Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! 

I think I've woken up every day this week thinking it was Friday which means that this work week seems like it's taking forever! 

Today, I'm thankful for the little guy growing up and starting to "talk." Here's a video of him saying "hi" or at least that's what I'd like to think! I have to admit that I'm getting a little teary eyed as I watch him become more independent. He no longer loves to rest in my arms (unless he's ridiculously tired) and has even started holding the bottle on his own. It's amazing to watch him grow up. Everyone told me that this time would fly by and you know what? They were right.

Having the little guy around makes me realize how much I need to slow down, breathe deeply and cherish every single moment.

You have one day left to enter my giveaway!  A winner will be chosen tomorrow.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spreading the Love

Happy Wednesday!

Last night was so much fun.  I haven't seen my friend Michele in a long time.  Finally, after FIVE months of planning, we were able to coordinate schedules and hang out.  The husband was working (and she wanted to see the little guy anyway) so she came over my house for dinner, play-time with the baby and girl chat. 

What I love about Michele is that no matter how long it's been since we've talked or e-mailed we always pick up right where we left off.  It only takes a few minutes before we are laughing so hard our sides hurt and wiping the tears that form in the corners of our eyes from remembering our single days.

Wherever she goes, Michele spreads love.  Last night was no exception, and she walked in with the most amazing focaccia bread, a ball for the little guy (which he absolutely loved) and this cuteness of a bag.

Excuse my messy desk at work
Isn't is cute?  It's a perfect fit for the boatload of food that I bring into the office each day. 

Please don't judge, but I have a YoKid's yogurt in my lunch bag today. My sister-in-law left them for the taking when she went home from our vacation so I snatched them up. The ingredient list is simple, and because it's a kid's product made by Stonyfield, I know that it's good quality. Would it be weird if I added these into my rotation of snacks? I'm seriously considering it.

I just got back from a circuit training class so I'm headed back to work.  Have a great day!

P.S.  Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Winners will be chosen on Friday.

Question of the Day:
How do you share the love?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Giveaway Time!

Happy Tuesday!

Last night I didn't get home with the little guy until after 7:00. My mom was watching him and she lives about 40 minutes from my house. It's such a big help during the summer for my mom to watch the little guy because not only do they get extra time together, but it also cuts down the cost of the babysitter. I thought it would get easier and easier knowing that I have to work but each day it gets worse and worse.  I really wish I could be a stay-at-home mom!

Instead of wallowing in the sadness, I'm going to put my energy into my workout today.  There's a new class at the gym at work called Dance 'n' Tone that my friend and I are trying out.  It sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun dancing around and acting like a fool.  Having fun while working out?  Sign me up!
I don't know about you, but I love giveaways on blogs.  I think they are so much fun, and if you win, you get to try out something new!

Right before we went on vacation, I received the following gift pack from General Mills.

*Disclaimer I received the gift pack, information and the free product from General Mills for free*
The package contained Fiber One's new 80 calorie cereal, a pedometer with a USB connector and an iPod holder with an arm strap.  What I love about the pedometer is that you can chart your walking progress by plugging it into your computer.  I'm a visual person, so being able to see how I'm doing is very motivational.

I ended up taking the cereal with me to the beach for everyone to try.  It didn't take long before I broke into the box and grabbed a handful of cereal.  I enjoyed it!  It reminded me of Chex cereal, and I loved that it wasn't overly sweet or dry.  One serving of cereal is only 80 calories and provides you with 40% of your daily fiber.  Not a bad deal, in my opinon!

Want a chance to win this awesome prize pack?  All you have to do is answer the following question:

Question of the Day:
Why do you want the prize pack?

I'll pick a random winner by this Friday.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, June 27, 2011

Highlights from the Shore

Happy Monday!

We're back from the shore! My mom invited the family down to North Wildwood New Jersey for a few days of rest and relaxation. My brothers, mom and I haven't lived under the same roof for six years so I think we were all a little bit nervous that we'd get on each other's nerves by the end of the trip!  Thankfully that didn't happen, and after a few short days, here are some things I learned from this trip:
  1. My nephew reminds me so much of my brother it's scary.
  2. Even after six years apart, I'm still the instigator of the family.  Truth is that I don't even realize I'm doing it until someone gets annoyed.
  3. My niece has started smiling and I LOVE IT!  (Part of me thinks she laughs because her aunt is so crazy!)
  4. My son loves the sand and hates the ocean.
  5. My mom still makes the best food around.
  6. Having a few drinks with my brothers was a lot of fun.
  7. My sister-in-law has so much patience it's amazing!
  8. Sibling antics don't ever change.
Even though we were only there for two full days, we were able to go to the beach, hang out by the pool, visit the boardwalk and see the Cape May Zoo (which, by the way, you should definitely check out if you are ever in the area!)  We're hoping to be able to stay a full week next year.  Until then, here are some highlights from vacation!

Family photo on the beach

Hubby, nephew, brother and little guy

The view from the balcony

My mom with her grandchildren

My niece smiling up a storm!

Loving the sand

Family shot - we all got the "wear a gray shirt" memo


My brother and nephew
I can't wait to go back!

Stay tuned tomorrow - I have a fun giveaway coming your way!

Question of the Day:
What was the best vacation you ever took?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fun Times Are Ahead

Happy Tuesday! I'm so excited because this is an extra short work week for me. The family and I are headed down to the beach for a long weekend. The best part is that my older brother and his family and my younger brother and mom will be there. We're going to the same place we stayed at two years ago. My older brother called me yesterday to tell me how excited he was to have everyone together on vacation. We haven't been together on a vacation since we were pre-teens!

Even though we get into arguments once in awhile, I'm happy to say that my brothers are the best.  See how much we love each other?

Since there won't be many meals at home this week, I decided to do something quick and simple for dinner.  I cooked up a huge pot of whole grain spaghetti and put it in a casserole dish......

...and topped it with cheese, of course!

I know it's weird to eat long spaghetti like this, but it's easy and simple portion control for me.

Question of the Day:
How do you keep your portions in check?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, June 20, 2011

Best Dessert Ever!

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Yesterday I planned a picnic in the park with the little guy for the husband's first Father's Day. The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious and the company was spectacular :)

In honor of Father's Day, I decided to make the hubby a dessert that he would enjoy. He's typically not a dessert person, often choosing healthier options over things like cake and ice cream (really, who IS this person I married?), but when I found this recipe for Chocolate-Peanut Butter Truffles, I knew he'd love it.

I've never dabbled in making truffles before, but this was an extremely easy dessert recipe that will definitely be making the rounds at family parties. 

It was late at night when I made these guys so there aren't too many pictures.

Truffles before being rolled in powdered sugar

The end result!
The husband declared these the best dessert ever because they tasted like a Reese's cup. Now I have an entire fridge filled with these things that call my name every time I see them. They are amazing.....what are you waiting for? Make these now!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, June 17, 2011

Needing to Cook Ahead

Happy Friday!

With Father's Day and vacation right around the corner, I absolutely positively need to get some cooking done. I have a ton of chicken in the freezer but I'm tired of the same old chicken dishes like chicken cutlet, Mrs. Dash chicken, buffalo chicken....catch my drift?   I've been told before that I have a "chicken blog" which cracks me up, but seriously, it's one of the easiest meals for me to make.

Chicken cutlet, I love you but you're getting annoying
I know if I don't get any cooking done, I'll have too much to do when we come home, so cooking ahead it is!  I'm thinking perhaps some pasta dish, some chicken dish and a veggie dish.  Any inspiration from my fellow blog readers would be much appreciated!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite recipe?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I don't like the fact that I've been neglecting the blog. Lately I've been feeling uninspired to post much of anything but somehow Thankful Thursdays always bring me back. There's always something in life to be grateful for, even if it's hard to find sometimes!

Today I'm thankful for short work weeks. I'm off with the little guy tomorrow, and we're spending the day hanging out with his grandmom before my husband gets home from work.

Short work weeks are awesome, don't you think? I think that we should work for two days and be off for five. Any chances of that happening any time soon? haha

My only hope is that the little guy doesn't hog the phone.......

*Disclaimer - this picture was taken in the winter. My mom was singing to him and he put the phone to his ear himself. It was so precious that I made the husband take a picture of it.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend!

Question of the Day:

What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, June 13, 2011

Product Review: Philadelphia Cooking Creme

Happy Monday!!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good and low key. The hubby and I spent a lot of time running errands yesterday and while it was annoying spending most of the day running errands, at least we were able to do something together. It's the simple things, right?

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Tyson's Grilled and Ready Chicken. In that post, I used Philadelphia Cooking Creme and promised a review of that product as well. Today's the day!

I received a coupon for a free sample of Philadelphia Cooking Creme from Kraft's First Taste Program.  When I went to redeem my coupon, I saw that there were quite a few flavors to choose from: Italian Cheese & Herb, Savory Garlic, Original and Santa Fe Blend.  I picked up the Original flavor at first but then the Italian in me decided to go with the Italian Cheese and Herb.

Philadelphia Cooking Creme's are marketed to make cooking easier.  They can be used in stir-frys, on pasta or chicken....pretty much anything you can think of.  I didn't waste any time in tasting the cooking creme right out of the container.  It was awesome.  There was definitely a bite to it and I knew I wanted to try it on chicken.  Heck, I could've gotten a bag of chips and used it as a dip.  It was THAT good.

I put the cooking creme on top of the chicken and baked it for 30 minutes.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but it tasted awesome!

This product is something I really enjoyed. I look forward to trying more flavors at some point!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite kind of dip?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Here we are at another installment of Thankful Thursday!

Today I'm thankful for a bunch of different things but this one sticks out the most....I'm thankful for reading the book Heaven is for Real (well actually, I'm still in the process of reading it!)  My mom raved about how awesome this book was.  She said that it's a fast read that will strengthen your faith.  Since I got it from her on Saturday, I haven't been able to put it down.  Getting this book from her couldn't have come at a better time - I was looking for something worthwhile to read and the book I was reading (Yesteryear) was dragging along at a snail's pace.

I'm loving this book because it reminds me of things I had forgotten, like having a childlike faith, not worrying and trusting in God. 

Summary of the book from Amazon:

A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

Good books are something to be thankful for, don't you think?

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Our Leader Left and Regular Meatloaf

Do I know how to name blog posts or what? haha.
Last Saturday was my leader's last Weight Watchers class in our area. She's been the leader for a few years now, and seeing her move on to bigger and better things was bittersweet. She's been a huge source of inspiration, an amazing friend and just plain awesome to work with. I'm really going to miss her but she's not moving too far away, so that's a good thing!

Over the weekend I was having one of those "cook out the freezer" moments and I came across some 80/20 ground beef that needed to be eaten. I couldn't tell you the last time I've had regular ground beef because I've been eating ground turkey for many years now. I decided to make a meatloaf. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Well, I was wrong. I forgot how greasy ground beef is and after the meatloaf cooled, it was sitting in a pile of grease. Talk about disgusting!

I was literally dabbing the meatloaf with a paper towel before I ate it. Now I remembered why I eat ground turkey! I don't think I'll be making that mistake again any time soon.

Question of the Day:
What's a food that you used to eat regularly but now won't touch?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Know It's Weird But......

I know it's weird but sometimes I rock the dress pants with sneakers look at work. No one really cares and my feet are comfortable all day.

I know it's weird but I LOVE ketchup and put it on everything from eggs to potatoes and I've even used it on leftover spaghetti (don't judge - it needed extra sauce and I was out!)

I know it's weird but when I go out to eat I order something I've eaten there before. I'm a creature of habit.

I know it's weird but I eat the same breakfast and lunch almost every day of the week.

I know it's weird but I'm a homebody. I'd much prefer being home than going out.

I know it's weird but I love black bean brownies. (This may be the weirdest confession of them all!)

They really do taste pretty yummy even though there are some members of my family who think otherwise.

To be fair, they really don't taste like regular brownies.  I think they taste extra fudgy and that's just how I like it!

Here's an old school blog post with the recipe for the brownies.

Question of the Day:
Complete the sentence:

I know it's weird but......

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

*Edited to add*  I had this post almost done yesterday but received a phone call that my son's babysitter had a death in the family.  I had to leave work early to pick him up.  I didn't get a chance to reread the post before posting it, so I saved it until this morning.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Happy Thursday!

I can't tell you how much I LOVE four day work weeks.  It makes the week go by so much faster! 

Today, I'm so thankful that I got to see the newest edition to my brother's family, my goddaughter Sophia, on Sunday.  She's only one month old, but she's gotten much bigger since the first time I saw her.

She's incredibly snuggly, which is something I've been missing with my little guy. He's grown out of that "rest your head and snuggle on mommy's shoulder" phase and I miss it more and more each day!

In addition to my new niece, I also got to see my nephew. He was trying to teach my little guy how to give high-fives. It was the best! I'm so excited that the kids are all so close in age. It's going to be so much fun watching them play together.

There's just so much to be thankful the fact that I get to see this face each and every day.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie