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!