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 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 Party Time!

Let’s Fiesta!!

Hello Everyone!

This Saturday we celebrated our daughters’ birthdays.  The theme this year if you can’t guess from the blog title was…a …. FIESTA! Olé!  

Every year we throw a themed party, of our kids’ choosing, and we try very hard to make sure it is not just a theme thrown together, but one that is a special escape for our guests.  Like a few parties of our past that I blogged about before … the Circus, Paris, Japan and Harry Potter.

We are huge admirers of the Mexican culture, all of us but namely me, so I am sort of surprised this theme hadn’t come up before. My thought process to execute this party was to keep with the authenticity of the culture. The heartfelt music, the vibrant colors, the flowers, the rustic street food, the folk art, and the overall natural beauty that we love in Mexico.  It all sounds amazing, and that is because Mexico is amazing!

Let me get started with the details.

We sat down one night to talk about what we could put together to convey the fun of a fiesta in an invitation…and we came up with this!

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The Food was my favorite part of this whole gathering.  I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD.  We ordered catering from Three Amigos in a town nearby.  Our good friends had introduced us to this place through their parties, and it was just a no brainer for this themed one.  and A big thank you to my sister-in-law who went to pick up this for us on her way over!  YOU ROCK!

Our menu selection was simple Mexican street food; it was loved by everyone.  We ordered chips, salsa, guacamole, chicken tacos, beef fajitas, rice, beans and all the accompanying items like lettuce, tomatoes, more salsa and guacamole, sour cream and cheese.  There was a lot of food!!

Then I worked on what to do for the Cake.  At first, I had talked about getting the cake from our bakery, but for some reason my husband and I talked ourselves out of that and made it ourselves.  We loosely designed a cake, then went from there.

Friday before the party I woke up early to bake the cakes (and cupcakes, and brownies, and cookies!).  The cake and cupcakes were a rich chocolate cake.  The brownies were fudge chocolate with a hint of cinnamon, Mexican Chocolate (which is my favorite!) and I made Mexican chocolate chip cookies.  *drool*   As everything was cooling my mother showed up, and we made different color marshmallow fondant for the cake.  We had a lot of fun making a mess in the kitchen, lots of powdered sugar everywhere!  Then I layered the cake with chocolate frosting, then crumb coated it with a vanilla frosting.  It was a pretty tall cake!

Saturday morning my husband, who is the artist, took the cake and layered all the fondant as I stuck on the FIESTA bunting I had made a week prior.

I think it came out pretty great!  Especially for a cake made with so much love from my family.  🙂

The cake was set up with all the treats that I made but also zeppole that my mom made, donuts, butter cookies sent over from my good friend’s mother (huge surprise!), oreos and candies.  The cake table looked like a kids fantasy!

Another one of my favorite crafty things to put together is the photo backdrop for every party.  I think it is a lot of fun and adds another element to the party.  For this I grabbed a serape, an extra-large hay bale, a cactus cut out and some plastic clothes with a printed image of the national eagle to create the Mexican flag.  We ended up having a few sombrero from past parties we have attended, and boom…cute backdrop!  Oh, and mustaches!!

The decorations was an aspect of the party that I wanted to get right.  The one thing that you will see everywhere there is a Mexican fiesta is the colors.  Everything is colorfully bright and cheerful.  I made tissue paper flowers, about twenty of them, to decorate the entrance of the yard along with colorful draping cloths.

Then I hung extra-large papel picado above the patio from the second floor windows.  Which are pretty high, but I didn’t take a shot of them but you can see some of the papers hovering above the heads of our guests.

The tables were set in colorful cloths and as the centerpiece I had fashioned mini serapes with a pair of maracas, a colorful glass vase filled with an array of colored tissue flowers and a Virgin of Guadalupe candle.  It all came together real well.

Then along the back fence I had hung Mexican folk art every few feet.

The party favor came to me totally by luck.  I was walking in a store when I happened to see these pineapple glass jar cups in a set of four.  After a quick hunt in the store, my daughter and I gathered together 24 cups! Yes for 24 kids!  (ay dios mio..I know)   After slipping a piece of colorful tissue inside, and topping the cups with construction paper leaves and handwritten Gracias notes, it was the cutest addition to the day.

Our kids and I decided to dress up for the occasion together.  Usually it is just them, but they love when I put my hair up with flowers, and I think it made our guests and their parents happy to see us all dolled up.  I got a lot of compliments.

We filled the air with Mariachi music, and the party started!  Here are the photos I had taken of the day’s fun:

Posted in Party Time!

Fourth of July 2018

Hey Everyone!

July 4, we cooked together and drank together…and sweat..uhm, together? Haha.  It was actually a lot of fun!

This year we decided last minute to throw the big BBQ bash, just a little smaller than years past.  Just family (and our besties).  The decision came after we had made plans to travel up to Canada the following day. Which I will post about when we are back.  We are in Montreal at the moment, last full day of a long weekend getaway, so time has been a little tight since we left Thursday to post anything about the Fourth…  but here I am!

This Fourth was a hot one, over 90F!  We had rented an inflatable slip n’slide from Perfect Parties USA, and I had bought a six foot tall inflatable unicorn sprinkler from Target for the lil ones.  I am so glad I got that majestic beast!  It came in handy after everyone was tired from slipping and sliding for hours.

We planned a potluck. With us grilling burgers n dogs, then we added sausages because, well, that’s what we do…sausages.  Everyone brought a dish, like potato salad, corn on the cob, peppers, Thai spring rolls, and desserts.  It was a fantastic food turn out!

Well, I am going to photobomb then run since it is past midnight and tomorrow is our last day up here. It has been a wonderful trip but I am in need of beauty sleep!

Ttys! xoxoxo

Posted in Party Time!

Easter Brunch 2018

Hey Everyone!!
Yay!, it is almost Springtime! Next week, in fact. Yes! Finally!  I’m seeing it now. Rising temps. Warm breezes. Kisses lit by sunshine. Windows rolled down. Wearing colorful sundresses. Blooming flowers and green leaves popping from the naked trees. Getting closer to Summer. And most importantly…NO SNOW!! Can’t wait. (Ok I hear we are getting a storm on the day we turn to Spring but AFTER that we will have no snow …right!?!?)
Also, this time of year is for our annual Easter brunch with both families and our girls’ godparents. Which we threw today.
Ahhhh I had so much fun!!
This get together has morphed a bit through the years. It started (2009) as an Easter Egg Hunt with a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny. The kids loved it, I did too.  Now it is a pot luck brunch, it has been for two years. Which…me likes.  It isn’t any easier without the bunny or hunt, I still go crazy prepping and cooking, it’s just the snow got in the way too many years and having twenty kids ransack my living room For eggs lost its appeal.  Especially, since most of them are way above average height. 
What fun celebrating with everyone …and busy busy.  I was non stop the whole day, that I am literally laying in bed typing this out. I know. I lead a rockstar life.  Well, I am pretty tired and since the big man has a job tonight I’m going to let the pictures from today tell the story so I can get some sleep.  I must b tired since I rarely go to bed before midnight!
Wish I took more but I was so involved with socializing that I slipped up..socializing also means mimosas.
Ohmygod lots of mimosas.
Hope you had a great Saturday, too!! 

 

Oh, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!
Xoxo

 

 

Posted in Party Time!

Christmas 2017

May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white.”

Greetings from a winter wonderland up in Massachusetts!

This Monday we were given a ‘White Christmas’ like those from the movies. We had quite the snowy view out each window as we opened presents by our tree, but as soon as afternoon hit the snow fell softly and the sun immediately shined through the grey skies. It was beautiful. (For the children really, as we adults had to clean that mess up as soon as it ended. Well, my husband had to. Haha)

What a wonderful Christmas this year! We celebrated all weekend with those important to us; from Friday night hosting friends to Saturday night partying to Sunday night at my sister in law’s to Monday together with my family at my sister’s. I hope this is a glimmer of what 2018 will hold for us. Lots of good memories with beautiful people (and amazing gifts haha).

Speaking of gifts!! What an awesome Christmas of giving and sharing this year. I’m a big supporter/advocate of  St. Jude all year round, but those feelings of wanting to do more for those that need it hits me hardest this time of year, and hope you all gave some time or donations too. If not, please look inside yourself to give to a worthy cause; honestly, it doesn’t take much and there are so many who can use your help so the list is long. (And it is a good feeling to do something for someone who needs that help. Between donating time, toys, clothing/housewares or money, giving to a charity can be done in so many ways.)

Outside of philanthropy, I gave some pretty rad gifts this year if I do say so myself. It was so great to see the faces of all my family, especially of my nieces, nephews and godchildren, happy with the gifts their ‘awesome aunt’ gave (you bet your butt I am the awesome one!!). But of course, the best part of talking about all of this is because I can finally talk freely about the girls’ big gift of Christmas and our next planned getaway… A TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD!!! I think I am more excited that I can finally say the word Disney at home without feeling like I am giving clues away, cuz that word comes out of my mouth every day practically.

Ok so the big reveal was fun. After the kids opened their gifts I had them go on a small scavenger hunt to find our Elf on the Shelf. Who didn’t make an appearance all season. Under the tree the kids found a hidden tube of sunscreen with a card attached. The card was from our ‘elf’, which was a hello and a rhyme clue to find her.

Lots of Christmas cheer, but it’s getting hot in here.”

(I didn’t say I was a poet)

As the kids ran everywhere to find her, I quietly grabbed all the Disney themed presents then placed them under the tree.(didya figure out she was in the oven?) That clue led to our Elf holding a big envelope that directed them to the tree to read it (and to find more gifts). It was super fun and they were beyond surprised. Our oldest daughter cried for like an hour over it all. (I got video of them opening the letter, and it is so funny and sweet. I’ll post it later on IG.)

As for receiving gifts… well, I got so many nice gifts; my husband always spoils me from the gift-wrap (Snow White theme this year) to each gift.  Also got spoiled from my parents, sister and my girls, which was super nice. My kids are really thoughtful and in tune with their Mom.  God really did give me a special gift with these two girls in my life.  I am very lucky. 🙂

Here are a few pics of the weekend:

 

And now, we are here.

Our last official week of 2017. Crazy how fa… (No no, I’m not even going to say my catchphrase from the year). Ahem. So ok, where was I? Oh yeah. Ok …as we are celebrating our last week of 2017, I wish you all a peaceful Christmas week, wrapping up with lots of love, laughter and memories…. And hopefully a slower feeling of 2018 passing than usual. Haha.

Xoxo

Posted in Party Time!

Thanksgiving 2017

Gobble gobble!

Hey guys!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday with family and friends.

This year we hosted Thanksgiving again, going on a handful of years now hosting this dinner; which the process is always a lot of fun for me. I look forward to the Wednesday before to prepare the dinner with my mother alone all day.  We have a real good time talking while putting everything together, and crafting new things to try…and she cleans the capon! I hope this is a tradition I can partake in until I am old and gray, well, I won’t ever be gray..maybe blue or purple, maybe pink? hah. Plus, I love to cook, and I love the challenges of putting together a large dinner on my own with all the prepping and different cook times getting it on the table at one time.

This year’s Menu:

Appetizers:

  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Scallops wrapped in bacon
  • Crostini of goat cheese and caramelized zucchini
  • Chilled shrimp cocktail*

Cocktails:

  • Valeria – Lillet white, elderberry syrup, St Germain and Prosecco floater
  • Poinsettia – Prosecco, cranberry vodka and splash of cranberry juice
  • Michael-  caramel apple martini w cider sugar rim

Dinner:

  • Lemon/thyme roasted capon filled with sausage stuffing
  • Roasted potato spears
  • Pumpkin spiced roasted butternut squash
  • Green beans w garlic
  • Roasted Asparagus w lemon
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon glazed with maple syrup
  • Braised fennel w clementine zest
  • Mashed potatoes*

Dessert:

  • Squash pie w homemade whipped cream
  • Chocolate chip brownies
  • Chocolate frosted vanilla cupcakes
  • Cream cheese raspberry puff pastry
  • Italian cookies*
  • Sfingi* (Sicilian type fritter)
  • Blueberry pie*

*=brought by family

—–

The best part of my Thanksgiving wasn’t that my kids behaved, or that my house stayed clean, or that the dinner turned out stellar…it’s that I got to sleep in till 8:30AM. Yes, everyone, my kids gave me a Thanksgiving gift by not running to my bedside early. We are on a roll over here!! Haha. I’m jk jk. Well, sorta, sleeping in is like my favoritest thing ever. Starting your day from bed without being poked at, yelled to, creepily stared at, cried to …is pretty fantastic in my Mommy book. Woohoo give it up to my girls.

FAVORITEST is now a word, yes.

Thanksgiving, all joking aside, turned out to be a real nice day with everyone. From appetizers and cocktails to dinner and desserts, it was smooth going and real delicious …if I can say that about my own food? I have so much to be thankful for this year..so here I am spelling it out.

I am thankful for my health and my families’ health. I am thankful and grateful to have clothes on my back, a nice home with food (and coffee) on the table every day and for our jobs that help us make that happen. I am thankful for my family, my loving and supportive husband, my two smart caring children; for my beautiful parents, wonderful big sisters, caring in-laws and all my friends. And even my cat-baby, Gordon! I am thankful to open my eyes everyday to experience life, and feel that life is good without being extravagant or extra, that the simple things are all I need. I am thankful that I can reflect to appreciate what I have..not what I don’t have and I hope my children see what I see, and how beautiful is this life. 

 

 

Here are pictures of our day!

Another holiday in the books, guys.  I can’t believe how fast 2017 is flying by and I hope 2018 goes a lot  …s l o w e r!  Let’s all hope!

Happy Thanksgiving and we will talk soon!

xoxoxox