Painting with NanaPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

Over the past few months, our hospice nurses have encouraged us to use this time with our mom to make memories. One of the ideas was to prop Mason up on Nana’s bed and have them do finger painting together. We all fell in love with this idea immediately.

I want Mason to have these memories with his Nana, whether he remembers them or not, he’ll at least have the evidence in the photos and up on the wall. We now have a nice little collection of their art, which I’d love to hang in the kids future playroom or maybe just around the house so everyone can enjoy them.

 

 

My mom, Linda Baker use to be the President of Art with Heart, a non-profit dedicated to support the emotional well-being of children that have been affected through hardship by using creativity and therapeutic books to help heal.

There’s something so beautiful and also magical about creating art. There’s no rules, boundaries or expectations. To watch the two of them get paint in between their fingers as they smeared it over the canvas, they couldn’t help but smile. Then mace would gather paint in his hands and clap until paint went everywhere causing us all to laugh.

This was a healing for all of us.

Mason also loved sharing the paint with his Nana. He’d transfer some off the canvas and then try and wipe it into the palm of my mom’s hands. He was very focused as you can tell in the first photo and the one right below here.

She loved every minute of it.

 

 

I had bought more canvases just a few days before my mom’s health took a turn. I was devastated at the thought they couldn’t do another finger painting. A few days later she came back to us with a whole new energy and awareness. She was getting emotional about Mason so I asked if she was up for another art project. Her face lite up and said that would be wonderful. The photo above is from their time together this past weekend.

 

 

I highly recommend this activity to those who may be losing a loved one or doing this before there’s even the thought of loss.

Here’s what you’ll need and what to do -

Supplies:

  • 2 large bedsheets – 1 that you don’t mind cutting a hole out of
  • Selection of washable finger paints – we bought our at Michaels
  • Canvases – we did various sizes, also bought at Michaels

What to do:

If someone is in a hospital or any sort of bed, you’ll want to make sure they’re fully covered. We took an old but large bed sheet and fold it in half, lengthwise, then cut a small hole in the top. You can also fold over the top and cut a half circle so when you unfold, you’ll have a full circle. With the sheet still doubled up (extra protection), it’s easy to slip it over the person’s head. We then took another bed sheet and draped it over the rest of her body.

Depending on the age of the child, it’s usually best to just strip them down to their diaper or maybe a onsie.

I picked out just a few paint colors and put them directly on the canvas (one canvas at a time) and let them mix them together.

When finished, put the canvases in a safe place to dry. One person takes the kiddo straight to the bath and someone else cleans off the adult and remove the sheets that will go directly into the wash.

That’s it!

 

 

We also did my mom’s handprints, one for each kiddo. We’ll put mason’s and the new baby’s handprint next to their Nana’s. I’m so happy we have these beautiful pieces to hang on our walls.

Again, I highly recommend this.

 

 

 

 

Potato and Sausage Hash with Baked EggsPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

My husband and I use to cook together, maybe once a week. Of course, that was pre-kid(s) and pre living at my parents. We’d either pick a recipe or think of something that we had somewhere and then recreate it. It was our time together, creating, sharing and reconnecting.

It’s been over a year since we’ve made a meal together.

But, we changed that on Sunday. A little late, but better than never. We definitely needed it.

With this pregnancy, I want to put sausage in everything. Tomato soup, pasta, eggs, with rice and veggies, etc. And preferably spicy sausage. Before my 1st pregnancy, I don’t think I ever ate it. Yeah, thank goodness for pregnancy.

My other weird thing, I love combining my food. I told Ben what sounded really good and then he helped put it all together. When I say helped, I mean prepared the whole thing… He’s the breakfast expert, and I do dinner. We make a good team.

This is one of my favorite breakfast combinations. We always have leftover yukon potatoes that were cooked the night before – Dad always buys at least 2 extra. He has since I was a kid - so this is a perfect way to avoid waste. Any kind of bell pepper would work, it add a nice crunch and it’s always good to “sneak” in the veggies. If you want more good-for-you, healthy stuff, you could probably add spinach to this as well. The combination of pepperoncinis and the creole seasoning, there’s some nice zip to the dish. If you don’t like spicy, then back off the creole seasoning and maybe skip the pepperoncinis. Then the baked eggs in the middle of all that deliciousness is the topper. Breakfast for dinner, maybe?

Here’s to many more cooking adventures!

 

 

 

Potato and Sausage Hash with Baked Eggs

PRINT Recipe

Serves about 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large Yukon potatoes
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon creole seasoning – add more for more spice or less seasoning for less spice
  • 4 uncooked sausages, casing removed – I went with spicy
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pepperoncinis, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • salt + pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large oven safe pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and sprinkle creole seasoning. Move potatoes around until all the potatoes are covered.  Note: depending on your spice preference, you can add more creole seasoning. I like a lot. 

In a separate pan, over medium heat, cook the sausage until cooked through.

When the potatoes are soft (finished cooking), add the sausage to the pan. Using the same pan the sausage was in (don’t clean it, yet!), add the bell pepper and pepperoncinis and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to the potatoes and sausage and mix together.

Make four little indents and crack one egg at a time and place in the center of the indentation.

Place the pan into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the eggs are almost (but not quite) cooked. It’s okay for them to still be running. They’re the best that way!

Remove, sprinkle with chives, salt and pepper (if needed), serve and enjoy!

 

*gluten-free *dairy-free

 

 

 

We’ve got more news…Print Recipe Print Recipe

 

I know, I’m still in shock myself.

But it’s really happening. I’m <almost 14 weeks> pregnant with baby #2, due September 7th.

It has taken me about a week to write this. I am excited, really, but my life is so crazy, the last thing we “planned” to do was bring another child into this family. Yes, we always wanted a second, but thought we’d try once everything settled at home and Mason was a little bit older. I honestly didn’t think there was room on my plate, but apparently the universe had a different plan. Full life circle literally happening under one roof. Pretty unbelievable when I think about it.

Truthfully, I’m scared.

I’m scared that we’ll lose my mom (or possibly this baby) over the next 6 months. I’m sad that she won’t be in the hospital room with my husband when this child is born like she was with Mason. I’m both scared and sad that I’m about to be a mother of two children <under the age of 2> and won’t have my mom there to comfort me or give me advice. Just to clarify, I’m not assuming my mom won’t be with us, but mentally (due to the tumor), she’s not able to communicate, except for a handful of (basic) words or even have the strength or ability to get out of her hospital bed. You can find more info/updates, here

Deep down though, I’m really happy and incredibly grateful for this baby.

I’ve always believed, and still do that there are no accidents. We tried for what feels like forever to get pregnant with Mason. We said he was our miracle baby. Now, finding out we’re expecting number two in the middle of grieving, you could also consider that a miracle. I believe there’s a bigger reason for this baby. It’ll be a gift and he or she will likely be a piece of my mother.

 

 

Now for the pregnancy details.

This feels like a completely different pregnancy than my first. I feel great. There have been a few mornings that I’ve struggled, but once I get a piece of toast down, I’m good. I still have a good appetite. I can still eat salads and vegetables, but CRAVE any and every kind of fruit. I’m pretty sure I ate an entire cantaloupe the other day and if I had another, I’d eat it right now. What’s also different is I’m SUPER emotional. I drove by a car accident and started crying my eyes out. My sister will walk in the room after a commercial and I’ll have tears running down my face. It’s kind of obnoxious, but we’re all getting use to my continuous tears. Then as expected, I’m tired and suffer from baby brain, but can’t complain. My co-workers might though… sorry guys, just 6 more months.

I’m happy to be pregnant. Growing a little human being and the bond between mother and child that forms is something I really can’t put words to. Even during my difficult pregnancy with Mason, I fell in love with his every kick, hiccup and wiggle that happened. I’m anxious to do the same with this little bean.

Thank you for joining me in this crazy adventure that we call life. I’m thankful for all of you!

Now, any recommendations for double strollers, thoughts on two kids sharing a room (when we move out), and any good maternity work clothes? Ready, go!

 

My sweet family. Likely the last professional family photo before we’re a family of four.

 

All of these photos were taken by the talented Catherine Abegg // Calima Portraits. She’s A M A Z I N G.

 

 

 

Cranberry Almond Granola | Gluten-freePrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

This Cranberry Almond Granola and our Greek yogurt supply is ridiculous. It puts all store-bought gluten-free granola (that I’ve tried) to shame. You can’t beat homemade. I’m going to stop trying.

Every. single. morning my mom has her Greek yogurt with granola. It’s the one thing she’ll also eat, as in all gone. That’s kinda huge. During the weekend, Mason steals my yogurt and granola each morning. Ben is also on a granola kick, in between his overnight oats… He’s on some kind of health kick. He’s riding solo there. Basically, we’re all boring and have a slight addiction with yogurt and granola. End of story.

Hold on. It also makes great gifts, like thank you for watching my son. I probably should get baking because I definitely owe a handful of people after this past week. This kid better have the BEST immune system when he’s older.

This <now family favorite> recipe is from Lori, The Recipe Girl Cookbook. I highly recommend it to families who are either new to gluten-free or have a family with different dietary needs. There’s TONS of recipes that include gluten-free, vegetarian or dairy-free adaptions – easily identified with symbols. It’s brilliant. It also includes themed menus for entertaining and great party food recipes. Okay, I’ll stop, but it’s fabulous and have never been disappointed!

Try the granola for yourself and you’ll be sold. My job is done here, folks.

 

 

Cranberry Almond Granola | Gluten-free

Recipe from The Recipe Girl Cookbook

PRINT Recipe

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole (or slivered) almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, toss together the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, flaxseeds, cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then stir. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the oats have turned golden brown. Note: Once you put the oats back in for the second time, keep a close eye to avoid burning. Remove from the oven, stir in the dried cranberries and let granola cool to room temperature.

When the granola has completely cooled, scoop it into a covered / airtight container where it will stay fresh for up  to 2 weeks.

 

*gluten-free *dairy-free