What a difference a year makes – Preschool, year 2

This past week Ava began her second year attending Waldorf preschool. I still don’t know where we’re going to send her for kindergarten next year, but we were so pleased with the Waldorf-inspired in-home preschool we found (thanks to some friends) last year, we decided to continue with it this year. In comparing pictures from the two years, it was amazing to me to see how much Ava has grown and changed. Oh, and Julian too!

2007:                                              2008:
Ava’s first day of preschool 2007 - Age 3 Ava’s first day of preschool 2007 - Age 3Ava’s first day of preschool 2008 - Age 4 Ava, age 4
Ava took a caterpillar she had made the day before as a gift for her teacher.

Julian didn’t accompany us to drop Ava off on her first day this year, but he and I walked to pick her up after school (something I hope to keep up with regularly, walking, that is), so I took some pics of the two of them after we arrived back home.
2007:                  2008:
Ava’s first day of preschool 2007 - Ava, 3; Julian 9 months Ava’s first day of preschool 2008 - Ava, age 4; Julian, 21 months
Ava, age 4; Julian, age 21 months

I think my pick for My Best Shot is the last picture of Ava and Jules together. See what everyone else’s best shots were over at Mother May I.

Best Granola Recipe Ever

So maybe I’m biased and maybe I haven’t really tried all that many granola recipes, but that’s only because I LOVE this one, so why should I bother with others? ;oP

The Best Granola EverI’ve been making this granola recipe for at least a year now, though I’ve taken the summer months off because I didn’t want to heat up the house. Now that it’s cooled off here in Colorado (at least for now), I’ve been craving the granola again, so while Julian napped one day this past week, Ava and I made a big batch.

I actually got my recipe from USA Weekend, but I’ve experimented with ingredients and tweaked it here and there, doubled the recipe (since my family always eats it up in no time flat) and made it my own.

Here’s what I now call the…
Best Granola Ever.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. oil, vegetable or canola
2 Tbs. water
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbs. molasses
4 Tbs. maple syrup
(Or you can just use 1/2 cup of maple syrup and omit the molasses)

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup wheat germ
4 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. ground flaxseed
2/3 cup coconut
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds (sunflower seeds can be substituted)
2/3 cup almonds (chopped or whole)

Adjust oven racks to middle positions. Preheat to 275 degrees. Coat two metal cookie sheets with cooking spray or oil and set aside.

Bring oil, syrup, molasses, cinnamon, water to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat.

Mix oats through almonds in a large bowl. Pour oil/maple syrup mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine.

Pour mixture onto two prepared cookie sheets. Working a handful at a time, squeeze granola to form small clumps.

Bake for 30 minutes. Stir and continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.

Let cool. Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

Makes (roughly) 2 quarts.

===========================================

And if you’re looking for a great granola BAR recipe, try this one I wrote about a couple years ago. ;)