Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Since it's gotten colder, it's almost a guarantee that I have to scrape the ice off of my car windows every morning.  I hate it! On Wednesday, the hubby informed me there was a present for me in my trunk.  This morning, when I looked inside, I saw this.


Source

It's Rain X De-Icer and I think I'm in love.  It literally took the ice off of my windows in seconds.  Today, I'm thankful for this little product and for the thoughtfulness of my hubby.

Secondly?  I'm thankful that my work is closing for the week between Christmas and New Years and that I'm off from Monday, 12/24-Tuesday, 1/1.  I'll be taking time off to hang out with my family and unplug for a little while.  

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Take Some Time


Happy Wednesday!

I make it a habit to flip through the Church Bulletin on the drive home from Sunday Mass.  It's something I've always done, and by the time we get home, the bulletin goes in the trash.  Except for this week.  The bulletin is sitting on our counter-top because there's something in there I want to save.  Something that struck a chord in me and something that I'd like to share with all of you.

Here's the excerpt.....

So, in the meanwhile, as we prepare for Christmas, the following can bring true joy to our hearts. This Advent and Christmas why not:

Mend a quarrel.  Seek out a forgotten friend.  Dismiss suspicion and replace with trust.
Write a friendly letter to someone.  Share some treasure. Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.  Keep a promise.
Find the time to.........(fill in).
Forego a grudge.  Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you are
wrong. Try to understand. Banish envy. Ease your demands on others.
Think first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind and gentle.  Laugh a little.
Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence.
Return charity for malice.  Decry complacency. Express your gratitude.
Resolve to go to Mass each Sunday.  Resolve to be at Mass on
time for the beginning of Mass.  Resolve to remain in church until the final
dismissal of Mass.
Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure
in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Be patient in all things.  Speak only good things about others.  Be
extra generous.
Think of others first.  Seek to be humble before God.
Rejoice in the Lord always!

This time of the year, as things can can hectic and our focus can get lost, I hope we can take the time to slow down and remember the reason for the season.

Question of the Day:
Are you all ready for Christmas?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa? I Know Him!

*My heart goes out to all of those affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  May God grant them peace in this time of chaos.


Over the weekend, the little guy got to meet Santa.  Every year, my younger brother dresses as Santa for the little guy.  I thought he'd be afraid of him, but he was actually fantastic.  He got to ring Santa's bells, give him hugs and he even sat on his lap (and smiled!)






He kept asking Santa questions like "where is Mrs. Claus?  Can you bring me some paint brushes?"  It was pretty hysterical.

Of course, when I tried to get a picture of the three of us with Santa, the little guy was more focused on playing with the cars Santa brought him than smiling for a picture.  Oh well - you win some, you lose some!


Later that night, the hubby took me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday.  When we came home, my immediate family was there for a surprise birthday party.  I can't believe the hubby actually pulled it off without me having any idea that something was going on.  I'm not the easiest person to surprise.  In fact, when it was the day of my bridal shower - I thought I was going to a surprise party for my aunt.  I got a fake invitation in the mail and everything!  So yeah, the fact that he "got me" is pretty legendary!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thankful 30 Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Well, kids, today is my 30th birthday.  Yikes.  It seems weird even typing that out.  I can remember back on my 21st birthday, my younger brother turned to me and said "just think, Anne Marie.  The next birthday you have to look forward to is 30."  I'm telling you, it feels like he said that yesterday.  Has 9 years gone by already?

I think I'm having a hard time turning 30 because I remember my mom in her 30's and thinking she was old.  How did I get here so quickly?

Anyway....today, I'm thankful that I get to celebrate my birthday at home with my family.  We've all taken the day off to spend some time together and really, that's all I want on my birthday.

Source
Question of they Day:
What are you thankful for today?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monster Magic Cookie Bars


Happy Wednesday!

Over the weekend, the hubby and I attended a Christmas party.  Each person was asked to bring either an appetizer or dessert.  In my house, one of the cardinal rules is that you should never make something new and bring it to a party in case it doesn't turn out right.  It seems that my mom and I break that rule all of the time.

Case in point.  When I saw this recipe for Monster Magic Cookie Bars, I thought it would be the perfect thing to make.

Here's the recipe:

9 full graham crackers (I actually used 15 because 9 crushed graham crackers didn't fit my 9x13 pan)
4 tbsp. butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
approximately 3/4 c. oats
approximately 3/4 c. M&Ms

1. In a zip top bag, crush the graham crackers using a rolling pin.
2. Once crushed, add the 4 tbsp. butter to the bag.
3. Place in the microwave and heat up for about 30 seconds.
4. Remove from microwave, let out the air and make sure the bag is sealed (maybe let it cool for a
second or two!), and “mush” the butter and graham crackers together until fully incorporated.
5. Press the graham cracker crumbs into a well-greased and parchment lined 9×13 baking dish.
6. Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker layer.
7. Sprinkle the oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips evenly over the sweetened condensed milk and
gently press in a little.
8. Bake at 350ยบ for 30 minutes or until browned and pulling away from the edges.
9. Let cool and serve.
10. - See more at: http://www.somethingswanky.com/monster-magic-cookiebars/#sthash.OsHP6ceJ.dpuf


This whipped up in no time and the hardest part was waiting for them to cool before digging in.  I may have burnt my mouth trying to taste one.  I'm such a little kid with things like that.



I used red and green M&M's because it seemed festive.  Let me tell you - these guys were amazing.  They are very, very rich so even though they are addictive, one square is more than enough - and this is coming from someone who hardly ever thinks anything is too rich.

I'll definitely be making these again over the next few weeks!

Question of the Day:
Do you do any holiday baking?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Growing up, there was this house nearby that used to have a Christmas display unlike anything I'd ever seen before.  Every year my family would pile up in the car, drive the 30 minute trip and join other families in looking at this house.  The owner had a lot of property, so the lights, animated reindeer and Santa seemed to go on forever.  In reality, The house stretched about a block and a half, but to a 7 year old, that was equivalent to forever. No trip to the house was complete without pausing at the memorial the guy had for his wife who had away from cancer. He dedicated the display to her every year.  Sadly, the owner of the house stopped putting up those lights a few years ago, and there never was anything that quite lived up to that house.

Fast forward a bunch of years - as fate would have it, we live right down the street from someone that puts out a lot of Christmas lights/lawn decorations and various animated Christmas paraphernalia   This guy even has lights on his roof and a full-size Santa in an air balloon.  It's a little bit insane, especially because the houses where I live aren't very large, and the grassy area isn't much.  But every year since we've moved there, we anxiously anticipate when he's going to put out his lights so that we can enjoy it.

Last year the little guy loved seeing the lights, hearing the music and walking around the property.  In fact, while we were walking around, the owner came outside and was talking to the others who had stopped by to marvel at his house.  I got a chance to thank him for all the time and effort and he looked at the little guy and said "him right there - that's the reason I do this.  The kids love it!"  

Last night was the first time I noticed his lights on.  As soon as I came home from work, I bundled up the little guy, got the hubby to put on his shoes and out the door we went to marvel at this year's display.  Every year the owner adds something different - this time it was red and green arches over the driveway.  Yes, it's obnoxious, and yes his energy bill is probably through the roof, but today, I'm thankful for those extreme Christmas-lighters.

The picture below is one I found off of a Google search - and while the house I'm talking about doesn't look like this, I think you'll get a better picture of what I mean when I say "extreme Christmas-lighter."  haha.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Things I'm Digging This Holiday Season


Hello, friends!  Happy Wednesday!

It's a slow week over here at work.  The students are officially in exam season which means that most of the professors aren't around.  It makes for a quiet work day, and while I'm certainly not complaining, I think I reached the end of the internet yesterday.  I mean really, there's only so much time you can waste on Pinterest, right?  I was so bored that I actually thought about organizing my Pinterest boards.  It was that bad.

So. The Christmas Season.  Can we discuss this for a second?  For the first time in as long as I can remember, I can actually sit back and enjoy the holiday season this year.  I finished up my shopping extremely early (thank God for cyber Monday deals!) and now I have the opportunity to soak it all in.  Last night the little guy and I took a walk to see the Christmas lights in the neighborhood.  It was unseasonably warm and the little guy loves looking for Santa, Frosty and Snoopy.  I think he likes the blow-up lawn decorations more than the lights themselves.  

Aside from gifts that have been purchased for the little guy, I thought I'd drum up a post about things I'm digging this holiday season.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who shops for themselves during this time of the year!

ELF (Eyes, Lips, Face) makeup.  Has anyone else heard of this company?  I've seen their products in Target and not only are they super cheap, but their make-up is actually good.  The other night I picked up their Essential Little Black Beauty Book of eye shadow for $5.00.  I'm kinda in love with it.  I literally went home and threw out all of my old eye shadow (we're talking stuff that has been around for years....I know...gross).  My make-up bag has never been so light!

Pashminas.  I can't ever get enough of these things.  I wear them all of the time during the winter and especially in the office.  It's always freezing!

Five Below.  My babysitter told me about this store last Christmas.  Everything in the store is priced at $5.00 or cheaper, and while some of the things in there are total junk, you can score some great deals on movies, stocking stuffers and gifts for kids.  I would say roughly half of the little guy's presents came from Five Below.  A Mickey Mouse puzzle for $2.00?  Yes, please!

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.  I love this movie so, so much!  I bought it last year in hopes that the little guy would love it as much as I do.  He's just starting to get into it this holiday season.  Last night, he saw Cookie Monster typing on a typewriter and asked me what it was.  Oh man, did that make me feel old!

Smiley face pizza.  Because really, you're never to old to enjoy it.  Finding the smiley face on this pizza we made on Sunday is like trying find Waldo, but we loved it all the same.



Question of the Day:
What are you enjoying this holiday season?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, December 3, 2012

Crock Pot Wings

Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!  

A friend of mine had been raving about a crock pot wing recipe on facebook the other day so much so that I knew I had to try it.  

Instead of wings, I used drumsticks and took the skin off before making the recipe.  This was the first time I've ever taken the skin off of anything - I typically go the easy route and buy things skinless.  I bit the bullet this time and while it wasn't difficult to do, it did gross me out a little bit.  

The recipe was easy enough and I had everything except for the Dijon mustard.  My friend also added a tablespoon of ground ginger to the mix and since she liked it so much, I added it as well.

Ingredients

    • 5 lbs chicken wings
    • 2 cups brown sugar
    • 1 cup Dijon mustard
    • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

Directions

  1. Remove the tips from the chicken wings; separate the wings at the joint.
  2. Place them in a crock pot.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.


You could cook this on high for three hours if you are crunched for time.  I cooked mine on low and after it was done, I took the lid off and let the sauce thicken up.  You could also take the lid off during the last hour of cooking.


I served the drumsticks with some french fries.  I have been craving them for quite some time now!


The drumsticks were deliciously sweet and the chicken was literally falling off of the bone - no knife needed! The husband hardly said a word during dinner because he liked them that much.  It was certainly a hit in our house!

The little guy wasn't a fan, so he had some fake chicken nuggets from Morningstar Farms.  He loves those things!

After dinner, the little guy once again asked if he could watch a Mickey Mouse movie.  This is now his favorite thing to wear when he watches Mickey Mouse:

1.  Sunglasses
2.  Mickey Mouse Fireman Hat from a Halloween costume my babysitter gave to us
3.  Slippers

I think he looks pretty handsome don't you? haha



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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

After dinner last night, the little guy and I were hanging out downstairs.  He asked if he could watch a Mickey Mouse DVD.  It's his latest obsession and it's gotten to the point where I cringe every time he asks to watch it.  I literally go through my work day singing the songs from the show and it's to the point of crazy!

As soon as our feet hit the playroom, he said "mommy, can we watch Mickey Mouse?"  I sighed, turned on the DVD player and parked myself on the couch.  Next thing I knew, the little guy grabbed a blanket, came over to where I was sitting and said "mommy, will you snuggle with me?"

Seriously - it was one of my favorite moments ever.  We snuggled on the couch watching the movie and had a wonderful time.



Today, I'm thankful for that snuggle time.  And that Mickey Mouse movie?  It didn't seem so bad this time around.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Me vs. Turkey


Happy Wednesday! 

You know, despite the fact that I enjoy cooking, I can't, for the life of me, cook a turkey.  Not because it's physically impossible for me, but the thought of cleaning out the turkey, giblets and all, grosses me out.  I just can't bring myself to get past it.

This year I had the option of getting a free turkey, turkey breast or Stouffer's lasagna because I earned points from grocery shopping.  I typically pick the lasagna because it's insanely good.  The downside, though, is that it's also insanely loaded with calories and fat.  My mom convinced me to try cooking a turkey breast.  I bit the bullet, claimed my free turkey breast and cooked it over the weekend.

We had it for the first time last night and served it with wild rice mixed with veggies.


As with almost every lesson I've learned in my life, my mom was right.  It cooked in the oven for a few hours and was easy as pie.  I'm glad I have this experience under my belt.  Giblets, on the other hand, will just have to wait for another day.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever cooked a "full" turkey or chicken?  

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving and Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine was good.  We spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws.  While I hate that I don't get to see my family on Thanksgiving, the trade-off is that I get to spend Christmas day with them.  I feel like it's a small sacrifice and so to my in-laws we went.

The little guy took his nap on the way over to their house.  They were eating early, and we didn't want to arrive right at dinnertime, so we opted to have him nap in the car.  His usual 1.5-2 hour nap was cut short to 40 minutes, but in spite of that, he did really well.  He got to see his cousins, and it's amazing to see what a difference a year makes.  Last year the hubby and I were constantly attached at the hip to the little guy - we didn't want him to get hurt or touch things he shouldn't be touching (i.e. electrical sockets).  This year, however, the little guy and my nephews were running around the house, playing tag, watching tv.....being complete boys.



Over the weekend we put up our Christmas decorations and decorated the tree.  The Elf on the Shelf came to visit us for the first time this year.  Basically, the elf is sent from Santa to watch over the kids in your house.  Each night he goes back and reports to Santa whether or not the child was good or bad.  There's a whole story that goes with the elf - it's really adorable.  I wasn't sure if the little guy would be afraid or not, but it turns out that he thinks the elf is really neat.

One of the first things the story tells you to do is to name your elf so he can begin working his magic.  We talked about all of the different names he could have but the little guy chose this profound name - Elf the Boy.  Yup, he's creative, folks!


That was my week in a nutshell.  I can't believe the Thanksgiving break is over already!

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

Until next time! 
~Anne Marie 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grandpop!

Happy Monday! 

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was both relaxing and productive.  I love weekends like that!  Bonus - this is a short work-week for me.  With Thanksgiving on Thursday, I took off on Wednesday and our office is closed Friday.  I'm pretty excited about that!

So today is a special day in our family - today, my grandpop would have been 87 years old.  He passed away when he was the 63 from cancer, and while I was only 7 years old when he died, I still remember bits and pieces about him.  

My grandpop was a plumber by trade.  After he retired, he still made house calls and didn't charge his customers.  In fact, there was one Christmas Eve where he spent some time installing a hot water heater for someone.  He was just that kind of a guy.  

Speaking of Christmas, my grandpop used to dress as Santa Claus for underprivileged children and he would also be the Santa Claus in the neighborhood.  I remember him dressing as Santa for his grandchildren - he made an awesome one, even though I was afraid of him!

Of all of the things I remember about my grandpop, the one thing that sticks out the most is how much faith he had.  He used to go on retreats at Malvern Retreat house and attended daily Mass.  I remember when he came home from retreat one year and called me over to sit on his lap.  He told me he had something for me and he handed me glow in the dark rosary beads.  I thought they were the cat's meow.  I used to keep them in my pencil case during school hours and when I was particularly stressed, I would take them to bed with me and say some prayers. 

He had a gentle spirit and a kind heart.  Whenever he would see his grandkids, he would squeeze our cheeks harder than you could ever imagine and give us the best hugs in the world.  Unfortunately I don't have any scanned pictures of him, so I had to steal this one from my grandmom's facebook.  Yup, my 85 year old grandmom has facebook - how cool is she? 

Grandmom and Grandpop at Aunt Nette's Wedding

When I was preggo and the hubby and I were going back and forth with names, I asked what he thought of having a middle name of Peter (my grandpop's name).  My hubby gave the green light, and when our little guy was born, we named him John Peter.  I like to think that the little guy has some of my grandpop's spirit in him, and I see it most when he smiles.

I'm not sure if I'll get back to posting here before Thanksgiving, but if not, I want to wish all of my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Has this week been dragging for anyone else?  Maybe it's because I know next week is a shorter week, but it feels like it's taking forever!

Today, I'm thankful for TV shows that make me laugh.  Sometimes I take life too seriously, get too anxious over the little things.  There aren't too many shows that I'm into, but these two make me laugh the most:

Source

Source
Modern Family and The Office are my favorite!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chinese Food at Home

Happy Wednesday!

It's no secret that I love Chinese food.  In fact, if it were acceptable for my waistline, I'd probably eat Chinese food almost every day of the year.  My favorites include sesame chicken, sweet and sour chicken and general tso's chicken.  I've tried making my own Chinese food following different recipes along the way, but nothing really tasted like authentic Chinese food....and every recipe had an ingredient that I didn't have in my house.  

I've been holding onto this recipe for far too long and it was finally time to test it out.  I first found it on Pinterest, and the description promised that it would be the "best make at home Chinese food you can find." I shrugged my shoulders and took a look at the recipe.  At first glance, I noticed I already had every single ingredient in my house already.  Score one for me!  Second bonus?  It didn't take a huge amount of time to make from start to finish. 

I followed the suggestion of making extra sauce and I am glad I did.  One batch of sauce will definitely work for the chicken, but if you like to spoon some over the rice, you'll need to make extra sauce.


I served mine with brown rice, but next time I make this (and there will be a next time) I'll add some steamed broccoli as well.  I'm not kidding when I say that this tasted exactly like take-out food. The sauce was a little bit tangy and spot on.  This one's a keeper!

Here's the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe:


Sweet and Sour Chicken
from melskitchencafe.com
*Note: if you like extra sauce, double the sauce ingredients - pour half over the chicken and follow the recipe instructions; pour the other half in a small saucepan and cook the sauce on the stovetop at a simmer for 8-10 minutes until it reduces and thickens. Serve it on the side of the chicken.
*Serves 4-6
INGREDIENTS:
Chicken:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
Sauce:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip each piece over to cook on the other side until nicely golden but not all the way cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with sauce. Serve over hot, steamed rice.

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite thing to order from a take-out restaurant?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Party Recap

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine went pretty well - can't believe we're back at Monday again.  Where is the time going?

On Saturday my brothers and I headed down to my mom's house to celebrate her birthday.  It's always a good time getting the kids together.


The little guy and my nephew couldn't wait to help my mom open her gifts.  My niece was excited to play with the boxes.  My brothers and I got my mom a Keurig Machine, a refillable k-cup and a mug with pictures of our family and the kiddos.  She loved it!



After the presents were opened, we tried to get a picture of my mom and her grandkids.  This is always a fun moment because literally everyone without a camera stands behind those with cameras and jump up and down trying to get the three of them to at least look at the camera.  Smiles are encouraged but clearly they are optional.


Of course my brothers and I had to get in on a photo as well.  I still don't understand how my younger brother is taller than all of us.  It's ridiculous!


Sidebar - can I just say how much I love leggings?  Why oh why did I wait for so long before getting in on this trend? 

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday!

Yesterday, the Philadelphia region was forecasted to get some snow and some areas were set to get up to 6 inches.  Umm....excuse me?  It's November! Snow isn't supposed to happen yet! 

This morning when I woke up, there was no snow on the ground, and today, I'm thankful that the snow stayed away.


Source
As a kid I used to love the stuff but now that I actually have to commute in it, I can't stand it!  I'm going to bask in the no-snow glory - I don't know how much longer it'll last though - it's supposed to be a rough winter!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Very Special Happy Birthday

Today is my mom's birthday.  Happy birthday, Mom!

My mom is the most person I know.  She's kind, thoughtful and always puts everyone else ahead of herself.  I think there should be more days in the year to celebrate how wonderful she is and how much she means to everyone around her.



I never appreciated how great of a mom she is until I became a mom myself.  I never realized the sacrifice, tears, joy, worry and happiness that comes with being a parent.  Sometimes, after having a rough day with the little guy, I sit back and think about how my mom did it with the three of us.  How she seldom lost her patience even when my younger brother was upset because I was looking at him the wrong way.  You can bet that I've gotten in trouble for looking at my brother, and now all I can do is smile and laugh because I get it.

Along with being a phenomenal mom, she's also an outstanding grandmom.  My son loves her so much and would much prefer hanging out with her rather than me.  This may or may not be because he gets lots of treats at my mom's house.


So, happy birthday to the best mom in the entire world! I love you!

Question of the Day:
Who's the most inspirational person in your life?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hold Your Horses!

Happy Monday!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend!  Mine was spent running some errands, spending some quality time with my mom and grandmom and hanging out with the hubby. 

So what's that blog title all about, you're wondering?  Well - let me tell you!  I went food shopping on Friday and the first thing I noticed was the huge stack of Christmas-themed candy right where the Halloween candy was the week before.  After walking down a few aisles, half of one which was specifically Christmas oriented, I started thinking about why this season is rushed so much.  As I was leaving, I noticed some workers putting up the lighted snowflakes outside of the store along with other winter decorations.  

I put it out of my head until Sunday, when we were driving home from Church and saw a business with wreaths and garland on their doors and windows.  I did a double-take.  Seriously?  We've just gotten over Halloween and instead of gearing up for Thanksgiving and focusing on being thankful, there are those that are focusing on the holiday season, getting the best deal on a certain product and the like. My aunt told me this morning that when she was in Old Navy two Christmas songs came over the airways....I just can't handle it!

The earlier the holiday season starts, the earlier I start to resent it.  Call me a Grinch, but I'd like to focus on Thanksgiving before focusing on Christmas! 




Source

Growing up, my mom always had a rule that the Christmas tree never went up until after my birthday.  I have a mid-December birthday and I could never understand what the big deal was, but now I completely get it.  Thanks, Mom, for always making my birthday separate from Christmas.  Thank you for never rushing the holiday season and for always keeping me in check.

I'm going to be a little bit of a Grinch at least until Thanksgiving is over.  Anyone else with me or am I being a little bit unreasonable?

Question of the Day:
When do you start celebrating the holidays?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful that Halloween was a success for the little guy.  He was dressed up as Woody from Toy Story.  He couldn't wait to knock on the houses and say "trick or treat!"





We allowed him to pick out one piece of candy to eat when we came home.  This was his face after eating his Hershey bar.  The Air Head he's holding is part of the candy we gave out to other trick-or-treaters.


The little guy had so much fun!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Staying Warm When It's Cold


Happy Wednesday!

I live right outside of Philadelphia, so the past two days I was hunkered down in the house thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully we never lost power, didn't have any damage to the house and only had to deal with minor water in our crawl space.  It was nothing a towel couldn't fix.  Needless to say, things are starting to get back to normal.  Was anyone else affected?  

Since the temperature has dropped drastically, it's that time of year to bring out the blankets, crank up the heat and start the coffee brewing. (Realistically, though, I brew coffee all year long!)

I was contacted by Craft Coffee to see if I would be interested in spreading the word about their company.  Disclaimer - I did not receive any sampling or compensation - this is just a company I think deserves a shout-out!

                                        

According to the company, Craft Coffee "turns coffee drinkers into coffee lovers" with their monthly subscription.  Basically, you receive three roasters each month when you sign up for a subscription.  One of my favorite parts about the company is the way their testing panel works.  Check it out:

"... [T]o bring you truly only the most excellent coffees available each month, we place every coffee we sample into a anonymous brown bag. Our expert tasting panel knows only the country where the coffee was grown and the date it was roasted. Without the distraction of packaging and branding, we can focus squarely on finding truly outstanding coffees for you - by taste!
The results are amazing. Sometimes the roasters with the best reputation have the best brews, and sometimes they don't. This leads us to feature coffees from tiny upstarts as well as more established artisan roasters."

Wanna find out more?  Check out this video- http://vimeo.com/46327116



I also have some awesome news to share - if you decide to purchase a subscription, enter the promo code weighpromo, which will give you 20% off of your first month.  The code will be valid for two weeks.

Have a coffee lover on your holiday list?  This might be just the thing to give them!

Question of the Day:
Are you a coffee drinker?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday



Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful for what I read in Self magazine on my way into work.  Their last page is called "A Moment for Yourself" and it's one of my favorite parts of the magazine.  Here's what's in the November issue (the text is also typed below the picture in case it's too hard to read):



"Make your escape
You are not your to-do list.  You are not your have-tos or must-dos.  You are not your job.  Although your first waking thoughts likely focus on the needs of others and all the things you want to accomplish, you are, most important, yourself.  Take time every day to remember that - even if it means running away from everyone and everything you love so you come back refreshed and recharged.  The world can wait.  You shouldn't have to."

This was just the reminder I needed today!

Question of the Day:
What are you thankful for?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peeking In......

....to tell you the winner of the ChapStick Giveaway is Donna!

Donna, please send me an e-mail (abinns3142@aol.com) and I'll get your gift pack out to you!

Congratulations!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Like Big Sticks.....

....and I cannot lie.  You're welcome for getting that song stuck in your head.

I started a new course yesterday called the Principles of Obesity Economics.  It's offered for free from Coursera, and although you don't get any college credit when you complete the class, you do get a certificate of completion in addition to learning some interesting information.  There are tons of courses you can take, so if you're interested, head on over to check it out!

Listening to lectures during my blogging time made me invisible yesterday in the blog world.  But have no fear, I'm here to give you a recap of the weekend and I'm sure you're all sitting on the edge of your seats just waiting to read this post....haha

On Sunday the hubby and I took the little guy to the park (which is really just a college campus with lots of open space).  It's so beautiful there, especially during this time of the year.



So the name for the blog post comes from the simple fact that the little guy loves sticks almost as much as he loves chocolate cake.  He was super excited when he found one large stick that could be broken down into two sticks.

He kept telling me that the sticks were his canes and that they helped him to walk, like his GiGi (my grandmom).


One of my favorites from the day is the one below for the simple fact that it's a picture of our shadows.  Yeah, I'm a dork like that!




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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, October 19, 2012

ChapStick Giveaway Time!

Happy Friday!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate Friday than to host a giveaway.

I wouldn't consider myself a make-up person.  I love taking the time to do my make-up when I have a special occasion or something but on a day-to-day basis, I'll choose an extra 5 minutes of sleep over putting on make-up.

With that being said, though, I am a lip gloss hoarder.  I always have some type of lip gloss on me at all times and when I find something I like, I'll buy a few of them and stash them in my work bag, my pocketbook and on the dresser in my room.  I'm kinda crazy that way.

I was really excited when I was contacted and asked if I wanted to review some ChapStick products. Whenever I see the name ChapStick, I'm immediately transported to my school years where I would carry around "insert newest flavor here" of ChapStick in my uniform pocket.  

I literally jumped up and down when the package came in the mail.  I'm that much of a nerd!    Inside the box was a ChapStick towel, a make-up bag and two varieties of ChapStick - ChapStick Sport Ready and ChapStick Moisturizer Raspberry Creme.

Disclosure: “The ChapStick® product, information and gift have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.”

I opened up the Raspberry Creme first and started using it immediately.  True to ChapStick fashion, it smelled delicious!  I really enjoyed using this product because of the moisturizer in it.  Around this time of the year, my lips start to dry out and crack.  This ChapStick has SPF 15 as well as aloe and Vitamin E, which has helped keep my lips smooth.

I've tried the Sport Ready ChapStick and I really enjoyed that too - particularly because it has a clip top which makes it convenient to clip onto my keys, water bottle or anywhere else when I don't have pockets.  Not having to dig around to find my ChapStick is extremely helpful!

One of the best parts about this entire thing?  I've got a goodie package to give away to a lucky reader as well!  The gift package will contain a ChapStick Towel, ChapStick Sport Ready and ChapStick Moisturizer Raspberry Creme.

All you have to do is answer the Question of the Day.  A winner will be chosen on Wednesday, October 24th.  Good luck!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite type of ChapStick or lip gloss?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Cat's Out of the Bag

Happy Wednesday!

A couple of days ago, Jenn from Slim Shoppin asked me if I would like to be featured on her weight loss success story page.  I was honored and couldn't wait to answer her questions.  Yesterday, the post went live (here it is!) and, while I was more than excited to share my story with people who I don't "know" in the internet world, I wasn't sure whether or not I should share it on my Facebook page.  I had a debate with myself.  Don't get me wrong - I feel that I own my weight loss and all that comes with it.  It's not who I am, but it does have a huge part in my daily life.  What I struggled with was letting the "world" know that I have a blog.  Most of my family and close friends know about it, but there are others who simply had no idea.  (Even my best friend had no clue- hi best friend if you're reading!)   It's not that I'm ashamed or have any reason to hide, but blogging isn't something that comes up in my every day conversations, so I don't talk a lot about it.  There's something about openly discussing it that makes me feel vulnerable.  I mean this is my outlet and the place where I sometimes share pretty personal things.  Did I really want to open myself up to everyone I actually know?

So, what did I decide to do?  Yesterday, I let the cat out of the bag and shared the post with my Facebook friends.  People I knew from college, neighbors, friends, "friends" from high school.....now they know.  

Source
You know what?  It wasn't so bad.  The outpouring of love and support is overwhelming.  I don't know why I held back for so long.  It feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and that I can breathe in the crisp, fresh air....and it feels fantastic.

So Jenn.....thanks so much for the opportunity! I really appreciate it!

Question of the Day:

For those of you who are bloggers, are you "open" with your blog?  

Until next time!
~Anne Marie