6 TBSP cocoa, 1/4 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C flour, 2 eggs, Cook 350 - 25 mins.



Listen 2011!  When we began this journey together you were exciting and young.  I was looking forward to our relationship because you offered promises of happiness.  Your strong arms held the joy of Kazz's Wedding, Jaibrian's Adoption and our family becoming Catholic.  Your dark, caring eyes sucked me in and I fell in love at first glance....yeah, maybe it was the intoxication of turning 40 in 2010 that pushed me deep into your arms, but you weren't pushing me away either.  You took advantage of the drunk chick who was running from her problems.  You know what?  I now realize that your character has something to be desired!  I mean, WHO does that?!

In hindsight, I should have asked about your family history, your illnesses, weaknesses and warts.  I should have gotten to know you better before putting my heart into your hands, but I was weak.  I wanted the joy. I hot glued those rose colored glasses to my face and jumped in with both feet.  You had me hook, line and sinker.

What you did not tell me was that you are a big fat liar! You have a way of lining the most joyful days of my life with just enough emotional chaos to bomb the dickens out of my emotional psyche.

As we prepared for Kazz's wedding, you delivered news that one of our children have to take medication for the rest of his life.  You overshadowed the happy, fun wedding plans with illness and heartache that only a mother can understand.  An ache that YOU KNEW would be with me forever.  I will never be able to fully forget you because of that news...YOU ROTTEN, ROTTEN SACK OF STUFF.

THAT wasn't enough for you, though WAS it?! With Kazz's wedding you also delivered mounds of snow that made the drive more treacherous than driving on a glacier at the South Pole!  Sure, all the guests arrived unscathed and returned home in one piece, but not with any help from YOU!

Jaibrian's adoption did come and go as you promised, but not without a heart wrenching scene where her birth parents signed off their rights in sobbing tears, hugging Brian and me while we physically held them up and bawled with them right there in the courthouse.  And you KNOW the other crap that came along with that day...No...I'm not going into it.  You know and that's all I'm saying about it! You stupid, stupid 2011!

Oh and SURE we became Catholic surrounded by wonderful friends who held us up in their prayers, mentored us, showed us love and became God-Parents to our did deliver THAT promise, and then some, but I'm convinced to this day that God over-ruled your attempts to sabotage that one!

And THAT was JUST the first few months!! Then you sent a house-fire to our friends who live right down the road from us, almost KILLING their 4 year old son. As we helped them during their time of need you put a screw into my son's finger

Then my Grandma Frye passed away, my Aunt Judy passed away and my side of the family was in emotional turmoil trying to rally from funeral after funeral.  My dad was sad, my cousins were sad, two of my cousins got divorced and some of my friends found out that THEIR kids have illnesses that will last a lifetime!  COME ON!!

By August I was such an emotional wreck that I just wanted to sleep!  This is when I knew you really didn't have a heart at all.  I put the kids in private school and began preparing Brise for college.  I started to feel better...and I think you knew that so YOU GAVE KOLE HIVES and broke my daughter's arm!!

That was it.  I decided to live the holidays without you!  I pretended you weren't even here. I didn't answer your calls, I turned off my phone actually, and I didn't answer the door when you knocked.  I got out of my freaking bed, celebrated Thanksgiving with my family, The Twins' Birthday, Brian's Birthday and Christmas with my family ....all of it without you! It Felt Great!  I didn't even sign a check during that time because you didn't exist and I couldn't write the date! HA!

I'm breaking up with you.  We had a good run, but I've found somebody new.  2012 has promised me a trip to Disney World, a more organized home, a loss of at least 50 pounds and many nights at Tim Horton's for Mom's Night Out.  You just cannot compete with 2012.  He's a real charmer and you're a half-truth-teller.

No, no,'s over. Don't even try to come crawling back.  I'm done with you.  You're not the 2011 you presented yourself to be and that's not my fault.  Look! Just deal with it.  Good-Bye.



It’s Chrsitmas Time and you know what that means in the Brownie Home!! It’s time to drive up and down Jefferson to look at the Christmas Light Displays on the mansions! Whoot!

Barring the fact that we all covet the mansions and hope to live in a mansion and really wonder where people get the money to pay the taxes for the mansions in Detroit, let alone the utilities, mortgage and household maintenance…. BARRING ALL THAT….

We all really do enjoy the yearly drive Down Jefferson Avenue past the lake to Downtown Detroit in order to view all there is to be seen twinkling, shining and glowing as we pass by.

Granted, we can’t exactly stop in the middle of Jefferson Avenue to snap pictures, so many of them look like this…. 
Zooming by a mansion on Jefferson...
And this…. 

Zooming by another mansion

But, the memories and the decent pictures that I do get are enough to tide us over until next year. 

If you are ever in Detroit for the Christmas Holiday, be sure to hit the Hard Rock Café, Ride the People Mover, Ice Skate at Campus Martius and take the drive up Jefferson Avenue to covet the mansions.

It’s worth the trip.


Breakfast at the local tradition
Kazz and Becca just bought their first home.  They've been moving in bit by bit over the past few weeks.  It's been exciting to see them glow with happiness as they begin their new life in their new home.

I can't believe all the changes that have happened in their lives this year.  They were married, started new jobs, worked midnights, changed shifts, due to unforseen "issues" that the landlords of their rental couldn't avoid, they had to live in our basement for a few months while looking for a home to buy....I feel for you Becca, God knows I could NEVER have done it!

They made offers on 3 houses and were turned down. Once they finally found a house, they had to navigate the landmine that is a job change occurring in the middle of bank mortgage approval and yet another shift change...both of them to days, with Kazz procurring an office position the Monday after signing on the house!  Holy Cow....

Mom and Becca
Becca, I love you all the more now that we've lived together and you were able to stay as sweet as ever through all my idiosyncrasies.  You are a special part on this family and our lives.

Kazz got a GameStop Gift Card from Grandma

They were hoping to move in my Thanksgiving, but Christmas time was the reality.

My parents were chomping at the bit to come see their place and help with the move, so they zoomed up from Kentucky to "have Christmas with us" ahem...(see Kazz and Becca!) LOL

Kazz handing out gifts to his anxious siblings

Becca was SO hospitable and hosted...during the move, mind you...everyone to come on over for a Christmas meal and gift exchange with my parents.  I'm telling you people, I have the best daughter-in-law, so just give up the hunt.  She's taken!
My Dad, Glenn with Kole and Daxx

She put up a tree and made her home ready for the midst of moving....AND hosted my parents overnight for two nights.  See?!

We had the most relaxing, fun evening.  Becca made home-made cheesecake, shrimp and salmon.  My mom and Becca made the ham and I brought cup-cakes. (Brian, please buy me an oven that works)...But I digress...

Yum, yummy

Vinze relaxing with his big brother

As I watched Kazz sit on the floor next to his tree, in his family home, I had to consciously suppress tears of joy.

He's a man.  He is handing out gifts to his family, in his own home.  He's the leader of this domain and I am the guest...the very, very, overwhelmingly proud guest who will always see him as precious, strong, intelligent, opinionated, self-reliant baby boy.  Kazz, I love you, now and forever.


The Family Party
December is a huge celebratory month in the Brownie Home.  Not only do we get to celebrate Christ's Birth but we get to celebrate the birth of 3 family members too! (And My friend Stacy's Birthday...who is Jaibrian's Godmother)

This year is extra special because Brian turned the big 4-0!!  Yep, My husband is in his forties!  He's joined me...1 1/2 years later.  I got to celebrate that milestone in the year 2010 but whatever! LOL

The Car Brian Drove To Work On Friday

As fate would have it his car completely died a few weeks before his birthday.  Now, I can't say that this was a total surprise to us.  He bought the thing brand new just before his 30th birthday and has driven it into the ground.  It was a good car. (may it rest in peace)

The Car Brian Drove To Work On Monday
At any rate, he wasn't sad to see it go.  As I watched him skim the papers for used vehicles I cringed.  I just don't know why he would need to buy a used vehicle only to pour money into it that would drain our bank account like a sieve.  Seriously.  This guy keeps cars until they absolutely die.  He can buy a new one and get the moneys worth from it to be sure.  I pondered.  I thought.  I realize that I drive a 15 passenger bus that looks a bit hokey, but I like that dog-gone memory maker.  The kids will never forget it and we have lots of fun traveling in that monster...So I decided to give the wifely nudge....

Cheesecake, Cake Cookie, & an Electric Wine Opener

"Honey, why don't you just buy a new vehicle for your 40th Birthday?" To which he said.  "ooOOKAYYY!"

A week later he had his car.  I was surprised that it wasn't a truck.  Kazz thinks "Dad bought an old man vehicle" to which I say, "Good because he'll be driving it when he's an old man!"

Happy Birthday Babe!  ...and thank you for giving me a set of keys. :o)



It wasn't so long ago that Kazz was in college and playing Halo in our basement.  Now, he's bringing his wife to Thanksgiving dinner and buying a house of his own.

It hits me sometimes that our family is changing by the day.  It's hard to believe that they are all growing up and I'm getting older. Yet, it's true.

I've slowed down quite a bit this year.  I'm taking in the view, trying to assess the next move in my life.  I can't quite get a handle on where to go next, what to do, what the plan may be. I'm used to moving at 100 miles an hour but these days I have the energy to move at about twenty.  I'm crawling here...taking a breather....looking around to better decipher this situation.  There's been lots of praying going on in that department.

During Thanksgiving dinner, I realized that I may just need to sit still. Maybe God is trying to get me to slow down? So I sat. I listened to the kids chat; the sound of our family at a low roar. 

I looked around and thought...You know Shelly....There are times in life when a burned out light-bulb, fingerprints on windows and disorganized bookshelves just don't matter.  I smiled, ate, viewed my life and counted my blessings.



I got this little tid-bit from the Organizing Dinner Facebook Page

Did you know you can make cookies from any box of cake mix?

Just add 2 eggs and 1/3 cup oil to any 18 oz mix. 
Drop into 1-inch mounds and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes for delicious and easy cookies. 

Cake mixes are often on sale for $1, and very easy to keep on hand. Now that's a Smart ingredient! 

Add Chocolate Chips (and/or other flavored chips) for added yumminess.  

I pat mine down a smidge with a spatula to give them that ridged cookie look.   Some people roll them in powdered sugar before baking to give them that crackled look.  Fun, Tasty and Frugal...Can't beat it!



Obligatory Blog Picture Pose (LOL)

Daxx and Kole turned 8 years old yesterday.  It's hard to believe it's been 7 years since they were brought to our home and placed in my arms.  I can still see their little cutie-patootie faces drinking bottles and crawling around the floor exploring.

Anyway, they're eight and life keeps on keepin' on....  Way too fast.

Last night we celebrated with a quicky-family-birthday.  We call them "our last name" parties.  They last about 20 minutes, include our immediate family, whoever happens to be in the house at the time, pizza, cake...usually ice-cream-cake...and pop.

The gifts are opened quickly, the food is gone in a jiffy and all is well with the world.  Quick and to the point...memories a-la-fastness.

Kazz and Becca got them pogo-sticks.  They received beyblades, water blaster guns and cub scout crafts from Brian and me and Daxx got a funny call from his Godmother.  They fell asleep an hour later, smiling and looking forward to their school play...which happens later today.  More to come....



Our Motley Christmas Crew
Every year one child in our family gets to put the angel on the Christmas tree.  It's a tradition that was born way back when Kazz was an only child.  Dad picks up the kid and the angel is placed.  Actually, the tradition began when I was a child, except that my brother Zach and I both thought we were the "one" who put the angel on the tree every year.  Dad would have me do it when Zach was otherwise occupied and vice-versa.  I didn't realize that until years later....that booger!

At any rate, this blog is here to help us remember who gets to put the angel on the tree.  I looked up last year's Christmas to see who did it last year so that we'd know who could do it this year....there was much hemming and hawing over which "way" we are doing this thing...

Some kids think we're going "up" in age while other think we are going "down" in age.  I don't know and I couldn't find the blog posts to prove one way or the other.  At any rate, Daxx was absolutely convinced that it was his turn and since none of the other kids seemed to care as much about this thing as he did, well...Daxx won.

Daddy always helps put the Angel on but he didn't have to pick Daxx up this year.  Our livingroom is arranged a bit different this year, so Daxx just hopped up on the couch arm and plopped the thing up there.

Brian fiddled with it a bit so that it would be plugged in and sitting snug on the tree.  While Brian did that, Daxx took the opportunity to make a face at the camera.

The kids huddled around the tree before it was decorated so that I could grab a quick picture before Brise decided to head back to his room to play or watch or do whatever it is teens do in their teen caves.  So much for the pretty Christmas pose...but they're all accounted for...except Kazz who's making Christmas traditions with his own family this year. *sigh*
Life is good. 


Brian and Brise in the atrium of the DOH
I don't feel much like a homeschool mom these days because most of our crew are in Catholic School, but we are still homeschooling.  Brisan took the college entrance exam a couple of weeks ago and knocked it out of the ball park.  He's all signed up for college and will begin in January at the ripe-old-age of 14, just like his big brother, Kazz.  Brise is heading toward an IT Degree in Applied Science. (Programming Electronic Games)

This past Friday we headed off to a homeschool field trip that I had planned for the homeschool group that I founded 7 years it really been that long?

After dropping the youngest four off at school, Brian and I took Brise to watch "Too Hot To Handel" at the Detroit Opera House.

The show was pretty good but I had taken a new prescription just before the performance and about fell asleep during the first half.  Brian thought I sounded loopy and he was right.  I was dog-tired. Brian hadn't slept well the night before and Brise was bored to death.  Though he very much enjoys some plays and orchestras, this wasn't quite up his alley, so...During intermission, we left.

The rest of our homeschool group stayed to watch the second half and later proclaimed that it was amazing.  All I know it that our family needed sleep. We went home and crashed.  It was a great day, even if it didn't go quite as planned.  zzzzz......