Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oyster Roast and Happy New Year

We're getting ready to go to an oyster roast at a church in Moncks Corner with our friends the Whites. I just printed off my 3 month bible reading schedule and decided to print off a couple extra in case Lisa or any other unsuspecting person I can recruit tonight wants to do it as well. Here is the site to get the schedule again.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I stood on the card aisle yesterday for awhile reading cards that I would like to give to my now 17 year old daughter. Yes, today is her birthday!! I'm not really a card giver, but I read about 10 cards that I wanted to hand to her to just express how much she means to me. I was tear-ing up in Publix as I thought about how blessed I am to have been graced by her presence for 17 years now. Time goes by so very quickly and I know that before I know it, she will be all grown up. Other than a few of my bad habits she's picked up along the way (heehee) she is just like her daddy. Maybe that's why I love her so much. The only thing better than Richard is the female version of Richard. Just teasin'...there is nothng or no one better to me than that man. Oh, but it is amazing as she has gotten older and her intellect has developed to listen to her and see how she processes information just like Richard. How they both study and know people so well. They both enjoy people tremendously and like finding out little details. Maybe that's one reason they are both so loved by others. They make people feel good about themselves. Everyone wants to be known by someone.Honestly....they are odd. Maybe I should say unique but really unique doesn't express it well enough, so I'm sticking with odd til I think of a better word: ) I was in Target with Karis about 2 months ago and I returned an item when we first arrived. When we walked away she made a comment about a facial feature of the girl who waited on us. It wasn't negative it was just an observation. I told karis I probably couldn't even identify her again. I just don't take in details. Karis was bumfuzzled so she began to observe me. After we checked out she said I appear to be connecting with people, but that really I wasn't and was just saying words that sound like I'm connecting. It was't a criticism. It was just a fact. I hit target with a task and returned what I needed to return and collected everything into my cart I needed to collect and checked out and was on my way in record time. I guess I assumed that's what everyone does. After her glimpse into my world(amazing to her) and my gimpse into her world(amazing to me) we talked about how it takes different personality types to make life work. How God in his amazing creativeness made us all so differently and for special purposes. It really is cool. Except Karis knows she can't just float around relating and neglect responsibilities and I know I have to stop and really look at and get to know people sometime.
Anyway, I'm not sure I've stayed on topic well unless the topic is "I love my Karis and I am so glad to get to know her more and more everyday and I'm so glad to see God shaping her heart and developing her character...I'm blessed to be her momma"

Can't wait to see what today brings. We're going to spend the whole day blessing her to say thank you for what a blessing she is to us and just doing whatever she wants to do. I might post pics later: )

Monday, December 28, 2009

Reading Thru the Bible in 90 Days

I'm starting January 1 and reading (hopefully) thru the whole bible in 90 days.I heard about it from Raising Olives. Here is the site with an easy way to print a schedule. Would anyone like to join me?

Joy and Confession

Yesterday, during his sermon, Richard shared with us his desire for us to be a confessing church. Over the next year he wants confession one to another to be more a part of who we are--- For it to be just how we operate in our relationships with each other. More of a freedom to be real and to be willing to be held accountable and to be willing to be involved enough to follow up and ask someone else how they are doing in an area of struggle over sin. He didn't say ALL of what I just said, but I know that's what he meant. I can read that man's mind(heehee) During prayer time, I almost asked for prayer for Joy. I was afraid I would say more than I really wanted to say so I just told God and kept quiet like I usually do during prayer request time. Soooo, when Richard shared his vision for Providence in the area of being more transparent, I already knew my confession. I need more JOY. I don't know if that's really the confession though. Since Joy comes as a gift from our Lord, I guess its more of a complaint or maybe I should say request: ) The confession would be not going enough to the source of Joy. I'm a pull yourself up by your bootstraps kinda girl so when I get over whelmed with the work load here at our house or bickering amongst the people I live with--or I'm worried about little technicalities in this fleeting earthly life I try to just work harder or faster or smarter or do better or think of really good solutions. That's my confession and prayer request all at once. I want daily, hour by hour and minute by minute to learn from, go to and trust and rest in Him, my Father up above. Here is an amazing verse I plan to set to memory.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
—Psalm 16:11

I'm really thankful for God placing this on my heart. It is a sign of hope to me that he has a plan to see it through. He would not begin it if he had no intentions of completing it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I wish every day was Christmas(sigh)

We had the best time yesterday. From the moment the children crowed like roosters to wake us up ( a weird tradition that's been going on since Karis and Cason were our only children) all the way to bedtime!! I have about 100 photos I would love to post but probably I'm the only person who would be THAT interested---so I'lll hold back.

I think I'd like everyday to be Christmas because we're all here together all day long.

(Yes, I put the pic of Cole with his eyes crossed cause it serves him right)

Also, because it is a time my children enjoy blessing each other with a gift they've put thought and love into.

If everyday could be Christmas, Richard would still probably need to make money so I think he'd just weave purses for a living with Kamryn's new loom.

(We'd call it folkart and it would be really EXPENSIVE)

If everyday could be Christmas, we'd wear our pajamas all day long.

(Max and his kitten)

We would eat dinner by candlelight every day STILL in our pajamas.

(kamryn makes dinner "dinner and a show")

Also and most importantly, I want everyday to be Christmas because of this.....Everything shuts down(EVERYTHING) because Jesus was born. It's taken me awhile in my life to get a grip on what I really think about gift giving and receiving on Jesus' birthday and all the preparation and the little bit of stess that comes along with getting ready for "THE DAY". I used to think it was just materialism and I really didn't want to be associated with it. And while I do know our world does get very materialistic at Christmas, we do our very best to not be materialistic with it all. I'm not bragging, but I think we've done a pretty good job. But again, as I mentioned earlier, I've come full circle. I might even do MORE next year---like maybe sending out Christmas cards...or maybe not: ) Even though its a feeble human attempt to shout and yell because Jesus was born, I think God looks graciously at our attempts to celebrate His Son and smiles about all the hoopla.

Does anyone else have a different take on that topic???? I'm not offended at all by differing views: ) I used to be, but I've grown with age: )

Also, if anyone can name a Christmas morning tradition more outrageous than my children crowing like roosters I'll mail a rooster to you as a prize: )

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cole and Grape Juice and Christmas Eve Gifts

Here is a stack-o-presents. One for each member of the Brown house. We open one gift on Christmas Eve. These are not yet wrapped but I thought they looked kinda pretty on my cabinet next to one of my favorite photos of my children. The photo was taken on Sullivan's Island by a local Charleston artist about seven years ago. Our family was a little over half-way done back then. At that time, Cole was the little Brown who needed to be watched the most(heehee) We were meeting patricia there to model for her for a new oil painting series she was about to begin. We were friends with her through the art gallery we owned at the time. I was so prepared. I had everyone's white clothes ready to go the night before, a white blanket ready to lay baby kamryn on. My white dress too cause she thought I was a good pregnant lady model. I even got up that morning and hid the purple grape juice in the fridge under the sink because I knew Cole, in his white clothes, would be searching through the fridge for it. Richard wanted to make a good impression on her and not be late because she did alot of framing with us. Plus he's nice and hates to be late. We were all ready to go out the door and I realized Cole was no longer in my sight. You guessed it. Cole found the grape juice. Opened it. Drank straight from the container and spilled half it down his clothes. I stripped his clothes off, grabbed the Oxy Clean, drenched it in the sink and watched the purple vanish pretty quickly. Then straight to the dryer it went. It was perfectly clean looking and dry in record time and although we were a few minutes late, we pulled up at the same time as our friend. Anyway, that's what I think of when I see that photo.

As for those gifts, I think I'll wrap them and put them under the tree. We are the only people I know who never put any gifts under the tree til time to open them. We always have a family member who has the age and moral capacity to not care of the feelings of others should they just happen to rip into all the gifts. I think I'll let these ten be our "test" gifts to see if we're ready to have some presents out and under the tree.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Here is the auxilliary branch of B and S Restoration---our family business.

Auxilliary comes from the Latin word auxillium meaning help or aid. (I'm so glad I remember at least one latin word after helping the kids so much)

Here is the B&S chocolate trifle maker.

Here is her trifle all ready to cover to go out the door.

Here is the B&S macaroni salad maker.

This helper(below) is actually not helping in this photo. Notice there is no attachment attached. He's just watching it spin!!! He actually goes sometime and helps his daddy.

Here is the B&S cake eater. We have alot of full time employees with that position(heehee)

We also made grilled chicken(in the rain), greek salad and bakery bought croissants. The B&S big boss(daddy) was about to buy all store bought food for a group of nice people learning about our business today. The auxilliary team had to step in and help out. We were so glad to do it. Makes us feel needed.

One of the helpers was still sleeping during preparation because she needed her beauty sleep since she is serving the nice people while her daddy "represents".

The other auxilliary helper was sweetly babysitting for another family.

Busy but fun morning. So now I'm rewarding myself with a few minutes to blog about it all.

Oh, if you see this within the hour, please say a prayer that the presentation goes well(going on right now) and that everyone is blessed by the food.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm very thankful for.....

........ a warm fire on a cold day.

.........that my children are best friends.

...........that no carpet and a clothes basket entertains babies for hours.

...........sweet kisses.

........Jessie's cheesy grin.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent, Family and God's Amazing Mercy

Nona and Mommy---- repairing our advent calendar. We've said for two years, we just need to get out the glue gun and repair all the little pieces of ribbon that have come loose and reattach all the velcro. Yes, hot glue and velcro. That's how I sew. We love our calendar. It's all 31 days of december. The first 15 days are old testament prophecy pointing us to the coming Messiah and the 16th on is prophecy fulfilled. We went ahead and fixed her all up this year because for some reason, we were missing about 14 of the felt covers for the windows. We made new covers and finally our repairs.I'll probably find them all tucked away in some safe place within the next few months(heehee) We started a few days late but Richard caught us all up in one day. This is a great family devotion by Wanda Sanseri.

Here is the book containing all the patterns needed for the calendar.

I love hearing these stories again this year from the man I love snuggled on the couch with the children I love. I love that Jesus humbled Himself to become a lowly man. That is so amazing. I love that He saved me from God's wrath by sweet redemption. His merciful plans are so amazing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Homemade Laundry Detergent

For awhile I've thought about trying homemade laundry detergent. My only obstacle has been needing to go to more than one store to get the ingredients. So, yesterday in Publix, I was on the detergent aisle about to pick up some Tide, and I spotted all three needed ingredients: Borax, Washing Soda and Fels Naptha. Here is a picture of all three. I should have taken a photo before ripping into it all, but I was totally out of detergent, so I got busy: )

Here is my homemade laundry detergent. It took about 10 minutes and that time includes finding containers that would work.
Here is the recipe. You can add essence oils but it has a really fresh scent without. So, I'm not going to add any. Oh my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, who are professional laundry people, love this soap. I knew when I found out it passed their requirements that it must really be good: )

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha .99 per bar
½ cup washing soda 2.99 per box
½ cup borax powder 3.99 per box
(It makes 2 gallons or 64 loads for regular washers or 128 loads for front loaders.)
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. I used a medium sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into a larger sauce pan. It will need to hold 2 gallons. You could do this right in the 2 gallon container you use to store it. I used several smaller containers. Now add your soap mixture from the first sauce pan and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load for regular washers and ¼ cup per load for (HE)front loaders.
You can do the math on it. I think its about a half penny per load for front loaders. That sounds free to me compared to the cost of detergent. I’m not a tree hugger(even though I do love trees) but much better environmentally because lots less packaging waste.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm reading.....

I'm reading this book that I've only scanned before. I really like the Bluedorn Family.

I'm reading this book because we all love it so much. It's the first year we've read bartholomew but we've read the first book in this series every year for probably the last five years. Everyone is a little bothered that we might not work Jotham's Journey into the Season. I think we will, though. We might just have to do it in a couple of sittings: )

Monday, December 7, 2009

Accidental Tradition but I love it.....

Here is my sweet Jess being mesmerized by the pretty lights. I love Christmas and I love babies! It's a very pleasurable combination for me.

It used to bother me that my Christmas tree, and Christmas decor in general, was
way less than magazine worthy. Not anymore. I am totally over it. A beautifully decorated tree
that stays that way all season is so far beyond what I can produce and maintain that I have embraced our ugly trees and other decor that looks like maybe thing 1 and thing 2 got loose in my house and were in a merry mood. I'm actually blessed with a team of 8 people who descend on my home and decorate it for me in about 45 minutes flat. Talk about a cool service!!!!! They are available for hire: ) And yes, number 8 really does help. Her main job is to constantly rearrange the ornaments on the tree. Also, if you notice the stockings hung by the chimney with care in the top photo. You'll see that they are not exactly distributed evenly. I do go behind the little helpers and make some adjustments sometimes; ) Also, I have not been corrected yet, but I know my older children would like for me to clarify that most of this "type" decor can really be attribued to the Brown children who are 9 and under!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Funny Christmas Tradition #1

This is an absolutely beautiful morning. It is pouring rain, and I'm up all by myself. I didn't sleep much last night. Normally I don't have any problem at all catching some rest but occasionally I wake up in the middle of the night perfectly rested. It might actually be because of all that Coke I consumed last night at Moe's. I decided a while back when this happens not to lay there hoping forever to go back to sleep. I get up and spend some time with Jesus and then catch up on whatever needs catching up on(there is always something) This morning I also spent some fun time looking online for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers and I found the cutest site called Vat19 They call themselves purveyers of curiously awesome products, and I do believe its true. This is so cute. If you have time, watch this little advertisement but don't let the kids watch cause they almost say a bad word and it's pretty obvious what they're about to say: ) We like gummy bears(pretty much any candy) here at our house, but Kimmi is the real gummy lover. When she was about three years old, we started a tradition where Kimmi gets one extra present behind the tree. She gets a little basket of gummy bears very well hidden waaaay behind the tree and she forgets that it might be there until waaaay after all presents are opened and breakfast is eaten and stockings are un-stuffed. Every single year she forgets! I think she actually might be pretending now for my sake. I'm not sure why we started this tradition. It seems unfair to the other seven children. I'm thinking its because she was the baby at the time and if you remember Kimmi way back when, you know that she wasn't very easy to get along with....she was actually pretty darned grumpy. She stayed in quite a bit of "trouble". I'm imagining I was looking for a way to make her feel special...set apart. That's silly to do that with a little red basket of gummy bears, but it sure did work. I don't remember any of the other children ever feeling offended by it or expecting anything different than Kimmi should get her gummies. It's just a fact of life here. I was thinking it might be funny to put that giant gummy bear in her basket this year just to keep her on her toes. It actually might scare her(heehee) Here she is with baby Jessie. She sure makes up for all that trouble she used to cause. She is a real blessing, and I don't know what I would do without her.