Holiday Traditions

holiday traditions
I love holiday traditions – the memories that are made live on forever, from generation to generation.  This time of the year is especially filled with traditions in my family.

The day after Thanksgiving is the start of our tradition “marathon”.  Out come the tree, ornaments and all other decorations.  The tree would be set up and we’d start on the lights.  Apparently my husband was the only one that understood my mom’s insisting on the correct way to string the lights.  Now we have pre-lit trees, and boy are they heaven sent.

Next, we unwrap all of the ornaments, and memories start flowing.  Every year, until they were stopped being produced, my parents bought a Hallmark rocking horse ornament with the year on it.  They are placed chronologically going down the tree.  In my house we have the clay families with the date on them…it’s fun to see just R and I, and then there is one where I am pregnant with R, and then slowly the family members (and pets) have made it onto an ornament and our tree.  By the time we are wrapping the stair rails and hanging the stockings, we are pooped.  BUT the house looks so warm and inviting – I love this time of year!

The past three or so years we have gone to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas at DisneyWorld – it is the unofficial start of our Winter season.  The snow on Main Street, the hot cocoa and sugar cookies, and especially the most amazing parade – I am like a little kid when it comes to the toy soldiers marching down Main Street!  My kids usually fall asleep right before the parade starts…this year was no exception.  N fell asleep first (not a shocker) with G following shortly after. Sleepy, one of the Seven Dwarves, made a point to stop in front of the two sleeping beauties (haha) and made the hand sign for wanting to fall asleep as well.  An elf in a little car made a big scene, which was super hysterical, yelling to the boys to wake up, that they were going to miss Santa Claus.  They didn’t even flinch.

The eyes say it all!

The eyes say it all!

We didn’t have an Elf on the Shelf when I was growing up (Mom and Dad, you were so lucky!).  Our house welcomes Fred Nihilus on the morning after the tree is up.  I am in no way as creative as my friends and fellow Pinterest-ers.  I can’t tell you how many nights at, oh about midnight, my husband or I wake up and are like, “Oh S$#%, we forgot to move Fred!!!”  The lack of sleep pays off when we hear one of the boys yell out that they found him the next morning.

This was the night he T-P'd the boys' bedroom doors!

This was the night he T-P’d the boys’ bedroom doors!

Christmas Eve we serve the seven fishes.  My grandma, and now my dad, makes this delicious fish salad.  At dinner (when I was growing up, but sometimes now lol) he would take the tentacle portions of the octopus and hang them from his mouth, wiggling them around and making funny sounds – knowing that my sister and I were not too fond of them.  We bake shrimp and scallops, and then mussels, baby lobsters (sometimes), all eventually totaling up to the number 7.  Why seven fishes?

In the early years, on Christmas Day morning, my sister and I would come downstairs in our matching pajamas, my dad videoing the “grand entrance” and the looks on our face when we saw what Santa left for us!  I still do that with the boys, although I have to practically threaten them not to go downstairs before we get up.  I know they are super excited, but I need to brush my teeth and hair.  We unwrap gifts, one recipient at a time, oohing and ahhing.

Christmas day was, and still is, always filled with friends and family from near and far.  We start cooking right after opening the gifts (and breakfast as we needed the energy for the rest of the day).  We would make an antipasto, rolling the cold cuts around the different breadsticks.  Slice the tomato and mozzarella.  Prepare the stuffed mushrooms.  Bread and bake the chicken and/or eggplant and then “parm” them.  Baked ziti, meat gravy, a big tossed salad, Italian bread, garlic bread – I know I am missing some dishes.  The house would be filled with warmth from a combination of the oven being on and the amazing company we held.

Hanukkah we would light the candles every night with my mom, and I would always laugh that my mom would put a paper towel on top of her head.  Now that I am older, I know why (married women are to cover their heads).  We would sing the prayer, light the menorah and then open our gift for that night.

I wouldn’t change my traditions for anything in the world and look forward to creating new ones as time goes on.

What are the holiday traditions that you relive this time of year?



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Gift Guide for the Book Lover

gift guide for the book lover!
This gift guide was easy to put together.  I thought of all of the cool book-related things that I would love – check out below!

KINDLE: I have a Kindle and love it.  It took a bit of getting used to reading something that I didn’t have to physically turn the pages but I got used to it super fast.  I have the Kindle Fire so I can also access my email, the internet and other apps but there are a few different versions so you can taylor the kindle to the recipient’s needs!

BOOKLIGHT CLOTHESPIN: So cute and useful!  I go back and forth reading on my Kindle (or via my Kindle app) and reading traditional printed books. This book light would be perfect for those traditional ones!

booklight clothespin
 GIFT CARDS: Gift cards to your local bookstore (or major chain bookstore) or online retailer (like Amazon) would be perfect for an avid reader.  They can then purchase a book of their choosing!  Wrap the gift card with a bookmark or a set of book plates to keep the theme going!

BANNED BOOK LITERARY TOTE BAGCute design and very useful…a perfect bag to carry all of their books (or Kindle)!  They also offer an Out of Print Banned Book Pouch, and Banned Book Mug

“LIBRARY STAMP”T-SHIRT: Do you remember when you’d take books out from the library and the librarian would take the card out of the book and stamp it with the due date?  (Am I TOTALLY dating myself???)  My kids looked at me like I had a few heads when I told them about this antiquated way.  This t-shirt will bring back memories to the people that do remember!

Library Stamp T shirt
READING JOURNALA great way to document all of the books read and their reviews.  Love it!


 THE BOOK LOVER’S COMPANION: WHAT TO READ NEXT: I never seem to have a problem trying to figure out what to read next because there are so many awesome books out there – fiction and non-fiction alike. I have so many books in queue on my Kindle, on my shelves AND on my Amazon wishlist – I could read for a year straight and still not make a dent.  This book is great for book clubs too!

 I could go on and on and on with cool gift ideas for the book lover.  What are you getting the book lover on your list?


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Five for Friday – December 12

five for friday

What a week!  I have been looking forward to this Five for Friday for like, 7 days.  Kidding.  This week was extremely busy, but with all great things!  I started time blocking my days and that has really helped me get stuff done.  It’s a work in progress, as I am typing this blog intro on Friday at almost 10 am…have a great weekend!

My kids are addicted to Minecraft as are all of their buddies…do you know what its doing to our children?  Found this article very interesting!


I love heels.  Well, I actually love all styles of shoes (it’s genetic) but I love the way that heels make our legs look longer (and sexier – oo la la).  They look awesome with jeans, dresses, basically anything.  Anyway, the reason I went on this rampage is because I read an article about some “shoe hacks” to help make your shoes more comfortable.  Heels immediately came to mind for me as being one of the more comfort-challenged of the styles.


 I love to read.  There’s something about reading a book, be it fiction or nonfiction, that takes me away for a bit like a mini vacay.  At the beginning of the year I posted my Reading List and I didn’t get to the bucket list wish of 50 books, but I think I did darn well considering full time work, two kids, sports, husband, etc.!  Stay tuned for my 2015 Reading List.  Have any recommendations?


 I am big into color but you’d never know by my closet.  Speaking of color, what are your thoughts on Pantone’s Color of the Year 2015 – Marsala?  I’m loving it!


 Last but definitely not least, I want to wish my super awesome parents a VERY HAPPY 44TH ANNIVERSARY!!!!

Please tell me what you like to see in the weekly Five for Friday!

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Gift Guide: Techie Edition

gift guide_ techie edition

I’m married to a techie so I guess that classifies me as a techie by default.  I do love electronics and gadgets but R LOVES them.  At one point we had this touch screen remote that had the functionality to turn on and off practically anything in our home…but the downfall was we didn’t have the time to learn how to use it to its full extent.  Below I showcase some cool techie gifts in today’s gift guide!

Jawbone UP band: I wear my UP24 band everyday.  At first I thought it would look a bit odd with my business casual attire during the week, but it blends in nicely!  I now know how many steps I take daily and also my sleeping patterns.  You can hook up with fellow UP band friends via the smartphone app and monitor their progress as well.  I like this because it keeps me accountable for my exercise.  Bluetooth technology allows it to “communicate” with my smartphone so I have real time stats as well!


FitBit: An alternative to the Jawbone UP band, a lot of my friends have this version and rave about it as well!  Similar functionality, great way to get your self motivated to start moving!


Moff BandHave a techie kid on the list?  Actually I want one too…This smart slap-on wristband turns everything kids touch and hold into toys! Powered by an accelerometer and creativity, a wave of the arms is suddenly like hitting a drum kit, a wooden spoon becomes a knight’s sword, and an imagination is the only thing a kid needs to play tennis in the living room. I’m sending this link to my husband now.

moff band

GoPro Camera: I’ve seen some of the coolest videos made with this little guy.  I think I may want one myself.  Santa?????

Portable charger: Never be left with a dead phone battery again!  These external portable chargers are heaven-sent in those dire times of need when you are waiting for a call, making a call or on the last level of your favorite game…

Sonos System: What an awesome way to play music anywhere in your home – wirelessly!  You do have to plug in the speaker itself BUT via bluetooth technology and your smartphone, you can decide on what music you want to play (via your play list, Sirius, Pandora), the volume, etc.  We have a few speakers throughout the house.  What’s even more awesome is that let’s say the kids are out back playing football – we can put their music of choice on through the backyard speaker.  I can be in my room, where another speaker is located, and play my music while I iron (ha).  R can choose his favorite tunes to play while he’s in his office working.


Handbag Butler: For the Lady Techie on your list, this handbag is priceless!  It holds your lipstick, keys, and your phone THAT IS CHARGING while in there!  Its offered in a bunch of prints and solid colors.

Have any other cool techie inspired gifts that you are giving or eyeing for this holiday season?  I’d love to hear about them!



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