Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Family Tradition

For a few generations my mom's side of the family has always welcomed a new baby with a basic quilt made by the family.  Each woman is mailed a piece of muslin with a pattern and embroidery thread.  Then they back stitch the pattern and mail it back to my grandma.  She pieces them together.  This year my mom had the honor of helping her.  I hope one day to have the honor of helping my mom when Little Man, Little Miss, and Littlest Man have their own children.

For many reasons, Littlest Man's quilt took a bit longer.  I like to call it the 'Third Child Prevention'.  Life just gets busy and getting out of the house to pick out the thread and fabric takes time.  I think I was 8 months preggo when my mom and I finally started shopping.  It's a complete miracle that Littlest Man's quilt was finished this past week.

 The finished product.  Soft, cuddly, and made with lots of love.  

Below is and example of the embroidery.  It's nothing complicated, but each square has a special purpose.  The woman who made it puts her initials on the square.  The one pictured, cousin's wife did.  She always does a beautiful job, even though she's rockin' four girls at home!

A special thanks to all the women who took time to make Littlest Man's blanket so special.  We love the finished product!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Classic Croque Monsieur

Who doesn't like a ham and cheese sandwich? Okay, I know one.  Steven.  He is NOT a ham person.  I don't know how we ended up together because I love ham.  Love it like a fat kid loves cake.  Even though Mr. doesn't like ham, I took my chances on this sandwich because it has a French name.  Steven loves to pretend he can speak French so as long I told him the name he would be distracted.  Distracted by pretending to be French and saying, Croque Monsieur over and over and over again.

Thankfully, my plan worked.  I told him the name, but didn't tell him what was in it.  I think the conversation went like this...

Phone rings

Me: "Hello."

Steven:  "Hey Babe.  I was wondering what's for dinner?"

Me:  "It's a new recipe.  A French sandwich called Croque Monsieur."

Steven:  "Ohhh, Croque Monsieur...I like it."

See how my master plan worked.  It was pretty simple.'s a great tool when distracting my husband. Heck, you should see him when the Target commercial comes on. You know, the one where the people jump out of the hot air balloon? He loves that one.  You know why?  Yep, you guessed it.  It's a French song.

Enough of my husband's fetish with trying to speak French, here's the deets on the way I did the sandwich...

Croque Monsieur

8 Slices of French bread
2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard (or dijon)
1 Tbsp mayo
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 ham
4 slices Provolone cheese

  • Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Melt butter in 9x13 dish.
  • Mix mustard and mayo together.  Spread on each slice of bread.
  • Slap on the ham and cheese and build the sandwich.
  • In a shallow dish (I used a pie pan), wisk eggs and milk together.
  • Using tongs dip each sandwich, on both sides, in the egg mixture.  Allow the bread to soak up the liquid.
  • Place in melted butter, and bake for 5 minutes on each side or until bread becomes golden brown.
This really was a nice surprise.  Warm, delicious, and easy to make.  Plus, it's French!  An added bonus at the Torres house.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

THE Menu (Finally)

Yikes!  The days go by so fast.  I think I need a time machine so I can go back to each day and finish off those last little tasks I just don't get to.

Here's our menu for the week.  A few new recipes we are trying out thanks to a new cooking magazine from my mama.  I'll be sure to share what's good.  I can definitely say Monday's sandwich is a great twist on a classic ham and cheese.  The link is not the recipe I used, but you'll get the gist.  I'll share what I did tomorrow (fingers crossed).

Monday-Classic Croque Monsieur, Salad, Fresh Strawberries
Tuesday-Chicken Tacos with Mexi-rice and Corn
Wednesday-Honey Balsamic Salmon with Steamed Veggies and Brown Rice
Thursday-Chicken and Roasted Red Potatoes, Buttered Bread, Asparagus
Friday-Monterey Chicken, Green Beans, Cheesy Biscuits, Fruit Salad
Saturday-Homemade Pizza with Veggies and Dip
Sunday-Dinner out or dinner @ mom's

Monday, March 26, 2012


A little hiccup this week.  No Menu Monday.  How about a Menu Tuesday? We had way too much fun as a family this weekend.  See you tomorrow!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Garlic Tip of the Day

I may be sharing information that the vast majority of you know, but it was news to me.  I have often complained that I can't stand the stench of garlic on my fingers after I've minced a few cloves.  For some strange reason I was talking about it with some of my friends I volunteer with at church.  Those lovely gals let me in on a little secret that I'm going to share with you today.  Are you ready???

After mincing your garlic cloves and realizing your fingers are stinky all you have to do is wash them with dish soap and rub them on something that is stainless steel (like your flatware), and VOILA!  No more stinky fingers.

There you have it folks.  The best information you will receive all day.  I know, you're welcome!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Good Rotten Mama

It's Spring Break. A rainy Spring Break for our area.  I have enjoyed the rain, but it's left some little guys inside more than they are used to.  It's hard on them.  It produces undesirable behaviors.  It produces slight bickering (which is new to me).

Despite my efforts to plan fun activities, we've only done them two out of four days I had planned.  The reason for distracting me from carrying out our activities comes in a form of one little baby who has decided he only wants to be held while he sleeps.  Thankfully he's only decided to do that two days, but it made for two days of  a no good rotten mama.

During those two nights I laid in bed and cried to Steven about how I felt.  Since Littlest Man took up so much of my time, the older two took advantage of my lack of attention.  They bickered.  I nagged.  They jumped on the couch.  I nagged. They got entirely too loud.  I nagged.  They tried to have fun together.  I nagged.  I was way too short tempered.  I was way too annoyed.  I was way too rotten.

I wasn't their fun mom.  I wasn't their cuddly mom.  I wasn't there patient mom.  I wasn't a whole lot of things to them for those two days.  Balancing my time between the kids has to be the hardest part of having three kids.  I want to be everything to them all the time and not the nagging mom.  I want to find a happy medium between giving them the attention they need and the guidance they crave, but with a newborn that attention and guidance gets diverted a bit. I know this time will pass, but feeling like I haven't been the mom I desire to be for them.  Thank goodness for grace, because on some days I need a whole lot of it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thirty Something


I remember being in my elementary and middle school years and thinking thirty was old.  I would even see previews for the show Thirty Something and wonder why anyone would want to watch a show about middle aged people.  How depressing.  Somehow I suspect I would really enjoy the show now.  Even more depressing.

Anyway, being thirty something isn't so bad.  In fact I really enjoy my thirty somethings.  I have a pretty good set-up over here.  Great husband, beautiful home, good kids, fun part time teaching gig (gymnastics), and cool church, but it's really our wonderful friends I'd like to talk about today.

We have two sets of friends that we go to dinner with.  One set Steven and I have known the wife since high school and the other set we met when the wife became our babysitter to Little Man and Little Miss when I was working.  I'm not disclosing their names on here because I'm going to tell a story of one of date nights with both couples that makes me chuckle every single time I think of it.

About a year ago, Steven and I convinced both couples to try a new restaurant in a popular area of our city.  Steven and I had been there before and the food was really good and the atmosphere was quaint.  We decided to all meet there around 6 without kids so we could enjoy an evening out.

Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't live up to our memory, but we weren't going to let that spoil our kid free evening.  We decided to try the coffee shop two doors down where one of the couples knew the owner.

As we stepped inside it was packed out, but it was very apparent we did not fit in with this crowd.  It was one of those young hip, earthy type coffee shops where environmentally sound individuals sit and discuss saving trees and recycling.  Not for thirty somethings like us.

I believe the live music up front consisted of a small group of women and men who may or may not have arrived with shoes.  Nonetheless, not one musician was sporting any.  It was also very apparent that we were the only couples who seemed to mind that people were just hanging out with no shoes in a place where beverages were being served. Call me old fashioned, but I like the "No Shoes, No Shirts, No Service" saying.

Even with the earthy crowd and  non-shoe wearing musicians, Steven and one of the other guys were determined to get some coffee.  One of the other guys hates coffee, but he was peer pressured into ordering some.

Now I'm not a strong coffee type of girl.  I'm more of a foo-foo drink girl.  The kind of girl who likes a little bit of coffee with my creamer.  I should have ordered our friend's coffee.  Not the 'I like my coffee like I like my women (black and strong)' boys.  They ordered him up the strongest coffee.  They are mean.

After our friend had been slowing sipping on his coffee, Steven ventured to ask how he liked it.  I believe our friend's exact words were, "It taste like a$$."  Then he told us of a story where he went to breakfast with his co-workers.

Our friend is an engineer and is the youngest guy in his group of co-workers.  When they went to breakfast our friend, not liking coffee, ordered a chocolate milk.  After placing his order he went to the restroom.  When he came back his found his chocolate milk had been a sippy cup.  After he got up to use the restroom, his co-workers asked the waitress to bring his milk out in a kid's cup.  Too funny!

And that my friends was all it took to get me laughing.  It still makes me laugh.  It all goes to show that we are not as young and hip as we would like to think we are.  We're just a group of thirty somethings who enjoy our time together whether we like where were at, whether we fit in, or whether we like coffee or not.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sight Words

Thanks to Little Man's awesome Pre-K teacher, he has mastered all of his letters and their sounds.  I am forever appreciative of her because he did not want to learn from me despite my many attempts over the previous summer.

Regardless of my failure, I talked with his teacher to ask if he was ready for some basic sight words.  This is super new territory for me.  Over my seven years of teaching fourth grade, I only had 4 students who were not able to read.  Thankfully, I wasn't solely responsible for teaching them emergent reading skills.  I partnered with another resource teacher to guide me along in aiding them.  However, teaching a 10 year old to read is a lot different than teaching a 5 year old to read.  Their interests are just a tad bit different, but when I saw this "Parking Lot Sight Word" activity on Pinterest, I knew I had found the golden key.

This week while Little Man is off school, we began our start on the Dolch Sight Word List.  Since this activity involved cars, he was very motivated to do it.  I was so relieved.  Here's our start to list #1...

Some of the words he is able to sound out in order to decode the word and others he's having to remember by sight since he doesn't know blends or the many sounds of vowels controlled by other letters.  I guess that's why they call them sight words for the younger ones ;)

So far Little Man is doing excellent with the 12 words we started with.  While I'm calling out the word for him to park on, I also use it in a sentence.  I mainly do this so he knows the letter "I" and the letter "a" are actually words as well and not just letters.  That confused him when we first began.  After he has List #1 mastered on the parking lot, I hope to move him to flash cards.  We'll see if my plan goes accordingly.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Menu Monday

It's Spring Break!!!  In the old days, and by old days I mean before kids, Steven and I would jet off to some romantic destination for the week.  Man, things change after kids.  Now I'm planning a week full of kid friendly activities.  Some educational, some fun, and some silly.  Yes, things have changed.

One reality of our non-jet setting life is cooking.  I will be cooking my own meals this week...and making my own bed...and cleaning my own room.  GEEZ!  Such hardships, you know?

Monday-Italian Sausage Spaghetti, Cheesy Bread, Salad
Tuesday-BBQ Drumsticks, Trees and Raisins, and Buttered Bread
Wednesday-Hot Dogs, Veggies with Dip, Fruit Salad
Thursday-Breakfast for Dinner...Sausage Muffins and Cinnamon Toast
Friday-Sloppy Joes and Tater Tots
Saturday-Lemon Grilled Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Green Beans
Sunday-Dinner @ Mom's

Since you know my exciting non-exotic plans for Spring Break, tell me yours.  I like to live vicariously through other peoples' adventures.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Missed a Few

Did you know there was a Wednesday and Thursday this week?  I guess I didn't.  Actually, I did.  I just didn't have anything to say in written form.  That's a cop out.  I had plenty to say, but the weather got me.  It was way too much fun hanging outside with the kids.  I think my laptop felt a bit neglected because she was quite testy when I blew off the dust and booted her up.  She'll get over it.

Yesterday was a big day at the Casa de Torres.  It was an anniversary at our house.  Yes, some time ago in a land not so far away I convinced Steven to let me walk down an aisle in a white dress while he stood down at an altar.  We exchanged some mushy gushy vows and started our married life together.  We have been married this long...

2(5 x 2) - X = 11

You didn't think I'd just tell you how long we'd been married, did you?

Okay, so I realize basic Algebra can throw any non-Math person for a loop, so here's an easier one...

(3 x 5) - 6 = ?

Is that better???

If not, try this one...

5 + 4 = ?

Surely you know by now!  Yes, we've been married for nine wonderful years.  I'm sure glad I conned this man into marrying such a basket case... 

{Steven with his youngest son}

 He's given me many years of happiness and three precious kids.  Steven, if you're reading this, you make me happy.  I love you!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time Savers for the Kitchen

With the days longer and light showing its face more, I really don't want to be in the kitchen.  I want to be outside playing with the kids.  In order to satisfy my desire to soak in the sun, I've paired together a few recipes that will save me (and you) time in the kitchen.

PW's Pizza Dough makes enough for two meals.  Here's a really easy way to make two separate meals from one days work...

Meal #1: Homemade Pizza and Salad
Meal #2: Baked Club Pinwheels, Veggies with Dip, and Fresh Fruit Salad

Prepping It All: 

  • Make dough at least an hour before you start or a few days before.
  • Prepare salad.
  • Slice up veggies for pizza toppings and Meal #2 (i.e. peppers, cucumbers, celery, carrots, etc).
  • Split the dough into two equal balls.  Roll them both out on a floured surface.  

Meal #1:
Prepare one rolled out crust for your pizza.  Bake.

Meal #2:
While you're waiting for your pizza to bake, you can easily prepare your next night's meal.  Take the other half of the rolled out dough and prepare the Baked Club Pinwheels according to directions, but don't bake.  Once you have the dough layered up and rolled, give the dough a good coat of olive oil to keep the dough from drying out.  Wrap entire roll in waxed paper and store in the fridge for the following evening.  Also store your cut up veggies in an air tight container.  BAM!  You have your following day's meal all ready to go.  All you have to do is heat the oven and bake.

By the time you're done preparing Meal #2 and cleaned up your mess, the pizza is ready to come out of the oven.  From start to finish this takes me only 35 minutes to prepare two meals.  They may not be the fanciest of meals, but they are good and much better than take out.  After all, take out could take 35 minutes by the time you drive there, order, get home, and plate it up.  Plus that would only be for one meal.  This way you get two!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Monday

Life feels normal.  At least during the day.  We actually did quite a bit of yard work this weekend.  Moving plants and shrubs around.  Adding depth and height to what we currently had in the flower beds.  Steven did a great job digging up multiple shrubs and replanting them.  He's definitely a man who's not afraid of getting his hands dirty and working hard.  Even after moving eight plants/shrubs and planting four more shrubs for me, he raked the entire yard to rid it of the dead grass and overseeded the yard.  See what I mean?  He works hard.  I  just direct the work.  Yes, I've got it pretty good over here.

So good I think I'll cook this man some meals this week.  Here's what he'll be getting...

Monday-Poor Man's Beef Stroganoff, Crescents, Seasoned Green Beans
Tuesday-Spicy Thai Noodles, Curry Chicken, Szechuan Aspargus
Wednesday-Easy Crock Pot Tortilla Soup with Salad
Thursday-Pork Ribs, Anger Management Twice Baked Potatoes, Corn on the Cob
Friday-Dinner out with Jackie (Pizza for the Kids)
Saturday-Baked Club Pinwheels, Fresh Veggies with Dip, and Fruit Salad
Sunday-Dinner at Mom's

Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm So Thankful

Littlest Man on 6 out of 7 nights sleeps well.  I'm so thankful for those nights.  Last night was one of his wake every two hours night.  It's to be expected, but it doesn't make it any easier getting yourself out of bed to feed and rock.

After one of his feedings, I burped and rocked my precious baby, laid him down in his bed, and went to bed myself.  Thirty minutes later I hear him crying.

I was about to go back in his room when Steven got up to get him.  I was so thankful.  He knew I was tired.  He's a good help.  I couldn't ask for more.  He was willing to sacrifice his sleep even though he went to bed well after his normal bedtime and be up well before his normal wake time.  He was willing to rock and cuddle his baby boy even though he had an early morning presentation and a busy work day that would require him to be not only awake, but alert. I'm so thankful for him.  His sacrifice allowed me to function with minimal circles under my eyes.

On second thought, maybe he did this selfishly.  I bet he's tired of looking at me so ragged and tired.  I bet he misses his wife's old face.  The one that looks refreshed and non-baggy.  Yep, I bet that's it!  Regardless of his motives he's still an awesome dad!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

An Epiphany

Steven and I love Layered Zucchini Parmesan
{photo via Handle the Heat}

It's super delicious and fairly healthy.  What I don't love is the prep in making it.  Not that the steps are super involved, but it ranks right up there with unloading the dishwasher.  It's TEDIOUS!  Cutting all those little discs of zucchini and then individually coating and dipping them in bread crumbs.  Then baking those little discs and flipping each one over one by one by one by one by one by one...okay you get it. 

So with all that said, I was trying to psych myself up for preparing this yummy dish the other night. I did jumping jacks.  A few laps around the island in the kitchen, and that's when it came to me.  

Why on God's green Earth do I have to cut all these little discs?  Why can't I cut the zucchini in slices lengthwise?

This moment of clarity has rocked my world and cut out a good 20 minutes of my prep time.  It was a real epiphany on my part.  I'm so thankful.  Now I can make this dish even more frequently.  I may just put in on my menu every week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It Happened

One day last week it happened.  I got older.  I'm still in my young 30's, but with each year that passes I know I'm creeping dangerously close to the mid-30's.  YIKES!  I don't feel my age, and I hope I never do.  I hope I always have the mindset that I'm in my 20's.

I have another bloggy friend that celebrated her 32nd birthday by remembering thirty-two things she is thankful for during this time in her life.  I really liked that idea so I'm stealing it.

Here are thirty-two things I'm thankful for since I'm 32 this year...

  1. My God
  2. My church
  3. My marriage
  4. Little Man
  5. Little Miss
  6. Littlest Man
  7. A beautiful home with each room filled
  8. The ability to exercise
  9. Sleep at night that lasts longer than 3 hours
  10. Naps...good restful naps
  11. Sleeping on my stomach or back
  12. Cookies straight out of the oven
  13. A sane mind (most days)
  14. Humorous moments
  15. My amazing friends
  16. Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper with Sonic ice
  17. Wonderful neighbors
  18. My Toms
  19. Ice cold water in my thermos 
  20. Teaching gymnastics
  21. Practical jokes
  22. Yoga pants
  23. Slouchy t-shirts
  24. Bubble baths 
  25. Long showers
  26. A healthy body
  27. My laptop
  28. Our extended family
  29. Relaxing evenings at home on the couch with Steven
  30. Date nights
  31. Hot baby breath on my neck
  32. Another year to experience life
Some things are trivial and very indicative of having a newborn right now, but I am truly thankful for all 32 items on this list.

What are you thankful for at this moment in your life?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Newborn Pics

Recently we had Littlest Man's newborn pictures done.  We didn't do this with the first two.  We ended up doing their pics when they were around 9 months old.  However, when you have your awesomely talented friend ask if she can do your newest addition's photos, you don't turn her down.  Melinda Hunley has done our family pictures multiple times and we are never disappointed.  If you're looking for an affordable and patient photographer, you really should get in contact with her.

Here's some of her newest work.  I'd like to introduce each photo with Littlest Man's inspiration for each pose.  He's quite the natural.

Male Model pose...

Sports Illustrated Spread...

 Gush Over My Tiny Fingers pose...

 Kissable Lips look...

I'm Just Pretending to Sleep pose...

I'm Irresistible look...

 Check Out My Undies look...

 What!?!  You're Taking Away the Booby look...

The last one cracks me up.  Littlest Man LOVES to eat.  He, along with Little Man and Little Miss (when they were babies...not now), all remind me of baby birds when the boob comes out.  Mouths wide open and shaking their heads back and forth uncontrollably until they get their milk.  It's quite the site.  Not necessarily one I'd like for YOU to see, but funny nonetheless.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Menu Monday

I am one tired mama.  Littlest Man has been, up until this point, a great sleeper.  I'm hoping it's his little stuffy nose that has him up shortly after laying him in his bed.  Crossing my fingers that's the reason, but if it's not we'll survive this stage.  I think.  I vaguely remember surviving it two times before.  Thankfully he's the cute as a button when I'm rocking him in the middle of the night and the wee hours of the morning.  He looks a little something like this...

{Photos by MelHun Photography}

Whether or not I'm getting sleep, we still have to eat.  So here's what we're having this week...

Tuesday-Sweet and Sour Chicken, Rice, and Pineapple
Wednesday-Zucchini Bake, The Bread, Herb Salad
Thursday-Marlboro Man's 2nd Favorite Sandwich, Potato Chunks, Fresh Fruit
Friday-Fried Drumsticks, Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Saturday-Baked Parmesan Chicken, Seasoned Green Beans, Crescents
Sunday-Dinner @ Mom's...maybe...possibly...

Thursday, March 1, 2012


There are times I look at Littlest Man and see nothing but his brother.  Then there are times I see nothing but his sister.  This prompted me to go back to baby photos of the kids to compare.  What do you think?

Here's Little Man one day old...

And Little Miss one day old...

Finally, Littlest Man two days old...

I find it strangely amusing that as contrasting as Steven and my features are, we seem to reproduce offspring that look eerily similar.  Who knew a Swede and a Puerto Rican could do such a thing?