Posted in Party Time!

Christmas 2018 and NYE

Hello WordPressland!

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas Season and a great start to 2019!

Christmastime Fun!

We had a great season exploring all that Boston has to offer before school vacation, AND after! My eldest sister is home from Italy with her family, and is for another 10 days or so, so we got right to the fun.  My niece is 10yo, and she has never seen Christmas outside of her region of Italy. And, Christmas here in the States is like nowhere else.

We glam it up in every direction with decorations, lots of trees and an amont of lights compared to none; it is quite the spectacular sight if you have never seen it before. (and as I spent one Christmas in her hometown in 2007, I know she had NEVER seen anything like a holiday here.)

We tried to do so much.. we started the first day they got here by seeing the Christmas St Bernard Dogs at Smolak Farms. Those dogs look animated, that is how cute they are in real life.  Then we celebrated our Mom’s 70th birthday, which I hosted the cake afterward.  We then took the kids to see the Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet. My family and I had a few holiday parties between, then we took a trip with all the family to see the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s.  I brought my sister with her family with me to work one day so she could walk around to shop. Then we celebrated my 42nd birthday.  After that was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Then we celebrate my niece’s birthday. After that we took everyone to the Museum of Science to check out the new sights there. My family and I had a party that we brought my niece to at the Hampshire House. Which was quite the kick ass party.  Then it was Christmas week, where Christmas Eve was hosted by my sister-in-law. Christmas Day was hosted by my parents, we had a sleep over and a few friend parties between as the girls slept at my sister’s one night for a kids birthday for my niece, then I hosted New Year’s Eve night, and that follows these Christmas pictures below.

All in all it was busy, but fun.  I may need a vacation soon after all this!

 

New Year’s Eve!

‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’ -C.S. Lewis

☆☆☆Happy 2019!!☆☆☆

It had been four years since we hosted a NYE party, and with my sister home we figured why not this year?   We had decided last minute to make this party a potluck. With thirty people coming we had to figure out how to make everyone happy, and potlucks are a great way to make sure folks eat what they like… and I actually like hosting them. And man oh man, did my guys out do themselves! We offered a lot to begin with..unlimited cava and prosecco to start, a chili bar, crab cakes, taquitos, roasted mini peppers (which I can’t get enough of), a cheese plate, a literal vat of guacamole and dip with an insane amount of chips. Everyone ended up bringing so much…a monster Italian pandoro sandwich, pizza, chicken enchiladas, mini hotdogs, pulled chicken, sausages, mac n cheese, cakes, cookies, and the list goes on!! (I am swearing off food after this week btw.  I had lost 7lbs in December, and I think I have gained back five from NYE alone!! haha) But it was all well worth it.  I loved hosting this party this year even if my house still looks like it was hit with a tornado.  🙂

The next day we were sluggish, but we made it for January 1’s dinner with my family at my parents’.  Very low-key, just like I like it.  Now I am off to work.  YES I typed this all out before the kids got off to school.  Maybe 2019 will be a productive year?  haha No I know, I doubt that, too.  🙂

That’s it.  I hope you all had a great start to this fresh new year!  Best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2019.

xoxoxox

Posted in Party Time!

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary Celebration

Hello WordPress!

Two weekends ago we celebrated my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary! Woo! I know, fifty years is quite an amazing milestone, when you sit to think about it.

My parents’ anniversary is actually in February, but since my eldest sister is home from Italy this Christmas season they felt it would be the perfect time to celebrate this major event. With all their children, and grandchildren, together.

My parents; Concetta Latino e Salvatore Graceffa 02/08/1969

My parents. I just love them. Their fairytale started when they got married in Aragona, Sicily in 1969. They migrated from Italy to America not long after getting married. A new life with new possibilities laid ahead as they arrived in the Bronx in the fall of 1970, with not much money and pregnant with my eldest sister. My father had some family who migrated years earlier there and figured it was a good starting point.

Trying to acclimate to the American language and new culture was not easy at first, and they were not sure how long they would stay in America. But they had one another. My father found a job and my mom stayed home. My eldest sister was born in 1971, then a year later they had my older sister.

As my sisters were toddlers, my family moved from New York to Massachusetts for a better life and work opportunities. They had moved to an Italian/Sicilian neighborhood in Waltham, they felt at home there. My father worked hard every day, long hours, as my mom stayed home with the children. It wasn’t always easy but they had one another. They liked Waltham a lot as they encountered hometown friends and made life long connections that made them feel that missing sense of community from home. This is where and when I was born, in 1976. Which I coin as the best year of their lives. Ahhemmm.

In 1978, my parents had the opportunity to buy a house in the city of Malden. Since living in America they had rented, so this was a huge dream to buy a home. This home is where they have lived, nurturing each other and their family since. My childhood home is a reflection of my parents. The pride they have for it. All the work they put into it. It’s the beacon for this fairytale they have worked so hard on.

And, a fairytale is what they lived and still are living. Fifty years relying on each other for support and love. Fifty years of laughter and memories. Fifty years of commitment. Fifty years with three daughters and six grandchildren. Fifty years of learning new culture and language. Fifty years of stolen kisses in front of their family (and my dad goosing my mom, I see you!) Fifty years with many friends, who are like family. Fifty years of celebrations. Fifty years of stories that could fill a novel. 🙂

True love is a rare, warm, beautiful emotion.

❤️Happy Anniversary!!❤️

Now on to the celebration .. what a great party. My parents booked the Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington, and my sisters and I planned the rest. It was a successful collaboration, even with my eldest sister in Italy most of the time! It was truly a visually beautiful night and my parents were so happy.

Here are some photos:

Posted in Random Stuff

Top Ten Thursday- 2018 Favorite Must See Holiday TV

As you look through this list, you will notice most of my favorite holiday binges are baking shows. Nothing is better than cozying up on the couch with cocoa, watching all the baking chaos, with my favorite people! I think we like to live vicariously through the baking talent out there. 

Valeria’s Top Ten Thursday– 2018 Must See Holiday TV

  1. The Great American Baking Show, Holiday Edition
  2. Holiday Baking Championship
  3. Holiday Gingerbread Showdown
  4. Bob’s Burgers, Christmas Episode
  5. Christmas Cookie Challenge
  6. The British Baking Show, Holidays
  7. The Great Light Fight
  8. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
  9. Nailed It! Holiday
  10. The Christmas Chronicles

What have been your favorite holiday TV shows to binge this month? Share below or on Facebook!

With Christmas just days away, this will be my last holiday themed Top Ten Thursday list. I had wanted to list out my favorite holiday movies and holiday treats, but I just don’t have any Thursdays left before Christmas.  Actually, this will be my last Top Ten Thursday of the year!  I know, you are bummed as we just got started, but I am on vacation for the year starting today, and may not have time to pull together a list to post next week with all the craziness we have in store.

So, with that said,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Posted in Party Time!

Forty-two

Hiya WordPressland!!

It has been incredibly busy this month for me and my family.  If you follow me on IG you know why in my story.  Those who do not follow me there are missing out on my crazy life with my eldest sister home, parties that seem to be happening every weekend, prepping for the holidays, working, school life, packing for NY, going to PT, crafting for my parents’ anniversary party (which was last night and will post about later) and just everything.  Needless to say, I haven’t had much time for myself to just chill out.  But here I am, making the darn time to .. chill out.  Is writing this out chilling out?  No, but let’s all pretend.

So, as you can see from my title.. forty-two happened.  Yup, my birthday was Friday!  Forty-two. I kind of like forty-two.

Man, I don’t know about you all up in this new age bracket with me, but doesn’t forty-two feel… good?  Like, I loved my twenties, I didn’t love myself so much though I wish I had.  Changed by leaps and bounds in my thirties, learned to love the uniqueness about myself. Now starting in my forties, I feel … contentment.  Weird right? I feel happy in myself, my body, my life, my family, my outlook and everything that is around me. I am not comparing myself to anyone else, because, well, no one is like me; so how can I compare myself to another human (vice versa too)?  Is this contentment caused from growing older?  Is it part of some ‘I am too old to give a crap’ mentality that everyone says happens in our forties?

I honestly don’t know.  I feel like I am having an easier time accepting what I can control and letting go of what I cannot.  I used to be afraid of growing old, but right now, at this moment, I am not afraid.  I am growing older, not old.  This phrase packs a lot of punch.  Growing older, not old.

grow
/ɡrō/ verb – gerund or present participle: growing
1. (of a living thing) undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically; progress to maturity.

Growing is a beautiful thing. 🙂

xoxoxo

Here are some pictures from my festivities…

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!