Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's Hot

Happy Tuesday!

I can't believe I'm back at work already. It seems like just yesterday I was hanging with the little guy and the husband. I had a nice, relaxing weekend and I can't wait until the next time I have off for a few days.

So yeah, it's hot. Somehow it went from the 60s to the 90s in just a few days. How the heck does that happen? I've decided that it's time to get the little guy a kiddie pool.  I'm getting out of work early today, so I'll head to Target to see if I can find anything.

Even though it's hot, a girl still has to cook.  I decided it was time to make some baked ziti, and I had to use up two boxes of pasta.

I had these guys and a box of whole wheat pasta.

I love the shape of rigatoni's versus the spiral shaped pasta.  They hold so much more sauce!

I love combining different shaped pastas when I make baked ziti.  It makes every bite interesting.  (I'm a dork, I know!)

Since it was so hot, I didn't want to turn on the oven to melt the cheese on top, so I decided to let the cheese melt on its own. I figured it would melt again once I reheated it.

Not so bad, right?

I'm off to do some more work - it's been pretty busy today!

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful Thursday!

Is it just me or does it seem like this week is dragging? Ever since we started summer session at school, the weeks have been going by so slowly. Perhaps it's the lack of activity in the halls or the fact that professors are few and far between. Whatever it is, it's driving me bonkers! I keep thinking today is Friday, and that's not a good thing!

I do have reasons to be thankful though. Tomorrow I get out of work at 12:00 to start the long weekend!  I am so, so, so thankful for the upcomign long weekend!

While I would rather be staring at this.....

......my real view this weekend will look something like this.

Truthfully, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Product Review: Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken

Happy Wednesday!

A little while ago, I received a coupon to try Tyson's Grilled and Ready Chicken from Foodbuzz's Tastemaker Program.  I decided to try it out this weekend and I was pleasantly suprised.

The awesome thing about the chicken breasts is that they are precooked.  All it takes is a few minutes in the microwave or some time in the oven and you are ready to go.  When I opened the bag, I was greeted with this.

Precooked?  Check.  Grilled?  Check.  Healthy?  Check, check, check!

I decided to bake the chicken using this.....

Full review of this coming soon!
Although it doesn't look pretty, I topped the frozen chicken with the Cooking Creme and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes or so.

When the chicken was done, it looked something like this.
The picture doesn't do it justice, believe me!
I've said before that I make all of my meals for the week over the weekend.  The hubby and I had this for the first time last night, and I fell in love with the chicken from the first bite.  It wasn't dry, tough or overcooked even when it was reheated.  I know that this had nothing to do with the sauce and everything to do with the chicken.

I usually don't get "gung ho" about products, but this will definitely be making an appearance in my freezer on a regular basis.

Question of the Day:
What food are you loving right now?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie


Monday, May 23, 2011

When You Don't Feel Like Cooking

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty fantastic. The hubby, little guy and I spent a lot of time hanging out this weekend. The hubby had to work from 5:00 a.m. until 12:00 on Saturday and even though he had to get up early, it was really nice to see him in the afternoon.

Yesterday we decided to take a walk at our local park. There isn't anything fancy about this park - it's your typical "great place to picnic" park, but every time we're there, I stare at this....

I just love it!
The little guy was all ready to go for a walk.  He loves the fresh air as much as his mommy and daddy do.

Of course, we had to stop and take some pictures.  I realized that we have a lot of pictures of the little guy by himself or with family members, but the hubby and I don't have many pictures with him.  It's time to change that effective immediately!
Kisses from Daddy
Hanging with Mommy
*Side Note* See Ernie peeking out from the coach?  My son LOVES his Ernie doll.  My brothers gave it to him when he was first born and it goes with us EVERYWHERE!

When we got home, neither the hubby nor I felt like cooking so an easy, no-fuss meal was in order.  I felt like having pizza (when do I ever NOT feel like having pizza?)  and made my own no-cook version.

It doesn't get much easier than two pieces of whole wheat bread topped with pizza sauce, cheese, garlic powder and oregano.  It was awesome for a no cook meal!

Question of the Day:
What do you eat when you don't feel like cooking?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday - the Friday Edition

Happy Thursday Friday!

You may have noticed I have been blogging a little bit less than usual.  While some of it can be attributed to being busy at work, the other half of it has to do with inspiration.  I used to blog every day (minus the weekends) regardless of whether or not I felt like writing.  For the last few weeks, I've been trying to write posts I can truly be proud of.  I'm trying to grow as a blogger and I can only do that by opening up a little bit more, letting others in and writing what I'm passionate about.  Thanks for hanging in with me while I'm figuring all of this stuff out!

This brings me to today's Thankful Friday post.  Today, I'm thankful for the opportunity to write again.  I've always loved writing and I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing songs, poems or short stories.  Enter Hubpages.  I stumbled across them the other day and I started writing for them.  (I use that term loosely because anyone can write for them).  Hubpages has given me a creative outlet (besides the blog) where I can write about things I am passionate about, and I'm pretty excited!

What to check it out?  You can read my "hubs" right here.

I'm super excited about this weekend.  I'm off from working at Weight Watchers which means I get the entire day on Saturday to spend with the little guy!  Woo hoo!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Dessert

From as far back as I can remember, I have been a dessert eater. After lunch and dinner, I would grab cookies, Tastycakes or ice cream and no meal was complete without a sweet indulgence after a meal. Flash forward to today, and not much has changed. The only difference is that I've replaced the cookies and cakes with yogurt, graham crackers, a banana and peanut butter or a Fiber One bar. For some reason, I can't say that a meal is over until I've had something sweet. Weird confession - the only time I don't feel the need to eat a dessert is if I go out to a restaurant for a meal.

I've seen a stall in my weight loss and lately I've been thinking that it's dessert related. I've decided to revamp my dessert style now that the weather has broken. This was my dessert last night.

Yummy fruit salad!

It was perfect and delicious, especially after I added some light whipped cream and some cinnamon.

Now THAT'S more like dessert!

I'll be interested to see if eating more fruit affects the progress of my weight loss (I'm guessing that it will).

My fingers are crossed for continued sweet fruit in the grocery store.  That's what makes dessert so awesome :)

Question of the Day:
Are you a dessert eater?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trying Out a New Product

Happy Monday! I can't believe I'm starting another work week. I swear that the weekends just fly by, especially when you have busy weekends! Thank you all for your kind words on Thursday's post. Your supportive comments mean so, so,so much to me.

I've been getting some free coupons lately and I thought it was time to use some of them up. As part of Kraft's First Taste Program, I received a coupon to try their new cheese products "with a taste of Philadelphia Cream Cheese" in them.  I was interested to see if I could really taste the difference between regular cheese and cheese with this added to it.  *Spoiler alert - I didn't taste any difference.

The first thing I did was check the ingredient list.  Turns out that there was cream cheese powder instead of the real stuff.  I was kinda turned off.  Powder?  Come on, Kraft!

I used the cheese to make a pizza.  I was a little concerned because the only flavor I could find was Triple Cheddar and I wasn't sure how that would translate onto a pizza.  I took my chances and made it anyway.

*Confession time* I don't know that I was the best person to try out this product. I haven't had full fat grated cheese in a long time. I usually buy the 2% milk.

When the pizza was done, about 18 minutes later, I pulled it out and was greeted with this.
It looked and smelled amazing.  I enlisted my little helper to see what he thought, but he was too preoccupied with other things.

After one bite, the husband said that it tasted like pizza from his favorite pizza place.  I don't think it was that good, but it was probably one of the best pizza's that I've made.  I'm not sure if it was the cheddar cheese or the fact that it was full fat cheese but it was pretty yummy. 

All in all, it was a win in my book!

Question of the Day:
Full fat, 2% milk or fat free cheese - what's your preference?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I've been in a bit of a mushy mood, so please bear with me for this post.  In keeping with yesterday's post, today, I'm thankful for my body.  Please let me explain.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to nurse.  After reading everything I could about its benefits for the baby, I was sold.  I figured that if God would allow me to nurse my child then that's the way it was going to be.   I had planned to nurse for the first year but we all know that things don't always work out as planned. 

On October 3rd, my precious little baby boy was born.  He was able to latch right away and I couldn't have been happier.  The feeling of nourishing your little one is something I can't describe.  It has to be experienced to understand. 

The husband and I had a system down where I would feed John and he would change the diaper. I was up multiple times every night when he needed to eat. Even though it wasn't easy to nurse for 45 minutes at 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00 a.m., I never had a problem staying awake to watch my little boy. It was the first time in my life where I wasn't completely tired because I was still on the high of becoming a new mom.

Of course, during the day, there were plenty of naps.  I cherish these naps so much because they don't happen as frequently anymore.

Adjusting to nursing and being a new mom was challenging at times, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Once the little guy started to get older, it was harder and harder to produce enough milk to sustain him.  We made the decision to supplement with formula, and once John had a taste of the bottle, he never went back to nursing.  I transitioned to pumping full-time and continued to supplement with the formula. 
I went back to work in January and was able to continue my pumping schedule.  Even though it took chunks out of my day, my boss and co-workers were incredibly supportive of my decision to continue pumping while I was at work. 
How YOU doin?

Little by little my supply began to drop. Whether it was stress or being sick, every little event caused my milk to decrease. I stood firm and I was still committed to giving my son what little milk I had.

On Tuesday night, I decided that I was finished with pumping.  It got to the point where it was interfering with everything I did.  I lived by that pump.  I had to be careful how long I stayed out with the hubby and baby because I needed to pump every 3 hours.  After talking to the husband, we both agreed that after 7 months, we had all had enough.  I wish I could have continued providing my milk for my son until he was a year old but I'm coming to terms with my decision. 

The little guy seems to be just fine with it, don't you think?

So today, I say thank you to my body.  Thank you for allowing me to nourish my son for 7 months even when I had to start supplementing.  Thank you for allowing me to give milk to him even when I didn't think it was possible anymore.  You constantly amaze me with how powerful you are.

Question of the Day:

What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Hey there!

I'm so excited about the weather. It's been perfectly breezy and sunny.  The hubby, little guy and I have been taking advantage of it by taking walks after dinner. It gives us some time to unwind after work is over and to be a family. I love, love, love family time.

Last night before I went to bed, I tried on some more of my pre-pregnancy clothes.  Some fit but most didn't.  Instead of being bummed out, I was motivated.  Motivated to keep eating right, working out and trying my best.  This is the first time that I've actually sat back and appreciated my body for what it can do, what it has done and what it will hopefully be able to do in the future.  I realized that while I'm not where I want to be weight wise, I'm happy with the weight I am losing.  It took me nine months to gain almost 70 pounds.  It sure as heck is going to take me a long time to lose it. 

This time, along the journey of getting my body "back", I'm making a promise to myself that I will be kind to me.  I won't criticize my body along the way but love it for the way it is.  When I was at my lowest weight I would constantly pick myself apart.  Looking back on pictures, I see that I looked awesome just the way I was.  All of those insecurities I felt never showed up in pictures.  I accept and love myself at all weights at all times. 

Okay, I'm stepping off of my soapbox to get onto the food portion of the blog.  I picked up some bbq sauce and made some bbq chicken.  The hubby was happy to see this back in the food rotation and I was happy to get some cooking done.

Hope you have a beautiful day!

Question of the Day:
What motivates you?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wonderful Weekend

Happy Monday!

The summer semester has officially begun at work which means that it will be insanely quiet from now until the end of August. It's nice to get a break from the craziness but by the end of next week, I'll probably be climbing the walls!

This weekend was so much fun. Even though things didn't go as planned, the hubby and I still managed to enjoy the beautiful weather. Since we spent Mother's Day with his mom and my mom on Sunday, he wanted to take me out to lunch to celebrate on Saturday. As luck would have it, on Saturday, the little guy woke up with his hands over his ears and was extremely congested and whiny. I called the doctor for an appointment and thankfully he checked out just fine. Turns out the ear pulling was related to his throat infection. Fun times being a parent, right?

By the time we got home from the doctor's, the hubby and I decided to postpone our lunch plans until this Saturday. We took advantage of the beautiful weather and took the little guy for a walk. He fell asleep and after I took this picture, I realized how big he's getting.  It's insane!

As part of Kraft's First Taste Program, I received a coupon for a free Jello's Temptation's Product. While I was in Target on Saturday I saw some and decided to pick some up. This coupon has been sitting around for a while and I needed to use it before it expired.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I LOVE anything chocolate. When I saw the flavor "Double Chocolate Pie" I knew this was the one I wanted to try.

I was impressed right off the bat how big the container was for 150 calories. When I opened it, I was greeted with a chocolate mousse texture.

A few spoonfuls into it, I realized there was the "double" part of the Double Chocolate Pie.

I was a huge fan. It was light, airy and delicious. It was one of those foods that made me feel like I was eating something decadent but wasn't bad for me at all. It was a win/win situation in my book and I will definitely be picking up more of these in the future.

Yesterday was Mother's Day and when I stopped over my mom's my brother was there with my nephew.  It was a fun surprise!  My nephew has gotten so big!  He was so sweet about sharing toys with my little guy.  In fact, when it was time to change John's diaper, my nephew ran over, got John's stuffed Ernie and brought it over to him so he could have something to play with.  Eric, if you're reading this, we need to have more play dates ASAP!

My nephew, brother and little guy
All in all, it was a pretty fantastic weekend.  I was sorry to see it go!

*Edited to add*  I just found out that my son is in the running to become one of Parent's Magazine's weekly Reader's Choice Finalist.  Basically, he has the chance to be on the cover of the magazine, but he needs votes to get there.  I normally don't do this, but if you could vote for him, that would be pretty cool!  Here's the link.  Thanks in advance! 

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Last night when I came home, the little guy had a fever and congestion. He was perfectly pleasant otherwise, but I felt really bad for him. Thankfully he didn't have a fever this morning but he's still stuffed up. Looks like we'll be making another trip to the doctor's tomorrow afternoon. I'd rather play it safe than sorry. Poor little guy!

Today, I'm thankful for being able to fit into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I'm mostly fitting into my shirts, but I'll take that over wearing oversized t-shirts and sweaters any day.

I thought I'd include some pictures as a comparison. Some days I see the change and others I don't. It all depends on how I'm feeling that day.

One month after giving birth

Easter Sunday.  I'm standing so you don't get a good shot but I still think you can tell a little bit.

Easter Sunday was the first day I wore an outfit that was made up of all pre-pregnancy clothes. It was awesome. It gives me motivation to keep going until I reach my goal.

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Filling Breakfast

I've heard over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When I was a teenager and trying to lose weight I used to skip breakfast thinking that it was the miracle cure to getting thin.  I would literally drink a cup of hot chocolate in the morning and wait until lunch to eat again.  Obviously that didn't work because by lunchtime I was starving and naturally I made up for the missed calories at breakfast.

Over the years, I've realized what works for breakfast and what doesn't. I've learned what foods will keep me satisfied and what foods won't hold me over for more than an hour.   One of my favorite breakfasts is oatmeal.  I eat oatmeal practically every single day because it keeps me satisfied from the time I eat it up until lunch.  When I was pregnant, however, I couldn't stand to eat oatmeal for the first few months.  Every time I looked at it, I wanted to gag!

After some trial and error, I found a breakfast that I could stomach and actually craved it for lunch and dinner too.

Peanut butter and banana on a toasted bagel

The combination of healthy fat, fruit and of course carbs was completely and utterly satisfying. I wish I could tell you that I ate this for breakfast this morning, but that would be a lie. This combo has been on my mind for a little while, so I think I'm going to have to repeat this breakfast some time in the near future.

Question of the Day:
What breakfast food fills you up until your next meal?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday, loves!

I had a spectacular jam-packed weekend.  On Saturday, I finally got to meet my adorable niece Sophia.  Even though I had a baby almost seven months ago, I almost forgot how tiny babies are!  When I arrived at the hospital she had a very full belly and was sleeping like a......well....baby.

Check out those cheeks!
I couldn't stop staring at her.  She is perfect in every way.  I can't wait for my little guy to meet her.  I'm so excited that my brother's children and my child are pretty close in age.  I grew up really close to my cousins and I hope that our children have the same opportunity.

Sunday was a really great family day.  The hubby got some yard work done while the little guy and I sat outside to watch.  We finally got to plant our Easter flowers in front of our house.  I remember gardening with my dad when I was little, but once I dug into the ground and saw the worms, I freaked out.  The hubby was kind enough to finish up where I left off.  I rewarded him with some lunch.  I might not be able to handle the worms, but I can compensate by making a sandwich!

After lunch, we put the little guy on his blanket and let him play around. 

After a nice walk around our neighborhood the hubby took charge of dinner and he made some scrambled eggs.  They were cheesy, delicious and just what I was craving.

All in all I would say that it was an awesome weekend!

Question of the Day:
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie