Welcome to our adventures. I try as best as I can to document the happenings here in our family - everything from the shenanigans to the spiritual, from the kid to the kitchen, from the cat to the catastrophes. We believe that adventure can be found in everything we do...even in the mundane tasks of the day. When we set our minds on things above in gratitude to God, we find the strength to approach life with a sense of purpose & adventure. The adventure may not always be what we have planned...but isn't that what adventure is all about?

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas Everyone...here's a little something from the stage at Club Amaro. Enjoy!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

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Monday, December 22, 2008

I totally made up a new word right now...it's the combination of two words: Score & Loot. Score + Loot = Scoot. To make it an action, you add an -ing to the end. Then, to make it so people know your from the south, you replace the -g with an apostrophe. Scootin' - the act of scoring loot. It's going to catch on like wild fire, just watch and see.

Speaking of Scootin' - I scooted at CVS today major big time. My girl Kimberly G. wants to know more about Scootin' at CVS - she wrote and said, "can ya help a sister out?". I don't know if this helps, but I'm gonna break it down right her for you, sister.

I walked into CVS today with just shy of $20 in Extra Care Bucks (ECB's - are basically equivalent to cash). Where did I get these? Well, I got them a week or two ago on another CVS Scoot similar to the one I'm about to break down for ya.

CVS just happened to be having a really great sale today where a full page of things were free after ECB's (in other words, you pay for the thing but you get the money back in ECB's)

So I got my $20 ECB's and I do 3 transactions.


- 2 Lorel HIP Metalic Duo eye shadow thingies (very cool!!)
$6.99/each = $13.98
- 1 bag of Hall's "Natural" Lemon Cough drops

Subtotal: $16.57
Used 2 Lorel coupons $1 each
Used 10.98 ECB's

Total Out of Pocket: $4.14
ECB's earned on transaction: $16.57



1 Gillette Venus $5.99
1 Gillette Venus Embra $11.99
1 Sally Hansen Nail Polish $5.99

Subtotal: $23.97
Used 2 $4.00 off coupons for the Gillette's
Used $13.98 ECB's

Total Out of Pocket: $2.96
ECB's earned on transaction: $10.99



1 Sally Hansen Nail Polish $5.99

Subtotal: $5.99

Total Out of Pocket = $0.00
ECB's earned on transaction: $5.99

Total Price of Products: $46.53
Total Out of Pocket Expense: $7.10
ECB's Left Over for next Scoot: $27.56

To be honest, my strategy could have been better from the front end...I could have gotten away with less out of pocket expense. But hey...I figure getting $46.53 of product for $7.10 is not too bad. Not to mention I'm walking away from my Scoot with MORE ECB's than I walked in with.

So what in the world does someone who doesn't like nail polish do with 2 bottles of it (blue and green, no less!). STOCKING STUFFERS!! Shhh...don't tell Abby. What 5 (almost 6 year old) doesn't want to paint their nails ANY color? I may regret this later - but after all, it was free.

The Gillette Embra razor is N-I-C-E...I'm rockin' one right now in my shower that I got as a sample from Vocalpoint.com (that's where I got the $4 coupons from). It's a fancy-smancy reusable one. Why do I need another one? I DON'T!! I have enough razors to last me to the grave. But, I got to treat my Mom to a brand new razor while she's here (and when she leaves - it comes with extra blades!)

Speaking of Mom, Club Amaro officially welcome's GMama & GPapa. They arrived via motor home all the way from Fort Worth, Texas. They will be here for a few weeks so there should be a few updates coming your way - just stay tuned.

Well I better ~scoot~ on outta here...I hope you are enjoy this Christmas season.

Many Merry Blessings,
Saturday, December 20, 2008
What holds the attention of a sanctuary full of toddlers, preschoolers and Kindergarteners for a full hour?

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Miss Patty Cake...a grown woman dressed in bright primary colors who sings childrens songs. She came to our church to "perform" and the kids had a blast. Momma was not able to have any coffee, was suffering from sleep deprivation and had a slight dehydration headache...needless to say, I had a blast as well.

SAID IN MY HEARING: Abby was helping me clean house today. While cleaning my bedroom, I had her organize my vanity (she loves to stack and arrange my makeup!) Unfortunately, there were alot of used q-tips laying there on my table. She collected them up and held them together in her precious little hand. Then with a very serious tone she said, "MOM."

"Yes, honey" I replied.

"We really need to make sure these get IN to the trashcan....OK?"

Loved her usage of "WE"...wonder where she gets that from. At any rate, I totally got served by my 5 year old.

Last but not least...

Regardless of whether you've just jumped on board or you have been with us since our First Post on the 8th of February 2008, I wanted to take a moment and thank you for riding along with us on our Adventures. With this post, we celebrate ONE HUNDRED entries into the Club Amaro blog. I guess for some that's not any big deal, but 100 seems like a fun number to celebrate. So lift a glass, blow a horn or dance around your computer (I'll be doing the same).

I hope you've enjoyed peeking into our little world as much as I've enjoyed writing about it.

love, love, love...

Thursday, December 18, 2008
Well it's that time of year again in case you've been under a rock...you know, ho ho ho and jingle bells and all that. I really love Christmas - it's a time of family, fellowship and celebrating the birth of Jesus. Plus, there's always better food around than usual and time off from school and work. What's not to love about that? I have no problem with gift giving and receiving, but over the years I have been soured at the consumerism of this country - especially around Christmas time. It has made me not want to participate. Every year it gets worse - this year I saw Christmas decor out before Halloween! I hear the message loud on clear - let's completely skip Thanksgiving - a holiday where we STOP and give THANKS for what we HAVE (read between the lines: no buying stuff!) and move right on into the season of buying. I find it funny...no, down right hysterical that the media is telling me day after day that we are in a recession, the economy is tanking. Yet the mall parking lot is packed and there are people coming out of stores with lots of bags looking for their SUV's. There are no bread lines at the mall, people.

See now I've gone and done it...I wanted to do this precious little post about Abby and I doing our sweet handmade Christmas crafts and my soap box found its way out next to my keyboard again. Sorry 'bout that.

On with the show, shall we?

So what I was GOING to say was...it's that time of year again. The time of year when we need to give a gift to the teacher in our life. Although this is Abby's first year of real school, it's her 3rd year of having a teacher at Christmas. We've been around the block a few times. So we like to do little handmade thingies that are inexpensive but show thought and love...this year is no exception.

You can ask my Mom (in fact she could probably produce a picture that tells the same story). I have always been a handmade Christmas gift kind of girl. When I was young, I would use my own money and buy a ton of candy. I would parse the candy out into little baggies and tie them up with ribbon curly cues. Then, I would put little name tags on them and put them in a basket and take them to school to pass out to my friends. The bags were always well received.

This year, Abby and I did "S'mores in a Jar". We filled mason jars with a graham cracker/brown sugar mixture, marshmallows and chocolate chips (Publix had a wonderful sale on Ghirardelli chips - perfect timing!). Then, we kinda "do up" the mason jars with some fun tags and an ornament. For the tag I did a simple piece of white stock paper covered with a fun design from "My Mind's Eye" (one of my faves). I embossed a gold Christmas and added a star brad. Inside we have the directions on how to make the s'mores bars as well as a little message from the kitchen of Club Amaro. Add a little raffia, a mini clothes pin and a fun ornament from the dollar bin at Michael's and WAA LAAAA!

We made 2 for Abby to take to school...one for her main teacher and the other for her class "literacy" teacher. To go along with her S'mores in a jar, Abby made a card to go with each. I just had to share the one for her teacher...it is precious.

The front:

The inside:

I love Abby's use of things laying around...a sticky note pad for the front and an index card for the inside. For some reason, she can't write stuff directly ON the card, it's got to be written on something, then attached. She probably gets that from me...

So there ya go...the craftabulous creations currently happening at Club Amaro. You are in the know. Hope you are all doing well and spending more time out of the mall than inside of it.

love &
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Hey to all my peeps...I need your help. I'm missing something. A man in his prime, 5'10" (or 6', depending on who is measuring), dark hair, goatee, Spaniard. He is not here.

He is not in my bed at night...which means that his side of the electric blanket is off. It's cold over there...occasionally my foot will wander over in search of its foot mate to wrap up with...but all it finds is cold sheet. (Of course I don't have to hear anything about my toenails being too long either)

He's not in our room in the morning, letting his freshly showered cedar-tree man smell waft all around me as I hit the snooze bar, saying, "uuuoooohh" as I do.

He is not in the window pointing at me as I back out of the driveway to go to work...I don't see his smiling face that I know is letting out his little Amaro chuckle while I drive away.

He is not here tackling me to try to get to the mailbox in the afternoon, or standing at the garage door to carry my laptop inside the house.

He is not at the dinner table...chatting with Abby and I about our day...making silly jokes and faces. He is DEFINITELY not in the kitchen doing the after dinner dishes. I had to remind myself how the dishwasher works...

He's not here loving on his daughter, who is constantly reminding me in that sweet little voice of hers, "I wish Daddy was here so we could ___________".

He is not sitting on the couch with Abby and I in the evening while we read the Advent story of the night - or for family prayer - or for the nightly piggy back ride to Abby's room.

He is not sitting in his chair (behind mine) in our office while I blog...where I would normally hear him make little one-liner remarks about world politics, bible verse or someones lack of rushing yardage. It's awfully quiet up in here...

He is not in the car, He is not in the bathroom, He is not watering the tree, He is not in my arms, He is not on my case, He is not making man noises, He is not eating the family-pak of pork chops I made last night, He is not watching over the house. He is not here!

I miss my man...but I love that he is visiting his family in California for a week. Catching up on hugs, Wii bowling, waffles and dessert. I know he's enjoying himself and being enjoyed - but he is missed.

If you see him, please let him know that...

love & cedar-tree man smell,

Friday, December 12, 2008
As Dwight Schrute would say: "Question."

What happens to rain when the temperature falls below 32 degrees?

Oh yeah peeps...it's snow. Sometime after the 5 o'clock hour the rain that had been falling for what seemed like days transformed into this beautiful white powdery substance people round these parts call snow.

Of course, the Amaro's put to rest any curiosity the neighbors may have had about our sanity. As the snow fell, the 3 of us were out jumping around in the front yard like a bunch of nuts taking pictures, throwing snowballs against the tree trunks and yelling, "it's snowing!" (just in case anyone was unaware).

As the evening progressed, you could have found any one of us with our nose pressed against the storm door like a dog waiting anxiously for his master to come take him for a walk. We'd carry on with our business, but stop every 5 minutes to make sure it was still snowing. "Yep - it's still snowin'"

Who knew that "hose on concrete with snow" would be worthy of a spot on TACA?

I can't speak for the others in my family, but for me...with snow comes fear and questions. Can I walk on it? Do I need special shoes with traction or can I just roll with my current kicks? Can I drive on it? What happens if I am out making money at CVS and it begins to snow? Should I stay at CVS? Should I use my ECB's to buy chains? What will happen to my suede jacket? Will Elaine's dad let me wear it inside out even though I would look like a candy striper?

I need some snow therapy.

On another, completely unrelated note. Are you familiar with the animals of Mexico? Because if you are not, you really need to be...

Yes, every time I turn around I'm breaking ground in a new venture...as if snow wasn't enough, I'm also dabbling in kindergarten project development. Yes dear friends...my kindergartner had a PROJECT. I'm not talking about a play dough project. I'm talking about a 'go buy a poster board and glue some research on it' project. HELLO. KINDERGARTEN.

Anyway - Abby's current semester enrichment cluster is on "Mexico". The teacher gave an assignment for the child to pick something about Mexico to do a project on. Abby picked "Animals" (or, animales for my Mexican readers). So we looked up 6 animals that live in Mexico and printed out pictures, cut them out, matted them and wrote some facts about them. IN ADDITION...she is asked to give a PRESENTATION to her cluster and then next week she will give that same presentation to students K-2nd grade.

Did I mention this was Kindergarten? I'm not so smart - fortunately I'm married to a smart man...I may have to turn project development over to his department.

And I thought acne, boyfriends, makeup and 2 hour phone conversations were going to be my biggest problem.

What a blessing children are...and no, there is not one iota of feciciousness in that comment.

Well that's about it from the Club...I hope whatever temperature you find yourself in that you can make the best of it.

love & snowflakes,
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Some of you may know what I mean when I say...I'm takin' 50/50 to a whole nuthah level here...


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Feedburner subscribers may not be able to see the embedded video...and believe me, you'll want to see it. Please visit The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Greeting from Middle Tennessee where we are currently boasting a clear, calm evening with a temp of 20.5 °F. My question is, if you spit on the ground will it freeze? I'll find out and report back to you on that.

I won't bore you with trivial Club Amaro health details - I'll give you the readers digest version lest you confuse this site with the CDC or something. I'll just say that I'm going on day 9 of my sore throat/cough and now Mike is losing his voice. Abby seems to be fine. Don't email me and tell me to go to the doctor. I know this. I didn't just come in off the mid-watch you know.

Now to the really important stuff...the material that Grandparents can't get enough of. Videos from tonight's Christmas performance! The 5 & 6 year olds performed 2 songs before the big Christmas play at church. Yes, hold onto your seats folks 'cuz I've got 7 minutes and 39 seconds of pure, unadulterated kindergarten/1st grade performance goodness.

NOTE: For safety purposes, I've split the performance into two parts. You would be well advised to take some time in between viewings to let your senses rest. After viewing video one, look at something ugly or mediocre to neutralize the feelings of preciousness and talent that will no doubt wash over you as you view the performance. After you have recovered from the first viewing, go ahead and start the 2nd one...if you feel that it could be too much, try resting your mouse cursor over the video pause feature to be ready to stop the video in case that overwhelming feeling comes over you. Don't say I didn't warn you. If you are disgusted with this paragraph, pretend that I didn't write it.

Please note: Feedburner subscribers may not be able to see the following 2 embedded videos...please visit The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.

Ok - here's video #1...

Here's video #2:

Abby had a blast performing...I on the other hand now have a cramp in my left arm muscle from trying to hold the video camera still for 10 minutes straight (which by the way, I did not do so good at). Yes, the tripod would have been handy. Yes, I thought about bringing it. I then had a vision of me and my t-pod trying to jockey for position in the sanctuary along with all the other camera crazy moms. No thanks.

After the performance, the star and her entourage were treated to a fab-u-louso dinner at Nick-n-Jim's courtesy of Lopes who was a guest at Club Amaro for the weekend. Lopes flew in Saturday morning and then took Mike to the Titan's game Sunday. We will bid him farewell early Monday morning. A side note: Lopes had the opportunity to see Carrie Underwood and chose instead to see Abby's performance. In this single act of sacrifice, he has positioned himself to be knighted and highly favored by the Queen herself (the Queen of of Club Amaro, that is). Nice job, Lopes.

I hope you enjoy the videos and weren't too put off by my crazy exaggerated commentary.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

If I didn't have such a bad sore throat and cough, I would totally rock your answering machine with my Happy Birthday rendition...but, this will have to do.


Who loves ya?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
After two "Thought Provo-K-tions" in a row, I figure I'd better keep this one light. I know it's been a few days and I'm sure my peeps are chompin' at the bit to know T.A.C.A. haps.

Not only will this be light, it will also be short...and maybe boring. Due to the fact that I am S-I-C-K...when I swallow, I feel like I have a ball of nails in the back of my throat, my neck is swollen and I have a nagging cough (which is not at all helped by the ball of nails).

Here is a picture of my girl...no, that is not dandruff on her head - it's SNOW.

The first day back from Thanksgiving break, it started to snow...so they let the kids outside to play. This is the first official "snow" of the season...how exciting! Abby could not stop talking about it.

As I have been highly anticipating the first snow, this should have been a momentousness occasion for me...complete with 1,243 snaps of my playskool digital camera. But alas, I was in the hospital when this snow happened. Yes, I made a little trip to the ER Monday morning.

First of all - I'm fine - NOTHING is wrong with me (well, except I have a ball of nails in my throat).

This last weekend, I ate only fruits and veggies (long story). In order to ease back into my regular eating pattern, I opted to indulge in some delish 2-yr-old-birthday-party-frankenfood, followed up later by a batch of my famous popcorn with a generous sprinklin' of spicy chipotle seasoning. This is a recipe for disaster, people.

The readers digest version of the rest of this story is I woke up at 1 in the morning convinced that I was having a heart attack. I sat up in the living room all night pondering my condition. Mike woke up, got wind of the situation...we got Abby off for school then headed over to the ER. To be quite honest, it was a wonderful experience that boosted my somewhat low expectations of Middle Tennessee medical services. They rushed me right in, got me all hooked up and started running blood tests. The ER doc came in and told me that the chance was pretty slim that I was having a heart attack - being the young'un that I am. But, just in case, she's running all the tests. While she was running the tests, she was going to treat me for acid reflux. I was a little embarrassed that I didn't know the difference between a heart attack and heart burn...but, apparently some of the symptoms are similar. So there you go. Too bad they could not do anything about the nail ball in my throat.

On the holiday front, we put up our Christmas decor over the last few days - this included our first Tennessee Christmas tree...a nice 6 foot douglas fir. Smells good. NO TINSEL! I have tinsel issues. I have alot more to write about this, but I'm sick and tired. I really should have gone to bed some time ago, but I go the extra mile for my peeps. Who loves you more than me? Come on...

If you beg me, I will post a picture of the ginormous bruise on my arm from where the nurse messed my IV thing up.


SECRET MESSAGE: Does anyone even read these?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greetings fellow Americans (and those of you from faraway places like Burma, Turku, Surabaya and Petah Tiqwa that manage to randomly access my page through Bloggers "next blog" functionality).

I thought this would be an appropriate Thanksgiving post picture, don't you? It has absolutely nothing to do with my post (neither does my title for that matter). But hey, sometimes it's ok to just go a little coo-coo crazy, right?

I've stopped a few times during the day to ponder what I would post in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. I had a nice little list all lined up of all the things that I'm thankful for in my life...the same things that alot of you are thankful for as well, I'm sure. But, ahhh...I grow weary of being so predictable.

Sometimes I get uncomfortable in the comfort of my blessings (yes, brace yourself people, it's going to be one of those posts). Please understand - I don't want to diminish the things that I'm thankful for...they are gifts to me from the providential hand of my Heavenly Father. But it is possible to practice and experience thankfulness while being aware of those in this world that suffer more than we could possibly comprehend. Sometimes it's in that awareness that we come to more fully appreciate the real treasures in our life.

Recently I came across a book - the reading of which brought tears to my eyes and shame to my soul. Tears, because I saw pictures and read of the suffering and oppression of a people group. Shame, because I knew so little about it even though it has been going on for years. I had my excuses for not knowing...but once you know something, you are responsible for how you handle the knowledge. Isn't that what they mean by "knowledge is power"? Maybe I'm wrong, but the way I see it is...when you know something, it can have the POWER to change you.

I'm not here to give you a history lesson, a sermon or a "talkin' to" (maybe you'd disagree). But if this one gal from Middle Tennessee could possibly lead one person to be slightly more aware then they were before, then I will have exceeded my goal for this post. Maybe I should have higher expectations...maybe I should expect that every single person reading this post would take 15 minutes to step away from the turkey and get outside their comfort zone to think about something not so comfortable. Hmmm...

The book I've referred to is entitled, "Voices of Sudan". The following quote comes from "Collective Lens", a blog that promotes social change through photos.

Published in 2007, David Johnson’s Voices of Sudan portrays the daily life of the victims of the ongoing Genocide in Darfur. While visiting the Darfur region, Johnson took a large number of photos, and when he returned home to the United States he was motivated to help the situation. “I told myself, ‘I must do something with these photographs,’ and that something turned into this book. I pray that this book helps to restore a voice to the Sudanese by causing two things to happen: people will be informed and hearts will be provoked to reach out and help the Sudanese.”

Here is a short video that details the book:

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please visit The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.

This article gives a background on the Darfur Genocide.

Human Rights Watch has a good section on its website highlighting Darfur. The video on this link has some stirring images and information.

This .PDF file is heartbreaking. It contains drawings by children of Darfur, as well as background on the drawings.

In addition to the atrocities that are occurring there in the Sudan, there are serious problems arising from the refugees that are fleeing the country. Click here for a video from CBN that highlights that.

The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem (ICEJ) is addressing the Sudanese refugee situation through a program entitled, "Operation Hope".

It was an ICEJ table during my lunch break one day that I found the "Voices of Sudan" book. It was at that table where I shed tears and promised myself to be more aware of things outside of my little world.

Our precious children could sit by pumpkins with their angelic smiles and grow up never knowing the true wealth of the lives they lead. We can make our lists of blessings for our blog, groceries for our feasts, to-do's and to-don'ts...never considering the oppression and suffering that occur beyond the four walls of our thoughtfully decorated homes.

Knowledge is power.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I confess that I don't know much about the group behind this video ("Advent Conspiracy") - but I can't argue with their message for this Christmas season:

So what do you think??

I'm taking G.I. Joe with the Kung Fu grip back to the store...

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please visit The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Dear TAOCA Readers...I have a special treat for you today. Here with us in the studio is Mike Amaro. Mike (who has blogging privileges here any time he pleases) picks and chooses his blogging appearances very carefully so as to make the most impact. It's always a pleasure to have him...please help me welcome him to the posting position...........MIKE AMARO!

Just last week, I noticed that our pantry's cereal supply was at a dangerously low level. We're talking two boxes of Cheerios, one box of Kashi, and one box of Smart Start. I half-expected an alarm to go off along with a bright flashing red light when I ventured into the pantry and made this ghastly discovery. Fortunately, our stockpiling shenanigans have not progressed to that level.

You have to understand something about the cereal situation here at Club Amaro. On any given day, there will be two boxes of cereal that are open and available for breakfast consumption. One of those is usually a box of Cheerios. The other is something other than Cheerios. Call it the "Cereal Special of the Week". This week, it has been Smart Start, one of my personal favorites. I'm one of those people that just can't eat Cheerios and milk, I gotta have a bit of sugar in there. To that end, Smart Start fits the bill nicely. Cheerios and Smart Start, a neat little cereal combo.

Now, being married to the Great Coupon Master, I've learned a thing or two about the coupon business. Rule #1: when you are running low on a particular item, report this immediately to the Chief Shopper (who also happens to be the Great Coupon Master). Or, write it on the dry-erase board if the CS is not within earshot. The CS will begin looking for the right sale to match up with the right coupon(s). Which leads to rule #2: Never, never, never, buy a box of cereal without some sort of coupon and/or BOGO offer.

"Kristin, we're down to four boxes of cereal. Do you have any coupons for cereal?" I'm thinking to myself, "Whoa? Where did that come from? Did I just say "coupons?" But I have lived with, trained alongside, and learned from the Great Coupon Master. I have come to appreciate the Way of the Great Coupon Master. And all of the lessons she has taught me will not fail me in this, the hour of my great need for Cheerios and some other box of non-Cheerios.

Fast forward to last night...the Great Coupon Master has located two coupons for Just Bunches. Each coupon is two bucks off one box. Score! But wait, it gets better because Publix just happens to have a BOGO sale on...you got it - Just Bunches! Double score! And to top it off, the Great Coupon Master has tasked me to make a quick run to the store to pick up the cereal because the coupons are about to expire.

Talk about pressure! I've got to make sure I get this one right. Fortunately, this is about as close to a coupon slam dunk as one can get. Surely I can't flub this one up. I go to Publix, pick out three boxes of Just Bunches, and make sure to present the two coupons to the checker lady. Imagine my delight when she tells me, "That'll be $2.32 - you saved $9.82, not bad!" Yes, there's a special satisfaction one gets when the checker lady herself congratulates you on your coupon prowess.

Which leads me to Rule #3: make sure to blog about your savings and if at all possible, include a picture. I even figured out how to do that. I think I just made The Great Coupon Master proud.
Yeah, that's right folks, I'm officially a Coupon Commando.

Peace, BOGOs, and Just Bunches,

SECRET MESSAGE: I'll see you on the 15th!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a digitally altered rendition of my favorite neighborhood tree

As with anything in life, those things that mean so much to us usually come with a price. Although I'm still finding myself awed by the beauty of my fall tree colors, winter is knocking, coming to steal my lovely greens, golds, oranges and reds. He is not waiting for me to get my fill of trees teeming with beautiful leaves...AT ALL. The yellowing grass is taking each leaf prisoner. Branches are making themselves highly visible. No longer hidden, they are proudly displaying their barrenness. All these things are signs of the upcoming season...one that this San Diego native is not ready to embrace. I want my trees back.

15 years in the Bay Area only slightly prepared me for the dirty little secret that Middle Tennessee would reveal to me today. Now those of you from places like Chicago, Buffalo and North Dakota will probably laugh at me (as soon as I can get to my point). And those of you reading from my hometown may wag your finger at me and say, "told ya so". And that's ok. I love my location...even with its dirty little secret.

So what's the secret? What's the price I'm paying for my trees? It's 19 degrees outside right now, people. Yeah. That's not a typo. 19, Nineteen, NINE + TEN, TWENTY - ONE.

The last two days it's never gotten above 42ish, I think. This is a whole new reality for me. One that involves socks, mittens, scarves and I may even have to break down and buy some ear muffs. I hear you people from the Midwest laughing...just keep making fun of the San Diego native girl...you'll get yours...just wait.

Ahhhh...but those trees. Those trees would never turn if it wasn't for that crisp fall air. There's a price to pay...as there is for most things that are worth anything. The key is finding contentment where you are, whatever price you're paying.

The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Now I don't know if Paul had a winter scarf or not, but I still find inspiration - and challenge - in this verse.

Am I content in any and every situation? Are you? Just a little something to ponder while I'm waiting for my electric blanket to pre-heat.

love & mittens,

ps: the image for today's post is a digitally altered version of one from my tree photo shoot. My friend Julie over at The Land of Lost Luggage has inspired me (and given me a homework assignment to boot!) with her digital alterations and mixed media art. This is my first attempt - and, maybe not up your alley - but I kinda dig it. Wanted to share it with my peeps.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Today Abby woke up with bacterial conjunctivitis...that's doc talk for Pink Eye. Poor thing - she was not happy. We actually went to the clinic (her Pediatrician was closed for the day) and the doctor prescribed some antibiotic eye drops. She is not a fan of the drops and - oh goody - I get to give them to her. Four times a day for the next seven days. Calgon, take me away!

Well, instead of Calgon we did Cat Head. Cat Head Biscuits, that is.

Grandpapa turned us on to the Cat Head concept many moons ago when he would refer to Grandmama's cat (Miss Ellie) as "Cat Head Biscuit" Come to find out, CHB's are biscuits that are about the size of a nice little cat head (clever, huh?). Who wants to bother with actually rolling out dough and making circles...how BORING!! Cat Heads rule. And you gotta have them with a nice pat a butt-uh - and of course, Jelly (just like Grandpapa).

It was cold, cold, cold and rainy today - a perfect afternoon for makin' messy in the kitchen.

Before we could start, we had to get all our ingredients together.

2 1/4 cup self-rising flour
1 1/3 cup buttermilk (you can use regular)
1/4 cup oil

And, about 1 or 2 Tablespoons butt-uh to melt and rub around the skeelit. Pre-heat oven to 3 Fiddy (that's 350 for those of you not in my language world).

my soux chef and eager taste tester await the results

Mix your stuff.

Knead your business.

Divide into 8 little cat heads and put them in the buttered up skillet. Note: CHB's taste SIGNIFICANTLY better if cooked in your NaNa's hand-me-down-seasoned-to-perfection skillet. Ah yeah.

Stick those bad boys in the oven (350 degrees) and bake for 25 minutes. After they are done, brush the tops with a little butter and hit it up in the broiler for 1-2 minutes.

And you got yourself some nice little cat heads...

And now comes the good part:

Hope you get you some Cat Heads soon.

love and a pat a butt-uh,


SECRET MESSAGE: Happy Birthday, smell my feet!
Thursday, November 13, 2008

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with anything I'm about to write, but how cute are these tights, huh? If they made a pair my size I would totally wear them.

Actually, I really don't have anything to write. I just wanted to post that picture of my darling offspring.

But, since I'm here, I may as well dedicate my post to a man affectionately known in this house as, Grandpa Harv. Today is Grandpa Harv's birthday. So in honor of you and your birthday, Harv, I'm calling this post "Trout and Pancakes".

And you people who just read that and went, "eeeewwwwwwuuu....YUCK!" you have NO idea what you're missing. This family loves Trout and Pancakes and we MISS them dearly, as well as those we shared it with.

Not only that, but Abby loves to eat the eyeballs...don't mess with the eyeballs...she will fight you over the eyeballs (just ask Uncle Mookie).

love & cute tights,

SECRET MESSAGE: Happy Birthday, old man!
Monday, November 10, 2008

Yesterday the fam decided that gas prices being what they are ($1.94/gallon at last fill up) that we could afford to take a nice long drive and explore outside the city limits. We drove south and were delighted at the colors we saw on the freeway alone! I know, I know - shut up already about the colors. It's who I am, love me or don't.

We ended up in this town called Sewanee which is home to the University of the South. Now I have never been back east during the fall, or visited some of the historical colleges that exist. I'm sure those places are breath taking many times over. But I was in awe of this campus! Most all the buildings were done in stone. Of course, there were trees galore to provide a stark contrast to the drab colors of the buildings.

To add to the feel of the day, it was VERY chilly and overcast...I would say about 42 degrees or so. The kind of day that makes you want to curl up by the fireplace with a cup of joe.

Of course in our little 2003 Camry there is no fireplace and no cups of joe...but, there is silliness (ALOT of silliness) and a temperature control. That works for me. This is a picture of my 2 people making silly in the car after lunch. Oh this is just the tip of the ice berg...I can't explain it - it's only something that can be experienced.

For more pictures of our Sewanee Adventure, check out the Dropshots

On another, more money saving note...

Are you tired of this? Please feel free to leave anonymous comments telling me to jam it. But I tell you I love shouting about my deals from the mountaintop of my blog. Here is a shot of today's booty-licious CVS deal. It includes:

* 1 bottle of StIves Mineral Therapy Body Wash
* 1 can of Garnier Fructis Hairspray (Anti-humidity, to keep the 'fro tame)
* 1 bottle of Palmolive w/ Oxy
* 2 bottles of Colgate Total Whitening
* 1 tube of Rimmel mascara.

I had coupons for each item. I paid $4.01 out of pocket and got $10 back.


Someday I may post a picture of my hall closet which boasts labeled bins containing neat stacks of my stockpiled booty. Yes, I know. Organization. It's a sickness, really.

love & Sewaneeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!


SECRET MESSAGE: Happy Birthday!!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Mike took Abby to her first football game. The Blue Raiders of MTSU played the ULM (that would be the University of Louisiana MONROE!!) Warhawks. Ahem...the Blue Raiders won.

Abby & Mike joined M, B & K for a kind of father/daughter day...Mom got to stay at home and troubleshoot an application issue resulting from a server migration. YEE HAW!

Abby enjoyed the game alot (she ran into 2 other of her friends from school). It was fun listening to her recap the game. It was even more fun asking her what something was called to see what she would say. "The baseball player would run with the ball and get a home run"

Friday, November 7, 2008
Listen...can you hear it??....what's that noise??

It's the gentle sounds of my brand new Trader Joes grocery cart rolling through the freshly waxed aisles as I pick up cheap, kitschy, specialty items from the shelves.

Nashville TJ's is open....


Now we'll see if I can shop TJ's without waking the sleeping tiger that is my coupon conscience.


love & a bag of Pirate's Booty,


SECRET MESSAGE: Can we please watch Adaptation....???