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, February 25, 2009
I promise I'm not going to turn this into a foodie blog. But I must stay true to my mission of informing you about the latest adventures at Club Amaro and that happens to include cooking.

Today I got all domestic and stuff and decided to do some bulk cooking. I saw this great idea for bulk breakfast burritos from Trent at "The Simple Dollar" and decided to make it happen Club Amaro style.

Before I put my master plan into effect, I had to get the thumbs up from the troops. So I decided to take a few mornings and make Mike and Abby some breakfast burritos on the fly. In my opinion, a breckie burrito is a nice change of pace from the standard oatmeal/cereal/toast kind of morning. And hey, if I can pull something out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave? And I know what the ingredients are? Even better for me. My peeps gave 4 thumbs up and clean plates all around. I figured that operation "kick Mickey D's to the curb" is a go.

Now Trent does a nice job of listing the cost savings of this little assembly line. I wasn't as concerned about the cost because I knew that it was going to be cheap. Even if it's not as cheap as the free oatmeal/cereal I can score with my couponing, I feel it's a good trade because I am providing a high protein, healthy burrito for my family. And, it's a time saver in the end. Love it!

I also strayed a bit from Trent's recipe, because I like to be a rebel in the kitchen. So let me break it down for you list style.

1. 20 burrito size tortillas
2. 2 dozen eggs
3. 3 Zucchinis
4. 20 ounces of salsa
5. 3 cups of cheese
6. 3 cans of black beans, rinsed
7. Not so secret spices (salt, pepper, onion powder, roasted garlic)
8. Couple of big scoops of Smart Balance
9. Saran wrap

I hit my zukes up in the food processor and added those to my scrambled egg mixture (along with my spices). I melted my Smart Balance then cooked up my egg mixture. I made a little assembly line with my beans, salsa, cheese and eggs. To make each burrito, I laid down a piece of saran wrap on my medium sized cutting board. I put the tortilla down then took care of biz. A few scoops of egg, a nice sprinkle of cheese, a couple of scoops of salsa and to crown off the beautiful mound, a couple of scoops of frijoles negros.

Not to brag or anything, but I'm an expert burrito wrapper from way back. So I had those puppies wrapped up quick and rolled it up in the saran like a little babushka. Making all 20 burritos probably took me about 20 minutes (not including the cooking of the eggs and the setup of my sweet little prep area...or picture taking).

Waaa la.

My little babushka's will go in the freezer where they will be on standby for my troops. Trent has a suggestion for the warming up scenario...I'm sure we'll have to tinker with it. Especially now that we have our new 1100 watt micro-monster. (Going from 5 watts to 1100 has made me afraid to use this appliance...please pray for me).

I'm sorry to keep quoting Gus Portokalos, but I can't help it. So...there you go.

Burritos forever,

Monday, February 23, 2009
In an effort to expand my writing beyond the realm of familial adventures, I decided that I would share a little culinary delight that has been part of the family recipe book for some time now. It's been on my mind recently because I prepared it for a party whose food theme was "Israeli". Everywhere I bring this dish, it gets mad raves...not to mention, my house smells fabulous for about 2 days.

Now, if I told you that the recipe calls for both prunes and green olives would you be scared? Because it does. Can you handle it? Do you trust me? Then come to mama...

Odessa Olive Chicken
(Source: Empire Kosher)
Serves: 8

2 chickens, 8 pieces cut-up
(You can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts - I favor the chicken pieces myself, but both are delish)

For the marinade:
8 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup prunes, pitted
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
4 bay leaves

For baking:
1 cup sweet white wine (I use Moscato)
1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped (I cilantro and use way more than 1/2 cup)

Mix the marinade ingredients together. Place chicken in a non-reactive bowl or zip-lock bag and add marinade. Let sit overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the chicken in a single layer (skin side up if you have it), in a shallow roasting pan. Pour marinade on top and pour the wine around the chicken. Bake for 1 hour and baste from time to time.

Sprinkle with parsley or cilantro before serving. Pass pan juices separately. Freezes and reheats well. And, in my opinion - tastes even better as left overs.
And please, eat the prunes - they are almost the best part.

See how I love you...I tell you all my secrets.

If you make it and enjoy it - drop me a line and let me know. If you make it and hate it...I never gave you the recipe.

prune love,
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I hate to burst your bubble but this post will NOT be about the Grammy Award winning song by one of my favorite heavy metal bands, Metallica (ok, well they were my one of my favorites in high school).

Gosh, I hope I didn't lose any readers.

ONE. Today's post title is in honor of the ONE year anniversary of our little Adventure OUT of Concord, California. Those Camry tires didn't actually cross the CA/AZ state line until early March '08, but leaving the Bay Area was definitely significant. Just to reminisce, I popped over to the last 2 posts from my Bay Area residency ("Charlotte Ave, 7500lbs lighter" and "74 miles down, 2226 miles to go"). It seems like ages ago when I wrote those...so many miles driven, so many sights seen. An apartment, a house purchase and BOXES, BOXES, BOXES! And moving box paper...OH the paper. New friends made, old friends missed. New church, new gym, new cuisine, lack of cuisine, new weather patterns. Parenting a kindergartner, the "pick up" line, the homework, the PTA, the "my kid is smarter than me" syndrome. The new job, the new neighbors, the new language, y'all... The new Mom's group, being a participant, not being the leader, missing my H2H girls, opening up to new girls, wondering if I say "y'all" they will like me more. Aye, yaye, yaye.

Just in case you were curious, I will tell you what Mike and I will be doing over the next few months. We will have conversations that go like this:

Kristin: "Guess what we were doing one year ago today"

Mike: "We were in San Diego eating at Nicolosi's with your Dad and brother"

Kristin: "No we weren't, that was last night...today was the day that we went to Balboa Park and Steve and I bailed on you guys at the Space Theater"

Mike: "Nuh uh...that was tomorrow....go look on your calender"

Kristin: "Oh yeah."

Don't deny my prophetic giftings...it will happen. On to other topics... Once again I have been delinquent in updating you on major happenings here at Club Amaro. So sorry...I've been too busy thinking about my one year anniversary this month. :) So, here are a few morsels to satisfy your Club cravings...

Jumping Bean

Some of you may know that Abby wanted to participate in the American Heart Association's "Jump Rope for Heart" event at school. Never mind that she didn't even know what a jump rope was, but nevertheless, she had been praying for ways to help other people and she saw this as a way to do that. Of course her PE teacher at school did start to teach jump rope, so I was fairly relieved and decided that she could participate. She set out to do her fund raising and raised quite a tidy sum. $603 to be exact.

Turns out, she was the top fundraiser of the entire school!!! She doesn't seem at all moved by the fact that she raised more money than anyone. I think that's kinda cool. She was just excited to be the one to get "Heart Dude" (a little stuffed heart with arms and legs). The funny part is, I didn't tell her about all the gifts she earned for raising that much money (you remember those crazy gifts they give you when you did fund raising at school). I guess they'll have some assembly or something and hand all that out. I'll just let her be surprised.

We're in "treble" now
Mike and I are big fans of Dave Ramsey and are trying to live out the principals that he teaches. In order to get Abby on board, we set her up with the Dave Ramsey Jr. program. She earns a commission each week for various things around the house. With her commission, we teach her to "save, spend and give" wisely (God help her that she has us for role models - but we are trying!). She decided that she wanted a real keyboard so she could start playing the piano. So we put that up as a goal and she started to save up. Fortunately for her, Christmas and birthday money came in to supplement the commissions that she gets each week. She saved up $114 and bought her a Yamaha YPT210 AND an adapter. It's a great keyboard except for the default volume is LOUD. She's loving it... I'm keeping my eye on her to see if there may have to be piano lessons in the future. I'm itching to get a piano in this house, and that seems like a good excuse.

That's about all the post I can pump out at the moment...hopefully your craving is satisfied for the time being. I promise I still love you...


Thursday, February 12, 2009
Dear all those people mentioned in the title of my post,

Please stop trying to pressure my husband into feeling like he has to somehow prove his love to me on valentines day. What's that all about? Do you think men in this country don't have a hard enough time competing in this crazy world and now they have to buy some overpriced, oversized, glittery card, a dozen roses, a 10 carat tennis bracelet that says, "I love you" and a box of Chocolates? As if they aren't inundated enough with high pressure sales pitches, you have to find every possible media and advertising outlet you can to push your chocolatey romantic agenda. I find it absolutely nauseating! Those poor guys don't stand a chance against your manipulation...

"Say 'I love you' with a pair of 1 carat diamond earrings from..."

"Show her your love is forever with a card from..."

"Sweeten up your love life with a nut and chew sampler from..."

You should be ashamed of yourselves. You need to consider other alternatives...I have a suggestion.

I propose that you lobby the new administration of the country to create a Valentine stimulus package that would include provision for each man to have access to a fund. This fund would allow him to purchase a pair of 1 carat diamond earrings, a dozen roses, a box of chocolates and one of those super sized cards that require extra postage. They could use it whenever they want...all at once or spread throughout the year. This would decrease the financial burden on them and would in turn ease your need for the high pressure sell. Men will start to feel more confident and will begin to perform better in all their necessary functions. This will set off a chain of events that will send the economy skyrocketing, solve world hunger and reverse global warming (if you believe that is in fact happening).

Think it over and get back to me.

Kind regards,
Kristin M. Amaro

Sorry - I got a little carried away trying to make my point...

What I'm trying to say is that I love random acts of kindness. Gifts that are unexpected, pure in motivation and straight from the heart. I think Valentines is gettin' a little out of control.

So I just wanted to say thanks to my man, who says 'I love you' everyday (alot of times more than once) not only with his words, but with his actions. That to me means more than any diamond, rose or cashew nut carmel chew.

However, I wouldn't be mad if you brought home a dozen stargazer lillies.


Not really...


Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Love & chews,
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Happy 1st Anniversary to "The Adventures of Club Amaro"...

It was 1 year ago today (Feb 8) when I put up our first post. We were at the starting line of an Adventure, for sure. Having no idea what to expect, we took off in that little Camry of ours jam packed for our 2 month road trip.

A Road in Sewanee, TN, taken Fall 2008 during a Club Amaro Adventure

This blog has testified to alot of fun adventures and silliness, CVS robberies, a few milestones, some thought provo-K-tions and a ton of pictures - mostly of the cutest member of our family. And trees.

I must say that I have gotten great joy out of writing to you - more than I ever imagined. If it's ok with y'all, I think I'll keep pluggin' away and see what happens. Maybe I can get Mike to throw in a post or two. And, at the rate Abby is going, she'll be posting quicker than I can say "idiomatic".

Here's to one, and many more...

Saturday, February 7, 2009
The picture you're about to see doesn't begin to tell the story of what happened about 30 minutes ago in the foyer of our home. If I gave you the FULL picture, I may have to answer to the authorities.

Let me break down the scene for ya...

A quiet hush had fallen over the house. Abby was sent to her room to get ready for the Saturday night shower. Mike and I, catching our breath after getting home from a nice dinner out. Then it happened.

In true Joel Goodson fashion, Abby slides into the entry way in the buff. Not a stitch on except for a pair of Mike's magnetic sunglasses. If she was black and didn't have long hair, and was alot older, I may have mistaken her for Morpheus. I digress.

What was it that my dear child said having so boldly taken the moments center stage?

It wasn't what she said, it's what she sang (loudly, and on perfect pitch I might add).

"You don't tug on Superman's cape...
You don't spit into the wind...
You don't pull...the mask off that old Lone Ranger
Doh doobie doo dee dee de dee dee dee."

Jim Croce would be proud...
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Whad up y'all...welcome to the land of high achievers. The place where 6 year old children know things that you don't.

Every few days or so, Abby will come home from school with a book. She brings the book home so that she can read it to us, then takes it back the next day or so - and the cycle continues. We've enjoyed seeing her learn to read and watching the books get progressively more difficult. I knew there would come a day when I could no longer write secret notes to myself around the house or talk to Mike in letter-talk ("Hey Mike, go get some I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M for after Abby goes to S-L-E-E-P"). I need a new gig now. Perhaps I can take up short hand like my Mom did. Maybe I need to stop eating ice cream.

So Abby comes home today with a new book, "Amelia Bedelia". It's a fairly long book, so she reads some of it at school with her teacher. The teacher then leaves a little book mark with a note that says, "Read by Thursday" or something like that. Today, I opened the book to look at the bookmark note and it read, "Read by Thursday, find the idioms".


Mike just happened to be standing next to me as I read the note aloud.

Listen people. I am not dumb. I took 15 years of community college, I know what I'm talking about. Mike is even smarter than me - he actually went to TWO state colleges (not to brag or anything...he hasn't quite put in the years I have) and even has a degree from one of them. We both be havin a fairly good command of the English language...gooder then most people. But we had NO FREAKING IDEA what an idiom was. I know what an idiot is...but I didn't think they were the same.

As we stood there frozen in retardation, in walks Abby. We both turn and look to her like she's E.F. Hutton...

"Abby....what's an idiom?"

She didn't miss a beat...she whipped off some explanation of what it was. Man, I wish I could tell you the answer she gave. It wasn't like a Webster's definition or anything. But she even followed it up with an example. "You know, like 'hit the road'".

Oh yeah...an IDIOM. Right, right.

I'm sure all of you knew what an idiom was...so good for you. But just in case, here's a definition from "The Idiom Connection" that helped us out:

An idiom is a combination of words that has a meaning that is different from the meanings of the individual words themselves. It can have a literal meaning in one situation and a different idiomatic meaning in another situation. It is a phrase which does not always follow the normal rules of meaning and grammar.
To sit on the fence can literally mean that one is sitting on a fence.
I sat on the fence and watched the game.
However, the idiomatic meaning of to sit on the fence is that one is not making a clear choice regarding some issue.
The politician sat on the fence and would not give his opinion about the tax issue.

As Gus Portokalos would say, "there you go"

Hittin' the road,