Monday, November 26, 2012


Twiniversity is a wonderful online community created by a mom of multiples for moms of multiples!

Be sure to check out my latest article, featured on their website on how you can extend the life of your holiday gift:

Happy Reading!

Joy to YOUR World!

One of the twins - Baby B on her first Christmas December 2009

Christmas will be here in 29 days!  I'm sure you have a list as long as Santa's with things to do, purchase, make and clean!  What are some of the things that you do for YOU during the Holiday Season?  Things that help you take a break from the "Christmas Crazies", things that help you enjoy the holiday a little more?  I like to listen to Holiday Music and drink Peppermint Mochas!

This year I am cutting back and delegating, I'm also saying NO, but nicely!  "I'm sorry, I cannot attend that Holiday Party and I'm sorry, I just can't volunteer in the classroom that day, but I was there at Halloween and will be there for the next one."  With four kids and three classrooms, plus activities we have a lot going on and it all seems to triple during the holiday times.  Letting go is very, very hard. But 30 years for now will it matter that in 2012 I was the mom that dropped off the cupcakes and sent the Santa plates in the backpack?  I don't think so!  (Well, I hope not!)

Some of the dishes that I normally make for Christmas Eve, I am now going to make for Christmas Day.  Hopefully this will help with the "too much food" that my family falls victim to each and every year and will make things a little easier for me in the kitchen.  I am also going to cutback on the amount of Christmas Cookies I make.  I am a decent cook, but not a very good baker.  This year, I am going to embrace my limitations and only make the cookies that my family members will eat. (Some years we had some cookies that they wouldn't even give to their dogs - and it wasn't because they contained chocolate!).  I am very good at making Italian Christmas Cookies.  That is something that the kids and I like to do each year.  So we will make those.  I am also very good at making candy and holiday treats (of the non-baking variety) like peppermint bark and chocolate covered pretzels.  We will stick to those!   My husband is picking up more of the "Santa" duties than normal.  I sent him an email with a list of specifics for each kids, quizzed him about a million times and am going to try to let it go.  So what if we missed out on that free shipping at American Girl Store, so what if one of the gifts the twins are getting for Christmas will completely ruin the idea I had for their birthday (it is in January!), so what if the kids cry on Christmas morning because one kid has more presents than another.  Easier said than done, that's what!

I've been spending a little more time than normal at Starbucks.  But that 10 minutes with a Tall Skinny No/Whip Peppermint Mocha is worth every penny!

Thanks for stopping by!  Please share some of your tips for conquring your holiday to do lists!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Puppy Chow

I know right now you are thinking about Turkey and Pumpkin Pie!  But this is a great recipe that the kids can make with adult supervision.  Great snack for Thanksgiving Day to keep the little ones occupied while you cook, or shop!  I found the original version on line and made some modifications.  I will give you both recipes!

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups Chex or Crispix cereal
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Put chocolate chips and margarine in a microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave for 1 minute and stir until well blended.

Add vanilla and stir.

Put Chex cereal into a large bowl.

Pour chocolate mix over the cereal and stir.

Once cereal is coated and after it is cooled, pour cereal and powdered sugar in a bag, seal bag, and shake.

Now, I follow the above recipe, except I will use 1/2 Chex and 1/2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the cereal part.  When it is finished sometimes we will add in mini marshmallows, raisins or m&m's!


Wishing you and yours and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Big Easy

On Monday, my husband and I returned from a long weekend in New Orleans.  We were there to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  While there we met up with good friends from Texas and a good time was definitely had by all!  This was my first visit to New Orleans and the first time my husband and I left all four of our kids.  My sister came in from the Left Coast to watch the kids and they had a great time with their Auntie and were in excellent hands. 

New Orleans is a little gem of a city and I was very surprised by the laid back attitude, excellent food and culture.  Our theme of the weekend was most definitely, "Too Much Food!"

If you are planning a trip to the City, here is my Top Ten list of must do and see:

10. Bourbon Street - You cannot visit the city and not go here. Good to experience both during the day and at night. Two different experiences!

9. NOMA - New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park.  Hidden Gem with a very nice permanent collection.  While there we met a wonderful docent who was definitely a true Southern Belle!

8. Cafe Beignet on Royal Street - excellent spot for Beignets without the lines of Cafe DuMond

7. Davenport Lounge - located at the Ritz.  We went to see Mr. James Davenport himself.  Excellent!

6. Coquette - fantastic neighborhood restaurant in the Garden District.  Hidden Gem favored by locals.  Excellent seasonal food and fantastic prices!

5. Jackson Square - great spot to sit on a bench and people watch or walk around (with a cocktail!) and check out the local artists.  I found some adorable paintings for the twins' room~

4. Stanley's - Fantastic Restaurant off of Jackson Square - famous for the Eggs Benedict.  Delicious! 

3. French Market - Open air market.  Great prices!  Go to the Banana Cafe for a Bloody Mary - best one in the city!

2. John Besh - this guy is New Orleans!  We went to two of his restaurants: August and Luke.  I thought Luke's was fantastic!

1. Cochon/Butcher - My favorite thing in New Orleans is a tie!  These are two of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at.  Cochon is Cajun Southern Cooking and Butcher is the most amazing sandwich shop.  EVER.  They make all of their own meats and you can taste the difference!  At Cochon I had a Cajun spin on a BLT  - with Oysters!  I was also adventurous and tried some new things.  I must say, I do owe the Chef Donald Link an apology.  While preparing for the trip, my husband was very excited about going to this place.  After I took a look at the menu I really was a little disgusted and figured that I would only be eating a side of grits or greens when I went.  Boy, was I wrong!  My apologies Chef.  Please open up a location in DC!!

Thanks for stopping by.  More to come later this week on our trip, including some pics!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Anxiety Attack!

In 48 hours, I will be in the Big Easy!  Hopefully sitting somewhere in the French Quarter sipping a world famous cocktail.

My husband and I are going away for a long weekend sans kids to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary.  Ten years is a really, really long time!  This is the first time we are going away without all four kids.  I am very anxious.  Yes, I know the kids will be fine and that they are excited that their Aunt is coming to watch them.  Yes, I know that my sister has a brain and will be able to figure out the little things that I am worrying about (like where the rain coats are, will my son be warm enough at the bus stop, will dinner be made on time, will their library books and snacks get packed in their back packs, etc, etc.).  I am up to 9 typed pages of instructions for my sister.  I know and she knows that I have everything covered! I also know that this will be a really great experience - for my husband and I, for my kids and for my sister.  So, the million dollar question is.....why can't I relax about it?  As my one friend would say, I've got agita!

Hope you have a great day!  Go Vote!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Giving Back

There is a little girl named Victoria who is getting ready to celebrate a birthday.  She lives at the Jersey Shore, in the small beachfront community of Union Beach. A community that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  This is a community that I once called home.  I remember as a little girl preparing for hurricanes and helping my sister put X's in tape on the windows.  This is a community that has never experienced destruction like this.  This special little girl is turning 9 on November 18th.  Her birthday wish this year is not for a new bike, or wii game, doll or toy.  She has a wish for her best friend Dakota.  Dakota also lives in this same town.  Not too far from his friend, Victoria.  Dakota is 8 and lives in this town with his mom, his 5 year old sister and his 12 year old brother.  You see, Dakota's family lost everything in Sandy, and I mean everything.  They lost their house and all their possessions.  This special little girl wants to make things right for Dakota and his family.  Her birthday wish is for her friend to have some normalcy.  To have food, shelter and warmth.  This soon to be 9 year old is making it her life's mission to collect anything and everything for her friend's family: clothing, blankets, food, dishes, utensils, etc.  Take a minute and think about the things in your home.  The things that you use everyday.  Now imagine them all gone.  That favorite family picture sitting on the fireplace, your daughter's favorite stuffed animal, the coffee mug your son made you.  Gone. All gone in an instant.  Now, I'm sure you are saying that these items are just things, but to a family, to a child, they are treasures, they are memories.  In addition to their treasures, they lost items that everyone takes for granted: blankets, coats, furniture, food, etc.

How can we help?  If you are local to the community, the family is accepting donations.  If you have clothes, winter coats or household goods that is fantastic.  If you are not local, but can send a store gift card (Walmart, Kohls, Target, Kmart) that would be fantastic.  If you would like to make a monetary donation and send $5 or $10 or $15 that is fantastic too. Please make checks payable to: C.Torres.   Please mail gift cards and/or monetary donations to:

American Gateway
PO Box 286
Colts Neck, NJ 07722

attn: Victoria

If you have items to donate to the family, please post a comment below or send an email to me at and I will put you in touch.

Please include Dakota's family in your prayers. Every little bit helps.  Every little bit makes a difference.  This is the first time I have ever posted any sort of request like this on my blog.  I would like you to know that I was not asked to do this. Like all my posts, I am not being compensated. This is not a scam.  Any donations will be made directly to Dakota's family and go directly to Dakota's family.  I learned about Dakota's story from the birthday girl's mom, who is a family friend. A friend I have known my entire life. 

I was moved to tears by this story.  I was moved to give back.

This is what is left of Dakota's house on Brooke Avenue, in Union Beach

The Torres Kids.
This is Dakota (8) with his little sister Gabby (5) and big brother Jose (12)