Homemade & Healthy Granola Bars

I finally found a granola bar recipe I like! These are great to send with Leo to work for the day and I LOVE granola bars, too. This recipe is healthier and more budget-friendly than buying the store-bought bars.

After I cut the bars, I store them in sandwich bags, 2 bars per bag, and pack with lunches... or just eat myself :) I'm going to store a couple in my Camelbak on Saturday's long run!

Homemade & Healthy Granola Bars

  • 4 cups quick oats
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Optional: add shredded coconut and a dash of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F and spread oats on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake oats for 15 minutes, stir, and allow to cool to room temperature. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl and add cooled oats. Spread the mixture into greased 9x13" baking sheet and press down to compact.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars.
There are probably a million granola bar recipes out there - this one has been my favorite so far!
What is your favorite granola recipe?

A Humble Bumble

Never Regrets

Everyone has regrets and usually our regrets are what get all of the attention. On this week, I was thinking of turning the tables on that thought - what do you never regret?

Life can get so busy if we don't stop and just live in the moment and savor each second God has blessed us with. A lot of things have been going on lately and I'm trying to enjoy it all, yet not be overwhelmed. Check out the photo party below to see a few highlights!

My Never Regrets

1. Starting out the day with God's Word and prayer. I'm not always the champion of starting out my day with God, but I definitely notice a difference when I DO! Now that I'm staying at home, Eli and I have a chance to not hurry-scurry in the mornings. He sits with me (or naps) while I read the Bible to him and we pray together.

2. Spending time with family. I love spending time with both of my guys! Time together as a family can be hard to come by at times, so we try to make the best of the time we do have together. And, of course, we love hanging out with the rest of our family and friends, too! Leo's family is spread out all over the country and it's extra special when we can get together with them.

3. Exercising. I could probably count on one hand the times that I've regretted working out. Usually it's situational - I'm sick, injured and shouldn't be working out anyways, or I overdid it and my body is hurting worse than it should. Besides that, I always feel better and have MORE energy post-workout (even if it is only 6 a.m. when I get back home)!

What are some of your "never regrets"?

It's harvest time! This photo is from an article written by a
local farming newspaper about Leo and the farm he works for.

Marathon Training: Week 9

Marathon training is going fine, but I'm thinking this may be my last "full" marathon for a while. I just may run my first half marathon next spring! I absolutely love running the 26.2, but sometimes the long Saturday runs become more of a burden than a joy - especially the runs over 15 miles... like tomorrow... where I'm scheduled to run 18 to 20 miles. Think positive, think positive! It's only 20 miles, not 100, right?

I hope that God blesses me with the health to run marathons later in life! But, as for this season of life, I'm going to stick to shorter distance races and try to speed up. Anyways, I have plenty of room for improvement in the speed department. Maybe my new goals could be a 5k or 10k PR? Running a half will be fun; I skipped that part in my running journey so now I'll learn what it's all about!

Running Recap

M - 6 mile run with jogger and Eli.

T - Very hot 4 mile run with jogger and Eli in our soon-to-be new hometown...

W - 6 mile speed interval run with jogger and Eli.

H - House painting for cross training! Painting the ceiling with rollers burns my arms :s Looks like someone needs more strength training.

F - 6 mile tempo run with jogger and Eli.

Sat - 30-Second Shred DVD (L1)

Sun - TBD. Scheduled 18 to 20 miles for long run.

Total Mileage - TBD. Estimating ~40 miles.

This Week's Naptime Circuit

Joyful Healthy Eats

Titus 2 Priorities

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure., to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5
I was reading in Titus this morning and the verses really spoke to me about my purpose and priorities as a wife and mother. God is so awesome because His truth isn't sugar-coated, like our society would like it to be. Living a godly lifestyle is counter-cultural and it will rub people the wrong way, but who would you rather offend, man or God?

God's purpose for a woman is so completely different than the world's. As a new stay-at-home mom, I'm learning how much I actually valued having my career. This life change has taught me so much about the world's influence on me and I'm very thankful God has blessed me with the ability to leave my career to serve my family and raise our son. Staying at home requires sacrifices, but I wouldn't want it any other way now. The world may say that I'm "wasting my education" by staying at home with my son, but there is nothing further from God's Truth than that! Training little warriors for Christ is no waste of intelligence.

Each day, God is teaching me that life isn't about me, my career, or always having what I want! There is nothing more fulfilling than living in line with God's purpose for me as a Christian woman, wife, and mother. I struggle each time God asks me to take a step of faith and leave my comfort zone, but growth only occurs when I'm out of my comfort zone and God has never left me in the past. And He never will!

Priorities for Christian Women

1. Love your husband and children.

2. Be self-controlled and pure.

3. Be busy at home.

4. Be kind.

5. Be subject to your husband.

What has God been teaching you this week?

Graced Simplicity

Grow Your Blog

Dancing, Cloth Diapers, & Color Swatches

We had a great weekend up north and I even had my dancing partner for the wedding on Saturday night! Leo's boss let him off early and I looooove dancing with him. Mr. E had plenty of people oogling over him and grandma and grandpa were more than happy to cuddle him while Leo and I danced. My siblings and sibling-in-laws are dancing machines, so it was a great time and definitely a workout! We were all exhausted and sweaty by the end of the night...

Mr. E trying to sneak some of mom's food.

It's a wedding, of course, they played the "Cupid Shuffle"!

After a night of dancing with my best friend :)

House Painting & Color Swatches

Master Bedroom Colors
I mentioned that I would share our paint color swatches, so are couple to start! The colors are a bit bold, but I wanted to try something fun. Who knows, maybe in 10 years I'll wonder what on earth I was thinking. My mom, E, and I are going back for more painting tomorrow. A new paint job makes such a difference; it's starting to feel more like home now!

E loves his exersaucer and it keeps him entertained and out of the rooms where we're painting! I found it at a rummage sale for $3. Woop woop! Baby rummage sales ROCK.

Eli's exersaucer - the best $3 investment ever!

What's been your best rummage sale find?

First Week in Cloth Diapers!

A family friend gave me a whole stash of BumGenius 4.0 cloth diapers to use and all is going well so far!

Cloth diapering has been intimidating initally, but now that I'm trying it myself, it's not so bad.

Do you use cloth diapers or are you interested in trying them?

My New Cloth Diaper Stash!

Running Recap - continued from last week

M - 6 mile run with jogging stroller

T - 4 mile easy run with the jogger part time and then with a friend's dog.

W - 6.25 mile tempo interval run.

H - 4 mile easy run with jogger

F - 6 mile tempo run with jogger

S - 16 mile long run in 2:18 at 8:37/mile. I wasn't feeling overly enthusiastic about this run; I'm thinking it was because I overdid the mileage earlier in the week. My body is NOT used to running 40+ miles a week anymore and I can't say it's necessary to marathon training at my level. I'm just a "fun runner" not a pro, so I probably won't be running 40+ mile weeks regularly!

Total Mileage - 42.25 miles

Painting, Books, and Running (of course)

It's been a great week of being home with Eli and spending time with Leo as much as possible. My mom has been helping immensely with painting and clean-up at our soon-to-be new home. I can't write much for now, but will finish up when the weekend is over. Eli and I are off to my homeland for my cousin's wedding. Leo won't be joining us because harvest is now up and running. I do miss him when the army and farming both take him away so often, but it could be worse and I do appreciate him working so hard to support little man and me!

Painting our "new" house is going really well and I LOVE color swatches. I will share the color swatches next week!

New Read

One of my sister-in-laws sent me the book "1/2 Price Living" by Ellie Kay. I read only a paragraph today, but am hoping to get through this book soon! It's full of great information for living on one income. I'll fill you in on the tips I learn in this book!

Have you heard of this book before? What are you reading lately?

Running Recap

M - 6 mile run with jogging stroller and Eli.

T - 4 mile easy run with the jogger part time and then with a friend's dog.

W - 6.25 mile tempo interval run.

H - 4 mile easy run with jogger and Eli.

F - 6 mile tempo run with jogger and Eli.

S - To be determined...

Total Mileage - To be determined...

So Long, Comfort Zone!

Today is my first official day working for the new corporation! I’m now a full-time mom working for the most important corporation on earth: the family.

I'm feeling a whole mix of emotions - excited, nervous to begin this new season of life, and saddened with society’s view of the importance of motherhood. When asked about the decision to leave my office job, I have felt like I needed to justify why I would leave my career to raise our baby (and hopefully future babies). In my response to questions and comments about staying at home, I can't be defensive or prideful but I do need to be honest and unapologetic. I left my career to raise our baby and I'm definitely not ashamed of that!

Time for a Heart Check

Becoming a stay-at-home mom has been a heart check for me. When my husband first brought up the idea of me staying at home, I wasn't really interested. I had been at my job for a little over 3 years and I was comfortable. Leo prayed for my heart to change and, wow, did God do a number on me! I was really stressed out about being at home with Eli in the beginning of my maternity leave, but at the end of the three months, I didn't want to leave him and return to work.

Just because my heart has changed, that doesn't mean I haven't had my doubts. When word spread that I was going to be a full-time mom, there was a lot of push-back from other people. Don't get me wrong, there were others who supported our decision and that has meant SO much to Leo and I! Yeah, yeah, yeah... the opinions of others aren't supposed to matter... but I'm a "people pleaser" by nature, so it's been a struggle at times.

Every day, I'm reminding myself to focus on God and His Truth and it's helping me combat my people pleasing tendencies. Society doesn't think very highly of babies or motherhood, so the general population isn't going to be speaking words of affirmation any time soon!

Keeping an Eternal Perspective

I'm learning that it's all about perspective; taking care of my family is more eternally valuable than any other job on the face of this planet. On the tough days, when I question our decision for me to stay at home, I want to remember this; anyone can design and code HTML for a corporation, but there is only one person in this world who can be “mommy” to my son and that would be me. As of yesterday, I no longer have my unnecessarily lengthy email signature, no more paychecks to bring in, and my 401k won't be growing; all that good stuff that the world uses to determine how “valuable” I am as a woman. Staying at home will require sacrifices, but I guess you can't always have your cake and eat it, too! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24

Having "stuff" is fun, but it has no eternal value. We are called to raise our children and train them according to God’s Word and their precious souls are SO eternally valuable! A few years ago, I would have laughed if you told me I would be a stay-at-home mom but my change of heart is a huge sign of God’s grace at work in my life. The way I'm thinking of it is, if I die tomorrow, I am confident that I spent my time wisely and invested in our child and family.

No regrets.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

When has God asked you to step out of your comfort zone?

Suggested Read: Growing Home Blog: The Cost of Being A Stay-At-Home Mom

New Idea: Naptime Circuit Training

Also, something new I'm going to include in my posts is the weekly "Naptime Circuit Training" workout. My running is relatively consistent because I get up to run before the guys wake up or I take Eli with me in the jogger, but strength training doesn't happen as often as it should.

These workouts are quick but potentially challenging workouts that are easy to squeeze in during nap time :) Or, if your kids don't have a naptime, maybe they could try the workout with you! (maybe wishful thinking?)

Running Recap

M - Off. My cross-training was sharing tummy time with Eli and making a homemade fiesta chicken pizza!

T - 6 mile AM run with stride intervals.

W - Push-mowed the lawn and went out on a date with Leo for his birthday :)

H - 6 mile AM tempo run

F - 4 mile jogging stroller run with Eli.

S - 12 mile long run with the jogging stroller and Eli in 1:48, averaging 9:01/mile. Eli's farthest run yet!

Total Mileage: 28 miles

Guest Post at "Beauty Through Imperfection"

Today, a post I wrote called "Mommy Guilt" is featured on the blog "Beauty Through Imperfection".
Here's a snippet from the post: Mommy Guilt – Confessions of an Imperfect Mother #31 
"When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby, we were ecstatic and nervous about becoming new parents. Pregnancy is such a blessing and is something to be celebrated; it’s a miracle that God blessed women with a body that can grow babies!
Like many new moms-to-be, I dreamt of the perfect pregnancy, the smooth delivery of our sweet baby into this world, and a normal birth story. The thought of our baby making an early arrival hadn’t even crossed my mind." ... 
Click here to read the entire post!

Thank you for including me in your "Confessions of an Imperfect Mother" series, Paula!

5 Months

I can’t believe it’s been five months since our little man was born. Now I know why parents always make statements like, “It seems like just yesterday…” I’m turning into one of those parents!

Trying out the jumper
Eli is full of smiles and giggles these days. He's crazy ticklish just like his daddy! He's teething now and has been a bit cranky and is usually covered in drool or snot. Each month, Eli continues to reveal more of his personality and I love it!

Baby Thoughts

My friend Elizabeth recommended that I watch “The Business of Being Born” before our baby was born. It shows a different perspective from the typical “childbirth class” that my husband and I attended. If you have a chance, give it a watch!

Eli’s birth went really well, but I wish I would have done more research on medical procedures beforehand. When I asked the doctor during the delivery if I really needed an episiotomy and if I really needed to have the post-delivery Pitocin, I was told I did because it’s “standard procedure”.  These interventions are necessary in certain situations, but Eli’s delivery went smoothly and they were not needed. At least now I will truly understand our options for future babies, if God blesses us with them.

I find it ironic that a simple pair of jeans is manufactured in different sizes, lengths, and styles to adjust for women’s unique bodies, yet for childbirth, we are all supposed to fit in the “standard” procedures.

Have you watched "The Business of Being Born"?
Do you have any baby- or birth-related videos to recommend?

Marathon Training: Week 6

Running went well this week, but the long run today was a bit interesting. (Warning: Breastfeeding TMI up ahead) I woke up this morning with an extremely sore left side due to a clogged duct, but it feels like the whole side is clogged! Ouch. I pumped and took my time eating breakfast beforehand to avoid having a lack of carbs to metabolize again and hopefully avoid getting full-fledged mastitis, too.

I was a bit lazy and decided to sleep in with Leo and Eli, so I ran the 14-miler in the peak heat of the day. Brilliant! I was a hot mess during the run but did have plenty of hydration in my camel back. My stomach just wasn't having a good time feeling very hungry and queasy.

On a positive note, I did complete the 14-miler! One observation I made was that I know my body is probably overheating when I look down at the ground and everything is moving like quicksand. Lesson learned? Get your tail out of bed and run in the morning. And bring food with.

What kind of running mistakes have you made lately, if any?

Harvesting the garden! We have wayyy too many beets.

Running Recap

M – Off. Showed house three times!

T – 6 mile run with strides.

W – 4 mile easy jogging stroller run with Eli.

H – Off. Went to a barbeque with Leo and Eli at Leo's boss' place.
F – 6 mile tempo run with intervals.

Sat – 14 mile long run in 1:57:54 at 8:25/mile. I guess it's been so long since I was last training for a marathon that I forgot how important fueling is for longer runs; woops. I had plenty of hydration, but I was SO hungry! Fortunately, I found an old GU in my camel back leftover from training in September 2012. Maybe that's gross, but it did the trick :)

Total Mileage: 30 miles

This post is linked up with Babies & Beyond!


Post-Run Ammonia Scent? And, Meet My Running Coach!

I have had some major ammonia going on during and after my long runs lately (TMI?). Leo informed me that it is NOT a pleasant smell and I guess I would agree.

Have you ever noticed a nasty ammonia smell after a hard run?

Here’s a little geek-out session on metabolism by-products:
Ammonia is actually a by-product of protein metabolism. When you run hard and long and your body lacks adequate carbohydrates, your body burns protein for fuel. When this is burned, the distinctive ammonia smell presents itself afterward.

The fact that ammonia is produced on every run doesn’t mean the smell is always noticeable afterward. Usually, the smell is only present when there is the carb deficit. This increases the ammonia levels in your muscles and then the ammonia is picked up by your blood and carried to your respiratory system. When this occurs, you can usually smell it. In addition, some of the ammonia will show up in your sweat.

Normally, the smell isn’t anything to worry about. But if it persists run after run, you probably aren’t taking in enough carbohydrates. If you emphasize carbohydrates before, during and after running and the ammonia smell is still around, you should get checked out by a physician. (Source: RunTex)

Key Take-Aways:

1. Ammonia scent is caused by protein metabolism.

2. It’s usually not something to freak out about.

3. Add more (healthy) carbs to your diet.

Just woke up from his running nap!
Contrary to the average American diet rules, I need to get me some carbs!

My Running Coach

And, to the right, we have my running coach. He’s a pretty tough dude. In that picture, he covered four miles with a smile on his face and without even breaking a sweat.

Have you ever worked with or considered working with an “actual” running coach? Who or what motivates you to stay active?