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!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!


I  am so truly blessed and so thankful for all God has given me. Thanskgiving is a great reminder to have a grateful heart, not just today but everyday! I hope you have a wonderful day filled with family, food and a feeling of gratitude:)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chicken chili

This week definitely called for a crock pot meal! I found this yummy chili recipe while perusing Pinterest and it was delish!!

You will need:
  • 2 – 15 o.z cans of white beans
  • 1 – 15 oz. can of white corn 
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic 
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 – 7 oz. can of chopped green chilies
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 – 14 oz. can of chicken broth
  • 2- 3 boneless chicken breasts

-Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray and place the chicken breast on the bottom.

-Top your chicken with the beans, corn and onion.

-In a bowl, combine the garlic, taco seasoning, green chilies, soup and broth. I used a whisk to help break up the creamy soup.

-Once mixed together well, add the liquid to your crock pot and give everything a good mix while trying to leave the chicken at the bottom.

-Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. When ready to eat shred chicken with two forks in the crock pot. Scoop into a bowl and top with shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack. 

Delish, I tell you! And perfect for a blustery wintery night:)

The most wonderful time if the year

Good snowy morning to you all!! This is me right now:
Enjoying a cup of coffee in my holiday cup:)

And this is Joey:
This snowy morning was perfect timing to pull out Joey's Nativity. 

I didn't do a Weekend Wrap-up yesterday because quite frankly there was nothing to wrap up. Very uneventful. Sometimes that's just what you need

With Thansgiving on the horizon this week officially marks the start of my favorite time of the year!! Holy holiday, am I excited!!

I was super motivated yesterday. After taking a 3 mile walk around the mall in the morning( and admiring its festiveness!) we headed to the store to finish our Thanksgiving shopping! 

While Joey napped I pulled out the Christmas decorations! Here's a sneak peek. 



Over the sink. 

My festive spoon rest. 

My little coffee station. 

I love snowmen!

Stockings hung with care. 

My Willow Tree Nativity. 

Decorating is a little different this year with Joey on the loose! We need to keep thugs just out of reach for his curious little hands:) More pictures to come later!

Check back tomorrow for a yummy recipe for my chicken and chili! It might be the perfect night to warm up with a bowl:)

Top 5 Favorite books will return next week!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Friday Favorites on Saturday

I totally forgot to get my Friday Favorites post up yesterday!  Since next Friday Thanksgiving will be over and it will be all Christmas all the time, I thought I would do my top 3 favorite Thanksgiving food!
 
Favorite 3:
Stuffing
 
I know technically if it's not inside the turkey it is called dressing, but that just doesn't sound right to me so I will continue to call it stuffing!  My Grampy makes the BEST stuffing ever!  It is my favorite part of the meal!
 
Favorite #2:
Squash
 
Squash is my favorite Thanksgiving veggie.  I LOVE it!!
 
Favorite #3:
Dessert
 
We have more desserts at our Thanksgiving than I can possibly fit in my stomach, yet I manage to anyways! Pumpkin pie, blueberry pie, cookies, brownies, muddy buddies, candy-- you name it we have it! Ahh I have a major sweet tooth:)
 
 
Thanksgiving is such a great holiday because it is all about food and family.  Is there anything better?!  I love holidays with my family and this is no exception.  We start off by heading to church in the morning.  Then my family will come over for breakfast and the parade.  At about 1ish we head to my Aunt & Uncle's house for dinner.  We stay there the rest of the day /night.  At about 5:00ish we bust out snacks and appetizers.  It is basically all food all day! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christmas Wish List

I love love love Christmas!! It is my favorite time of the year! I like to call myself the holiday cheermeister, ya know from the Grinch, because I am a Christmas crazy starting the day after Thansgiving! There is nothing but Christmas music on my radio, I try to wear red or green at all times, I soak in as many Christmas traditions as possible, I watch Christmas movie after Christmas movie, I decorate like a mad woman...basically if it's Christmasy I do it! I also LOVE Christmas shopping! Not to brag, but I feel like I am a pretty good gift giver! And I definitely love giving more than receiving. I love picking out the perfect gift for someone and then watching them open it! And even though I am horrible at it, I really enjoy wrapping presents!! I make hot cocoa and put on a Christmas movie and go to town. It is my own little tradish. 
Having said that, I'm not crazy I do like getting gifts too! Here is my wish list for Santa:)

For a couple years, my mom was buying me a new pair of Uggs every Christmas. I know Uggs are not the cutest thing in the world, but as soon as you put your feet in this soft, cozy  pillow of foot heaven you will feel the hype! They are just too cozy and comfy not to love! My mom got me this awesome pair of paisley Uggs years ago and I adored them! A month later, some meanie stole them from the gym! I'm still not over it! I have not got a new pair of Uggs in awhile and I have my eye on these beauties!


I love how they are knit! I've never had a knit pair before. I also love that you can wear them high or low. And don't they just look super cozy! I'm all about the cozy, people!


I am one of those crazy people that has a coffee mug obsession!! I like to get a new one every Christmas! Here's a fabulous one I'm kind of digging:)



I really need a new pair of slippers! You may not know this about me but I hate going around barefoot! I almost always have on slippers when it's cold and flip flops when it's hot. The slippers I have right now are a couple years old from Walmart. Let's just say they have lost a little of their bounce. I like ones you can literally just shuffle your foot into. Something like this:



Has anyone ever heard of a Happy Mommy Box? I am assuming it's kind of like a Birch box. You subscribe and every month they send you a box full of cool mom things to entertain you and your kids! I love gettig things in the mail and this box sounds right up my alley!!


I love to read so I always ask for book gift cards to Nonesuch or Books A Million! I know, boring but much appreciated!!



I'd really love a new Alex and Ani! I only have 3 and they are my go to arm candy:)



I am in the market for a cozy new bathrobe!

This Gap one is super cute!


I am anticipating some cold winter days when I bring Joey outside to play so I'd love a new ear warmer and gloves!




I have high boots you wear with skinny jeans or dresses, but I'd love a pair of booties to add to my collection!
Probably not a pair with too huge a heel!


I am not expecting to get any of this and if I don't it's fine, but this is my wish list! And hey, I do have a birthday a few short weeks after Christmas:)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

26 Acts of Kindness/What I Wore Wednesday


First things first! I want to share that I am participating in a wonderful remembrance.  


I got this thoughtful and wonderful idea from fellow blogger Mel at The Larson Lingo. Click here to see the ways in which she participates. She gives you some really great ideas on small acts of kindness. It is so easy to be kind to someone because often times it's the simple things that are the most kind. I am so happy to participate. I try to do kind things everyday. This is why St. Terese of Lusieux is my favorite saint. She did small things with great love. And can't we all strive to do that?? I took Terese as my confirmation name as a reminder of this very simple yet faithful way of hers. I hope everyone chooses to do this for the next 26 days and remember those families as the year anniversary approaches. I am sure these families still need our prayers more than ever. I just started this morning by running out and starting Andrew's car so it would be nice and toasty on his way to work!  See how easy and simple kindness can be??

This is a horrible segue but today is Wedneaday! I haven't done this post in a couple of weeks, but today I am linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday! It's such a fun way to motivate myself to dress cute every once in awhile instead of staying in my comfy cozies or my workout clothes all day!

My sweet cousin Caitlan just have me a bucket full of fabulous maternity clothes! I rocked this super snazzy dress to work this past weekend. 

This dress was super comfortable! And I love wearing tights!! Is that weird??


Another shirt from The Caitlan Collection:) Cute, huh? I seriously love maternity clothes! 

Here is another outfit I wore to work that I love because it's really comfy and warm:)



Happy Hump Day!
What will you do to be kind today???:)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top 5: Young Adult Trilogies

Why read just one outstanding book, when you can read three?! I LOVE a trilogy because I am usually so sad when a book ends.  I get so invested in the characters and their story that knowing I have more to read is a thrill!  I had no problem coming up with my top 5 in this category because they are so good I have already read each trilogy twice or more:) I started reading young adult fiction as a middle school English teacher. I had the privilege of attending a workshop every year called What's New in Young Adult Literature.  It was such an amazing conference! Even though I didn't teach last year I still was able to attend the conference as a representative for the school library!  I have learned about some pretty amazing books! Young Adult literature is  such an up and coming genre! So without further ado, here are my top five trilogies!


#1:
Divergent
Insurgent
Allegiant



I cannot rave about this book anymore!! I have passed this title on to many people who have loved it just as much as me!! I just finished reading the first one for the third time this week!! The third one JUST came out and I wanted to refresh my memory so I am rereading the series.  If you liked the Hunger Games you will love this book!  In fact, I liked this better than the Hunger Games! It has the same Dystopian premise, a love story and flawed government.
#2:
Delirium
Pandemonium
Requiem



 LOVE LOVE LOVED this troilogy too!  Again, I think I liked this better than the Hunger Games.  Also a dystopian genre, this has a great love story and of course in true love story fashion--a love triangle:)  Click here for my original review.

#3:
Legend
Prodigy
Champion



I really enjoyed this trilogy and used the first one as summer reading for my 8th grade students.  They loved it too! Action packed, suspenseful, a vicious government--your standard dystopian fiction trilogy:)
#4:
Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay



Of course who isn't familiar with the Hunger Games?? I would like to state that I started this series a good year before it became a phenomenon!  But definitely in the top 5!
#5
Twilight
New Moon
Eclipse
Breaking Dawn


I thought this picture was much more appropriate than the book jacket:)
I am counting this as a trilogy.  I am currently rereading this series with the exception of New Moon.  Not a fan of that one, because I am anti Jacob.  I find him annoying.  I always forget how much I love this series! Such an easy, quick and enjoyable read. I may or may my wish to turn into a vampire after reading;) I did not try to bite my husband's neck last night just to see what would happen, I did not. 

Full disclaimer on all of these reads: They may make you ignore such duties as paying attention to your family,getting  dinner on the table, showering, sleeping, breathing. You have been warned my friends:)

Happy reading!
Check back tomorrow for What I Wore Wednesday! 
Thursday I'm showing you my Christmas Wish List!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend Review and some pics

The weekend flew by and was extremely uneventful.
 I worked both days from 10-2.
 I forced Joey and Andrew to go for an early morning walk on Saturday.
We went grocery shopping in the afternoon. 
Andrew and I had a pizza and movie night.
Sunday we went to the 8:00 mass.
After I got out of work we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and had beef stew for dinner that had been slow cooking in the crockpot all day. Yum:)
That's all folks. 
Here are some pictures!

Playing outside:)

Watching his new favorite show...Curious George. I HATE monkeys! Really dislike them. Have tried to steer clear of anything monkey since Joey was born. They are just a creepy animal to me. But I have to say I don't mind George. So it's all good:)

It's the mama bear! I bundled up to take Joey outside to play after grocery shopping and it was a bit chilly. Joey was not fazed in the slightest. Just his wimpy mom:)


I got this picture on Sunday while I was working. Andrew took Joey to the playground and he had a blast! Then took a 3 hour nap!!

Joey is starting to eat more things. Andrew tried some carrot sticks yesterday. He wasn't feeling it:) Can't say I blame him!


Yes it is the holiday season!! I have been listening to Christmas music, making shopping plans and planning out my decorating attack! Stay tuned for later in the week for my Christmas wish list! Wish being the key word:)

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday Blog Readers! It is a beautiful Maine November day.  Sunny and chilly, but not too chilly, and the weekend is a mere hours away! Today for Friday Favorites I am linking up with Erika from A Little Bit of Everything and Andrea from Never say Never for a Favorite Things Party.  I am so very excited:)



 
 So today I am sharing my 3 favorite things under $10!
 
Favorite #1:



During the holiday season one of my absolute favorite things is getting a hot, toasty drink from Starbucks in the red cup.  Oh happy day! Totally under $10 dollars!
 

Favorite #2:


This jewelry holder was $7.99 from TJ Maxx.  Can we just pause to reflect how utterly fabulous TJ Maxx is! I mean really?? Anyways, this jewelry holder is perfect for me because I usually just take my jewelry off and toss it in with no real rhyme or reason, but it still looks somewhat organized:)
 

Favorite #3:
 
 
 
Every year I add a new Christmas book to our collection.  The first book I ever bought Joey is called Who's Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate.  I absolutely love it!  It is a short little story about the night Jesus was born.  It is from the perspective of the animals in the stable as they prepare for his arrival! It is so sweet.  I read it to Joey every year on Christmas Eve and hope to make it a tradition with all my children.  If you do not have this book in your collection, you must! And it is only $6.99:)
 
Have a happy blessed weekend!
 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt

You all know I love me a Mix and Mama Mama bundt cake! Not only are they super delicious by are also crazy easy. She basically takes the same  basic formula and mixes and matches it different ways. 

I was looking to make a yummy treat to bring to a play date this week and with the ingredients I had in the pantry, I whipped up my own version of a bundt cakes using the mix and match method!

I give you....

Chocolate pumpkin!

I like to make all my bundt cakes sans frosting because then I feel like you have an excuse O eat them at breakfast with a cup of coffee, right??

Ingredients

1 box of milk chocolate cake mix
2 boxes of pumpkin spice pudding
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup veggie oil



Preheat oven to 350. Grease a bundt cake pan. 

Mix all ingredients in bowl with an electric hand mixer. Pour into greased pan. Cook for about 40-45 minutes. 

Easy, right??

And delish, I assure you:)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top 5: Historical Fiction

Another day of my top 5!! 
If you missed my first two weeks of Top 5 books, be sure to check them out! 
To see my Top 5: Sandra Brown books, click here!
To see my Top 5: Love stories, click here!

I am such a sucker for historical fiction.  It was so easy peasy to come up with my top 5!

1. The Book Thief-Markus Zusak
This is one of my favorite books ever! Click here to see my original review:)

2. Between Shades of Grey-Ruta Sepetys
I recently read this book and could not put it down! I obviously blogged about it! Check it out here. 

3. Diamond Ruby-Joseph Wallace
This is anther favorite. Click here to see why!

4. Moloka'i-Alan Brennert
This was just an interesting read! I loved it.  Click here for the scoop!

5. The Kitchen House-Kathleen Grissom
Loved this little gem!! Click here for the review!!

Check back next week for another Top 5! Anyone have any requests for a category?! Let me know:)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Extended Weekend Wrapup!

We are just ending an extra long weekend at the Paladino house.  Andrew had off Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week and we took full advantgage, hence the blog neglect.  Here are a few highlights.
 
We got a ton of cleaning and yard work done.  I know that may not seem like a highlight but it was so nice to get a whole lot done!!
 
The weather was fairly mild (for Maine that is, 50s is not too shabby for November!) and on Wenesday we raked up a storm.  Here is a picture of my spiffy new raking gloves I got at Home Depot.  Can I just say that I have made 4 trips to Home Depot in the past week.  Disgusting right? Andrew was in heaven! So was Joey, he was loving the Christmas displays.
I most definitely pulled a muscle in my back while raking and I am still recovering!  What was a I thinking? Should have left the physical labor to the husband.

Joey wanted to help rake too!

But boy is raking tough work!  He climbed right up on to the couch to cuddle and relax:)
 
On Thursday evening we had friends over for dinner who have a little 3 month old baby.  Joey LOVED him! He played with him all night.

 
Then crawled up in to Nicole's lap to cuddle with baby Jack.  It was adorable!  Hoping this means he will be an excellent big brother!

 
On Friday my sister and cousin came over to watch Joey so Andrew and I could go out to lunch.  We went to Longhorn and it was delish!  I had the best sandwich ever!  It was grilled chicken, lettuce, tomoato and avocado with a chili ranch sauce on flatbread.  YUM!  That afternoon we were exhausted from all our hard work that we lay on the couch ALL afternoon while Joey napped.  Andrew watched a movie and I read a book. 
 
Friday night my brothers and sisters came over for dinner and Jake made steak.  I regret to say I did not get any pictures!  But it was really fun having them all over. I always feel so blessed not only to have a big family, but I feel fortunate they we are all so close.  My mom was beyond happy! She absolutely loves it when we all get together:)
 
On Saturday Joe's Nana and Grandpa came up for the day to play with him.  They got us lunch and dinner so that was a treat!  On Sunday we went to church then I had to work. When I got home Joey and I walked up to the library to return some books and get some fresh air! 

Once we got Joey to bed, we ended the weekend relaxing on the couch. Andrew watching football and me reading. I am currently rereading the Twilight saga for an easy fabulous read. I skipped over New Moon though. Too much Jacob not enough Edward! I can't stand Jacob. I hate how the movies make you like him. Curse you Taylor Lautner! Anywho, sorry about that! Can't you see why I made the perfect middle school English teacher?!

Speaking of books, tomorrow is my Top 5: Historical Fiction! Stop on back:)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Top Five: Love Stories

I am a sucker for a good love story.  What makes a good love story? For me, if I fall in love the the male character, which happens regularly.  Yes, I fall in love with many fictional characters.  A love story doesn't necessarily have to be your standard mushy, corny over the top kind of love story either.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  Don't get me wrong, I do love the cheesy ones too;)  I had every intention of posting this yesterday, but I was completely stuck.  Not because I couldn't think of my top five, but because I couldn't narrow it down to my top five.  There are so many good love stories out there.  I found lots of the ones I loved could also be filed into another category.  So I assure you, this is not the last of the romanticals.  Here are a list of top five of my favorites that I finally narrowed it down to.


Night Road-Kristen Hannah



I just finished reading this book for the 3rd time last week!  It is so good, but incredibly sad.  It is not your typical love story. The love story is three-fold.  It intertwines the love story of boy/girl, best friends, and mother/children.  Each as captivating as the other.  But most important, the love that binds us to family.
"Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, Night Road raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love."


Twilight-Stephanie Meyers



Yes, I am considering this one of my favorite love stories.  A book that created such a buzz and captivated women everywhere is more than deserving:)  When I read this years ago, before it was popular I might add, I was mesmerized.  I instantly fell in love with the story as well as Edward Cullen.  Really, a chivalrous vampire with smoldering eyes and the romantic tendencies of a Casanova...what's not to love??  I wasn't married to Andrew yet when I read it, but I convinced him that he needed to be more like Edward if he wanted to be my husband;)  I don't think that was an impossible request.   In fact. I think I may just reread it for the like the umpteenth time!  Consider it back on the To Read list:)


Another Dawn-Sandra Brown



Doesn't this cover just ooze romance?? This is not one of Sandra's romance thrillers.  This is strictly romance, cheesy romance at that:)  It has all the ingredeints of a love story you want to gobble right up.  Set in old time Texas it has smoldering cowboys, randy ranch hands, whore houses, lust, betrayal, forbidden love...need I go on?  It is actually the sequel to Sunset Embrace, but you can read one without reading the other!  I promise you the male in question, Bubba Langston, won't disappoint ladies!



The Storyteller-Antonia Michaelis



This is not your typical love story.  This harrowing story is bleak, people.  Yet, it tugs at your heartstrings.  This story is the perfect mix of thriller, romance and fairy tale.  It is gritty down to the core, yet you find yourself a champion for the characters.  Click here to see my full review of this heart wrenching story that will both captivate and stun you.



The Fault in Our Stars-John Green




This first book was my first post on this here blog.  If you have not read this book you must.  It is a beautiful love story that has the captivating, heartbreaking and realistic qualities all quietly tucked in the confines of a book (or a technological device, but that is just wrong people! Books are meant to have pages we turn not a screen that we scroll!! But that is neither here nor there.) Click here for the original post.