Sunday, May 31, 2009


I must begin by apologizing for neglecting my beloved blog.  I have pictures galore to share and even a few funny stories.  The only excuse I have to offer is life.  Life has kept me so busy lately.  For the past few weeks there have been days that seem to fly by.  I lay myself down at night and think, "where did the day go?"  Obviously the almost 80 pound puppy has consumed an enormous amount of attention lately.  He's such a handful but we are happy to say that he is getting a little better behaved every day.  Yesterday we discovered by accident that Hobbes loves to play soccer.  That is until he bit and deflated the ball.  Now the poor beast cannot figure out why the ball won't roll anymore.  
School for us is slowing down a bit.  My girlies are not too happy about it but we will probably continue through the summer to do bits and pieces of the work that did not get done during the regular school year.  
Lee's time aboard the San Antonio is quickly drawing to a close.  His replacement comes in a couple of weeks.  At that time he will turn his chaplain duties on the ship over to her and be ready to move on.  Tentatively we are scheduled to be moving to NAS Jax, Florida but that won't happen till October or November.  The navy is out of money for moving families until the fiscal year.  So that puts us hanging tight here in VA through the summer.  That's alright with me though.  I get to see my garden grow and stick around long enough to reap the benefits.  
I will sign off for now and leave you with a tiny promise.  I will be a better blogger this week.  If I fail, you have my permission to come cook for my kids, do their laundry, teach them things and entertain the large dog, thus freeing me up to wile away my hours in front of the computer. Deal?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Birthday Truck

We told Caitlin that for her 17th birthday we would help her buy a vehicle.  We wanted to take advantage of the Memorial Day specials so we hit the lots right after she got home from work. 

She drove home in this 2002 Dodge Ram 1500.
It's a sweet ride!

Caitlin wanted to be part of every detailed and sometimes painful step along the way.  I intend to very soon do another blog post about the frustrations of car buying.

I am so thankful that we found this guy who made the process as stress free as possible.

Caitlin LOVES her new truck!
Happy 17th sweetheart!
BTW: She has not decided on a name for it yet, any suggestions?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bringing Home The Chow

Wanna know the real reason Caitlin got a job? To feed the beast! Just kidding, we don't make her pay for his yummies.  If we did she'd already have her first paycheck spent! 

This is about a two week supply.

Here's a new trick we learned at puppy school that has paid off exponentially.
When it's supper time for Hobbes we make him sit and stay.  Then we put the food down with one hand and finger up with the other hand.  All the while we tell him "patience, patience, patience".  Then when we want to let him eat we point at the food and say "take it take it take it".
He's learned this very well and it keeps us (the feeders) from being flattened at din din time.
Hobbes gets this nervous twitchy thing going with his eye and ear if we make him wait too long. Almost like he's saying "come on already, I'm Jonesin for some kibble here!"

Look at that sweet face waiting patiently for his yummies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Anti-Lollygag Day

Yesterday when I woke up it was like every other normal day in my life.  I had no special plans other than goofing off on Facebook, maybe a little laundry, cook supper and goof off some more on Facebook.  But something strange happened on my morning commute from the bed to the bathroom.  I saw grime.  There was nothing in particular about the grime.  It was the same grime that has been there for, ahem... ummm... I'm still thinking.... a long time.  As I was sitting in the bathroom (trying to be discreet here) I thought to myself that I should clean up the grime. After arguing with myself about it for a little while I finally submitted and cleaned up the mess.  Then I saw that the bathroom light fixture was dusty and that one of the bulbs was blown out.  So I took care of that.  While I was doing that I saw that the mirror needed cleaning.  So that got done too.  Before I realized it I had worked for 30 minutes in the bathroom.  Maybe I inhaled too much Windex fumes but I began formulate a plan for the day.  If I see something that needs doing, I should just do it.  No more lollygagging.  No more telling myself that I would get to it later, just do it.  Man O Man, what was I thinking?!  I stayed busy ALL DAY LONG!  There are spots in my house that have never been cleaner or more organized.  The funny thing is that if you were to survey the house it looks like nothing has changed.  Maybe if I had an anti -lollygag day once a week someone would eventually notice a difference. I know that I would be happy enough for FlyLady to inspect my coat closet and silverware drawer and that is what matters.  Finally when it came time to cook supper I said "ENOUGH!" and I made the girls wash the dishes. A gal can only go for so long without Facebook time! 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Where's That Gopher Wood I Ordered?

Here in Virginia it might be about time to start organizing an Ark building party.  It has rained, and rained, and rained....  I thought the phrase was "April showers bring May flowers".  If I remember correctly we had almost NO rain in April but May has more than compensated for any shortages in April.  As for the flowers, well there have been no shortages of those either.

I've never really had a garden before or even really any flower beds to speak of. Now that we live out here in the country I suppose I should do as the country folks do and grow stuff.  I hope I'm not generalizing country folks too much. Don't you just think of growing stuff when you think of country living? So now I have a garden. We're growing beans, okra (or okry as they say here in the country), squash, carrots, green bell peppers and 'maters.  My bell peppers and tomatoes are growing in the Topsy Turvys hanging on the back porch.  Yep, I'm a sucker for an infomercial.

Before I started growing stuff I never really worried about the rain. I overheard people discuss it and thought it was because they did not have much else to chat about. Now I find myself concerned.  Has it rained too much? Will my beans drown? After two days of no rain, should I drag out the sprinklers?  Suddenly I'm looking up the weather on the internet!  My oh my how times have changed.  Somehow I never envisioned myself as someone who did much more than moan about the weather when it upset my plans for a day fun in the sun.

When we moved into this house we noticed some overgrown flower beds.  In our efforts to fit into our country lifestyle like sausage gravy on a biscuit we went to work weeding said flower beds.  It took several days of fighting with stubborn roots and squealing at huge spiders. We learned first hand about earthworms, ticks and farmers tans. 
All of our hard work paid off when we stood our dirty selves up and realized that we had roses.
A little hard work and a lot of rain pays off beautifully.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Go Meat!

It's Founders Day in Holland, Virginia! What better way to celebrate Founders Day than with a BBQ cook-off?  I've always wanted to be a judge in a cooking contest and today my wish came true. I did not have to go it alone though, the family and I shared the job with several hundred other Suffolk residents. 

The Ruritans of Hampton Roads sponsored todays event. Mr Ronnie who goes to our church and is in the Suffolk Ruritans gave us tickets to the BBQ. Thanks Mr Ronnie!
Each club had a tent set up with their own special recipe of BBQ.  

From the top left corner were teams 1, 2 and 3
Teams 4 and 5 on the bottom.  Each team had their number written on the bottom of the container.
We knew right away that this would be a stiff competition.  Rumors of possum meat and road kill were being circulated by certain teams.  This was not a job to be taken lightly.

Lee decided that he'd be casting his vote for the hush puppy ladies. They let him know that the hush puppies were not in the race. He was disappointed, clearly they were his favorite.

Mountain Dew was used in the judging process for clearing our palettes.  See I told you, we took our judging job very seriously today.

It quickly became apparent that the Brown family of judges had very differing opinions.

It was a tough decision. Words like tangy, spicy, sweet, chewy, bland and vinegary were being tossed around.  Several trips for more samples were made back to booths 1, 4 and 5.  We had to make certain that our first impressions were not based on the fact that we were starving on the first go round.  

Clearly the favored recipes came from booths 4 and 5. One thing that we all agreed on was Booth 3: Too Bland!

Here they are, my team of choice, team 5.  Yum-O!
Now I wonder if they'd give me their recipe?

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Girly Is Branching Out

This may come as a shock to some of you so brace yourselves.  Caitlin is not 4 years old anymore. As a matter of fact, she will be 17 in a couple of weeks! Yikes, where has the time gone?  Now it's looking like she's gone out and gotten herself a job. She starts work on Wednesday morning at Bennetts Creek Home Away From Home Pet Care.  They are an upscalish kennel and pet bakery.  Hobbes goes to puppy school there and Caitlin (and Hobbes) has befriended the staff.  Hopefully this will be a great experience for her on the road to independence.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Hope It's Genetic

My blog seems to be going to the dogs lately, literally and figuratively.  It seems like a good portion of our time each day is devoted to dog training and care.  I don't know about you guys but I need a change for a little while.
After browsing through my family's blogs a few days ago, I had a sudden realization.  I happen to be descended from a long line of some very talented people.  I have always taken for granted the fact that certain abilities seem to come to me naturally.  Now I see that I have been blessed with family who have the same (if not better) creative tendencies and I am just one of the same. Considering that I know people who can barely boil water or sew on a button without considerable stress, I am thankful for what I've been given.

5 Generations of Talented Women  
My little granny in the middle is holding baby Holly. At this point she was about 100 years old and still leaning over a quilt frame everyday or crocheting baby blankets for her many great and great great grands. Little Granny's quilts were not always pretty because she used scraps but that does not make them any less sentimental. My favorite is one she made for me as a teenager. She had pieced together some of my old dresses, my dad's shirts and ties, and mom's older kitchen curtains as well as other scraps from my childhood.  It remains one of my cherished possessions to this day.
Little Granny's daughter, my Nonny pictured on the left was no less talented. She could cook as well as Paula Dean in my not so humble opinion. Nonny quilted, sewed and crocheted also. She and her sister (my Aunt Lula) made a wedding quilt for Lee and I when we got married. 
Nonny's daughter, my mom is pictured on the right with the curly hair. We know where Caitlin's curls came from. Some of mom's handiwork is pictured below.

Mom has been busily making these beautiful quilted, personalized purses for friends down in Florida.

This is one of the quilts mom made for the girls a few Christmases ago. This Kitty Kat one was for my Abbie.

Mom even sewed in pockets and a solid bottom.

Another one of the many beauties.

Nonny's daughter Jennifer (my mom's sister and my aunt) is making the above quilt for a baby gift. See what I mean? Talent abounds!

Aunt Jen tried her hand at homemade pretzels. Move over Auntie Anne, Make room for Auntie Jen!!!

Aunt Jen and her daughter Ambre (my cousin) make beautiful pottery. You should see their birdhouses! Go to
to see their handiwork.
Aunt Jen's son Bo (another cousin) has a blog where he displays his handmade furniture.

Lastly here is one of the pretty purses that Ambre made. Secretly I'm jealous of this one.  I love how springy and PINK it is!!!
Well, enough bragging for now.  I feel the need to go find something creative to do.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Sprinkler

Hobbes thinks this is his personal water fountain.