oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes

Do you love pancakes as much as I do? Pancakes. Chocolate chips. Cast iron skillet. It doesn't get much better than that. I could eat pancakes for every meal of the day I think.

Here's the recipe adapted from Light & Tasty.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 c. oats
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. wheat flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 c. milk
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
chocolate chips
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until moistened. Cook on a hot skillet and top with chocolate chips. The more the better I think.

Tower of pancakes? Yes, please.


meet olivia

What a precious little girl! Olivia is my best friend mindy's new little daughter. I got to visit with them when she was only a couple days old. It's hard to believe she is almost a month now. Look at that beautiful face! And that black hair. Too cute.

Mason's looking at me holding Olivia and wondering what in the world is going on. Sorry Mason, I just can't put her down:)

Seriously. She is wonderful. Holding her and talking with Mindy brought back all the memories of being pregnant, having no clue what to expect when you go into labor, and the pure joy of holding your new baby.

I often wish that I lived closer to Mindy. You know so I could just pop over with some scones or something and chat over a cup of tea. And hold Olivia of course.


begin again

You may remember the afghan that I started here. Well here it is now. See all the progress I made?Yeah, it might not look like much because I ripped the whole thing out. I have a problem. You see I think somehow I repeated a row and therefore the first two rows looked slightly different than the other 6 rows that I got done before I started over. I kept going, thinking that it didn't really look that bad. But I knew it was there. And it was bothering me. So, eventually I decided that I just needed to redo it. I was only going to take it out to the first two rows, but then I decided that I wanted to make it a little longer. So, there it sits. Ripped down to the beginning chain.

Before I could get started on it again, another project grabbed my attention. On a whim I decided I wanted to make a baby afghan for my little cousin due to arrive in May. It's coming along slowly, but it's so much fun. Despite the fact that I've had to rip out a couple rows because of a some mistakes. I didn't know when I picked up this pattern that it was an intermediate. I'm not sure I'm ready for that. I'm getting very good at tearing out and re-doing, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. I am loving the circular needles though! And I think it really will turn out nice.
Well, this project is also on hold for a moment. I thought I would get it done before spring break, but since my spring break starts today and I'm about 1/2 a skien short from finishing, I'm going to put it off so I can hang out with Hillary and not be the crazy person counting outloud, staring at my pattern and trying to figure out what I did wrong. This project is not a good one for working on with friends: it takes my full undivided attention:) Plus we have other things planned for spring break, like: taking the little ones to the park, scrapbooking, eating (pancake friday begins today!), baking, planning our summer vacation, and knitting mindless projects that actually allow friends to chat (hello dishcloths!) But, I will finish this afghan. Oh, and start the other one. And finish it too. You know, as soon as I stop pulling things apart.



Ryan was able to take Mason to the zoo last week. He joined Luke, Caroline, and little Annsley for a day of fun, sun, and lots of animals. They had a great time. The weather was beautiful and Mason was taking it all in.

Mason was pretty in to watching all of the animals.

This crazy giraffe didn't even bother him one bit. He's used to the dogs sticking their big faces into his space!

Caroline and sweet Annsley.

It looks like someone is ready for a nap! He slept the whole way home:)
I'm looking forward to taking him again this summer. Too bad I was hanging out with my awesome second graders for Mason's first zoo trip. But, it was a cherished time for Ryan and Mason with family that lives far away.

cranberry orange bread

Cranberries. And orange. A fun combo. I love the colors and the taste:) I have a bag of fresh cranberries that I bought around Thanksgiving and stashed away in the freezer. They keep so well. I have been using them here and there and I think next year I will stock up on a few more. Here is one of my favorite recipes to make with them.

Cranberry Orange Bread
(I think I found this at allrecipes.com)

2 c. flour (I like to use 1/2 c. wheat flour, at least)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. margarine
1 c. sugar (I used about 3/4 c.)
1 egg
3/4 c. orange juice

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange zest, cranberries, and pecans. In a large bowl, cream together margarine, sugar, and egg. Stir in orange juice. Add flour mixture until just moistened. Pour into greased bread pan and bake 60 min. at 350.

I have been loving my little mini loaf pans. This recipe fills four mini loaf pans and I bake them for about 40 minutes. Perfect for sharing with neighbors and friends.


9 months

So, this post is a little late in coming. The last few weeks have been really crazy, but we are finally starting to get back into our "normal" routine. If you can call it that:)
Mason, once again you have proven to us how amazingly flexible you are. We've spent more time in the car, driving all across the state, and at the homes of friends and family than at our own house, but you just go along with it all. Usually with a smile and a few giggles.You have learned so many new things this month. It is so much fun to watch you exploring your little corner of the world and you've given us many laughs along the way.
At 9 months, Mason, you:

~weigh 18 lbs 14 oz and are 28 1/4 inches long
~have two tiny teeth
~prefer to sit rather than lay down and are becoming a pro at pushing yourself up to sitting from laying down
~eat pretty much whatever we give you
~are very ticklish and have the best laugh in the world
~can army crawl across the floor
~are trying to figure out the whole sippy cup thing
~have a rather large head (95th percentile baby!)
~use your pointer finger to scoop everything into your hand
~may have those two top teeth in the works next (judging from the insane amount of snot and drool running down your face these days)
~love to watch daddy make a fire in the wood stove
~entertain us by eating lemons and making faces (oh how you love them!)

You got to meet your Uncle Luke, Aunt Caroline, and cousin Annsley. You and Annsley had so much fun playing together. Well, actually I think we all had more fun watching you play together.
Mason, we love you more than we can express here. You bring so much joy to our lives.


Mommy & Daddy


uncle lee

Long before Ryan's brother, Lee, became an uncle to Mason, he was a friend and eventually a brother-in-law to me. Coming from a family of all girls, I remember feeling so blessed to have gained two amazing brothers. And Lee was an amazing brother.

But our time here together on earth has been cut short. Lee is now home with the LORD. My heart rejoices for him, but it aches for those of us that are left behind. He passed away unexpectedly last week. He went to sleep on Wednesday night and he never woke up. Ryan had plans to spend the weekend with him and when he got to his house, he found him dead. We are still processing through all of the grief and waiting for answers, but there are several things that bring me comfort. One of them is sharing stories and remembering all of our wonderful times together. I hope you don't mind if I share a few of them here.

It's a comfort knowing that Lee had a relationship with Jesus Christ. Lee loved the Lord, that was evident in everything he did. He lived life to the fullest and brought so much joy to those around him. Lee had been coming down to our house every few weeks to hang out and help us with building our addition. And of course to see Mason. Over those visits we had many interesting conversations about christianity and our faith and I am so thankful for everything that he taught me and the many ways in which he challenged and encouraged me.

Over the years we've had many family camping and four-wheeling adventures together. There's nothing like exploring new territory, trying new trails, roasting hotdogs, laughing, and just being together.

Lee was so excited to be an uncle, and we was an amazing uncle at that. He was there the day Mason was born. He was so proud. He loved Mason so much. I can still hear him walking into the room and saying "hello nephew." I can't wait until Mason is older and I can tell him all about uncle Lee. This is one of my favorite pictures. It's a few years old, but it still makes me smile.

I am feeling so many different emotions right now and I don't know exactly what else to say, except we will miss you deeply and we love you. And always will.