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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Tuesday, July 29, 2008
A quick update to let you know that we OFFICIALLY own a part of Tennessee. Well, to be completely technical we owe money to a bank who owns a part of Tennessee - but that doesn't sound quite as exciting. We closed escrow today and got the nod from our Realtor that it's Ok to use our keys. What's next? MOVING. More on that to come.

Secondly, Abby has completed her 2nd day of Kindergarten. She is loving it. The afternoon "pretend school" time is in full swing already! (This is where she sets up all her babies and stuffed animals and pretends to teach them).

One cute item of note...yesterday after her first day, she was telling me about eating lunch in the cafeteria. I will mostly be making her lunch this year, but her school also has a full service cafeteria there as well. Abby had eyes the size of saucers as she told me about the "other side" of the cafeteria where the kids go up with a tray and select food from a table. She said, "And you know what?" (There was a long pause where I think she was waiting for me to guess or something)....she puts her hand up to her cheek like she's going to tell me a secret and then whispers, "then they PAY for it".

I think the cafeteria concept is very exciting to her...I guess she's led a sheltered life. I guess there are worse things to not know about, eh?

Anyway - we are very excited about the things going on around here...we also acknowledge that "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17).

Background: This morning. Abby washing her face with a little sponge that Gmama gave to her.

I ask: "Is that refreshing?"

Abby responds: "Oh, I feel like a new woman"

Background: This afternoon on the way home from school, Abby tells me about the result of her science experiment that was started yesterday.

Abby states: "The water was PITCH orange"

The statement was accompanied by a hand gesture similar to the one an umpire makes as he's calling someone safe at home plate.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Start off the day right...make sure the dishes are done (and your towel is properly slung over your right shoulder):

Make sure you have appropriate head gear:

Make sure you're up to speed on cannon firing activities:

Make sure you're prepared for inclement weather:

Make sure your bar-b-q is off da hook:

Make sure your ribs are clean:


love and photo montages
Friday, July 25, 2008

We survived the "phase in" day for Kindergarten...looking forward to the first official day of school on Monday. I did great on my drop off and pick up, although I had help from Gdaddy (and there were only about 1/3 of the kids there).

I have to share a little moon funny...the night before her phase in day, we were all sitting at the table eating dinner. I asked Abby, "So Abby, what would you like to wear tomorrow to school?" She didn't skip a beat as she responded, "Sumthin' cute".

She is my child, really she is.

I'm so excited about her school...after attending the "Kindergarten" room meeting w/ her teacher, I am thrilled about the stuff she'll be learning and the way that they will present it. I'm sure there will be lots of fun material for future posts.

Gdaddy snaps his camera ALOT more than I do these days, so there are tons of new pics to view. Please visit the Dropshots page to see them...here are some links if you're feeling like you want to pick-n-choose:

We have a weekend ahead showing Gdaddy the sights of Middle Tennessee, then will say goodbye to him after the "drop off" on Monday. On Tuesday, we have the big "closing"...a real answer to prayer there is that all the numbers have gone done (as they usually do) from what was originally sketched out. We feel very blessed and know that God has special plans for us in this house. Looking forward to posting more adventures about that too!

Enjoy your weekend everyone...hope you'll be wearin' sumthin' cute!!

hugs & kisses,
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just a quick Adventure update: Grandaddy is here! For those of you that know, for every year of Abby's life, Grandaddy visited pretty much every 3 weeks. Working for the airlines allows such priveledges as flying for free. So Gdaddy would fly up first thing in the morning on his 1st day off, then leave in the afternoon on his 2nd day off. You would be surprised how much fun those two could pack into a thrity hour period of time! Well, we've missed about 7 or 8 of those 3 week visits since we left our road-trip pit stop in San Diego.

Gdaddy arrived on Monday evening after flying ALL OVER the US ALL DAY long!! Ok, well he never made it over to the east coast, but he did see more than a few airports. He went from San Diego to Denver - missed a few flights there so took a detour to Chicago where he caught another flight to Nashville. When Abby saw him come down the elevator in the airport, she ran across the room and jumped into his arms. I'm guessing at that point, Gdaddy forgot that he had been flying all day long and was happy to see us.

Much fun ahead on the horizon! Abby starts school TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tomorrow, people. Although it's a "phase in" day, which means that she only goes half day...she will have Friday off and then start her full schedule on Monday. She will be in school 6 1/2 hours a day! I am in shock-e-arlo.

Lastly, we close in 6 days...the whole process has gone so incredibly smooth that it's hard to believe it's actually happening. We already have another visitor scheduled for September (my gal-pal Kathryn...YAY!!!) - she'll get to break in the new deluxe visitor accomodations at Club Amaro (unless anyone else wants to come before that - the reservation book is wide open).

Although the house is completly move-in ready, there are plenty of projects to do around the house that will keep us busy for awhile. We look forward to posting pictures and keeping y'all updated.

Another little tid-bit of information that I didn't disclose before - we will be living right down the street (literally - we share the same street name!) from B, M and the kids!! They bought a foreclosure (of the worst kind!)...and have been working on it now for a week or so. It's been an incredible sight to see the transformation happening. This picture to the left is of a SNAKE SKIN....snake skin, people. That is just a small taste of the animal population that called this home their own. Anyway - while B & M are getting their house in order, we will be moving in to ours. A school carpool situation straight from God himself :)

love & down payments, prepaids and closing costs,
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Well, we've officially been visited! Actually, the visitations are still in progress and will continue through to next week as we welcome Gdaddy into the mix. Gmama & Gpapa have been enjoying their time here in the Boro, taking in all the sights and flavors of the town. We also had a great visit with Randy's folks (aka Great Gma, Great Gpa and the Jakester). They "stopped by" on their way to Alabama from Missouri! Today, Abby took a day trip w/ Gmama & Gpapa to Nashville where they visited the original Opry as well as the new Opry. They ate ice cream and also had dinner at the Aquarium restaurant (which some of you may remember my review of that from the 2300 miles blog last year). There were also hotel slumber parties, swimming and some plain old hanging out time as well. They were also able to visit our new church home and attend our home inspection (more on that below). We will have to say goodbye tomorrow, but look forward to Gdaddy's arrival on Monday (right, Dad??)


Yesterday we went to the house and hung out while the home inspection was being done. No surprises, the house is in great condition at 14 years of age. We did run into a few unexpected bonuses (which are always welcome!). Our home owners insurance will be about 40% less here than it was on our last house. We also don't have to pay city taxes because the house is just outside of the city limits. It's safe to say at this point, the house is ours....now we have to rekindle our love affair with the 725 boxes that we said goodbye to just a few short weeks ago. I'm not complaining (although it may seem that way)...the boxes were good to us....it will be good to see them again. But, we're going to take it slow....not move into the relationship too fast. Maybe out for coffee first, then perhaps a lunch date. Yes, I'm very excited about moving.....anyone up for helping?????????


Tonight Mike and I attended the very first school parent meeting of our entire lives. Well, that's not true - I think preschool had a few, but this is Kindergarten, baby. There's a whole new ballgame goin' on here. Basically, it was an informational meeting that talked about the school - how it's "different" than the others and how the program will be, etc, etc. I was fine with all the discussion.....except.......for (insert climactic crescendoing cacophonous musical emphasis here) the details of the drop off and the pickup. Listen...I am a grown woman. And, I like to think I have some level of intelligence. I mean, after all, I have given birth to a "high achiever". But this drop off thing has got me in a tail spin. For those of you who are not following, the "drop off" is the thing, or process that occurs at every school for a period of time before the first bell rings. The parent driver, with child(ren) in car, follows a predetermined sequence of driving patterns dictated by men with many designations after their name and orchestrated by trolls from a faraway land. The drop off is NOT to be confused with the pick up, which is slightly different because said child is "deposited" into said car and taken away by said parent. I fear for my life, and the life of my child...I pray there is a PDF file somewhere that I can download and study that will prepare me for this event. Please pray for me.

Well - that's all for now...stay tuned for more adventures!

love & miss,

ps - don't forget to check out the Dropshots Account...pictures have been updated!
Monday, July 14, 2008
I was at the ATM today depositing a check - how cool are those new BofA ATM's?? You know, the ones where you just stick the check in the scanner and it prints a copy of it on your receipt? I love that. Anyway - I needed some didge for date night with my hubby. I was dreading having to remove $20 from my checking account when I knew I really only needed $10. My Mom gave us 2 passes to the local cinema and I printed 2 coupons online for free popcorn when you bought a drink. Of course, these days, you probably need $20 to buy a drink at the movies! I was hoping that would not be the case. So I'm thinking I have to pull out $20...what do I do with that extra $10?? It just sits there in my wallet, calling out to be spent on something that it shouldn't! Well, much to my delight, this particular ATM disperses 10 dollar bills! The $10 spot is a great bill...so functional, not too much, not too little. I don't know why other ATM's neglect them...what's up with that.

Speaking of ten dollars...oh come on...please let me share once more the details of my plunder! How can I not share about getting PAID for 3 6oz tubes of Crest Total Advanced toothpaste that normally retails for $3.49 a tube? Don't hate me for that, please. You can't really expect me to resist spilling about how I got $12 worth of Shick Quatro's for Free (actually, I made a cent off of the purchase, but who is counting, really?). I won't bore you with the details (after all, you may already be there)...but this picture represents $59.95 worth of drug store merchandise. I walked out of the store with all of it and I paid $9.01 out of pocket (I had $9.90 worth of rebates from last month loaded on a gift card, so I used that to pay for some of it). I still stand to get $4.00 worth of rebates loaded back onto my Walgreens gift card too - so technically it's more like $5.01. I brought Mike with me to the store today and he was very quiet at the cash register...I think he felt wrong somehow. But hey - it's legit.

When we aren't stealing things from the drugstore, we are enjoying time with my Mom and stepdad, Randy who flew out Saturday for a week long visit. Next week, we are hosting my Daddy-o. We love having visitors!!

Update on the house...things are going a little too smoothly, praise God! Home inspection is Wednesday and I think we're on track for closing on the 29th (2 weeks and a day!). We are very excited!

All for now...much love to you all - thanks for hanging in there with us!

love & ten spot,
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Greetings from hot-n-humid central!

Ah yes, summer is in full swing here in the Volunteer state. But, it has not yet hit 100 which is more than I can say for other cities in the US. God has given me much grace to deal with the heat (as most of you know, I'm from San Diego...I get grumpy when temps fall outside of the 68 - 74 range - that's Fahrenheit by the way).

Just wanted to report that things are moving forward on our home purchase!! The appraisal contingency has been lifted from the contract and we have the home inspection this coming Wednesday. If all goes well, closing will be a little over 2 weeks away. We'll have just slightly more than a month to move, which is helpful....I'm planning my boxless move strategy as we speak. The thought of packing up a box so soon after unloading 10,000 of them makes me a bit spun out. If anyone would like to help, I will feed you...well....with chocolate, bbq and whatever else it takes.

One last item of note - we have our first official visitors arriving today! You'll have to stay tuned to see just who it is.

humid hugs and kisses,
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
In keeping with my goal of not letting too much time go buy between posts...here I am again with a hot-off-the-presses update for ya. I promise, there is nothing here about coupons!

After a few back and forths with the sellers, they finally "accepted" our offer! Our initial offer unfortunately wreaked of "we are from California where people make a 30k price adjustment every 2 weeks". Yeah...this ain't that kind of market. The sellers were not too happy with it and countered with a "you ain't gonna get far in this town with that kind of attitude" offer. Well, I won't bore you with the details - but, looks like we came to a good compromise.

As with any home sale, there are many more hurdles to get over before you can start picking colors...so, we'll keep you posted.

love & loan docs,
Monday, July 7, 2008
Didn't think I'd keep my promise about more frequent posts, eh? Shame on you!

Some of you have written me asking about my newly found love of bargain hunting. So I thought I would give you a scenario of my most recent "drug-store diva" excursion and give you some websites that have helped me learn how to get the good deals.

Today I visited CVS, Rite Aid and Target (all of which are close by each other, so no wasting of the liquid gold I have in my gas tank). I took a picture of my booty for you to see....all name brand stuff. The whole shebang cost me less than $20.00.

Here's the break down:

Herbal Essence Shampoo & Conditioner
On sale 2 for $5.00
Total price to me: FREE!

Crest Pro Health Toothpaste
Regularly $2.49
Total Price to me: FREE!

Infusium Shampoo
Regularly $4.99
Total Price to me: FREE!

Kashi Go Lean Cereal
On sale: 2 for $5.00
Total price to me: $1.00 for 2 boxes

Pert Plus
Regularly $3.99 per bottle
On sale 2 for $5.00
Total price to me: $1.00 for 2 bottles

Oil of Olay Body Wash (3 Ribbons, 1 Botanicals)
Regularly $29.86
On sale for $23.96
Total price to me: $6.46 for 4 bottles ($1.62 each)

Always Maxi Pads
Total Pad Count: 80
Regularly $24.16
On Sale for $18.11
Total price to me: $6.73

Oral B Cross Action Toothbrush
Regularly $5.99
Total price to me: $.99

Venus Razor
Regularly $7.99 (includes 3 cartridges and tub pod...whatever that is)
Total Price to me: $1.99

Axe Antiperspirant
Regularly $2.99
Total Price to me: $.99

I really should take a picture of the stock pile that I have going...I mean, when you can get toiletries this cheap, you stock up. You might argue that you can get better deals at Costco, Sams, etc., or, that you can buy cheaper brands (ie. Suave) or just buy the drug store no-name brand. Yes, it's true that you can do that. But, if I can get a bottle of brand name shampoo and it's less than a dollar (or FREE), why not? Plus, if you can get something for free that YOU may not use, why not pick it up and bless someone else with it?

Using this latest trip as an example...how did I get $93 worth of stuff for less than $20? You align coupons with sales and drug store reward programs. It's that easy. The drug store reward programs vary, but in a nutshell what happens is you buy something and then you get a piece of paper at the end of your receipt that is the same as money to use on your next purchase at that store.

For example - take the Oil of Olay deal...I did that at CVS. They have a deal this week where if you buy $20 worth of Oil of Olay, you get $10 Extra Care Bucks back. Extra Care Bucks are exactly like money - they print out at the end of your receipt and you use it LIKE CASH. So I bought $23.96 worth of Oil of Olay - but I had $7.50 worth of coupons (4 coupons, 1 for each bottle of wash). So I paid $16.46 out of pocket, but now I have $10.00 in my wallet (net being $6.46). I could have used that $10.00 for a 2nd transaction at CVS, but the only other thing I had to buy was the 2 bottles of PERT, and I only paid $1.00 for that so I just did it all together. I'll save my $10.00 for the next deal at CVS - then, I'll be starting out with $0 out of pocket (assuming if what I get is under $10).

I also have been scoring awesome deals at the grocery stores as well. One of the local stores here (Publix) tends to be more expensive, but they have incredible BOGO deals (buy one, get one free). The way to score there is to have 2 coupons for the product and then buy them as BOGO's. For example - yesterday I purchased 2 bags of Stacy's Pita Chips (yum-o!). Regularly, they are $2.99 per bag. They were on sale, BOGO. I also printed 2 $1 off coupons from the internet. So, I got 2 bags which normally would have cost $5.98 for .99 cents!! You use one coupon for the "buy one" and one coupon for the "get one". Most people don't know that they can do that... Not only that, but most stores have their own coupons. Did you know that you can use an in-store coupon AND a manufacturer's coupon for 1 item? That's called stacking...you line that up with a good sale and now you're cookin' with gas, baby.

Here are some blogs that I subscribe to using Google Reader
...whenever I'm online, I'll quick look at the Titles of the posts to see if they would apply to me. Some of these fabulous lady bloggers actually type up the deals and give you links to Internet printable coupons as well as reference coupons from various newspaper inserts. They also have posts that detail how the various reward programs work and things of that nature. Here they are:

Money Saving Mom
The "Cent"sible Sawyer
More Than Enough

There are actually more blogs that I am subscribed to, but these are the ones that I started with. These bloggers reference alot of other blogs that you may explore and end up subscribing to (that's how it happened for me).

Anyway - I just wanted take the time to share with y'all one of my newest hobbies. It's a great feeling to be a good steward of the money God has blessed us with. Every penny that I save is a penny that can be used somewhere else.

love and BOGO's,
Sunday, July 6, 2008

We are officially Tennesseans, and we have our plates to prove it. Nevermind that I've yet to get a TN license, but hey, I've got a plate, baby. Did you know that in Tennessee, you only get 1 plate? Yeah, they don't have front plates. I find that odd. Just a little tidbit of information for those of you looking for one. I thought it would be kind of fun to leave my CA plate on the front and my TN plate on the back, but I will just opt for hanging the plates up in the garage (once we have one) as a novelty item. Maybe I can find a nice Budweiser poster to put next to it.

Ah yes, welcome to another installment of Adventures. Recently, I've received a few emails (some using strong language, actually) regarding my lack of activity here on the blog. Well, I promise that from now on I will do my best to post more frequent, less verbose Adventures. But for right now, I can only promise that I have a months worth of things to tell you...so less verbose is really not on the radar. I will try giving you the Reader's Digest version where I can...but come on...you know how I am.

Here is Abby's summer in a nutshell: playing, sleep overs, swimming, running boring errands with mom, eating Popsicles and learning all about what it means to be in the middle of sibling conflict.

Sometimes I long to be a kid again...playing in a blow up pool till your fingertips turn into raisins, eating Popsicles and not caring that it drips all over your swimsuit and using your imagination as a source of entertainment. One thing that has really been a treat for me is watching the kids play "imaginary" games. These kids come up with the best stuff! If I had a dollar for every time I heard them say, "Let's pretend that..." - I would be one rich Tennessean. One reoccurring scenario is "plane"...where they all pretend they are on a plane bound to Chicago of all places. The pretend plane is on the stair landing at B & M's house. Someone always has to be the pilot - and on this plane, the pilot also serves food. I don't want to be the one to ask them who is flying the plane if the pilot is off serving tater tots to the passengers... One day they were playing "office" - I overheard one kid saying to another, "give me your account number". HUH? And the props that go along with their pretend scenarios are the best! The etch-a-sketch board thingie they have has been everything from a computer to a patient's hospital chart (by the way, once when playing "hospital" Beka came down with "ammonia" but thank God she's ok now).

Abby's swimming lessons are going...not too bad. Prior to June 10th, my dainty daughter did not like getting her face wet or being in the line of splash fire. Either would result in whinny protest. But, now she's going all the way under water and even doing a not to shabby dog paddle (with fashionable floatie belt around her waist, of course). She's not ready for the 100 meter freestyle or anything, but she's getting more confident in the water, and that makes mama feel better.

A big milestone is ahead for the Little Moon...in TWO weeks she will start school. I think I'm still in denial. I can't imagine her in school 5 days a week for however many hours a day it is. As you think of it, say a prayer for her (and her parents too!)...that we all make the adjustment to school life.

There are so many great Abby stories that I wish I could share with you...those stories are part of the reason that I established the Little Moon blog. I do a horrible job these days of maintaining it....and....something is wrong with the feed anyway. So if you are supposed to be getting email updates from that blog, you probably won't. It's sort of hard to maintain 2 blogs, so I may just shut it down and stay with Adventures...I'll keep ya posted.


Some exciting news on the home front (literally) is that we are considering a house! Yes, it's a little earlier than we expected. We started praying for "our house" even before our house in California sold. We had no idea what God would have for us, but we prayed in faith that He had one picked out for us...we prayed that he would prepare it and keep watch over it until it was time for us to have it. Since we've arrived in TN, we've seen a series of miracles that have increased our faith and our ability to believe God for provision. So the 3 of us sat down one day and wrote a list of everything we wanted in a house. Every night during our family prayer time, we would take our list out and ask God to bless us with this house. This past week, we went and saw a house that I previously turned my nose up at many times (those MLS pictures can really make a good house look bad!). We walked inside and with every step we liked it more and more. We began to realize that with a few very minor exceptions, it satisfied everything on our list (it was a LONG list!!). Right down to the storm doors that Abby asked for (for some reason, she thinks storm doors are very cool - this house has 2!). It's right at the edge of our price range, but as we started to consider it and feel that this could be the house, 2 separate things happened that put extra money in Mike's paycheck every month. Add to that the fact that BofA has some favorable discounted loan options for their employees and it seems that God is positioning us to claim this house. We decided to take the weekend to pray and wait on it. We'll see what happens next week - it may be that we put an offer on it. We also know that if we don't get this house, we are content with waiting for the right one. If you are interested in seeing pics of the house, check out our dropshots account. Each photo has a comment, so be sure to read those. We'll keep you posted on any new developments!

We hope that y'all had a great 4th of July. The 3 of us spent the evening on the Intramural field at MTSU in our lawn chairs. They had all kind of fun things there going on and then around 8pm the local orchestra played a full lineup of everyones favorite patriotic songs...then, for the finale a great fireworks show. The fireworks were great, but the highlight of our evening (and a number of people sitting around us) was watching Abby do interpretive dancing to the orchestra music. I tell you, I'm not just a proud mama when I say the girl has some serious dancing skills. She burned a few holes in the field there with her happy feet. It was a great time.

Well - I told you that this would not be less verbose...but thanks to those of you that made it this far. We miss our friends and family back home and think of you so often - thanks for all your emails keeping me posted on what's going on with you. Even though I don't respond quickly, please know that I read them (sometimes more than once!) and pretend that you're right down the street.

love and Popsicles,