early mornings

After the craziness of the week leading up to Christmas I was really looking forward to this week where I didn't really have anywhere to be or anything to do. I was also looking forward to sleeping in a bit. Let's just say that hasn't happened. Mason has woken up every morning somewhere between 4:45 and 6:15. I blame the wind. It's been howling like crazy and he doesn't like it. Even though I am very tired I've been enjoying our mornings together. Ryan has the fire going before he heads off to work. I get to watch the sun come up with my favorite little guy. One of the first things he has to do is go to the tree so I can plug in the lights. Yes our tree is still up and it still has a few presents under it for our last little get together.

Then I make mason breakfast, we snuggle on the couch, read some books and eventually make our way back to his bedroom after he's a little more awake. Then we pull out every single toy that we spent so long putting away the night before. We play trucks, trains, blocks, and fix lots of things with our tools. Then before I know it he's ready for a nap. It is only about 8 by now.

But it's lovely. I have time to make myself some breakfast (or like today...make breakfast for my cousins who will be arriving shortly), read my bible, take a shower, and maybe get a little knitting in. These mornings have been wonderful. And just this morning, as I held little mason in my lap and read another book, I realized when I go back to work on monday, we won't have very many more of these (early) lazy mornings before little baby sister is here. So, I'm soaking up every moment, tired or not.


a few finds

While my mom was here we spent a day browsing some antique stores in a small town nearby. My aunt joined us too (actually it was her idea). Mason was so good. He loved all the Christmas decorations. I found a few last minute gifts and a couple things for us.

First, I found this little red wagon for mason. I thought it would match his farm-themed room perfectly. But it hasn't spent much time in his bedroom. He likes to fill it with all his stuffed animals and pull it around the house. Then after a while he likes to get in so we can pull him all around the house.
I also found a pasta cutter. Ryan and I have been talking about making our own pasta. So, when I saw this cutter for $3 I had to get it. We made egg noodles for Christmas Eve. My mom made a yummy sauce of tomatoes, sausage, broccoli, and onion that we put over the top. It was delicious.

The noodles were actually pretty easy to make (especially since my bread machine made the dough) and the pasta cutter was fun to use. I'll be making these again for sure.


christmas two & three

We celebrated Christmas with my side of the family on the 23rd. Mason was really starting to get the hang of opening presents. It was great to spend time with that side of the family. We played a little cards, ate way too much, and opened presents. I also snuck in a walk with my mom and aunts while mason played with the cousins.

Mason had a blast hanging out with Nana all week.On Christmas morning it was just us and my mom. Mason wanted to turn the lights on the tree first thing in the morning. He kept saying "pretty" as he walked around the tree and touched every ornament he could reach.
Checking out the stocking. Poor thing had a bit of a cold...runny nose and watery eyes. But that didn't stop him from enjoying his goodies.

Mason and daddy.

A very merry christmas was had by all. We are so blessed to celebrate Christ's birth and we rejoice in our Savior.


christmas one

Our Christmas celebrating is all spread out this year. We celebrated last weekend with ryan's parents as they are now on their way to Germany. Mason woke up from his nap a little grumpy, but once he figured out the whole present thing he was on a roll. He tore the paper off in little bits and watched them drop to the floor. At least he didn't bring every single piece to the trashcan (only a couple).
We did have to take a little intermission for dinner since mason (and mama) were getting hungry. On the menu: french onion soup stuffed mushrooms, meatloaf, hot crash potatoes (all pioneer woman!), and caesar salad. We were all officially stuffed after the toffee mocha torte.

Next, mason opened a chainsaw which was the big hit! It's just like daddy's!
Mason wasn't so sure about the safety goggles, and me being the dork that I am decided to model them for him. I'm pretty sure this was not a good idea to capture on camera.
We all had a lovely evening!

Next stop is my aunt and uncle's house today with my mom's side of the family. There will be lots of warm soup and plenty of cookies. I'm loving all this time with family.


just like daddy

Mason is really into copying everything he sees around him. It's really quite interesting and entertaining to watch. When you least expect it, he will do or say exactly what you just did or said.
But, by far his favorite person to copy is daddy.

If daddy is building our closet shelves....mason grabs his hammer and builds too.
If daddy gets a drink while we are eating dinner...mason picks up his cup too.
If daddy leans against the counter...mason will too.
If daddy goes outside to get the firewood...mason runs along and carries his own piece in.
He is daddy's big helper.

The only thing he consistently copies mommy on is brushing teeth. As soon as he hears the drawer open in the bathroom he comes running in, saying "teef" and gets his toothbrush too.

Now, if he will only continue to copy our good habits!


book head

While I was wrapping up school this week, mason got to spend some time with my cousin, lacy. He's still working on saying her name and for some reason he just calls her "meow." ryan snapped these pics while I was at school. I love watching them play. It reminds me of how my sister and I would play with my three cousins when they were little. We would build forts, play with their toys, dress-up...whatever they wanted. Just like they play whatever mason wants. Even if you look a little silly:

I made my kiddos some simple treats this year. Hot chocolate and marshmallows. I gave them each a book too. They loved it. All of them said thank you, which was sweet.

They brought me all sorts of goodies. One of the moms in my room packed up all my gifts in my recycling box and her husband brought it out to my truck, which was awesome. Mason thought I brought it home for him!


mocha fudge cookies

This was a new recipe I tried this year. They turned out really good...a hint of coffee flavor with lots of chocolate and nuts. Nice and chewy. They came from the 2008 Taste of Home Cookies magazine. I should mention that the original recipe makes 18 dozen cookies! Really? 18 dozen of just one kind? I cut everything into fourths and figured I better try them out before I filled my entire freezer with them. Here is my version which makes about 4 1/2 dozen.

Mocha Fudge Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter and 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Combine the sugar, cocoa and coffee; add to butter mixture. Stir in brown sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture. Stir in the walnuts and remaining chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-11 minutes or until edges are set. Remove to wire racks and cool.

Well, tomorrow is the last day of school before Christmas break. It should be a fun day full of finishing up projects, consuming too much sugar, and watching second graders giggle every time someone says "see you next year!" Then I'm off to a cookie exchange. And no, I'm not bringing these....I made a family favorite: snowballs. I'm looking forward to some fellowship with friends and kicking off my holiday break. And to make it even more festive, we're supposed to finally get some snow! Cross your fingers.


clean sweep

Mason is obsessed with the broom. If I actually want to sweep, I need to wait until he's napping. Because once he sees the broom, he wants it. And lately he's taken an interest in the dust pan too. He carries them all over the house, sweeping everything in sight and knocking things over (our poking our eyes out) with the handle.
It's hard to get a picture of him these days though because once he sees the camera he comes running over. He loves to look at the pictures on the camera. He giggles every time.
After he brought me the lens cap and looked at the pictures, he continued to sweep. He kept putting all of his toys in the dust pan and then watched them roll out. I'm pretty sure his love of sweeping won't continue when he's older and actually has chores to do, but we'll run with it for now.


gingerbread waffles

Last weekend I made gingerbread waffles. They must have been good because mason gobbled them up and ryan requested them again today. Last week we topped them with powdered sugar. This morning I had a little heavy cream left so we topped them with whipped cream and raspberries. Yum!

On the agenda today is hanging at home and doing some organizing/baking/and cleaning. We now have shelves and rods in our bedroom closet so and I can't wait to go through and (purge) and organize everything. Now if we could only find a bedset and then we could hang some things on the walls! Then it's off to town this afternoon for some school obligations.

I'm sure mason will be a big help! When ryan was building the closet, he couldn't keep him away. He wanted to bring him things and follow along, trying to do whatever it was that daddy was doing. Also, he runs everywhere while helping (well, while doing anything really.)

I love this picture of him because this is how he moves. He doesn't walk anywhere. I love the little pitter patter of his feet as he runs all over the place.

Happy Saturday!

Warm Country Gingerbread Waffles

(from gooseberry patch christmas)

2 c. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. molasses

1/2 c. butter

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 c. buttermilk

1 egg

Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Heat molasses and butter until butter melts. Remove from heat and stir in baing soda (make sure you use a big pan, I wasn't ready for the science experiement happening in my kitcken when you add the baking soda...it foams up really high, which then makes great fluffy waffles!) Add buttermilk and egg, then add flour mixture. Cook in a waffle iron until golden.


dinner entertainment

Mason finished his dinner long before ryan and I tonight, but he happily sat in his chair and provided some entertainment. He had us laughing and laughing. We love that funny boy!
In between playing with his spoon and tipping from side to side he kept asking for high-fives. Nothing like sticky high-fives while you're trying to finish your meal. But, really, how could we resist this cute face? Dinner used to be so boring before the little one:)


good morning

Mason and I spent the morning playing together while ryan cooked us up some breakfast burritos. As soon as I got mason out of his crib, he wanted to go look out the window. He kept whispering "wow." It was pretty cute, but I have no idea what he was looking at. Then he wanted to go look out every other window in the house. We went back and forth between all the windows. He loved standing on the window panes and looking out. He was pretty enthralled with the outside world this morning. I can't say that I blame him, the mountains were beautiful with their snow-topped peaks.
Then we moved on to the puzzle.
After that was "falling down" on the floor (thanks aunt kates for teaching him ring around the rosie!) He kept giggling over and over as we fell down. I'm pretty sure I got my exercise in today between all the lifting up to the windows, falling down on the ground, and chasing him around the house. Just in time for breakfast burritos! I love lazy sunday mornings together before we head off to church!


candy cane kisses

These are a yummy chocolate and mint flavored cookie (a perfect combo, really). I love the candy cane kisses on top! They harden up nicely and are easy to stack for storage or to give away.
Candy Cane Kiss Cookies Recipe by our best bites
1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening
1/2 c. real butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
optional: 1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. flour, lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
48 Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together softened butter, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar for 1-2 minutes on medium-high speed or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Meanwhile, combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, and cocoa powder. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the centers are set but still soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. Top each cookie with an unwrapped Candy Cane Kiss. Allow to cool completely, long enough for the Kiss to harden. If necessary, after the cookies have cooled, they can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to re-solidify the Kiss.
After the kisses had just started to melt, I twisted them to make more of a puddle:)


turkey day

Actually it was turkey day times two. First we ate at our house with Ryan's side of the family. Mason was pretty much into the rolls and the cranberry sauce. Then we headed over to my aunt's house for another meal on Friday with my side of the family.

Mom came for the whole week which was pretty awesome. She brought Einstein's bagels and pumpkin cream cheese. She made dinner. She washed dishes. And she cleaned my bathtub! Mason had a ball with Nana. They played and played and played. He loved the crayons and coloring book she brought. I can't wait for her to come back again at Christmas time.

My sister and I were having too much fun with the whole being pregnant together thing. We loved having her and her husband spend a few days at our house. There was lots of hot chocolate, giggling at mason, games, and staying up way too late.

Speaking of how much I love my sister...check out her new blog-0 here. Isn't it cute?



As I have a quiet moment to myself this morning I realize I have so much to be thankful for! Good friends, a job that I love, my sweet family, the list could go on and on. Today we are having a meal with ryan's parents and grandparents along with my mom. It's the first time I've prepared the Thanksgiving meal at our house. I'm so thankful for our little home and all the many hours we've (especially ryan) put into making it what it is. It's come a long way from the "barn" it was four years ago.

Of course I'm thankful for this special little guy. He brings us so much joy every single day. And I'm thankful for our little baby girl who greets me each morning with kicks and punches! Can't wait to meet you in March:)

Most of all, I'm thankful for my Lord and Savior and the many ways He has been working in the hearts of myself and my family. Happy Thanksgiving!