.

5. 168 Hours—You Have More Time Than You Think // Laura Vanderkam
168 hours
This book was such an encouragement to me as I always feel like I’m running out of time, or there is never enough time to do what I need to get done each day. Laura will encourage you to keep track of exactly what it is you do each day. She has great ideas for maximizing your schedule and making good use of all 168 hours each week.

What are you reading this summer? Do tell!


We Are Sports Fanatics

This post is inspired by, a unique sporting apparel company committed to providing quality merchandise for all your sporting needs. We’re taking the “Family Fanatics” challenge by sharing reasons we enjoy sports as a family. Check out their huge selection at!

* * * * * * * *

I am 100% exhausted.

And I have a fancy wristband to prove it.

I have screamed my lungs out while being flung down a dark tunnel. I have shot baskets, clung to a giant snake, and willingly accepted standing beneath a 5,000 gallon bucket of water dumped on my head.

All in the name of fun with my family at a water park.

Fanatics Header

My legs are shaky, my fingers are pruney, but my heart is happy. There is nothing quite like enjoying good exercise and laughs with my favorite people. We wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, in my house we live for sports. Since our chief income-earner has a degree in Physical Education, we have always been very much into sports. Our favorites are football, hockey, track and field, soccer, and gymnastics. Whether as a coach or athlete, these sports have a special place in our lives.

As residents of the great state of Wisconsin, we are inherent die-hard Packers fans. Sundays mean jersey days. Our church pastor knows better than to give a long sermon during football season. Pull up some chairs, pop the popcorn, and get ready to yell at the television. Football is our game, and we love it!

From the football season, our family rolls right into pucks, sticks, and smelly equipment. We find ourselves voluntarily sitting on ice cold bleachers sipping lukewarm hot chocolate.

Flips, rolls, tucks and back hip circles are our vocabulary for most of the year. Gymnastics is a year-round sport. There is no off season. You have to continue practicing to keep your strength and endurance high. What better way to learn the meaning of the words perseverance and sportsmanship?

Sports are busy, no doubt. So how do we enjoy family time if we’re always running from one activity to another? We attend more sports!! My husband’s titles of coach and athletic director carry great responsibility. But they also provide many opportunities. Our family gets to attend high school athletic events and spend quality time together when my husband is working. We are thankful for the chance to enjoy family outings while at the same time earning money. The bonus? We get to cheer on our team, eat more popcorn, and enjoy a night out!

Soccer Shoes

As the soccer cleats come out for the first summer practice tomorrow night, we are thankful. Thankful that we have strong bodies and minds and can play organized sports. Thankful for our favorite teams we love to cheer for. Thankful for good role models to show our children the benefits of hard work and perseverance. But most of all—we’re thankful for sports. Whether cheering on the sidelines or in front of the television, memories are made as we all spend time together.

What about you? Does your family enjoy sporting activities? How do sports play a role in your quality family time? We’d love to hear about it!


Haven Round Up – July 17

It’s time for another Haven Project Round-Up! For today’s theme I decided to go with some inspiration for your walls since I just did my own abstract art. I have a little boy with a million and one toy cars, so one of these is especially inspiring for me! Enjoy!

Kids Artwork WallChildren’s Artwork Display Wall // Frogs and Snails and Puppydog Tail


Pattern wall

Top 10 DIY Ideas for a Blank Wall // Top Inspired


bath art

Bathroom Scrabble Wall Art // Etsy


tree art

Woodwork Coat Hanger // Craft Gossip


toy car art

Toy Car Wall Art // Etsy

 Did I mention I love the car art? What a creative idea!


Be the Fun Family: Progressive Park Dinner

This is seriously the most brilliant free outing I think I’ve ever heard of.

Parks are fun. Food is great. Why not combine the two? But this isn’t just another picnic at your local playground. This is a special kind of park outing.

Progressive Park Dinner

It’s super easy. Just pick any number of parks, visit each one, and have a different item to eat at each park! For instance, at your first stop you could eat some apple slices. At your second stop have carrot sticks. At the third playground have cheese and crackers. The point is to make it like a progressive dinner, only you’re not going to different houses. You are going to different parks.

Be sure to bring a blanket and some books along. Kids may be tired by the third park and would maybe rather sit on the blanket to read while enjoying their food item at this location. This just adds extra variety!

As a special way to finish off the meal, you could stop for ice cream cones on your way home.

Try this fun summer outing with your family!


Men are like squares. Women are like dots.

My husband and I were having a discussion the other night while doing various tasks in the kitchen. You see, I can handle approximately 5.34 activities at the same time. I can have a pot of water going while unloading the dishwasher while putting groceries away while heating something in the microwave while breaking up a disagreement in the next room over. My hard-working husband, on the other hand, usually does one thing at a time. So while I get all of those tasks completed, he has simply unloaded the top shelf of the dishwasher. And I’m completely fine with that. I mean, I didn’t have to unload those dishes, right? So it takes a bit longer. Big deal. We had a laughter-filled conversation about it and moved on with our lives.

Enter today’s project. I asked for help hanging  the new artwork I created over our bed. Sort of a follow-up, if you will, to our master bedroom makeover. As my husband is hanging the artwork, he suddenly announces, “OH! I get it. I see what you’re doing here. I get the squares picture on my side since I work in one “box” at a time. You get the dots because you’re, like, all over the place.”

Abstract Header

Never was that my intent, but I love the coincidence. And how funny that he would be the one to pick up on that. So there we have it: Men are like squares, women are like dots.

I had been wanting some nice big artwork over the bed, but wasn’t sure how to find what I was looking for. A couple of weeks ago, Michaels had a sale on their canvases. They were buy one get one, plus I had a coupon for 15% off everything! So I bought two of the largest size canvases I could find there (26×40).

Then I picked up some acrylic paints, and I was ready to do my own abstract art. Keep in mind I am not any type of painter, so I knew “abstract” art was the only way for me to go. I bought some new art paint brushes (nothing fancy) so I didn’t have any weird globs or glue clumps from old brushes that had already been used for various art projects.

For one of the canvases, I used “round daubers.”

Abstract Dauber

I’m sure that’s the technical term for them. I don’t know what to call them other than round sponge paint brushes. But I like the word daubers, so I’m going with it. Super simple. All I did was dump some little puddles of paint onto a tray and dip the daubers in and stamp them on the canvas.

Abstract Dots

I did six different colors—bright pink, fuchsia, green, shamrock green, pale blue, and gold. I wanted something to tie the green accents into the room a little more because I absolutely love the little bit of green we have going on now. Then I decided a few shades of pink would represent some nice bright flower colors, a little blue for the shade of sky, and then some gold for a little glitz. I painted one layer of all six colors, let it dry overnight, and painted another layer of all six colors the next day. For the second layer, I used a slightly smaller size dauber. I really wanted the picture to look filled in.

For the second canvas, I decided to create a more geometric look. I had some Scotch painter’s tape sitting around, so I taped off lines one direction and then the opposite direction to create a grid.

Abstract Tape

Abstract Taped Squares

I did all the lines without measuring or leveling or anything. Just went with what looked good to my eyes. Then I painted every sixth square the same color. I did one coat, let it dry overnight, and did a second coat.

Abstract Color Squares

When I pulled the tape up after the second coat, there were a few spots that needed repair with white paint, but they were minor. So overall I was really happy with how they turned out. Really large custom artwork for under $25 total. Love that!

So let’s see how they look on the wall!

Here’s before with just the blank planked wall.

Abstract Before Landscape

Abstract Before Portrait

And here’s the after with my new canvas art hung above the bed.

Abstract After Landscape

Abstract After Portrait

So here’s the deal. I’m not sure I love them as much as I hoped I would. This is where the frazzled and flawed part of this blog comes in to play. Good project? Bad project? I don’t know yet. I like the fun colors, but I’m not convinced it’s right for our bedroom. Maybe for our girls’ room? Weigh in with your thoughts!

Pretty sure from now on I won’t be able to look at them without thinking men are squares and women are dots, though. Artwork with character. Just what I wanted . . . but where?



Don’t Ever Apologize for Loving Your Kids

Proverbs 22:6

Crazy much?

Lots of women are—when it comes to our kids.

Last week I got a frazzled text from a friend, asking how many days a week my daughter’s preschool meets. Turns out the only options in her town are either five days a week or full days, neither of which is ideal for her family. So naturally our conversation led to preschool costs and socialization needs and basically all things preschool. I’m talking a good half hour of texts bouncing back and forth. Hey, there’s a lot to consider when you’re looking at releasing your baby into his first big fat scary school environment. Right?



She wondered, too. Because after we dissected every possible pro and con of this preschool versus that one, she thanked me for empathizing and wrote, “I feel foolish talking about it to anyone else.”

Foolish. Isn’t that sad? As if taking our parenting role seriously is something to hide. I suspect a lot of moms feel that way, including me, because other people and media and modern-day philosophies—even well-meaning veteran moms who’ve been there, done that and lived to see it all in perspective—tell us to.

Yes, sure, we don’t need to freak out over every little skinned knee or math assignment. But we shouldn’t neglect them, either.

Because God doesn’t tell us to do the best we can for our kids once they’re old enough to shave or go to college or buy a car. He tells us to nurture them every step of the way, so that when they are old, they will not turn from him. If you’re in the stage of babies or toddlers or school-age kids, then God isn’t asking you to guide your children through major decisions like college or marriage right now. He’s asking you to choose a preschool. Or a minivan. Or softball versus soccer. We ought to put loving, intentional, prayerful energy into all decisions, big and small, along this journey called their childhood.

Are you mulling over name-brand diapers versus store label? That matters.

Are potty training setbacks stressing you out? God cares, too.

Do your eyes leak just thinking about handing your child over to kindergarten, middle school or freshman year in the fall? Every tear is valid and visible to God.

Whether you’re training your kids to walk, bike, spell or fly, your loving attention to the details of each stage makes a difference in their lives. And their lives are, essentially, your job. Because you’re a mom.

A good one.

So if freaking out over preschool choices—or anything else that fits the stage you’re in—makes you a crazy, foolish woman, then I say GREAT. You are crazy.

Crazy about your kids.


We Don’t Want Your Stinking Glue Sticks Yet

I’m boycotting Walmart. And Target, Shopko, Walgreens, Toys R Us, plus that aisle in the grocery store that stocks the crayons. Not forever—just until August. Why? Because this week, I went shopping for half-price sparklers and found the shelves packed with school supplies.

We don't want your glue sticks yet

Back to school sales? Already? Please, let my kids have their summer! Let me have this summer—with my kids.

In less than two months, my baby starts preschool, and I’m having heart palpitations just thinking about it. I want to hold her ransom, splashing through the sprinkler and slurping popsicles like tomorrow will never come.

I didn’t always feel this way. There was a time when I wished ahead, longed for my girls to grow, to get past a rough stage, to sleep—oh glorious sleep! I reached toward the promise of easier days, and in so doing, I missed living the day I was given.

“This is the day the LORD has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it,” (Psalm 118:24).

Do you ever add words to that verse? Sure, Lord, I’ll rejoice and be glad—as soon as the baby is sleeping through the night.

After those teeth poke through.

When she can hold her own spoon.

Once tantrums are a thing of the past.

Then soon enough, they are. But so are four, five, six years of beautiful childhood, which we’ll never get back. I want to learn the art of living in the moment before it’s too late. Before my girls wave goodbye from a college parking lot—at their sappy mother whose heart will burst into a sobbing mess as soon as our empty minivan turns the corner.

This is the day the LORD has made—yes, even this one. So I will rejoice and be glad in it.

All of it.

The laughter and the tantrums, the sticky fingers and the bubble baths, the bickering and blanket fort camping in the playroom.

I’m done wishing my life away. Let me have my summer, store people. Your pencils and glue sticks can wait. This family is still on popsicle time.


Edible Marshmallow Painting

My kids are in a craft class with our local park and rec. I have learned not to expect too much from these summer “classes” or I walk away greatly disappointed. But I figured why not since this class was a minor cost, and if it flopped there was really no harm done.

This past week we indeed had a major flop. As I sat there with my children trying to help them paint their marshmallows with a watery, runny mess, I determined we were going to try this again at home. We were going to do it better. We were going to be successful , and the project was going to turn out the right way darnitall.

So I took the original recipe from craft class, made my own alterations, and here it is so you, too, can have a successful, fun project. And you don’t even have to pay me a registration fee. It’s just ‘cause I love ya.

Marshmallow Header

  1. Gather the following supplies: marshmallows (either large or those giant campfire variety), one can of sweetened condensed milk, cornstarch, food coloring, paintbrushes (fresh, clean ones), toothpicks, skewers (optional), and something to mix the various colors in. You can also put sprinkles on if you want, totally optional.

Marshmallow - Supplies

  1. Prepare your work surface. Since you’ll be using food coloring, I recommend putting aluminum foil down or working on a cookie sheet. Use something to protect your counters, especially if they’re a light color. I also gave each child a foam tray to use as both a work surface and a housing place for their marshmallows when they were done decorating.

Marshmallow - Foil

  1. Gather your dishes or paint pots to hold your various colors. I went to Michael’s craft store and bought these empty strips of paint pots. They sell them in packages of two and are well worth the money for this project. Small paper cups work great, too!

Marshmallow - Paint Pots

  1. Mix your “paint.” Pour your sweetened condensed milk into a bowl and add some cornstarch. I didn’t measure anything. Just poured and stirred and poured and stirred. I wanted a thicker consistency than just using the milk. This was the main problem at craft class. We used straight sweetened condensed milk. I don’t recommend that route. It runs right off the marshmallows.

Marshmallow - Ingredients

Mix and keep adding cornstarch until it’s about the consistency of egg whites or a little less. Just so it’s not so runny.

Marshmallow - Mixture

  1. Divvy (is that a word?) up the mixture between your dishes/cups/pots, and add a few drops of food coloring to create your various colors. Mix well. Toothpicks work really well for mixing the colors if you are working with a small amount.

Marshmallow - Red Pot

Marshmallow - Colors

  1. Paint! Now is the time to have fun and let the creativity roll. The great part – it’s all edible! You can eat as you go or let the marshmallows dry and save them as special rewards for later. The skewers and toothpicks work great as little “poles” to hold the marshmallows while decorating. Feel free to try the hold-them-in-your-fingers method, but be prepared for a sticky mess. Both the paintbrushes and the toothpicks work well for painting.

Marshmallow - Skewer

Marshmallow - Delaney

Marshmallow - Eden

Marshmallow - Carter

Also, let me tell you a few added tricks we learned not to do.

Don’t use a bowl of water for rinsing out your paint brush between colors.

The paint colors will get very runny and everything will start to be a watery, slippery mess running off the marshmallows. This is what happened at craft class. There was just sloppy paint water on the marshmallows by the end of the class time. My recommendations – have a separate toothpick or paintbrush for each color or keep a wet paper towel on hand to wipe your brushes in between colors. This worked much better.

Don’t do this project outside.

The wind picks up and it’s all over. Everything goes flying everywhere. We dealt with this a couple of times at our craft class. Did I mention it is outdoors at a park?

Don’t set big bowls of various colors in the middle of the table and expect everyone to get along.

Everyone needs their own little set of colors. One can of the sweetened condensed milk is plenty to give at least five kids their own colors. It really goes a long way, and you don’t use much on each marshmallow.

When all is said and done, it’s an easy clean-up and your kids are in awe that they painted something they can actually eat!

Marshmallow - Finished - 1

Marshmallow - Finished - 2

Have a blast!




Linking up with Block Party, Inspiration Monday, Monday Funday, Made by You Mondays, Tutorials and Tips Link Party, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Pour Your Heart Out, Work it Wednesday, Grace at Home, Thriving Thursday, Thrive at Home Thursday, Feature Friday Link Palooza, Super Saturday, Creative Collection, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff, Skip the Housework.

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