Mom and daughter prove that independence and bucking societal norms make for a happy, loving life!

Author: Amie

My Ex-Mother In Law: A Wonderful Lady That I Loved and Respected

In laws are often thought of as annoying, meddling, and not welcoming. Couple that with a divorce, and most people assume that these people will no longer be a part of the lives of the splitting parties. Non-Traditional Ways: Since I’m not typically accustomed to a […]

A Short Video From Madrid!

Here is a short video of our boat ride in Retiro Park as well as footage of us walking through the center of Madrid near Opera, one of our favorite Metro stops.  

Four Day Weekend On A Budget In Madrid

Four Day Weekend: After a month and a half of paperwork, beginning a new job, and getting settled, four days to rejuvenate my spirit is definitely needed.

October 12th (El Dia de la Hispanidad), is a national holiday in Spain. There is a parade, and the Spaniards commemorate the day that Christopher Columbus sailed for the Americas. Scarlett and I didn’t find out about the parade until right before it started, and since I’m not a fan of Christopher Columbus’s history no matter what country I’m currently living in, this was no great loss. However, the museums were free for the day, and since money has been tight these first couple of months in Madrid, I decided to pounce on this amazing opportunity!

Museo Reina Sofia: The Reina Sofia Museum has an abundance of art with themes of surrealism. It houses Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” which was a protest of the Spanish Civil War, and  I was breathless being in the presence of such a great work of art. It was definitely a moment where I was completely in awe at the grandeur of the painting.

I kept saying, “This is a Picasso original!”

There were several people taking photos, but when I attempted to take a picture, I was kindly asked to put my phone away and shown a sign stating that no photos were allowed in that particular room. When Scarlett and I went out of viewing area, she was apparently able to sneak a quick photo. I didn’t realize she had done this, but she whispered the fact that she was able to get a photo after we left the area. I probably shouldn’t be proud of her, but I really am!  We don’t have a complete photo of the painting since her view was blocked by other viewers and museum staff, but I figured this would have to suffice since I didn’t want to get kicked out.

Picasso’s “Monument aux espagnols morts pour la France (Monument to the Spaniards Who Died for France)” was also amazing.  We were also able to see works by Salvador Dali.



We easily spent three hours at the museum and didn’t even realize how long it had been.

The Arzábal Restaurant, located inside the Reina Sofia, is well worth the visit. We ordered a smoked salmon sandwich to share. (It ended up being salmon on toast and not a full sandwich, but it did the job!)  Anytime I have opted to get a quick bite to eat at an art gallery restaurant, I have never been disappointed. Scarlett and I used to eat at the Frist in Nashville as well and always enjoyed it.


The Prado Museum: Our next stop was the Prado Museum since entrance was also free on October 12th. The Prado Museum is home to neoclassical works featuring several different depictions of Christ and the Virgin Mary.  The detailed images of the beheading of John the Baptist, purgatory, sin, and grace kept us fairly busy up until closing time. Some of the art was fairly disturbing, but incredible at the same time. The opportunity to see the works of Rembrandt escaped me since time got away and the museum was closing, but I will have to find the exhibit during our next visit.

Museo de San Isidro: The Museum of San Isidro is an archaeological museum that is a five minute walk from our apartment, and it has free admission every day.

When you first walk in, you see several different fossils of different animals, and teeth of human remains. It was very interesting to me that the basic necessities for human life during the “caveman” days in Spain weren’t different than those I have seen depicted in several different museums in the United States. There didn’t seem to be many differences in culture during this time period. Survival was universal. This isn’t that important an observation I suppose, but nonetheless, I wanted to wrap my head around the simplicity of it.

One of my favorite exhibits at this museum was one of a well. There is a story of a baby that falls into a well and the parents prayed for him to be returned. He was found in the risen water splashing around and playing.

Since we visited this museum last weekend, we didn’t go yesterday. The Reina Sofia and Prado Museum took up most of our day, and we spent about eight hours total between the two museums. We still have two floors to explore at the Reina Sofia on our next trip since we weren’t able to get those. Racing through each exhibit wasn’t really an option for us. What would be the point of that?

I’m thrilled that we were finally able to experience some of the culture that Madrid is known for, and the fact that we were able to get in free makes it even better!




I am Exhausted – Getting Used to My New Teaching Role

As you may have guessed, these past two weeks have been incredibly busy as I have been getting acclimated into my new role as a Language Assistant/English Teacher here in Madrid. School Hours: In Madrid, the children begin school in September, but they don’t have […]

3 Weeks In Madrid! Apartment Hunts, School and More!

Finding Our Apartment: I have been promising a blog with the details about our apartment hunt, and here it is. Apparently finding an apartment in Madrid is very similar to finding an apartment while living in New York City. While I have personally never lived in […]

Visit to Buen Retiro Park and Mercado San Miguel

Here is a video of our recent visit to Retiro Park and the San Miguel Market in Madrid. We decided to venture out a bit more on this Saturday afternoon.

The weather was wonderful, and everything was free! Let me correct that. Everything was free except for the the four macarons we purchased from the market. 😉


What Have I Done???

Things are fine now, but they weren’t so fabulous the first day and evening in Madrid. It is amazing how a few hours of decent sleep, a full stomach, and chocolate can make a world of difference! The Flight: The flight wasn’t bad since they had […]

Holy Cow! We Are Flying to Madrid!

After all of the planning, packing, and stress, the day is finally here! We are flying to Madrid! Savings: I purchased our airline tickets a couple of months ago, and chose to fly out of Atlanta instead of Nashville since I ended up saving well […]

Organized Chaos Is Still Chaos! Packing For Our Move to Europe

As exciting as it may sound to just “go for it” and make the move overseas, it is honestly very nerve-wracking as well. I have to be cleared out my apartment next week, and to be honest, I am freaking out just a bit. I am trying to keep my composure as much as possible, but I would be lying if I said it isn’t stressful.

Although we have been packing almost daily, I still know that there is so much we have to accomplish. My daughter and I are doing the packing all by our lonesome for our move overseas. Yep, you heard that correctly.

Give Away: If you are moving overseas, you will need to decide what you want to give away, keep, sell, or store. We have given away at least five bags of clothes and additional items to Goodwill, and we are continuing to go through items that we want to give away. Where did all of this stuff come from? Holy cow!

I have sold a few things, but have opted to give most of it away either to Goodwill or to those who have shown interest. I gave my wine rack to my oldest son, 21, who recently moved in with roommates. I am giving my washer and dryer set and my couch and love seat to my ex-husband since he was in the market for something different anyway.

Storage: I have a storage unit reserved for the items I am keeping. This includes my king sized bed and mattress, TV,  and other items of furniture that would be more difficult to replace. Most of the items I am keeping are DVD’s, photos, frames, paintings, collectibles, and mementos. Again, things that I consider irreplaceable. We all have those items that are important to us, and my photos of the children, theater and opera photos, etc. are mine. I have contacted my insurance company to switch my current renter policy to a storage unit policy. (This was a much better deal with more coverage than the storage company was offering.)

Plastic Containers vs. Cardboard Boxes: I am using both plastic containers and cardboard boxes. For items such as photo prints without frames, I replaced the cardboard box with a plastic container. We also opted to put my daughter’s Monster High dolls into a plastic container, and will cover the doll house with a plastic cover in the storage unit. We chose to keep these items because this is something she collects. She doesn’t really “play” with them, and has kept them in very good condition throughout the years. The plastic containers are pricier, but more durable. However, Uhaul’s cardboard boxes have a ten-year use pending no water damage, etc.

Saving Space: The Magic Bags have been a lifesaver so far, and you can purchase these at Wal-Mart or Target. Not only do they save space, but they are supposed to help keep dust and insects out of items you are storing. Since I am using a storage unit, I figured this would be an ideal option. I plan to use these for packing our luggage as well.

Finishing Up: This week and next week we are going to be finishing everything up. I often have the best intentions to have everything finished by a certain point, but find that when I have a strict timeline to accomplish the packing, I get it done. I have moved several different times, and it has usually consisted of me jumping through hoops to accomplish the impossible the last two weeks. Yes, I am at that point!

I can say that I am “slightly” more ahead of the game this time though. Since I am still working my current job during the day, I have been taking a few hours each evening to accomplish a bit more. If I get even two boxes packed a night, I am ahead of the game!

My best advice for packing would be to just do it. I know that sounds ridiculously simple, but even after reading about “how to organize my move,” and several other organizational articles, I have found that I have to do it my way. I do recommend labeling each box with the contents immediately after taping it up. This serves two purposes: You won’t store breakables underneath heavier items by accident, and you will also have easier access when you are ready to open the boxes again.

No matter how stressed you are regarding a move, just know that things will get done. Just take it one day at a time, and remember to take of yourself in the process.







We Got Our Visas! (A Step By Step Guide to the Visa Application Process)

After receiving the news that I was accepted as a language assistant in Madrid, I knew that both my daughter and I would have to apply for visas. Thinking that this would be about as painless as obtaining a United States Passport, I soon realized […]