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

Posted in Random Stuff

25 Random Facts About Me

Hey Everyone!

I have been wanting to get back into blogging more fun things like this, so why not start with this!? Here are 25 random facts about me, and I am not sure if they’ll be interesting, but here we go! 

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25 Random Facts About Me 

  1. I was born in 1976. 

  2. I have a large scar on my left leg from an incident involving one of those old school, metal spike bike pedals.

  3. I really like watching murder mysteries, like those featured on Dateline or that UK show World’s Most Evil Killers. But. Then I am freaked out for days following.

  4. My favorite band (completely bonkers for) growing up was Motley Crue.  My bedroom had posters and magazine cut outs of Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee all over it!

  5. The first time I had a taco I was 16 years old, and in Long Island, NY.  

  6. I apologize to inanimate objects that I may bump into or drop. 

  7. My Boston accent only comes out of me if I am tipsy.  Weird right?

  8. Decorating for all the holidays brings me so much joy, and I am completely obsessed with holiday or seasonal window gel clings.

  9. After graduating from high school, I spent three months in Italy and then took a year off to work before going to college.

  10. My favorite candy bar is a 5th Avenue bar. 

  11. One of my favorite ways to relax is painting my nails; which is why the color changes so often.  

  12. When I was thirteen I had gotten sick from eating Chinese food during dinner on New Year’s Eve night, namely from overeating chicken fingers.  I have not had a chicken finger from a Chinese restaurant since. NOT.A.ONE.

  13. As a pre-teen, I slept in my roller skates a handful of times.

  14. My handwriting is so horrible.  Thank the Lord for texting!

  15. I have only skied one time, but have been on ski trips many times.  

  16. I consider myself spiritual.

  17. My first car was an old clunky sports car, a 1989 Nissan 240SX.  I bought it with my own money at age 18.  I loved that car, and in all honesty, I bought it because I liked how the headlights were independent of the car …and it looked like it was winking.  🙂 

  18. I have wanted to cover my body in tattoos since I was 14… but because I am picky about artist/my visions, I have not felt secure with anyone I have met with to ink me. 

  19. I am the youngest of three children (all girls).

  20. If I hear a lyric, a musical word or a tune, I will spontaneously belt out in song without thinking. My husband has spent 22 years scheming out ways to get me to sing.

  21. The UPS guy, who delivers to my home regularly, knows me by name.    

  22. My feet went down a half-size after I had my youngest daughter.

  23. Flavored coffees repulse me. Even the smell of them.  

  24. I am pretty intuitive, and it can be both a blessing and a curse.

  25. Cold cuts, every Italian person loves them, except me. I find them absolutely disgusting, but I love bacon.  🙂

Posted in Random Stuff

This is Halloween… 2018

Happy Halloween! 

Hope you all had a fun Halloween filled with lots of spookiness, laughter… and CANDY!  

Halloween is the best holiday of them all, isn’t it? Dressing up. The creative makeup. Pumpkins. Haunting decorations. Spooky treats. Fun snapchat filters! (which I know you all love dearly from me!) 

I get so ramped up for Halloween that I decorate my house the first week of September; which I have been coining for years as Septemberween.  IT IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY TO DECORATE FOR OF THEM ALL!!! Halloween is some serious decorating business.  I set aside two days to fully drape each room of our first floor in spooky goodness. Sometimes it takes me three days because I don’t really like anyone touching my Halloween stuff.  ha  I have a ritual here!  There is lots of singing, coffee and skeletons. 

🙂 The trifecta of fun!

I collect these funny skeleton ceramics, called Boney Bunch, that make a preview in each room. I buy a new one, or two, or three!, every year. They make me laugh because they are super cute and silly with spooky puns, and they each have a meaning relating to some special event in my life.  For example, I have a skeleton baby in a high chair for the birth of my oldest daughter. A skeleton baby in a carriage for the birth of my youngest.  A skeleton couple engaged and a skeleton bride and groom in a car for my wedding.  Snow White skeleton with skeleton dwarfs because I am Snow White. A skeleton cook because I love cooking. There’s a skeleton guy using an English phone booth for my first trip to London.  There is a skeleton ghost holding an eye-ball for when I bought my first iPhone. haha Yes I am eccentric. And I won’t go through them all, I have so many.  They always bring smiles to my face when I walk by.  And as I am sitting here typing, looking at the  Boney Bunch dish on the table and my Halloween decor around me that I have to take down this weekend, I am just utterly sad.  Big frown face.  I love how the house looks dressed up for the holidays, any holiday. It feels warmer, fuller, and happier. 

Well, I guess I have Thanksgiving decor to look forward to putting up.  Meh  Turkeys.  haha

But back to Halloween, we had a fun month overall.  Lots of family fun and parties with friends, so spooktacular!  We do have a lot of fun traditions in the Fall, like pumpkin picking at our favorite local farm as we scarf on cider donuts and feed the farm animals, pumpkin carving, watching spooky movies, or hitting up a local Fall themed event. This year we went to two, Screeemfest at Canobie Lake Park and the Great Pumpkin Festival at the Ecotarium.   Both were so much fun. Screeemfest was frightening for our oldest daughter.  She is a ‘fraidy cat’, but I even freaked a few times from the crazy clown wielding the chainsaw chasing people!  I am not that big into scary experiences like that, but I appreciate the scare nonetheless.  If that even makes sense?

Oh wait! The Ecotarium wasn’t without a scare, though.  Here’s a story I haven’t told anyone yet from our night there.  They had a slew of fun things going on and a special feature of fire magicians every forty-five minutes performing.  When we got there the people working the event told us the fire show was happening soon, and to make our way down to the large white circle in the parking lot.  Ok, so we did. 

We arrived to find a guy dressed in a full skeleton costume kneeling down by a speaker blaring Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne.  He was the MC apparently.  We all huddled close around the circle because the night grew chillier pretty quickly. A few more people joined in the circle. Within a minute, a steam punk dressed lanky guy with a large beard made his way into the center of the circle.  He started by telling us to stand on the outside of the circle, as he inhaled from this giant pipe, then exhaled into his hand lighting his hands on fire.  By this time more people were standing around the circle enthralled by the flames. And warmth.  Then the performer set two large batons on fire and started fire eating along to the music. 

The show was not terribly exciting, however, it’s fire and it is beautiful, and my kids seem pretty happy. The guy was shaky but was doing a great job being creepy and mysterious. Then another guy, dressed similarly came out to perform further with lager intricate batons (multi fire points) and fire chains.  He was the more daring one of the pair.  He was performing minor acrobatics with these fire props.  Allowing the pipes to roll across his body and lightly torch his beard.  And, by this point, the fire was so hot from one of his large batons, that I just had the urge to back up. I notice the circle now is encompassed with tons of tiny kids sitting in costumes along the edge and some in carriages. Worry swam over me seeing those kids on the ground. As I looked at my kids to say let’s move another step back, the guy performing the swinging chains moves onto swinging fire pipes and by mistake he let go of one of the fire pipes! It went cruising on the ground into the crowd right for those little kids!!! The pipe misses them by mere inches! It was just the craziest of luck they didn’t get burned. 

Needless to say, we left, as we all didn’t want to die. So.  It was a miracle not a kid was touched by the flames, seriously.

Well, that wraps up tis Halloween! Here are some pictures from our Halloween month of fun…

 

Posted in Random Stuff

Surprise! Arcade Fire!

Hey everyone!

Yes, we went to the Arcade Fire show last night! I cannot believe it still.

We went to see Arcade Fire at The Garden last year in September for their Infinite Content tour, it was our second time seeing them; we went a few years before to see their Reflekktor Tour. A few months ago, I saw this show added to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. When I had seen it I mentioned it to my husband in passing, but followed the conversation acknowledging this busy Summer and backing myself out of it. I don’t know why I do that, but I do. Thinking we probably wouldn’t have the time I guess.

Then this week happened.

It has been a week of surprises… Why?  I don’t really know, but I try not to question things because I like surprises.  Actually, my husband does this sometimes for no reason, but I think it’s because he feels guilty working so much.. or at least that is what I feel.

So, Thursday, of last week, my husband came home with a vintage map of our town. Something I had mentioned I wanted because the history here is kinda cool.  It is a lithograph from 1872, hand painted, and it shows the layout of the town with streets/pin dots for houses with owners last names. It looks so bare. Our house is not on the map, though our street is. We spent all night Thursday after the kids went to bed looking into the history of some of the street names and neighborhoods from our Memorial Hall Library website.  I just had so much fun looking at all the history!!

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Then on Saturday he came home with a baseball cap I have been wanting for a year or so. It’s the Fenway Park Citgo sign trucker hat.  I just liked it to wear to the beach or when we travel and I don’t feel like doing my hair.  IT IS SO CUTE ON! I can’t wait to wear it on our lake trip in a couple of days!

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THEN, he tells me on Sunday night that he planned out a date night for us.  Nothing more.  Then Monday mentioned that he got us tickets to see Arcade Fire!!  AHHHH WHAT!?!?!  And that he reserved dinner too.  I was so excited to hear that!!  He got us tickets in Section 2, row U.  SO CLOSE!!

The night of the show, we had dinner at Legal’s Harborside, my favorite spot on the harbor.  After talking there a few minutes, he told me we had VIP access at the show.  Which meant CLEAN BATHROOMS!  YAHH!  haha  I hate public bathrooms…blech.

The show was amazing.  They are definitely a great band to see live. Their set list was different from the other times we had seen them, and I LOVED IT.  They played a lot of their older songs, which made the place go nutty.  A lot of super fans there, not just me.  The whole place sang along and danced, it was a lot of fun.  I hope to get the chance to see them again someday.

Here are some shots of the night..and a video of their song Reflekktor.  So. much. fun!!

Posted in Random Stuff

Dance Recital 2018

Well, hallelujah hallelujah, dance is officially over for the school year!

After 8 months of getting the girls’ classes straight, washing and drying leotards/tights/pants each week, primping hair, and a lot of driving to rehearsals, we have made it to the big day!  YAHOO!!  (Recital, like Memorial Day weekend, gives me the feels to kick off Summer …for me anyways.)

The school put on quite the performance this year, it was fun from the first dance to the last.  And my girls did a wonderful job with their peers in “Game On”.  Games was this year’s theme.  My oldest daughter performed Capture the Flag (ballet), and my youngest Family Feud (jazz funk) and Memory (ballet)..some pretty great games.  There were so many special dances this performance, and I wish I could share them all with you.  Each game was matched with a song that was of that game, like “Twister” was danced to “Twist and Shout”.  So many clever matches.  They even put on a verse from Hamilton as an interpretation of Call of Duty..so good!!  These kids worked so hard, and it showed!  GREAT JOB, TDS!!!

I always get super emotional during recital.  I don’t know if are catching on to my theme of crying yet, but apparently I cry a lot and tell you guys.  SMH.  It’s just so emotional for me to sit through these productions at times.  Watching all the tiny little preschoolers perform at the start, bumbling and forgetting their positions..just at that sweet age my girls started dance.  Then the trotting, voluptuous, high schoolers dancing perfectly poised in such complicated numbers, who my girls will one day become.  It just gets me at times. These girls are growing up way too fast, and it’s freaking me out!!  I got them dressed today and was like, “I have a twelve-year-old?”.  Like when did that happen?!?!

But it did.  I have a preteen!!

After the performance, we treated everyone to pizza, which was fun, and now I am here at home doing laundry with a house of preteens (niece included) ripping up the place and hollering craziness.  Which I love.

oxoxox

Here are some fun pics of the day.