June 28, 2011

Local Blogger Highlight—Brown House News


I met Rebecca of the local blog Brown House News almost 5 years ago when I was attending the local chapter of the Holistic Moms Network.   Her blog is a fantastic source of inspiration and information, and I find myself constantly asking myself questions like, “How did she think of that idea?  Where did that craft come from?”  She’s a super mom of three gorgeous girls whose home, The Brown House, is a warm, inviting, fun place to be.  I will never forget the first time I went to her home.  It was a Christmas party, and I knew I was entering a magical place. The decorations and architecture, while gorgeous, aren’t what you notice first.  You notice all those little details that she’s put into making her house a home for her family and guests. 

A few summers back, Rebecca mentioned to me that she had some pears that were going to waste on her tree.  She invited a friend and me over to pick what we wanted.  While picking, we got to talking, and she said that while she wanted to learn to can, she hadn’t yet had the opportunity.  An hour later, she was in my kitchen peeling and chopping pears and learning how to can them in a light syrup.  Now, she’s a super canner, and each time I see her post something about food preservation my heart swells with pride.

In addition to being super-mom extraordinaire, Rebecca is also a freelance writer, and contributor to the Knoxville News Sentinel where she is the weekly South Knox Columnist, covering community news from her section of town, at The Brown House. 

Below is my interview with Rebecca of Brown House News.  I hope it gives you a glimpse into why I’m so proud to call her my friend and so happy to be one of the followers of her blog!

CICT: Tell us a little bit about how you started blogging?

Rebecca:  It all started in January of 2010. I had a three-month old baby and had gotten really into sewing for her. I was inspired by other bloggers who blend their crafting and writing talents, like Amanda Soule. Instead of continuing on with the 45-page journal I had typed in my computer since I began my journey of motherhood, I started a blog.

Also, I have a journalism background and at the time I was really missing that aspect of my life. My other children were 3 and 5 then, so I had zero time be accountable to an editor. Blogging became an outlet for me write, document our family and share the types of stories I like to read, find inspiring, and helpful during this season of parenting. 


CICT:. What do you like most about blogging?

Rebecca: Definitely the writing aspect, I also enjoy taking photos and incorporating them as part of the stories I share.


CICT: Your blog focuses on your sweet family. What is your favorite thing about being a mother?

Rebecca: Right now I’m loving watching the different phases of development and discovery my children are experiencing, from the excitement of learning to talk to my almost 7 year-old taking on the role of reading to her sisters. Pregnancy and the newborn days will always remain my favorite times in life. I’m passionate about birth, breastfeeding and natural parenting. I love those aspects of motherhood.


CICT: What do you think the most challenging thing is about parenthood? What have you learned through those challenges?

Rebecca: Having the continuing patience to parent each child individually, while honoring her emotional needs can be very challenging for me. I mean, there’s a lot of estrogen in our house! Staying in sync mentally, in order to turn moments into teachable opportunities that inspire the girls to make good choices and take ownership of their decisions, is something I practice daily.

There’s a sign hanging in my kitchen that says, “It’s never too late to start the day over.” When things get too hairy at The Brown House you might find me brewing a cup of coffee and declaring the whole day a do-over. Through all this I’ve learned the beauty and peace that comes from taking a timeout, to hug my girls, be a listener to them and just say, “I understand.”


CICT: Where do you come up with all of those great ides for activities and crafts?

Rebecca: I have a ridiculously difficult time putting things in the trashcan and dooming them to a life in a landfill. Many of our craft projects come from repurposing objects, fabrics or to fulfill a practical need, such as sewing new comforters for new beds. Right now I have a box full of old Mason jar lids I want to do something with. Inspiration also comes from my girls, as I prefer them to be able to lead the way on a project versus me doing it for them. 

CICT:  What a great lesson that is—letting the children lead the way in crafts and activities instead of the parent.  Often I find myself thinking, what am I going to teach our daughter today?  What crafts can we do?  I like the idea of letting her lead more and thus drawing on her creativity and enthusiasm.  Love that!


CICT: What are some of your favorite posts that you’ve written or types of posts that you write?

Rebecca: My favorite posts are ones I know people enjoy. My aunt almost peed in her pants reading my post From Peace to Poop, making humor out of the events of one day – with me documenting what a luxury it is to experience a moment of peace with three kids, to catching my baby from crawling through poop after our old dog got sick in the living room. I like posts that show off ideas and moments I’m proud of and document our growing lives, but I also like a little laughter and a dose of reality along the way.


CICT: What do you hope that your readers get out of your blog and your work?

Rebecca: Recently, I had a friend jokingly tell me about some mommy bloggers that she said make her want to poke her eyes out. Mommy blogs have the real potential to make other moms feel inferior to the lives they lead.  I sure hope my words do the opposite! I focus on the positive and post pretty pictures of things at The Brown House because that’s the way I choose to remember things. But there are more days than not when the beds never get made and weeks go by before the laundry gets put away. I hope my readers take away ideas, inspiration and happy thoughts they can realistically implement into their own lives and homes.

CICT: I agree. Sometimes bloggers want to give the perception that they are perfect, to not show their weaknesses.  I have never understood why.  I so much prefer reading from bloggers like you who are real people with real challenges and real lives.  Your work simply shows a glimpse into your families life, which is why I think it is so powerful.  You aren’t preaching to anyone or giving anyone a pep talk that they can do it too.  You are showing how it works for you, and through that the readers take snippets that they can use with their children and in their home.

Rebecca, thank you for taking part in the local blogger highlights.  Thanks for your inspiration and sweet friendship over the years…and all those pears! ;)  I hope all those reading will be sure to hop over to her blog, sign up as a follower, and make a habit of reading it regularly.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!

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