Friday, February 27, 2009

Bringing Bristol Home

My sister Nancy and her husband David have two wonderful children, my niece Camille and nephew Austin and are about to welcome two more into their home. They are adopting siblings from Ethiopia! I think that is too cool and can't wait to meet my new niece(s) and/or nephew(s)! (they are going to be between the ages of 0-3 years). They told us about a month ago but I haven't blogged about it yet and an email I received today reminded me I needed to!
(below is a pic of me and all my current nieces and nephews)
I received an email from a family I love to death, Courtney and Joey Lankford. Joey's father, Monty, ran for Congress and I worked for him so had the privilege of getting to know all of his wonderful family. Joey and Courtney ironically enough, are also adopting and from Ethiopia! Adopting is very expensive (I believe the average is $20,000-$30,000)! So to help with the costs, Courtney and Joey are selling the cutest shirts: Bringing Bristol Home (They already have three children: Briley, Braxton and Barron...see a pattern here?)!

The shirts are an outline of Africa with a heart where Ethiopia is located. They also have the verse from Matthew 18:5 "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."

Here is the email Courtney sent out:
Hello Everyone,

As many of you know Joey and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. This journey has been amazing so far! We expect our referral sometime late summer/ early fall and to travel to meet her and bring her home hopefully by the end of the year.

We have had really cool t shirts made to help us raise some money! We are selling them for $20. The sizes range from xs to 2xl. A picture of the shirts is attached – so check it out! Please consider buying one or two or…!!!

Thanks for helping us bring Bristol home…

You can keep up with our journey by following the blog link below my name!
Oh, and please forward this to anyone you think may be interested.

Thanks for your help!
courtney lankford

I am definitely going to order one to support their efforts and if any of you have a special place in your heart for adopting, I encourage you to order one too! And I'm going to tell my sister she needs to create one for the two she will be bringing home! I know Franklin and Columbia, TN may not be the most diverse area in the world to grow up so I am so excited that my new niece(s) and,or nephew(s) will have Bristol nearby that "looks" like them and shares the same home country. And who knows, maybe they can have play dates with Zahara Jolie-Pitt too! :)

Here are some statistics about Ethiopia and why many like the French's and Lankford's are looking there to adopt:

  • One in ten children die before their first birthday
  • One in six children die before their fifth birthday
  • 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old
  • 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
  • The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years
  • 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)
  • 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia.
  • Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa
  • In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)
  • Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)
  • Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.
  • Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002.
  • Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.
And perhaps more important reasons:
  • Children are a Heritage of the Lord. Psalms 127:3
  • Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress... James 1:27
  • For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me... Matthew 25:35
  • If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18

Please join me in helping "Bring Bristol Home" and get a cute shirt too!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Putting a little spice in my marriage...literally!

One thing Josh Brown did not do on December 31st was marry a cook. We literally eat out so much we get sick of having to think of places to go.

But tonight, Josh may be the happiest husband in the world and I may be the happiest wife. How did I not know about Dinner A'fare and Super Supper until recently? The address and phone numbers to those places should be handed out to new brides before the ink on the marriage certificate is dry.

So after nearly two months of feeling like a loser wife when Josh walked in the door from work to find an empty kitchen table, I finally I ordered 3 Super Supper meals online last night and drove to pick them up this afternoon. Then I get there and they also have a grab and go freezer so I ended up getting a few more meals and side dishes. They are in aluminum tin pans or in Ziplock bags and everything is already mixed up - spices and all!

It was so much easier than going to the grocery store which I HATE. I honestly would rather work in the office of Senator Al Fraken than push a grocery cart down the aisle at Kroger. Not sure why I hate grocery stores so much. Maybe it's because I've always hated my natural curly hair and my sisters told me that the grocery store was out of the straight hair seeds the day I was born so my parents had to buy the curly headed seeds to plant on my head. Whatever the reason, walking in and out of Super Suppers with all my food already neatly put together in a box was like an ocean breeze to the face, rain on a tin roof or receiving a pair of diamond earrings just because. OK, maybe not that wonderful but close.

So tonight we had chicken bow tie pasta and yummy garlic bread AND I even baked (I guess you can call it that) a chocolate pecan pie! There is some heating of the oven, stovetop, and stirring of ingredients so I'm calling it cooking. In addition to being yummy, I think we'll be able to save money doing this instead of eating out. Plus it was so nice to have a meal in our own kitchen!

The picture above is of some of my "goodies". New Orleans Meatloaf, Moroccan Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, Parmesan Chicken with Creamy Sage Sauce, Caesar Penne Pasta, Oven Roasted Potatoes and More! Josh finds it strange for me to take these pictures but I really think it adds depth and legitimacy to the blog. haaa!

BEFOREAFTER - with Purity Vanilla Bean ice cream! SOOOO good!

We also had two wines tonight. One we picked up in Paris while we were there last weekend and it was on the kitchen table so we opened it. Then Josh remembered a dessert wine he had picked up in a village in France that needed to be opened before it was too old. So in addition to our Paris, TN Cabernet we enjoyed a 2004 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. So we ate, drank and were merry tonight. I know Josh has probably wished I was more like Martha Stewart or Paula Dean who loved being in the kitchen and had wonderful culinary skills. But tonight I was able to pretend I did. And as long as males can't seem to figure out how to put the toilet seat down (which requires NO skill whatsoever), I am not going to sweat not being able to whip up a tea-smoked duck breast with roasted peaches and walnut-parsley fried rice. And who needs to when you have Super Suppers?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Need a Vacation?

In my unemployed state, I just signed up for this service to try to rent this out more myself (the rental company charges so much when they rent it out so I thought I'd give this website a shot to save money). A penny saved is a penny least that's what I'm telling myself! :)But you do have to pay to become a member of this service and I talked Josh into letting me try it so I need to get a few rentals to show him it was a good idea!

If you are interested or know anyone who might be, let me know! Special discount for all my blog readers!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

So I woke up to a beautiful arrangement of roses and other pretty flowers along with a sweet card and tickets to the New Kids On the Block concert! I'm supposed to cook dinner tonight but still haven't gone to the grocery yet and have no idea what I'm going to buy once I get there. My pots and pans are still at my old house too. Ugh. A Papa Johns heart shaped pizza sounds awesome right about now.

Monday, February 09, 2009

"You should do something you've never done before." - Keith, manager at Sperry's

At the Hermitage Saturday night

Another great week/weekend with family and Friends! Thursday night I met great friends and women from the Williamson County Republican party for dinner at Sperry's. Friday night, Josh and I ate dinner with his parents at Sperry's. Saturday night, we had a wedding and the reception was at the Hermitage like ours. It was so much less stressful not being the bride this time! Then on Sunday, we had a Girl's Night Out to the movies, then dinner at yes, Sperry's. We went and saw He's Just Not that Into You and I thought it was HILARIOUS!! We've all been "that girl" before and it was just funny to see it played out on screen. And I am soooo thankful I don't have to date anymore!

Another interesting event: Thursday afternoon, before dinner with the GOP women, I had a facial and what is called a gua sha massage. I had so many knots in my back and neck that just weren't getting better and it was really painful. My massage lady suggested gua sha and I had read in magazines about Gweneth Paltrow being a fan of "cupping" which is pretty much the same concept. So I figured if it was good enough for Gwen, I'd give it a shot too. :)

Gua sha is basically repeated pressured strokes over skin with a smooth edge - a spoon in my case. The spoon is pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles. This creates bruises once the toxins from the muscles rise to the surface. I must have had lots of toxins in my muscles because this is what I looked like when I got home Thursday night. But I promise, I felt almost immediate relief from the pain I had been having after the massage! I did have to wear a shaw to the wedding Saturday night so people didn't think Josh was beating me! :)

I also found the neatest new product at the spa (I go to Serendipity in downtown Franklin). They have these 3 in 1 candles that are perfect for the winter months (Amy, if you read this, Surprise! - you've got one for your birthday!) They are called Suntouched 3-1 candles and are candles, massage oil and body moisturizers all in one. So you light them while you are in the bath, then when you get out, you have the warm liquid at the bottom of the wick that you use as lotion. It smells terrific and feels so good on cold nights! I highly recommend!

And finally, to explain the title of this posting...
As you can probably tell, Josh and I eat out quite a bit. And not sure why, but Sperry's in Cool Springs receives the majority of our business. So Sunday night, I'm there with my girlfriends and the manager comes up to chat and check on us and mentions Valentine's Day and how busy it will be for them that night. I told him I wasn't even sure what Josh and I were going to do for Valentine's but since we were already at Sperry's so often, I doubted we'd have our Valentine's dinner there. To which he replied, "I don't blame you. You should do something different you've never done maybe cook."

Ah yes...cook. Talk about making a new wife feel guilty. But I am taking him up on his challenge! I think it will be fun to stay in and eat at home for once. I have cooked a bit for Josh but mostly just spaghetti, chili and even Hamburger Helper. :) But I want to do something special for Valentine's and so now I need something new to make. So if anyone has any good recipes or ideas, send them my way!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Oh Happy Day!