Thursday, December 18, 2014

Give an ornament

If you're stuck trying to find a thoughtful gift for a friend, or just want to add a personal touch to the package - try a Christmas ornament.   Price points vary from small to large and you can probably find something to make it personal - is she a pet lover?  celebrating a baby's first Christmas?  celebrating the first year married?  Or when all else fails just a lover of pretty things.  

These handcrafted ones via Etsy are beautifully packaged and make a nice keepsake

 Perfect to commemorate a new Mr & Mrs 

Whether there is a new monogram or you simply want to add it to a pretty wrapped gift

If your kids are old enough, have them make their own ornaments to give as gifts to family members.  I have homemade ornaments hanging on my tree given to me by my "baby" cousin who is now in college! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cranberry Wreaths

I have two full bags of cranberries in my freezer from our office Farm Share.   So glad I didn't overdue it with more chutney than anyone could conceivably consume....

Time to get crafty with these  sweet "wreaths"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Another year, another party....

I've written about our annual Family party before.   This past weekend we celebrated yet again with 50 or more of my extended family.  As per our tradition, my mom led the kid's sing-along, Santa visited with presents, and the adults held their holiday swap.   There was more home cooked Italian food than you could possibly handle.  This party is a highlight of my mother's year.  She counts down the days and then talks about it for weeks after....    Joseph was dressed in his holiday finest and totally content to just follow his "Me" (J's abbreviated name for his favorite person, Grammy) around.  Those two, I'm not sure who is more obsessed with who.   A fortunate problem, I know....

Lucca got christened by having to sit on Santa's lap and as always, he was a great sport.  Never a complaint, never an eye-roll, just a willing and lovely kid.   Although he was slightly mortified when his dad posted his pic on Santa's lap on FB for everyone to see!

More than the presents, more than the food is the tradition of the party.   It is a time to honor my grandparents and Rapallo family for what they created --- an ALL ARE WELCOME party with absolutely zero frills where every single person feels loved, welcome and part of this special FAMILY.   Until next year.....  

J in the Christmas spirit.  (my mom's been going to this party since she was his age!!)  

The loves of my life

Santa Sighting --- I think Joe's expression speaks for itself.  Lucca is saying, "Oh crap. they weren't kidding!"

Lucca has in inaugural visit with santa. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Something from nothing....

In 2008, in the midst of a nationwide financial crisis, my husband could not take no for an answer as he marched forward into the world of self-employment.  What started as a vision - create a gym where not only he would teach his craft, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but he would build a team.... a group of open, real, kind, committed, accepting fellow students to train with and together improve their lives through the camaraderie of the sport.

Six years later he continues to do just that.  As those of you who are familiar with self-employment no doubt understand, it is a roller coaster.  It requires more dedication, more stamina, and more commitment than most of us (I'm raising my hand!) could possibly muster.   I've observed, not just through his journey but my own parents and other friends who have chosen that path of life, that to be self-employed is far beyond "being your own boss" - it involves a spirit of risk-taking and perseverance that is not for the faint of heart.    There are no paid vacation days, there are no promotions, there are no bonuses, or paid lunches.   But --- there's something else.   There is the knowledge that things are being done your way and when you're authentic and true to what it is you're doing, those lucky enough to reap the rewards of your commitment to the business are so much better for it.  

On Saturday, the adults of Fenix BJJ gathered for another graduation ceremony.  In that room, the passion, the friendship and the lives that have been bettered by finding and committing to Fenix Jiu Jitsu was palpable and unmistakable.   It put the wind back in our sails and answered the "WHY?" we do it.   It started as a vision.  There was no team.  There was no Fenix.   There was simply a coach who knew what he wanted to do.   And this right here is the currency for which he works....   

Congratulations, Ronaldo Campos and all of Fenix for making dreams come true.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Let it go

The theme of this month's article club is, "Let it go".  And important and relevant topic as we wind down the year and get ready for the start of a new one.   This article will be the starting point for our discussion but I'm sure it will lead to a dynamic conversation as this can mean many things to many people.

I am reminded of these words, "In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."  It's never easy to surrender even when it is unobjectionably the best choice to make.   We resist change and enjoy our creature comforts despite how stuck they make us.   Let 2015 be a year dedicated to releasing what no longer serves me.  


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter Foliage

We cut down a lone birch and a straggly evergreen tree the other day. I think the greenery should make for perfect holiday decor.   

Feeling inspired:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I've had this map on standby for the playroom since we moved in.  Since I'd like to paint the room eventually, I wasn't in a huge rush to hang it and then I did realize that without a protective cover, what would stop my toddler from scribbling on it, tearing it etc.   (I should start a post series about why Pinterest ideas look great but aren't practical - grr).  Anyways, I found this solution which may work instead.