Thursday, December 25, 2014

Three Days of Christmas

Merry Christmas!

 
Mr. Brown Eyes works Christmas Eve and Christmas this year, so we're celebrating tomorrow. Today I am doing my best to distract my kids from their pile of presents at home by hanging out at my parents' house. We've opened presents, played legos, and eaten cookies for lunch.
 
And tomorrow--we'll do it all over again!
 
Here's to three days of Christmas!
The Brown-Eyed Girl
 


Gingerbread House

Homemade graham crackers
 
 
 + homemade frosting

 
+ not-so-homemade candy
 

 
= an awesome gingerbread house

 
Or more like a gingerbread cottage.
 
It taste delicious,
The Brown-Eyed Girl
 


 

 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Share the Gift

If you are trying to get into the Christmas Spirit, please go here and watch this video.

I love everything about Christmas--the lights, the music, the food, the presents, the excitement (ok, I don't love Santa, but that's a story for another time)--but when it comes down to it, the Savior is what matters. He is the reason we have Christmas at all. He is the greatest Gift we have ever been given.

Merry Christmas,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Messes

Brushing my teeth at the sink, I turned away from Baby Blue Eyes for just a second. When I turned back around, she had emptied an entire box of band-aids, scattering them all over the floor.

Normally I probably would have sighed, scolded her, and told her to clean them up. But instead, I immediately knelt down beside her, held open the box, and said in a gentle voice, "Help me put them away, sweet girl."

As she smiled at me with that heart-melting, gap-toothed smile and started shoving bandaids into the box with her baby hands, I suddenly had the feeling that this is how Heavenly Father deals with us.

He sees us make messes. All kinds of messes. Sometimes horrible ones. And He doesn't roll His eyes at us and yell, "Look at that mess you made. Clean it up."

No. He kneels down next to us. Puts His arms around us. Says gently into our ears, "Let me help you."

Sometimes our efforts are clumsy. Our hands shake and falter. But He is so infinitely patient with us. He will see our efforts, take our shaking hands in His, and give us of His strength.

I am so grateful I don't have to clean up my messes alone.

Sincerely,
The Brown-Eyed Girl

Saturday, November 15, 2014

He Will Bless Us

“Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed according to the order the Lord has revealed for his holy Priesthood, lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness, moves the heavens in mighty power in our behalf, invokes and calls down upon us the blessings of the Eternal Gods, and those who reside in their presence” (George Q. Cannon, “The Logan Temple,” Millennial Star, Nov. 12, 1877, 743).
 
 
I could go on and on about the Phoenix Temple and how I love it so much already. Helping with the open house in October was such a blessing to me and my family. I wish I could do it again. Aching feet and empty stomach included.

The last few months have been tight financially for the Brown-Eyed family. I signed up for one shift to help at the temple, but when I saw that lots and lots of shifts were still open, I thought, "Well, we don't really have the gas money to drive out there so much."

And yet.

A little voice whispered that that was inconsequential. If we made the committment to serve, we would be blessed.

So I signed Mr. Brown Eyes and myself up for four more shifts.

 
I can't say anything miraculous happened. Money didn't pour down from the sky. We had to fill the car up with gas multiple times. We had to take money out of our savings account to pay our bills. We even accumulated extra bills when Baby Blue Eyes had to stay in the hospital for a few days.

And yet.

We had everything we needed. We didn't go hungry. Our children were happy. Baby Blue Eyes quickly recovered from her bronchiolitis. In the middle of all our stress, we felt peace.

If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is.

Already, before it's even dedicated, the Phoenix Temple symbolizes to me this truth: if we obey the Lord, if we serve Him, if we try our best to show Him we love Him, HE WILL BLESS US.


He wants to bless us.

He's aching to bless us.

We just have to let Him.


The Brown-Eyed Girl

Friday, November 7, 2014

Slow Cooked Beans

This is one of our favorite fall meals. Or summer meals. Or any time of year meals.
 
 

Although after making a huge pot of chili for our ward Halloween party and hardly any of it getting eaten, we've been a bit overwhelmed with beans lately.
 
Which, if you know my husband, is a very, very dangerous thing.  

 
So, we probably don't have plans to make this dish in the very near future. But it's scrumptious, full of flavor, and perfect with a side of cornbread.
 
We sometimes add pork because Mr. Brown Eyes is a voracious carnivore, but it's also delicious meatless.
 
And feel free to switch up the beans however you like. I think I've used a different combination every time I've made it. Just as long as you add five cans of beans.

 
As an added plus, this is possibly one of the easiest meals known to man. Chopping up the onions and peppers probably takes the most time. Then you just throw everything into the slow cooker and you're done!
 
Just, you know, beware the beans.
 

Slow Cooked Beans

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 med green pepper, chopped
  • 1 med sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 1/2 oz) black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 1/2 oz) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 1/4 oz) lima beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 1/4 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 1/4 oz) whole kernel corn, drained

  •  In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine the first 10 ingredients. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the onion and peppers are tender.

  • Beans, beans, the magical fruit,
    The Brown-Eyed Girl

     
       
         

         

          

          Friday, October 31, 2014

          Halloween

          Happy Halloween! 
           

          This year our family dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Count Dracula, a baby bat, and Spiderman.

          (With our pet zombie in the background).

          I hope you enjoy this day of playing dress-up and eating your children's candy as much as I do.

          All the Kit-Kats are mine,
          The Brown-Eyed Girl