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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Other Stuff We Do

Monday, August 15, 2011
I saw an article in a magazine once entitled, "Cook Once, Eat Twice".    Last week I took it one step further and ate 3 times from a meal I cooked.     I thought I would share this here since a few people were asking me for the recipes.  

Around here, I use the crock pot alot - especially on the days that I am working.   Throw in crock in the morning, take it out when you get home.     I also like to pair up my crock days with meat that is on sale.   This particular week Publix had Boneless Pork Loin Chops on sale.    I snapped up 2 packages of them (8 chops total) and here's what I did.


Coat the chops w/ a package of Taco Seasoning (I used a package I got from Trader Joes).   Put the chops in the crock.    On top of the chops, throw in a diced onion and a can of green chilies.   Then, pour over that a can of chicken broth.    Cook on low for 6-8 hours.    Your chops should just fall apart (if they don't, give it a little more time).....take two forks and just go at them for a minute or two.   The result should look like a soupy meaty concoction.  

Now you've got your "stuff" and you can roll like this:

MEAL ONE:    Spoon the stuff over a serving of rice and serve with veggies and salad (and a nice piece of bread if you are so inclined)

MEAL TWO:    Scramble up some eggs and when the eggs are about 1/2 way there, throw in some of the stuff and cook it the rest of the way.     This alone is fantastic - If you live in the Bay Area and have ever eaten at La Tapatia, this is like the Machaca they serve there....Mmmmm!!!    However, you can take it a step further and roll it in a tortilla with a sprinkle of cheese and do a breakfast burrito.

MEAL THREE:    Tortilla + the stuff + a sprinkle of cheese + a spoonful of zesty chipotle sour cream....roll it up and enjoy.   On this one, I suggest letting the liquid drain off before using the meat otherwise you have a messy result.

That's it!   Cook once, eat thrice....
Friday, August 5, 2011
Since today is the first day of school for some of our kids here in Middle TN, I thought I might share a little tip that I started (and have continued) since Abby was in Pre-K.  

I think everyone may have their own strategy for overcoming the School Work Monster, you know, the mound of paper, art, writings, spelling tests, etc. that accumulate as the school year progresses.   I will share what works for me...

When Abby comes home with her school bits, I look them over with her....if there is something particularly awesome (a drawing, a story) I tend to scan it, send it off to the kin folk and then post on fridge.   But for the most part, after reviewing an appropriately praising her for her fabulous work - the school bits go in a box like this:

The school bits box - usually resides
on the floor by my desk in the office

At the end of the school year, it's pretty much full.    Then, at some point over the summer (or on the first day of the next school year like me today) you make yourself a strong cup of coffee, sit down and go through the box.    You make two piles....one to keep and one to give to the garbage man.    Yes, I know....it's hard to let go.   But you must....

Now you may be able to do this process on the day your little cherub brings it home.....not me.     I'm too emotional and attached.    I would save everything!    After the school and summer have passed, I'm a little more objective about what to keep and what to throw.    Plus, if I need to go back and look at something from earlier in the year, it's all there in the school bits box.

So - once you have your "keep" pile, you put it in a nice little file like this:

Organized folder of school bits

What am I saving?   I'm looking for a snapshot of what Abby was doing in this school year.   I'm also saving certain pictures and stories that will capture who she is.    At the very front of the folder, I have a thin file folder that contains her report card, school picture, class picture and any special notes from her teacher.   I label the front of the folder with a sharpie - Grade, school, teacher name.

Once my folder is done, it gets put in the closet with the others:

Some day, I can give these to Abby to do with what she pleases....I know for myself, I have a box in the deep recesses of my closet that contains school work from my childhood.    Every once in awhile I pull it out, touch it, read it, laugh, remember.  

So there it is....maybe this will be helpful for you.    Maybe you can take something from this and make your own tip.   Bottom line, stay on top of the School Work Monster.....it will overwhelm and destroy if you let it!!

May your school year be blessed!!
Today was Abby's first day of 3rd grade....you know what that means, right?  By now, you know what these posts are all about....the evolution of the Care Bear backpack!

(L-R Pre-School and Jr. Kindergarten)

(L-R Kindergarten and 1st Grade)

(L-R 2nd grade and 3rd grade)

There was actually a bit of a struggle to get the thing on this morning....it's getting too small!!    

Here's a shot of her with her real backpack...

Our little 3rd grader

Enjoy your day, wherever you are!

Thursday, July 14, 2011
The big hairy prince loves his Chobani!   

Friday, April 22, 2011

If only I could rustle up those pictures that my Mom took of me pitching during my jr/sr high softball games. I had my tongue hanging out Michael Jordan style. So unattractive, I might add - right along with those polyester shorts they had us wear. Coupled with my 80's hair wings, I was a sight to behold. I figured I carry on the tradition - of course I think Abby is alot cuter.

She seems to have "caught" on pretty good to the throwing and catching bit.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Happy Valentines from Club Amaro!

Abby's Class Valentines

Valentines is a reminder to me that all we need is love...!   Ok, well - we need food, water and clothes too.  Of course, human love - as nice as that is - is not perfect love.  It tends to come with a few conditions and imperfections (and depending on the person, it may be more than a few).   We definitely need the love of one another....absolutely!   But there is a greater love.  The love of the Heavenly Father!   His love is unconditional and perfect.   And He gave the greatest Valentine of all...

"For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Note: A shout out to friend, fellow photographer and artist, Julie Prichard whose latest blog motivated me to pull out some on-hand craft supplies, blow the dust off my Sizzix machine and hand make Abby's Valentines again! Check out her series on "Teach Art To Your Children" (v1.2, v1.3)...quite inspiring!   Thanks, Dude!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
It feels like 100 years since I've blogged.

I remember the days when I used to blog all the time...

Times have changed.

Full schedule and all that.

And, I just realized that all those little things I want to say to the world (as if the world cares) I say on Facebook or Twitter.   When I blog, I always feel like I need to give more than 140 character update....something more profound or explanatory or expository.    Of course I know I can always get away with just posting a picture of my precious offspring.


Anyway - I was thinking about a little something I wanted to share.   I've noticed I've started implementing in my household recently.   I thought perhaps it might help someone else.   It's a little thing I call "Set Up For Success".  

Backstory.  I have a problem with mornings....see, I need to get out of bed, curl up in a chair with a cup of coffee (preferably that's been made for me with the right distribution of frothed milk & raw sugar), a warm blanket and my reading and ease into the day.    Ask me how often that happens.   <radio silence>  Apparently, my daughter has inherited this character trait as well.    So if there are things we have to do in the morning that are undesirable and necessary, the odds of it actually happening are about as low as my coffee being delivered to me on a silver platter every morning, properly frothed and sugared.

Undesirable and Necessary.....we all have those items on the checklist, don't we?

So here's how it works....

The "Set Up" ::  for us this happens the night before...but it's the action part, the prep, the "just do it" part.
The "Success" ::  it's the result.   There is success because we've spent time in the setup.   It's actually more like, "a higher likelihood for success".  

Example:   Somebody doesn't like taking a shower in the morning and that's the only time that this person can do it (I'm not naming any names, but it's not me, ok?).
The Set Up:  Bathmat on the floor, shower curtain pulled to the side as if to beckon you in, robe on the doorknob, towel by the shower, shower cap of the day hanging on the tub spout
Success:  Fall out of bed, everything is ready - no setup required to complain about.

Baddah bing, baddah boom.   Shower.

Example:  Somebody likes to procrastinate in going to the gym in the morning.   <Why you lookin' at me like that?>
The Set Up:  Gym clothes at the foot of the bed, water bottle, keys and MP3 player on the counter
Success:  Fall out of bed, get dressed and everything needed is by the door ready to go.  No more "I can't find this or that so I will just stay home"

Badda boom.   Gym.    (Of course, I am still looking for the "Set Up" that will help me not sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes tweeting about how I don't want to go work out.   Suggestions appreciated).

Setting up for success is about having an action plan, but part of it is setting up your mindset.   "I am going to the gym tomorrow because here are my clothes and my water bottle is ready to go, blah, blah, blah". One of my favorite verses from the bible tells me to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).     Our mind and thoughts are POWERFUL things!    Even if you're one taco short of a combo plate, you still have the power to make choices and change your mind about things.

There are lots of other ways I can implement the "Set Up For Success" strategy in my house...for now, it's just something that I've been rocking in beta.

So maybe this gives you - all 2 of my faithful readers that have stuck with me over the last year of flailing blog posts - a little motivation to find an area where you can set yourself up for a higher likelihood of success.

Be blessed!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I can't believe that eight years ago I was giving birth to one of the biggest blessings of my life!! Mike and I have a great kid - and today - turning 8.

In honor of the great eight, I put together a little video of year seven. You can watch the video by clicking HERE.    Or, it could work for you by watching here:

Happy Birthday to my sweet girl...!