Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday!

When it comes to raising the little guy, one of the things my husband and I have always done from the beginning is talk to and explain things to him.  We didn't do much of the "baby talk" thing - but rather treated him like he was someone who could learn and understand things even though he was only a few days old.  When he was old enough to make a choice (i.e., if he could point to one thing over another) we allowed him to decide.  I've always felt that if he is able to make a choice about something minor, he'll feel good about himself - like we are doing what he wants - when in reality, whatever he's choosing doesn't matter anyway.

The husband and I can only hope that leading by example will help him to understand, and when the time is right, to act.  We started this when we were weaning him off of his pacifier.  Along with the "binky fairy" who took his pacifier and replaced it with a special toy, we reiterated to him that his binky was going to a baby girl or boy who didn't have one.  Somehow, that seemed to click and to this day (even though it was almost a year ago that he gave it up) he talks about how the binky fairy gave his binky to a little baby boy and how that boy is happy now.

When I go through my closets and crawl space to do some cleaning out, the little guy helps me by putting things into boxes.  He asks where the things are going and I tell him that they are going to people who need them.  

Today was the first time where I think it finally clicked for him.




Source
As I was getting dressed for work, he ran over to my bed and pulled out the belt from my robe.  I asked him what he was doing with it and he turned to me and said "mommy, I'm going to give this belt to a little boy or girl who doesn't have a belt to play with."  I stood back and smiled at him, suppressing my laugh and told him I was proud of him and that it was a very loving thing to do.

It's moments like this that give me strength to get through the trying times.  And for that, I'm truly thankful.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Keep the Party Going

Happy Wednesday!

I have some  pretty cool stuff to share with you today.  I was contacted to see if I was interested in trying out new ChapStick Cupcake Creation flavors.  I was so happy when the package arrived in the mail.

Disclaimer: The ChapStick® product, information and gift have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare for free.  

The gift pack included Sprinkles cupcake mix, cupcake candles, noisemakers, ChapStick Cupcakes Cake Batter and Red Velvet flavors and party hats.  Our mission?  Keep the party going.

Once the box was opened, the little guy immediately pulled out the party hats and noisemakers.  I think  he forgot all about the fact that we were going to make cupcakes too!




He didn't want to leave his daddy or his alligator out of the party-hat fun, so my hubby got in on the action too.  If you notice in the far right corner, my son's alligator has a party hat on.  He just loved these things.


In an effort to make the cupcakes a little bit healthier, I omitted the eggs, butter, etc. and added a can of pumpkin.  It makes the cupcakes more dense, but they are still pretty good and they have extra fiber.  Bonus!!

I topped these guys with some whipped cream cheese frosting.  The result?  Delicious cupcakes!  The hubby enjoyed them so much that he scarfed two of them down after his lunch.  I brought some cupcakes to my mom over the weekend and she also enjoyed the heck out of them.  This is a pretty amazing feat - especially considering that my mom isn't always up for my recipe concoctions (i.e. using pumpkin instead of the butter, eggs, etc. that the mix calls for).  

Sidebar - I can't frost cupcakes if my life depended on it!

As for the ChapSticks themselves, although I've tried both, the one I found myself using the most is the Cake Batter flavor. Its scent reminded me of a birthday candle I used to own and if it wouldn't be completely weird, I'd sit at my desk and sniff it all day. haha.  Seriously, though, I'm a huge fan of this stuff.  I don't find myself reapplying constantly and it doesn't leave my lips feeling cakey or waxy, which are my biggest pet peeves when it comes to lip gloss.  

The Velvet Cupcake flavor is equally delicious, and it reminded me of the red velvet cupcakes the little guy and I made.  I love how the flavors are right on without being overbearing.  ChapStick has done another great job with these guys!  

The Chapstick Cupcake Creations are available only for a limited time at Walmart, CVS and Walgreens, so check them out if you're interested!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite cake flavor?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Potty Outfit

Happy Monday!

After months and months of being inside because of the cold weather, the hubby and I finally took the little guy out for a wagon ride yesterday.  It was nice to remember what it's like to stay outside for more than five seconds without the wind whipping in your face.

I've been trying to get the little guy potty trained and, as is typical with toddlers, some days are up and some are down.  For awhile there, he was going every night before his bath and then all of a sudden, he stopped wanting to use the potty.  After about a month or so, I tried again, and although he doesn't go every time he's placed on the potty, at least he makes an attempt.

One of the things that gets him to use the potty is that I allow him to pick out his own pajamas.  The last two times he's used it, he has picked out the same ones - a  Christmas shirt with Woody and Buzz on it and pants with Thomas the Tank Engine.

I've officially deemed this the Potty Outfit.  And you know what?  He seems pretty happy about it.


I'm hoping to devote much more time to potty training in the summer, when it's easier for him to roam free, but for now, I'll take the once-a-day potty user.

Yes, folks, this is what my life has come down to - being excited when the little guy uses the potty.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday, and happy birthday to my brother, Eric!  There's lots of birthdays over in my neck of the woods this month, aren't there?

I may have mentioned this on the blog before, but the little guy is going through a "testing" phase.  Some nights he's in time-out more than he plays and it's beyond frustrating.  I stinks that I have to work in the first place, so I want to cherish the time I do get to spend with him - not put him in time out every five seconds.  Sometimes I take my frustration out on him, and I hate it.  I let it get the best of me instead of accept that he's a toddler and it's normal.  I guess I want him to be the sweet little boy he usually is because when he isn't?  Well, it's just not  pleasant for either of us.

I've been trying extra hard not to get so frustrated this week and not only do I feel better, but I get the sense that the little guy does too.  Yes, there have been a few times I've given myself a time-out to compose myself before addressing the little guy but it's better than getting angry with him.

Yesterday, my friend posted this on Facebook and mentioned that it was a good reminder for herself.  You know what?  It was an awesome reminder for me too.  So today, I'm thankful I saw her post.



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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BBQ Pork

Happy Wednesday!

First, I want to wish my nephew Aiden a very happy 4th birthday!  I may or may not have called my brother's cell phone at 6:30 this morning so that we could sing to him.  

My crock pot has been getting a serious workout this winter and if you would ask me, I'd tell you the crock pot is one of the things I use most from my wedding shower.  

I bought some pork loin a few weeks ago when my supermarket had a 4 for $20 deal going on.  We don't eat a lot of pork but I thought it'd be a nice change from the typical chicken and pasta that populates our menu so often.

I put the pork loin in the crock pot, covered it with BBQ sauce and let it cook for a few hours.  After it was cooked through, I shredded it with two forks and let it marinate in the sauce.


We put the pulled pork on bread, served it with rice and called it a meal.  The little guy requested his on fishy  bread which you can see from the picture above.  Funny thing is - he doesn't really eat sandwiches.  As soon as the picture was taken, he promptly removed the pork from the bread and ate them separately.  That's my boy!

This was the little guy's first experience with pork and he loved it!!  I'll definitely be adding this into the rotation once in a while!

Question of the Day:
Have you tried anything new lately?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 18, 2013

Birthday Celebrations

Happy Monday!

Are you one of the "lucky" few who are at work today?  I am - woo hoo! (insert sarcastic tone here).

This weekend we celebrated my nephew's 4th birthday.  I'm so confused as to how he's turning 4 already.  It seems like I was holding him in my arms just yesterday.


Sis-in-law, bro and their two awesome kiddos

The biggest hit of the night was the cake, which all three of the kids had no problems finishing.


The birthday boy!

My niece enjoying her slice of cake

Toward the end of the party, things got silly.  I mean, the kids were pretty hyped up with sugar (or at least my kid was) and then this picture happened.

My brother and the little guy

Apparently the little guy loves sticking his tongue out in pictures now.  It really makes me laugh!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today, with it being Valentine's Day and all, I'm thankful for the love in my life.  Not just the love of the hubby, little guy and my family, but for all of the little reminders of love around me each and every day.

I love my train ride into work, because although I'd rather drive in, it's nice to have 15 minutes of peace and quiet before my job starts.

I love that the guy in front of me at the grocery store was buying roses and a balloon.  When asked if he was getting them for a girlfriend or a wife, he shook his head and told us that he was buying them for his mom.  There was a collective "aww" from anyone who heard him.

I love that on my way into work this morning, there were people handing out these diet Pepsi cans with hearts on them.  




Cute, right?

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Spread the love!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Maybe It's Just Me.....

Maybe it's just me, but I would prefer driving into work rather than take the train.  I really like to drive unless it's snowing, but driving into the city to get to my job would be way more expensive, so the train it is.

Maybe it's just me, but I think I need to carry tweezers in my bag.  Not for my eyebrows, but for the hairs on my chin that spring up out of nowhere.  One day there is nothing there and the next I'm looking in the mirror and there's a two foot long hair growing out of my chin.  Yeah, turning 30 rocks.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't understand why I'm so hooked on Teen Mom 2.  Also?  Some days I feel like I can barely parent at 30 years old let alone be a parent in my teenagers.  When I was a teenager, I was lucky if my socks matched.

Maybe it's just me, but I truly enjoy food shopping.  At this point in my life, I consider it a night out.

Maybe it's just me, but the Candy Crush Saga game on Facebook is like a drug.  I hate it and wish I could stay away from it, but it always pulls me in for more.

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't watch the President's State of the Union address last night.  In fact, I slept right through it.

Maybe it's just me, but even though the M&M cookie pie I made a few days ago didn't exactly hold up when I sliced it, it was still delicious.

M&M Cookie Pie (original recipe here)
1cup + 1 tbs  AP Flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter softened (I used "light" country spread)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Texas shaped container of M&M's- OR- 1-ish cup.

Preheat oven to 325*
Cream butter and sugar. Add in egg and extract and blend. The combine flour and baking soda- mix until completely incorporated. Fold in the M&M's. Dump into a greased 9.5" pie pan and bake for 25-30 mins. You know the drill, when a toothpick/ridiculously small pairing knife comes out clean it's donzo.
Cool, cut into cookie pie slices and enjoy!





Maybe it's just my family but this was made on a Friday and it was all but gone by Monday.

Question of the Day:
Finish the sentence - Maybe it's just me.....

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fun In The Snow

Happy Monday!

The little guy caught a case of croup on Friday, so I stayed home with him and we decided to have a silly day.  Am I the only one who can't wait for all of this yucky sickness to be over?  

We made M&M pie (recipe will be posted soon!) and took silly pictures to pass the time.  I mean really, how many DVD's can you watch in one day anyway?

While the pie was in the oven, I told the little guy we were going to stick our tongues out for a picture.  He came running over with his makeshift hat on his head.  It's actually supposed to be a bowl made out of string and paper mache, but he swung it around so many times that it began to lose shape and he thought it made a better hat anyway.



Also?  Sticking your tongue out apparently meant try to lick mom's face.  I had to explain that one to him again, and I think he got it the second time around.


On Saturday we only got around 2 inches of snow, but it was the first "real" snow the little guy could play in. We bundled him up in his snowsuit and he was so excited to roll around in the snow.  Sidebar - he reminds me of the brother in A Christmas Story - you know - the one who is bundled up so tight he can't move?  Yeah, that guy.


The little guy loved making snow angels and snow balls.  He thought it was a lot of fun!



One of his favorites parts, though, was picking up the snow and shaking it off of his gloves.  I'm not quite sure what the allure of this was, but it entertained him for quite awhile!

Question of the Day:
Did you get any snow this weekend?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!


Today, I'm thankful for coupons.  The last two weeks, I've been trying to become more coupon savvy.  I'm not a crazy couponer - in fact I'm not so sure I even understand how that works - but saving money where I can is always a huge help.
You know what else I'm thankful for today?  (Yeah, that's right - you get a two-for-one thankful Thursday - lucky you!)  I'm thankful for stores that double your coupons.  Yesterday I walked away paying $3.96 for two boxes of Fiber One bars.  You can be there was a pep in my step as I was leaving the grocery store.  Yes, I am indeed that nerdy.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Craving the Simple

Happy Wednesday!

Here we are, halfway through the work-week already - woo hoo!  

I've been trying to get more green veggies in my diet and lately, I've become obsessed with spinach.  I bought a big container on sale at the store and have been trying to find creative ways to use it before it goes bad.

Enter my simplest creation yet - spinach and cheese quesadilla.  I used a serving of mozzarella cheese, a whole wheat wrap and about a handful or so of spinach.  I cooked it on the stove and after about five minutes, I was ready to eat lunch.




I was in the mood for something cheesy, healthy and delicious, and this fit the bill.  Sometimes, it's the simple things I crave and I'm A-OK with it.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, February 4, 2013

Greek Yogurt Chicken with a Side of Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

It was such a productive weekend around the house, and I couldn't be happier.  On Saturday, the little guy and I paid a visit to my Grandmom and Uncle Joe - my Grandmom is recovering from cataract surgery so it was a great excuse to head down to her neck of the woods to see how she was doing.  The little guy ate up every bit of attention she showed him, complete with doing "flips" (somersaults) and playing with her cane.  It's amazing how, out of all of the toys he has, he likes the "real" things best - pots and pans, boxes and yes, even canes.  Go figure.

Yesterday the hubby, little guy and I headed out to Target after church to get some decorating inspiration   We're repainting a lot of our house, and finally, after almost 6 years of living there, I think we're figuring out exactly how we want to decorate the place.  Yeah, we're slow like that.  I've been taking progress pictures along the way and can't wait to share them with  you!

We're probably one of the only families in the nation that didn't watch the Superbowl last night.  Instead, we settled in to a warm comforting meal of Greek yogurt chicken.  I've been hearing that plain Greek yogurt is a great substitution for many things, i.e. sour cream, mayo, etc. but I didn't bite bullet until I found this recipe.

Greek Yogurt Chicken
1.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 6 pieces)
2.  6oz container of plain Greek yogurt
3.  1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Nutritional Information Per Serving:  Calories: 154g, Carbs: 1g, Fat: 3g, Protein: 33g, Fiber: 0g 

Here comes the hard part - mix the yogurt and cheese together and pour over the chicken and bake until chicken is cooked through.  Yup, that's it, folks!  Since I used 6 pieces of chicken, my sauce was almost non-existent, so I'd either decrease the number of chicken breasts or increase the yogurt and cheese.




I served it over brown rice, and despite my reservations about how it would go over with the little guy, he loved it.  Woo hoo!! One more item to add to his "things I'll eat" list.

Oh yes, and one more thing?  Since I've started using myfitnesspal to track calories instead of points, I'm down 3lbs.  I'll take it!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie