Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Just for you, a Halloween treat,
Because Mr. Brownstone is someone I'd like you to meet.

He's smart; he's handsome, and oh-so-funny!
For the laughter he brings me, I'd gladly pay money.

Oh, Mr. Brownstone - he's such a fine sight...
Especially when he's dancing like Napolean Dynamite!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Mr. Brownstone, Mr. Brownstone, Mr. Brownstone.

He makes me laugh often and much, complete with tears and laughter so hard it becomes inaudible. You know the kind about which I'm talking... He gives me belly laughs, the kind that can make my stomach muscles ache the next day sometimes.

At the moment, he is playing XBOX Live with his friends. As I've been sitting here blog-surfing, I can hear him in the next room talking into the headset.

  • "Hey, y'all! I'm over here by the tank. Hey, y'all...I'm over here by the tank! Hey, man, come on! Hop in here with me!"
  • "Watch your back, TP, Skelty is behind you. HEY!!! SKELTY IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU!!!"
  • "Good job, Lurch!"
And so on and so forth. Mr. Brownstone is quite passionate when he plays XBOX (but does not even begin to come close to showing the passion he displays while watching football)! That in and of itself gives me a chuckle, but it is not what just made me laugh so hard I spit out Diet Coke that reached the computer monitor!

After fifteen minutes of passionate talking - commanding, encouraging, strategizing, and such - he just realized that his headset microphone has been on mute! Hahahaha!

OH, my word! I think he just topped the muted headset! I just heard him say, and I kid you not..."Double kill, sex-y!" in a little sing-song voice. That definitely made me laugh even harder. I'll have sore tummy muscles tomorrow for sure now!! I hollered in there and asked him to verify that I had just heard what I thought I heard. He said "yes" and assured me that they ALL say it. Those silly boys...

I sure love that man and how he makes me laugh!

Now if I could just figure out how to mute him while he's watching football...

Monday, October 29, 2007


You can ask any of my friends...
I have been so excited that we are actually having a Fall season this year!!! I do realize that technically there is a Fall season every year, we just don't usually actually have one in my area. The last several years it has gone from being very warm to very cold, without those gloriously crisp days in between!

To celebrate the wonderful nip in the morning air and the cozy warmth in the afternoon and the falling leaves and of course the all around "glorious crispness", Shannon from Rocks In My Dryer is holding a Fall, Y'all! Bloggy Giveaway at her Bloggy Giveaways blog, and I am participating!

I will be giving away at least one hand painted personalized clipboard, similar to my personal clipboard which is featured below. The name you choose, your initial, and no "x boxes".

~~~~This is the back!~~~~
However...I encourage you to check back each day because additional items may be posted and up for grabs! AND...if you're so inclined, comment on other posts, as I have a few surprise gifts hidden throughout this blog. Commenting must pertain to the blog entry to qualify!
  • One will be determined by a specific predetermined comment number on an individual entry other than this one. This is not a specific blog entry, just a specific comment number. If that number is reached, and you are the lucky commenter, yea for you! You get a prize! I'm thinking big, people! **Comment number must be reached for prize to be awarded!
  • One will be drawn from all of the comments dated October 29 and on for a predetermined blog entry. Previous comments will not qualify. There are not many entries prior to this one. Take a shot at finding the right one! This is a specific blog entry, and it could be anywhere between here and the beginning of this blog! There are some lonely little posts out there waiting! **There must be a comment on the chosen entry for a prize to be awarded!
So find some entries that sound interesting, and read away! Be sure to comment! And sure and leave a way for me to contact you if you win!!!

Until I win the lottery, or Mr. Brownstone gets a raise, this contest is only open to those with addresses in the United States and Canada. To all of the non-United States and non-Canadian readers...thank you for stopping by, and I sincerely hope you'll visit again. Next time I'll try to be better prepared financially, and I might host a giveaway solely for y'all to make up for this one!

To see all of the other entries, please click the cute Fall, Y'all! Bloggy Giveaway button in my sidebar! Isn't it so pretty? IT'S FALL, Y'ALL! And I couldn't be more excited! You can also visit by clicking right
here. However, the button is much cuter, so if I were you, I'd click it instead! :)
***Button removed after end of contest.

Saturday, October 27, 2007



I just got home from watching a Sam Anderson gig. (It was really awesome, by the way!) While brushing my teeth a few minutes ago, what do I see in the mirror propped right on top of my head? Sunglasses! Yes, that's night.

I'm not quite sure when sunglasses became an accessory for me, but lately I've found myself wearing them in the most peculiar places and at the most peculiar times. I apparently wore them all evening, and we didn't even leave the house to see Sam until after dark. I also find myself wearing them in church, at the movie theater, and even once during a yoga class with M4Mom and Rhino's Real Total Package. (I noticed them after the first few minutes when they dropped from my head during some weird pose.)

The worst offense, though? Well...that would definitely be when my hair just wasn't cooperating. I was - for some reason - possessed to grab the sunglasses just to push the ornery hair back from my face! To make matters even worse??? It was raining outside. Somehow I convinced myself that it was just. sunny. enough. to require the use of those stupid sunglasses.

They are not sophisticated.
They are not trendy.
They aren't even that cute!

Tim Gunn...please come to my rescue!

**If you haven't checked out the link for Sam in my sidebar, you TOTALLY should do it right now! can just click on any of the three times I've listed his name in this post, or you can even click right here. I promise it will be worth your time to take a listen!

Friday, October 26, 2007


You need a new compass.

Normally I do not like to forward things that come to me by way of email... However, I could not with good conscience NOT pass the following information along to as many people as possible.

I received the same basic email from two separate people yesterday and then received the same one again today. The emails were regarding a movie that is scheduled for theater release on December 7, 2007. Mr. Brownstone, Tornado, Twister, and I had seen a preview for "The Golden Compass",
starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and the voice of Freddie Highmore, among others, and it looked pretty good. I remember turning to the kids and saying, "We may have to see that over the holidays. It looks like it might be good."

The trailer is very deceiving.

The Brownstone Family will NOT be viewing this movie in the theater, on cable, from a rental service, or otherwise, nor will we EVER read the book series, "His Dark Materials" by Philip Pullman, upon which the film is based.

I encourage each of you to visit HERE to what Snopes has to say about this movie, and I further encourage you
to make the choice to boycott the movie and the books. These works are propaganda from an unbeliever. The ploy is to keep the first movie, "The Golden Compass", mild in the hopes that parents will take their children to see it, and in turn, the kids will love it so much they will want to buy the books. The thought of any child reading this series is unsettling as they are about children killing God. And just so you are aware...the first book in the series is available to purchase in some Scholastic book order forms.

I actually went to Mr. Pullman's website to read his personal views. He is indeed an athiest, at best an agnostic. (I will not provide a link for his website as I do not want to send any visitors his way.) I also searched for interviews with him and found THIS. The following is an excerpt:

In Pullman's trilogy, Lyra is the new-age Eve, and Will is the modern-day Adam. God is a wizened spent force of an "Authority". And "The Fall" is to be celebrated as the defining moment of mankind, rather than the source of all worldly evil. Little wonder that His Dark Materials has been denounced by some religious zealots.

Pullman, though, expected more. "I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. I'm a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people - mainly from America's Bible Belt - who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."

Please note his final two sentences. I agree with one of my dear friends in saying that this is not something we can just sit back and ignore! Mr. Pullman and New Line Cinema may have the right to free speech but SO DO WE!

Please pray that this movie and these books will not taint the heart, mind, or spirit of any child, or any adult for that matter. As believers in God, we have the opportunity to make a statement by not supporting works such as these.


How fun ~ my first really looooooooooooooong distance tag!

You may remember seeing a link to
Hobbygasa from Gjovik, Norway on the last tag in which I participated. I traced the tag to see if the origination point could be reached. She was the third person from the beginning, or rather from where the trail went cold. I commented on her blog to let her know how far the tag had traveled, and she came to visit. Now a tag from her has reached me again, albeit by a more direct route this time! Thanks for including me in the fun, Hobbygasa!

MY ROCK STAR NAME (first pet and current car):
Queenie Accord...for ONE. NIGHT. ONLY!

MY WANNABE NAME (favorite ice cream flavor and favorite cookie):
Oreo Oreo...I guess I could be Oreo Squared.

MY "FLY GIRL" NAME (first initial of first name and first three letters of last name):
J-Bro...How ironic to sound so much like J-Lo, an original fly girl!

MY DETECTIVE NAME (favorite color and favorite animal):
Green Orangutan...and I'd be friends with Grape Ape.

MY SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name and the city where you were born):
Jill Blank...That's almost as bad as "Jane Doe"!

MY STAR WARS NAME (first 3 letters of your last name and first 2 letters of your first name):
Broji...and I am skilled with the light sabre

MY SUPERHERO NAME ("The" and second favorite color and favorite drink):
The Blue Water...It didn't used to be my favorite drink, but there's not really time to drink anything else after drinking 8 glasses!

MY -cough,cough- ENTERTAINER -cough,cough- NAME (name of your favorite perfume/cologne and favorite candy):
Romance Skor...Some things just do not require an additional comment!

MY WITNESS PROTECTION NAME (mother's and father's middle names):
Birdie Wayne...Oh, yeah! I would never draw attention with a name like that!

I tag the following people: Lurch-Lady, Rhino's Real Total Package,
Jenni, Rosheeda, Liza, Jenny, and Julie!

Friday, October 19, 2007


This seems to be widely circulating Bloggityville right now, but I saw Anita Renfroe perform "Momsense" live at the Women of Faith "Amazing Freedom" Conference in my area and have been singing it ever since!

I hope it makes you smile as much as it still makes me smile!

If you have not been to a Women of Faith Conference, GO!!! It is such a wonderful, encouraging, uplifting, humbling experience to sit amidst so many other Christian women, all while participating in some awesome praise and worship time and listening to some amazing and dynamic speakers! I've gone with girlfriends for the past five years, and it never gets old. It also is a great time of fellowship and bonding with my friends!

Hope to see you there in 2008 for the "Infinite Grace" Conference!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


OK, y'all! This is the craziest thing I've ever seen! Please go here, and then come back and tell me what direction she is turning when YOU look at her.

This is a test to determine if you are left-brained, or right-brained. I personally can only see this tiny dancer spinning in one direction. I'm curious to see if anyone reading this blog can guess correctly as to which way she turns for me. If you'd like to give it a whirl (Ha! Get it??? Whirl!) If you'd like to give it a whirl, please comment on this entry!

Listed below are various functions of left-brained people versus those of right-brained people. They are listed in many places on the world wide web. I do not take any credit whatsoever for compiling this list, but it would be impossible to list all of the sites that contain it! As I am not sure where the test originated, please go here if you are more curious to find out that particular piece of information.


  • uses logic
  • detail oriented
  • facts rule
  • words and language
  • present and past
  • math and science
  • can comprehend
  • knowing
  • acknowledges
  • order/pattern perception
  • knows object name
  • reality based
  • forms strategies
  • practical
  • safe
  • uses feeling
  • "big picture" oriented
  • imagination rules
  • symbols and images
  • present and future
  • philosophy & religion
  • can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
  • believes
  • appreciates
  • spatial perception
  • knows object function
  • fantasy based
  • presents possibilities
  • impetuous
  • risk taking
Now, go take the test and come back here to report your findings! If the dancer spins counter-clockwise, then you are left-brained. If she spins clockwise, then you are right-brained. Be sure and add your two cents about what you think is my "brainedness"!!! The use of that word right there ought to tell you something!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Tornado is a lot like me when it comes to math. The concepts are there, but speed is not of the essence! I've always been content with having the correct answer and not overly concerned if it took me a few seconds, or even a minute, longer than the next person. Teachers, however, do not seem to have the same philosophy when it comes to math facts! :) So...when Tornado began to feel some stress to be quicker in math, we began searching for something that would help. Tutoring was not really the answer because the concepts were all there. Traditional flashcards did not really seem to work either because to be honest, they were a bit boring, and it's kind of hard not to look at the answer immediately when it's right on the back of the card.

Do you want to know what finally and truly worked for us?

It is called "Flashmaster", and it is amazing!
This little gadget was a miracle worker!

It has so many different functions ~ I couldn't even begin to describe all of them. Basically, it is a set of electronic flashcards, but is OH, SO MUCH MORE! Tornado loved using it, and STILL uses it, because it is like having a really cool hand held game. Twister has even gotten in on the fun. To be honest...I'VE even gotten in on the fun! (Mr. Brownstone is a math WHIZ, but I'm sure if he didn't have XBOX, he might be drawn into the greatness that is Flashmaster, as well!)

First things first...I am not receiving anything from Flashmaster for talking about their product. I'm sure they do not even know I am promoting it! I believe in the product so much, and it was such a help for us; so I wanted to share it with y'all!

Now for the only weighs 11-ounces. I keep this bad boy in my purse at all times. It's great to pull out in the car, the doctor's office...just about anywhere you might have a wait time. It has a button to turn on and off the sound, so you literally can use it anywhere. It works on math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It uses numbers 1-9 on addition
(0+0, 9+9) and subtraction (0-0, 18-9), and 1-12 on multiplication (0x0, 12x12) and division (144/12). You can do it timed, or untimed. You can even set your own time - anywhere from 1 to 9 seconds alloted per problem, or 30 to 180 seconds per activity. It keeps track of problems that were missed, and you have the option of practicing them again at the end of the activity. You can do the tables in order, or out of order. saves the results of the last 8 activities, so parents can view their child's progress! You can click on any of the Flashmaster links to check out all of the additional information on the website.

For all that you get, Flashmaster is a fair price at $49.95 (plus shipping & handling), and we received ours within three days of placing the order. It also has a 90-day, 100% money back guarantee. You can't beat that!

Visit Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer to see more Works-For-Me-Wednesday tips this week!

Click here to see what tips I got about "tipping" for just about every situation!
Click here to see how I get my kids (and Mr. Brownstone!) to try new vegetables and love them!
Click here to see how we make traveling with kids easier!
Click here to find out what works for us regarding chores and allowance!
Click here to see what easy recipes are working for us!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Wow! I never really thought about how much menu planning helps until I neglected it for a week!!! Last weekend we went to the lake with friends; and then on Monday, we spent the whole day with my parents and my grandma. I never quite got around to the whole menu planning thing. Sadly, it showed. All week long we just ate a bunch of junk. Even on the nights we could have had a home-cooked meal, we ate junk. Everyone felt sluggish and yucky ~ not to mention grumpy ~ because we just ate junk.

This week I made a vow to make a be more get my head in the game! I decided the best way to do this would be to participate in
Menu Plan Monday. Even if we don't know each other, it's still got "accountability" stamped all over it! So...if you feel the urge to come here and call me out in the comments to ask whether or not I am following through with the plan, PLEASE DO! After the big fall off the proverbial wagon last week, I might need some help climbing back onto it.

As always, thanks to
Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie
for hosting
each and every week!

MONDAY - There is still no way around this being either sandwiches or the drive-thru. That will change in about seven more weeks, but for now...Monday night may be the designated "Junk Food Night".

TUESDAY - We will be away from home for the evening for a special event! Dinner will be at a restaurant or a concession stand. And while I love a big ole plastic tub of nachos as much as the next person...for my kids' sakes, I'm hoping for a restaurant!

WEDNESDAY - Wednesday night is dinner at church for a grand total of $10 for our family. The menu this week is Pork Tenderloin and Noodles and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake.

THURSDAY - We will be having Two Cheese Turkey Pie and steamed spinach.
The turkey pie is a new recipe we will be trying courtesy of my friend Steph. (See turkey pie recipe below!)

FRIDAY - BOTH of our children have nighttime birthday parties on this night, so Mr. Brownstone and I will have a date night! I am pushing for Uncle Julio's!!! YUM!! My mouth is watering just thinking of the fajitas now!

SATURDAY - We have a family costume party with some friends from church. We are supposed to bring a "Scary Snack", which translates into an hors d'oeuvre.
***At some point this week, we have to come up with costumes, so if you have any great costume ideas, PLEASE let me know!!! AND...if you have any great "scary snack" ideas, please direct me to your blog if it's posted, or feel free to share it here in the comments section!

SUNDAY - Sunday is usually always lunch and dinner with friends. It's never a fancy place because there are nineteen kids between the seven couples, and an additional three when the preacher's family is able to join us. We also have two couples that join us whose kids are now in college. They might be gluttons for punishment, considering they could have a very nice child-free dining experience...but they are so wonderful with all of our kids and with us, too! I am so thankful for our friends!

Two Cheese Turkey Pie

1 pound ground turkey
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1 4½-ounce jar sliced mushrooms, drained
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can refrigerated biscuits
1 egg
1 cup cottage cheese
1 teaspoon flour
1 tomato, chopped (optional)

Brown turkey and onion; drain. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Stir in mushrooms and pepper. Press biscuits into a greased pie dish to form a crust. Spoon in the turkey mixture. Blend the egg, cottage cheese, and flour until smooth. Spread over the turkey mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with tomato, if desired. You may substitute ground beef for turkey if you wish, but you might changed the name from "Two Cheese Turkey Pie" to "Two Cheese Hamburger Pie"!


Today is "Blog Action Day", and while I do not consider myself a hardcore environmentalist, I do think that we should do our best to take care of the beautiful earth God has so freely given us on which to live. If I choose to hug a tree, I want to be sure and recognize it is because God made that tree.

Here are a few of the things that my family does to help preserve GOD'S green earth:

  • We do not need an SUV, so we do not drive one.
  • We carpool with another family every day after school.
  • We do not carry around a lot of "stuff" in our cars.
  • We have several LARGE shade trees.
  • We have solar screens on the windows of our home that are not near the shade trees.
  • We keep a hand towel near each sink.
  • We have a low flow shower head.
  • We keep the thermostats at a reasonable temp, and I don't use them at all when Mr. Brownstone is at work and the kids are at school.
  • We try to clean our air filter every 1-2 months.
  • We pack school lunches in Tupperware sandwich keepers - chips, fruit, all of it. This saves us money on zip-style bags, too!
  • We try really hard to keep the lights off and open the window blinds instead. We are also trying to teach this to the kids.
  • We use compact fluorescent light bulbs in a lot of our lighting, especially lights that tend to be on the most.
  • We do all of our laundry in cold water with the exception of towels, socks, etc., which is usually only one or two loads a week.
  • We drink tap water in refillable plastic bottles. We also use a smaller size bottle for the kids.
  • We never litter.
These are just some of the ways that we try to appreciate and care for what God has provided us. We also talk to our kids about caring for and recognizing the beauty, the wonder, the intricate and magnificent design of God's creation ~ this beautiful green earth!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I am an "XBOX Wife", and I like to call Mr. Brownstone my "Halo Husband". He gets this nickname because he is an angel...most of the time. Of course, the name definitely has a double meaning. Sundays from 9:30 pm to 11:00 pm are XBOX nights for Mr. Brownstone and his buddies (also known as Halo Husbands, just as my friends are also XBOX Wives). Tuesday and Thursday nights are also XBOX nights. Those boys like to get their Halo ON!

Several people have asked if it bothers me that Mr. Brownstone devotes time to this activity three nights a week. The answer is "no". Why WOULD it bother me?
I am so thankful for my husband....

  • thankful that he works so hard during the day to provide for our family ~ he more than earns a little down time...
  • thankful that he makes it a priority to be home in time for dinner ~ he spends time around the table with his wife and children talking about the day...
  • thankful that he is present for bedtime routines ~ he reads to and prays with our kids each night...
  • thankful that he is not married to his job ~ he is around on the weekends for family time, for extra-curricular activities, for sporting events, as well as hot dates with me! :)
  • thankful that he has friends with whom he enjoys spending time ~ he plays an important part in keeping our friendship relationships strong...
  • thankful that he is not out doing what he could be out doing.
I believe with all my heart that we should honor our families first, that we should never view our family as a burden or something from which we need a break, and that our lives should not be centered around quality "me-time". However, I also believe with all my heart that guys need some guy time every now and then just as girls occasionally need some girl time. We are human, and we need friends! Four and a half hours maximum for the week is really not that much to ask, especially considering that it is always time spent after family time, after the kids are in bed, and always while I am doing something, too. It never takes priority over anything that we might choose to do together during that time frame, but I want for him to have that guy time during the week. (A bonus is that it allows me some time for activities like blogging, pleasure reading, talking to my girlfriends, a movie with my friends, a weekly Bible study with the other XBOX Wives, and kid-free bubble baths...) Mr. Brownstone and I encourage each other in developing and maintaining friendships, and I believe our marriage is richer for it. (Another bonus for us is that my best friends are married to his best friends!)

Here are some things that I know:
Mr. Brownstone is always home for dinner. He is active with our kids. He is home at night. He is not sitting in a bar drinking or watching other women take off their clothing. He can be a guy around the guys. Guys get "guy things"! He encourages my friendships. Girls get "girl things"!
We spend quality time with each other as spouses every day. We trust each other. We love each other. Why would his game nights bother me?

I am so thankful for Mr. Brownstone. I am also thankful for his friends. (They are my friends, too!)

On a final note, I am thankful for the way that Mr. Brownstone can bring a smile to my face and make me laugh...right now, he is playing XBOX Live with his buddies, but he is also watching a football game on television. He SAYS that it is on so he can hear the weather reports. I do not believe that for one second, and he knows it. After all, boys will be boys. He's got a headset on his head, a game controller in one hand, and a remote control in the other. He is also somehow managing to sneak in bites of Boston Cream Pie chased down by a tall cold glass of milk. No, XBOX nights do not bother me!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


My good friend Jenn, or "Lurch-Lady" as I like to call her, was recently tagged over at texas wife and mom. (Jenn, we really need to discuss your de-capitalization of TEXAS!) She participated by listing seven random thoughts as they randomly popped into her head. Once tagged, it seems to be customary to tag others to participate in the fun. I mean, Lurch-Lady was tagged by her friend Reagan from Mississippi, who was tagged by 24Crayons from Virginia, who was tagged by Kate, tagged by Zombieslayer, tagged by Beach Bum from South Carolina, tagged by Mike from Michigan, tagged by Meggie from Australia, tagged by Leanne from Australia, tagged by Nicolette from Netherlands, tagged by Tracy from Norway, tagged by Hege - also from Norway and with a bilingual blog to boot, who was tagged THREE times:

  • by Monica from Norway, tagged by Kristen from Norway, tagged by Petunia from Norway, who was tagged twice,
    • by Marianne from Norway, where the trail went cold on September 23, (Monica, Kristen, Petunia, and Marianne all had completely foreign language blogs! Check out Monica's blog just for kicks. Bet you can't read it either!)
  • by Sylvia from Norway, who was also tagged three times!
    • by Frokenij from Norway, tagged by Mrs. Darcy from Norway, tagged by Sina from Norway, (both completely foreign language blogs), tagged by Hobbygasa from Norway (same as above), tagged by Tina from Dixon, Kentucky (same as above), tagged by Carol from Las Vegas, Nevada, where the trail went cold on September 19 (same as above).
    • by Ninne, tagged by Lilje, who was tagged twice,
      • by Sina from Norway, same as above
      • and by Kristin from Norway, same as above
    • and by BIM-HD, where the trail went cold.
  • AND by Merete, from Norway and a foreign language blog, which made it difficult to find the meme and it's origin and date because no 1-7 numbers were visible as they were on the other foreign language blogs.
(And yes...I DID take the time required to investigate how long this meme has been going and where it originated. I'm kind of a nerd when it comes to stuff like that! And Y'ALL - let me tell you, those Norwegian women can knit! I was amazed by all the pictures of the beautiful things they have created! AND...may I just ask you the you find it completely incredible that this little meme has traveled AT LEAST from the United States, to Australia, to Netherlands, to Norway, and back to the United States between September 19 and today, and it has been bounced around ~ sometimes more than once ~ between AT LEAST twenty-seven people, not including the off-shoots of every OTHER person these people tagged? Me either!)

Silly Lurch-Lady!
apparently, had OTHER ideas... Instead, she wrote:

Okay, I'm one, I could hardly find time to do this one myself!! I'm off to get the kids and myself dressed to go to Ladies Bible class and hopefully enjoy a fun lunch with all of my great girlfriends from church!! If you want to do the tag, be my guest!!! :)"

Of course, I called and harassed her after she didn't tag ANYONE! Being one of those "great girlfriends", I personally felt that I had the right to give her a hard time about not tagging ME! As a new blogger, I don't really get tagged ~ ever! (I was once tagged by Jenn BEFORE I started blogging publicly!) Lurch-Lady really needed to help a "great girlfriend" out with a tag opportunity, especially considering that I've been at a loss for words this past week. I told her that I would be happy to participate, but she had to actually tag me first. ~ no vague references about being her guest but a real black, white, and true tag. In other words, I basically called her and said, "ME! ME! Pick me for the meme!"

So, yesterday I made the headlines in her blog:

"Okay, Jill, you are it!"

That was the title of her latest post. Obviously, the harassment (as well as the shameless begging) worked! I have officially been tagged to list seven random thoughts as they randomly pop into my head. It was interesting to see how this meme evolved over it's traveling course. In the oldest link I could track, there were rules:
  1. Link to your tagger and post rules.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself, some random and some weird.
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of post and list their names.
  4. Let them know they were tagged by a comment on their blog.
On that note, here are some of MY headlines, or the random lines of thought that are running through my head...
  1. With the exceptions of Rhino's Real Total Package, M4Mom, and Lurch-Lady, people reading this meme have NO IDEA how extremely difficult it is for me to sort out only seven of the seven hundred random thoughts that will run through my mind while typing this. Seriously! Mr. Brownstone told me I need to be tested for ADD. Mr. Brownstone never takes lightly anything for which he will have to shell out money. He is also not of fan of "labels" or of taking medication unless you truly need antibiotics for something. He must be serious about my short attention span if he's mentioning it.
  2. I wonder if ADD is what causes my little problem with chewing gum. Can you get bored while chewing gum? Is it possible to forget why you put it in your mouth in the first place? It is for me. I am thirty-something years old and cannot chew a piece of gum without swallowing it. Seriously ~ This is why I do not chew gum very often. Sometimes I swallow it before the flavor is even gone! Sometimes I swallow it while saying to myself, "Do not swallow your gum. Chew your gum. Do not swallow your gum. Chew your gum." I know ~ gum-swallowing is immature, and it makes me a little weird; but it's a struggle. The really weird thing...I didn't start this nasty little habit until adulthood. It just came out of the blue, and unfortunately, it seems to be an unbreakable habit.
  3. I have at least five loads of laundry to do right now, and that does not include all the bed linens, or the towels, or what I will find lurking under the bed and in the corners of Tornado's room. It also does not include the two loads that I have already done that still need to be folded. Laundry is my nemesis. Really, it should be such a simple task, but it is my least favorite task. If I can ever get caught up, it will be simple because right now, I have to do at least one load every day just so the loads do not multiply. Laundry, you better hope we never meet in a dark alley. Your grime will be mine.
  4. The background noise of the crowd at televised football games really gets on my nerves. That kind of white noise gives me a headache. The air conditioner noise gives me a headache, too. There is a battle over the thermostat between Mr. Brownstone and myself. I do get chilly but could live with the cooler temperature. It's really the noise I don't like, and I do not like to feel the air blowing either. (I just sneaked in there and bumped the temperature up a couple of degrees so it will quit blowing right now.) I also do not like to feel or hear the air blowing in the car. I could listen to the crickets call, or the frogs croak, or the birds chirp, or the rain, or the thunder, or the rushing water all day long. Please, though, never lock me in a room with crowd noise, or an overactive air conditioner! I'd be crazy by the time you released me.
  5. I really miss my kids right now because they are at my parents' house for the night. I'm happy that they get to be around all of their grandparents so often, though. We are lucky like that. I love my family so much. It's such a great feeling to have such a great relationship with our parents and siblings. I don't know what I would do without my parents or the other Things. It's also a bonus because it's free babysitting whenever we need it. It's fun for all of them, and it's nice to have an occasional date with Mr. Brownstone. Mr. Brownstone still has it! I'm not always good about letting him know it, but he still makes my stomach flutter. He is very cute to look at and very funny to boot. Our kids are inside/outside beautiful! They are also very sweet and funny. Tornado is a master prank caller and is quite the teacher for Twister in the art of prank calling as well. Twister pranked called our messages three times today. The first one said, "Hi, this is Rochelle, Buddy's mom, and we would like for Tornado um tuuuh come over at 2 am in the morning tomorrow... well not at 2 am. Two am in the afternoon... after school and we would like Tornado to spend the night. Well, no. Tomorrow after school... the next day, um Monday? Wait, I messed up on my ...." CLICK! Now that, my friends, is a QUALITY prank call. Twister also called earlier this week and left a message that informed me my shirt was ready to pick up from "The Shirt Store" for one thousand and one dollars. When Tornado calls, it is a whole different ballgame. I have to say...Tornado has prank calling skillz, and that is "skillz" with a Z!
  6. I am not sure if my friends know that I can play the saxophone. I used to be pretty good ~ you know...skillz with a Z. They were not hard to play, but my favorite songs to play were songs from before my time: "Brandy", "Smoke On The Water", and "Horse". I really think I could still play them if I could get my hands on a saxophone.
  7. I have the best friends...ever! We have not all known each other our whole lives. Some of them I haven't even known for a year, and I haven't known ANY of them for more than two years. We just all came together at the right time, and we just fit. I feel like I have known them forever, and it's a great feeling. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that any single one of them would drop what they were doing at any given moment to come to our aid, and we would do the same for them. I can't imagine not talking to them several times a week. We are so happy where we this full life!
Well, there's seven or more random and weird facts about me. I tag Chrystal, Jenni, Liza, Julie, Rosheeda, and then of course "Rhino's Real Total Package" and "M4Mom" - y'all can post your answers in the comment section here. Please play! I would love for ANYONE that reads this blog semi-regularly to also feel free to participate if you'd like. Please leave a comment for me in the comments section, if you decide to play along, so I can go read your answers! And if you are a brand new reader...YOU CAN PLAY, TOO! The more the merrier!

And Lurch-Lady...thank you so much for helping me find words again!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Thank you so much to all of you that have still been dropping by here daily only to find that I haven't really blogged about anything in a week. I wish that I could adequately express how much the support I've received in this foray into the world of blogging means to me.

It's encouraging to see that new people seem to find this little blog each day...that some actually stick around long enough to read my thoughts and view multiple pages...that sometimes people comment...that people offer up prayers on my behalf...and sometimes...people even come back for a second, third, or fourth visit! Wow!!! It truly does mean a lot to me. It gives me a sense of camaraderie...of loyalty...of pride... And it is also humbling.

Currently, I feel a small amount of guilt that I have not been able to ramble.

I really wish that I could give you a GREAT read right now.

I wish that I could simply give you a good read right now.

I'd even settle for "just a read".

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday...I was on a roll. mind just went blank. Granted, it has been a busy time.

  • We went to a lake over the weekend for a mini-retreat with friends from church.
  • I got to visit my grandma.
  • The kids had a school holiday.
  • I worked.
  • There was Ladies' Bible Class.
  • I cleaned house, did laundry, and grocery shopped.
  • We had dinner with friends.
  • There were numerous activities for the kids, not to mention homework.
  • And on and on and on...such is the life of a mom. (Busy...yet glorious!)
But...I've been home, too. I've come to this computer almost every night. I've logged into this blog almost every night. And every night...I just sit here. The words will not come. There are so many things about which I could write, so many things about which I want to write, but the words will not come. Some remain hidden in my heart, not ready to surface just yet, while others are simply locked inside my mind in a whirlwind. (My thought process is always a whirlwind. It always has been. I go from one thought to the other with a speed that never ceases to amaze the man I have loved since 1992.)

So, please...accept my apologies if you've been disappointed from the blankness of the past week. And please...keep visiting! The words will come. The words about the friendships my family has made ~ friendships that words could not even begin to adequately describe...the words about my grandma, her joyful spirit, and her latest test results...the words about Ladies' Bible Class...the words about my children...the words about my husband...

The words will come.


"Just 'Lion' Around"

Thanks to Dyane for the great caption!

Thanks to everyone that commented.

(For the record, I did not specify WHICH Thursday I would post the caption! :) I'm sorry it took so's been a busy week, and I haven't been able to even log in, much less blog about ANYTHING!)

Thursday, October 4, 2007


We are just about to finish up the sixth week of school, and so far my total for money-doling is $61.55!!

This does not include:

  • cafeteria money
  • the "voluntary" donation
  • book order forms
  • all outside activities (sports, scouts, etc.)
And the really sad thing is...we are not even remotely finished!
This total does not include the things that I know are yet to come:
  • field trips
  • fall pictures
  • spring pictures
  • carnival tickets
  • carnival donations
  • fun run fees
  • sock hop tickets
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc.
It's easy to complain sometimes, but in all seriousness, I LOVE my kids' school. I love the office staff, the administration, the teachers, the building, the activities... I am so thankful for the confidence I have in our particular situation.

I think the thoughts I have about the amount of money that is going out stem directly from that mean old Dave Ramsey making us assign a name to every dollar! I'm just kidding about the mean and old part. He's not so bad, especially when you realize that he is helping you change the way you think about debt, cash, and saving ~ even if you thought you were good at it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


This week Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer is hosting her usual Works-For-Me-Wednesday carnival with a twist! She has charged us to ASK for tips rather than give them in honor of Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Backwards Day!

I think it's brilliant!!!

Speaking of tips...
Today what I would REALLY love to know from each of you are your thoughts on correct tipping etiquette. We always wonder ~ especially on vacation ~ if we are tipping too much, or if we aren't tipping enough, and even if we should we be tipping at all for some services? This often leaves us with a feeling of frustration. I have searched high and low for a good guide but have yet to find one. (If you know of a good one, particularly a free one, please pass along the link, or the title!)

So my I guess my questions would be (and not limited to) the following:

  • How much do you tip the security officer that brings a band-aid to your room?
  • How much do you tip the taxi driver that doesn't answer any of your questions, or chooses to text message friends while he is driving?
  • How about the taxi driver that gives you great tips and good conversation?
  • Do you tip the doorman that greets you, the one that takes in your bags, AND the one that carries them to your room?
  • How much do you tip the doorman that hails a cab for you?
  • The concierge?
  • Housekeeping?
  • Do you tip housekeeping daily, or at the end of your trip? (I always worry that the person that has been cleaning our room all week will have the day off on the day we leave!)
  • Salon and spa services in your hotel?
  • And what about salon and spa services in your hometown ~ How much do you tip your hairstylist, the shampoo person, the manicurist, the esthetician?
  • The barber?
  • The shoeshine guy?
  • Car wash attendants?
  • Restaurants? How much? Do you determine the amount depending on the specific restaurant? How about the maitre d'? How about self-service places where someone buses your table?
  • Airports! How much do you tip the guy who unloads your car and the separate guy that checks your bags before you ever actually get into the airport? The parking attendants? The bus drivers for long-term parking?
  • Valet parking attendants?
  • Grocery store baggers and car loaders?
If you provide a service for which you receive tips - even if I didn't mention it above - PLEASE give us a guideline on what is the minimum expected and what is considered generous for a job very well done! Or maybe you travel often or dine out frequently...please share what you know to be a fair tip for these services. And by all means, if you live in a city where you take a taxi...this one ALWAYS baffles me! Please shed some light!

Thanks so much for ANY help you can provide!

Visit Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer to GIVE more Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Backwards Day tips this week!

  • Click here for my second ever Works-For-Me-Wednesday tip. See how I getting my kids (and husband!) to try new vegetables and love them!
  • Click here for my first ever Works-For-Me-Wednesday tip! It's a great tip about making travel easy with kids!
  • Click here to find out what works for us regarding chores and "allowance".
  • Click here to see what easy recipes are working for us.
Have a wonderful Columbus Day weekend!

Monday, October 1, 2007


Well, it's Monday, so that means it is time to plan our meals for the week! Doing this has made dinnertime so much easier around here. Everyone knows up front what we are having, so there are few - if any - complaints, and it is also saving us so much money!

To be honest, we are getting a little bit tired of plain old sandwiches on Monday nights. So tired, in fact, that last Monday we blew off the plan AND the budget and went to McDonald's. Technically, that could still be considered "sandwich night", but it definitely did not save us time, calories, or money. Pizza night is getting a little bit old, too. Though the reasons we have for these two nights are still valid, we are just really craving some variety in our diet. My goal this week is to incorporate some creativity into both sandwich and pizza nights! In addition, we have one final kink for the week in our usual menu plan: there will be no $10 meal at church on Wednesday night due to "Giveaway Day", which I will post more about after the actual day occurs!

And now, without further ado...
Thanks again to Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie
for hosting Menu Plan Monday each week!

MONDAY - We are staying true to "sandwich night" because we really do need to keep things quick and easy, but instead of plain old sandwiches, we will be having Savory Crescent Squares. YUM!!! (See recipe below!)

TUESDAY - We are staying true to "pizza night" as well, but instead of greasy take-out pizza, we will be having Build-Your-Own-Pizza, using browned ground beef, mushrooms, black olives, onions, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, Pillsbury pizza crust, and a choice between Ragu or Contadina pizza sauce. I love this kind of pizza night! It's still quick and easy, but SO much more fun than take-out pizza!

WEDNESDAY - Arrrgh! This night is a toughie! We don't want to spend a lot of money, but it is the one day that I really do not have time to cook - ANYTHING! We also have a very small window of opportunity for dining between the time that Mr. Brownstone gets home from work and the beginning of church. If I remember to get it out of the freezer, we might have leftover Mexican Soup from last week.

THURSDAY - Because I AM going to remember to thaw out the Mexican Soup leftovers, I will remember to thaw out the pork chops, too! We will be having the Fiesta Pork Bake and broccoli that we were supposed to have last Friday! We totally forgot that our friends' band was playing at a local BBQ restaurant. We had a really fun time sitting on the back porch in the beautiful weather, while eating good food, listening to good music, and hanging out with good friends!

FRIDAY - We are having Tilapia With Garlic Butter, summer squash, and baked zucchini. (See tilapia recipe below!)

SATURDAY and SUNDAY - We will be at the lake with friends! I'm sure we will dine on things like hamburgers, hot dogs, and S'MORES!, but we have not been so organized as to already have a menu plan together for the ten or so families that will be in attendance! It won't matter what we eat, though...we will be with friends, and dining with friends makes ANY meal worthwhile!

The following recipes are courtesy of my mom's recipe box. She is a fantastic cook!

Savor this.....

Why these are called squares, I'll never know. Square, or not, they are so good! They are also very quick and easy.

Savory Crescent Squares

3 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted - divide 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon
2 cups cooked, finely cubed chicken
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
8-oz. can crescent rolls
chicken-flavored stuffing mix

Blend the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of butter/margarine until smooth. Add the next 5 ingredients. Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. Spoon 1/2 cup of chicken mixture onto the center of each rectangle. Bring the 4 corners of dough to the center and twist slightly; seal the edges. Roll these in the remaining butter/margarine, and sprinkle with stuffing mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 4.

Tilapia With Garlic Butter

2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
dash pepper
dash salt
pinch of dried dill weed or parsley
dash paprika
4 tilapia fillets

In saucepan, combine butter, garlic, pepper, salt, dill weed, and paprika. Heat over low heat until butter is melted and starts simmering. Remove from heat. Brush a little of the butter mixture in the bottom of a shallow baking dish (line baking dish with foil, if desired); then place tilapia fillets on the buttered area. Brush top of each tilapia fillet with the seasoned butter mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until tilapia flakes easily with a fork.

Serves 4.

For more recipes from my mom's box, visit here, here, here, or here!