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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Saturday, May 17, 2008
Hey everyone! Thought an update was in order...but before I launch into that, I wanted to share some really exciting news with you about Abby!

At the beginning of the year some time we noticed Abby asking questions about the story of Nicodemus (Jesus told Nicodemus that if a person wanted to see the kingdom of God, he must be "born again"). Every so often these sorts of questions (about being "born again") would come up - Mike and I would explain that at some point, people can make a decision to make Jesus the Lord of their life and that all they need to do is ask Jesus into their heart. She would acknowledge that...then, we would gently ask her if she would like to do that. She always would have the same response, "Oh...maybe I'll do that later." We never wanted to push it, so we would move onto another subject.

This past Wednesday in the car, a similar conversation came up where Abby asked me about the Holy Spirit. I proceeded to answer her question, then I began to talk about how when we ask Jesus into our hearts...yadda yadda. Then, I asked her if that was something she was ready to do and her response was, "Mom, I already asked Jesus to be my Savior". Fortunately, we were at a stop light so there was no chance of me wrecking my car and us seeing Jesus in person. I tried not to be shocked and asked her when this occurred.

"Well, remember when we were staying at Beka's house because we didn't have our furniture?" I responded with a long, drawn out "Yeah". "Well, I woke up in the middle of the night, sat up and prayed to Jesus that he would come into my heart and He did".

Well, I was beside myself. At this point, we are in the parking lot of Sam's club and I asked Abby to come into the front seat. I asked her if she would mind if we did the prayer again - and she did, right there in the front seat! I then prayed for her and we immediately called Mike to tell him the news. Last night, we had a "Birthday Party" celebration at Bonni's house complete with homemade ice cream (Abby requested Chocolate with chocolate chips).

The verse we proclaimed for Abby before she was born was Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." We are so excited for Abby's decision and know that God has amazing plans for her!

On to less life-changing highlights...

The Time Share


How to go Garage Sale-ing...
1. Wake up at 5:45 am on the only day that you have to really sleep in
2. Don't shower and wear the clothes you had on the day before
3. Wear a hat - nobody wants to see your rats nest and who wants to brush it at 6 in the morning anyway.
4. Forget to have coffee, that really spices up the experience
5. Know where the neighborhood sales are...it maximizes time
6. Get in car, go to neighborhood, do the thing...remember to be friendly (remember, you've had no coffee and you smell like yesterday - people won't be nice to you automatically, you have to go first)
7. Get good deals and make it all worth while

Ok...there you have it. Recall that my first garage sale experience here landed me a fabulous dining room table and chairs for $50 and 2 fabulous bar stools for $12. Today, Bonni and I hit the River Downs subdivision neighborhood garage sale. Man, I can't believe some of the things that rich people get rid of! First of all, Bonni has been waiting a really long time for some bedroom furniture to match the king size bed in their room. Well, today was her day....she landed a really awesome 4 post bed headboard, armoire, dresser, mirror and end table for $300 (talked down from $375). The people (who paid $1800 for the set by the way) needed to get rid of it because it "didn't go" with the new place. Well, one man's "didn't go" is another man's treasure! I scored some awesome tiles for .10 each that I can use for a cool craft I have in mind. The last bargain of the day was something we got for the kids - I call it the "Time Share". I call it that because Bonni and I went in half on it so all the kids have equal claim on it (well, I guess I should have only paid 1/5th of it, but you get the idea). It's this really cute little play house made out of wood - perfect size for them to play in. They loved it and immediately began playing in it. It's so cute to watch them play...they load up their backpacks and come and go from the "house"...they bring their bikes right up to the window, etc. I'm always amazed at the imagination that children have...I could sit and watch them for hours (and today I practically did! I have the farmer's sunburn to prove it...)


We are not all the way settled in, but we are settled in enough to have normal operations (that is, about 87%). Here are a few highlights:

* Mike and I are both really plugging into our new church - we really love it there! We both attend a bible study on Tuesday evenings (Mike with the men, me with the women). I also go to a Mom's group on Wednesday morning. Mike started attending the 6:30am prayer time.

* I started a water aerobics class at the YMCA 2 to 3 times/week

* We are trying to get Abby into a magnet school here in town that requires "testing in"...the test for Kindergarten is 3 hours long! Her test date is on May 30th - we hope she gets in, but if she doesn't we are OK with that too. The alternative at this point is the local school across the street.

* Mike is working well at home, he's got a great little setup in the 3rd bedroom here. The 3rd bedroom is also home to a little 6'x 5' Crafting area that looks like a tornado hit it. I lack shelving...therefore, everything is piled on my table and there's no place to work! What troubles I have, eh?

* I miss Trader Joe's so much I don't know what to do. I now am a Kroger shopper. What the heck kind of name is that for a grocery store? I guess it's better that Piggly Wiggly (which by the way, I'm happy to announce there are NONE of those in my area!). I'm looking into some local CSA's and the Farmer's Market should be starting up soon. I just am craving some TJ goodies....sigh.
* I got my hair cut....Yep, I'm rockin' some sassy layers. What's that...? You want to see a picture? Come on, you know better...

Love and TJ's Cuban Mojito Sauce,
k
Saturday, May 3, 2008

Many of you have heard me lament about how I would miss my sushi and my Mexican food after leaving California. I had very, very low expectations going in that Tennessee would be able to bring it to the table for me. I mean, come on - we now live in a state that screams catfish is king and wouldn't know machaca if it hit 'em in the head.

Well, this week I've been playing the whole, "I've been unpacking boxes all day, don't make me cook in this tiny kitchen" card. This has allowed us to try a few restaurants in the area to see if there's anything worth sharing with all the visitors we'll be having this year (hint, hint). We already found a great BBQ and Catfish place when we came to visit last year, although I'm sure there are some secret speak-easy type dives that we've yet to hear about. But, after being away from CA for more than 2 months, our pallets were yearning for Japanese and Mexican cuisine.

First of all - let me tell you....last year when we visited TN we ate at a place called Don Pablo's. All I'm going to say about this place is that at least they can spell "tater tots" correctly. That meal began my concern regarding the food of the Tennesseans and what they actually considered "Mexican" to be (let alone Sushi).

So let me break it down for you Amaro style:

1. Mexican
We hit up a little eatery called, "Cozumel" around the corner from the pad. The first good sign was that the place was actually called something authentic (fyi, Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula)...seriously.....there's a place here called, "Mexican Restaurant". The second good sign was that actual Mexican people were working there. I'm not saying that white people can't cook Mexican (I like to think that I can whip up a few good Mexi dishes), it just adds to the overall authenticity of the place, you know? The third good sign was that the decor was muy authentico...it had more than a big lame poster of 3 Corona chicks and a few blow up Dos Equis beer bottles hanging from the ceiling. The fourth good sign was the chips and salsa TOTALLY ROCKED. The menu was a little boring - everything was pretty straight forward American Mexican with a few "especials de la casa". Abby got her standard chicken enchilada kids plate (which got 93 million 20 thumbs up), I went for a chicken chimmy and Mike did a combo plate. As Aunt Jan would say, "It wuh good." After dinner, we went up to the counter to pay for our meal and the man running the register had that, "I own the place" aura about him, so I chatted him up a bit. He was in fact the owner and after we told him that we just moved from CA, he let it fly about the locals. He said Tennesseans don't want anything but burritos and tacos, man. They tried introducing authentic Mex food but nobody would even try it! We had a hearty chuckle over that and told him that we'd be back and he could make us something especial. Not to mention, the food was relatively inexpensive....mama like.

2. Sushi
I can't tell you how much raw fish I ate before leaving California...I had a feeling I would never hold a pair of chopsticks again...that my lips would never taste the saltiness of the soy...that my brain would not get another wasabe sting. Ok, you get my drift. So tonight we took a chance on a restaurant called, "Fin". The first bad sign was that there was one car in the parking lot...it was 6pm and we figured on a Friday that a good eatery in Murfreesboro would be packed. Well, we pressed on. Fortunately, that was the only bad sign. We walked into the place, which was nicely appointed with proper Japenese accoutrement's. We were greeted by - YES! - a Japanese lady!!! My heart was filling up with hope and continued to overflow as my eyes came into contact with - YES! - a Japanese man behind the sushi counter. The cherry on the pie was that he was wearing one of those little bandannas around his head....oh yes, it takes a real sushi chef to wear one of those things. It turns out that the restaurant opened just yesterday and they don't have their kitchen chef yet - so they were only serving sushi. (Oh, bummer!) No worries - we explained that we just moved into town from CA and that we were curious to see what raw fish Murfreesboro had to offer. Well, that was it - just like our guy over at Cozumel, our sweet little lady let fly about the people of the area. "They don't know sushi...they don't get it....I have to explain everything. Yes, you from California...you know sushi." Oh yes, we know sushi. When all is said and done, it was actually pretty good...not the best I've ever had, but it far exceeded my expectations. My complaint was the portions of fish were on the smallish side. But, the rolls were creative and the sushi chef served it himself. And, as soon as we put our order in, the place began to fill up...

So there you have it...a few more restaurant reviews from the cook at Club Amaro. The future may not bring too many more reviews since we are almost unpacked - which means....yes, I must start cooking. Maybe I can get a job at Cozumel ;)

love and dinner mints,
k

Thursday, May 1, 2008
Thought I'd start off with a little TN humor:

You know you’re from Tennessee if:

  • You measure distance in minutes.
  • You’ve ever had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day.
  • You use “fix” as a verb. Example: “I’m fixing to go to the store
  • All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.
  • You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
  • You know what a “VOL” is.
  • You find 100 degrees Fahrenheit “a little warm”.
  • You know all four seasons: Almost Summer, Summer, still Summer and Christmas.
  • You know whether another Tennessean is from east, west or middle Tennessee as soon as they open their mouth.
  • Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as”goin’ Wal-martin” or off to “Wally World”.
  • You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good pinto-bean weather.
    catfish is the other white meat.


    Now, I can actually attest to a few of these...a few others I don't know what they mean....and, the rest just scare me. The bit about going from A/C to Heat in the same day is so true! The weather since we've been here is all over the place. We heard someone say, "If you don't like the weather in Tennessee, just wait two days - it will change". We've seen mostly beautiful 70 degree (no humidity) days mixed with a few warm (89 degree) days and some heavy rainin' days. Now when August rolls around, I may be gettin' my tail feathers all ruffled...just wait and see.

    So - I thought you might like to get a little update from the 'boro. As much as I want to go soak in the tub and go to sleep right now, I opted for blogging so that you wonderful people can be in the Club Amaro "know".

    The apartment is coming along...all the rooms are in what I call "anxiety producing functionality". What I mean by this is that the rooms are all operational, but in such a way that produces anxiety to those who need rooms to operate in a clean and tidy kind of way...you catch my meaning? For example - the office/guest/scrapbooking/storage room is working out great (it's a large room - more than we are accustom to)... With the exception of the laundry basket, plastic tote and wire organizer rack that sit right in the middle of the room piled or filled with highly important papers and such that have no organization whatsoever. Or - another example would be the 14 boxes that are stacked neat and high in the dining room...all of which are labeled "knick knacks"....WHAT? Why do I have 14 boxes of knick knacks? What is a knick knack? I'm so glad we spent thousands of dollars to transport 14 boxes of knick knacks thousands of miles so that I could ponder that. Also - we have no living room furniture yet....this gives me great anxiety....there are no surfaces whatsoever for my 14 boxes of knick knacks! Geesh! Anyway - you certainly don't need to be bothered with my weird idiosyncrasies so I will stop there...actually, the truth is that I'm starting to hyperventilate from this topic and it's interfering with my typing. Ok, just kidding...

    Kidding aside, the apartment is great - things are coming along even though we question why we have some of the stuff we do. People - hear me now.....TAKE INVENTORY of what you have and ask yourself....why do I have this. If you can't honestly answer then bless somebody by giving it to them....or, chuck it.

    We have been having a ton of fun with Bonni, Michael and the kids - especially Abby. I could be somewhat offended that Abby prefers the company of 4 kids to hanging out with me, but it does give me great pleasure to see her run around with them, getting dirty, acting crazy and making "leaf stew" in the field in front of their house. Abby is adjusting wonderfully to her new apartment as well as her buddies. In my attempt to help her "talk out" any hidden feelings, I took her out to lunch the other day - just me and her - and we talked about things and what we missed about home. As she listed off her friends from back home that she missed, her eyes were sad... But later on that day, she received a card from her friend Natalie back home that made her day! It was a precious drawing of friends and flowers...Abby loved it and made the comment, "Natalie is a great artist." (Thanks Shell - please let Natalie know what perfect timing that card had!).

    Mike has jumped right into working from home....we were able to hook our DSL up pretty quick so there was a smooth transition. BofA is very kind to their remote employees giving them a stipend for office equipment (furniture, supplies, phone, shredded, etc.) so that will help him feel more official :)

    Well, I think there is plenty more to write about, but the Epsom salts are calling to me...."soak....soak.....soak".

    I hope everyone is doing well - please don't give up on us....stay in touch - even if you don't get a response right away, know that we love hearing from home and family. We hope that you will even consider coming to visit - we promise to treat you to a meal at our favorite bbq place.

    blessings from the 'boro,
    k