Category Archives: Baking

New Mom Muffins.

My mother in law stayed with Haddon and I the first week back to work while Micah was in training.

There is so much I could say about what a blessing that was.  She was so truly sacrificial and served us so well.  I’m talking taking care of Haddon, me, grocery shopping, meal planning/making, lunches made, personal photographer and much more!


– I survived the first week of work just fine.

– There is a deep dish freezer in my garage with more than 10 frozen meals.

– My son knows his grandmother better (for now…I wish he could remember this time, I know I always will!)

– She left this.

When she was a working mama with her first, her friend and her would take turns making these:

Bran Muffins –

(dough can be kept in fridge for 4-6 weeks)

1 1/2 c sugar

1/2 c oil

2 eggs

2 c buttermilk

2 1/2 c flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp soda


2 c allbran cereal

1 c bran flakes

1 c raisins

1 c nuts

Bake in greased tin 400′ for 15-20min

You make a huge batch and it can be kept in the fridge for 4 – 6 weeks! Just pop some in muffin tins in the morning for a fresh, healthy, and tasty breakfast!

we had a great 10 days together and I loved learning from her Titus 2 style.  Younger women just need to be around older more experienced women.

Thanks for everything Mama Downs, including this delicious recipes I hope now other moms get to enjoy.


Dear Haddon, In April…

Dear Haddon,

In April…

We are in our 10 week countdown which means less than 3 months until you and I have the craziest experience together ever.  Labor &  delivery.

Daddy and I went on a tour of the hospital so we could better anticipate that day when it arrives.

I’m holding out on going as long as possible because:

a)      They won’t let me eat once I’m admitted

b)      There are no bathtubs just showers

When you start making your entrance obvious and it’s still early enough to stay home I am going to make you cupcakes for your first birthday.  We will share them with the family, friends, and staff in the hospital. 

I will be making you these.

Our friend Suzy made us these the day we found out you would be a little boy and she put blue frosting on them for us 🙂  No matter what labor and delivery looks like for us it will be a special day.  Your very first birthday! Daddy is going to be our coach and I’m sure he will be really encouraging and helpful but you and I have to work together to get you into this world (so please cooperate- be head down, don’t get in distress, etc, thanks).

I am getting your room ready for you and folding and organizing all your little clothes in the order you will most likely wear them.  Daddy’s co-workers had a surprise shower for him and gave you so many cute little things.  We were so touched! I’ve never heard of the daddy getting showered.

Today I ordered your crib!  Don’t be sad that you can’t sleep with daddy and I, we’re making your bed especially comfy and cute for you. 

This past weekend I went to Corolla to be with a family.  I used to watch the girls when I was in college.  I forgot sun block… and even though I was only outside for a short amount of time, your home looks like a giant pink beach ball.  I’m glad you are protected from the rays even though mommy was foolish.  You will get to go to the OBX in August.  Your great grandma Ruth has a cottage there so hopefully you will have lots of fun memories from the beach every summer.  I will be remembering sunblock for you though…

This week something else arrived – allergies.  I thought you had somehow made me immune to pollen this year because daddy’s started bothering him a couple weeks ago and mine hadn’t at all.  Alas, they are here and in full swing on the left side of my face.  I have to tell people at work I am not crying because I am emotional and hormonal; my eye just won’t stop watering.   When you are old enough I will feed you local honey and hope allergies stay away from you.

We have a busy month little one.  We are out of town almost every weekend but one this month.  I promise I will rest more in May and June.  Work is in full swing too, we just turned in a project and I hope to finish off another one before taking leave to be with you for three whole months!

I am still trying to figure out who will care for you when those months are over.  Our heavenly Father has never failed to provide for us though so I’m not worried about you I just want to make wise decisions for you.

Well, that’s all for now but we love you and get more excited about meeting you all the time!  You just stay in there and keep growing though please.

Oh, and one other thing.  I absolutely am obsessed with feeling you move around in there, but please stop finding your comfortable spot in my left ribcage – it hurts.



Pumpkin Cookies.

The Brown Eyed Baker blog put up a post so I dont need to, Ill just reference her:

These are the cookies I told you in a previous post,  you will be hooked!

I think I have made them three times this fall (so far), as well as pumpkin pancakes(with the Emborskis help) with maple pumpkin sauce, pumpkin pie bars, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin caramel cheesecake, pumpkin martinis, we have pumpkin pie ice-cream and pumpkin spice coffee.  Lindsay made pumpkin creme pie one night. 

Tonight I am making pumpkin cream cheese bars for a chili cookoff at work.

Pumpkin season will be a long one in the Down’s apartment!

{if you want any of the recipes just let me know}

Carter’s Mountain- Apple Picking.

This past Saturday, friends ventured far and wide to experience a fall “must” – apple picking!

Lynchburg, Harrisonburg, and Newport News united for some time in the orchards on the most beautiful fall day.  Love that new close friends met old close friends, and that we could all enjoy life together that day.

Anyway, I’m not going to lie… I didn’t know if there would be apples on the trees.  There was a line of 60+ cars wanting to get in the same time as us.  But alas, there were plenty of apples, cider, apple cider donuts, pumpkins, standing views to be enjoyed by all.

I will mention they had JUST opened the Pink Lady apple trees the day before so there were plenty for our pickin.  Those are my favorites, nevermind that I accidently picked $35 worth, hey they say “an apple a day”…

{like Bubba talking about shrimp} apple pie, apple sauce, apple butter, apple juice, apple dapple cake, apple fritters, caramel apples…

Enjoy some pictures of us enjoying our awesome Creator’s harvest in Charlottesville!

{this is the time a guy asked Byrd how she did her hair so he could copy for his daughter}

Grace Play.

You don’t stop playing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing.

I would recite that saying after every ballet class, and every time we left Christianson Family Land Park when I was young.

When I was young, I played all day long… our neighborhood was suited for it too.  We would spend hours outside playing “make believe”. 

  • Apple Bee Corporation – (in the crab apple trees, where we were business ladies)
  • Applesauce Making – (a whole box of mom’s Ziploc bags filled with freshly poured sand from our playground)
  • House- (in one particular episode we were single moms taking care of three kids)
  • Dancing Princesses- (my sister was the director and I had to be prince Siegfried with an eyeliner drawn beard while all the other girls got to wear their Halloween princess dresses)

We had active minds, thoroughly engaged in doing whatever it was that we were doing (even if it was make believe).

We had active bodies, playing from dawn until dusk (even after we all had gone home for baths, we would come BACK outside when we heard the frozen custard man and somehow convince our parents that we still needed to play even in our pjs).

Two nights ago, I was baking pumpkin cookies with brown butter frosting (someday I will post that must eat fall recipe) while my husband was asleep on the floor, in between batches I was starching and ironing his shirts for work.  I loved every second of it.

I want to enjoy all the moments given in this lifetime, from dawn until dusk.  So often we go through our 40hr work week, go to church, bible study, run errands, and frankly, just stick to our “to do” lists.  The things we should do, or need to do.  I realize time is precious but how often do we do things for play?

Do we learn or engage in a hobby or try and pick up new skills?  Do we try to identify the gifts the Lord has given us to be used for His body?  Do we worship through our hobbies, skills, and personal play or is it just for our enjoyment?

Last night at kingdom group we had to say what we wanted to be when we were 8 years old.  I have always wanted to be a mom and wife.  Always. 

I will never be an actress or help people be healed through acting and movement like my sister.

I will never be a corporate, innovative car business man making enough money to support missionaries and give like my brother.

I will never be a pilot and rescue people or deliver supplies, etc like my younger brother might grow up to do.

However, I will use the common grace the Lord has given me through being able to breathe, move, connect, think, relate, speak, hear, and engage and use those graces to point towards His special saving grace. 

I want to be actively engaged in preparing for eternity.  I don’t want to waste the days thinking just on my “to do” lists and earthly goals. 

I am praying that the Lord would give me a vision of what He wants for this family, now and in the future.  Until then, as my dad would say, we will, “bloom where we’re planted”. 

I am hoping that I will not get old and realized I stopped playing when I was 25 because I was too busy with “to do” lists and tasks of this world to prepare myself, my family, and others for eternity.

I am praying the Lord would use Micah and me mightily for His kingdom.

  • What about yall? 
  • Do you get too caught up in the here and now? 
  • What are your gifts and how do you use them for Him? For yourself? 
  • How do you keep kingdom focused and keep your lamps burning, waiting for our blessed hope that is coming quickly?! 

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Found: Libby’s Canned Pumpkin

On Friday afternoon, my husband was my hero.

Not just because he found me pumpkin (the big cans!), and cleared Target of all of it, but because he cared to love me in that way. 

He tries to live with me in an understanding way, even when he has no idea why I like or do the things that I do! 

Not exactly in context of 1 Peter, but I do appreciate him trying to live with me in an understanding way!

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Thanks babe, I promise you will benefit from this find.

Pumpkin Shortage.

I hope not again… last year I bought at least a dozen cans when I found them.

I cant find Libby’s pure pumpkin again this year.  I’ve looked at four stores now.

Fortunately, I had two cans left over from last year.  One was enough to help make this amazing creation

Caramel Pumpkin Gingersnap Crust and for dinner our friend had made salmon with capers and almonds with mashed potatoes and green beans.  it was a good night.

Not to mention in the fall I try to put pumpkin in everything.  I started googling and here is what one person said:

I went online and talked to a Libby’s Representative who told me this:

As you may know, we began the 2010 season with zero inventory levels at all our locations—for the first time in our history. As a result, we made some critical decisions early on: We planted earlier, thus allowing an earlier harvest. We planted more pumpkin, increasing our acreage significantly. We expanded our growing zones. We ran our production facility non-stop once the harvest began in August.  We also shipped more product, earlier.   All of the steps above helped us to restock store shelves in time for the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday and baking season. However, we also heard that consumers bought Libby’s pumpkin with great enthusiasm! While we were glad people were finding the pumpkin they wanted, it did leave us without any reserve of pumpkin for the start of the 2011 season. Unfortunately, this means that we may again experience a shortage of pumpkin sometime in the coming months, which will be alleviated when we begin the next harvest, in mid-August of 2011.

I will be a canned pumpkin hoarder if I find it.


oh the small things of life… haha