Posted in Random Stuff

Update: New Blog

Hey Everyone,

Hope you are enjoying this Summertime weather!

We are in the best time of year… SUMMER IN NEW ENGLAND! Yahoooo! I am so psyched about this Summer I can’t stand myself.   I have been dying for weather like last week’s since we started Winter last year!  

Can I get an AMEN for sand between our toes, late night sunsets, Summer clothes and sandals!?

 

Well, along with the excitement of this weather, I am making some changes to la vita miaI’ve decided to no longer feature my recipes here and start a new blog to showcase them.  Of course I will continue with posting to la vita mia with my life events and stuff on my mind; I just really need to drive myself back into blogging about food, and starting a new blog may help me achieve this goal. 🙂  

Now open for blogging is…. Girl Cooks Food!

 

All of my previous recipe posts are remaining here, but are also copied to my new blog.  It’s ready to view if you click the link above!  I posted a new recipe for a pork loin roast today you should check out.   

I hope you’ll check out my new blog, follow along there, and share it with your friends, too!

Have a great week, you guys!

xoxoxo

 

Posted in Random Stuff

Father’s Day weekend recap

Hi Everyone,

Hope all my Daddy friends had an amazing day yesterday with their families…and a fantastic weekend, too!

We ended up having a fun Saturday after all that rain disappeared!  We went to two birthday BBQs, one local for the children and one for the adults following that in town. It was a great time, and love kicking off the Summer with this type of fun.

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Then Father’s Day was a super relaxing day together. The girls were so tired from their late night with my parents, and so were we!, that I got a little present along with my husband..sleep. THEY SLEPT TILL 9:30AM! I love sleeping in! This is a very rare occurance, everyone, as they wake up at the crack of “hell no” every day.

As soon as the girls woke up I whisked them away for a coffee run to let the big man sleep a little longer. Once we got home, the girls and I showered him with all the special homemade cards, paintings, school papers and presents.  Here are a few shots I took weeks ago of them making his cards after school.  They made him anchor/nautical themed photo frames, too.  One for his new office and one for home, but didn’t take snaps of that fearing I’d ruin the surprise by Instagramming them (I need an intervention.). 

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It was so sweet to watch his appreciation across his cute face, he truly is a dad made for these girls.  🙂 

Even my gift, which wasn’t handmade, went over real well! YES! I am not as creative as he with making cards or presents. I leave that up to Hallmark and Papyrus, then add in my own sentiments! So, I ended up getting him an outdoor patio heater, which I honestly have always wanted since we saw them 15 years ago!, and knew he did, too. Cannot wait to use that beast this Summer!

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Our cat hiding behind his gift. teehee

After all the hugs and presents, we went to a new to us restaurant, that I cannot wait to go back to..Five Horse Tavern in Davis Sq. If I say that their coffee drink, The Ice Box, is the best liquor coffee drink I have ever had, I kid you not it is the best. HOLY I want to go back to there to drink more! 😉

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Peach bellini with balsamic drizzle and The Ice Box. YEAH.

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So, the restaurant; it was a lot of fun, had a great vibe, and the food was pretty amazing. I didn’t take many photos cause we really were drenched in each other’s company and eating.. lots of eating.  We split the donut holes, which reminded me of a cinnamon version of my mom’s zeppole.. amazinng. I got the seared tuna taco and potato taco with the best peach bellini I have ever had. My husband got the breakfast chimi with the ice box, which I thought was gluttonizingly good. Our youngest stuck with her staple of eggs and toast with OJ, and our oldest got The Capt’n, which is Captain Crunch crusted french toast with a raspberry coulis. They were a lot of good, and the portion was so big we all ate it! And I don’t even like Captain Crunch cereal! Our daughters drew the staff a thank you note for such a fun brunch, and with our check was the sweetest note written back to our girls! They made the girls’ day. Then after all this we did exactly what my husband wanted. A trip to SOWA, an area of the South End that has rapidly changed in recent years, to walk through the farmer’s market, adjoining outdoor market and the artist studio building. We had such  great time shopping around enjoying the gorgeous weather. 

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One booth had these repurposed signs made out of old timbers and stuff…which I loved the wood blocks..esp the LOVE with the anchor.

We had such a great day ..I even got a new shower cap with sugar skulls on them from this cute shop set up there.  The owner/designer was so sweet too, and had a lot of other great handmade items I want to check out on her website. I love shower caps!!!!

Then we met our family back at our house for wine, apps and fun together. We tried our best to show all the fathers in our lives how much we love them, too.

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The first man I ever loved.  Also, literally the most hardworking, sensible, selfless, loving, funny man I will ever know. 
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My sis brought some stuff for the dads, so I made this.
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This is my Mom, Connie. Connie makes insanely good pizza. This is Connie starting to make pizza in my kitchen.. this is A FIRST!

 

All and all a super weekend with all the people I love.

 

Hope your weekend was great too!

xoxoxo

Posted in Random Stuff

Thanksgiving 2013

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving with your family and friends!!

This day went off without a hitch, and very relaxing. I couldn’t cook a darn thing, no apps, desserts or anything, which is frustrating, but a blessing. For the first time ever, while my husband went off with his buddies on their annual pancake breakfast and HS football game, I got to spend the morning with the girls taking our sweet ass time getting ready and watching the Macy’s parade. My kids rarely showed interest, until this year! This is a big deal!! I love the parade.

We spent Thanksgiving over my parents.  Which made it easier on my mind not having a kitchen, cause my mom and dad do everything, and I mean everything! We hooked up the dessert of course, but they do everything else. My mom out did herself again with her menu. It was all delicious and went down way way too easily! Especially the wine!

We had a small crew spend the day together, as my oldest sister lives in Italy and my older sister was visiting her in-laws in the Mid-west, and my in-laws stayed together…but it was real pleasant even if they were all missed. Time flew, my kids had a great time with their Nonni’s attention (they love Nonno and Nonna so much!!), and I am still stuffed 9 hours later!  I think I curbed that pesky craving I’ve been having to pig out all week.  I think!. I hope..at least! (quick note on my weight…I have kept steady with it! Haven’t gained a lb since my last drop!! This is a HUGE deal, and I am secretly extra thankful for my ability to keep weight!!)

Here are a few shots of our sweet day. I didn’t take my camera out all that much, but did snap a few good shots of my family and the amazing feast!

Thanksgiving is not over for me yet!  Friday night is Friendsgiving, and I am looking forward to that..like I do every year!!

Love you guys!

xoxoxo

The sisters!  They got all decked out in their leopard outfits.  So cute!
The sisters! They got all decked out in their leopard outfits. So cute!
My girls are adorable!
My girls are adorable!
Blurry but still cute.
Blurry but still cute.  Cannot wait till this construction is over for a clean house again!
A little fashion show before we went out.
A little fashion show before we went out.
Il brodo, my mom's chicken broth...I almost stole this and left the family alone.  lol  it's THAT good.
Il brodo, my mom’s chicken broth…I almost stole this and left the family alone. lol it’s THAT good.
heh I just like this bird bottle opener, it makes me smile. :)
heh I just like this bird bottle opener, it makes me smile. 🙂
The table set and ready for the day!
The table set and ready for the day!
My mom making the tortellini con brodo.  So drooly good.
My mom making the tortellini con brodo. So drooly good.
My Dad and I.
My Dad and I.
Sauteed pumpkin with brown sugar.  This is seriously the best dish.
Sautéed pumpkin with brown sugar. This is seriously the best dish. AND my favorite veg of all..broccoli!
Roasted potatoes
Roasted potatoes, stuffed mushrooms and artichokes/peas/mushrooms…. And yes, that is a 40oz of Miller High Life in the background..next time I am buying two so my aunt can be toazty and happi.  More wine for me!
Some stuffed mushrooms..
Some stuffed mushrooms..
My girls waiting patiently for dinner.
My girls waiting patiently for dinner.
A shot of the turkey, this was so last minute!  Sorry for the angle!!!!!!!!!!!!1
A shot of the capon!  We don’t eat turkey often!  This shot was so last minute! Sorry for the angle!!!!!!!!!!!!1
A close up of my mom's stuffing.  It's a sausage stuffing that you cook IN THE BIRD. It's by far my fav way to have stuffing.  My mom's is the best.  Y U M
A close up of my mom’s stuffing. It’s a homemade sausage stuffing that my mom cooks IN THE BIRD. It’s by far my fav way to have stuffing. My mom’s is the best. Y U M
Crafts for the kids!
Crafts for the kids!
Dessert!
Dessert!
My mom made killer lady finger cookies stuffed with marscapone.  So pretty too!
My mom made killer lady finger cookies stuffed with marscapone. So pretty too!
No holiday is complete without someone passing out on the couch!  :)
No holiday is complete without someone passing out on the couch! 🙂
Posted in Random Stuff

“How’s the House?”

First let me say Thank You to all of you guys that have been reading! You have no idea how much I appreciate all the comments and feedback from FB, Twitter and here. And, I saw this morning that I have gained a couple more followers, and that is so flattering!  Thanks guys!

Hey All,

Well, holy moly what an insane couple of days around this house!!

With Halloween tomorrow, the girls are all a chatter about dressing up twice tomorrow, for school then trick o’treating at night.  I am as well!  I love Halloween.  Though, I will also be slightly bummed, too.   Every year my family and friend crew go out from a central meeting point for Halloween night. We had been that point for a handful of years, just missing it one year when we had the power outage and the town changed the date.  But, as we are knee-deep in the reconstruction phase right now, we are all jammed into this living room space, so not much room to entertain.  Then with my sister and sister-in-law having little ones, this year we will be a smaller group going out from our house to the neighborhood.  It’ll be a bummer for sure, cause I now have to figure out how to celebrate this with them and get pictures!

Only good thing is .. It’s supposed to be in the 50’s tomorrow night, which means NO GLOVES AND HEAVY COATS!!  lol

So about the house. The biggest changes, noticeable aside from the gutting of the space, are the construction of the pocket door for the TV/playroom, that rickety back door was converted to a wall for our laundry closet, and that entryway into the kitchen was framed into a wall. The unnoticeable things are all the joists and ceiling work that has been going on every day.

Lots of fun every night when we venture to ‘the other side’ to check out all their hard work, though. The construction crew has been working full on 6 days a week! SIX! From sun up to sun down. The electrician was over on Saturday till almost 8PM and last night was around till 6:30PM!!  YOW$A!  But he is really working hard to get the house up to proper code since it was a disaster before. All the guys are working intensely hard all day. And the most amazing part of it all is that they are always sweeping, vacuuming and keeping it neat throughout!  At the end of the day you can walk over without much worry…it is a good thing. 🙂

The coolest thing happened over the weekend.. we found a few vintage items left in the walls from homeowners past. It was awesome!  In the ceiling of the bathroom, I found an interesting orangey newspaper clipping from 1945 poking through the insulation. A newspaper out of California, that was all about livestock auctions. Weird and random.  Then the crew found a few vintage Christmas cards from folks out of Lawrence from 1946 addressed to the residents here with just the street name, no number, and along with those was an invoice to Cedardale, in Haverhill, for tennis lessons from 1979; both to different people and all stuffed in the dining room ceiling between beams.

This got me thinking.  Of course it did! 

We were planning to put a 2013 penny in the wall, as a token to say we were here and what year it was when the walls were opened up, BUT, then when I saw this stuff, I thought, why not make up a little snapshot of what year it is and what we’re doing to the space with a blurb about the family on paper then tuck it into the ceiling or walls. Like a hello we used to live here kind of thing; add to the tapestry of its past…?

I know I would’ve loved to have a better sense of who lived there, what it looked like and what they changed.

That is it for now!  There is a whole mess of noise right by my ears of saws, wet/dry vacs and singing.. 🙂

Love you all!

xoxoxoxxo

Posted in Weight Loss Diary

Weighing in! #16 and some ranting!

Happy Fall!  A few weeks ago I had made a mini challenge to lose 5lbs by October 1.  If I make the goal, I will see a number I have been dying to see on the scale for a long time! Too long.

On a good note, I lost 1lb so far!  But ..I have four lbs to lose before next Tuesday!! ARG! Six days.

I am having such an issue with this goal that it is upsetting me.  😥  Could stress affect weight loss? Anyone know?  I have been feeling stressed, which is unlike me.

As I have talked about before, I have been prepping for the major renovations that should be kicking off next week. My role has been to deal with packing up the dining room, kitchen, bathroom and part of our TV/playroom; while we are all still living in them. We have a lot of stuff! All of the boxes have been stored in my house on the second floor and in our living room. Where we have to create a makeshift kitchen, playroom, and living room as soon as the guys show up.  And we have to live this way until at least December..a birthday ruiner? Probably!!  The packing has been on the heels of other family events that we haven’t rebounded from quite yet; and some I am trying to plan on our horizon.  We still have to go out and shop appliances and materials! oye.

Also, I didn’t quite expect to stress out from both the girls full-time in school! Going through their backpacks at night is demanding. Between homework and papers; I don’t know about others being as bombarded with information from their schools, but holy crap the paperwork!  Then add in the orientations, school or teacher emails, online class updates, Tuesday’s 3 hour curriculum night, and the upcoming 2 different day parent teacher meetings.. after school care, dance class…when do I NOT talk to my children about school?

Adding to this, I have been swamped with work, too. Over the Summer, my division changed one of our major security vendors, one of which I have worked with closely for almost 10 yrs! With this new change, I experienced a major lag in receiving project based proposals. But look what I got yesterday and have to process in five days..

I am looking at this...grumbling.
I am looking at this pile of proposals…grumbling.

And, on top of all this..long story I am making SUPER short.  My whole family has been turned upside down over the past month or so.  One of my Aunts, who is 82, has moved in with my parents.  YEP. You heard me right.  So, it’s been somewhat stressful for everyone in my family on a daily basis since she got here.  I am hoping things will settle on this front soon as she will be a normal part of our family.

I guess, I need to take time to breath.  Realize all these things will even out eventually, and focus one one day at a time.  But, lemme tell ya, I am thankful I am not a stress eater!

Thanks for listening to me rant everyone!  Cross your fingers for me to make this goal!

xoxoxox

Posted in My Travels

Disney World Dining Reservations

To Dining Plan or Not to Dining Plan?

If you are not familiar with the dining plan concept, Disney offers an exclusive meal plan if you book one of their Magic Your Way packages (staying on their property). While staying on property you can purchase this dining plan, unless exception offered, that can be used at any of the 100 food establishments listed on the dining list for snacks and meals at the four parks/downtown area. There are different dining plan packages for the types of meals they offer, quick service or table service meals, and your allocated number of snacks/meals per day depend on the level of plan you choose. Also, I believe this includes a free refillable resort mug that can be used daily.  To use the plan, your “key to the world” card, your room key, acts as the credit card basically tracking your plan’s allocated meals/snacks, but it doesn’t include gratuity or alcohol, those are separate; which you can see on your purchase receipts. Anything unused is forfeited at the end. There is a comprehensive breakdown of this service on the Disney website here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/disney-dining-plan.

Most times it is best to opt into the dining plan if you plan on dining at some of the character dinners or signature restaurants which can be pricey on their own. Also, if you like to travel without thinking too much about things, like me, it’s a great service!

–>Last trip, we opted into the plan for the whole stay (8 days), because we got it for free with the package they were offering at the time, and figured it was a great service to have so we did not worry about much else but having fun at the parks. We went for the regular dining plan. This includes 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal, and 1 snack, per person per day. The snacks could be drinks or snack foods, which was a great thing to have on hand.  The table service meals were an entrée and dessert if they were not buffet style restaurants.

I do like and dislike the plan. Of course, why else would I bring this up, right?        

The plan was great overall.  It was perfect for my children. Though it was a lot of eating for us, for my husband and I.   In retrospect, we realized we were eating way more than being on normal vacation or every day life.  It doesn’t seem all that much, 2 meals and a snack per day.  It seemed logical..eating full meals twice a day and then a snack is more than enough for all four of us, but then well, it’s vacation..you get munchy..you add on top of that all the indulging treats like, MICKEY BARS, ice creams, cotton candy, beignets, pretzels, French pastries, etc, and then alcoholic drinks.. it ends up a lot! No amount of us busting our butts walking around those parks for 10-14 hours a day was enough to burn those calories!

So NOT happening this time!!!

–>For this trip, we are opting into the dining plan for 5 out of the 11 days, during the first half of the trip. Since we are splitting time at 2 resorts we can use it for half or all the trip.  We will be using the plan for those character dinners the girls loved, and to the places we wanted to go last time and couldn’t.  Honestly, I think the dining plan is great for the character dinners-that is if you or your family like that type of thing. The prices of these dinners normally on their own are sort of out of whack, in my opinion, so using the plan seemed right then and this time, too.

We already booked our dining reservations* for 6 locations, using one off plan later in our trip.  We are going to a few new restaurants, and back to two our girls liked a lot. The other places we dined were ok last time, but the two they enjoyed the most are on the agenda up front.  We went to a fun restaurant every night last trip, with only two being character dinners.  The first night we went to The Crystal Palace to meet Winnie the Pooh and all his friends for dinner at the Magic Kingdom (I didn’t enjoy this place at ALL! But they had a blast and we finished eating in time to catch the fireworks nearby.).  Then a few days later we went to the Arkershus Banquet Hall to meet all the Princesses in Norway at EPCOT, which we all liked a lot.  When I had talked about Disney with them upon our return home, they claimed that was their favorite restaurant on that trip, Arkershus.  They were part of the Princess parade and got to meet ALL their favorite princesses in one spot, and even had a photo shoot with Belle.  So, how can I deny them that for this trip?

Our Dining Reservations:
-Dinner at O’hana
-Dinner at Chef Mickey’s
-Breakfast at Tusker House
-Dinner at Arkershus Banquet Hall (repeat)
-Dinner at Boma (repeat)

-and off the dining plan: dinner at 50’s Prime Time Cafe- cause my kids are obsessed with milk shakes. I mean OBSESSED!  Plus, we can hit up Fantasmic right after, which wasn’t open when we were there last!  It is an attraction we think they will absolutely love!

I am looking forward to the restaurants we have never been to; and ALSO, I am looking forward to Starbucks in the parks, like I keep mentioning ..does anyone know if you can use snack options there?  ha

Thanks for reading!

xoxoxox

*YES! RESERVATIONS! If you haven’t been to Disney in a long time, things have changed a lot. And I mean A LOT! The first couple of times I went it wasn’t a big thing for us to stay on property or to even eat at the parks, but now that I have children, it is all-consuming and a priority. Everything involving booking a trip to Disney is about the timing! Time of year to go. Time of day to fly. Timing on making dining reservations. Timing on ride lines. Timing on events. Timing to meet characters! Timing! Things book up super fast and if you don’t have your options put together you lose out..well, your kids lose out! Which is the worst.