57 In Life/ Recipes

Our Visit, Birthdays & Recipes


A week rarely passes that I don’t wish my parents lived closer. I guess it makes our time together all the more precious because it isn’t every day {or very often at all} that we get to see them! They spent the last 2 and 1/2 days with us and it was PERFECTION! They’ve headed south to spend a few days with Erika and her family and I’m hoping for a little more time with them before they travel home.


I wasn’t surprised at all when I saw they had towed an OLD wooden boat with them {Chance’s Christmas present} and the kids were thrilled for entertainment it afforded.



Speaking of Christmas, we celebrated with my parents and the jury is still out on whether Rover enjoyed receiving the toys or Daddy Boy enjoyed giving the toys more.


Yesterday was Justin’s 33rd birthday and Sunday was Mom’s {39th πŸ™‚ and holding}… we celebrated with his parents and mine over pizza and cake at a wonderful new restaurant in town, Fire Stone. It’s in an old art deco building they’ve restored outside and remodeled in. If you’re local, you should try it… and they have this wonderful dessert they call “Pot of Chocolate” {which I’m in the process of attempting to replicate}. A few weekends ago my friend Lindsey and I shared it… and we decided it alone is worth going for! Anyway, it’s not very often that our kids get to eat out for dinner {the hardest hours of a day for young kids} but they all managed to stay awake and kinda’ mind their manners.



Rover managed to negotiate his construction hat in… fully equipped with a flash light in the event of a loss of power.


We only had to ask him to turn his light off a few times… he not-so-happily obliged.



I brought a semi-homemade chocolate Bundt {birthday} cake with poured chocolate icing for Justin and Mom and it was the perfect ending to a perfect night!



I will admit that a true test will be under way tonight… a test of my love for my husband, who wants to celebrate his birthday by packing up the 3 rovers for a night of camping out, in the woods, by a lake, on … the ground. Now, I love the idea of camping, but I don’t really want to do it. In a camper? Yes! In a tent? No. But tonight I’m going to prove my undying love for him and sleep on the ground, in a tent, with him, & 3 little Rovers. I’ll be sure to document the events.

Now… 2 recipes from last week before I start my internet search for Airstreams.

Both of these are compliments of a friend who is always so gracious to share her recipes with me… both were delicious and easy!


Homemade Chewy Granola Bars {unbelievably good}

1 C peanut butter* {or sunflower butter}
2/3 C honey
1/2 C coconut oil**
2 C oats
2 total cups of a combination of coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, & pumpkin seeds*** {or your own combination of nuts & dried fruit}
mini chocolate chips to sprinkle on top

In medium size sauce pan melt together peanut butter, honey and coconut oil.

Remove from heat and add oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and coconut. Stir well.

Press mixture into pan {I used my “Perfect Brownie” pan that is 11″ x 7″}, if you use a 9 x 13″ you don’t have to fill it all the way, just spread to your desired thickness and sprinkle {while still warm} with chocolate chips. Chill for 2 hours in fridge and cut into bars.
* My friend tried with natural peanut butter but they didn’t set up well… I think un-natural peanut butter {you know, like Jif} is the way go in this recipe.
**I found coconut oil at Publix, it’s hard {almost like wax} I think it’s kinda important to the consistency of the bars, let me know if you have success with another oil.
*** I found my sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds in the bulk bins in the Publix produce section. I love that you don’t have to buy a ton and I think their prices are great… and I LOVE their dried cherries!

And you can also cut this recipe in half, which is what I did originally but wished I had doubled, so I went ahead and doubled it for you!

Ok, here’s one more from her wonderful recipe collection. It’s very hearty and wonderful for chilly weather… which we have none of now, but I imagine it will be back soon!


Hearty Bean & Barley Soup

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful of baby carrots, diced {I like petite baby carrots}
a couple tablespoonsΒ  of oil {for sauteing}
1 package of turkey Kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2Β  32oz containers of chicken stock
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 C pearled barley*
2 cans of Navy beans {or your favorite white bean}
1 can of diced tomatoes

In large sauce/soup pan, over medium-high heat, saute carrots, onion, garlic, carrots, and kielbasa in oil for a few minutes. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, Italian seasonings, and barley, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 40-45 minutes {until barley is cooked}. Add beans and tomatoes and let simmer for a few more minutes before serving.

* I admit to not having ever cooked with barley before… and I love it, easy, hearty & inexpensive! If it’s new to you too, you can find it with the dried beans {in bags} in the grocery store! Or if you have any other barley recipes please share!


Ok… let the camping begin! At least there aren’t mosquitoes yet!

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    February 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    We have big campground walking distance from our house, and I’m still too scared to go camping. The sad thing is not only is the campground so close, but it overlooks the gorgeous ocean here in southern california, so its beyond safe! the worst thing that could happen is sunburn haha. one day i’ll go. one day;) Have so much fun with your family. i can totally relate to being far from family. they are all in VA and we’re here in CA. every visit is truly cherished that’s for sure! happy weekend! xoxo grace

  • E @ Oh!Apostrophe
    February 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Good luck camping! Those are the kind of memories your kiddos will treasure forever, even if things don’t go perfectly (especially if they don’t actually!)…. enjoy!

  • Amy
    February 19, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Oh what a sweet time you had with your parents! I feel the same way about mine when they come down to visit me. The time passes way to fast and we always have the best time. I think John Martin looks just like Daddy Boy. They are so cute together. I hope your camping trip is filled with lots of fun and great memories! Happy birthday to Justin!

  • Emily
    February 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Yay! Can’t wait to try the Bean & Barley soup! Won’t be long; have the barley and the sausage. Yum-o! Good luck camping; good thing you have that wonderful rice bag!

  • lizziefitz
    February 19, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I love reading your posts with my baby. She waves and talks to your kids. She comments on the hats and food:)

  • kristen
    February 19, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I know you have enjoyed having your parents here so much! Ahhh..the camping. Steve and the girls “camped” in the back yard in the tent till about 10:30 last night and headed in when they got chilly. It was fun while it lasted:) Y’all have fun!

  • Becca~CapturingSimpleJoys
    February 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    looks like a wonderful time with your folks~the boat rocks ;)!
    i LOVE barley in my soup and can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • Ashley
    February 19, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    AWE! I know you enjoyed your parents, mine live out of town too…those visits are just too WONDERFUL! Can’t wait to hear about camping, not sure I would make it!

  • Janis Covington Stufflebean
    February 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Love your blog. Where did you find the tin cake plate and cover…so lovely.

  • Brittan
    February 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Wonder if you could sub the barley for something? Can’t have barley bc of Thomas’ Celiac Disease. Def going to make those bars tomorrow! Have fun camping. When we go we take our queen size aero beds and blow them up, top them with down comforters and pillows from our bed and we’re good to go, not that we go very often at all…:( Have fun!

  • taraf
    February 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    LOOOVE Rovers little face on the first pic! Priceless! I was hoping that you would share the granola recipe…it looks super! Best of luck with the dirt camping. We took our four girls. One of our girls brought one of her friends and wouldn’t you know it….even in our huge tent, stinky feet can make you feel uncomfortable. It was one of the longest parenting nights of our lives and suprisingly, my husband hasn’t asked for us to go again. Just helpin a sista’ out…if you need a creative out…okay…go prove your love, just check the feet first.

  • Jessica
    February 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    mmmmm…the “pot of chocolate” sounds like something I would like! those recipes both sound really good – I’m going to try them soon before it gets too hot here too! I like to add barley to homemade beef vegetable soup…yum! have fun camping!! you are brave! I can’t wait to read about how it goes. πŸ™‚

    @Brittan – what about lentils maybe? I know it’s different from barley, but it might be good in the soup…I like to add lentils to a lot of different soups for the added nutrition. I don’t know much about celiac, so I’m not sure if it’s ok?

  • Kimberly
    February 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I CANNOT believe how big your kids are getting!! All of them look so much older in those pictures :((

  • Sarah M.
    February 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    If you’re ever in the area of Port St. Joe, FL, there’s a similar restaurant (same owners actually…same pot of chocolate as well) called Joe Mama’s. I knew they were opening up a restaurant in your area, but didn’t know it had already opened!
    And I LOVE the cake carrier!

  • Melissa
    February 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Psst, I did a wishful search for Airstreams a couple of weeks ago and found a couple on craigslist in the Panama City area…

  • Renee
    February 19, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Oh, I hate camping. Hope that went well for you. You’re a good sport.

  • Lauren
    February 20, 2011 at 1:48 am

    what is that little metal container you toted the birthday cake around in?! how handy! i must have one!

  • Sarah
    February 20, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Living far away from your parents is so hard. We love living in Switzerland but can’t wait for the day we are close to family. And its 8am here and I think I am going to do some baking after looking at the chocolate chips on the granola bars. yummmm!!

  • Whitney Lee
    February 20, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Wow, that’s love. Good luck with the camping!

  • Courtney
    February 20, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Thanks so much for the granola bar recipe….our girls have several food allergies, but with some substitutions can eat these! Do you mind sharing what type of oats you used? I am assuming the quick cooking kind….just wanted to check!

  • jennifer
    February 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

    What great recipes. Can’t wait to try the soup. I think my little ones will love it! Hope the camping goes well. You are definitely a better sport than myself. I would have told my husband to have a great time with the kids and I will be home in my own bed. I am just not the camping type of girl!
    Love the picture of your little guy in his hat. He is just beaming with pride! Have a great day!

  • Katy
    February 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Ditto to Lauren’s comment… I would love to know where you got that metal cake carrier. It’s adorable.

  • Andrea
    February 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I, too must know where I can get one of those super cute cake tins!

  • The Mom
    February 20, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I can tell that having your parents visit was the best medicine for a weary soul. Your momma and daddy seem to have refreshed your heart and for that I am thankful! I hear the lilt in your voice and can imagine the spring in your step…that is until you get back from sleeping on the ground for maybe 3 hours at a stretch. Invest in a good blow up camping mattress…it will make all the difference! Have a blessed day!

  • Kate
    February 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Looking forward to hearing all about the camping! My Mr. G loves camping so I’ve invested in a VERY nice camp mat. I love it. And there is something magical about having all of our bodies tucked in a tent in the dark….

  • Yevette
    February 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I saw the Valley of Vision prayer book in one of the pictures-I need to pull that out and pray through some of them again! Also, on your bulletin board, do you hang pictures with clothespins? On my bulletin board I use tacks and I’m always worried about one dropping unawares and one of us stepping on it!

  • Farmhouse Table Company
    February 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I can’t wait to see the photos of the boat being restored!

  • Jackie
    February 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    looking at your recipe for the granola bars…my eyes saw 2 coats and I thought, why do you need coats to make granola bars.. πŸ˜› I think I need to go back to bed πŸ™‚

  • joan
    February 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    The soup: what form and how many carrots? Sounds delicious!

  • Erin
    February 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    This is a favorite of ours and is pretty simple…
    Barley is a “super-food” and makes a great risotto. Just follow the recipe above, omit the spicy peppers and add in asparagus for a creamy, healthier risotto.

  • Denise
    February 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    LOVE reading your blog…you have a beautiful family!!! I know you so enjoyed your parents visit and coming from a grandmother, I know they enjoyed being with the children, you and Justin. I am not a camper either…I broke down and went camping when Natalie was in college…she begged us to go with her…and as you know, you will do anything for your children. It was not all that bad…I don’t intend to go again until Mary Margaret wants to go…and THEN I will go.
    Have a great week.

  • Trudi
    February 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Hands down, my favorite barley recipe ever! It seems a little complicated when you read the recipe, but once you line up the players, the cooking is easy and straightforward.

  • Kristee
    February 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    You are one sweet wife to go camping with your true love! πŸ™‚ I love all the pics of the birthday celebration and that semi-homemade bundt cake looks divine. Wish I had a wedge right now!

  • Katie@ Noodle and Boof
    February 20, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    What a massive blessing to have your parents visit! Love the picture of DaddyBoy and Rover. Hope camping goes smoothly!

  • kathleen
    February 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    It is my understanding a boat with a HIN, a hull identification number, means it was made/built after 1972. Oh, is the boat a Hinckley? looks like a great project.

  • Taylor@WiseFamilyLiving
    February 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    I am impressed your kids will eat barley soup. And that boat is awesome. So thoughtful of your parents!

  • kat
    February 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing the recipes. I’m always looking for healthy alternatives to unhealthy favorites. I’m definitely making those granola bars. Love coconut oil! You should try cooking/frying with it. It’s so good for you. I’ve also been using it on my face as a natural moisturizer. Love it. Oh and have fun camping!

  • Melanie
    February 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I hear ya on the camping! I am in the Atlanta area and my people ( ALL of them) are in North Alabama. It is HARD being a working mom with no family around. Date night is non existent and I miss my family so! Hope the camping is a success. ( I would totally take an air mattress and a down comforter)

  • cat from constant in chaos
    February 20, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Oh lordy! I will have to blog about my one (and ONLY) camping on the ground in a tent experience and send you the link. Way too funny. I hope you have a good, memorable time. I’m sure you will. πŸ˜‰ I have made the “pot of chocolate”…but couldn’t find my recipe. πŸ™ sorry. If i find it, i will email it to you!

  • Jen
    February 20, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Have fun camping! What a good wife you are. And thanks for the granola bar recipe. Looks delicious!

  • Jessica brown
    February 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I loved the peppermint patties ( made them twice now!) and will try these recipes this week. We eat lots of granola bars and I like any soup with barley… Thanks!

  • Perfecting Pru
    February 21, 2011 at 3:34 am

    It looks like a great weekend Darby. Have fun camping – I’m pleased it’s not me going!

  • Stephanie
    February 21, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Camping, homemade granola bars, and soup? I kinda wish my kid had a mom like you!

  • Dani
    February 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I love reading your blog Darby, your family is precious! Question about the boat, is that a Dingle? If so, glad to see it. I am Dingle (maiden name) myself and enjoy researching where the boats have all gone, as there aren’t many.

  • HannahJ
    February 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

    You are a brave woman (and man) taking 3 littl eones camping…I love to sleep under the starts- but have yet to venture out with my kiddos- but what’s the worst that can happen- no sleep, right? Those granola bars look awesome- a must try!!!

  • Kate from Party Resources
    February 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Adorable adorable adorable. Love the photos and can’t wait to try the recipes!

  • Meredith
    February 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I also love the idea of camping…campfire, smores, singing, etc. But when I am actually out there sleeping on the ground and having to hike through the woods to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I am always wishing for a bed and convenient indoor plumbing! I hope you had fun and I can’t wait for the recap. I am trying the bean and barley soup tomorrow night. Looks great! Meredith

  • Kasey
    February 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Happy Birthday! Happy Camping! and Happy Eating!! Great pictures!!

  • Melissa
    February 22, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Wow you are a brave brave soul to go camping on the ground in a tent with rovers! Yikes. Can’t wait to hear about it. Love the old boat and your cake looks delic.

  • Maggie P
    February 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I was just saying yesterday that I would like to try making granola bars. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Jenn
    February 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I just made the barley soup tonight (first time making barley)and it was delicious! Thank you so much for posting the recipe!

  • Maggie
    February 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    LOVED the soup! It makes so much. I filled 8 soup cup sized tupperwares and will happily have enough for a while.

    so tasty πŸ™‚

    thanks for posting!

  • Sarah
    March 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    These granola bars are amazing! What an easy & awesome recipe! Thanks, Darby!

  • Alyssa
    April 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I have visited the joe mamas resturant once with my family and loved it. Especially the pot of chocolate it was perfect… My mother and i have tried making it for the family at home but cant quite get the recipe right. 1000 miles is a long way to drive for it but is well worth it, but still would love to be able to make it the right way at home to eat it more often. Would you happen to know the recipe for it? Thank you.

  • Cheryl
    May 1, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Can you share the steps for the candles? Or a website?
    So fun!

  • Goldie
    May 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Loved the granola bars!! Made them today. Exactly what i’ve been looking for! I used natural peanut butter (the only kind we eat), but just added wheat germ so it would set better. It came out perfect! Never used coconut oil before, but now I’m a believer!! Love the flavor of it!! My three-year-old, who can be a little picky said, “This is good mom!” Hooray. I loved it too. Thanks again.

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