Friday, June 27, 2008

Any Last Words?

Cousin It dropped by to help us get moved into our new place.

We will only have the computers up and running for about 24 more hours.  I'm doing my deep breathing exercises.  Not sure I can handle all the withdrawals that I know are coming from lack of face time with the computer.  I have looked into every avenue for getting a fastish internet connection out in the country.  Looks like our only options will be dial-up (gasp!!!) or a satellite connection which is pricey but possibly worth it.  We'll see.  In the mean time, I will miss all of you!!!!
While I'm gone, don't forget to write out your "If I had a benefactor" contest entry.  I've gotten about 6 or 8 entries so far and many promises that entries are on the way.  Let's set a date to have your entry in by Saturday July 12th.  Friday July 11th for those of you time travelers on Guam.  (PS I love all you Guam people and I miss you very much!)
Alrighty then, I'm off to pack some more boxes!
Bye, ya'll be good. Hear?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Can You Believe It?

The Browns are moving AGAIN!

Where to, you ask?

To the country, that's where.  Here is our back porch.  Notice the crowd at the backdoor waiting for daddy to get the key to work.  Also notice the shaggy yard.  The children crowded araound the door will never change but the yard will be very different as soon as we can get at it.  
Our mower is in for a workout.

That's the backyard.  Those are peanuts growing back there. 

Here's the side yard yard and the other side looks just like it.  Hmmm?  Peanuts in the backyard and .... poison ivy on the sides?

Our driveway, the one you'll take when you come for a visit.  We'll leave a light on for you.

Here is the front of the house. Don't be deceived by the simple appearance.  Inside it's a diamond in the rough.

Abbie and Gracie are trying out their new window.  Those two stinkers are forever having fun no matter what they're doing.

Makes you want to be a kid again, huh?

Holly's contemplative look.  We think she's congratulating herself on FINALLY getting her cowgirl soul out into the country where she always knew she belonged.

My new great big kitchen.  Look over there at that double oven!!  

The kitchen view from the dining room.  Lee's happy about my kitchen too.  He like's it when I have a kitchen to get cozy and creative in.  Must be all of those cinnamon rolls I get inspired to make.

Caitlin is uncovering the view from the dining room window.

Come see us sometime!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Suppers

As promised, todays Sunday Suppers recipe is Homemade Egg Rolls.  These yummy little bundles are SO easy to make.  My family actually prefers these that we make at home to any that we have had when eating out.  It does require a few steps and just a bit of effort but it is SO worth it.

You will need chicken, a package of egg roll wrappers, a bag of precut cole slaw and soy sauce.

You need to cook the chicken.  Any method works as long as it is cooked thoroughly.  I prefer to boil it water and a little soy sauce because it's quick.  When the chicken is cooked you will need to chop it up fine or use my trick and put it in the Kitchen Aide Mixer to get it chopped.

Next empty your bag of slaw into a deep pan that has a tight fitting lid.  On top of the slaw add your chopped chicken.

This is what makes it yummy: Pour on the soy sauce.  Don't be shy, pour it on and stir it up.  If it does not look coated enough pour some more on.  

Next you will turn the heat on to about med and cover the pan.  The heat and steam will cause the cabbage to shrink down.  After a few minute lift the lid and give it a stir.  If it needs more soy, add some now.  You want the heat hot enough to evaporate most of the liquid.  So if  your mixture is too watery turn the heat up some and leave the lid off while stirring.  You will know when it's done when the mixture has shrunk down to about half of what you started with.  If you still have alot of liquid, don't worry just drain some off before using it to roll your egg rolls. 
At this point you will need to use your filling to roll all of your egg rolls.  In the post below, Caitlin has demonstrated step by step directions for egg roll rolling.  It's not hard so don't be intimidated.  I am blessed to have 4 very skilled egg roll rollers in the house.

Now comes the fun part!  You get to fry them.  I have this nifty little deep fryer that has a lid so that I don't burn myself.  I have a habit of that.  I love kitchen power tools!  If you do not have one of these handy little babies, never fear, you can still make egg rolls.  All you need is a largish pot filled about 1/3 of the way with vegetable oil (or whichever oil you prefer).  Put it on the burner and heat it up to about 375 degrees or Medium High.  Please be careful!!!

Plunge your egg rolls into the hot oil.  This only takes a couple of minutes.  They will brown up in a hurry so watch them closely.

They should come out looking all crispy and golden brown.  Drain them on a paper towel and let them cool just a little but eat them while they are hot. 

Yum-O!  We sometimes eat these alone for supper with just a side of sticky rice and ginger sauce (which I already posted the recipe for) but today we also had some homemade sesame chicken.  It was a feast!  I hope that all of you will venture out and give this recipe a shot.  You won't regret it.  Let me know how it turns out when you do.

How To Roll An Egg Roll

Caitlin will now demonstrate step by step directions for rolling an egg roll.

Here she started with one sheet of egg roll wrapper. The bottom corner is pointed toward her.  She has about 1 heaping Tablespoon of the filling placed just above the bottom corner.

Fold that bottom corner over the filling.

Then roll the whole thing over again.

Now fold in one corner over the middle.

Then fold in the other corner.
Roll the whole thing over one more time.

Wet the tip of your finger with plain water.

Rub the water on the top corner, the water acts as a glue to seal the egg roll closed.

Roll over one last time to seal that wet corner. 

Your egg roll should now look like this.  Thank You Caitlin!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

When I Need A Laugh

I thought I would promote one of my favorite places to visit on the web when I need a laugh.  It's called  People have sent in some hilarious (and sometimes a little naughty so be careful) pictures of English being misused in Asian countries.  I never fail to belly laugh at least once when I go there.  If you go visit, click on "recent discoveries" on the left for an index of pictures to view.  Here are a couple of cute examples below.  Enjoy!

Absolutely no shenanigans and rigamarole is also out of the question.

I guess disco really is dead. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

If I Had A Benefactor (Contest)

Main Entry:
15th century
one that confers a benefit; especially : one that makes a gift or bequest

I copied the above directly from the Websters online dictionary.  So now that we all know what a benefactor is I will get around to telling you why you are reading about them today.  I'm interested in knowing what each of you would do with your life if money were not an issue.  I know, I know, I'm totally being unrealistic here because money is ALWAYS an issue.  But go on this imaginary journey with me for a little while won't you?  Seriously, jam my email box  full of your visions and dreams.  Would you build a dream house, buy a Corvette, pay your families mortgages off, or go on a dream vacation?  Would your dreams be large or small?   Would you donate loads of cash to those in need?  Would you choose the relaxing route of retiring and living a simpler life?  C'mon, tell all!  Inquiring minds (well, my inquiring mind to be specific) want to know.  As a little added incentive to get you to share, I am offering another gift card ($25) for the store of your choice to the one that my children think is most deserving.  To keep it fair, I won't tell them any names.  So no cheating grandparents telling them that they would get every penny.  
To get you thinking in the right direction I will tell you what I would do.
If I Had A Benefactor
If someone suddenly came up and told me that money would no longer be a concern and that I could do whatever I wanted; here's what I would do.  First I'd pick myself up off of the floor where I passed out in shock.  Secondly, we would get busy getting Lee out of the Navy.  Don't get me wrong, defending our nation is noble profession and it pays most of the bills but it requires lots of gypsy like moving from place to place and long separations from daddy.  The separations for months at a time REALLY stink!  Can I get an "Amen Sistah!"? 
After Lee's Navy days are over we would go find or build a nice ranch style house somewhere in the South preferably near the grandparents.  This house would be on some land so that we could have a farm.  Don't laugh.  Yes, I said a farm.  We want to grow things.  Lee wants to grow pumpkins and strawberries.  I want to grow vegetables and lots of them!  Heaven must have summer squash and big juicy tomatos!!   The girls love the idea (and so do we) of having chickens and a dairy cow.  Abbie and Gracie think a that a farm would be incomplete without guinea pigs, but a real pig or two would be nice also. We would also need a tractor, a barn and maybe a John Deere Gator for me and Lee and a 4 wheeler for the girls.   Holly would prefer a horse. 
Lee would possibly go back to school and get his DMin in Marriage and Family Therapy and I would go get my ADN but not at the same time.  Someone has to look after the farm.  This would be just in case our benefactor ran out of money.  Plus, I have always wanted to get my Nursing degree and never have because, well, just because.  
I think that completes my dream except to say that the house would have one of those kitchens straight out of Southern Living.  Gotta have a beautiful spot to process all of those fruits and veggies you know.  Plus I want it to be filled regularly with friends and family.  
Ok I'm done sharing.... now it's your turn.

Library VS Schooling

This kid is articulate!  I'm impressed.  He voices many of the reasons why we choose to homeschool and all of the reasons why we are addicted to the library.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What Teenage Girls Are Made Of...

                           case you were wondering.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Marwige is whut bwings us togever today... 
Wuv, twu wuv... 
40 years of twu wuv to be exact.
Happy 40th Mom and Dad!
You give marriage a good name.

Sing with me now.... "I can't see me lovin' nobody but you, for all my life".... so happy together.... keep singing....
Is the song stuck in your head yet?  Yes?  Ok good... keep singing!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Fathers Day!!!

To all the special guys in our lives: We want you to know that we love you and we appreciate all of the sacrifices you have made for your family.  You have managed to make our lives complete and a lot more fun.  A Dad is a blessing and we have certainly been blessed to have you!
  Happy Fathers Day
We Love You!!!

Grand Daddy




Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

Remember Kermit?  He was a frog ahead of his time.  He could have been the poster frog for those who are trying to save the planet through their efforts at green living.  It's too bad that caring about our planet is so closely associated with being new age or just plain odd.  Christians for the most part have jumped off of the environmental boat for fear of being guilty by association. Thus garnering for ourselves an unsavory label: "planet killers".  I ran across a good book, although a tad bit outdated, by Tony Campolo.  I thinks it's called How To Rescue The Earth Without Worshipping Nature.  It talks about how we as Christians should be good stewards of God's wonderful gift without going overboard by tying ourselves to trees and such.  Anyway... Is anyone else out there feeling the crunch or is it just me?  Seems like everywhere I turn lately people have this look of concern on their faces.  That look of concern turns into despair when you happen to look into the faces of the others around you while pumping gas.  
Pardon little ol' me for saying so but I have a tiny suggestion that I think just may help our collective situation just a bit.  Every little bit helps right?  
My suggestion is, as a family, eat one meal per week composed entirely of locally grown foods.  Here's a stat from Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal Vegetable Miracle "If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed entirely of locally grown and organically raised meats and produce, we could reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels per week.  That's not gallons but barrels.  Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just start with a good breakfast."  
Have you all noticed the hike in food prices lately?  It's not that the food is any better, it's the increased cost of getting it from farm or factory to your local Kroger. 
Now before you start moaning about finding local foods, or becoming a strange granola loving weirdo or stressing about actually having to cook real food or the high cost of fresh organic local fare, hang with me just a little longer.  
First off, did you know that 85 cents of EVERY food dollar you spend at the grocery store is not  spent on the food but on the manufacturing, marketing, packaging and transportation costs?  With that in mind, going to a farmers market and paying a few nickels more for good safe meats, eggs, and veggies seems like a happy trade.  After all, some humble farmer actually got up at the crack of dawn every day and lovingly tended to what he hoped would provide for his own family. So contributing to your local farmer is actually contributing to the welfare of your own local economy and not fattening the pockets marketing companies.  
Secondly, becoming a little more planet friendly is quite trendy these days, so don't worry about turning into a hippy. Here are a few resources I have found for finding local foods. and lastly  The last link has the option of finding local farms so that you can actually go visit the farm and see where your food is being grown or raised. This might actually gave you a little peace of mind if you are concerned about the cleanliness of what you are putting on the table. We have found 2 family run farms in our area (USDA approved organic) that offer farm fresh eggs, poultry, pork, lamb, beef, fresh milk, honey and lots of veggies.  
Lastly, consider a breakfast of fresh ham and free range eggs along with a glass of fresh squeezed fruit juice.  Lunch could be a great chefs salad made with local greens, veggies and eggs.  Supper could be a wonderful organically raised roasted chicken with a side of carrots and steamed broccoli.  See how easy that would be?  It's not so difficult when you consider all of the implications otherwise.  For your enjoyment I've included a fabulous roasted chicken recipe below.  Consider searching out your local farmer for what you will need to make a delicious homecooked supper and feel just a little bit proud about doing something special for your family and good for your planet.  

Roasted Chicken
1 large whole chicken with parts removed
2 large onions peeled and quartered

* For Spice Mix Rub
4 Tbsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix all spices together and rub all over bird inside and out then stuff bird with quartered onions.  Cover birdy and let him sit in the fridge for awhile.  
Heat oven to 25o degrees and roast the bird for 5 hours. Baste the chicken with the juices every now and then if you want to. The slow and low temp cooking makes this turn out to be just like rotisserie style chicken.  It's delicious.  Make sure the internal temp reaches 180 degrees.  Carve and serve.
I have discovered the crock pot works for this recipe too!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blog Maintenance

Hey everyone
Take a look over on the right hand column at the new feature from blogger.  It's a blogroll/live feed thingy.  Don't you just love all my highly technical terminology? Anyway, I have listed over there most of the blogs that I frequent.  Blogger will now keep up with each one and put the most recent post title under each blog name and tell us when it was last updated.  Neat huh? 

On that note, I have to do a little bit of bragging.   My Aunt Jen and her daughter (my cousin Ambre) have created a beautiful blog showcasing all of their handmade pottery.  They are two VERY talented gals and wouldn't ya know, I'm related to them!!! Maybe some of that talent will rub off?  Go on over and take a look at all of their beautiful handiwork.   

Finally, If you do not see me posting as often here on Lovin' Life At Home, please don't fret.  Big changes are ahead in the next few weeks for the Brown family.  In preparation for Lee's LONG deployment at the end of the summer the girls and I will be moving house.  So we may be off of the super highway for a short time.  But never fear; this chick does not go for too long without internet access (If I can help it).   In the words of Jesus, "I'll be back".  

Here's Wrigley on the right with his sister Butterbean (she belongs to the Stovall family) sitting in the window wanting desperately to go outside and chase the children.  The problem is that the little buggers are hole diggers.  Imagine black mud caked into all of that fluffiness.  Yuck! 

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Griffon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

The Griffon~ a 90 degree drop from 205 feet up and no floor!!!
In my opinion, the best roller coaster I have ever ridden.

Me, Abbie, Baylee, Holly and Caitlin
This was the girls third time riding it that day.  The first time around Lee and I rode it with them  and LOVED it. This time Lee had to stay on the ground with the "non-riders" in the group.  Bobby is not a roller coaster fan and we found out quickly that Allison isn't either.  Her first roller coaster was Apollos Chariot.  She was sitting between me and Caitlin.  After the first drop, I knew that this would not only be her first ride but also her last.  She turned several shades of pale, poor kid!  All in all it was a great day and I think even the "non-riders" had fun.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Our Week So Far

The weather here has been exceptionally pretty, my flowers are blooming and Gracie got to go on her first school bus ride.  

Our Week So Far continued....

Caitlin's best bud Allison has been with us since Saturday so we've been busy seeing the sights and trying our best to stay cool. Just so happens that it suddenly got hot here in Virginia and our AC is broken. So what's the best way to stay cool? The water park of course. Below are a few pics from our little adventure.  The weather was beautiful, the park was not crowded andI was able to find a lounge chair in the shade.  Could not ask for much better than that.  You can see the rest in our picasa web album linked on the right.

Lunch time!  We took our own PB&Js and lots of snacks.  Who wants to pay the astronomical prices for theme park food?  Not us!!!

Up they go

Splash down... Ali's saying "that was so much fun...lets do it again!!!"

That face is simply priceless!