Gratitude and Thanks

On the last post I briefly mentioned how I had some of the winter blues, well they had hit me harder than I thought and that came known to me after 4 days of snow days for the boys. I know a lot of mothers feel this way. The truth of it is being a stay at home mom is at times a very unappreciated profession.  The decision for me to stay at home had many layers, but one of the main reasons is because I wanted to be with my kids full-time. I fully know that it was my decision and I don’t want to come off as being ungrateful with my gripes.  With all that being said it is not that I expect a lot of appreciation, but an unsolicited thanks or an evening at the dinner table without whining about the food I made would be fabulous.

This past Thursday I was doing my regular cleaning.  I came to the realization that I was picking up more than I was cleaning. I hate feeling that people in my household expect that I am going to pick up their socks, pencils, books  etc and put those items in their proper home. Well, that send me over the proverbial edge. Angry mommy came out and castigated every one in her path. Well, that evening I felt bad for my behavior (especially since not focusing on the negative is one of my monthly goals for February) but, instead of apologizing I just started feeling sorry for myself. I also had a birthday approaching on Feb 2 and I had an inkling that my husband hadn’t really planned anything for me. I am normally not a huge, “I have to do all this stuff for my birthday”, but I have really had a bad attitude for over the past year that I had to share my birthday with the Super Bowl.  So I am already feeling sorry for myself and then my hubby is being very flighty about my birthday… so I just lost it. I actually said, “In all the years we have been married I have planned so much stuff for you, but I can’t think of one time you have done considerable planning on anything for me.” Yeah, not by proudest moment, I had to get it out for whatever reason not really thinking on how that would make my husband feel. Selfish, yes, but I am glad I got it out, because I felt a huge weight lift.  The next day I vowed to put that behind me and no matter the circumstances to just have fun on my birthday weekend and to be nice to my family.

Friday and Saturday I was ok, I felt better. I knew I had to snap out of it and I was hoping that getting back into our routine would help. Since winter break we haven’t gone back to our regular routine, because each week since the boys returned to school we have had some weather delay and closure. Over the years I have come to realize that I am a creature of routine and when it gets disrupted so do I.  Saturday was a busy day, but as a treat to myself I had scheduled a 90 min massage  and  evening we were going to our friends Kate and Peter’s house-warming party. Click here to see what happened when we walked in……

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My dear husband and the wonderful friends that I have in my life had been planning a surprise party for me for about two months. Not only that, but my sister-in-law Jo-Anne, Vanessa, Matt and Amy all came in from out-of-town to be at my party. That floored me!!! It was very humbling to know that so many of your loved ones took time out of their life to plan something for you. And that the person I was so sure was going to fail me, was the master mind behind it all.  Let me tell you how foolish I felt for having my episode a few days before. This was a huge wake up call for me. I need to really keep the positive in the fore front of my life. I need to be thankful for all the great things I have in my life and not worry about little insignificant things. Most importantly, we all have friends and family that love us and care a lot about us. When we are feeling down, we should refocus on that.  With all that being said I want to thank my loving husband for planning my surprise party. You really got me Jeff! I had no idea! Thank you to Kate and Peter for hosting, getting your house ready and cooking a delicious meal. Finally thank you to my friends that came, Matt, Vanessa, Jo-Anne, Amy, Jen, Josh, Tammy, Jen, Rachel, Corrie, Joe, Nicole, Mauricio and all the kiddos! You all made me very happy and gave me a wonderful memory that I will carry with me until my last day.

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My Holiday To Do List

It really has been one busy fall for our family and for the first time in a while it  looks like it will calm down this holiday season. For one thing we are not traveling, we are having family and then friends coming over for Christmas and then for New Years. This is a first for us, because normally we do make a trip somewhere during this season. I am so looking forward to my kids Christmas break. I am craving some quality time with my family. In the craziness of this past fall I have really felt that I have been distracted and disconnected from them. I was just going through the motions and really not enjoying the moment, because I was anticipating the next thing in our busy agenda. Fun mommy is coming back  for the holidays and I really hope she over stays  her welcome. With all that being said here is a list of what I want to accomplish with my family and friends this holiday season.

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1) Play with my boys. I really want to keep the electronics at bay this break. I am not crazy we will all be connected, but I want to keep it to a minimum and this includes me as well. I am looking forward to extensive games of Monopoly, Clue, Nerf gun wars and even the possible jog around the neighborhood since both boys have had an increased interest in running. I feel like, it is these activities that make the memories that they will remember when they are older. We are due for some memories like these.

2) Try out some new recipes. Just from a quick search on Pinterest I have found a few new recipes that I do want to try out. Here are some of them:

Lemon Chicken Romano click here for recipe

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Snowman Pizza click here for recipe

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Rudolf Pancakes which are perfect for Christmas Morning!! Click here for recipe.

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Beef Tenderloin, believe it or not I have never roasted a whole beef tenderloin before. I am not sure if I will make it with this port sauce or just make chimichurri sauce. I will be making this along with some shrimp, asparagus and my mom’s special Christmas rice for our Christmas Eve dinner.  Click here for tenderloin recipe.

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3) I want to FLY!!! Our dear friends the Barsotti’s are coming to visit us to ring in the new year. They also have 2 kids around the same age as my boys. On one of the days they are here we are going to go to Defy Gravity. Defy Gravity is a trampoline sports arena, it is advertised as fun for the entire family.  I am pretty sure we are all going to have fun!!

4) Craft and Bake: I really want to make this wreath

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It looks so easy and it’s something my younger son can help me with. Click here for directions. I also want to bake cookies I am by no means a baker, but my youngest enjoys it. So I think this year we will make Santa some sugar cookies. Nothing crazy, but just something that we can do together.

5) Go to see some movies. We haven’t gone to the movies that much this fall, but I for sure would love to go see The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Anchorman 2 and so many others, but those 3 are ones I am willing to pay theatre prices for. My oldest wants to see The Hobbit and I am sure I will take them to see Frozen sooner than later.

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6) I want to be happy and merry! Most importantly I  just want be and enjoy the moment. School is out next Friday, presents are bought, the bulk of food will be bought next week, so there is no reason to just BE PRESENT and ENJOY!!

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MCM Weekend 2013

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This past spring my husband decided to start training for his first marathon. The lucky marathon chosen was the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. He had heard from so many people that it was a great first marathon to run. I also learned that there was a 10K the same day of the marathon. Being that I had resolved to take running more seriously in 2013, I thought that was an attainable goal. Along for the ride I decided to convince my sister-in-law Jo-Anne and one of my oldest and good friend Maureen to do the 10K with me. This race also worked for my husband and I, because it was in DC where I grew up and my parents still live there. So the weekend would be easy peasy, no airplanes, no hotel rooms, no worrying about a sitter for the boys.

Once we all started training the 3 of us ladies would keep tabs on one another via text when we ran. This helped me keep motivated throughout the year especially through the hot summer. During the boys summer vacation I would actually get my babysitter (thank God she is an early riser) to come at 7am while the boys were still asleep so I could log in my miles. Once fall came and the boys were back in school and the days got cooler, running was more pleasant.  As I have written before, running has always been a challenge for me and way outside my comfort zone. Slowly but surely I was starting to enjoy it a bit.

Race day rolled around pretty quickly Sunday, October 27th, 2013. The best thing about the race is that I ran it with fun people. My fondest memories of that day will be more of us during pre and post race shenanigans.  We were the crazy ladies hollering at people coming on the metro at 5:30 am, from their night out on the town (in costume no less).

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If you are a runner and haven’t run in either the marathon or 10K, I urge you to put it on your bucket list. Nothing can describe the energy that this race has. There is so much support on the streets from Marines to loved ones looking for their people. It really is energizing. The 10K is the last 6.2 miles of the marathon. You start by the National History Museum on the National Mall and end up at Iwo Jima (that assent which is the .2 miles is steep, just a FYI). It is a very scenic course and also rather flat. We were very lucky that our friend Maria got a bib in the week leading up to the race and ran with us. She was our pace keeper. Normally runs can be very mentally challenging for me, but this race was so much fun, all the mental fighting I do on runs wasn’t there that day.  After we finished my sister-in-law was dead set on finding a handsome Marine to take a picture with us and of course she did!

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After we finished and rehydrated and got some food. We went back to see my husband finish. Let me tell you that is an experience. It is so humbling to see runners that are approaching the end of 26.2 miles.

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Seeing your runner approach the finish line is a marvelous experience. I cannot really explain it, but know that a few tears were shed by a very proud wife and a big sister.

Thank you Marine Corps for putting on a top-notch race. We can’t wait to see you all next year!

My Favorite Things- Fall Edition

Happy Fall to everyone! This is my favorite time of year and I love that in my area the weather is getting a little cooler. Definitely helps to get into the mood of the season. I don’t know about everyone else, but fall also commences a busy time in our family. Always, seems our weekends are jammed packed with activities. With that said, I know I have neglected my blog a little bit so I decided to make a post that included a lot of things I have been wanting to write about.

12 ways to wear a scarf

In recent years I have embraced using scarves as an accessory. It really adds a pop to any outfit and also adds a finishing touch to a basic jeans and t-shirt ensemble. So if you don’t use scarves as an accessory I urge you to try it out. You can get fun scarves for under $10, just look at Old Navy or Target.

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Yes, I know this ‘anthology’ is on its third season, but the first episode of The Coven saga has left me blind sided. First of all I don’t know how Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk come up with creepy amazing twisted tales time and time again. American Horror Story is scary story telling at its best. One thing that stands true from the past two seasons is that the show always has strong amazing characters. They have a habit of leaving a mark on our minds and striking a chord with our deepest darkest fears.  I also love that the actors come back to play different roles each season. For example, Jessica Lange has been a creepy intrusive next door neighbor, an unrelenting Mother Superior and asylum warden and currently Supreme Witch. The Coven also boasts an all star-cast, Kathy Bates, Angela Basset and Jessica Lange to just name a few. This season will take us through the lore of witchcraft and voodoo of New Orleans.  If you haven’t I suggest you tune in, just remember to keep the lights on while you watch.

BACK ROW: HAYLEY ORRANTIA, GEORGE SEGAL, TROY GENTILE; FRONT ROW: SEAN GIAMBRONE, JEFF GARLIN, WENDI MCLENDON-COVEY I don’t know if it is, because I grew up in the 1980’s, but I find this show hilarious. I have a been a long time fan of Jeff Garlin ever since his Curb Your Enthusiasm days. It also reminds me a lot of my husband’s family. Not that I know how their family life was in the 80s, but it is how I imagined it. My husband has also commented that, its like watching his childhood at times. I wonder if the whole 1980’s setting will get old, but we will wait and see. I have really enjoyed the first few episodes and hope to see more.

Movie_4127_706If you haven’t seen Rush yet, run to the movie theater as soon a possible. It is the best movie I have seen all year.  Rush (directed by Ron Howard) is based on the true life 1970s rivalry of Formula One drivers James Hunt and Nicky Lauda. The movie depicts this rivalry very well. Nicky Lauda is played by Daniel Bruhl. I feel that he gives an award-winning performance. James Hunt is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth not only is he so nice to look a  but, he brings the sexy effortless swagger that James embodied perfectly. The driving sequences are pretty intense and well done, but also the human aspect of the film is just as good. Even if you don’t like car racing you will like this film. There is suspense, romance, action and some laughs. It has it all, go see it.

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Lastly, but certainly not least I want to give a shout out to my in-laws John and Joella on their 50th wedding anniversary! We had the pleasure of celebrating this momentous milestone with them and all our family this past weekend. It was really nice to see everyone and especially to have our kiddos hang out with their cousins for a weekend. Congratulations Mom and Dad!

I hope you all have a good rest of the week and remember even if life gets a little hectic, take the time to enjoy the present!

My Fav Things July 8-14

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I received a sample of Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls gel in my Birchbox last month. Over the past few years I have grown to embrace my curls, letting them loose more often (especially during the summer). Everyone’s curls are different and I normally don’t go the gel route; my curls are light and gel usually made them heavy and crunchy. Miss Jessie has changed that for me. This gel will leave your curls so light and shapely. I love it! To learn more about this product click here.

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The other day my husband brought these home from the grocery. I was at first skeptical. I love their other products (hot dogs and cold cuts), but every time I have bought a healthier version of chicken nuggets they don’t taste good, prompting a regrettable return  to the Yummy brand dino-shaped nuggets. I thought the Yummy brand was a healthier choice over Tysons and Perdue, but after reading this report, I am so glad I found the Applegate nuggets. The kids loved them! They are very tasty and have a lot of chicken meat. They really taste homemade. I have made homemade nuggets, but those have always been met with negative review from my boys.  During the summer, I feel like I am always in the kitchen making food. Weekday lunches have to be fast and easy, but somewhat nutritional. I urge you to change your home nuggets if you are buying the other crap (lets face it, its crap). If you aren’t making your own nuggets, give these a try. They are fantastic!

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Thank you to Vanessa for suggesting this show to us. During the summer, my hubby and I like to watch shows we didn’t discover in the regular season. I heard through the grape-vine that this show was great, so I am glad we have finally started to watch it. House of Cards is a political drama based off a BBC miniseries of the same name. Both are based off a novel by Michael Dobbs. House of Cards is set in modern-day Washington D.C. and follows the revenge path of scorned Congressman Frank Underwood, sublimely played by Kevin Spacey.  Along the way we meet his wife, Claire, played by Robin Penn Wright  who runs a non-profit; a young ambitious journalist Zoe, played by Kate Mara; and a down-on- his-luck Congressman Peter Russo, played by Corey Stoll. The acting is phenomenal. I encourage all of you who like political dramas to give this one a shot. You will not be surprised if you over stay your welcome in the House of Cards; you will leave wanting more! It is a Netflix original series, but I believe now you can get it on DVD. If you have Netflix streaming, you can access it with ease.

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I just love when you step out of your car when getting to the beach and getting that first whiff of sea salt air. I wish I could bottle that scent. This past Sunday my family spent a glorious day at Kure Beach in North Carolina. I would like to thank my friends (well, really they are like family) Vanessa and Matt and their families for opening up their beach house to us. There is nothing better than spending a day on the beach with loved ones, good food, drinks, and laughs.

This past week was a little hectic, so I am sorry I wasn’t able to post it on Friday. I hope you all have a great week! What some of your favorite things you have discovered recently?

My Favorite Things This Week 7/1-7/5

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I bought this sun cream in the fabulous Sephora Sun Safety Kit 2013 ( I am sorry, but I believe it has sold out; it quickly cleared the shelf.) I was wondering how I was going to get through all the enclosed products. I am trying one product at a time. I have been using this before I go outside for a prolong sun activity, such as the pool (I do wear a hat there), park, outdoor gatherings. I love love love it. Did I say that I love it! It is very creamy and light. I have found that a lot of facial sunscreen have a chalky texture to them sometimes and instead of moisturizing it immediately dries out my skin.  It is immediately absorbed by the skin. I love the light fragrance as well. It is a little reminder that you have it on. I have a few more facial sunscreens to try from the kit, but they really have big shoes to fill. Also, a lot goes a long way this might last through July. To learn more about this product click here.

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This summer I decided I was going to take a little break from cooking and doing some easier things for lunches and for dinners.  Welcome the art of making sub sandwiches at home! This is great, especially for spending the afternoon at pool. I take out all the fixin’s, and chop up the veggies on my big cutting board. Then everyone lines up and creates their own sandwich art. My favorite creation so far has been a garlic bologna, salami sandwich on a sesame seed Chicago roll with light Munster cheese, light mayo, spicy mustard, pickles, onions, lettuce, hot banana peppers, Aruba peppers, oregano, salt pepper and a dash of light Italian dressing. Not the healthiest choice, but damn it was soooo good.

monsters_university_2013-wideWe went and saw this last weekend with the boys and my bff Vanessa (Thank you to Matt and Vanessa for coming to visit last weekend!). The boys really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed it as well. If you were in a sorority or fraternity in college you will have extra chuckles as you can relate to a lot of the activity in the film.  The Scare Games reminded me of Greek Week or Derby Days.  This is a kid film that adults will throughly enjoy.

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Now that it is summer vacation, I decided to change my workout schedule around. The kids really don’t like going to the child care in the gym and with my oldest camp schedule getting to the gym in the morning would require rushing around. So I decided that at least for the first part of summer vacation I was going to take a break from my normal morning gym routine. So I have been running outside, doing Insanity and going to the gym on the weekends.  I ran a few times last week and an old injury started to flare up again. This week I decided to go to evening hot yoga classes. It has been so wonderful! It is a great way to end your day and you sleep like a baby. I am thankful my hubby has been supportive of this. I went three nights in a row and it was magical. The big plus is that my injury is healing and I can resume running soon.

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Finally, Happy Birthday USA! We might complain and belly ache all the time, but where else in the world can we have the freedoms we all enjoy? I hope you all had a happy 4th filled with love, laughter, fun and new memories!

My Favorite Things This Week 6/24-6/28

Summer is really in full swing in our household. We are going to the pool, kids are enjoying camps, bedtime is later and no alarm clocks.  A few things that I love about the summer is that I can wear less makeup, read more books and the new  summer TV shows.

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Thanks to being outside more often my skin gets a great summery glow. I do always wear SPF on my face. In my birch box this month I got a mineral powder. I have never used one. I normally just dabbed some press powder on my oily spots. Well, one swipe of this magical powder by Youngblood helps control the oiliness on your skin throughout the day. It seriously makes my fresh look so fresh. For everyday I just swipe some of this on, a little mascara and lip gloss and I’m good (Thanks mom for great skin genes!). You can also apply more on your face throughout the day to freshen your look. I have also used it when I am going out and have more make up on and it looks great I love it! To find out more about this great product click here.

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I am only on page 50 of this book and I am recommending it to the world. This is a must read for all teachers and parents. Especially for parents who have a special needs child. Kristine Barnett candidly and thoughtfully shares how her family has dealt with what God has put in their path. She is a pillar of strength and I cannot wait to read the rest! Click here to read more about this book.

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Under The Dome is a new 13 episode series produced by Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. It is based under Stephen King’s book of the same name. I have always enjoyed made for tv shows of his books. Who can ever forget It, (click here if you want to refresh your memory). I first like that it’s 13 episodes. Ever since Lost I have been weary of these types of shows, because I don’t want to invest that amount of time again in that kind of “high maintenance” (you miss an episode you missed so much or you watch an episode and you are more confused than before) type of show. The basic premise is that a small New England town all of a sudden gets shut out from the outside world in a dome force field. This invisible force field showed up out of nowhere, hurting those in its path and encasing those inside it’s parameters. The first episode was really good. It introduced the characters which are now going to have to decide how they are going to survive this situation. There was one subplot I could do without, but other than that this show holds promise for me. The daily beast has a good review. Click here to read, but beware it has spoilers. Click here to view the trailer.

I am going to try to make this a weekly post. Mention a new things that grab my fancy during the week. Hope you all have a great weekend!