Sakura Sakura

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Monday, January 30, 2012

The first Sakura {cherry blossom} festival of the year happened here this weekend. Absolutely beautiful. They're the first ones to bloom in all of Japan and the US. We went to the festival every year when we were living in DC, so it's even more special now to see the originals while actually experiencing the relationship between our two countries. 

Hope you all had a great weekend! xo

My Island Mimosa

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Friday, January 27, 2012

It's sweet, refreshing & delicious. It was such a gorgeous day yesterday that it called for mimosas, so I made my island version when the girls came over in the morning for bible study & served it with cinnamon rolls.  If it's brutal winter where you are, then all the more reason to make these to remind you that Spring & Summer will be here before we know it. 

It's Friday! I am sooo happy to have Cam home. We've gotten to see each other every day this week during their field op, even if only for 15 minutes.. like last night when I drove out to the site at midnight to sneak a kiss from him.  It makes us more appreciative of every moment we have together. Especially when so many of our friends have hubbies deployed. I'm going to hold onto him extra tight. {Hello, my name is Amanda and I am well aware that I am cheese.}
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Onna Village

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{harvested sugarcane}
{one of our sweet neighbors}
Onna Village is just up the coast from us.  
It's my favorite joy ride route on the scooter with Cam. The narrow road hugs the coastline and is lined with palm trees, plots of farmland and sea foam green buildings and homes. 
Perfect place to let loose on our scooter, Vino. 

We love this neighbor! We see him & his puppy almost every time we come home, and he always waves at us and gives us a big toothless smile that we just can't help but laugh every time.

Vineyard Notes

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


{+}
it's been true since I first introduced Cam & Merlot.
we dream of having our own land, raising kids on it,
working hard together every day  living out a vivid biblical image,
having huge harvest & dinner parties w/ our family and neighbors
& making really good wine.
 it's so fun to share each others dreams.

until the day we can seriously pursue viticulture, we read. and drink. (:
nothing more than that since we're getting to live a different dream of ours right now! 
But for one day & for any other interested wine lovers, here's a peek into our ongoing notes...
this dream of ours feels very personal.
so good on us for blasting it on the internet, right? (;
but really. what is this blog for if not to share with you all & be personal.
and hopefully, one day, we'll get to pour you a glass of our wine in the middle of our sprawling
Colorado vineyard. (:

Nakagusuku Castle

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Monday, January 23, 2012

{I could easily eat that mango sorbet every.day.}

Cam is really so good about making sure we take time to rest. Whether he realizes it or not, he's been teaching me how to since we got married. Otherwise, if it were up to me, we'd be off traipsing around somewhere again. 
{He just put that in his own words, making me laugh out loud}:
"Cam is really lazy and just wants to sit on his butt all day long. If it weren't for me we'd never go anywhere or do anything except watch him morph to the couch and turn into Jabba the Hut."
Haaa.
But seriously. Here's to leisurely visiting a castle, midday wine, and curling up together for the day to rest. 
Happy Monday!

Man Chili

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Friday, January 20, 2012

One of Cam's favorite meals of all-time.
Can't say it's mine.. but that's exactly why I call it my Man Chili!
Not the most appetizing photo I've ever taken, true, but here lies the secret ingredient 
that turns chili into man chili: three different kinds of meat. 
Steak strips, sausage and ground beef.
I once added bacon too, which earned me an extra kiss.

Patrick Tanner & Mikey Wayne, this recipe has your names all over it!
Here's where I sneak in some veggies. Carrots, potato, bell peppers, onion, and fresh cilantro. 
You'll also need beef broth, olive oil, salt, red pepper, kidney & pinto beans.
Cover the bottom of the crockpot with olive oil. I like to then put in the meat so that it cooks thoroughly, drizzle more olive oil on top, add salt {a generous amount!}, add the chopped veggies and beans, pepper, and fresh cilantro.
Pour in the beef broth - as much as you like. I think I usually use 1-2 cups.
And then the most important part...
Red wine! Pour in a good, generous amount. Best part, forever amen.
Cook on low and have a fantastic day sans thought of making dinner later.
Shave fresh parm or my go-to cheese of late - pecorino romano - on top with some fresh cilantro.
Serve with bread and beer.
I've made this a little different each time but Cam & our friends Justin & Andy ate the entire crockpot full in one sitting last night, so... it's time to write it down & share!

Meat-lovers, enjoy!

Ie Island

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

{by far the best Japanese dessert we've had yet  /  fresh guava juice - my fave!!}
There's over 100 islands around Okinawa ~ and every one we've explored so far has been GORGEOUS.
Ie Island is very quiet and rugged, but with a lot to do.
"Winter" months out here mean mostly rain, but that just gave us more reason to spend the first day in the outdoor jacuzzi. The.whole.day. Perfect!!
The 6 mile long island is best explored by bicycle through farmland running right up to the ocean with soft white sand beaches. Apart from the farmers we passed on our bikes, we felt like we were the only ones out there.
We loved Ie Island so much we're planning to go back this Spring and as often as we can. 

More Oki islands:
{there's still so many we want to explore!}


Birthday Getaway

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Three years ago Cam & I started our birthday traditions. 
His wish each year: to do nothing. Haha, really. Relaxing just the two of us.. eating his favorite things, doing as little as possible. 
For mine? I'm nottt quite that easy: my wish is for him to sweep me off my feet and take me on a romantic trip. I'm ridiculous, I know. If you could only hear me chuckling at myself right now! Last year he took me to Key Largo. This year to a beautiful island off of Oki, called Ie Island.
We got back last night; it was such a wonderful, wonderful time together.
I don't for a second deserve my amazing husband and am the most blessed woman in the world to be his wife. He treats me like his very own princess.

{crazy about him.}

Life moves soo fast! And gets better & richer all the time.
Each season that I say, wow, that was the best time of life, the Good Lord does something even grander.
We're not worried about the future, or scared to get older; instead we're just excited to see what He's going to do next.
He is and has been SO good to us this year. Undeservedly and exquisitely. 
We are SO thankful!

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