Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Today, I'm thankful that I go the chance to be at home with the little guy and the hubby for the hubby's birthday yesterday.

Here's a video of the little guy saying "happy birthday, dada" in between bites of his waffles.



Of course, no birthday would be complete without cake!!  The little guy was a cake-eating machine!





He may look like his daddy but he sure eats like his mommy!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birthday Celebration!

We're celebrating a birthday today......


Happy birthday to my hubby!

The hubby and I celebrated seven years of being together on March 24th.  I always joke that he asked me out around his birthday so that he would remember our anniversary.  haha

Here are a few reasons why my husband deserves to have the happiest of birthdays:

1. He gave me the most precious gift I could have ever asked for.....a baby.

Our first week home after the birth of the little guy.

2. He puts up with me (no explanation needed on this one).

3. He is one of the most loving, giving and patient people I have ever met.

4. His hugs are pretty amazing.


5.  He willingly participates in crazy dance moves such as "the fisherman."


6.  Going along with number 5 above, he dances like no one is watching....even when everyone is.


7.  He has an incredible faith and inspires me to trust in God more and to worry less.

8.  He encourages me to dream big.



9.  He loves a good practical joke and knows how to take things in stride.

10.  He has a wonderful personality.  He has the ability to read people in a way I've never seen anyone else do.

We're taking the day off from work today to celebrate this very special day in my hubby's life.

I hope you have the happiest of birthdays, Dan - I love you!



Love,
Anne Marie

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stretching it Out

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Mine went pretty well. Saturday the little guy and I went to my Mom's and then we met up with my hubby after he finished work. Sunday was rather relaxing. I went on a cooking spree and followed that up with some sleep. I seemed to have caught the little guy's cold. Yuck. Oh well - such is life!

So I have a problem.....a pasta problem. I can't get enough of the stuff. Whenever we have it for dinner (which happens to be quite frequently) I can't seem to stop myself from eating well over a portion size. Have you ever measured a portion of pasta? Two ounces is nothing!

One thing that I definitely need is volume in my dish.  If it looks like I'm eating a lot of food, I'm more likely to be satisfied.  My latest way to stretch out pasta?  Add in some steamed cauliflower. 


I was stuffed after eating this meal. It satisfied my pasta craving while keeping my portions in check.

Question of the Day:
Do you have any tricks to make it look like you are eating more?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

It's supposed to reach a whopping 80 degrees in Philadelphia today. I can hardly believe that we're at the end of March and experiencing summer-like temperatures. I'm certainly not complaining though - I love this weather!

Today, I'm thankful for the beautiful weather and for the official start of Spring. Springtime is such a fun time for me - it means more time outdoors, more sun and more ways to appreciate how beautiful life is.




I took the above pictures on a visit to Longwood Gardens a few years ago. I'm hoping to spend lots of time there this Spring!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Food Review: Mrs. Paul's Parchment Bake

Happy Monday Tuesday!

I was given the opportunity through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program to try out Mrs. Paul's Parchment Bakes. Since we are in the season of Lent (which means no meat on Fridays), I was more than excited for this opportunity.

Fish is one of those things I love eating but rarely make. This is mostly because I can't get away with cooking fish on Sunday to eat over the course of a week.  Last Friday, however, I got out of work early, and this fish was on my mind.



Making this couldn't have been any easier. All you have to do is take the parchment bags out of the box, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 22-24 minutes.


After the time was up, I was greeted with two pieces of delicious tilapia.


I can't wait to try some other varieties. This made for a very simple, yet very delicious meal. The sauce wasn't too overpowering (which seems to be a problem with me and frozen meals) and the tilapia was moist and flavorful.

Two thumbs up for Mrs. Paul's Parchment Bake!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite type of fish!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I am loving this weather!!  Every day the little guy and I have been taking walks after dinner.  He has a way to release all of his energy plus we get to enjoy the daylight for a little bit longer. 

The little guy has reached a new milestone - he repeats pretty much anything you say.  Today, I'm thankful for this stage in his development. I'm using this time in his life to teach him the important things in life.....like the sounds Michael Jackson and Hanson make. 



Cute, right?

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Love the One(s) You're With

I mentioned on Monday that it was supposed to be an easier week at work because the students are on Spring Break.  Well....I guess sometimes the plans you make don't become a reality.  What's that saying?  If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

On Monday we received the horrible news at work that one of our professors passed away rather suddenly.  Even though I didn't work for him, his office was on my floor and I interacted with him on a daily basis.  He was only 38 years old.  As I sit and type this, I still can't believe he's gone.  Yesterday his family came to collect his things.  Sad doesn't even begin to describe that situation. 

When the hubby came home from work on Monday night I just hugged him and held him tight.  Something like this makes me realize that every day truly is a gift and to love the one(s) you are with - whether they be friends, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends or relatives.

Of course loving the one you're with gets this song stuck in my head.




And only because this is a food blog, I'm here to share the latest eats from my kitchen.

Make-at-home Chinese food with brown rice
Do me a favor?  Make it a point to hug the people in your life and tell them you love them.  Not just today, but every day!

Question of the Day:
Tell me about someone you love.

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 12, 2012

Using Your Voice

Happy Monday!

This week the students are on Spring Break, so I'm hoping my work week will be relatively quiet.

I appreciate all of your thoughtful comments on my Teachable Mommy Moments post. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a tendency to overreact all the time once in a while.

It was so beautiful out yesterday that the hubby and I decided to spend as much time as possible outside with the little guy.  We got to enjoy the sun and cool breeze and the little guy got to run around and get out some of his insane amounts of energy.  (Sidebar - I don't remember having that much energy when I was younger!)

Anyway.....after some running, we took a walk around the block.  My house is right down the street from an elementary school and  there are almost always kids playing on the playground.  While we were passing by yesterday, I overheard a girl screaming at a boy on a bike.  It was the kind of screaming that made you turn your head.  I stood there for a few moments wondering what in the world was going on.  It didn't take me long to figure out that the girl was bullying the boy...... big time.  In that moment, all I could see was my son on that bike.  I imagined him being in a similar situation when he gets older.  I know I would want someone to intervene on his behalf and so, I approached the girl.  My husband and son continued walking up and down the street.  I didn't want my son to be afraid, so I told my husband to keep going. 

I asked the girl if it would be necessary to call the police because of her outrageous behavior.  She began cursing and saying that the boy on the bike was being mean to her.  The boy immediately flocked to my side and turned over his arm to reveal a cut.  He told me the girl picked up a stick and hit him with it.

I told her there was no need for her outburst and that she needed to leave.  With that, a mother came out of the parking lot and walked towards me.  I thought it was the girl's mother.  Turns out that the mother witnessed the entire situation from her car.  She mentioned to me that her son was kicked by the girl a few minutes earlier.  Wait.....what?!  You just sat there and watched it happen?  I know kids have to fight their own battles, but I was outraged that this mom did nothing.  It wasn't until I approached the young girl that she came out of her car to side with the boy on the bike.

The group of girls ended up leaving and I told the boy to come find me if they gave him trouble again.  After all, I was only circling the block and he had his bike. 

It's funny what being a mom has done to me.  It has given me a voice I didn't have before.   I know some people wouldn't want to get involved but I had to use my voice.  That little boy could've been anyone.....heck - he even reminded me of myself at his age.  I was bullied constantly (although certainly not to the extreme that he was) and facing this girl was like facing all the people I let walk all over me in school.

 I came across this image in Google this morning and thought it seemed appropriate.


Source
Use your voice and make it count!

Question of the Day:
Would you consider yourself an outspoken person?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, March 9, 2012

Teachable Mommy Moments

Happy Friday!

Yesterday I had the wonderful pleasure of being home with the little guy and it wasn't because he was sick. Our babysitter's husband was going in for surgery and she needed off for a few days. Yesterday was my day to be home with him and I wanted to cherish every single moment I possibly could. I took my camera with me on our adventures to the park, running around the neighborhood and playing around at home. 

I re-learned just how much fun he is to be with all day and it made my heart ache for more time with him.  Many people have dreams of being successful in their career, but my dream?  It's to be a stay-at-home mom.  To wake up every day and not rush through breakfast because the hubby and I have to go to work and get him to the babysitter's house.  To cuddle up with him and watch Sesame Street in our pajamas without a care in the world.  Anyway....I digress.....I'm really getting to something here, I promise.

After a breakfast of waffles and "cake"  (the top of a corn muffin), we settled next to his toy box to play.

After a bunch of playing, it was time to let him run around the park like crazy.  We had such beautiful weather (70 degrees and sunny!) and it was a perfect excuse to walk to the park at the end of our street and let him hang out with other kids.

When he wasn't busy running around chasing the girls, he was exploring the benches, firetrucks and sticks.  This boy has a love for sticks.



"A place to rest a tired body, a tired mind, a tired soul before getting up and going on the move again"
I thought the bench summed up my thoughts on motherhood very well at that moment.

After picking up each and every stick he could find, the little guy even took the time to hug a tree....because.....well.....I guess he thought that's what the moment called for......
 

until he realized that hugging trees hurt the sides of your head.

I ramble on and on to bring home the point that, in my not-so-humble opinion, I am the mom of a genuinely sweet and friendly kid.  We certainly have our moments (we're in a temper tantrum phase right now) but most of the time he's just plain awesome.

Fast forward to around 3:00 in the afternoon.  The little guy wanted to go outside and take a walk.  As we were passing by the elementary school, he saw lots and lots of kids leaving school.  Two boys in particular, probably in 4th or 5th grade, walked right past him.  The little guy looks up, puts his hand in the air, and with a smile on his face said "hi!"  The kids?  Well they just kept on walking.  I should have let it go.  I should have explained that they probably didn't hear him, but I didn't.  The over-protective mom in me came out with a vengeance.  The words that came out were "they are jerks, John.  People who don't respond to you when you say hello are jerks."

The second it came out I immediately wished I hadn't said it at all.  There went one teachable mommy moment right out the window.  Yikes.

The non-responding kids didn't seem to affect the little guy at all.  In fact, when he came home, he found another stick and was so proud of himself.
Look at this one, mom!
I'll be looking for my next teachable mommy moment, but for now, this mom's signing off.

Question of the Day:
Do you over-react in situations or are you more of a "roll with the punches" person?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I'm so excited to be at home with the little guy today!

Today, I'm thankful that I caught this interaction on video.  It's the little guy and his "Guh Guh" (which is what he calls my mom since he can't say grandmom) singing and walking. 



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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blank Canvas Chicken

Happy Wednesday!

Hope you are all having a fabulous day!

I'm super jealous of my hubby - he gets to be home with the little guy today. I get to be the lucky one tomorrow and stay with him, but still! The babysitter's hubby is in for surgery (nothing major) so she asked if she could have a few days off. Even though it's a downside of having the little guy in someone's home, I'm finding the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

When I came home for dinner last night, I was excited (who am I kidding - am I ever not excited for a meal?). Over the weekend I made some blank canvas chicken. The "recipe" goes something like this:

Take a whole bunch of chicken (bone-in or boneless) and place it in a crockpot. Combine 1/2 cup of water with a tsp each of pepper, salt and garlic powder. Poor over the chicken and cook on low for about 8-10 hours. The result is perfectly cooked chicken that you can do just about anything with.

This recipe works perfectly in our family because the little guy will only eat chicken certain ways (i.e. with pasta sauce but not with barbecue sauce). As an added bonus, you are left with tasty chicken stock if you throw onions, carrots and some celery in the crockpot. I wasn't thinking and didn't do this when I made it, but I'll definitley be saving it this weeekend when I make it again.

Last night the hubby and I decided we wanted chicken parmesan so we added some pasta sauce and cheese on top of our already cooked chicken. We added some rice and broccoli on the side and called it a meal.


It was delicious!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite side dish?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm SUCH a Dork!

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty decent. The family celebrated my cousin's 21st birthday on Saturday. It was a blast!! It's still hard to believe he's 21 already.

I know that I am a dork, but my realization of said dorkiness deepened even more this weekend. One of the women who goes to Weight Watchers on Saturdays works at Channel 6. (My local ABC news affiliate). There's a meteorologist, Adam Joseph, who I have such a school girl crush on. He's adorable! Every Saturday, I jokingly ask this woman how he's doing and to give him my best. We have a good laugh about it and move on.  Wouldn't you know that this Saturday, she comes in with this for me.

"Anne Marie, may your days always shine bright"
Very cute, right?  Except that I literally put my hands over my mouth and my knees starting shaking up and down because I was so excited.  I acted like such a dork!  My thought is that dorkiness doesn't ever go away.....does it? haha

There's a new product that I've found that I've been using nonstop on pretty much everything.....Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce.  I know I'm late to things and that everyone has probably been using it forever, but oh my word.....if you haven't tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

My favorite use for it is over chicken.....



So yummy!

Question of the Day:
Would you consider yourself a dork?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's Friday, Friday......

Happy Friday!

Here's a song for your Friday....




Song stuck in your head now?  Yeah, sorry, it gets stuck in my head every flipping week.

Since Lent has begun, I've had to make meals not involving meat on Fridays.  It's not usually a problem because my family loves, loves, loves spaghetti.  Despite our love for everything carbohydrate related, it gets old after awhile. Yeah I know - I can't believe I'm admitting it either.

Enter the world of quiche.  I love quiche.  My mom makes an awesome one, and although I tried to replicate it, it fell short.  This just means that I'll have to revamp my recipe until it gets better!

For my quiche I used:

1 store bought quiche
4 eggs
1 bag of mixed veggies
1/2 cup of milk
shredded cheese

Mix everything together and pour into the crust.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the quiche is set.

This was just okay. Tasty, but not very filling. Once I tweak it, I'll let you know!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Question of the Day:
Are you a fan of quiche?  What's your favorite add-in?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Gosh, every time I post a blog I feel like I'm telling you about how the little guy is sick....well....he's sick.....again.  This time it's in the form of a double ear infection.  It looks like the cold he was fighting all weekend settled into his ears.  Despite the aggravation of getting the medicine into him, I'm happy that it's an ear infection and not the stomach virus again.

So today, I'm thankful that the little guy is on medicine.  He's already starting to act like himself, and it's really good to see!

Source
I can't wait to get back to my regular blogging.  I've missed it so much these past few days!

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

P.S.  Happy 21st birthday to my cousin Chris!

Until next time!
~Anne Marie