Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Thinking


Yesterday I texted a friend last-minute to see if she could watch Matthew for half an hour (I was helping out in Luke's classroom) because my original plans had fallen through. She was super sweet about it and thanked me for giving her the chance to help.

When I got to her house, I realized that she had driven home from the school where she is PTO president and was in the middle of doing PTO stuff while her youngest was at preschool (at the same school). She played with Matthew for a bit, gave him some of her famous banana bars (which he is pretty obsessed with because she's the kind of person who is always making them and taking them to people who she thinks could use a little treat, so he's had them quite a bit!) then packed him up in her car and went back to the school to pick up her daughter. I mean--not at all convenient, right? But she was SO nice about it and told me how much she loves me and how glad she was that I called her.

Basically, I want to be more like this particular friend. She is amazing. So so selfless and awesome and I admire her so much. And then there is my friend who always texts me and says, "Hey, thinking of you--how is your day going? How is xyz random thing that you mentioned offhand to me but I remember because I'm a good friend and I'm following up?" And my friends who are freaking superwomen and do EVERYTHING and I don't know when they ever sleep, but man have they saved my bacon so many times in the last year! And my friend who know how much I love Middle Eastern food and brought me goodies from a Jerusalem supermarket because she was there over Christmas and thought of me. I mean...seriously.

Back to the original story--when I was chatting with this friend later and (and still feeling so bad for interrupting her day and assuring myself that I am never going to live up to her level of compassion and charity), she asked me if I could walk around her house with her and help her figure out some renovation things she'd been mulling over in her house. It was such a good reminder to me that we all have attributes and talents that we often take for granted in ourselves because we are so busy looking at other people and wishing we could be more like them. Anyway, this is super long-winded, and I am not trying to say that my renovation skills are anywhere on the same plane as her ever-selfless personality, but what I am trying to get to is that I've been kind of down in the dumps lately (thanks a lot being sick since before Thanksgiving, and for real thank you to the doctor who finally put me on steroids so that I am now not coughing nonstop for the first time in over a year!).

ANYWAY.

What I am getting to is that since this is my journal, I am going to take ten minutes today and write down a list of things I am good at doing because I spend a lot of time beating myself up over things and setting goals to be a better person and I never stop to think about all the things I do actually do well.

1) I am really good at staying on top of laundry. We go through a ton of clothes and towels and sheets, but everyone always has their practice uniforms or their special colored shirt or whatever--things never pile up and we never have a mountain of unwashed or unfolded laundry.

2) I am excellent at remembering who needs to go where when. Calendars and alarms definitely help out with this, but I've never forgotten to pick anyone up or take anyone somewhere that they need to be (knock on wood!).

3) I am good at keeping our house tidy. I've learned that I do not do well at all with any mess or clutter or anything (just makes me super anxious) and so I am very good at making sure our house stays at a level where we could be ready for company in ten minutes. (My children reading this are now asking why we have to clean for four hours before a party. Because, that's why.)

4) I am good at creating opportunities to host friends in our home. We hosted a big party every month in the last three months (which was exhausting but fun: a giant pie party in November where we invited like 40 couples, a cookie-decorating party in December where all the kids invited at least 3 friends, and a New Year's Eve party for I don't even know how many families).

5) I am good at staying in contact with my extended family and continuing to deepen relationships with my sisters.

6) I'm good at planning opportunities for my own family to jell together and create memories that bind us as a unit.

7) I'm good at exercising consistently--if I plan to do something, I'll do it.

8) I'm good at creating an environment in our home that promotes reading, literacy, and an appreciation of good literature.

9) I'm really good at baking bread.

10) I'm good at continually engaging myself in new books and ideas. I've slowed down a little on my reading (just so little time!) but I still average 3-4 books a week.

11) I'm good at planning and pushing through on home renovation projects (can't remember if I ever blogged about the living room redo, but that top picture shows the after once we removed the built-ins, rebuilt the walls, painted the fireplace, and built a new mantel. Here's the before.





12) I'm good at taking care of my houseplants. I really love those things a ridiculous amount but man that green makes me so so happy!!

13) I'm good at finding enriching opportunities for my children to really dig in to their talents and interests. 

That's all I can think of right now (mostly my mind is flooded with things that I need to work on and things I lack and all of that fun stuff).
What are you really good at doing? 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

NYC 1993

This weekend I was going through files pulling together a gallery wall of the kids' art, and I found a journal thing from when I was there in 1993 and now I'm just going to type that up. ;-) All spelling and punctuation are as originally written (sorry you don't get my amazing handwriting but...). Things I remember as I'm typing and want to add are in italics (interesting how vivid some of these memories are 25 years later).

April 2, 1993
I am SO EXCITED!! We're in our hotel right now, eating dinner. We are in our room because Mom didn't want to go out to dinner. Dad just told me my waterbottle rolled under the car. Oh, well. I can get it out tomorrow. I'm sleeping on the floor because I want to.

Right now we are in Scranton, Pennsylvania. After driving 8 hours, I was glad to get out. I CANNOT WAIT!

April 2, 1993
Yesterday we got to Uncle Kevin and Aunt Pam's. We had a walk and a great Chinese dinner. We went through a tour of their lovely home. I still remember looking at my grandfather's old pipe collection that my uncle inherited, playing with their dogs, and that I really REALLY wanted to sleep on the papasan chair cushions. We had birds' nest soup for dinner and I was very interested by the whole idea of birds' nest soup. I think it took me awhile to work up the courage to try it and I don't remember really loving it, but I was very proud of myself for trying!

Today I went to church. I watched Fantasia before I went though.

Later I came home and had dinner. I watched a race for a little while and then I drew several pictures.

After that, we went to Sparkle Lake. We climbed on rocks. There were playground plastic horses fastened to the swingset. We swung on those for awhile. Then we went over to the lake. We threw bread for the swan swimming around. After several minutes of eating bread crumbs we threw for it, the swan came and ate out of Dad's and my hands! I really liked that! I have no actual memory of this event but when I went to New York a couple years ago to visit my uncle, my mom and I went over to Sparkle Lake and I had this very visceral memory of the lake and where everything was in relation to it as soon as I got out of the car. Not explaining this very well but while my brain didn't remember ever going to a place called Sparkle Lake, as soon as I was there I totally remembered that I'd been there before and knew just where to find all the good spots. 

When we got home, Dad, Aunt Pam, Mary Beth, Ruth, and I took Sugar (the dog) for a walk down the road. When we came back we watched "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" show. After that we had a snack. That's it so far. Another thing I remember about this walk is that afterwards we went into the garden and Uncle Kevin showed us his terra-cotta toad house. And at some point we saw a whole bunch of deer in the back yard.

April 6, 1993
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in New York State was 700 acres. It had a small forest, then a playground and basketball court, or a softball field, or a soccer field, then a forest, playground, etc.

We hiked around for a while, and then we headed back toward the picnic tables. On the way back to the picnic area I fell out of a tree I was trying to shinny up. After that we ate lunch, and then we went home.

When we got home everybody went to rest, except Ruth, Mary Beth, and I watched Robin Hood. When Elise got up we watched part of Home Alone. After dinner, because we got ready for bed super fast, and because we kept on asking, we were allowed to watch it for 10 minutes. But we ended up watching the entire rest of the show.

Today I went on a train to Grand Central Station (my mom bought a cheesecake at the station and I was really worried we were going to miss our train--it must have been on the way back to Westchester?). Then we walked to Uncle Kevin's office. We had some juice at the office. From there we had a wild taxi ride to the METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.

At the Egyptian exhibit at the Met, they had the Temple of Dendur on display. They also had part of a pyramid made with stones from a real pyramid.

In one room of the exhibit, there were mummy cases and cloth that mummies had been wrapped in. That room was very dark and creepy.

I like the Arms and Armour and the paintings best.

At Central Park we saw the pond where Stuart Little sails his boat. We climbed on a statue of Hands Christian Anderson. I sat on his arm, his lap, the book he was holding which had the story of the Ugly Duckling engraved on it, and the Ugly Duckling standing by his feet.

After that we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral where my mom was nervous that Elise would start singing Happy Birthday bc of all the candles, down Fifth Avenue, and took the train back home.

IT WAS GREAT!!!!!

Oh yeah. On the train coming back, I split a soda with Ruth. I also had a cinnamon croissant with it.

In New York I had two franks, part of a huge pretzel, and some Hawaiian Punch.

April 8, 1993

Yesterday, we went to West Point United States Military Training Center. It was really neat. It showed a cadet's room, a day in the life of a cadet, etc. We watched a movie about several wars. It was very interesting.

Next, we went to the West Point museum. We looked at lots of bombs, cannons, and guns. Then we went to a kind of cadet park, where we had lunch.

As I looked out over the tremendous Hudson River from the walls of an old fortress, I felt awed. This river was huge! And the fort was great. I returned to my family and ate my lunch of a ham sandwich, chips, and root beer.

After lunch my sister Mary Beth and I swung each other around on the grass. It felt great laughing and running.

After awhile we walked (or rather the grownups walked and the kids ran) to a monument to men who died in the war.

We ran and played around the monument for awhile, but we didn't run on the monument, just walked on it.

After that we ran around and looked at cannons. I climbed on top of every single one in a row. I loved sitting on top of a huge World War II cannon and lying on it.

Later that night, after dinner, we had New York City cheesecake (ah! I knew I remembered this!) A while later after some asking, Mom said we could watch the Rescuers Down Under.

The girls and I enjoyed the movie, even Ruth, who had said it was dumb. Let me tell you the story.

Ruthie had said she wasn't going to watch it. But when Aunt Pam came downstairs into the basement where the VCR was to put the tape in, Ruth was with her. Ruth said she was only staying for the commercials for the other films. But commercials stretched to the first few words, the first few words stretched to the first few pictures, the first few pictures stretched to the entire movie. But we enjoyed the show.

When we came upstairs, guess what was waiting for us? Yum!! Italian Ice!! Yum!!

Great evening, huh?

Today I woke up and remembered that I was leaving New York. I sure didn't want to leave. But I got up and pushed my bed, which was a futon, back into the hall.

Later after breakfast, I started filling waterbottles and collecting 8 coloring books (2 for each girl), 4 books, a large box of crayons, and 11 necklaces. These are all greatly appreciated gifts from Uncle Kevin and Aunt Pam.

Soon Uncle Kevin left for his office. We left half an hour later, with lots of hugs.

We went to Liberty State Park. From there we saw Liberty Island, and on the island we saw Lady Liberty herself. I can't describe the sensation I felt as I actually saw this famous statue. We looked at the statue and took many pictures of it. It was lots of fun.

We bought several souvenirs of the statue (there's a really great drawing here of my shirt that I was OBSESSED with--it was black with the Statue of Liberty on it, but the really cool part was that it had glow-in-the-dark fireworks all around her head. I loved this shirt and wore it all the time until my finger got cut off and then it got covered with blood and thrown away in the hospital. Bummer). After lunch we fed the pigeons and gulls.

We went to Hershey, Pennsylvania. We walked into the Visitor's Center, and went on a tour ride inside. It showed how they made candy. It was really neat, because as they showed how they made it, they were actually making candy! It smelled GOOD!!

After the ride we each got two candy kisses. Then we went to the chocolate and souvenir area.

We each got a chocolate bar and a cookie. Then we ate that by a waterfall in the Hershey place. After that we got a drink and sometimes. (sometimes what? I want to know!)
We drove around for awhile, looking at the Hershey streetlights. If I remember correctly they're shaped like Kisses.
Later that night, we stopped for dinner, two hours from home and one hour from Grandpa and Grandma. We didn't really like the place where we were eating, Denny's. Mom called Grandma and Papa and asked if we could spend the night. They said yes, so we did.

THE END

And then there's a little postscript about the author...

Hi! My name is Rachael. I am 9 years old, and I go to Dillon Elementary. This story is TRUE! I went to New York over Easter break. It was fun!!

Anyway, things I like are READING (my nickname is Walking Talking Library), math, science, swimming, running, spending time with my family, and playing with my friends.

My favorite animals are cats and horses.

I HOPE YOU LIKE THIS BOOK!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

seven minutes



I have seven minutes before the kids get home, so let's see how far I get, shall we?

We are finishing up our kitchen renovation--I keep putting off taking pictures because there are so many things left to do, but today I was like oh well let's just snap some quick iPhone photos, so here they are: unedited, unstyled, but dang I love my kitchen. And I will love it more when we finish it, but for now, still loving it.

I painted all the cabinets myself--started when Neil was traveling and surprised him when he got home! He travels so much now and it was nice to have something to do while he's gone (note to self: as he's gone the next 2 weeks I should come up with something else to do...). But this does have the side effect of me getting a project started but then having to wait for him to finish it, so the projects are really piling up for my poor husband!

Anyway, the island is navy, we put in quartz countertops, subway tile backsplash, all new appliances (did I ever blog about my JennAir gas cooktop that I love to pieces and bought on Craigslist brand-new for $1500?) and we need to finish the woodwork stuff on the support column (which we had to basically shred to get the old counters out at 10 pm the night before the new ones were installed). The wrapping paper was from when we hosted a giant pie party early in November and my friend was in my kitchen at 6 am the day of the party before we went running and was like--you should just put wrapping paper on it!--and so I did.

Are you liking this mega stream of consciousness??

We (Neil) still need to finish the range hood (framing it out in wood) and building the trash drawer in the island, plus painting the ceiling where we had to rip into it for a leaky bathtub, but man I'm loving it.


also can't remember if I blogged about redoing the living room so I should post about that at some point--basically I tore out the builtins (yes by myself--Neil was not on board with that one although he finally came around), then we put up new drywall and I painted the fireplace (another time when Neil was out of town bc he didn't like that idea either). Basically through this whole process he is learning to trust my vision. ;-) I think while he's gone this time I will finish the mantel.

So life is just good. We spent Thanksgiving with friends and Fakesgiving with family, and even though Neil is not around as much as we'd like we are chugging along pretty well. Abigail is my trusty right hand and I don't know what I'd do without that awesome gem of a daughter. And the boys are home and now Luke is sitting on my lap, so it's time to go read stories and do homework and pick Juliet up from French club and sneak out for a run in the gorgeous snow that's been drifting down all day.

oh P.S. decorating this house for Christmas is AWESOME and I love it so much. also i originally just wrote that as ps and Luke went back and fixed it for me. ;-)



Thursday, September 27, 2018

Matthew is two!!



Oh this guy. How we love him!! He is the sunshine around which our whole family revolves. Can't imagine life without him--the first thing Luke does every day when he gets home is to ask if he can go get Matthew up from his nap, and then I hear him go in and say, "Hi Matthew sweetie, it's your Lukey! Did you miss me?" and then Matthew comes running in with his arms full of stuffed cats and everyone generally erupts into adoration. Just like we've been doing ever since he was born.

He's not spoiled AT ALL.

(He got a toy kitchen for his birthday.)

(He is very spoiled.)

But he is the sweetest happiest little guy, just full of cheeriness and love. Sometimes this is a little tricky--like when he is super upset about anyone ever leaving because he wants all his people RIGHT THERE WITH HIM (this includes extended family as well, and we have a lot of times where he will hopefully call out "Grandma! Grandpa! Iris! Pierce!" But he's adjusted to the kids going off on the bus (as long as we go on a walk right away--he LOVES walks).

He's convinced that he's a big boy and likes to sit at a barstool at the counter with everyone else. He refuses sippy cups because obviously no other big boys are drinking out of them! (He will, however, drink out of a "botterwattle.") He still mostly talks in one or maybe two-word chunks, but he has a very big vocabulary and repeats back just about anything we say to him (my favorite is how he calls himself "Matt-me").

He loves tools and figured out how to operate Neil's drills and drivers about six months ago, including snapping in the battery pack. Right now he likes to push a stool over to the counter, climb up, lie down on the counter, and open the drawers where we keep all the goodies like screwdrivers, flashlights, batteries, etc. Then he goes around the house with his screwdrivers and batteries to see what he can do.

He's absolutely fearless and books it up into the 13-foot treehouse whenever he gets a chance. He loves, loves, loves cats and dogs (for his birthday one of my friends texted him photos of her dog and he could not possibly have been happier!). He loves to eat "pampates and eggies" for breakfast, climbs up to the pantry all day long to get himself apples, and is a huge fan of Indian food (the last time we took him to an Indian restaurant, he walked through the door and said, "Oh yummies!!"). He loves going to storytime at the "wibrerry," sings himself to sleep every night with "This Old Man,"  and loooooooves to snuggle so dang much that we almost always end up back in bed with him halfway through the morning because it just makes him so happy (on the weekends he likes to go climb into bed with the girls because they're often still asleep, and he will announce "cold cold!" and go bury himself under their sheets wrapped in their arms.

He loves reading books, especially if they are about construction equipment, and he has Nathan's eye for excavators, bulldozers, and fire trucks. He often brings us toys that he wants us to snap together and asks, "Open?"

As I've been watching him run around today, I've gotten pretty misty-eyed thinking about how blessed we are to have Matthew in our family. He is so sweet and we just love him so much. Today we checked Abigail out of school and took her to lunch, and the way the two of them lit up when they saw each other in the main office, and seeing him run to her laughing in delight and the way she picked him up and cuddled him close to her...man alive, we are so lucky. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

It's autumn!!

Today Matthew and I ran through our first crunchy leaves and I thought hip hip hurray, best time of the year!!! We had a weekend of nonstop rain (like 8 inches) and cool temps, so you better believe we fried scones and mulled cider and got ourselves some apple-cinnamon candle-burning going on (and pulled out the fall decorations!).

I went to New York a couple weeks ago to help my sister Ruth & her family through her fourth round of chemo--hopefully it was the last really terrible one. It was, quite frankly, so hard to see her in so much pain. But conversely, really good to be there and be able to talk with her when she was feeling well enough and make food and take care of kiddos when she wasn't. (And I had some pretty glorious alone time which NEVER happens in my regular life--one afternoon I went to the 9/11 museum, one afternoon I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, and another day I ran 14 miles around the city from Battery Park to Central Park.)

This weekend I'm going to Michigan with Matthew to see my parents and Elise's family (they're visiting from Utah). I'm sad to leave the rest of my kiddos behind, but they just have too much going on to leave, and Neil is so darn busy that he needs the work time at home. Hopefully Matthew doesn't miss everyone too much and enjoys the cousin time! I'm looking forward to apple cider mills and donuts and family.

Matthew and I have settled into somewhat of a schedule with the older kids gone all day--if he's slept through the older kids leaving we go back to my bed and snuggle for a few minutes after he first wakes up (then he starts saying things like "PAMPANKS MOLK DOWN!") and we go downstairs to feed him breakfast, then we do some housework, then we read stories, then we head outside for a run, then we do whatever event we have planned that day (grocery shopping, library storytime, playdate with friends, etc.). And then once he goes down for a nap I either do a house project or grading or--and this feels SOOOO wonderfully indulgent!!--I read a book and take a quick nap. It is AWESOME. And totally helps me gear up for the crazy pace when the older kids get home, especially since Neil is often out of town or working late or something like that. Today as I walked upstairs with my giant stack of books (this morning our run was to the library!) and thought, "Surely I could be doing something more productive with my time..." and then I thought, you know, it's okay to love reading so dang much and not feel guilty about it. And honestly, if I cleaned out one of the downstairs coat closets (which was what I felt like I should be doing) nobody would notice or care! Plus I've been doing Apartment Therapy's September Sweep and I know it's going to have me clean that closet out anyway. ;-) And last week during naptime I remortared the fireplace and painted the back door and refinished the laundry room sink so quite frankly I'm doing pretty well on projects, hah!

**This post brought to you by the brief lull in the storm after Juliet's cross-country meet while we wait for dinner to cook before we go to Isaac's classroom playdate at the park and hopefully get everyone in bed in a timely manner and maybe I will still be awake when Neil gets home??**

***ps no pics because I always used to steal them from facebook, but I quit facebook awhile back so if you want to see pics, just follow me on IG. It's private but I'll approve you. ;-)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Another school year






Finding myself with a brief window of time to do some quick typing and updates on the kiddos, since we started school last week.

Abigail is in eighth grade this year. She has a great group of friends that I just adore, and I love all their parents too so that's nice as well. :-)  Even though they mostly don't have classes together, there's still lots of weekend hangouts so we parents are doing our best to keep these friendships going strong into high school (gasp!!) next year. Our high school is HUGE (5000 students) so we really want to make sure they've got a core group of support! It's crazy to me to think about high school already but when I signed the paper acknowledging that yes I understood that her advanced math classes would be counted on her high school transcript...yeah, suddenly felt very real.



Abigail is taking a lot of engineering electives this year--STEM, robotics, and coding. She's also taking Spanish and advanced ceramics--she absolutely loved her art classes last year and had a real struggle over whether she should stick with art or take the position she was offered by the journalism teacher as an editor on either the school paper or the yearbook. I'm glad she went with art--I did journalism in high school and loved it (did I ever mention that I was accepted into a mass communications graduate program?) but as an adult I find artistic expression much more enjoyable (plus she made some AMAZING stuff last year and I'm really looking forward to what she does this year! She auditioned for the school musical this week and is planning to join the space & rocketry club again, as well as MathCounts. Prepping for her planned career as an aerospace engineer! Abigail is focusing on swimming this fall/winter and doing club swimming to prep for swim team next summer (swimming is a BIG DEAL here with 32 state championships in a row for the high school women's team). And we're on year 8 (!!) of piano lessons!

Juliet is in sixth grade, and she's done so well with the transition to middle school! The poor kid has zero classes with her best friends from last year, but she assured me that she's good at making new friends, and so far, so good. Fingers crossed. :-)



Jules is taking orchestra (violin) as one of her electives, and mixed media, digital learning, STEM, and French as her others. She's also running cross country, which has been exhausting and exhilarating for her! Juliet has by far been the busiest of the kids this summer with orchestra camp for three weeks in June and cross-country beginning in early August. She's also continuing with piano and looking ahead to what extracurricular clubs she'd like to join (coding? Star Wars? Makers?). So many fun choices! And continuing with piano, of course!

Isaac is loving scouts (can you tell?) and having a great time so far in 4th grade--ten of his classmates from last year are in his class, so that was pretty exciting! He had a great time all summer swimming at the pool with his pals, and zips right through his homework, piano, and lunch-packing after school so that he can hop on his bike and go out with his friends (I love our neighborhood so so so much). He's also focusing on swimming this fall (thank heavens because those long baseball games last spring about did me in) and is joining the coding and robotics club, the international music ensemble, and the math club (oh my gosh our school has the best clubs!!). He's doing fifth grade math this year and totally inherited his dad's math brain which is good for us all!



Lukey is in 2nd grade (which is when high ability starts, hurray!) and 3rd grade math. Sadly this little sheep was shorn not too long after the picture was taken, but man did we have fun with Luke's luscious locks this summer, especially since he spent every spare minute in the pool! He's playing soccer this fall and doing the watercolors club and math club. He was also super super excited to find so many friends in his classroom, and is adjusting to piano practice (it's always hard once the initial excitement passes!). Luke thrives with physical activity so soccer, swimming, and ridiculous amounts of scooter-riding keep him happy!




Nathan is one very happy kindergartener--my first one to go full day! I initially approached the school about doing half-day but they were very firm about only doing full day, and honestly, Nathan is SO dang ready for it--he just has endless amounts of energy and never slows down or stops talking. So he has been loving kindergarten! He's the first one up and ready and always has his lunch packed for the next day within five minutes of getting home from school.

Nathan is playing soccer this fall and doing the kindergarten engineering club--lucky boy! He was a little sad that two of his really good friends weren't in his class, but fortunately he DID have one good friend in there, and they all reunited on the playground, so all was well...and being Nathan he knew everyone's first and last names in his class by the end of the week!













And Matthew and I are hanging out all day together! We're finding our groove--lots of stories and snuggling and organizing and tromping around town doing errands. (And lots of home projects and running for me!)







Cheers to another great school year!






Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Toasted Coconut Muesli with Cardamom, Ginger, and Dried Fruit


things I could be blogging about: I turned 35, we went on a ten-day spur-of-the-moment camping trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Utah, Isaac turned 9, the kids start school in less than 2 weeks and the summer is almost over, Isaac started orthodontia, my sister started chemo, our garden is crazy huge, I've been doing tons of home projects, my tumors were benign.

things I'm going to blog about: the recipe for this muesli, because I wrote it up for a friend today and people are always asking for it.

so here it is. 


Toasted Coconut Muesli with Cardamom, Ginger, and Dried Fruit
6 c. old-fashioned oats
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. pepitas
1 c. sunflower seeds
1/4 c. flax seeds (honestly for this part I just throw in all the seed varieties I have on hand). 
optional: chopped nuts (we like slivered almonds)

Combine that list of ingredients, and then boil together scant cup of sugar, 1/4 c. oil (I like to use coconut oil) and 1/4 c. water. Or you could just do 3/4 c. honey and 1/4 c. oil but I usually end up using sugar because I'd rather save my honey for other things where I notice it more. Then I add a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ginger, and cardomom (sometimes I throw in fennel or nutmeg or whatever seems good), boil everything until the sugar has dissolved, and stir it into the oats mixture.

Grease 2 rimmed baking sheets, divide the mixture in half, spread evenly on sheets, and bake at 300 for 22 minutes, stopping halfway through to stir/swap sheets' places if your oven doesn't accommodate them side by side. Remove immediately from baking sheets when done so they don't continue to cook.

Then I like to add dried fruit--my kids' favorites are slivered apricots, Craisins, raisins, dates, prunes, etc. 

And voila! Should keep in an airtight container until you've eaten it up (which is about 3 days in my house so I don't know how long it would last otherwise!)
ps I like to buy my spice's from Penzey's. They are awesome. 

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