Monday, April 29, 2013

A Birthday Celebration!

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine was very busy but so much fun!

On Saturday, John and I went to watch my nephew's t-ball game.  I'm not sure which was funnier - the fact that my older brother is the assistant coach or watching the kids run around trying to get the ball to first base.  They were so cute!  Of course all John wanted to do was be on the field with his cousin - I mean who could blame him?

After the game we headed back to my brother's house to celebrate my  niece's second birthday.  I still can't believe she's two years old already!


My nephew and John enjoyed some time out on the deck during the party.  John pretty much followed him around the entire time. He just loves him so much!


The big hit of the night was a present Sophia received from my uncle - a broom set.  John and Sophia ran around sweeping the house - maybe we can rent them out to clean other people's houses....haha


Before we knew it, it was time to sing happy birthday.  Aiden was all about smiling for a picture and Sophia?  She was interested in cake.  She's a girl after my own heart!



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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Tomorrow and Sunday mark two very special birthdays in my family.  The first is my brother Kevin.  My "baby" brother turns 24 tomorrow and I'm still in shock as to how the heck that happened.  Kevin has grown into such an amazing person and I couldn't be prouder of my little brother.  We've been through a lot together, and despite our 7 year age difference, I consider him one of my very close friends.  You don't get to choose your siblings, but I really believe God gave me two of the best brothers in the whole world.



On Sunday, my darling niece turns two.  It feels like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms at the hospital and now, she's turned into this charming, beautiful little blue-eyed, curly-haired cutie pie of a toddler.  When I look back on how much she and my nephew have grown up, I am reminded of the saying "the days are long but the years are short."


Today I'm thankful I have the privilege to call these people part of my family.

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Happy Wednesday!

John had a fever of 102.6 Monday night so I kept him home yesterday.  Thankfully he woke up with no fever and seems to be on the mend.  Isn't cold and flu season supposed to be on its way out?  I'm so ready for Spring already!

I had some ground turkey in the fridge and instead of making meatloaf, I decided to make stuffed peppers.  This was one of my favorite meals as a kid and even if I follow my mom's recipe to a "t" it never tastes as good as when she makes it.  

Stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers, whole
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1 can of diced tomatoes or about a cup of spaghetti sauce
Shredded cheese

1.  Cut the tops off of the peppers and boil them in water for five minutes.  I skipped this step because I'm lazy, but it does make the peppers very soft by the time you are ready to eat them.
2.  Cook the turkey and onion together.
3.  Once the turkey is cooked through, add in brown rice, 1/2 cup of water and tomatoes/spaghetti sauce, reduce the heat so that the mixture is simmering and put a lid on it for about 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes are up, add a handful or so of shredded cheese.
3.  Put peppers in a casserole dish - I used an 8x8 pan - and stuff the peppers with the mixture.  Top with cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven uncovered for 25-30 minutes.



I had extra filling so I put the rest in the bottom of the dish with the peppers, but you could certainly use more peppers.

John wasn't a fan of the peppers but loved the filling.  Funny fact - when my mom made this I only ate the filling too - I didn't start eating the pepper part until I was 15-16 years old!

Question of the Day:
Is there a meal that reminds you of home?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Recap - PROM!

Happy Monday!

*Editor's note - I've decided to start referring to the little guy by his name - John.  It's about time!

How was your weekend?  Mine was jammed packed full of fun.  On Friday I left work early to head down to my aunt's house.  My cousin had her junior prom and I couldn't wait to see her off.  My cousin Allison is the youngest of the cousins (although I still have a hard time believing that she's 17!) and to see her going to her junior prom?  It makes me feel old!

When I first saw Allison in her dress, my mouth dropped.  She looked stunning!  John was 100% convinced that he was going to the prom with Allison.  When the limo pulled away he starting crying because he wanted to go so badly - I felt bad for him!


I love this picture of me, Allison and John.  I remember her when she was John's age - doesn't she look beautiful?

It was supposed to rain pretty hard on Friday, but thankfully the rain held off until they left.  Here's all of the girls and their dates.


On Saturday, we took the little guy to the park and on Sunday we headed to the playground.  I can't believe it's Monday already.  Where did my weekend go?

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I don't know how many people know this about me, but I LOVE Hanson.  Yes, MMMBop Hanson.  I was 13 years old when MMMBop came out and I think they hit me at the right age.  Their music reminds me of my teenage years and the fun I had.  Needless to say, I fell in love with their music and haven't stopped listening since.  Despite popular belief, they've grown up, married and have children of their own and yes, they still make music.  
Taken from Hanson's facebook page
I've been to numerous states just to see them play and I even went so far as to drive two days to Tulsa, OK with two of my Hanson-loving friends to see them play a free concert.  I was literally in Tulsa for 24 hours before turning around and coming right back home again.  It was awesome.

All of this rambling is because, after not seeing them for 5 years on tour, that's all going to change.  Hanson is coming back to Philly on November 7th and this girl is going!  The other times Hanson has played in Philly, either I was pregnant, just gave birth or couldn't go because it didn't work with my schedule.  

Today, I'm thankful that this momma is taking a day for herself to go see her favorite band in the whole wide world.  I feel like a kid in a candy store!

And, just on the off-chance that you're interested, here's Hanson's new single, Get The Girl Back.





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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Summer Dessert

Happy Wednesday!

The daylight is lasting longer and the weather is getting warmer.  It can only  mean one thing - summer is right around the corner!  As soon as it gets hot there are two things I crave: ice cream and chocolate   Okay, let's be real here - I crave ice cream and chocolate every other time of the year too!

We go through a lot of bananas at my house, but I've been known to over-buy bananas and leave them sitting on the counter for too long.  Before the hubby throws them away, I peel, chop and freeze them.  Most of the time I make ice cream out of frozen bananas.  (Throw 'em in the blender or food processor and after a few minutes you have soft serve-like ice cream made only from bananas!)  On the days when I feel particularly lazy, I throw the frozen bananas in a bowl and top with some chocolate chips.



It's deliciously refreshing!

Question of the Day:
What's your favorite summertime dessert?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Over-Snacker

When it comes to my eating habits, weekends are much more unstructured than weeknights.  Staying on track is easier for me during the week when every meal is planned out.  On Saturdays and Sundays I tend to eat breakfast much earlier in the day so by 10:00 my tummy starts rumbling.  I try my hardest to fight the urge to snack because we eat lunch early (around 11:00-11:30).  I don't want to spoil my appetite but eventually, I end up snacking on a few crackers and when that doesn't satisfy me, I eat another snack on top of that.  Sounds dumb, doesn't it?


Source
I  wonder just how many calories I consume throughout the course of a weekend by picking.  My guess is it's much more than I would like to admit.  I promised myself that I would choose differently this weekend.  Yesterday, when we came home from Church, I was hungry.  My initial reaction was to grab a handful of crackers on my way outside to play with the little guy.  Instead I took a breather.  I made myself a wrap with hummus and savored it.  You know what?  By the time lunch came around, I was able to make a better decision without feeling famished.  I felt better about myself all because I decided to eat.  Sometimes the simplest answers are right in front of my face - it just takes FOREVER for me to figure it out!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday!

It's been a gloriously beautiful week in Philly so today, I'm thankful for the gorgeous weather.  With temps in the high 70s, low 80s, I've pretty much been wearing skirts like it's my job.  This little teaser is enough for me to want summer to be here!



At the beach in Wildwood, NJ
I can't wait for the feeling of the sand beneath my toes and the water rushing up against my ankles.  Bring it on, warm weather!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Homemade Pizza Dough

Happy Wednesday!

Almost a year ago, my mom was cleaning out her closet and found a bread machine she wanted to get rid of.  At the time, she didn't have the manual so after some googling, I found a simple recipe for bread.  Knowing that I hoard love kitchen gadgets, I scooped it up, made bread with it exactly one time and put it away in my attic.  The bread turned out okay, but it was nothing stellar.  Recently, my mom came across the manual and handed it over. I wasn't sure if I even wanted it - I mean really, the bread machine was just sitting in my attic collecting dust.  Mom insisted and as usual  she was right.  I paged through the recipe book and lo and behold, there was a recipe for pizza dough.  If you've been reading the blog for a little while, you might know that we have homemade pizza on Sunday nights.  I had been buying whole wheat dough at the grocery store so when I saw the recipe for pizza dough, I gave myself a mental head slap.  Why hadn't I thought of that before?

I gave it a go and lo and behold, in 1 hour and 8 minutes, the bread machine made some pretty sweet pizza dough.  No more spending $1.99 for dough I can make for pennies.  Boy am I glad I hadn't thrown the bread machine away!


Turns out you can make lots of stuff with a bread maker including bagels, french bread and even soft pretzels - who would've thought?


And as for that less-than-stellar bread I first made?  Rumor has it you can use the bread machine to mix up the dough and then, after some rising, the dough can be baked into the oven.  Yup, that's next on my list of things to try.

Question of the Day:
Is there anything that you would rather make homemade than buy at the store?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

How was your weekend?  Mine was productive - we got lots of stuff done around the house, played outside (the weather was gorgeous!) and even found some time to relax.  I can't tell you how excited I am for Spring!

One of the things the little guy has been loving lately are bubbles.  The Easter Bunny brought him a bubble blower and he's been obsessed with it ever since!  The ironic part is that he doesn't use the blower himself.  Instead, he's much happier when either myself or the hubby uses it and then he chases them around the house blowing the bubbles through the air, laughing the whole time.

Here he is in mid-bubble blow.



It cracks me up how he gets so much enjoyment from a toy that literally costs $1.00.  Go figure!

After dinner, the hubby wanted to go to Kohl's to look for sneakers.  The little guy declared he didn't want to go.  You know what he wanted to do? Workout with Bob.  By that, he means he wanted to do the Biggest Loser workout with me.  I hadn't planned on exercising last night, but when my 2.5 year old tells me he wants to exercise, I can't say no!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday!

Last week I wrote about how I wanted to get motivated to exercise again, and this week I jumped in head first.  I took nap time for the little guy as an opportunity to get moving and on Sunday, before we were ready to eat lunch, the hubby hung out with the little guy while I popped in an exercise DVD .


Source


The DVD I'm loving at the moment is The Biggest Loser workout.  Each segment is 20 minutes and it's just enough to make me feel like I've done something good for myself.  In fact, last night, despite that the hubby was working his second job, I carved out some exercise time.  I got the little guy involved and you know what?  He had a blast jumping around doing kicks and, truth be told, I did too.

So today, I'm thankful for the motivation to move more.  Fingers crossed I can keep this up!

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

Until next time!
~Anne Marie

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


Happy Wednesday!

I had off from work on Friday and Monday and needless to say, I'm swamped at work.  I had to pop in though and give you a semi-recap of Easter.  The day was relaxed, which was awesome.  We started off the morning opening Easter baskets and finding hidden eggs.



Next we all got dressed for Church.  The little guy was NOT happy about wearing his tie, but I promised he wouldn't have to wear it for the entire day and he finally agreed.


 After Church, we lounged around until after the little guy's nap.  When he woke up, we went over to my grandmom's house.  The first thing I noticed was my mom's bunny cake.  She's famous for making this every year and the kids get a big kick out of it!


Shortly after we arrived, my brother came over with his family.  My brother just bought a brand new Nikon camera and he was able to capture some pretty amazing pictures.

My niece, nephew and the little guy
 We also took the opportunity to take a family shot.  It's unbelievable how crisp the pictures come out.



I'm off to get started on a huge stack of work at my desk.  Hope you all have a fabulous day!

Question of the Day:
What are you most looking forward to?

Until next time!
~Anne Marie