Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chubby Cheekers Time

Hello All!  I thought I'd give all my fans out there a little update on my awesome life...

I'm getting older now.  Becoming older brings new discoveries and achievements that make me beyond proud of myself.  I've slowly figured out that those long things attached to my body are my arms and attached to those things are my hands.  Those hands have these awesome pokey things called fingers.  Life is so good when I find one of those.  I could slurp on those delicious little fingers all day.  

Call me a genius, but I've also figured out how to open and close my hands.  Mom, being the nice lady she is, puts toys in them for me to hold on to in the car.  That has kept some of my car crying at bay because it's super hard to lick my toys and cry at the same time.

This week I've been going to my brother and sister's swim lessons.  They get to do all the fun stuff.  Since I can't swim yet with them, I've decided to just take little snoozes while they scamper about.  All those splashy water sounds and that moist warm room put me to sleep every single time we're there  I can't wait to do the big kid stuff like them, but Mom says I have to wait.  Then she mentions something about me staying a baby and never leaving her.  Then she tears up and smooches my face.  That woman is Cuh-Ray-Zee!

Even though she says she loves me she and Dad missed one really big breakthrough for me. I've always had super strong biceps and can push myself pretty far off the ground, but this past couple of weeks is I have learned to roll from my tummy to my back.  The first time I did it, I thought I had Mom's full attention.  She was sitting on the floor with me giving me my Tummy Time when I decided to impress her with my new skill.  Wouldn't you know that as soon as I did it, she turned her head to talk to Daddy?  I was so upset.  All that work for nothing.  When she finally realized my amazing feat, she screamed it to Daddy.  He went to grab the video camera, but you know what? I didn't do it again.  Those people should have been watching me the first time.  You know what they say.  Ya' snooze ya' lose!

Despite my parents' lack of attention to my rolling over, I have made some new friends.  THEY pay attention to my every mood.  Just like true friends they pick me up when I'm feeling down.  They console me.  They listen when I talk.  I bet they would never miss me rolling over.  Nope, they cling to my every word and every move.  

See what I mean?  Those friends want to do nothing but watch me smile and coo.  They don't get sidetracked with Daddies!

YIKES!  I hear Mom coming to check on me before bed.  Better go.

Chubby Cheekers

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Not too long after I won my super cool iPad a friend said to me, "Things just work out for you.". I have to admit they do.  Don't get me wrong, our family has faced many adversities.  We have been scared. We have felt defeat.  We have tasted bitterness.  We have experienced a lot of unpleasant circumstances that life brings your way.  Fortunately, we attend a church that has taught us many valuable lessons on how to handle the difficult situations.

First off, when really rotten things are thrown our way, we don't speak the negatives of the situations.  For example, when my mom was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, we didn't talk about how we would tell the kids if she were to undergo chemo treatment.  We didn't discuss how devastated we would be if life were to go on without her.  We didn't allow our mouths to confess any negative outcomes that could happen.  Instead we repeated what the Word says.  When horrendous thoughts overtook my mind, I pushed them out and repeated what God has said.  God can restore.  God can heal.  God works miracles, and He did in my mom.  She is cancer free.

When Little Miss was 2 months old, and again at 3 years, we were told she needed to be evaluated by a cardiologist for a significant heart murmur.  Again, we felt defeat.  We were scared.  We didn't talk about our fears with each other.  We didn't hold each other and cry.  We prayed.  We searched the Bible for scriptures on healing and what God says about our children.  We repeated those scriptures over and over and believed them to be true.  God can restore.  God can heal.  God works miracles, and He did in my daughter.  She has a healthy heart.

We have faced infertility.  Yep, never shared that one before.  We tried for almost a year to get pregnant with Little Man.  A full year.  Doctors told us we would need to seek infertility treatments if we wanted any hopes of having children.  I went straight to work to find all the different women in the Bible who faced the same predicament, what they did, and I did followed their recipes for success.  Come to find out, we're both pretty fertile.  There was absolutely no trying to get baby #2 or baby #3.

Besides the occasional health scare, life can attack you in other ways and we have been there too.  We have felt the pinch of rising prices of commodities and luxury items.  We have sometimes looked at what we bring in and wonder how it all works.  There have been times I have wondered how it all gets paid, but I know one thing for sure.  It will get paid.

Steven and I have often prayed for financial blessing over our family and our children.  Money isn't everything, but it is needed.  Even though our budget can get tight some months, we know God is our provider.  Even though we both have means of bringing in income, we know that God in charge of getting that money to us.  There's lots of scriptures in the Bible that teach us about money.  The biggest a giver.

I don't care how much I think we may have in abundance or in shortage, the first thing we do after receiving a payment for our work is to tithe.  We give at the minimum 10% of our gross income to the church.  There's a reason for it and we have reaped so many benefits because of tithing.

I really didn't mean to get off on the tangent of tithing, but it goes hand in hand with keeping up within God's protection financially.   To make a long post short...or cuttin' it off...I'd just like to say that yea, things do just work out for us, but it's not just because of luck.  We found a system...THE system that works.  Following God's Word.  It keeps us safe.  It keeps us protected.  It keeps us blessed, and we love it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

THE Menu

It's not Monday.  It's Tuesday, but a girl's still gotta eat.  I'm sure the majority of you didn't wake up early yesterday to see what the Torres familia was eating for dinner this week.  If you are like every other American, you probably ate something that had to do with the grill.  We did.  Two night in a row and I loved every minute of it.

It hasn't even been a full weeks since school is out and we are already marking items off our 'Summer List'.  Since last Tuesday we've put a check by swimming and swimming lessons (which we'll continue to do throughout the summer), going to the races (like Outlaw type cars...did I get that right, Jeff?), and a cookout with an outdoor movie night.

This coming week we plan to watch Steven, Rene, and Jeff participate in the Oklahoma Warrior Dash, continue swim lessons, swim in the neighborhood pool, sign up for the summer reading library program, and a long awaited dinner night with our good friends.  We aren't wasting any time over here.

In the midst of all this fun, I still have to cook.  Here's what's going on with us...

Monday-Uh...we went to a cookout.  It was yummy.
Tuesday-Roasted Chicken and Potato Dish Ranch Style, Buttered Wheat Bread, Seasoned Green Beans
Wednesday-Pizza Bread, Salad, Fruit
Thursday-Chicken Kiev, Broccoli Bake, Crescents
Friday-Dinner @ the Kueny's!!!
Saturday-Sweet and Sour Chicken, Brown Rice, Stir Fry (This dish takes time so it keeps getting bumped because of our busy schedule)
Sunday-Dinner @ Mom's???  I love you Mom!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tulsa Gold & Gems

Tulsa Gold & Gems, Inc.

Almost every time I do a coupon workshop, I get asked about Tulsa Gold & Gems.  I think because Money Saving Queen talks often about their great pricing of gold, but I could be wrong.  Maybe it's her TG&G wrapped SUV, no?  Anyway, I really hadn't had any experiences with them until a few weeks ago.

Before I can tell how much I made and what I took in, I need to go back a decade.  Yes, TEN years.

When Steven and I were first married, he still worked at a local golf course keeping the greens.  He was up early mowing greens when he stumbled across a man's gold wedding band sitting in the cart path.  He picked it up and tried to turn it in to the pro shop.  They didn't want it.  Apparently lots of wedding rings get lost out there.  Who knew?

After work, Steven brought the ring home and we kind of laughed about it.  What in the world were we going to do with a man's wedding band?  I chunked into one of my jewelry boxes, and totally forgot about it.

Fast forward 10 years and you'd find me cleaning out the above mentioned jewelry box.  I saw that ring and decided to try out Tulsa Gold and Gems.  After all it, we didn't need it.

When I arrived at Tulsa Gold and Gems I was super impressed with the security.  There is someone right outside the entrance door to let you in.  Then you take a private elevator up to the 2nd floor where they buzz you in.  I felt completely safe.  Not to mention how convenient it was to have a doorman.  Carrying a car seat with a heavy baby and beautiful 3 year old is not an easy feat.  That someone else got the door for me won some huge bonus points for me.

I digress.

Once inside, I let the worker know that I was interested in selling the ring.  I waited maybe 5 minutes for the item to be inspected before he was back ready to inform me of the ring's worth.  I was thinking maybe $50 if I was lucky.  I about fell over dead when he told me they would pay $215 cash for the ring.  Excuse me?  $215?  Uh, yes please.  I signed a form stating how long I owned the ring and that once it was sold, I would not be able to get it back.  No problem, and I walk out with cash money.

Not only was I a couple hundred richer, but if I went home and wrote a short testimony on Facebook and on their website, then Tulsa Gold and Gems would mail me a $10 check.  I did it and got my check within days.  So fast and so easy.

Not only did I get the couple hundred and an additional $10 check, but I also got a status on my facebook feed to enter a contest to win an iPad 2.  Entered and won the dang thing!  Can you believe it?  I surely couldn't!

I am so thankful for little blessings.  Who would have known that a men's wedding band would bless us so richly ten years later.  

In conclusion, if you have some gold that is of no use to you I highly, highly recommend Tulsa Gold and Gems.  Efficient friendly workers, great pay outs, a generous owner, and safe environment.  What more could you ask for?  Not much, right?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our Little Big Boy

I know I was supposed to write about how I came to know about Tulsa Gold and Gems, but I ran out of time to blog.  We were celebrating little big boy's Pre-K Graduation.  Hard to believe his first year of school is over.

He is made such huge accomplishments this year.  I am so proud of his character, strong will (yes, you read that right), leadership, compassion, and mind.  He is our joy. 

I have high hopes to blog for the remainder of the week, but summer starts tomorrow for us.  Today I'm spending the day with Little Man at his Super Kids' Day on the last day of school.  As for the rest of the week, we are going to enjoy the first days of summer together as a family.  If blogging fits into the schedule, I'll consider myself a master of time management!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


When you really believe God for big things, you get big things.  Last week was a real testimony for believing God in the Torres household.  A few weeks back Steven and I prayed for blessing over our family.  Fast forward a couple of weeks and I entered a few contests.

The first contest was super easy.  Be one of the first people to share Elliot Roofing on you facebook page and they would mail you two free movie tickets.  Done, and got 'em...

Free date night?  Don't mind if I do.

The very same day I entered a contest at Tulsa Gold & Gems.  All you had to do was leave a comment for the price they were paying for gold, share it on facebook, and then have a friend give you a shout out.  All that for 3 entries.  Thanks to my friend, Erica, I got my three entries in, and I WON this...

Not the most flattering picture, but that's an iPad 2 I hold in my hands!  Do you see my excitement?  Never would Steven and I have purchased what we consider a luxury item like that right now.  It is such a huge blessing to have won such a cool prize.  I don't think a day has passed that I haven't said, "I can't believe I won this."  So now I'm trying my hardest to get with the times and figure this thing out.  So far I've figured out how to check out eBooks from the library which is the coolest thing!

Anyway, I'd just like to let you know that when you truly believe that God will do great things for you, when you really believe He hears your prayers, and will answer you, you will receive.  So thank you GOD!

Tomorrow I'd like to share my experience at Tulsa Gold and Gems.  I actually sold a piece of jewelry there that was a blessing in itself.  Pretty cool story.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu Monday

Three days.  Just three days!  Three days until summer kicks off.  Little Man will be out of school on Wednesday.  No more waking him up and no more getting out the door in the morning.  Hello Summer.  Hello swimsuits.  Hello sunscreen.  Hello relaxation.

As excited as I am about Summer, Little Man is a bit sad.  I asked him last night if he was ready for school to be over.  His reply, "Mom, I love school like I love swimming."  WHOA!  That's a whole lot.  I'm so thankful.  Thankful for his wonderful start to school and thankful for his wonderful teacher and teacher's aide.  When I told Steven what he said, all he did was raise his eyebrows.  Later he told me that he never liked school.  Only recess.  How sad is that?

So Mrs. Snow and Mrs. Hill, if you are reading this, I am forever grateful for the best year and so is Little Man. 

Now here's what we're chowing down on this week...

Monday-Eggplant Parmesan, Salad, Garlic Bread
Tuesday-Chicken Crescent Roll-Ups, Peas
Wednesday-Sweet Taco Salad, Corn Casserole, Salad
Thursday-Grilled Chicken, Veggies, and Buttered Bread
Friday-Hamburgers, Chips with Taco Dip
Saturday-Chicken and Roasted Potatoes Ranch Style, Green Beans
Sunday-Cookout with Friends

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shooting Flames

I hesitate to even write about Steven's awesomeness.  Somehow writing about his last 5k seems to lessen my own accomplishment, but I'm woman enough to realize I will never run as fast as my husband.  At least not in this life.  I have asked God to give me the the capabilities to beat Steven at anything physical in Heaven.  Like wrestling.  For once I would l-o-v-e to pin him the floor until he screams, "UNCLE!!!!"  You think I'm kidding.

Regardless of the smack down Steven's gonna experience in Heaven, I have to hand it to him on his last race.  That man had flames shooting out his feet.  He ran the Rooster Day Run in 21:38.  Yes, that puts my 28:16 to shame.  I was so proud of him.  He placed 4th in his age group and was the 15th person to cross the finish line.  Not that he's a male chauvinist, but not one woman beat him.  He made sure of that.  Again, not a chauvinist at all, right?

Here he is crossing the finish line in all his 15th place glory...

He makes me proud.  

By the way, do you see that girl in the background checking out my husband?  She needs to step off!  He's taken.  I kid.  I kid.  Or do I?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

PB Chocolate Crumb Bars

It's that time again. The time for cookouts.  Inevitably you are going to be asked to come to a cookout, and in order to come to that cookout, you are going to be asked to bring a dessert.  A dessert that will knock everyone's socks off.  You will be looked at as the Goddess of Desserts, and you will thank me for sharing this awesome dessert.

I would have loved to attach a picture so you could salivate over it, but my camera was acting up.  I was so frustrated by it that I consoled myself to the very last bar.  I guess I'll be making this again.

Without further ado, here ya' go...

PB Chocolate Crumb Bars*
1 cup butter, softened
1.5 cups brown sugar
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 package semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cups peanut butter

  • Beat butter and sugar until well blended.  
  • Add butter, oats, flour, and baking soda.  Mix well.
  • Press 3 cups into a greased 13x9 baking dish
  • In a separate microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips.
  • After chips are melted, stir in peanut butter.
  • Spread chocolate mixture carefully over the pressed oat mixture.
  • Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the chocolate.
  • Bake uncovered @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
*Recipe from Kraft Food & Family Magazine

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's Chubby Cheekers

Hello All. It's Chubby Cheekers.  It's hard to believe I have been here for 3 months.  Technically I won't be 3 months until 1:05pm, but it's close enough. 

I've been working so hard growing and discovering new things.  I've got these really cool things that fly in front of my face at random moments.  These strange objects may or may not be attached to my body.  I haven't figured that out yet.  All I know is they leave me crossed-eyed.  My brother and sister think that's funny.

Speaking of my brother and sister, they are just plain awesome.  My most favorite part of the day is when they lay by me, cuddle, coo, and play with me.  It lights up my little face.

I bet you're wondering about my car crying.  Well, I'm happy to tell you I'm doing better.  Doing better at hitting those higher pitched tones.  If there were ever a Best Car Crier Award, I would totally win.  Mommy does not like the car crying, but Daddy really doesn't like it.  If you want to see him go from elated to completely irritated in 2.5 seconds, all I have to do is cry in the car for you.  Daddy freaks out.  It's pretty funny.  At least I think so.

Another great joke I like to play is the Poop Game.  The best time to play it is at a restaurant.  Since I hate my car seat, Mommy normally holds me on her lap when we go out to eat.  I sit there looking all cute, allowing the ladies to admire my rolls and chubby cheeks.  Then when they turn to take the big people's orders, that's when I unleash the beast in my diaper.  I make it loud too.  Disgustingly, the waitresses always look at Mommy like she did it.  I just sit there and smile.  One, because I feel better and two, because those waitresses never suspect a cute thing like me to blow it out at the dinner table.  

I know I give my mom a really hard time so I've been cutting her a break at night.  I've finally decided to start sleeping through the night.  I know my mom really appreciates my sleeping.  She's a good lady so it's the right thing to do for her.  She loves her sleep, almost as much as I love practical jokes.

Signing Off,
Chubby Cheekers

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Man, It Feels So Good

So last week I let you in on a little secret...I don't like to work out.  What I didn't mention to you is I have been working towards a goal.  Well, two goals.  The long term goal is to get my abs back, first by blasting off this fat, and then toning it up.  The short term goal was to run a 5k in a timed race in under 30 minutes.

Even though I have ran for a few years now, I haven't ran in many races.  My first was in 2005, prior to having children.  I ran that race on Thanksgiving Day and I crossed the finish line in 35 minutes.  It was slow going.  My second race was in 2010 running the Tulsa Run 15k.  My goal then was to finish the dang thing keeping my feet at a jog the entire time.  No walking.  That race took me 1 hour 50 minutes to complete.

This time around I wanted to push myself against the clock.  Since I don't have a lot of time to hit the pavement,  a lot of my training was through high intensity circuit training at home.  I think I only got to run about 5-6 times before the race.  It was making me nervous.  Thankfully, I had two of my super good friends to push me along the way.  They were a great support and we kept each other at the right pace at the right times.

I'm not going to lie.  Before the race my adrenaline was pumping.  I was nervous.  It was a good feeling. I was feeling so good I felt the need to document the moment...

{Erica, Myself, and Jackie}

Of course this is the 'before' pic.  Don't we look refreshing and ready for a challenge.  Don't mind me sucking it in so you don't see the post baby roll.  I wish I could say Erica was sucking in her post baby roll (she squeezed her girl out just a week before Chubby Cheekers), but she isn't.  Her roll isn't there.  I try not to hold that against her!

As the race began, I settled into my pace, but not without the help of the above ladies.  Have I mentioned I love them?  As we rounded out the last kilometer, I was so happy to see the finish line.  Glancing at my watch I knew I was going to reach my goal!

And this my lovely friends is what it feels like to reach your goal.  I finished 3.1 miles in 28 minutes and 16 seconds.  The best part is I did it three months after giving birth to Chubby Cheekers.  Man, it feels good to know I can accomplish my goals in the craziest moments of life.  

I would like to give some bloggy love to my husband who was willing to take all three kids to a race that began at 8 o'clock at night just to support me.  They cheered me on at the starting line and cheered me on bringing it in.  He is the best.  Not to mention my wonderful father-in-law and his fiance came to watch as well.  I really couldn't ask for a better family.  I've been blessed!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Menu Monday

Mother's Day was such a whirlwind of a day.  A great day filled with lots of appreciation and family.  Steven always does such a great job making me feel appreciated and is so very helpful, but he went over the top this year.  Saturday morning I woke to the most beautiful calla lilies, and was cheered on as I reached my goal to run a 5k in under 30 minutes.  Sunday I was treated to new clothes to fit this post baby body and a lunch out.  Like I said, Steven outdid himself this year.  Even as we speak, he is in the kitchen sweeping and mopping the wood floors.  I think it's safe to say, he's a keeper.

Since Mother's Day comes to an end and we don't wine and dine each other every day, I have a menu for this week.  Again, we're working with a few quick meals.  Gotta love May.  It's busy, busy, busy!
Monday-Classic Croque Monsieur, Fresh Fruit Salad, and Raw Veggies with Dip
Tuesday-Sweet and Sour Chicken, Brown Rice, and Sauteed Peppers, Onions, and Pineapple
Wednesday-Pizza Pockets with Garden Salad
Thursday-Polish Dogs, Onion Rings, Cantaloupe
Friday-Chicken Parmigiana, The Bread, Green Beans
Saturday-Kiddie Park and Dink's BBQ
Sunday-Hamburgers, Chips with Taco Dip

Friday, May 11, 2012

Let Me Make One Thing Clear

There are many things I like to do with my time and working out is not one of them.  I have to plan to work out.     Most of the time that plan includes waking up and dressing the part.  If I don't put on workout clothes first thing in the morning then I will not do it.  After I get the munchkins fed and Little Man off to school, then I pop in my DVD and get busy while Little Miss dances around my feet and Chubby Cheekers swings peacefully in the baby swing (he's got a hard life).

Usually, once I get passed the warm-up I'm good to go.  That wasn't the case yesterday.  I popped in the DVD, got two moves into the warm-up and turned the dang thing off.  I just didn't have it in me to work out.  I brewed a fresh cup a joe and checked my my workout clothes.  Feeling bad about myself as I saw the muffin top just hanging over my yoga pants, I texted my friend Erica.

Erica is the founder of F.I.T Bootcamp.  I love her to death because she pushes me, and she rarely turns down a chance to work hard.  Unless there's a garage sale.  That's a whole other story.  Anyway, she has this program she likes to do called Tabata Training.  Both of our kids are in gymnastics at the same time on Thursdays, so I asked if she would be willing to go through a Tabata Training with me during that time.  I had done it with her once before, and apparently, I forgot how difficult it is.  As soon as we started with Belt Kicks, I was seriously thinking, What have I done to myself?  

I do that every time I begin a difficult workout or push myself to run faster.  I ask, Why did I even start this?  Let me make one thing clear.  I do not like to work out.  I don't look forward to it.  I only look forward to when it's over.  That's the only thing I like about working out.  Being done.  I like the results of working out.  I like the feeling of accomplishment once I'm finished, but I do not like the work.

Now my crazy machine of a husband, well, he's a different story.  That man is addicted to working out.  Oh well.  We all have our issues.  I just prefer to solve mine over a package of Oreos.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Name Change

Initially our newest addition was named Littlest Man for the sole purpose of this blog, but his sister has another idea.  Since he's fattened up quite a bit in recent weeks, Little Miss will only refer to him as Chubby Cheekers.  I can't call him anything but now.  Sooooo, without further ado, I would like to re-introduce Littlest Man as Chubby Cheekers, pictured with his favorite sister.

He is her own personal baby.  She doesn't really play with baby dolls, just her brother.
Doesn't he looked thrilled?

 I'm sure he's feeling the love.

 Hey, Chubby Cheekers.  Could you stop growing?

I had to throw in some picture love of Little Man.  He needs a little blog time too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


This mom business is nothing new to me.  I'm on my third...and a half (I like to throw Chunky Monkey in the mix).  I've got the routines down, improved on my disciplining techniques, understand the workings of a baby, and stress way less than I did when I had one.  I would consider myself a somewhat seasoned mom.

Being a seasoned mom you would think I would not break the cardinal rule of newborn mommyhood, but I have. In fact, I've broken the rule at least a dozen times per child.  If you do the math you'll realized I've broken the rule 12.5 x 3...carry the one...yep, about 37.5 times.  Breaking the rule that often leaves you breathless.  Literally.  Breathless.

Are you curious about the cardinal rule?  I bet you too have broken it.  Maybe not as many times as I have, but I bet you've done it.  Here's the cardinal rule of newborn mommyhood...

Thou shalt not ever touch the chez in your baby's fat rolls and then smell it.

Come on.  You know you've done it.  You lift up their neck rolls and see that little white stuff just hanging out.  The soap you didn't rinse out well enough.  The roll you didn't dry completely.  The spot where the milk collects. Yes, the areas where the chez collects.   Well, you wipe it off and then check to see if it smells.  Have we not learned from past experiences?  IT WILL ALWAYS SMELL.

It's like that saying, "Don't do the same thing over and over and expect different results."  So from this day on, I promise to not touch the funk and then smell it.  I promise to get a wash cloth and wipe it away, resisting the urge to 'check' if it's stinky.  I will remember that it is always stinky.  Now, could someone please remind me of this tomorrow?  It's bath day.  Inevitably, I will find some chez under one of Littlest Man's many rolls.  Help me, Wanda.  Help me!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Menu Monday

Hello May!  Anyone look at this month's calender and realize there are no free days?  We are beginning to look that way.  I'm thankful for many activities that focus around family and our kids, but it's really cramping my cooking style.  This week we have quite a few 'fast' meals.

Monday-Spaghetti, Cheesy Bread, Salad
Tuesday-BBQ Chicken, Broc Bake, Twice Baked Potatoes
Wednesday-Baked Chicken, Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole
Thursday-Pasta e Fagioli and Grilled Cheese
Friday-Club Salad with Honey Croissants
Saturday-Club Sandwiches and Chips (the kids will l-o-v-e this...they never get chips for dinner)
Sunday-Mother's Day Cookout...Steven's in charge!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rain School

One of my favorite things is exposing my kids to real world experiences through books.  Yes, I'm a nerd.  A few years ago, I came across this book entitled Rain School.

It's a story that documents school aged children of Chad, Africa arriving on their first day of school.  When they get to the place where the school should be, there is nothing but their teacher standing there.  The students' first lesson is to build their school out of mud bricks, straw, and sticks.  They also build their desks out of mud.  Then they are able to start their lessons.  The school year comes to an end just as the heavy rains begin.  Those yearly rains wash away all their hard work for the year.  They know they will have to rebuild their school for the next year.  It's a great story of the lengths some children have to go to learn.

I wish I had found this book when I was a teacher.  It would be a Must Read on the first day of school.  I would even have the kids build their own 'mini' school out of mud bricks just so they could see the difficulties these kids face just to have a place to learn.  However, I'm no longer a teacher.  Luckily, I have little guys running around the house so I get to play 'school' with them.

When I first came across this book, Little Man was just 3 years old.  He had never been to school before so the story was just 'interesting' to him.  He had no prior knowledge of what school was about or what a classroom looked like.  Now he knows.

As he's rounding out his first year of public school, I thought it would be a good time to check the book out again.  This time he had all kinds of questions.

How come the kids are all the same color?
Why don't some kids have shoes on?
Where do they play?
Why are there big kids in the same class as the little kids?

As he was firing off the questions, I was in heaven.  I love answering questions and watching his face as he learns something new.  Now I just have to convince Steven to allow him to make a mini mud bricked school in our backyard.  It might involve messing up his precious grass, so maybe we'll shoot for the field a few lots away from us and let out neighbors think I'm crazy.  Who am I kidding?  I am crazy ;)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Gots Me a Van

So a couple of weeks ago a lovely teenage boy rear-ended me.  To make matters worse, he hit me so hard it caused a 4 car pile-up.  It took forever for his insurance to complete their investigation so I could get my car fixed, but it has been in the shop for about week now.  It's getting a whole new front grill and fender, along with a new lift gate and bumper.

Since I can't go without a car, his insurance is paying for my rental.  I was secretly hoping for another SUV, but instead, I got one of these...

A 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan.  When I pulled up to the body repair shop, it was waiting for me.  Steven also came to help me transfer the infant car seat base.  He was so stoked to get a van.  I wasn't so much, but having a brand new car for a week wouldn't be so bad.  I was actually a little curious to see if I'd like driving a mini-van.  Maybe I would love one, maybe I wouldn't.  Here's the breakdown of my mini-van thoughts.  Specifically for the Dodge Grand Caravan.  I have no idea what other vans have to offer me.

The trunk has an amazing amount of sunken space with all seats up.  It's very nice to open the lift gate and know that groceries shifted by driving won't spill out.  Just check out all this space...

And that's it for my loves.  I really thought I'd have a lot more, but this is the only one I have.  The rest are just likes.  

The automatic sliding doors.  Even though my kids are old enough to open the doors themselves, it's nice to have them just push a button and the doors just open up.  I don't have to worry about them swinging a door open and dinging the car next to me.  However, it's not a feature I am just goo-goo ga-ga over.  It's nice to have, but not something I couldn't live without.

I also like that it is a bit roomier than my Explorer. I contribute this to the configuration of the seats.  This one has two 'captain' seats in the middle and a bench that holds three passengers in the third row, allowing for more room behind the driver.

Even though I like the roomier feel, I do not like having the three seats all the way in the back.  On most days I tote five kids around in a carpool.  Little Man, Little Miss, Littlest Man, Chunky Monkey, and Little Man's friend from school.  It is a pain in my tooshy to climb between the 'captain' seat to get in the back and  buckle kids up.  In my Explorer, I just have to pull one handle, have a kid climb in and lean over to buckle.  No climbing in and performing acrobatics to get back out.  Just a lean and a push to get the middle row seat back up.  I also like that when I have just my three offspring, they can all sit in the middle row together.

I also dislike how low I feel to the ground while driving.  It has really taken me quite some time to get used to it.  It is also difficult for the kids to hear me when they are sitting in the back.  I don't know why, but I don't have this problem with my Explorer.  Some crazy sound configuration.

One thing that really surprised me was the gas mileage.  I have heard from so many people how minivans get great gas mileage.  Call me crazy, but I'm not seeing it.  I'm getting the same gas mileage in this van (which is supposed to be an eco friendly gas vehicle) than I do in my Explorer.  This shocked me tremendously.  I thought the savings on gas was going to convert me to a van lover.

* * * * * *

In the end, there are pros and cons to the mini van.  I can't say that my next vehicle won't be a mini van, but right now I'm anxiously awaiting my the return of my SUV.  I miss her dearly!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pulled It Together (A Menu)

I was really feeling bad.  Two weeks.  Two weeks in a row I didn't make a menu.  I couldn't be a failure two weeks in a row.  So I threw one together last night because flying by the seat of my pants is not how I roll.  I'm a planner.

Monday-Soft Tacos, Mexican Mashed Potatoes, Corn
Tuesday-Beef and Tater Bake, Honey Bread, and Green Beans
Wednesday-Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Sweet Potato Fries, Strawberries
Thursday-BBQ Meatballs, Corn Casserole, Garden Salad
Friday-Crock pot Lemon Chicken, Sweet Peas, Cheesy Biscuits
Saturday-Fried Chicken Salad with Honey Buttered Croissants
Sunday-BBQ Chicken Quarters, Mac-n-Cheese, Mixed Greens Salad