Wednesday, October 24, 2012

super easy costume idea

A glimpse at one of our super quick, easy and embarrassingly cheap costumes this year...


Seriously, this was the easiest costume I've ever made!  You really only need 4 things - an old XL t-shirt, poly-fill, spray paint and a piece of white poster board.

I think the directions are pretty self explanatory, but just in case...
I cut off the sleeves of an old white t-shirt, hot glued the poly-fill all over it and spray painted the whole thing.  Then I rolled up a piece of poster board to make a cone, glued it together and stapled a piece of elastic to it. I wasn't kidding, was I? Easiest costume...

On Monday night, we decided to go to BooFest at one of the local parks about 3 hours before it started, so the final touches on the costume were done rather quickly.  Before next week, I'll add a little poly-fil around the bottom of the "hat" and do some touch-up with her fluff!  

Ellee wanted to be a princess, so we threw something together quickly for her to wear on Monday.  As you can see, she's a princess sans a crown!  Our dress-up clothes are still MIA from our temporary move, but she didn't mind too much.  Apparently wearing make-up trumps wearing a crown for a 6 year old girl!  

Although Ellee made a beautiful princess, she'll be sporting something a tad different next week...purple cotton candy!!  After all the attention Addie got, Ellee decided she wanted in on the fun, too.  Addie received tons of compliments and even had several people take pictures of her.   

Now if I could only convince Lee that it would be ok for Sam to go as cotton candy, too.  Apparently it's not "masculine enough."  I'd let him be blue...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

finding a happy place for my kids' "treasures"

Please tell me that I'm not the only mom with J.U.N.K. collectors as kids!!  I stand amazed at what I find stashed away in their room.

I mean seriously, Ellee, do you really think it's necessary to keep a "fun colored piece of fuzz" that you found on the playground?!?  Or better, and probably my all-time favorite, a used toothbrush that her "fwiend" at school gave her.

Addie is more likely to keep more "sophisticated" junk - papers that she folded into something "really cool" or 1 of the 55,564,309 duct tape wallets she made for her dolls.

So what's a mom to do?  Or maybe I should say, "what's an overly anal (can I use that word??  Lee hates it..) mom to do?!" I definitely believe in "everything has a place and everything in its place!"

I've always said...if it's important to my kids, I want to treat it as such.  Whether it's a dilemma with friends, a story that I've heard 7 times already, or a piece of paper, I want my kids to know that I care about the (seemingly little and unimportant) things in their life.

I understand that there must be a balance though - I don't want to feed unnecessary drama and I don't want to see my kids on "Hoarders" one day either!  I needed a happy place for all the junk treasures!

So this is where the "Treasure Box" was born!!

Here are the rules for the kids:

  • You may keep anything in your box that you want as long as it's not alive or food.  (You can't assume anything around here!)
  • The top has to shut - no treasures seeping out of the side!
  • When it gets too full for anymore goodies - you have to clean it out to make more room. (This allows them to be in control of what they keep and what they toss.)
And the rule for Mommy:

  • I must stay out of their box!! long as they're adhering to the rules above!
So that's it - a happy balance for their junk treasures!

Here's a glimpse at what we're using for now...
*Just a good ole Rubbermaid container that can go under the bed.  It's pathetic how giddy these things make me!*

After we move and get them settled into their room, I'll move beyond the plastic to something a little fancier that matches their room.  I'd love one that will double as a stool.  This is closer to what I'm visualizing...

with a top though...the box MUST have a top

PS...I have to know - do boys do this too?  We're not there yet with this little cutie..

Sunday, September 23, 2012

praying for my husband

Not long after Lee and I got married, I was given a list of specific ways wives can pray for their husbands.  My commitment to praying through this list has been somewhat sporadic over the years, but the Lord has brought me back to this lately as He has shown me the importance of praying for my husband - especially in his new role.  I wanted to share some of the things on the list as a way to encourage other wives to be faithful in praying for their man...

1.  Show me how to demonstrate a reverent spirit to my husband and honor him as the head of our home.  1 Peter 3:2
2.  Show me how to demonstrate a grateful spirit toward my husband for how he has benefitted my life.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

3.  Remind me daily of loving ways that I can serve my husband to help him be successful in all his roles.  Mark 10:44
4.  Pour out Your grace on me, and enable me to have a meek and quiet spirit that can only come from You.  1 Peter 3:1-6

5.  May my husband be a man, according to Your will, that loves You with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and may he love his neighbor as himself.  Mark 12:29-30

6.  I pray that I will love him with an abiding, faithful love as long as we live and that he would dwell with me according to knowledge, understanding how God created me as a woman.  Ephesians 5:25-31; 1 Peter 3:7
7.  Lord, make my husband a mighty man of valor, one prudent in speech, a man of whom others would say,"...the Lord is with him." 1 Samuel 16:18

8.  Let him be like Daniel, a man who would not defile himself with what the world offered, and that he would hate evil and not desire that which is forbidden.  Daniel 1:8; Colossians 3:15

9.  Grant my husband favor and compassion in the sight of those in authority over him.  Daniel 1:9
10.  Father, please keep Your hedge of protection around him today, keeping him from the strange woman and give him the grace to make and keep a covenant with his eyes and I pray that I would meet his needs spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  Job 1:10, 31:1; Proverbs 7; 1 Corinthians 7:1-6

11.  Give him wisdom in managing finances, and remind him to be faithful in giving to the Lord and others.  1 Timothy 5:8, 6:10; 2 Corinthians 9:7

12.  Help him to open his mouth "to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel." Ephesians 6:19
13.  May I be an encouragement to him daily, and bless him with Your peace.  Hebrews 3:13; Philippians 4:7

14.  Father, may he not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful.  May he delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night.  May he be like a tree that is planted by the stream, one in which the leaves will not wither and may he prosper in whatever he does.  Psalm 1:1-3


Saturday, September 8, 2012

playing catch-up with a picture post

In an attempt to play "catch up," prepare for a large dose of pictures with captions!  Somehow, yet again, I sit down to blog and realize it's been weeks since my last post of ramblings.  I'm fully aware that there are only two people (the Grandmas!!) that really wait for an update, but this blog is also a spot for me to keep our memories and my thoughts organized so I hate to let too much time go by.  

So here goes the last month or so in fast forward...

I managed to let our annual "Brown Family Gatlinburg Vacation" slip by without a single picture!  Here are just a few glimpses of the adventure...

Ellee did indeed start ballet and she loves it! 

The kids and I snuck down to Georgia to surprise Mom for her 60th birthday! 

The weekend we were there also happened to be the Peanut Festival in their quaint little town.  Since they live on Main Street, we had front row seats for the parade...

We've done a little more hiking...
But what's consumed most of our time is our {potential!} new home!! Praise God, we finally have a contract on a house. We won't actually move until December, but there's plenty to do before then. Our new abode has "great bones," plenty of space and is in a great location. The catch - it's in desperate need of cosmetic love and attention! I just can't bring myself to show you "before" pictures without the accompanying "after" pictures so you'll have to wait on that. But here is a view of our back yard from the deck - one of the things I love about this house!

I have always been fascinated with spectacular "before & after" pictures that leave you wondering how the transformation took place.  I pray I can offer a few of those in the months to come! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

because so many of you asked...

...we made it through the first day of school!!  I am so thankful for everyone who checked on us after my last {apparently tear provoking} post.  My default setting is transparency and honesty, so I was just baring my troubled heart...

I couldn't get to the school and get my arms around those girls quick enough! When I saw their face, I felt so much relief and their sweet smiles assured me of a great day!

Today was another big day around here - Addie's first day of ballet...
{these pictures were taken with a phone, so excuse the quality}

Ellee has been undecided as to whether ballet was "her thing" or not.  {Her words exactly!}  But after seeing all the beautiful ballerinas today, she has decided that she wants to "give it a try."  We shall see...

And just because he hasn't been mentioned in a few posts, here's a glimpse at our other little munchkin. This is what Sam does when you say "smile!" He keeps us laughing...


Monday, August 6, 2012

the hardest 1st day of school...for this mamma

Every year on the kiddos first day of school, I cry.  I always have.  But then again, I cry easily.  I get it from Mom.

This year was different.  Today was the first day of school for my girls and I haven't just been crying, I've been squalling like a baby.  This year has been difficult because we're new to this town and still feel like strangers.

{I'm sure the tears shed today were ones building up from this "life change" that we've experienced over the past just seemed like a "good" day to let the flood gates open!}

When we walked in to the school this morning, we were greeted by a sea of unfamiliar faces.  I looked around desperately hoping to see someone that I recognized.  Of course I came up short.

I began fighting tears.  You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach and the burning in your nose you get when you're trying to hold back tears?  That's how I immediately felt.

We walked Ellee to her class, met her teacher and got her settled in her chair.

Everything in me wanted to pull the teacher aside and make sure she understood just how important that brown eyed girl with the contagious laugh was.

Instead, I kissed Ellee,  said "I love you" and walked away.

My heart was aching.  I had just left my baby with a total stranger, surrounded by total strangers, in a strange building and she didn't even know where the bathroom was.

And I had to do it again.

We found Addie's teacher and I really wanted to give her the same speech about my precious, sensitive girl that I was "allowing" her to teach for a while.  

But Lee gently led me out the door and into the parking lot.  People looked at my tear streaked face and swollen eyes.  One lady even said, "She'll be ok, I promise."

Lee and I sat in the car and debated on driving away.  Maybe we should just sit there and wait for the day to end.

We drove away.  Why was it so hard to leave those girls?

Hours later, I was still upset and went to see my hubby at work.  He held me while I cried some more and then he read this to me from "The Gospel Coalition" website:
Dear Stay-at-Home Mom,
You are a gift of God to your husband and your kids.
But you don’t always feel that way, do you?
There’s a low-level feeling of guilt that creeps into your heart from time to time. Sometimes it bubbles over into tears, usually on lonely, difficult days.
You scan blogs and read books about being a good mom. You find some helpful tidbits here and there, often from women who are grandmothers now. Women you can learn from but who seem to have forgotten the struggle. They seem to have it all together.
In your heart, you want to be the kind of mom who trains up kids to make a difference for the kingdom. You know it’s an honor to be entrusted with these kids. You know you’ve only got one shot. You want to be the mom who teaches them the Bible, models how to pray, and trains them up in the fear of the Lord.
But most of the time you feel like you’re barely holding it all together.
Your house cleaning can’t keep up with your kids’ mess-making.
The kids embarrass you by acting up right when your guests arrive.
Your husband doesn’t get just how worn out you are by the end of the day.
You come to the end of your patience. You lose your temper. Then you feel worse.
The last thing you consider yourself to be is a “good mom.” And you think to yourself, It’ll be a miracle if my kids turn out okay.And – surprisingly – that’s right where God wants to meet you. The place where you admit your powerlessness and your need for Him.
It’s only by God’s grace that any kid grows up to be a force for the kingdom.
You see, there are no perfect kids and no perfect mothers. No matter what you read in blogs, see in magazines, and learn in books. There are sinful kids and sinful moms and dads.
And the only thing greater than both is the grace of God. The God who says “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The God who loves to forgive, to transform, and empower.
God loves you – not because you are a good mother but just because you are His precious child.
God loves you – not because you’ve mastered all the skills of parenting but because He has.
It’s divine grace that will transform your parenting – not guilt.
It’s grace that will keep you going and serving and scrubbing when you’re exhausted and worn out.
It’s grace that will conquer your feelings of inadequacy and remind you of God’s love for you in Christ.
It’s grace that goes for the heart of your kids, not just their behavior.
God has demonstrated the fullness of His love for you through the cross of His Son, even while you were still a sinner.
He has promised you His presence.
He has spoken His approval over you in Christ.
He is the perfect Father who delights in you as a daughter.
Find in Him your Treasure and Joy. Be to others what He is to you.
So walk in freedom. Let Him hold you together when everything seems to be falling apart.
Bask in His unfailing love for you. And rest in His promise of power.

I'm so thankful that my husband knows how to comfort me when I'm struggling.

He knows to point me to Jesus, the only One that can truly bring comfort and peace when you are feeling desperate and hopeless.


Well, I'm off to pick up my girls.  Yes, I do realize that I'll be about an hour early.  Cut me some least I didn't sit in the parking lot all day! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

unintentional hiatus

I've got a good excuse for the unintentional hiatus I took from blogging...moving with three small kiddos!!

The past month and half have been just a tad chaotic as we've made the transition from Kentuckians to East Tennesseans!  If you don't believe me, let me share with you a little story that really allowed our faith to be put into practice...

We had moving trucks arriving at our house on a Friday morning.  We found out where we'd be moving to on Thursday morning.  YES - the Thursday morning before - 24 hours before all of our belongings were hauled away!!  Several weeks prior to this, we spent time looking for a house in our new town and came up short over and over again.  We were even unsuccessful in finding somewhere temporary to rent.  Thankfully, our new church family worked hard on our behalf and found a place to put us until we find a house to make our home!  

The last time I had a "new house blind date" was when we moved to Texas right after we got married.  I had never laid eyes on that house until the day we moved in.  That "date" didn't go so well and we lived in a "house" that left quite a bit to be desired.  {Honestly - it was a dump that practically had a train running through it and a family of mice that took up residence there.}  This "blind date move" has turned out much better!  

We still feel a little like gypsies because we've only unpacked the bare necessities and are walking around (more like tripping over!) boxes.  The house hunt is still on and we're praying for a place to settle very soon!

In the meanwhile, we're blessed to be living somewhere that has so much to offer close by and we've been taking advantage of that!  The clan has spent a few days hiking, picnicking, waterfall exploring and riding alpine slides!

While the girls played in the waterfall, Sam "looked" from the sidelines.  Seriously, this little guy slept through the entire hike!  

The girls' favorite part of the alpine slide was riding the lift up! 

The reality that summer is drawing to a close has begun to set in and we're trying to soak up every last minute of it.  Next week, we will enjoy the annual Brown Family Vacation in Gatlinburg!  It's always fun to be with everyone and we look forward to it every year!  Here is a glimpse of the excitement from last year! Enjoy your last few weeks of summertime!