Coconut Chia Seed Granola Recipe

While technically speaking it’s still summer, September always feels like fall to me. It also serves as reset. Back to routine, back to meal planning & prepping and back to eating healthy (you don’t want to know how much ice cream we ate this summer).

I’ve always found the easiest way to make healthy eating choices is to have convenient, easy options available. Meal prepping some things like muffins, overnight oats and granola makes it so much easier when the kids tell me they’re hungry at 6:30 am.

Homemade granola is so easy to make, and there’s so many ways to customize it. For me it’s great, because I’m allergic to almonds, and most pre-packaged granola has almonds in it. Most of the time I just use whatever ingredients I have on hand like dried fruit, nuts and seeds. You can also control the type and how much sweetener you use. I like using honey most of the time.

Once it’s made you can just munch on it on its own, with milk or our favourite way—on top of organic vanilla yogurt with fresh berries.

All of the ingredients I used to make this granola were found using local grocery delivery service Spud.ca. They make it easy to find locally-sourced, organic, healthy ingredients to feed my family…and deliver it to my door! If you’re wanting to try Spud for yourself (do it, it’s the best lol) use the code CREDM-SOCALE for $20 off your first order.

Coconut Chia Seed Granola Recipe

Yields: Jar of Granola

You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup coconut strips
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cacao nibs
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, chia seeds, coconut flakes & strips and pinch of salt.
  3. Place the coconut oil and honey in small bowl and melt together in the microwave, then stir to combine and sand add vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are well coated. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
  5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and pile the granola into a heap on one half of the pan and compress. This will make nice, big clusters. Allow to cool completely and then break into chunks.
  6. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! As I said it’s easy to adapt based on what you have or like. Add in almonds or cashews, use maple syrup instead of honey. Make it your own!

Happy {almost} fall!

Alex

Boozy Lucky Charms Milkshake

It probably shows my age that all I can think to write right now is “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like, it’s better than yours, damn right, it’s better than yours.” I’ve got to say though, the addition of booze to a mint chocolate chip milkshake probably does make mine better than yours. It’s magically delicious!

You didn’t think Holly and I could let a fun holiday pass without making a themed cocktail did you? This one is a double whammy for all the moms out there too, because you get to be the hero that makes your kiddos an adorable, fun St. Patrick’s Day milkshake along with a delicious boozy one for yourself. Win, win!

To make our recipe kid-friendly, all you have to do is eliminate the Bailey’s. To avoid having to wash your blender in between batches, I’d suggest blending together everything except the Baileys, poring some into a glass for the kids’ then adding the Baileys and giving it a quick mix for the adult version. We poured the kids’ into these adorable mason jar shot glasses (as if our 3 year olds need more than that 😂). They were soooo excited when we showed them the final product. This would be a perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at home as a family.

Boozy Lucky Charms Milkshake

Yields 1 drink

You’ll Need:

Directions:

In a blender, combine Baileys, ice cream, milk, vanilla and ice cubes. Blend until silky, adding  in a tad extra milk – or Baileys, lol – if it’s too thick. Serve in an old-school milkshake glass for extra points, top with whipped cream and Lucky Charms marshmallows and enjoy!

Hope you enjoy this decadent St. Patrick’s Day treat. Since it looks like we’ll all be celebrating the holiday at home this year, this is the perfect fun treat for the whole family. If you whip this up this year be sure to tag a picture of it on Instagram!

Sláinte!Holly (@chandeliers.and.champagne) and Alex (@alexandtribe)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls

As a busy mom, finding time to eat healthy can sometimes be a challenge. If things are crazy (and let’s face it, with a one and three year old at home, it usually is) I tend to reach for the easiest thing to eat–bagel, store-bought muffin, chips or other junky items.

That’s why I like to try my best to have healthy, grab-and-go snacks available that fuel my body with nutrients so I can keep up with my crazy brood.

I love eating energy balls either first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee, or right after a workout to refuel my body. These energy balls have just enough sweetness in them too to help satisfy any sweet cravings I may have throughout the day.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Yields: 20 energy balls

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chocolate protein powder – I used Aura Complete Protein
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Add all of your ingredients except chocolate chips to a food processor or high powered blender. Once everything is mixed together stir in chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and place in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 20 minutes for the balls to set.

Hope you enjoy this healthy snack!

Alex

Tips for weaning from breastfeeding

Writing this post is bittersweet for me. I’ve officially completely weaned Austin off of breastfeeding at 19 months old.

The time was right for me; I’ve been pregnant and/or breastfeeding since 2015 with no break. That’s about 4.5 years now that my body hasn’t been my own. So, while I’m happy to be able to enjoy a cocktail whenever I want, use skincare products without reading the label and to take the good cold meds when I’m sick, it’s still sad to close the chapter on this phase of my life.

Weaning Austin was definitely a bit more difficult than weaning Colton. My guess is it’s because I went back to work after Colton turned one, so he had that separation from me. Austin is a Stage 5-Clinger with pretty much no separation from me in his short little life, haha.

So, without further adieu, here’s how to wean your baby in 100 steps or less:

1. The first thing I did was to stop breastfeeding on demand. I fed both my babies on demand. It was for me as much as it was for them. Fussy baby? Boob. Hurt yourself? Boob. Overtired? Boob. This was the hardest step of weaning for me. Instead of feeding on demand I cut Austin down to feeding when he woke up, before both naps and before bed. It was sooo hard for me to not nurse when Austin was fussy for no reason or to use it as a crutch when he got hurt.

2. After about a month we moved onto phase two of our weaning journey, which was to quit nursing before naps. This step pissed Austin off; oh man did we struggle with this step. For nearly two weeks Austin barely napped. He’d just sit and cry in his crib until I caved and went to get him. Eventually he accepted his new normal and his naps went back normal.

3. The next step I took was to drop our morning feed. This step was pretty easy for us; Austin didn’t seem to be phased too much by it. The only downside to dropping this feed was that sometimes I would feed Austin in bed and he’d fall back asleep for another hour. I miss that, haha.

4. Finally, our fourth and final step—kicking that bedtime feed. I held out on this one for awhile. Partially because I wasn’t quite ready to be 100% done and partially because I don’t think Austin was quite ready. In the end, I used a 3-night girls trip as the final push to kick the feed. I don’t think Austin was even getting much milk in the end, which I think helped this step go smooth. When I came home I just didn’t offer to breastfeed Austin again, and he didn’t ask.

And there you have it, the end to my breastfeeding journey. All in all, we probably spent about 6 months weaning. I wanted to take my time on each step to try and make it as easy as possible for a Austin.

Hope this helps if you’re starting the process of weaning your baby. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

Alex

My top 10 books for toddlers

A love of reading is something that I really want to instill in my children. I loved to read growing up, and it’s something I love to do with the boys now.

There are so many great books out there but here are 10 that we’re always reaching for:

1. The Velveteen Rabbit. We’ve got both the toddler board book version and the beautiful 1922 facsimile version of this book. I’ve always loved this story of a toy bunny loved so much he becomes real.

2. The Very Cranky Bear. This is such a cute book with great illustrations about a cranky bear and a simple gesture from a thoughtful friend.

3. Little Blue Truck. A fun book full of farm animal sounds and a lesson about the value of friendship and treating others well.

4. The Gruffalo. This is one of Colton’s favourite books right now; pretty sure I can almost recite it from memory. It’s a rhyming story about a quick-witted mouse and hungry monster. Quick tip for anyone with Amazon Prime, they have a short Gruffalo movie on there, not great quality in my opinion, but Colton loves it!

5. Where the Wild Things Are. This is a classic and beautifully illustrated. Colton dressed up as Max from this book for Halloween two years ago and I almost died he looked so cute!

6. Garbage Delight. I love everything written by Dennis Lee, who’s been dubbed Canada’s Father Goose. They’re all fun books, Alligator Pie is on high rotation in our house too.

7. The Kissing Hand. This is a really cute book, especially if you have a little one starting preschool or kindergarten soon. It’s about a mama’s kiss always staying with you, and in your heart.

8. The Three Little Pigs. This is another favourite of Colton’s. He loves to tell this story to his friends, and he’s so animated while he does it!

9. Sheep in a Jeep. A fun little book full of repetition and rhyming, and I’ve never met a toddler who doesn’t like repetition.

10. Finding Winnie. I love this book, it’s Canadian and the true story about the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. This is a book I love to give as a gift.

What are your favourite books for toddlers? I’m always on the lookout for a new one! I’ll be doing a post about my favourite books for babies too, so stay tuned for that.

12 tips for travelling with a baby and a toddler

I’ve travelled quite a bit with the kids since they’ve been born. I think Colton was on like 15 flights before he was 2.5 years old and Austin 8 flights before he was 6 months old, so I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about simplifying trips with kids in tow.

Here’s 12 of my top tips for international trips with a baby and a toddler.

  1. Bring the double stroller. Now obviously this does slightly depend on the type of trip you’re taking, but so far, I’ve never regretted taking my Baby Jogger City Select double stroller. I debated it so much before we went to Europe, trying to decide if I should buy a smaller, lighter stroller and just let the boys take turns riding in it, but in the end, I brought it and it was a life saver so many times. Both boys napped in it at the airport during layovers. It also contained Colton at the airport which we needed for our sanity lol. It was also 100% necessary to have both kids in the stroller in cities like London and Rome. They are so big, with so many people; and we did so much walking, so it was a relief to be able to have the kids comfortable and contained. It was interesting getting it around on the tube in London though…of course none of the stations we used had an elevator. We made it work though!
  2. Bring a baby carrier. I brought two different carriers with me (I’ve got quite a few different ones haha). I brought a semi-structured one, the Phil and Teds Airlight carrier which is great for travel because it folds up super small and barely takes up any room in your suitcase (as opposed to my Ergo 360) and it also has a mesh fabric to keep you and baby cooler. I also brought my Wildbird Ring Sling, which I love when I need to put the baby up quickly or for shorter periods of time. It also takes up very little room and I always kept it on me in my diaper bag.
  3. Find accommodations that have crib or pack n’ play rentals. Let’s face it, as much as you try to pack light it’s not easy with kids. You’ve got a couple suitcases, a couple kids, a big stroller, a diaper bag…the last thing you need is another thing to carry. So, my advice is to book hotels or Airbnb’s that have cribs or pack n’ plays available for you. If it doesn’t mention it in the listing description contact the property, I’ve found that they’ll usually find a way to get you one.
  4. Bring your iPad and load it up with shows. Obviously, I don’t love being the mom who hands her kid an iPad, but on a trip, anything goes in my opinion. We download a bunch of Netflix shows for Colton before a flight and let him watch it as long as he wants. This didn’t really work until he was over 2 years old. We tried using the iPad on a flight when he was 18 months old, but he had no real interest. It’s also handy to have when you’re in a drastically different time zone. Helps to have something to watch at 1 a.m. when you’re all wide awake.
  5. Snacks, snacks and more snacks. For any kid over 6 months old, snacks can help kill time on the plane. I always bring a wide variety of both healthy options and treats. Food that takes longer to eat is always a win too, like a lollipop. You should also pack some snacks in your suitcase for when you get to your destination. We didn’t get to our Rome Airbnb until after midnight local time, after about 24 hours of travelling. We were so grateful to have some food tucked away in our suitcase for our grumpy two-year-old.
  6. Don’t over plan your days. In the past when I’ve travelled, I’ve always loved to plan a super full itinerary. I love seeing as much as I can and doing as much as I can when I travel. This is not the case when I travel with my kids. Trust me, Europe was very different this time around than when I’ve travelled there in the past. Slow and easy days, without timelines are the way to go. I find having to be somewhere at a specific time way more stressful. You never know if someone is going to sleep bad the night before, fall and scrape a knee, have an epic meltdown for no reason or need an early nap. Just plan to go with the flow as much as possible and see what you can see. Everyone will be happier for it.
  7. Plan stuff for you and the kids. I feel like a holiday with a nice mix of activities for the adults and kids is the way to go. Trust me, no kid is going to enjoy being toted around to museums and fancy restaurants all day, everyday. In Arizona for example we went hiking for us, but to the zoo for Colton. In Italy, we went to the Colosseum for us, but to a farm with animals for Colton. Honestly, seeing your kids happy and having fun is as fun as it gets. Most cities have pretty cool children’s museums, or zoos, or aquariums. If your kids are a bit older, give them a couple options to research and then let them pick what they want to do!
  8. Buy diapers and wipes there. Have you packed diapers and wipes for a trip yet? I have and they take up so much luggage space. And that was just with one child. Now that I have two, I literally have no room to pack that kind of stuff for them. Unless you’re in the middle of nowhere you’ll be able to find diapers and wipes when you’re travelling. Pack enough to get you through your first day or two and then buy the rest when you’re there. I like to look up the nearest supermarket before I get there so I’m not stressed about running out and having to find them.
  9. Backpack diaper bag. I find this style of diaper bag so much easier for travelling. When you’re travelling you usually have more stuff with you than normal. Some toys to keep the kids entertained, drinks, snacks, cameras etc. This style of bag is just easier to tote around, especially if you have to wear your baby in a carrier at some point. I have the Freshly Picked one and I love it because its stylish and not too big. I’ll be using it for travel long after it’s served its purpose as my diaper bag.
  10. Stroller lines at airport. Ok, this is the best part of travelling with small kids in tow. When you have your stroller you almost always get put into a priority lane at airports. Keep your eye out for a sign mentioning stroller lanes or look for a security guard, they’ll usually direct you towards one. There’s been times where I swear, we’ve avoided an hour-long line up at security. Finally, your kids are good for something 😉.
  11. Get Airbnb’s not hotels. I’ve done both hotels and Airbnb’s with kids and I can say with total confidence that Airbnb’s are way easier during the baby and toddler stage. Hotels are too noisy and too small. We put Colton in the bathroom in his crib once when we stayed at the Fairmont in Scottsdale and while that helped, we still had to whisper, and it didn’t prevent noisy people in the halls from waking him up. Airbnb’s with separate rooms for the kids mean that after you put them to bed you still get to stay up and enjoy yourself without tiptoeing around. There’s also more room for the kids to run and play, and kitchens to make some of your own meals and snacks, which I feel like is necessary with kids.  
  12. Mindset. This one is huge and probably the most important item to remember if you want to enjoy travelling with a baby and toddler. Keep a positive mindset. Dreading a flight puts you on edge before you’re even on a plane. Stressing about the what if’s make it so that you can’t enjoy the now. No doubt travelling with kids is hard, and totally different that travelling without, but if you accept that and keep a positive mindset, you’ll enjoy yourself so much more. Your baby is going to cry at some point on the plane. Your toddler will meltdown at a restaurant. So what, it happens. Your kids are also going to have all new experiences, meet new people, see different cultures. They’ll learn and grow, and you’ll get a totally great bonding experience as a family. The pros so outweigh the cons.

Hope you found some of my tips useful for your upcoming trips. Leave a comment if you have any questions or if you have any tips of your own. Happy travels!

The last firsts

Being a mom is such a mixed bag of emotions isn’t it? On one hand there’s nothing more rewarding than watching this little human you created grow up, learn things, reach new milestones and develop into an actual person. On the other hand, it’s almost heartbreaking having to watch them grow up. To wake up another day older, every single day.

From the moment you see two pink lines on that little stick your life becomes full of exciting and momentous firsts. The first time you hear that tiny little heartbeat, or see his button nose on an ultrasound or feel him kick. His first time crawling, walking or talking. The first year is such a wild ride.

I’m one of those people who absolutely loved the newborn and baby stage with my boys. I lived for the snuggles and lazy days of them sleeping on my chest and having their needs so easily met. You’re crying? Here’s a boob, problem solved! Ha! I wish I could have a newborn for a couple weeks a year every year, but I guess it doesn’t work like that. Has anyone seen those Huggies commercials with the moms and their newborns in the hospital? Oh man, they get me every time!

Austin is very likely our last baby and with him just about to turn one, I’m just over here, feeling sad for myself that I’m never going to get those firsts again. That first moment when you meet your baby and the doctor places him on your chest. The first time their teeny, tiny little hand reaches out and grabs your finger or strokes your cheek. The first smile or laugh or coo. Those moments are just so, so good.

I know there’s still going to be lots of first ahead of us…and I’m sure those will be just as exciting, but there’s just something about first birthdays isn’t there? Boy do they have a way of making you emotional about your baby growing up. The baby stage is just so short in the grand scheme of life.

So, for now, I’m going to pour myself a big ol’ glass of wine, scroll through baby photos and mourn the end of the baby phase. That saying ‘babies don’t keep’ sure feels true tonight.