Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Christmastime Traditions

Top Ten Thursday of my favorite Christmastime activities.

Valeria’s Top Ten Favorite CHRISTMASTIME TRADITIONS

  1. Decorating the house with all of the decor I have collected since we got married, in 2001. But the best part for me is leaving the tree decorating for last. 

  2. Making gingerbread houses from scratch with the girls. It takes a little longer than making them from a box, but it is so much fun and tastes way way WAY better.  Our recipe is here!

  3. Listening to Christmas music while wrapping gifts. Even though this year our kids started playing Christmas music remixes October 1!! (I wish I was joking)

  4. Displaying all of our family and friends’ holiday cards in our living room along the beams.  It brings me so much joy seeing them as I walk in the house every day.

  5. Celebrating my BiRtHdAy all month long!  Technically not Christmas, BUT it’s 2 weeks before the big holiday, so it goes hand in hand.

  6. Cuddling on the couch to watch all of our favorite Christmas movies.

  7. Checking out Boston’s big holiday happenings.

  8. Attending all the holiday parties and get togethers with friends.

  9. Giving my husband a theme for wrapping my gifts.  Something we have done since we started dating in 1996.  He has his task this year, and I can’t wait!

  10. Driving to see all the local neighborhood holiday decorations.

Posted in Party Time!

Celebrating My Mom

Hey everyone!

Even though the celebration for my mom was a week ago, (my eldest sister is here from Italy so for scheduling we had to do it then), I am posting the party pics now.. on her actual birthday. It has been a crazy week of life and work.  Seriously, what a week.

Before I post photos of my mom’s birthday, one thing I haven’t mentioned here is that my youngest daughter got her brace off of her broken humerus, she is healed! And she is onto the next step, Physical Therapy. She is doing so well, she is so happy, but has another month of no contact/no large group play at school.

I bring this up because it is not just awesome news for her, but during her first visit, I had a weird moment watching the evaluation.  I was watching her going through the mobility screening, and with each movement she was doing, especially those over head, I was thinking to myself how painful those moves were for me to do.  So after they gave me her diagnosis/plan, I admitted to my pain.  So now I am in PT!!  Clinically, I was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement issue.  It is truly painful, yall… and apparently, makes you speak like a Southerner..wth was that?  haha  This all started this Summer, before our trip to California, I didn’t know what was going on.  Did this have to do with my car accident from the Spring or from working out too much, or from age..  but I was growing nervous as it just wasn’t going away with what I was doing. So I stopped going to the gym after the trip, going twice since. The pain was just horrible.  I also didn’t share it with anyone until a week before Thanksgiving.  Why? Because I am stupid that is why, and when my daughter broke her arm I went into care mode for her not me.  Then it started bothering me in my sleep about a week before my daughter was to see this PT Physician. My worry was worsening and planned to talk to a doctor. So the first doctor I saw was this PT physician during her appointment.  haha

I am so glad I opened my mouth when I did there, because I now see my posture and the issue it is causing. There is a rounded look to my posture from years of desk life, how it feels comfortable sitting and so much more.  This is a big change for me, and a hard job every day. The Dr is saying that the work they are teaching me should help my posture to alleviate this issue.  I am hopeful, and, thankful this office of therapists is whom I am seeing.  They really have opened my eyes to how I carry myself physically, and what could have become a major problem.  Wish me luck! 🙂

And as I typed that my new 36″ foam roller just got delivered!!  YEAAAHHH!! 

Ok, so back to the purpose of this post.. sorry I can ramble, you know this.

We celebrated my Mom at her favorite restaurant, Tokyo Steakhouse.  She loves the whole teppanyaki show, the fire, the jokes, the …food.  haha  It was the first time my niece and brother-in-law from Italy had been to a restaurant like this, and it was a lot of fun.  They just arrived the night before, so they were a little tired but it was still a nice night.  After dinner we went to my house for cake. I had set up my kitchen with everything we needed for a fun night celebrating my Mom. Champagne, coffee and candy.  What else is there, really?  My mom seemed so happy. Whom, btw, looked radiant.

A big Happy 70th Birthday cheer to my Mamma!  I wish you a day filled with love and happiness, and every day filled with health and peace in your heart. xoxoxo

Enjoy the only pictures that I took… (I just want to FYI folks out there that don’t know how WordPress works in the photo area.  Collages, like this one below, are great fun to pull together. You add photos you like into the media feature (where photos are stored). You choose which you want in a specific part of the page, like this one I chose all the photos from that night. Then WordPress uses the order and orientation of the photos to create a more cohesive collage; which is why some pics are larger than others. I am not manipulating that, I just add the photos I like in the order of when they’re shot and WordPress does the rest.)

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Christmas Music

There are really way too many for this topic, so this was a tough list to pull together, but no Christmas is complete without hearing these on shuffle …and repeat.

The first four are my most favorite, and actually sing all year round. 🙂

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday Favorite CHRISTMAS MUSIC

  1. O Holy Night– Josh Groban

  2. Sleigh Ride– Ella Fitzgerald

  3. White Christmas– The Drifters (You really need to hear my rendition of this classic.)

  4. The Christmas Song– Nat King Cole

  5. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree– Brenda Lee

  6. Santa Baby– Eartha Kitt

  7. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm– Dean Martin

  8. Holly Jolly Christmas– Burl Ives

  9. White Christmas– Bing Crosby

  10. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town- Jackson 5

Let me know your favorite Christmas tunes!

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Things I Can’t Live Without

Now this topic is figurative, taking into consideration that I have the five vital items for survival…air, food, water, shelter…and, sex, cause, well, sex is essential, too!  Let’s drop in good health while we are at it, assuming I am always in good health.  Here is a list of things I love having around me all the time that make life beautifully bearable!

Valeria’s Top Ten Favorite THINGS SHE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT

  1. My family. The reason I love life so much is my family. My husband is the sweetest person, my best friend.  He knows me like no one else. And our children are truly a gift. I have two kids that totally understand me, my kooky sarcasm and how much I love them with all of my being.  I am a lucky woman.

  2. Hugs. Honestly, I think this is my favorite one on this list. We need hugs to connect, feel and give love, to feel grounded, to synchronize our hearts and souls, and it is probably more important than most people think. If you don’t get hugs please let me know..maybe I will start a “Hugging Booth” for five cents a hug. haha

  3. My bed. If you have never slept on a latex mattress topped with a downy cover, fluffy blankets and crisp sheets, well, you haven’t slept! 

  4. Espresso. I am almost certain espresso is part of the vitals of living. I mean, it could also be the elixir of life giving energy.  haha  Let’s just say I am not an addict, but I would cry after a few weeks without coffee. And probably become hostile and violent.

  5. Contacts. I am near-sighted, and prefer contacts, as me in glasses is meh. I have two pairs of glasses I bought this year with hopes to alternate contacts with, but I mainly use them to clean around the house or to walk to the bathroom for my contacts!!

  6. A hot soapy shower. I take showers all the time..lots of soap and shampoo! There is nothing better than a super hot shower to revamp your soul! It should change from chicken soup for the soul to a hot shower!

  7. Minty toothpaste. AND TOOTHBRUSH!! 

  8. A car; freedom to come and go as I please is important. I hate (and I mean hate) the feeling of being trapped or unable to be free, grr it bothers me to no end. 

  9. I would be a mess without my go to ‘wear around the house’ outfit; black ribbed tank and black yoga pants with thick socks! (a sweater in winter) There is nothing better than to walk in the door after a long day and bee line it to your bedroom to put on your favorite comfy outfit.  Take that bra off and bam, we have a perfect evening of lounging ahead! hahah 

  10.  My heated blanket.  BEST GIFT EVER! I am one of those people who find any weather under 65F freezing.  My whole body feels cold and man, do I hate the cold!  My husband got me one of these blankets last year, and wow, my whole Winter was spent cuddling under it and I did not complain of the cold once last year! NOT ONCE!! Total game changer right here.

What is your top ten list or one item you cannot live without?  Comment below here, FB or Twitter!  I would love to know your must haves.

Posted in Random Stuff

Thanksgiving 2018

Hey Everyone!

Hope you all had a spectacular Thanksgiving day with your family and friends. We sure did!

Here’s my Thanksgiving season breakdown…

First, we started with a Friendsgiving at a sort of new friend’s house. I say sort of new because he is Mike’s work colleague, has been for a little while but whom I met a year ago at a work party. We partied and fell instantly in friend love. We invited him and his family to our kids’ birthday bash in September, which turned out great. Then a few weeks later he invited us to his Friendsgiving. It was a lot of fun. His house is beautiful. His friends were beautiful. So many people and the food was pretty special. Especially that gravy. Who made that insanely good gravy?

Me. Haha. He asked me to join in the cooking fun a few times because he noticed I was dying to do something. I kept saying that I didn’t want to intrude but jumped up when he offered up the gravy duties.

A week after that my office had their Day o’Gratitude lunch. It was a lot of fun, too. We went to the Warehouse Grille in Boston. This was our first thanksgiving type luncheon and I hope to get together around Christmas. I don’t see enough of my colleagues; well, not of Sonia and Tonia. I love those girls!! We have worked together for a handful of years but Sonia left me to move back to Atlanta but always works from Boston when she visits her family. So it works out pretty great.

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We are adorbs I know. :)~

Then the main event!… THANKSGIVING DAY! This was the coldest Thanksgiving morning on record. But it was bright and cheery outside. My husband woke up early for his annual pancake breakfast followed by the Reading vs Stoneham football game. As, I slept till 8AM! I got to work on my Thanksgiving Day Cooking Plan (P) right after coffee. As our girls woke up… one at 9AM and the other at 10AM!! It was a Thanksgiving Miracle!

This year our dinner was for a smaller group of us. Per usual, my eldest sister lives in Italy, so it’s been eleven years without her for this holiday (but is coming home in a week!). My older sister goes off to Kansas City to see her husband’s family. And we had a change-up this year, my in-laws decided to stay with their daughter, who always hosts her in laws, she wasn’t sure if they were going to come up or not. It was just my family with my parents.

I was pretty nervous with us being such a small group, like it would be too quiet or not a big hoopla, but IT WAS A PERFECT DAY! We had such a wonderful time together right from their entrance into the house that I will treasure this day the most out of any other. We told stories. Shook cocktails. Played jazz. Talked about what we were all grateful for. Laughed and ate, a lot, but paced the timing out perfectly.

My dinner came out great and everyone loved it. I felt so good inside on Thursday. Relieved relieved relieved.

Here was the menu:

Cocktails

  • Apple Pie Martini
  • Side Car (my fav!)

Appetizers

  • Stuffing stuffed mushrooms
  • Bacon wrapped scallops

First Course

  • Chicken consommé with fresh cheese tortellini

Red and White Wine

Main Course

  • Roasted thyme/lemon capon (with marsala gravy)
  • Sausage stuffing
  • Roasted pumpkin spice butternut squash
  • Sautéed mushrooms and peas
  • Roasted herbed potato casserole

Dessert and Coffees

  • Homemade pumpkin pie
  • Homemade chocolate pudding pie
  • Homemade pumpkin spice cake bites w cream cheese frosting
  • Spiced cake balls
  • Ricotta pie (from my parents)
  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Espresso, Lattes and aperitif

After dinner my in-laws came over with one of our nieces. The kids were so happy. They closed themselves in the tv room while the rest of us hung out and had a drink. They left after an hour or so. Once we cleaned up, the kids grabbed some old games and we played till we couldn’t keep our eyes open! It was such a beautiful day.

 

Then last night was our annual Friendsgiving. We always get together the Friday after turkey day. And we try to always hit the Kowloon on Rt 1. There is a long-standing tradition here with the vintage Polynesian kitsch of the restaurant, the insanity of how fast the food comes out after just ordering, AND, scorpion bowls.

I love seeing everyone!

Well, there it is. My Thanksgiving Season post. I had such a wonderful time And hope you all did, too. Happy Thanksgiving!!

xoxoxox

 

 

Posted in Party Time!, Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions

Top Ten Thursday on a Wednesday? What!?

Yes, my second Top Ten Thursday post is on a Wednesday.  For good reason though.  I won’t be able to post tomorrow, and before I am engulfed in prepping for the big day today, I am publishing my… Top Ten Thursday -Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions today!

Valeria’s Top Ten Favorite THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS

  1. Cleaning the capon and prepping for the big dinner the day before with my mom (and dad!). I just love spending this day together.  She still teaches me so much even after all these years doing it together.

  2. Making my mother’s sausage stuffing, which we stuff in the bird and in mushrooms..and this year, making a lb more just to have all weekend long! 🙂  My mom is a very special cook, so knowing I am carrying this tradition on makes me beam from the inside.   

  3. Heading out early for the RHS’s (high school alma mater) big pancake breakfast and football game with friends.  You guessed it, this is my husband’s tradition! But he is back early to give me a hand. 🙂

  4. Getting all dressed up after putting the bird in the oven, then having to wear my colorful apron till guests arrive.  I am so looking forward to my new outfit this year with that apron! 

  5. Blaring jazz while cooking. Which turns into dancing with my kids… singing.  I do love me some Ella!

  6. Tasking our daughters to make homemade place cards. They have come up with some clever personalized drawings for each person.

  7. Setting up the TV room for the girls to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Which, I run in and out of  the room explaining all the vintage balloons while cooking! 

  8. Giving a toast before dinner begins. Cheers!

  9. Listening to everyone say what they are thankful for around the table; the girls always write out a sentimentally beautiful list to share. 

  10. The best tradition of them all…  EATING!!! 

I would love to hear about all of your Thanksgiving traditions, so share them by commenting below here, on Twitter or on FB!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with all your family and friends! I will post about our Thanksgiving, which will start with this.. my Thanksgiving Day Cooking Plan (P). I CANNOT WAIT!

xoxoxo

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- Podcasts

For my first Top Ten Thursday I am choosing to list out my favorite podcasts. I listen to so many, but these are by far my favorites. Especially while driving. Or at a stand still in traffic. Between conference calls. While doing my makeup. At the gym. Basically, everywhere!

So let’s go!

Valeria’s Top Ten Favorite PODCASTS

  1. The Moth (performing arts, storytelling)

  2. Startalk Radio (science, math)

  3. Joe Rogan Experience (comedy, celebrity)

  4. Armchair Expert (comedy, celebrity)

  5. FiveThirtyEight: Politics (news, politics)

  6. Come to Papa (comedy)

  7. WDW Radio Show (travel, disney)

  8. IndieFeed (alternative music)

  9. The Fighter and The Kid (comedy)

  10. Travel with Rick Steves (travel)

Only the first three are in order of my favorites