Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Bars (GF/Vegan)

I get frustrated with protein bars. They either have too many unnecessary ingredients, a poor fat-carb-protein ratio, or so much dang sugar you might as well be eating a cookie. And let's face it, when you are short on time or just have no time at all, bars come in handy. So, have no fear. Make these bad boys in advance and keep them around all week. They are tasty, simple, and full of good-for-you ingredients. You're welcome! ; )

 Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Bars (gluten free/vegan)

 2 cups gluten free oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 heaping scoop of vanilla protein powder (brown rice/or hemp)
1/2 c. chopped/pitted dates
1 tbs. almond butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp (or 1 tbs) chia seeds
A few shakes of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine the oats, almond flour, and protein powder. Blend well. Add in dates, maple syrup, almond butter and all other ingredients and blend thorougly. In a 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper, push mixture down pressing firmily into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool before cutting into bars. ENJOY!

Weekend Getaway: Bellingham, WA

The other weekend was a magical one. We left behind the 100 degree weather in Portland in search of a cool ocean breeze and the smell of salt water. Washington I tell ya; what a stunning state. 

We began our trek at the crack of dawn, hitting the road at 5:30am. Car: packed with snacks, pack n' plays, bottles, a tent, the stroller... this how we roll nowadays. Leaving early enough thankfully let us beat traffic. We stopped once for a mini stretch break outside of Seattle and then made our way towards Bellingham.

We decided to take the famous Chuckanut drive route into Bellingham. Think Portland's Forest Park drive meets the beginning part of the sea-to-sky highway in BC. Pure beauty.

Next stop: Food. We headed straight from our drive to Rock N Rye for some brunch. 

This place has the most amazing food and also has a great back patio to enjoy when the weather is nice.

Parker Baby: 8 Months Old

What a gift it is to be a mother. I honestly never knew that even the faintest new sound coming from your child would fill your heart with so much joy and excitement. 

I say this every month, but so far this is my favorite month. Watching this little person develop: finding his voice, learning to move his limbs, use his taste buds, see new things... it is all incredible to watch and be a part of. It is also a little frightening, knowing how quickly he is shaping his personality and habits right now.

One thing we have tried to do as parents is show him love like crazy. We kiss each other, then kiss him, we hug and then give him a hug. I cuddle on Tyson while Parker is next to us, and he just smiles and watches. We never raise our voice at each other. We never put him down without kissing him and saying I love you. 

He just sees love. 

Because at the end of the day, I might mess up a million times. I might not teach him things the best way, I might forget to do certain things... but he will always have a lot of love. An unconditional love, which I believe is more powerful than any baby sign language class or stimulating book. 

Momma loves you, bug!