Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Could Survive on Bread Alone

With that said, I would never make it on the Akin's diet.  Never.  I love carbs.  When I had gestational diabetes with Little Miss, it was like a knife to my heart.  It limited every little thing I loved about eating.  Bread. Desserts. Bread. Fruit. Bread.  Okay, you get it.  I love bread. A lot.  And because I love bread a lot, I always have a fresh loaf of french bread in my house. Always.  What do I do with all that french bread you ask?  Well, I slice it up and serve it with the majority of my meals.  One of my favorite ways is Honey Butter Bread.  I'm telling you, cooking (if you can even call it that) has never been so easy. 
  • Slice the loaf of french bread into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Spread a thin layer of butter on each slice.
  • Drizzle honey on each piece of buttered bread.
  • Spread honey evenly on buttered bread.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes.
Told you it was easy!

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This Is the Day That the Lord Has Made

You know the rest...I will rejoice and be glad in it.

That was my mantra yesterday.  Not because I was rejoicing for rejoicing sakes, but just the opposited. I NEEDED to repeat it.   I NEEDED that reminder.  The Terrible Threes hit our house yesterday.  After 2 1/2 hours of straight disciplining, I needed a reminder that no matter how bad things seem to get I have still been given this day to rejoice. 

Later in the day, life got better for me and Little Man, and all the kids had a moment like this...
A nice quiet moment.  A nice moment of calm after a gigantic storm.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Sneak Peek

Although I'm not ready to 'show' my entire house (I'm not sure that day will come), I do have some little things that can be shared....
This is one of my favorite pieces in the house.  It's about 5 feet long and 3 feet tall.  I had not a clue how I wanted to do the living room, but when I saw this piece it gave me some direction.  It has every color that really makes me feel, well....ahhhhhhhh.....

Next up, the front porch.  The bench is small for the actual space, but it's the coolest bench ever.  Super rustic looking and sturdy.  We need sturdy.

If you walk in my front door, you'll find this picture along with a little table...

This next pic has a story.  A story of attempted frugalness and major defeat.   A picture that I absolutely love.  My favorite picture in the house.  It sums up exactly how we are as a family.  It says...
Notice the 'disclaimer' at the bottom.  "...when happiness is actually a choice."  I found that amusing, because happiness is always a choice just not to a 3 year old.  What I did not find amusing was the little scratch on the 'C' at the bottom.  I asked the store if they discounted damaged items.  They didn't. So I put it back, and asked what they did with their damaged products.  "Well, if they don't sell we damage them out and throw them away." Disgusting. Completely disgusting and wasteful.  I purchased my other items and walked out.  Buying a damaged product at full price goes against every grain in my body.  Not my husband's though.  He loved it.  Therefore the whip got cracked and I had to go back and get it.  Now that it's up, I'm glad he was really adamant about getting it.  I love it. Damage and all!

Now for the Master Bedroom & Bath...
As the years goes on, and I do mean years, I'll show a little more.  It will take me that long to get this house put together.  Maybe even decades...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


When I first started this whole couponing thing, the websites that I follow always posted links on ways to get free samples of products.  I thought it was a waste of time.  Having a ton of little bottles here and there would be annoying, right?  Right.  Wait, wrong!  Recently, I started filling out the online forms to get free samples.  Not only do I get mail other than bills cool stuff in the mail, but the free samples often come with high value coupons.

Here's a few things I've received in the last couple of weeks...
See what I mean?  Sometimes, you even get full size products to try, or coupons for a completely free full size item.  Are you convinced yet?  Yes?  Okay, here's a few places to get you started...

Signing up is free and easy.  From this site alone I have received 2 sample packs of Pampers, a full size bottle of Dove Intense Hair Repair, a full size bottle of Pantene Nature Fusion shampoo, and 2 sample packs of Pantene Mr. Right shampoo and conditioners.  Each sample also came with multiple coupons for the product I was trying.

Signing up is also free.  This is where I got coupons for a free full size Mayo with Olive Oil and the Philidelphia Cream Cheese Minis.  I've also received great coupons for Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon, lunch meat, and a few other items I can't quite remember right now.  The children suck out all of my brain cells.  Just a fact.

One last thing...if you are a facebook person, do a search for Mojo Savings.  They post all kinds of daily deals and freebies.  It's a really easy way to be in the know in the coupon world.

Happy Couponing!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


For the most part, I've got it together.  Very organized and scheduled.  I like my routine, and I like being on top of things.  Sometimes, though, I drop the ball.  And when the ball gets dropped, it gets dropped big time.  I've got a perfect case in point.

The elementary school I taught at had a weekly program called Rise and Shine.  It was a time for the entire school to meet in the gym Friday mornings for announcements and rewards.  A time where we celebrated children's successes.  One class would lead the entire assembly and then do a little performance.  Pretty cool.  Pretty cool, if you remember that YOUR class is supposed to lead.  Pretty embarrassing if you don't.  Especially if it's your first year of teaching.  Your very first year.

I was just sitting there in the cafegymatorium (cafeteria/gymnasium/auditorium) wondering why there was not a class up there ready to begin.  It was 8:30 by gosh.  I had things to get started on.  Geez!  What poor planning.  As I was sitting there stewing over the waste of time, the assistant principal walks up to me and asks if it was my week to do Rise and Shine.  "Not this week, Mrs. K.  I've got it next Friday."

She leaves and returns with the master calendar, and there in red ink is my name on the calendar.  Ink that was clearly written with my own hand.  I dropped the ball.  To make matters worse, the entire school knew I dropped the ball.

Thank goodness I worked with such kind and understanding people.  Up until the last year of teaching, several teachers would call to remind me when I had Rise and Shine.  Just in case I wrote it down on my own personal calendar incorrectly.  Those buttheads!  I guess I deserve it though.  I'm just as ornery.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Water Babies

I absolutely love summertime.  I love the sun.  I love wearing less clothes (which means less laundry).  I love pool time.  Turns out the kids do too.  Little Miss likes the water a little too much.  She'll jump right in whether you're watching or not.  She doesn't care if she goes under.  That's the fun of it for her.  Scares me to death.  I have yet to find a water safety device that she's comfortable wearing.

Now Little Man, he's much more cautious.  Always has been (thank the Good Lord).  He loves to swim though.  He's not quite getting the moving his arms with his feet yet, but he can kick around in his floatie ring like Micheal Phelps.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wisp Clips Winner

And the winner is...

Jennifer Lin Paschal

Congrats!  I'll get in touch with you so you can get your loot!

Now, most of you know I'm a real simple person.  I like simple things.  I also like bright colors contrasting with darks.  Naturally, I would make these Bright Flower Wisp Clips for my Little Lady.

Introducing the Bright Flower Wisp Clips
{$2 each}
Happy Clipping!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Buy One, Get One Free Tip

Manufacturer's are really putting out coupons for Buy 1, Get 1 Free.  If you have two of them, it means you get both of your items for free (you'll still pay tax).  Recently, I purchased 7 body washes and 1 deoderant for free all because I matched up 8 Buy 1, Get 1 free coupons.  Registers allow this becuase you have the correct number of items to match up with the correct number of coupons.  Earlier this week I purchsed two Oral B Pulsar toothbrushes.  Each one retailed at Target for $5.49.  I used two Buy 1, Get 1 Free Oral B Pulsar manufacturer coupons.  I got both for free.  Obviously, you have to have two of same coupon to do this.  Here's a way you can get them...
  • Buy multiple Sunday papers.  P&G coupon inserts offer the most Buy 1, Get 1 coupons.  However, they only have inserts in the first Sunday paper of the month.  I always get an extra paper then.
  • Know someone who doesn't coupon?  Ask if you can have their inserts.
  • Go dumpster diving.  No seriously...head over to your local paper only recycle center.  There are quite a few inserts that are just waiting to be taken.
  • If you know someone who has a paper route, ask for the extra Sunday papers.  They'll just go to waste anyway.
I currently have such a stock pile of body washes, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, that I no longer am willing to purchase them unless they are free.  Even then, the extras go to a local charity, because it feels good to give!

Happy Couponing!

Wisp Clips Giveaway still going on...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sweatin' at the Zoo

Last Sunday, the Torres Clan took a little trip to the zoo.  It's times like this that I really, really love all the kids being so close in age.  Little Miss and Chunky Monkey are only two weeks apart, and Little Man is two years older than them.  All the kids are finally at the age where they enjoy seeing the animals, instead of running around like crazy animals.  The favorite part had to be the train ride.  Apparently, there is nothing cooler than cruisin' the zoo at 10 mph.  I was just thankful for the slight breeze and shade the train provided.  It was one hot day.  I guess that's what I get for living in Oklahoma.  Alaska, here I come...

On a little teeny tiny side note, did you see the picture of Chunky Monkey and Little Miss sitting together?Please disregard Little Miss' expression.  She was telling someone off.  That's not what I wanted you to look at though.  I want you to check out Chunky Monkey.  Doesn't he look like he is posing for his Senior Pictures?  So stinkin' adorable!!!

Wisp Clips giveaway still going on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Clean Little Secret

Last week I posted my dirty little secret, so I thought it appropriate to share a clean one.  You wouldn't want to feel nasty after reading this blog would you?  What?!?  You dirty, dirty readers!  Repent and come back in a little bit.

You repented, right?  I guess we can move forward. 

I'm about to share something that will blow your mind.  Ready? Frugalness is genetic.  Yes, I have done the research.  My grandparents are frugal. My mom is frugal.  I am frugal.  There is your scientific proof.  Genetic frugalness goes back further than that, but that's a long story of how my grandfather's father came here from Sweden.  So basically, my frugal ways trace all the way to Sweden.  I would need my own tv show to explain all that.  A tv show I would call "Swedishly Frugal".

Sorry, back to the point at hand.  My mind wonders you know.

About a year ago my mom and her new husband built a home triple the size of their previous one.  Naturally she would need more furniture to fill it up.  Somehow she heard about a place called Brandon's Auction in Tulsa, OK.  They have about two auctions a month.  One for new furniture and one for used items found at estate sales.  Steven and I checked one filled with new furniture on Memorial Day weekend.  We were pleasantly surprised.  There was furniture out the whazoo!  We didn't purchase anything.  We were just there to observe the 'bidding practices'.  I learned a lot, but the best thing I learned was when the time comes to get new leather furniture, I'll spend around $1500 instead of $4000.  I'm talking a couch, loveseat, chair and ottoman for $1500!!!  Who doesn't love that?  Hmmm???

Now a question for you.  If you had a tv show, what would you call it?  AND, you can't take my idea.  One because you're probably not Swedish, and two because it's my awesome idea.  Not yours. 

JUST KIDDING!  My question is...Have you ever been to an auction?

Wisp Clip Giveaway still going until Friday at Midnight. 
Don't forget to enter...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wisp Clips

Little Miss is infamous for ripping out hair clips and throwing them in stores, in the car, or at church.  Basically wherever she is, she likes to throws them.  I used to buy them off Etsy at $5 a pop.  Needless to say it's frustrating to see $5 get chunked.  This led me to start investigating how they are made.

Introducing the Basic Wisp Clips!  These Wisp Clips are very basic, but just perfect for the everyday wear.  Whether you're clipping back baby hair or your little girl's locks, these are sure to not slip out of place.  Now your child ripping it out, that's a different story...

Set of 5 Basic Wisp Clips   

{View of the no-slip foam.  This insures the clip to stay in place.)

If you would like to purchase individual clips, they are $1.50 each.   I will be adding other colors within the week.  I'm still working on the perfect embellishments for my own Little Miss' hair.  As soon as I'm happy with the creation, I'll post those too.

Now for the Giveaway!!!
One reader will receive the above Basic Wisp Clips.  Answer the following question to enter...

Who do you plan on giving the Wisp Clips to?

For additional entries you can...

  • Blog about this giveaway (and tell me about it with a separate comment).

  • Tell your friends about it on Facebook or Tweet it (and tell me about it with a separate comment).
Each item listed above will count as one entry. 
Contest ends Friday at midnight.  Winner will be announced on Monday!
Good Luck!!!

Just in case you don't win, you can order through
Shipping is free until August 1st.

Happy Clipping!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars

Since becoming a stay at home mom, I have a little more time for homemade cooking, or cooking from scratch.  Little by little I'm searching for recipes for items we frequently snack on throughout the week.  One biggie at our house is granola bars.  I've tried out a lot of different recipes, and in the end I've taken bits and pieces from each one and came up with my own.  It's really not hard. You'll have most of ingredients in your pantry.  But, the best part is you'll know exactly what's in your food.  

Homemade Granola Bars

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups Oats
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Wheat Germ (found in cereal aisle)
3/4 Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 whole Egg Beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup Canola Oil
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Mix all dry ingredients together well.
  • Mix all wet ingredients together well.
  • Pour wet ingredients onto dry ingredients.
  • Mix together with your hands.
  • Press into an greased aluminum foil lined 13 x 9 baking dish.
  • Dump in granola mix.
  • Firmly press granola evenly into dish.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes.  Closer to 15 for chewy and 25 for crunchy. 
  • Allow to slightly cool.  Gently cut into granola bar pieces.  A pizza roller works well. 
  • Leave in pan until granola has completely cooled.  If you take it out to early, it will break apart.
  • Serve and enjoy!

{Wet and Dry Ingredients}

{Mixed Granola Pressed Into Pan}

Happy Cooking!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Dirty Little Secret

I have a dirty little secret that must be shared.  When it comes to decorating my home, I have expensive taste.  Who doesn't like Pottery Barn or Hardware Restoration?  They have amazing, amazing stuff.  However, they don't have amazing prices.  I still shop at these places, and even have a few pieces from their stores.  That's only when I find sales.  For all the other stuff, I use their stores as research opportunities. I shop for what I like, and take home a magazine for ideas.  After I find what I like, I dog ear the page and shop at other stores that have good sales and coupons.  Let me introduce you to my secret weapons...

I like Hobby Lobby for many reasons.  They have lots of cool stuff for your home and for kids.  They have great sales every week.  I have learned to never, ever pay full price for an item here.  Case in point, I have a beautiful black wooden circular framed mirror.  It was regularly $89.99.  I knew that they put their mirrors 50% off about every other week.  Makes it easy to wait, and I got a fantastic mirror for a lot less.  Now, if there is limited quantity of an item, I don't sweat it.  Hobby Lobby puts out 40% off a regular priced item in almost every weekly ad.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond is another great one.  They don't have the best sales, but they do put out coupons regularly.  Here's what I just learned this week from a checker...their coupons DON'T expire.  They have expiration dates on them, but they still accept them long after the date.  I was floored.  Do you know how many of their mailer coupons I have thrown away over the years?  At least I know now!  If that wasn't incentive enough for me to shop there, you can sign up for their electronic newletter and receive more coupons.  That's not all folks.  You can use as many coupons as you like in ONE transaction.  Very few stores allow you to do that!  A time saver for sure.

Kirkland's is another great place that has great sales and has electronic coupons.  Just sign up for their newsletter and you'll get info on their current sales along with lots of 40% off coupons.  They have very nice wall art, and decorative items. 

Shopping for your home doesn't have to break your budget.  It just takes some time and patience.  I have realized that it's okay if my walls are blank until I find the perfect piece at the perfect price.  It drives Steven crazy, but in the end he's always happy with the way our home looks.

Happy Couponing!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bike+Moving Ramp+Twins

Most of you know that my hubby is an identical twin.  Super competitive twins to be exact.  If one does something, the other one has to do it too.  Not just do it too, but do it better.  Way better. And then after one out does the other they proceed to yell, "Who's the champ?  I'm the champ!  You da' chump." 

This goes on and on until one of them gets mad and tells the other one to shut up.  It sounds harsh, but 5 minutes later they'll love and hug on each other and it's all over.  I've learned over the past 13 years, that under no circumstances do you get in the middle of it all.  It's just the way it is.

Now that you have been informed of their competitive natures, you will appreciate this story all the more.

 It was Friday night, and Steven and I headed over to the storage unit to load up the moving van.  Steven's brother, Rene, met us there.  Everything was going real smooth until we came to my bike.  Steven decided that he needed to ride it into the van.  It would be easier than carrying it in.  Yeah right!  So Steven pedals it out about 100 yards.  Rene started taunting that he didn't need that much room, and only a weenie would need that much of a start up.  Steven gets a good speed  up and gets the bike up the ramp and into the truck.  He then looks at Rene and tells him to do better, but with a shorter go.  Rene accepts the challenge.  He only goes about 50 yards out, gets pretty good speed, and then WHAM!  Breaks so hard he leaves skid marks in the pavement.  Somebody got a widdle scared.  Now it was time for Steven to taunt.  The whole 'I'm the champ! You da' chump' thing starts up.   There was NO way Rene was about to be outdone, so decides he has to prove Steven wrong.  He pedals it out to the 100 yard mark and makes it in the truck.  They argue over who had better form congratulate each other and then I crack the whip for them to get back to work.  There was only so much time for play, you know.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Heart Walgreens

Well, I survived the move.  In fact, it was a great experience.  Having family around is always fun, but more on that tomorrow...

Today I want to share my best shopping trip ever. 
All of the items shown cost me a whopping $17.36. 
Here's the general breakdown of how I saved...
  • Buy $25 of Gillette or Old Spice Body Washes or Deoderants and get $10 RR.  I purchased 7 body washes and 1 deoderant and used 8 Buy 1, Get 1 Free manufacturer coupons.  (I had multiple coupon inserts from the PG 6/6 inserts.)  All items free, plus $10 in RR which I used on the very next transaction.
  • Then I purchased all the other items.  Destin was on sale Buy 1, Get 1 Half Off. No coupons here :(
  • Tide and Downy were on sale, plus Spend $10 on Tide Stain Remover or Downy Products, Get $3 RR. Used $1 off coupons on each item.
  • Cascade on sale, plus $1 RR  for each one.
  • Dawn had a store coupon for $.99 and I stacked it with a $1 off manufacturer coupon.  Yep, it was free!!!
Overall I saved close to $60, and spent a little more than $17. 

Now, you're probably wondering what on Earth and I going to do with 7 body washes.  To boggle your mind even more, I'll tell you we already had 5 bottles.  I also already had 3 bottles of Dawn.  All those extra supplies keep me from paying full price.  When something is free, I get it.  It means $$$ I won't spend later on.  All the extras are either used over time, or given to family or charities. 

Happy Couponing!!! 

My Maters

I have yet to eat the fruit of my works, but the time is coming soon.  I've got some pretty plump tomatoes that are getting close to turning those beautiful shades of red.  When it came time to move my babies to the house, I was super nervous.  Steven had specific instructions on how to load them in his truck and how fast he could drive.  He did good. The plants survived and are flourishing on my back porch.

By the way, do you think 5 mph was too slow?  Nahhhhhhh!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Moving On

If you're wondering what's going on with Torres Tidbits this week, I can answer that with one word.  MOVING.  We close today, and will move in tomorrow.  If you live in my area, you know that tomorrow is going to be close to 100 degrees, and I will most likely look like the above picture.  You feel sorry for me, don't you?  You don't?  Heartless.  Completely heartless.  I may not survive this, you know.

Check back next week for some updates on my 'other' babies (i.e. my tomato and pepper plants) along with stories and pictures outlining our moving ventures.  Since you know my family is crazy, you know there will be some good stories to tell.  See you next week...well, provided my internet service is up and running...and if I survive the heat...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Third Giveaway=Jewelry!!!

Today giveaway is a chance to win a $25 credit to The Vintage Pearl...which is some very chic jewelry!

A Wrinkle in Your Forehand

Often times when I would assign a fictional picture book to my students, parents would question whether the assignment was too easy.  Fiction picture books are easy, right?  Wellllll, not so much.  I've got some books that will leave a wrinkle in your forehead.  Let me introduce you to my friend, Mr. Chris Van Allsburg.  Okay, okay so he's not my friend.  I only have a writer's crush on him.  Kind of like my cooking crush on The Pioneer Woman.  Please don't turn your computer off now.  I promise I am semi-normal.  Now, back to books...

Chris Van Allsburg.  You know, the guy who is responsible for Jumanji, The Polar Express, and Zathura?  Well, he has a whole slew of books that are just as fabulous, but haven't been made into movies.  Like this one... 
It's about revenge.  Sweet, sweet revenge. 

And this one... 
Want your kids to take care of Mother Earth?

And this one...

Whew!  This one will make you sweat. 
If you can't figure out what the 'stone' represents, call me. 
We'll set up a counseling session. 

But my favorite is this one...

Moment of Silence please...
Okay, this one requires very little reading,  but will have your kid writing.
Uh, yeah.  You read that right.  I said WRITING!
Check it out.  You'll be amazed.

A little closing not get these books for your kids and then hoard them to yourself.  They are very addicting, and will have you thinking.  However, they are intended for your child.  Make sure you share!!!  I am very big on children's rights.

Happy Reading!

(These books are intended for children reading on a 4th or above grade reading level)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Like Pretty Paper

My bloggy friend, Jesse, is hosting giveaways all week.  So be prepared for links to her site!  Today her giveaway is for some to die for stationary/note cards.  If you don't correspond with someone via snail mail, you'll want to now!

If you are a fanatic about blogs, you'll want to spend some time perusing her site.  She has a lot of decorative eye candy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Giveaway at Good Girl Gone Glad!!!

If you live in my area, head on over to Good Girl Gone Glad for an opportunity at a FREE mini photo session!  Yes, I said FREE.  You know I love that word!

Fantabulous Picture Books

No doubt if you have young ones, you have heard of these books.  Each one has a series that goes with it, but these particular ones are my absolute favorite.  The Llama Llama books have great rhythm and rhyme which is perfect for little ones who are listening to books, and even more fantastic for beginning readers.

The Diary Series...Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Fly, Diary of a Spider are also perfect.  You will not get bored reading these to your kids, and you'll walk away with a whole new perspective on worms, flies, and spiders.  I chuckle every single time I read these books.

Next up on Good Reads will be my all time favorite picture books for upper elementary grade readers.  Books that will get you to do some serious thinking.  I mean serious.  Hey, stop laughing.  This is serious!

Happy Reading!