Welcome to my blog!

This blog highlights all my favorite picks and ponderings. I share book recommendations, yummy recipes and fashion favorites! I throw in some surprises every now and then and share my life happenings and LOTS of pictures of my adorable sons, Joey and Teddy:) Hope you'll keeping stopping by!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Recipes of the Year

I feel like I have become very Martha Stewart esque this past year!  I have been cooking up a storm and finding lots of yummy new recipes!  Here are some of my favorite blog recipe posts of the year!



1. Pumpkin Chili
This is one of my all time favorite recipes! Click here to check it out!

2.  Chocolate Chip Bundt 
This became one of my all time favorite desserts.  I like to heat it up with a little vanilla ice cream--delish I tell you! Head over to Mix and Mama for the recipe by clicking here!

3. Salsa Chicken
This is one of my go-to recipes.  Easy peasy and so delish! click here!

4. Chocolate Strawberry Cookies
Um, sounds yum right? They are! Check them out here.

5. Broccoli and Cauliflower Side Dish
My bestie was a guest blogger and shared this yummy recipe for all you vegetarians out there!  Check it out here!

6. Summer Salad Perfection
Enough said. Go here.

7. Pumpkin chocolate Chip Cookies
It's not Fall without pumpkin.  In fact your can eat pumpkin anytime! It's a veggie ya know! Click here.

8. Egg Salad
I love me some egg salad! Look at this yummy recipe for it!

9. Apple BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
AHH-mazing.  I can't even count the amount of time I have made this delectable recipe since learning it! Click here and you will not be disappointed!

10. Chicken Chili
I love ANYTHING that can be made in the crockpot.  This yummy meal is no exception! Click here!

I can't wait to see what yummy recipes I find this year!  I try to blog a new recipe every week so keep coming back!

If you missed our year in pictures yesterday, be sure to check it out!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Year in Review!

I can't believe that 2013 is coming to an end!  I swear I just get use to writing 2013 and then the year is over!  We have had such an amazing year.  This year I started this old here blog.  It has changed and evolved and become such a great way to write, share and connect.  I hope this blog keeps on evolving as I do.  One of my favorite things about this blog is being able to look back on our year and see all the wonderful things it has given me. 

Here is a look back at our year in pictures!


Joey and I took lots of walks! We love getting exercise and being outside! I'm so thankful that Joey enjoys the stroller(for the most part)!


We played outside! Lots and lots! Joey is definitely all boy! 


Joey's sweet little personality started emerging! He absolutely kills me!



We took lots of selfies:) Of course we did!



I drank lots of coffee! A mom needs lots of fuel keeping up with a ball of energy!



Celebrated lots of holidays!



Joey celebrated his first birthday!


We enjoyed a beautiful spring:) 


We had a fabulous summer at the beach:)
 


I enjoyed time with the other man in my life--the hubby:)



We did lots of fun Fallish things! 



Here are some of my favorite blog Pin-spired looks from the year.



I  made lots of food! And tried lots of new recipes:)
I'll highlight some of those tomorrow so be sure to pop back!


We had our first family trip to Smiling Hill Farms!



But mostly I just enjoyed this little face.  I know that it is these moments that make life so special.  I feel so lucky that my job day in and day out is getting to hang out with the little prince! Thanks for the gig, Andrew! My life is so fully blessed! He brings so much joy to my life!

I love his silliness...


...and his sweetness.

I love my little family and look forward to the exciting adventures that 2014 has in store for us! I am beyond thrilled that 2014 will bring a new addition to our family and that our little family of 3 will become 4!


I am so excited I got into this blog thing.  I have started reading lots of blogs and met some really fun and interesting people!  I have learned a lot about other people's lives, new recipes, fun fashion and great recommendations.  I have begun to follow many of the bloggers through other social medias as well--Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I got a great idea from many of the bloggers I follow--to  Instagram a picture each day of the year that represents a happy moment of that day.  There are going to be days in the year that are going to be hard or sad or even difficult--but being able to find one moment that brings joy to your life seems like such a special thing to do. At the end of the year you can look back on any given day to see what made that day special. 
I will be starting this idea this year so be sure to follow me on Instagram: @katiepal

I hope everyone had a wonderful year! Cheers to the next one!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Friday Favorites of the Year!

Can you believe that another year is almost over?! My mom always use to say the older you get the faster it goes! Ain't that the truth? I can't believe it's almost 2014!  I thought for Friday favorites today I would do some of my favorites from this past year!
 
Favorite Book I read this year:  Beautiful Disaster-Jamie McGuire
Thanks Belle for the recommendation!!
 
Favorite New Recipe: Apple BBQ Chicken sandwiches (Recipe here)
 
Favorite New Show I started watching: The Carrie Diaries
 
Favorite Blogs: Mix and Match Mama
                       Pinterest Told Me To
             Fancy Ashley
 
Favorite Blog Post of the year: All of my Pin-spired posts! Here is my favorite!
 
Favorite Movie I saw this year: Safe Haven
 
 
Favorite Song of the Year: Shine On- Florida Georgia Line
 
Favorite Accessory of the Year: A scarf of course!
 

 
Favorite Memory of the Year: Ocean Park Beach Vacation:)

 
 
  Don't forgot to stop by next week as I recap the year and announce something fun for 2014!
 
 
 

Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We sure did:)
It is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  Christ is the reason for Christmas.  God sent us his only Son to redeem the world.  The message of Christmas should always focus on that important message.
 
 
 
But there is also a magic about Christmas.  A belief in something wonderful.  As a child Christmas is such an exciting time.  When you have your own children that magic returns again!  Blessed are those that see Christmas through the eyes of a child. 
 
Here are some pictures from our Christmas.
 
 

 
Joey all dressed up for Christmas Eve mass.
 
Christmas morning!


Joey made out like a bandit! Loving his train table.

Being silly:)

Amidst his many toys! And mum's new dirt devil;)
 

An extra large coffee mug and a cozy scarf from my mom...she knows me too well!

The fam bam!

Grammie & Grampy:)
 

Fam shot...Joey is too cool for a pic
 

Joey was entertaining everyone with his antics on Christmas night!
 

Another morning, another present! Spoiled rotten:)
 
Joey received some great gifts and we are very thankful!
Andrew also made out quite nicely.  He got a new blu-ray player, a bunch of new shirts that he desperately needed for work, a cozy new blanket for lounging that I am insanely jealous of and some gift cards!
I also was a lucky girl.  Got lots of new clothes, a Mom Alex and Ani from my sweet prince, visa gift cards(that I get to put toward oil to heat our house! Exciting huh?? Being an adult is super fun) bookstore gift cards(woo!)and other fun odds and ends.  Andrew also gave me the stocking of all stockings this year:) My favorite Christmas tradition!
 
Hope everyone enjoyed the day with lots of family, food and happiness!!
 
Now it's time to look forward to the next big holiday-- my bday;)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve!


Merry Christmas Eve! This is my favorite favorite day!! It's full of excitement and anticipation! Not that I don't love Christmas, but there is somethig magical about Christmas Eve! For many years I have asked to work on Christmas Eve! It's so much fun to help the last minute shoppers(ahem, mostly men) finish up or start in many cases their shopping!! It's a day filled with happiness and cheer. With two kids next year, this may be my last working Christmas Eve so I volunteered to work! We will head straight to church and then to my grandparents to celebrate Christmas with my mom's side of the family. We will end the night at my parents' house and open one present! My money is on pjs;) Woo new pjs to sleep in tonight!! I hope you all have a joyous day!

Last night we kicked off our week with a party at my parents with my dad's side of the family. I do believe I ate whole bowl of guacamole! Joey napped until 4:45 so the Paladinos stayed out late!! We made it to 8:30! Can't wait to continue the celebrating!

One thing I am sad about is that I no longer will open my mailbox and have Christmas cards waiting! By far one of my FAVoRite holiday traditions!! We had quite the haul this year!

Here is our collection! Yes, I did hang up my own Christmas card. I just can't stopping looking at the little prince!

Here's our card! Love this face! And oh so excited that there will be another face gracing our card next year! What a difference a year will make!

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
2 Corinthians 9:15

Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekend Wrapup!

What a crazy busy weekend! On Saturday morning we headed to the mall early to finish up some Christmas shopping! We are mostly done! I just need to get a few more tuck in gifts that I'm hoping I can do today! After doing our shopping we let Joey have some fun!
He tried on some swanky hats, played in the play area for a bit, road the mechanical machines(while his mother cringed inwardly at all the germs) and then went to look at the train! He was not happy when it was time to leave. 

I had to work from 12-4. It was bustling with Christmas shoppers!

Saturday night we had my Aunt Pam and Uncle  Terry's annual Christmas party! I look forward to it every year! We ate lots of delicious foods and and enjoyed some wonderful company. My Aunt Pam makes these sandwiches called Christmas  sandwiches that we only get to eat at this time every year! Absolutely no idea what's in them!! All I know--They are SO delish! Even Joey loved them! Joey likes nothing people! Joey my picky little eater went to town on a Christmas sandwich!

Here's Joey in his swanky outfit:)
Loving the Fisher Price farm and Uncle Pat of course!
Joey was having a blast with all the kids!
He wasn't happy when we had to leave and so I thought that would be a good time to take a quick family pic!
Clearly it wasn't:) But a funny picture nonetheless!

Sunday we were iced in! But I got a ton done!! I cleaned the entire upstairs, washed and folded four loads of laundry and finished wrapping all our presents! Andrew was even able to put together the train table Joey got from his grandparents so it will be ready Christmas Day!
Love that I have a handy husband!

Ended the night watching the Micheal Buble special while I wrapped presents:) and now it's crunch time! It's Christmas Eve Eve! 2 days left people!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday Favorites and my Ornament Swap

Happy Friday! It's almost Christmas!! Are you feeling the magic! Today I am sharing a peek into my ornament swap last night! It was so fun and really put me in the jolly spirit! But first things first....Friday Favorites! Today I am sharing my top favorite Christmas traditions/Memories

Christmas Eve- this just so happens to be one of my favorite nights of the year! I have always loved Christmas Eve. My family has always gone to the 4:00 mass. We doll all up in our Christmas best and have to arrive an hour early because it's packed with all those people who only attend church on Christmas. You know who I'm talking about! I love this tradition:)

After church we go to my grandparents house for dinner and presents with all our aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Growing up I use to love when we would get home. We would make hot chocolate and all sit around and open up new Christmas pjs(see below)! Later that night once I was all cozy in my pjs I'd stay up and watch my parents open their gifts to each other! I really loved that. I was the only one who would so this so it made it extra special to me:)

On Christmas morning we would wake super early but we were not allowed downstairs! We would usually all meet in each other's room to waituntil the   appropriate time that we were allowed to wake our parents. We always open stockings first in my parents room! My mom is the queen of stockings! That is something I really miss now that I don't live at home!!  After we opened our stockings my parents would head downstairs to make sure Santa had come and when they gave us the ok we barreled down! We all had a designated area in the living room that Santa left our gifts. He never wrapped our presents. Maybe because there were lots of us! After we surveyed our haul and aptly oohed and ahhed my mom made us breakfast! I had such really wonderful Christmases. I can't wait to give Joey wonderful experiences as well!

Christmas Eve gift-We are always allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it's always new pjs. I love getting new jammies at Christmas!! 

Christmas lights-- I love making hot cocoa and going out to look a Christmas lights. Gulia and I have been doing this for years and this year will be the first year we won't be able to go together:( I am sad about this but also excited to start the tradition with my little family! 
I use to look at lights with my own family when I was younger until one year my brother Dan threw up all over the car. It was awful! Needless to say, that was the Foster Family's last light outing:)

Ok now here is a sneak peek into my ornament swap!

My party favors were Christnas dishtowels!

Beverages!

What's a party without cookies?!:)


Recipes will be up next week on the blog!

Here's my ornament that I ended up with:

Isn't it beautiful??

Hope you have a joyful weekend!:)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top 5: reading tips:)

I decided to give my top five tips for squeezing in reading! As a mom with a very busy toddler I have to be very creative with my reading time. 
Here are some great tips to squeeze in some reading time in between your busy schedule!

#1: Downtime
I do I fact read in front of Joey.  I have always read one of the biggest ways to promote reading in your children is to read in front of them. Since Joey is not super into books yet I try to sneak in some reading time to make him think it's 
"Cool" so to speak;) Believe me I know there will be a day when nothing I do is cool in the eyes of my son so I might as well take advantage when he is young and impressionable! So when we have some down time in our day and Joey is watching his show or playing quietly I take out my book and read. 

#2: While waiting at a dr. appt
I always bring a book with me when I have an appointment! You inevitable end up waiting for a bit in the waiting area and then sometimes in the patient room and it's nice to have something to do while waiting. I get some quality reading time in at appointments!

#3: at commercials
When I am watching TV I always read my book during the commercials! It's a win win. You get to read and you don't have to watch commercials!

#4: In the car
You are probably mortified by this tip, but I am not talking about while driving! I always keep a book in my car for emergency stops. Living in South Portland  you never know when you will get stuck on the bridge. Perfect time to sneak in ten minutes! Or maybe you get stuck behind train tracks or a major traffic stall. It's always nice to have a nice book on hand to pass the time;)

#5: Keep in purse
I always keep a book in my purse when I am out and about without Joey. Getting your oil changed--It's nice to have a book on hand to pass the 15 minute wait. Have a few extra minutes before work and stop in to grab a bite to eat--read your book while you eat. Waiting in a long line at the grocery store, DMV, Time Warner Cable for examples...you'll be glad you brought a book!

I'm a pro at squeezing in some reading time. You just need to get creative AND find a good book of course!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Wrapup

I started off my Saturday with a trip to the mall with my boys.  We walked a couple of miles and then did some Christmas shopping.  I had to work from 12-5.  I love working during the holidays--it is super busy and festive!  Saturday night Andrew and I headed to a Christmas party at my friend Karen's house!  I literally ate my face off! So much yummy food:) And I NEED to beg. borrow or steal this recipe for ahh-mazing M&M cookies.  Basically I love anything that involves M&Ms.
After the party we headed to an engagement party for my cousin, Molly!  Yay she is engaged to a wonderful guy.  I am super happy for both of them! Cheers to the lovely couple:)
We didn't stay out long because 1. We are an old married couple who would much rather be home cuddled up on the couch and 2. I was driving and I am horrible in the snow! I for real drove 20 miles an hour the whole 2 miles ride. And I was white knuckled and it took us probably 20 minutes.  Rather be safe than sorry! 
Sunday I got called off of work because of the snow, so we hunkered down for a cozy snow day!  I made a yummy breakfast, nachos for lunch, and apple bbq pulled chicken sandwiches for dinner.  I also made chocolate chip cookies! We basically ate ALL day!  I also did a little cleaning and watched numerous episodes of my new obsession, The Carrie Diaries(thanks Karen!)  All in all it was a relaxing day!

Enjoying some coffee and homemade apple cinnamon bread on the snow day!




I just love this face:)