Monday, December 30, 2013

Get Your Serve On

Man those holidays sure flew by us.  We had an amazing Christmas.  Baking and spending time with family always keeps us feeling full.  Each year the kids look forward to the traditions.  Packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child, making sugar cookies, the annual Gingerbread Houses, going to Christmas Train, attending Celebrate Christmas at our awesome church, and just hanging out with our loved ones.  Just in case you're visual I've got some classic Torres photos for ya!

{You ask for 'cheese' and this is what you get around here} 

{A little gingerbread house making a lotta of double fisting candy to mouths}

 {Good 'ol family photo with Santa.  Apparently, Chubby Cheekers was naughty this year)

 {Christmas Dinner with best friends cousins}

{Table for two for the babes doing what they do best...weird stuff}

{Chubby Cheekers learned very quickly you can't drink Santa's milk}

As you can see we had fun.  We also spent more time looking for opportunities to serve throughout November and December.   That really prompted some thinking of what I want our 2014 to look like. 
Honestly, it's really sad that 90% of our kind gestures are focused around Thanksgiving and Christmas. We give and help when we see needs, but lately I'm seeing a pattern of helping when the need is in front of our faces instead of being intentional about serving.

Not 2014.  It's going to be the year of INTENTION.  Each month we are going to be focused on one serving opportunity, and I hate to say it but we're starting off a little small.  Our UPS guy and postal lady were killing themselves over the holiday season.  So for the month of January, we are going to spoil the service workers in our community.  Little care packages set out just for them.   Nothing difficult, but a good way for the kids to see how little acts can really bless someone.  I have lots of friends who are joining us on this challenge, so feel free to follow along with us.  As many people we can bless the better.  Offering more opportunities to shine His light.  

If you were in search of Menu Monday, I am so sorry!  I spent a good part of last week putting together a 4 week meal plan and shopping list.  It was enough to make me want to run from menus for a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Giving It All

Last night I was wrapping up my kids' gifts to their teachers.  We are so blessed by all of them.  There is no gift we could possibly give that could express our gratitude for the role they play in our children's lives.  They love, pray, console, laugh, and teach them daily.  My heart is full when thinking of each teacher.

One thing that especially has my heart is both homeroom teachers began their careers in public schools.  They have seen some of the little guys defeated, not loved, unwanted, not cared for, and beaten.  They spent time loving on those kids.  I'm sure in the same manner in which they love on mine. 

It really makes me think of my short seven years of teaching.  All the little gratitude gifts I received from parents.  I remember almost all of them.  I have some of the best coffee mugs that make me think of individual kids.  I have lots of ornaments reminding me of the little hands that spent time creating priceless treasures just for me.  And then I have junk.

Let me rephrase that.  Junk to some.  Heartfelt sacrifice to me.

I taught at a fairly low-income school.  A good mixture of income levels, but a large population of kiddos on free or reduced lunches.  In my sixth year, I had a wonderful class.  Amazing kids with hearts of gold.  It was this year one of my poorest students walked in with two little balls of aluminum foil.  It was easy to tell something was inside, but I couldn't see what.  I instantly thought it was her lunch, but found it odd because she had told me earlier in the year she would never bring her lunch because she ate for free everyday at school.  Sometimes her only meals were breakfast and lunch provided by the school.  Even if we sent home food in her backpack, she didn't eat it.  She gave it to her younger brothers. 

I was so excited that she brought her lunch.  She had always wanted to do that, and that day was her day...or so I thought.  As I watched her unload her things, she left the two little crumbled aluminum foil balls on her desk.  Then she proceeded to bring them to me.  She laid them on my desk, and just smiled at me.

I still remember her little face as I asked her, "Whatcha got in those cute little balls?"

No sooner did the question leave my lips did I realize...they were two gifts.  Gifts for me.  She wrapped her arms around me so tightly.  When she finally let go, I opened her gifts.  Inside were two individually wrapped trinkets probably purchased from a little quarter machine years ago.  They were worn and weathered, but I could tell they meant so much to her.  I was fighting back the tears. 

Then she pushed back a bit, motioned for me to come closer and whispered, "Mrs. Torres,  these are my most favorite toys I play with and I want you to have them.  Thank you for loving me like my Mommy did."

That. Was. It.  Full on bawling.  All the other kids crowded around to see what was going on.  They really couldn't understand why I was so happy to receive gifts such as those.  I hope years down the road they think back on that moment of what giving really means.  Giving with sacrifice. 

I don't ever think I could possibly give a more meaningful gift in my life to someone else than what I received that day.  A time when a little nine year old girl gave it all.  Gave what was most important to her to see me happy.  That's a lot to swallow.

I'm not quite sure what triggered this memory, but I am so thankful it did. What a example of sacrificial giving!  Tis the season! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Menu Monday


Yep, that's our crew bundled up and freezing our tooshies off for the sake of some Christmas spirit.   Don't you love when people snap photos of your family?  You never know what you're going to get.  Bless the lady's heart.  Sorry Chubby were only halfway documented as being present at The Christmas Train, but we remember how much you loved it!


We remember how we could barely get your picture because you were too busy saying, "Choo-choo" at the train to look at Daddy's camera.  In fact, you can see on your sister's face she was d.o.n.e. waiting for you!  Gotta love that girl!  

We had the best night, as always.  In fact, it's no secret we love our church and The Christmas Train is one of the reasons why.  Besides Disney World, it's the second happiest place on Earth.  Everyone is friendly.  Mind you they aren't being paid to be friendly.  Ran on a system of 300 volunteers, everyone is friendly because they WANT to be there.  In this day and age, that is a miracle in itself.

Enough of my la vida loca.  Here's the menu...

Monday-Italian Layer Bake, Fresh Veggies Slices
Tuesday-Whole Roasted Chicken, Corn Casserole, Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday-Chicken Noodle Soup & Grilled Cheese
Friday-Baked Chicken, Butternut Squash, Fresh Fruit
Saturday-Brats and Sweet Potato Fries
Sunday-Dinner @ Mom's

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chubby Cheekers: 22 Months Edition

Well Ladies,  it looks like I've been gone a little too long.  Don't think I don't notice those longing glances when I'm out and about.  I know you miss me, but I'm a guy on the go.  It's hard to tie me down.  I think Men at Work said it best in their song...

 Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving

Yes, that's totally me.  

About a month ago, Mommy got a real good dose of reality when she tried to hold me down during our family photo shoot.  I wasn't digging it like everyone else.  I mean, really?  Who do they think they are?  Models or somethin'?

I think this may backfire on me, though.  Mommy has been plastering this pic everywhere.  She always says something like...Blah, blah, blah...what a true indication of my life...blah, blah, blah...he will live to regret this one.

I'm not really sure what all that means, but Bubby says I should be afraid.

I have news for Mommy.  I'm not afraid.  At least for now.  I have too many other tasks to tackle.  Like climbing on the counters (which is a favorite past time), and finding the silverware drawer.  I'll show her.  I'm a professional at one upping that lady!


If you are curious about what I'm holding, you'll have to remain that way.  I, in no way, enjoy incriminating myself.  I go for the sweet and innocent look and then work the angle of my high vocabulary.  When I'm busted, I use the "I wuv you, Mommy.  I sorry," angle.  It sometimes works for me.

Since the last time I wrote to you all I have really been perfecting the art of stalling; especially at nap and bed time.  When Mommy or Daddy say, "It's time for bed,"  I usually go for one of two lines:

1. I watch moo-eee wit 'cho Mama. (I watch movie with you, Mama)
2.  I watch foo-ball wit 'cho Daddy. (I watch football with you, Daddy)

Mommy caught on to what I was doing a whole lot faster than Daddy.  Then Mommy told Daddy what I was doing.  For someone who tells Bubby and Sissy not to tattle, she sure tattles on me.  A. LOT.  I still love her though.  She makes me giggle and gives me the best cuddles.  She gets my funny jokes and makes the best snackies.  Life here at the ranch is pretty sweet.

See you beautiful ladies next time!

Chubby Cheekers

Monday, December 9, 2013

Can You Say, "Sick?": Menu Monday

I love all the seasons.  I love the opportunity to experience them all.  The snow and ice for us, has been welcomed.  All the movies and snuggling and baking and more snuggling and napping and playing has been just what the doctor ordered.  What the doctor didn't order is a big fat stomach ache.

My mind and wants went to comfort foods this week.  Aye, aye, aye.  Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls, oven baked fried chicken, mashed potatoes, peppermint mochas, peanut M&Ms, popcorn, I could go on and on.  My stomach is full of junk and I feel like junk.  Junk that even peppermint and dandelion tea can't take away. 

I'm not one to never indulge.  I like little treats here and there, but when you turn here and there to a full on 48 hour binge...there's a problem!  So here's to better choices this week.  Snow or no snow!

Monday-Steven's Birthday Dinner
Tuesday-Salmon with Avocado Salsa, Brown Rice, and Grilled Veggies
Wednesday-Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchilada Skillet, Berry Bowl
Thursday-Roasted Whole Chicken, Baked Sweet Potato, Green Beans
Friday-Salad Bar Night
Saturday-Christmas Train!!!
Sunday-Veggie Spaghetti

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Today is a day to celebrate!  It is my 1,000th post.  That I have written 1,000 things is downright scary, but that you have possibly read 1,000 things is even scarier.  You know the more you read, the more you become like that person.  Just sayin.  You should be a little afraid of becoming like me.

Really I didn't know it was even the 1,000th post until I logged on and saw it.  I have something very important to me that I'm sharing.  Although it's not new information to most of you it is something that has brought me to where I am in life and made me a healthier, happier (didn't know that was possible) person.

Last night, was first Monday.  First Monday means Discover Arbonne.  A time where people just beginning to use Arbonne products and/or begin their own business with Arbonne meet together.  A room full of people with vision and passion is a room to be in, let me tell you.  Last night was a bit different though.  A little smaller.  A little more intimate with mini-workshops, and I was in charge of the recipe and eating station.

First off, speaking in front of a group of adults is NOT my thing.  It is way out of my comfort zone.  Speaking to kids...PSH!  I could do it all day long.  Kids are my comfort zone.  Adults, not so much.  I wonder what that says about my mental capacity....

I digress.

Standing in front of 10-15 people for 3 sessions, I noticed little similarities about each group.  The ones who were there gathering information about the detox beginning in January were looking at me with hope.  They knew something in their life needed to change.  Their health needed to change.  They wanted it to change, but they were looking at this mountain in front of them and had not a clue how it was going to be possible to reach the top.

I remember that look.  That was me in April.  I knew what I needed to do, but the how to do was the fearful part.  As I began to share what I learned throughout our journey, I could see the fear melt away and people began to feel empowered.  It was as if I handed them the best climbing gear to make their journey to the top of their mountain enjoyable, not just doable.

That is what I love about Arbonne.  It is a tool for LIFE CHANGE.  Not some fad diet.  Not some pill.  Life change.  Life change is what I needed.  It's what I received through my 30 days.  If it's something you question.  Something you wonder about, I want you to ask me.  I want to show you the road is not hard.  Here is a great little flyer with general information along with a pre-recorded call explaining a bit about the life change I'm talking about....

{click on the pic to enlarge}

A lot will say YES to the 30 Days to Feeling Fit.  A lot will love the menu, shopping list, and recipes that come with the plan.  A lot will benefit and be forever grateful for giving themselves a chance and believing they could discipline their eating.

A few will say YES to something greater.  More time.  More money.  More opportunities to help others.  More self-development.  More service.  More vacations.  More margin.  That's the business side of what I do.  My experience yesterday of offering hope to those fearful of their mountain is just the beginning of what I get to see.  I've said it many times, but Arbonne is a vehicle for me.  I fell in love with the products.  I did and still do.  I love them.  BUT, I love what this business is about over any product in that catolog of 400+ products.  The culture of people I am around, and the change it brings about in myself and my family.  That's what I really want to share with you.  I want to offer you a freedom I never knew was out there because I never gave something like this a chance.

Speaking of trips...

I'm working to go here. Yes...CABO!  What this means for you?  Bottom prices.  Like below my cost pricing.  It's a great time to get in contact with me...amandasarbonne(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Menu Monday

Three cheers for Monday.  No, seriously.  Three cheers.  It's going to be a great week. 

I remember when I was teaching I dreaded Sunday nights because I knew it was going to be one long week of leaving my babies (Little Man and Little Miss) while I worked.  It was heart-wrenching.  When I walked away from my teaching career, I vowed to never dread Sunday evenings again. 

So here's to a great Monday and a fabulous menu!

Monday-Whole Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans
Tuesday-Chicken Tacos and Corn Saute
Wednesday-Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchilada Skillet and Salad
Thursday-Sweet Potato Chili and Cornbread
Friday-Oven Fried Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, Mashed Potatoes
Saturday-DATE NIGHT!
Sunday-Chicken a la King and Fresh Fruit Salad

On a completely unrelated note, you should read this book...


It will make you thankful for every Monday you have.  No. Matter. What.

Have an awesome week!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Little Housekeeping

Another full week and I'm just logging on to write.  So crazy how some days seem to linger on and on, but the weeks move so fast I can hardly remember what month we're in.  Funny how time does that.

I have quite a bit to share with you, none of which have a menu attached to it.  My menu is finished, but with Thanksgiving this week, we've got some gaps of this Thanksgiving here and another there.   So to spare you from Thanksgiving #1, 2, and 3.  I'll just leave you with no menu and a new recipe I'm excited to try.

{pic via}

On a totally different note, I want to share a little project the kids and I are working on for today and tomorrow.  After freezing my keister off  Sunday running a relay marathon race, I came to realize how painfully cold I was.  I was whining about it.  Whining about it as I sat in my warm car waiting to board a bus to shuttle me to my leg of the race.  Really?  

In the midst of my belly aching, God kinda revealed to me the pain of living without a home.  Belly aching stopped.  Selfish thoughts, Amanda.  Selfish thoughts.  I decided this could be a great opportunity to offer some help.  Blankets immediately came to mind.  Do you have some?  Blankets, quilts, sleeping bags that are new or like new condition.  The kids and I will collect them from you and take them to John 3:16 Mission to be distributed to the homeless.  It's the least our family can do.  If you are interested in participating, we will be out collecting later this afternoon (Tuesday) and tomorrow morning (Wednesday).  You can send an email to wispclips(at)hotmail(dot)com to schedule a pick-up time.

Lastly, Black Friday is around the corner.  Black Friday means DEEP discounts.  What kind of crazy Arbonne lady would I be if I didn't offer some pretty darn good deals?  Only my deals begin tomorrow and end Friday evening.  If you are not on my client email list, I would highly recommend you send your email address to amandasarbonne(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Monday

Mark this down folks.  As of yesterday, the Torreses have CHRISTMAS LIGHTS on the house.  It's not even Thanksgiving and the lights are up.  Not only are they up, but Steven turned them ON.  We are those people. 

Really, the reason for Steven getting it done was to take full advantage of the warm weather.  Generally, he waits until the weekend after Thanksgiving.  That weekend is generally in the 20's or 30's and Steven gets on the roof with frozen toes and fingers, snot freezing to his face, and suffers through the entire process.  Not this year.  He was an early bird.  Being the extraordinary wife that I am, I volunteered my time and unraveling strands, filling in missing bulbs, and basically ordering orchestrating the the beauty of it all.

Then I cooked dinner.

Which brings me to today.

It's menu time.

Monday-Whole Roasted Chicken, Potatoes Au Gratin, Roasted Green Beans
Tuesday-Baked Fajitas (served over brown rice instead of tortillas) and Corn Saute
Wednesday-Pasta e Fagioli, Salad, and Garlic Knots
Thursday-Creamy Baked Taquitos and Salad
Friday-Pancakes, Turkey Bacon, and Eggs
Saturday-Chicken Noodle Soup and Grilled Cheese
Sunday-Pizza Night!

Friday, November 15, 2013

That # Thing

I have secretly been stalking people and their random unknown facts about themselves.  I thought I'd share.  However, I don't know if they are truly random.

  1. I used to be a major sleepwalker. One night I fell asleep at Steven's house when we were dating, drove home, and woke up while deep frying dough for donuts.  Never happened again after that.
  2. I finished college with a 3.99 GPA.  I received one B in all four years.  I could have received an 'A' in Humanities II  if I had been willing to cheat on the final.  The guy living below my apartment had a copy of the test.  He got an 'A'.  Punk.
  3. Sometimes I wish we lived on a small farm and supported our eating solely off that farm.
  4. I think and think and think about the most efficient way to go about any given task.  When Steven someone goes against my plan, I have a tendency to get a little huffy.  It's something I'm currently working on.  Very bad habit.
  5. When I look at pictures of our family of 5, it always seems to me that one is missing from each photo.  However, having one more child frightens me terribly.
  6. I love to catch people off guard with random comments.  It's one of my greatest gifts.  Little Miss has the gift too.  Cracks me up.
Apparently, I gave myself the #6.  I'm done!

Enjoy you're weekend.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Little Man Turns 7

Last week our oldest turned seven.  I really can't believe the years go by so fast.  Wasn't I just in the hospital working with the lactation consultant last week?  The same consultant that reached right over and squeezed my boob without warning--that's another story entirely--point is, time goes by too fast.

On his actual day all Little Man wanted to do was eat at Texas Roadhouse so he could sit on the saddle while everyone wished him Happy Birthday.  He had this planned back in June.  For months he would mention how excited he would be to sit in the saddle. He got his wish.  Still cracks me up.


The things kids come up with.  He was so pumped to go sit on this saddle he opted to miss out on First Wednesday service...which he LOVES...which we love, but it was his day and we were celebrating him.

We continued his festivities during the weekend.  On Sunday we wrangled 13 boys in our backyard for another year of a Chicago Bears Football Combine party.  Yes, the exact same party as last year.  Makes planning a breeze. Thank you Little Man for simplifying the birthday planning process.  I think this could work well into your 30's for sure.

Seeing the joy on his face melts me.  More so because I know this child's heart.  He is compassionate and has a heart for helping others.  And, I have a story just about that.  I promise it does tie into his birthday, so stay with me.

A month ago or so, we received the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog.  If you aren't familiar with the gift catalog, I encourage you to search it out.  It is like no other catalog. You will be humbled.  

Little Man and I were looking through the catalog during Fall Break while everyone else was napping.  We went through each page and read all the ways to give.  As we were reading, he was circling every opportunity to give.  No matter the amount, he circled it.  It was hard to explain why we weren't able to give for every area, so we picked out the ones that were near and dear to his heart.  He chose to purchase baby chicks for families, milk for babies, blankets for the homeless, and sports equipment for children in third world countries.

When it came time to count the money in his piggy bank he was short $10.  He cleared out his entire piggy bank without hesitation.  He gave it all.  We covered the rest of his choices, and picked up some other items that we wanted to gift.  

The amount he gave was quite a lot for a 7 year old boy.  I can't remember the last time I gave every DIME I had, yet he gave it all without a bat of an eye.  He melts me.

Bring it back to his birthday.  He received so much cash from friends and family, his piggy bank is well stashed again.  Way above his original cash amount.  God is so faithful no matter how big or small you are...

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.--Luke 6:38

His comment to me a few days later, "Mom, can I look at the book thing again?"

Seriously?  God gave him a special heart.  I love the leadership and example he sets for his siblings.  He sets an example for us as well.  You simply can't out give God.  Ever.

*Little Mommy Note here:  Little Miss also chose to purchase from the catalog.  She chose the little lamb stuffed animals that play Jesus Loves Me.  It is so her.  She carries stuffed animals around most of the time and loves the song Jesus Loves Me.  I want to remember each year and what they gave to.  Hopefully, I will be reminded by their giving what was important to them.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Menu Monday

The Torres menu is always finished by Thursdays so I can have time to shop over the weekend for all the ingredients.  It's really a matter of me finding time to type it out on this very blog.  Maybe I need to add an hour to my day.  Totally.  I need 25 hours in my day.  That will do the trick!

So without further ado, the Torres menu for this week...

Monday-Steak Salad (thanks Erica for bringing dinner to our house!)
Tuesday-Hawaiian Ham Sammies and Sweet Potato Fries*
Wednesday-Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa*, Brown Rice*, and Grilled Veggies*
Thursday-Chicken Fiesta Soup, Grilled Cheese
Friday-Date Night!
Saturday-Greek Tacos with Feta, Tomato, and Greens Salad

Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Monday

I'm slacking AGAIN!!!

I will get our menu up...possibly later today, but definitely by tomorrow morning.  I do have a few things to share with you.

First off, the Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchilada Skillet was DE-LISH!  Loved it.  So, so good.  Bonus:  it was fairly simple and quick.  A must try for sure!

{pic via Tasty Kitchen}

So if anything, make this all week.  Every day, all week.  It's that yummy!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thankful: A Heart Issue

It's the month.  The month where everyone posts one thing they are thankful for daily.  I don't do it.  I'm thankful, but I don't Facebook reflect it everyday.  I enjoy reading others thoughts, but I don't share mine.  Then I think, "Man, I'm a selfish stinky non-thankful person." 

Seriously, why must I feel the need to find one more irrelevant thing to beat myself up about?  Really, Amanda?  Really?  Is this a heart issue or a comparison issue?  Probably more for comparison, but just in case I'm battling a heart issue I wanted to reflect on what I am thankful for in my life.

So here I am going over what I'm thankful for in ONE big post, and I know you all are so thankful for it...

I'm thankful that everyday I wake up to the same man, and that very man loves me despite all some of my annoying qualities. 

I am thankful I have first world problems.  There is never a day I wake up and fear for my life.  I don't fear if my home will be ransacked and my children ripped from my arms.  I don't fear if we will become deathly ill from lack of sanitary water.  I don't fear preventable diseases.  I don't fear the evil many others face.

I am thankful for books and the  people who wrote them.  I used to be a big fiction reader.  As of late I have a list of books sitting on my bedside table that are more in the realm of self-development.  I admire the people who took hours of their lives to devote concentration and discipline so that I may read them and internalize the information to develop a better version of myself. 

In fact, I have one book Left to Tell that I am honestly not sure if I am courageous enough to read.  I am so afraid of reading the book because it might require an emotion to be touched that I'm not sure if I'm ready to go there.  I am thankful that this is one of my biggest struggles right now.  Simply picking up a book.

I am thankful for my children.  They have made me better.  They have taught me lessons in serving that I could have never received outside of motherhood.  Those three Torres kids hold me accountable for walking in love and demonstrating love even when I feel like ripping someone's head off. (Yeah, I have some ugly moments).

I am thankful when I have ugly moments I have the opportunity to redeem myself.  I am surrounded by loving friends and family who give me grace and second chances.  I have a God who sees me as He made me and sees me where He wants me.  I am thankful for His patience as I work to get there.

I am thankful for each person who has spoken into my life.  For each season lessons have been learned and trials have been faced, but those around me have taught me many lessons on what it means to continue to grow, forgive, love, and laugh.

I am thankful for my children's friends.  They have chosen kids to be in their lives that will speak life into them and not suck it out.  I am thankful my church spends countless hours mastering the way to teach children how to make friends that are worth having.

I am thankful for Disney World my kids' school, their teachers, and other parents in the school.  Never EVER have I witnessed a place like where my kids are during the week.  It is truly the Disney World of education.

I am thankful for my Arbonne business. It has required me to step outside of myself, focus on others, and paint a bigger vision for my family's ability to serve those who cannot serve themselves.  It has required me to grow spiritually, professionally, and personally.  I like the new version of me and I'm thankful for who I will become along the way.

You know, it's not quite 30 thankful things but, it's from my heart.  I am thankful for so much more but it would be never ending. 

And simply because no post is fun without a picture, I leave you with Chubby Cheekers.  Because, darn it, I'm thankful for my crazy strong genes.  Who would have ever thought I'd have a mini WHITE version of Steven Torres!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Slacker Menu Monday

It's Menu Monday Slacker Edition! 

Monday-Creamy Chicken Roll-Ups, Steamed Broccoli, Grapes
Tuesday-Homemade Pizza and Salad
Wednesday-Little Man's Birthday Dinner! 
Thursday-Black Bean Butternut Squash Enchilada Skillet**
Friday-Turkey Burgers, Crispy Potatoes, Raw Peppers
Saturday-Whole Roasted Chicken, Corn Casserole, Green Beans
Sunday-Avocado Salsa Salmon, Grilled Peppers and Onions, Brown Rice*

*An asterisk on the menus will denote a detox friendly meal.  If you are planning on beginning the detox with us in beginning January 2nd, I encourage you to begin printing out these recipes and/or incorporating them into your meals rotations.  This way you are inching your way into some healthful recipes that eliminate highly addictive and allergenic foods.

**This recipe calls for corn tortillas and cheese.  Both must be omitted during the actual detox.  Instead, you may use brown rice pasta tortillas and rice cheese.

Hope your week is amazing.  I know mine will be!  I'm healthy, happy, surrounded by amazing friends and family, and my little guy turns 7 tomorrow!  Life is good!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu Monday

I failed!  I've been working to get this posted today and it hasn't happened.  Be on the lookout for the menu tomorrow.  I have a new meatless recipe for you!  It's new to me too.  We'll see how this one flies!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fizz for Kids

Well, I found another use for Mommy Crack.  Fizz for Kids!  It just doesn't sound right to say Kid Crack.  No, kids do not need crack.  That would be terrible.  Just as terrible as looking into some other sport drinks for Little Man.

As he has entered into a more intense sports world (at age six...I know, crazy), he needed a little more than water at practices and games for refueling.  Steven and I already used Arbonne Fizz Sticks during runs and workouts to refuel.  Given Arbonne is pure, safe, and beneficial it's a much better choice for us to use a vitamin enriched energy drink with electrolytes than the other junk out there.  Frankly, I won't use a pre workout drink other than Fizz Sticks because I don't trust other ingredient lists.

When looking a bit more for our son, I fully trust the Fizz Sticks for Little Man (and sometimes Little Miss when she begs cute enough).  Fizz Sticks have the same caffeine source as green tea, but given all the chemicals and dyes in the other beverage choices out there, we are okay with green tea.  It is a great fit for our family.  All is natural.  He's getting a dose of B6 and B12 vitamins and avoiding artificial colorings.  All around a pretty win-win situation!

So when you see Little Man running around with a large Gatorade bottle or water bottle that is yellow, he's not drinking his pee (another little guy asked him that), he's getting a dose of vitamins and refueling naturally!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Little Miss Turns 5!

Like all parents, I remember this as if it were yesterday...

{Little Miss @ 2 months...Little Man at 2 years}

Look how little they were.  Look at Little man.  So proud to hold her hand.  Since she was born, he knew she was something special.  She's the spice to our life, but also the sweetness in this crazy world of boys.  She gives the best kisses and cuddles like nobody else.  She is as girly as they come, with a flare of tomboy.  Give her a princess dress and a mud puddle and she is a happy little thing.

It seemed like I blinked and we were celebrating her turning one. 


 Then TWO...

Then THREE...

Then FOUR...

I can recall the time I actually thought to myself, Five. When she turns five, she will be old.

She's now five.  Whaaaaa!  She isn't really old, but reminiscing through these photos certainly reminds me that my time with her is precious.  Our lives really are but a mist.  Children allow us to see that more readily.


Little Miss, you are turning into a beautiful little girl.  You've lost your baby face, but we see it.  You will always be our little girl.  You will always be loved and protected by all the boys in your life.  You will always be our princess.  You are bold and strong and determined and funny and spunky.  We love your laugh when you get really tickled and all the random things you say.  You are you and that's what we love.  We can't wait to see how you continue to grow and take ownership of your place in this world.  We know it will be nothing less than bold.  We love you!

Mom, Dad, Little Man, and Chubby Cheekers

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Monday

It's been a full week since I've been able to write.  So many happenings in the Torres house.  Little Man played 3 flag football games last week to place 4th in their division despite some pretty rough calls from the officials.  Let's just say being a private school did not help us one bit during the season.  However, the kids had fun and little idea what was going against them.

We also celebrated Little Miss' 5th birthday.  Having two children 5 and over is reality slapping you in the face.  I am not the college girl I sometimes pretend to be.  Like I'm a 33 year old trapped in a 22 year old's body.  A 22 year old's body that has produced 3 children.  Let's get real...I'm old, but I love this old life and I am so proud to be Little Miss' mama.  She is the spice to our life.

Little Man had a personal achievement last week too.  He finished out his first semester of first grade with all A's.  More than any sports award, Steven and I are so proud of his academic achievements.  He works so hard in every area of his life.  A true first born.  Love that guy.

Now I can't leave Chubby Cheekers out.  I must brag on him a bit.  This weekend we attended our church's Fall Festival.  I seriously LOVE our church.  So. Much. Fun.  For those of you who know Chubby Cheekers, you know sitting still is not one of his gifts.  He is always moving.  Always creating mischief.  Always talking.  Always, always, always.  However, on Saturday night he sat in his stroller for over an hour without any whines.  So content. So adorable in his chicken costume just dancing to the bluegrass music watching his family play games.  It was a fun night.  So thankful for our friendships and church.  Great night.

Now onto the menu this week.

Monday-Breakfast for Dinner...waffles, sausage, eggs...yum!
Tuesday-BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas and Corn Saute
Wednesday-Bacon, Chicken, Broccoli, Rice Casserole and Cresents
Thursday-Avocado Salsa Salmon, Grilled Peppers and Onions with Brown Rice
Friday-Mini Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Saturday-Sandwiches and French Lentil Soup
Sunday-Mom's Birthday Dinner

Have a Great Week!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Menu Monday

Guess what???  It's Menu Monday. 

Monday-Baked Seasoned Chicken Breasts, Steamed Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday-Hamburgers and Zucchini Tots
Wednesday-Turkey Veggie Spaghetti, Garlic Knots, Green Beans
Thursday-Sandwiches, Fresh Veggies, Berry Salad
Friday-Breakfast for Dinner
Saturday-Dinner at our church's Fall Festival
Sunday-Dinner at Mom's

I am so thankful for my mom.  She has to be the best.  Last Friday she called me at 4pm and invited us over for Chili.  It was rainy and cold and the perfect chili weather.  This Sunday I asked if we could eat dinner over there because I have a Holiday Open House at my home.  Of course she said yes.  I hope when Little Miss is older and living the crazy mom with kids life, I remember how wonderful it was for the extra help. 

And, just so I have the opportunity to see you, I want to invite you to my Holiday Open House.  It is Sunday, October 27th from 1-4pm.  Please message me at AmandasArbonne@yahoo(dot)com.

I will be here with my Arbonne Holiday line, Fit Essentials, Detox Spa,  Skin Care, Baby Care, Cosmetics, and Aromatherapy.  Everything will be on sale!

Other vendors will be here as well, including Scentsy, Velata, Grace Adele, Creative Containers, and Vault Denim.  It is an easy way to knock out a bulk of your holiday shopping before November hits.  Plus, each vendor will submit one or more items for a Holiday Basket Giveaway.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Marathon Weekend: Race Day

February 19th:  Chicago Marathon opens registration.  I registered Steven.
May 27th: Official Training for the Chicago Marathons begins.
October 13th:  Race Day

When I think about the 8 months that passed from the time Steven committed to the training until the time he actually ran the race, I am astonished.  He set a goal and he achieved it.  Erica set a goal and she achieved it.  Sarah set a goal and she achieved it.  40,000 people set a goal and they achieved it.  Watching dreams come alive as they ran was unbelievably touching. 

The actual day of the race, Mark, Erica, Steven, and I woke at 5:30am and headed downtown.  Since the spectators and racers were expected to be over 2.7 million, we decided not to take the rental car and use public transportation.  We took the bus a few blocks and then hopped on the train. 

 {Waiting for the train to Magnificent Mile}

When we came up the stairs to street level all you saw were runners...and spectators...and more runners.  It was madness.  The excitement was mounting whether you were running or not.  However, rarely do you pass the Art Institute of Chicago on your way to a race.  I had to have them stop for a pic.  At this point Steven had his 'race' attitude on.  Asking him to stop for a pic was a stretch, but he did it.  I'm sure now he is glad to have this moment captured.  There's a lot of emotion wrapped up in this pic...

{Mark, Erica, and Steven}

A few blocks away from this pic is where we dropped Steven off for his corral.  This is where I lost it.  I was getting ready to let my husband navigate through thousands of runners and begin the hardest physical challenge he has ever known by himself. By. Himself.  I held on to him, prayed over him, and cried.  CRIED.  I'm crying now thinking about it.  He worked so hard.  I was so proud of him, yet I was also so nervous.  As he turned to walk through bag check, I put on my big girl panties and walked with Erica and her husband to find Sarah.  After a few phone calls and texts we found her, snapped a pic and let the ladies get to their corral.

   {Jeremy, Sarah, Erica, and Mark}

From here Jeremy, Mark, and I walked a few blocks to catch the runners at Mile 2.  So many people told us it would be nearly impossible to see your runner.   We still stood there scanning through all the racers.  I'll let you figure out if we saw them or not...
Who is that crazy lady yelling for my husband?  Who am I kidding?  I was so stoked to see him running.  He looked amazing.  Proud wife moment for sure.  I was so excited about seeing him that when Erica and Sarah came I stuck out my hand for high fives, but didn't get a video of them.  I'm a bit mad at myself for that.

After the girls passed we headed to the train to try and get a glimpse of them at Mile 8 near Wrigley Field.  As soon as we arrived, I quickly learned Steven had already passed Mile 8.  I hung around for Sarah and Erica and we got to see them.  They looked amazing. After them chunking their outerwear at us, we headed back to the train.  This is when I realized if I hoped to see Steven again I would have to separate from Mark and Jeremy.  Jeremy, being the only one who has lived in a big city, showed me the best way to catch the train by myself to see Steven.  I was so thankful for him taking the time to get me where I needed to go.  I got to Mile 23 and waited for Steven.


By this time I could tell he was hurting.  My heart hurt.  Seeing your loved one in pain is not easy.  Maybe that's how he felt as I was popping out his 3 kids...

I hopped back on the subway by myself and headed to Mile 26.  Right when I got off the train my phone died.  I thought for sure I would catch Steven at Mile 26 right before he turned the corner to the finish line.  I waited and waited and waited.  I saw many runners he was with at Mile 23.  I waited a bit longer.  I never saw him so I headed to the Runner's Reunite area to wait for him.

He never came there either. I stood there by the 'S-T' sign for 2 hours.  I was afraid to leave.  I had no phone and was surrounded by foreigners waiting for their loved ones.  My only thoughts were, "If I leave here, we'll never find each other."  So I stayed.  And stayed.  And stayed.  It was the most awful wait ever.  I began to think something happened.  Why wasn't he coming to the Runner's Reunite area?  Just as I was beginning to find a race worker or Chicago PD I spotted Erica's husband.  He knew where Steven was and took me to him.

Just as I was about to wrap my husband up and tell him how proud I was, he grabbed me and CRIED! Steven didn't recall the conversation we had about a meeting spot.  When he realized I was no longer with the husbands he looked up the location on my phone and saw it was at the train station.  He thought I had been taken.  Like the movie Taken.  He called his uncle, a retired Chicago detective, and cousin, a current Chicago PD officer, and they were beginning to contact other officers to find me. 

Now it's funny.  Then it was not.  My heart hurts that at the time he should have been celebrating his biggest accomplishment, he was so stricken with fear that his wife had been kidnapped.  On the other hand, at least I know he cares.  OR, maybe he was worried that he was going to have to raise these hooligan kiddos all by himself.

Once he realized I was safe, he let his guard down and began to show how hurt he was from the race.  His hammies cramped up during the race right after Mile 23 causing him to stop and stretch them out multiple times, and his knee was in bad shape.  It was hard to watch him in so much pain, but he did it.  It completed a goal he had been working on throughout the entire summer and beginning of fall.  What a man!


The above picture was taken by Steven's aunt and uncle.  They were able to catch him out of the exit gate.  I am thankful for them traveling from IN to cheer him on.  We seriously have the best families ever.

Steven,  I am so proud of the work you put in.  Your determination and mental toughness makes me strive for better personal achievement.  You set the example of toughness and a 'Can Do' attitude for our children.  Thank you for pushing us all to be better.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Marathon Weekend: The Pre Race

Let me be very clear.  I did NOT run a marathon.  My man of steel husband and tough as nails friends ran a marathon.  Instead of pushing myself to physical exhaustion, I decided to relive the past.  I became a cheerleader...again.  Only this time I did not wear a uniform (no one would want to see that).

Just mulling over the things I would like to share with you has a lump in my throat and big crocodile tears wellin' up in my eyes.  I can't even begin to describe to you how incredibly proud I am of my husband and friends.  The opportunity I had to train halfway through allowed me to get a minor glimpse of how incredibly difficult the physical and mental aspect of this race would be for my husband and friends.  I am thankful for that knowledge.  It allowed me to appreciate them all the more.

But, let me start at the beginning...

We left early Friday morning for Chicago.  We were all so excited to navigate an airport sans kids and kid gear.  We got to our local airport in plenty of time to have some coffee and talk. This is how cool parents act when they are childless.  They decide to take pics of themselves.  Most of the passengers waiting to board the plane were staring.  I'm sure they thought we were celebrities.


When we arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon, we went straight to the Runner's Expo.  That place was every runner's dream.  Nike, New Balance, Saucony, and Mizuno gear, stretching equipment, snacks, refueling products, videos, technique training...anything and everything related to running was under one roof.  We walked out with a race day outfit and The Stick (thanks to a sneaky friend).  We also walked out with some major excitement.  So many runners picking up their packets and so much anticipation. I got nervous, and I wasn't even running the race.

{Steven and Erica at the entrance of the Expo} 

{Steven checking in to get his race day packet}

{Nike's cool photo op}

{Erica, Steven, and Sarah...the runners with the course map and distance}

After we had explored the Expo we headed downtown to enjoy Chicago.  There is something about walking the streets of Chicago that ignites my inner 'city girl'.  Let's be honest.  I'm an OK city girl. In Chicago, I'm a country girl.  It's all relative.  Of course we did the tourist pics making all the locals wait before they could cross in front of us.  YOLO!

 {Erica and I in front of the famous Chicago sign}

 {Seriously?  Do you see that hunk next to me?!?!}

{Sarah, me, and Erica at Giordano's Pizza.  These two ladies are beyond selfless} 

{Gigantic Chicago style pizza.  Can I get a holla for my husband's facial expresssion?)

After a morning of travel, the Expo, sight-seeing, and shoving our faces full of Chicago style pizza we were all ready for bed.  We headed to Steven's uncle's home right outside downtown for some rest.  

The next morning we were up and ready for a morning of shopping at Lululemon.  If you have never experienced the feel of Lululemon on your body, you are missing out.  As frugal as I am, I will splurge on Lulu attire.  Good news...they have a clearance section.  I helped myself to a new jacket, running shorts, and two tanks. At first Steven rolled his eyes until I handed him a pair of men's running shorts and insisted he try them on.  The look on his face when he opened the dressing room door was priceless.  Needless to say, he gets it and now owns his first pair of Lululemon running shorts.  

{Erica and I being brand snobs with our Lulu bags}

Once we had our fill of shopping and realized Erica and Steven needed rest, we headed back to the house and prepped for race day.  Steven taught Erica his pre race ritual...laying out his race attire and gear the night before a run...


The jitters were really beginning to set in.  The next day was going to be the most challenging physical feat for Steven and Erica.  I slept very little.  My stomach was in knots thinking about what they were about to do.  Words cannot express the emotional roller coaster of watching your loved ones push themselves beyond pain and suffering.  

Tomorrow I'll share race day, then on Friday you can read about post race day.  Erica is working on writing a post from the actual runner's stand point.  It is all very different for her.  This is all completely from my spectator view.  However, being a spectator is no joke!