Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009

Today we are counting down to the end of another year and though it's true that New Year's Eve is a good day for get togethers, food and cocktails, it is also a good day to think about all the things, the good and the bad, that happened throughout the year. So today I have been doing just that and I'll share some of it with you. Later or tomorrow I will share our top ten things in 2009 but this should hold you over!

In 2009 I got my current camera which has had a vital role in helping me document each and every thing we do. This year my hair grew quite a lot and it now reaches my shoulder, and while we are on the topic of my hair I changed the color too and started dying it black! Might not sound like much of a change but it really has been!

One of probably the most exciting things this year was our first cruise! Even though the cruise was early in the year - way back in February - we still talk about it just about every day and are planning on going on another hopefully very soon! Not only was it o
ur first cruise but it was my first time out of the country!! I hope it is the first of many trips where we try new and different things and locations!

This year mom and I started doing our scrapbooking challenges, and though we haven't done them in a little while we talk about them and plan on resuming them very very very soon!! Also this year in scrapbooking I started playing with digital elements thanks to House of Three and thanks to Zanne I worked the CHA Trade Show where I got to see lots of inspiring things and I met some really terrific people!! I also took my first online scrapbooking class this year! I might not have finished all the assignments but it was a great experience for sure!

2009 took us to the FX Show at the convention center where we got to meet James Marsters from Buffy and see some of the other stars of one of our favorite shows. And speaking of TV 2009 brought us shows like Modern Family and Cougar Town and unfortunately it brought us the news that Dollhouse was being canceled. 2009 meant the return of the original Lucky to General Hospital which again may seem small but those of you who remember how much I loved this guy all those years ago know that this was a big deal!!

2009 was the year I started selling Tupperware!! It was a long time coming but it was exciting to take the plunge! I'm so glad Leslie finally talked me into it because I've had a ball! And since I became a Tupperware consultant 2009 was the year I attended my first Jubilee!! So exciting! It was the year I took a million photos of Chef Stuart and I met lots of great people and I spend four days at Leslie's house and we happily signed up for Jubilee 2010!! It is quite an adventure and something I never thought I would have the courage to try!

2009 I got to spend four AWESOME days with the Sylva/Mattheson clan and enjoy Alex's first time at Disney! It was so much fun, we had so many laughs, we took so many pictures and now we get to look ahead and plan the 2010 visit! In 2009 my grandmother also came to visit twice! We ate great meals and I surprised her with a character breakfast! It was a good time and we made memories that will last for many years to come.

This year I reconnected with old friends I hadn't seen in a long long time. We got to spend time with Kevin, Marissa and little Jacob, I got to see Melissa after many many years and visit with Simone and Erik and there were countless other friends and relatives I found on Facebook that I happily reconnected with. I mended broken relationships and nurtured relationships that are still thankfully going strong. We spent quality time with Monika and Dave and Monika and I had some girl time too and did something so fun - we went to tea at the Grand Floridian! I got to spend time with Ruth at Food & Wine this year and for a couple of afternoons while she was between jobs and though I'm glad she found a job I miss our movie watching and snacking afternoons! We enjoyed another year at Star Wars weekend with Gabby and a couple of girls' days at the parks!

Unfortunately not all relationships were mended and in fact some were broken. It is sad when that happens but sometimes it's necessary, sometimes it's not and sometimes no matter how hard you try you just can't fix them.

2009 meant making new friends too though! We spent a lot of time with Tom and Anna going on adventures and getting pep talks from them. They are beyond amazing. This year we have been more involved in our complex and that has resulted in new friends as well and looking forward I just see these relationships growing!

This year we saw some great movies: Star Trek, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, UP! (which might just have been my favorite) Julie and Julia, Avatar and Twilight New Moon of course! 2009 was definitely the year of Twilight for me. I read all the books, watched the first movie countless times and saw New Moon on opening day! And for Christmas I got Twilight Scene It from Mike!! This year the new Jennifer Weiner book Best Friends Forever came out and like all her others I loved this book! I read Why We Suck by Denis Leary which I loved and for the first time ever I couldn't finish a book. I don't know if this has happened to anyone else but I read 400 pages of a 900 page book and just couldn't bear to pick it up again!

All in all 2009 was a great year, everyone was healthy for the most part and happy for the most part. I took steps to better myself by working on my novel and I took up running! 2009 meant another year that Mike and I have been happily together and our little family has just grown to love each other more and more. It has been a good year and I will say goodbye to it fondly but look eagerly ahead to all 2010 has to offer!!

More Photos and our Top Ten Favorites for 2009 coming soon!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok so this post is a little late but I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and I hope everyone is enjoying this Holiday Season! I hope everyone has taken the time to count their blessings and hold their loved ones extra tight!

This year we opted to stay home for the Holidays. We usuall
y alternate between visiting my family in Ohio and spending the Holidays with Mike's family here in Florida but due to some crazy family things that are out of my control we have not seen Mike's family in quite some time so this year for Christmas we made our own plans! And though this Christmas season has been so nice and relaxing and we've managed to have a lot of fun and spent time with friends and we have been eating lots of goodies it in no way means I haven't missed being with family but sometimes change is not so bad.

Christmas Eve Mike had to work and I procrastinated a good portion of the day. I went to visit Tom and Anna and I talked to my dad and puttered even though I had a lot of things I wanted to get done. That evening we had Wil over for dinner. I was eager to make Christmas Eve dinner because we had never done it before. Traditionally Italians have the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve and my mom put out quite a spread when I was a little girl but as we grew up she only made the fish she liked - shrimp! So Christmas Eve meant Shrimp Scampi for dinner and that's exactly what I made this year. I used Tyler Florence's recipe, you can find it here. Then as years passed my sister started making rice balls for Christmas Eve so Mike made those and boy did they turn out delicious! I also made crab stuffed mushrooms, no real recipe for these I just kinda combined a bunch of recipes I thought looked yummy. And a true Christmas Miracle I was able to get my hands on mom's Cassata cake recipe (Thanks Aunt Jean) This cake is my favorite in the whole world and I was thrilled to have a taste of home and family, so even though we weren't together physically they were truly here in spirit! So the food was plentiful and Wil brought holiday movies which we enjoyed, we took pictures by the tree and we chatted it was relaxing and really nice.

I am a morning person year round but I have never out grown the excited feeling you get on Christmas morning and at 6AM I woke up and just could not go back to sleep so I woke up and found it was pouring rain outside so I snapped some early morning photos before grabbing the umbrella and taking Hooper for his walk. I love the Christmas morning walk, it's so quiet out and it just gives me a chance to collect my thoughts for the day. Now normally I would have Mike up at like 7AM or 8AM at the very latest but I opted to make a pot of coffee and I cuddled on the couch with Hooper and watched Prancer! I also filled stockings and put last minute gifts under the tree and then woke Mike up and we opened presents!!!

My parents got us a Wii and Wii Fit so that has been awesome and Mike got me a beautiful pendant from one of his friends/co-workers Etsy shops that I have had my eye on for a while. Not only did he get me the pendant and have the very talented Adrienne make me think someone else bought it but he had her custom make matching earrings!!! You can find Adrienne's shop here. So that was my big surprise gift and the gift I am so in love with and Mike's favorite gift is so funny - he has had his eye on this fuzzy blanket at Target for 2 years but he has never wanted to spend the money on it and when it goes on sale it disappears and he wanted to make sure to get the biggest size and a good color so this year I bought it for him and my goodness his face just lit up when he opened it and he has been moving it to bed each night and onto the couch during the day so it's always with us and it is so soft and comfy that it just sucks you in!!

We took tons of photos while opening presents and had the traditional Christmas morning cup of eggnog, we played with the fur kids and their new toys and Mike got the Wii up and we started playing. Then we dressed and headed to the Gaylord Palms resort for dinner. It was so yummy! We went to the buffet restaurant Villa De Flora and what a spread, it was a huge place and we had a gorgeous table. The hotel itself is just stunning. After dinner it was back home for more Wii and a little Christmas nap!

This week Mike is off so we are continuing the holiday season with lots of activities. We've been playing lots of Wii, working our way through the Harry Potter movies, eating yummy food and we went to see Avatar which was visually the most stunning movie I've ever seen! Today we are heading out to see some of the Christmas decor at some of the Disney resorts!! I'm looking forward to that!!

Hope you are all having a wonderful and joyous holiday season!!!

Celebrating the Season with Good Times & Good Friends!

My goodness I've been a terrible blogger lately but I have lots to share so once again I will be playing catch up!! Many of you will be surprised to know I'm up to date on Celebrate the season album so I'll try to share some of the pages as well!

Ok so my last post was kind of a tease - I took a photo of the beautiful Cinderella Castle while Mike and I were at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party at the Magic Kingdom. The evening got off to a rocky start because naturally it rained - I've found that anytime I'm really looking forward to something especially when that something involves me driving or being outside it will rain! But the night wasn't a wash out and Mike and I managed to have quite a bit of fun! We got our picture taken with Donald Duck, we rode some of the rides, we ate holiday colored Dole Whips and then got hot apple cider, we watched the spectacular fireworks and enjoyed the parade and did a little shopping. The night went by so fast but it was so much fun!!

The next day (December 19) Monika and Dave picked us up and we headed to Epcot to enjoy some of the Holiday decorations and events there. We had dinner in China and dessert in France, we saw the giant gingerbread house, and we watched Whoopi Goldberg narrate the Candlelight Procession. This is something I like to watch every year, it is so beautiful and so moving, it just really fills me with the spirit of Christmas. The weather was perfect and we just enjoyed spending time with friends.

On December 20th we had a busy day filled with friends but I didn't take a single pict
ure - can you imagine?!? We woke up early and went over to Tom and Anna's for breakfast, we met their son and just had a lovely morning talking and eating and laughing. After we left there we did a little shopping and then Leslie came over for dinner and to help us drink some of the party booze haha! We had fajitas (thanks Leslie) and rice and chili cheese dip and many drinks! It was so much fun. Wil joined us later on for coffee and cookies! We were up late and I drank more then I usually do but it was just a really nice night so worth the headache I had the next morning for sure!!

Tuesday December 22 Gabby drove to Orlando for a visit! What a fun day we had!!! We went to Animal Kingdom early and went on the Safari, we saw a ton of animals and the weather w
as perfect!! We had an amazing lunch at Tusker House, we ate lots and lots of yummy things and left there absolutely stuffed it was fantastic. We walked around the park and paid Tom a little visit. Then we headed back here for some girl talk before picking Mike up from work. Once we had collected Mike we headed to Celebration and met Gabby's dad and step-mom for dinner. It was so great, Gabby is so special to us that it was nice to spend time with her family. We then headed outside to watch it Snoap - snoap is the term we came up with for Florida snow because they do it all over but it's really just soap suds coming out and though it looks pretty I really felt it needed a silly name!! After the snoap we came back here and opened presents!! It was so fun and such a good day!!!

Stay tuned my Christmas Eve/Day post coming shortly!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

the castle

Celebrating the Season By Being Spontaneous!

Most of our evenings lately have been hanging out at home and watching Holiday Specials on TV. I love watching them I never get tired of them and year after year the holidays do not seem complete without watching Rudolph and Frosty and the Grinch and this year is absolutely no different! Soon we will re-watch The Muppets Christmas Carole and I've already set up the DVR to record Prancer. These may seem like little things but to me they are absolutely an important part of our holiday celebrations!

On Tuesday my friend Anna called asking if I was in
terested in going for one of our walks and then to lunch, I of course did not refuse! Anna had discovered a new walking spot in Celebration and we walked and talked and marveled at the beautiful houses and looked at all the decorations and then we sat on a bench in the shade in a really picture perfect spot and chatted some more and then Anna asked where I wanted to go to lunch and there on that bench we decided to do something different and head into Disney Hollywood Studios and have lunch at one of the restaurants there! We were seated quickly which surprised us both since we were worried that the park would be crowded and we enjoyed delicious food, fun with the characters and just enjoyed watching all the children in the restaurant. It was so nice sharing this experience with Anna and doing something spur of the moment!!

Yesterday morning I went on a little shopping trip to Target where I bought stocking stuffers for Mike and goodies for the fur babies and a peppermint mocha latte for myself!!!! It was nice being in the nearly empty store listening to the Christmas music and picking out goodies. Once home I wrapped Mike's presents. Now I love giving gifts, I love picking them out and I love watching the recipients opening their gifts and seeing if they like everything what I hate about presents is wrapping them. I'm a horrible wrapper, I lack patience, I get frustrated, it's just not even close to an enjoyable process for me. The only presents I ever wrap are Mike's and he does the rest because he's awesome at wrapping and I feel so bad cause all the presents look beautiful but Mike's presents look like Hooper wrapped them!!

So I think to make up for the poor wrapping I was eager to cook dinner for Mike so I pulled out a bunch of recipes and had Mike choose his favorite and we went shopping for the ingredients but what I ended up making barely resembled the recipe - it was delicious I just took a lot of liberties. It was a Rachael Ray recipe you can find it here. But I added prosciutto, and I forgot to buy green onions so I added a touch of nutmeg and sage and we used chicken tortellini and I added blue cheese! SO yummy!! It just proves that sometimes being spontaneous and taking chances can really turn into something spectacular!!

More soon...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Catching Up with the Season!

Ok so I have a little catching up to do on the old blog but here I am and I'm going to give catching up my best shot! So sit back and enjoy since there are lots of photos and stories for me to share!

So since my last post Mike got really sick which meant we spent quite a few days camped out on the couch watching movies, but it also gave me a chance to sit and write out all our Christmas cards. I absolutely love Christmas cards, I love taking the time and picking out photos that really let people know what we've been up to all year and I love taking the time writing everyone little notes, which always has me vowing to write more letters which I don't always follow through on but hey this is another year so I just might! I also love getting Christmas cards, seeing how all the little ones have grown and hearing from people I don't get to see often.

Of course since Mike was sick that of course meant I got sick too! We did finish our Christmas shopping but being out and about just made me feel worse so hope it was for rest. It was the worst time for me to get sick since I had tons of stuff to do in order to get ready for our big Cookies & Cocktails party. So I sucked it up and got to baking!!

So every year I have a little tradition and the first cookie
I bake is my mom's Anise Pillows (sorry no recipe posting on that one) so this year was no different, I turned on the tree lights and played the Supremes Christmas album and got to work. When the first batch was cooled and sprinkled with powdered sugar I was ready to take a taste. I closed my eyes and took a bite and suddenly I was no longer in our kitchen here in Orlando but I was a little girl in mom's kitchen on Staten Island! I love how something so simple like a cookie and music can send you right back through time.

In between all the baking I took a break to meet Mike out at Disney Hollywood Studios, I love watching the lights and it was fun hanging with some
of Mike's friends/co-workers - now if only it hadn't been quit so hot and humid it would have really felt festive.

Friday evening we took another brief break from party preparations to stop by our complex holiday party. So much fun! Our neighbors really know how to party! I love that we are getting to know everyone in the complex and that so many of them are actually becoming friends. Of course it means I might never want to move away from here!!

After baking late into Friday night and then waking up early to clean and set up it was party time! We had such a great turnout!! At one point Mike counted 38 party guests! It was a great mix of guests, some neighbors, co-workers, friends we see often and friends we haven't seen in many years. It was so great catching up with everyone and reconnecting. It really felt like we were embracing the holiday spirit. The cookies and cocktails were a big hit but we still have tons left over we could probably have a whole other party!! Unfortunately I didn't take very many pictures at the party, actually if it wasn't for Monika I probably wouldn't have had any!

Yesterday and today we were getting back into the swing of things, getting the house back in order and I worked on pages for my Celebrate the Season album. I am loving this project and we have so many fun things planned over the next couple of weeks so it will be exciting to watch the pages fill up!!! Here are those that I added tonight!!

Ok so
I'm off for now but I hope to not get so far behind again - wish me luck!!

About Me

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I live in Champions Gate, FL with my husband and our four fur babies (3 cats and 1 dog)I spend my time either being creative or trying to get the creative juices flowing. I love to cook, go for swims and take the dog for long walks.