recipe: apple berry breakfast bars

This is a recipe that you can really make your own. I will list what I used for our breakfast bars, but the berries, seeds, and butter are completely your choice! It is also a wholly vegan recipe, unless you choose butter or margarine that has dairy in it. Really, it’s just a delicious and quick alternative to a more traditional breakfast- perfect for those busy mornings when you need to grab something on the go.

Apple Berry Breakfast Bars

Makes 12 squares

Ingredients:

(For the filling:)
2 cups apples, any kind, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup berries, any kind (I used Saskatoon berries)

(For the bottom and topping:)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cup large flake oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp seeds, any kind (I used Super Seeds by Blue Menu which included sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine (I used vegan), more to grease
Pinch of salt

Steps:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft and ingredients are well-combined, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium-sized bowl, add the brown sugar, oats, flour, seeds, remaining cinnamon, butter, and salt. Mix until it’s all blended together.

3. Pour half of the crumble into a well-greased, square baking dish. Press down until even and flat. Then add the filling, distributing evenly as well. Spread the berries on top. Finally, top evenly with the remaining crumble mixture. Place in oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container. 

Emory

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acreage renovation: remy’s own room


A few weeks ago, I had mentioned that Remy and Wilder now have their own rooms.

Since January 2020, we have made the unfinished guest room into a finished guest room and now into Remy’s own room. These are the changes that we made in order to do so.

We removed the armoire, rugs, plant, and pictures from the wall. In the armoire’s place we put her tent and twinkle lights from Grandma. The throw pillows are from Amazon. (I still need to buy her an alphabet rug for the tent.)

In the previous plant’s corner now sits her desk which has a daily rotation of toys- from barns to Barbies.

I wanted the wall hangings to match and to be a lighter oak colour, so where did I go? To the dollar store, of course! I do need to broaden my search one of these days, but I just love a good deal! ;-)))

Remy has always had a high shelf near the door in her bedrooms. I am not sure why, but it has sort of become her “thing.” I have always put meaningful items on this shelf. This room was no different. The pictures are from last year’s trip to British Columbia, the dolls she had since she was a baby, and the “be you” sign was one that I bought a few ago. As always, we bought a pine shelf and brackets from Home Depot.

I also hung her little collection of shells from BC. She put her few Calico Critters inside and Ty Beanie Babies on top.

Honestly, that was pretty much it! We kept the antique bed and dresser in the room because she liked how big they were. We also switched out the rugs, bringing back the one that was originally in her bedroom. I don’t think that it really cost us anything to change it from a guest room to a little girl’s room. Remy is so much happier having a place of her own, and we are happy for her.

Emory

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kidney march 2020

Today would have been Bridget’s 32nd birthday.

This year, my amazing mother-in-law is taking part in the Kidney March in honour of her daughter. She will be walking 100 km to raise awareness about kidney disease and organ donation. Kidney disease claims thousands of Canadian lives every year, and there is no cure. Fundraising for such a cause is extremely important to so many people and their families.

If you happen to have an extra $5 to spare (or more!) and would like to donate to the Kidney March, you can follow the link to my mother-in-law’s page. Thanks friends.

Happy birthday, B. We love you.

Emory

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acreage renovation: culverts

This is just one of the outdoor projects that we have worked on this summer.

At the front of our property are two culverts. They were overgrown with grass and had a mess of rocks of all sizes underneath.

They were almost impossible to keep nicely landscaped. We couldn’t mow the culverts because of the rocks, and we couldn’t easily expose the rocks because there was just far too much grass and weeds. Because it was one of the first things that visitors and neighbours would see, I felt like they were a negative introduction into an otherwise tidy yard and house. Something needed to change.

While my husband worked on a fire pit project, I decided that these two culverts would be my project. I began by digging up the grass with a shovel in order to expose the gravel underneath.

Once the grass was gone, I had around 6” of gravel to deal with. I removed nearly all of it, bucket by bucket, and spread it in other much-needed area on our property. Removing the grass and gravel alone took two days for each culvert. It was exhausting work.

Eventually, the ground had only a fine layer of gravel left. This I kept for drainage. I laid down plastic sheets in order to prevent unwanted grass and weeds from regrowing on the culverts. After covering a desired area, it was finally time for dirt.

As Geoff was excavating yards and yards of earth from the fire pit area, I asked him if he could leave it on the trailer until I was ready for it. He gladly agreed as he wasn’t sure as to where he would even put such large quantities. He ended up dumping four trailer loads of dirt onto the culverts. Spreading it evenly took another few hours, but I had help from two willing children who found it so fun to stomp on dirt mounds.

I took our wagon and went to my favourite rock pile just behind our property. There I gathered large rocks and small boulders and dragged them home. It took a few trips, but those, in addition to what I removed while digging up the grass, provided more than enough for the aesthetic aspect.

I did end up purchasing two wagon wheels from one of my favourite liquidation stores in Saskatoon. I had always wanted wagon wheels but had never really had an opportunity to use some. Lining the driveway with them provided me my first chance. I just love them!

I thought I had completed the project until a few weeks had passed and I noticed that weeds had started growing everywhere on the dirt. I spent an entire morning trying to weed the culverts but to no avail. I knew that I now needed to cover the dirt mounds with something- either gravel or mulch. I figured that mulch would be the quickest and least expensive of the two, and would still be really nice. Geoff purchased ten bags of mulch for me, and I set about spreading it. It was very easy, and smelled heavenly.

This project was a lot of fun to undertake. If you don’t like the way your culverts look, I highly suggest landscaping them!

Emory

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acreage renovation: wilder’s own room

This post could also be titled “turning a girl’s bedroom into a shared room and back into a boy’s room.” All within 6 months. Whew.

It all began here, when we made-over Remy’s room. We loved the results and they loved sharing a bedroom for the first time. Then just before the coronavirus hit, they both became extremely ill with pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, fevers, the flu, allergic reactions to medicine, and more. From January until March, it was two solid months of them being just so incredibly sick. As a result, Remy slept in our bed with me, and Wilder slept in their room with Geoff. We wanted to separate them at night so that they would stop passing their germs back and forth.

That was during the beginning stage of their room sharing. It was then that I was starting to doubt our decision to join their bedrooms. I thought, will I have to separate them each time they catch a cold or get sick? Then came COVID.

Aside from preschool and gymnastics ending, having to stay home 24/7 was not a big change for us. I already stay and work part-time from home. Having a four- and one-year-old meant that they also pretty much stayed home all of the time. Luckily, the weather was becoming nicer so we were able to spend more time outdoors. When we weren’t, we were playing inside. That’s when their fighting began.

Remy is still getting used to having to share her toys as Wilder is only now becoming interested in them. They are so close, loving, and gentle with one another, until it comes to toy-sharing. She was often playing in their room with her toys, and he would come in and grab them. Then she would get mad, tell him to leave, and close the door so he couldn’t get in. He would stand outside the door and bang on it. Because we couldn’t leave the house, it was driving Geoff and I insane. There were only so many times that we could break up the fights over toys, explaining to her that it is nice to share and that he has to be gentler with objects. Finally, and having a newly renovated guest bedroom, we decided to temporarily move her toys in there. That way, she could play in peace in a room by herself, and he could do the same in his.

It worked. They went back to not fighting at all, and our sanity was once again restored. Then Remy asked if she could sleep in the “big bed” at night. We agreed. One night turned into two, then three. Everything was going so smoothly that we quickly decided to make it a permanent move. The new guest bedroom would become her room, and their shared bedroom would become Wilder’s own room. We have not looked back since.

This is what Wilder’s bedroom now looks like. We did not have to modify much in order to turn it into a little boy’s room. We changed the rug, I purchased different curtains, and switched out the toys.

I also moved the crib from one wall to the other and hung his photos above the crib. I did end up buying a “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” sign, wood picture frames, and a shelf that I saw at the dollar store (of all places). The former is one of his favourite songs.

I put the little IKEA chair that was in the basement in his room, hung his “Wanted” poster that we got in BC, and made him a reading nook in the corner. He loves to read. The faux leather pillow I purchased here.

Finally, we bought him a pine shelf to replace the barn wood shelf that was originally in the room. It all suits him so well!

This parenting thing, you learn as you go along. Right?

Emory

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