Weekending: Italian Cooking Lessons, Birthday Celebrations and Lots Of Patio Time

Good morning! What a weekend I had- I’m still smiling from it πŸ™‚ Although it started out a little busy, once my parents got here, there was LOTS of relaxing for me. I mentioned it to my parents as we were sitting on my patio and my dad said that the last time I relaxed that much was probably the last time I was with them. I have to say- he’s got a point. If they weren’t here, I would’ve kept myself busy with random things, but since they were here, I pushed aside all of my “to-do’s” and focused on enjoying my time with them. It was perfect timing amidst the craziness of this summer!

Friday Night

My mom’s request for her birthday meal was “something Italian”. My boyfriend’s mom is from Italy (she moved here when she was 19), and I always rave to my parents about her cooking so my mom wanted to see for herself. RM and I went to Waltham on Friday after work and after eating dinner (she made us pork, carrots and a salad), we got busy in the kitchen. I’m not sure if it’s an Italian cooking rule or not, but the first order of business for me was wine… duh πŸ˜‰


We made a chicken cacciatore dish and it couldn’t have come out more perfectly. Everyone (even RM, who has his mother’s cooking all the time), was raving about it!


So lucky to have the chance to get extra cooking lessons. Meatballs are next on the agenda πŸ™‚


I headed to Wakefield to teach my first class at PUMPS (went so well!!) and then ran about a million errands to prep for my parents arrival. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re on a timeframe πŸ˜‰ Sue and Al got here around 1:15 and I made a little mixture of things for lunch while we caught up on the patio. Mom and I later went to get pedicures. I had a little treat planned for her: bringing mini bottles of wine to make the experience even better. Everyone around us was pretty jealous!

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Later in the evening, RM joined the Gagnon’s, bearing gifts of wine and flowers for my mom- very sweet!


Phew- we drank A LOT of wine throughout the evening. It’s so hard not to- family, laughs, great patio weather… they all go hand in hand!

IMG_8364(apparentlyΒ I missed the red shirt memo…)


I let my mom relax and I took care of all the prep work- I think she needed to wear the apron as a security blanket to make her feel ok about not helping!

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Although my apartment is small, it was just enough room for the 4 of us (my sister was away).

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Look at that dish! Oh. My. God was it delicious!!! I couldn’t get enough of it. All in all, it was a perfect night!


I stayed with RM and let my parents stay at my place (Hotel Monique), so I headed back there on Sunday morning before church. We walked to a nearby church and were amazed that the mass was only 35 minutes! For my fellow Catholic readers, 35 minutes is generally unheard of for a mass! I’m used to at least an hour. Crazy.

RM took us to brunch later and then I spent the rest of the afternoon reading with my parents on the patio. While I was reading, I had thoughts like “oh man. I should be blogging right now. I should be getting ready for the week. etc.”, but instead, I let myself indulge in a new book! It felt really good.


Have any of you read this?

Once my parents left, RM and I headed back to Waltham to return the pot I borrowed from his mom. Conveniently enough, it was time for Sunday Dinner πŸ˜‰ We had steak, sausages, salad, rainbow chard and peppers- so delicious, and eating outside again was even better!

We made a quick stop at the driving range before heading back to East Boston (and an ice cream stop… whoops!).

I was in bed by 9:30 and it was awesome… I can’t remember the time I slept that much and that well. Boy was it needed- I felt like a new woman yesterday!

Questions for you: What was something fun that you did last weekend? Have you ever taken a cooking lesson? What’s a book you’ve read or are reading?


Weekending: Gardening, Driving Range, Sunsets and Sheila’s Bridal Shower

You guys. This past weekend was SO FUN! I was, again, surrounded by family and friends and the boy and enjoyed every minute of it.

Friday night, the boy and I headed to Waltham for his home-town friend’s surprise birthday party. It was my first time meeting all of them and they were so friendly and welcoming! We stayed out late- until after 1am, which is unheard of for me. I was the DD, but I still felt off on Saturday morning, which must have been because of the lack of sleep. Totally worth it, though.


I skipped the gym on Saturday since I knew I’d ben working hard with my dad. He was gracious enough to take the time to come down and build me a garden on my back patio- how lucky am I?! Ever since he retired, he started gardening, which has been really fun to be a part of. My garden is about a fraction of the size of his, but I’m still so excited about it. Between lugging about 25 bags of heavy manure, compost mix, mulch and pete moss, as well as wood, I was pretty beat (and secretly loved it- I love physical labor!). It only took us about 2 hours from start to finish which is pretty impressive. We leveled and measured and screwed and shoveled and raked- in other words, we earned our beers after we were done πŸ˜‰

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My dad is going to come back down in a few weeks to do the planting for me. I wouldn’t be able to do this without him, so I’m so thankful that he’s helping me!

After my parents left (my mom went and hung out with my sister in Southie), the boy and I went to Quincy to drive some balls at the Granite Links Golf Course and Driving Range. We planned it perfectly because we finished our bucket of balls just in time to get a cocktail and watch the sun set. Have you guys ever been there? It’s the most beautiful place- it’s up high and everywhere you look it’s gorgeous. They also have an outdoor bar and had live music. We each got a margarita to watch the sunset and agreed it felt like we were on vacation!

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By the time we realized it, it was 8pm so we scratched all plans of making dinner and went to the tavern at the course and had dinner there at the bar. Based on the wait and how busy it was, clearly we were not the only ones with that idea. Thankfully I’ve got eyes like a hawk when it comes to nabbing seats at the bar so we were seated in no time. I got the fish tacos which were amazing!

Sunday was a day all about my friend Sheila. She’s getting married in September and her mom had planned a surprise bridal shower for her at the Venezia. It may have been terribly hard to find, but boy was it worth it! The location was right on the water with beautiful views of the city. Being around my girlfriends, drinking cocktails and celebrating is probably one of my favorite things to do.

sheila's shower

Everything about this shower was perfect- the location, the decorations, the food… you could clearly tell there was a lot of time and energy spent on making it the most perfect celebration for Sheila. No detail was missed! The food was also fantastic. I went with the Scallops and Lobster and Asparagus Risotto and it did not disappoint. My favorite part, though? The ice cream sundae bar!!! Best idea ever.

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All in all, it was such a wonderful afternoon. At this point in our lives, we are all so busy so it’s nice when we have an excuse and an event that brings us together. Jessi and Kelly were missing- we missed you girls!


Can’t wait until the bachelorette party… shenanigans will ensue πŸ˜‰

And, there you have it. Monday morning clearly came way too fast 😦

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Did you spend any time outside? Do you like to go to the driving range? What’s your “vacation” drink of choice?