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