Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mia Famiglia

So everyone asks me what I am planning to do on spring break. Well, the honest answer is that we are not really able to enjoy spring break in Florida or the Bahamas because they do not give us a spring break here. But I am able to get a tan (or freckles really) just by looking at everyone's pictures of the sun/beach on their marvelous vacations (that's a joke). Luckily this year, the CIA gave us Good Friday off, and then there was a special project day on Monday, which meant that we had to complete an assignment but did not have to be in school. Since we were able to have four days off, which is very rare, I offered to drive to Michigan with Chris. Christopher is a very low stress, hassle free type guy and insisted that it would be too far to travel in that amount of time and that we needed to relax and enjoy the days we  had off together. This would mark one year that Christopher had first met my family and traveled to my house.
Last Easter

Family is very important to me and so are traditions. I am very adamant that the same ornaments be put on the tree by the same person each year, that we always color eggs, and that our family traditions live on. I was able to reflect on this in a conversation with Chris this past weekend. I think that following traditions help me with my memory. It triggers a thought of something wonderful that happened on a past holiday, and helps us celebrate the glorious family that we have. I am also a creature of habit and routine, which probably adds to the reason that I encourage everyone to follow the traditions that we have. These practices help keep our family close knit and help us to appreciate one another. And I guess that even though my family is together now, I know that one day my family will be spread out and the comfort of continuing those traditions will help me remember how much I love my family and how lucky I am to have them. 

Sophia and Savannah coloring eggs
Earlier in the week, my mom called me to sort out all of the plans for Easter, and discuss the menu. She and I had a secret, but I did my best to conceal my answers to her questions because Chris was in the room. I woke Chris up early Friday morning and we started our journey Upstate to the place I call home. I would say that although Chris does not call it home, he feels as if he is home when he is there. My mom is very accommodating, and Lansing loans his room out whenever Chris and I come home. My mother often cleans out a drawer for him, and of course sets out the towel with the same hotel soap that he never uses. We arrived home, and from behind the chimney popped out two mini misses. Chris was so surprised that his family had traveled from Michigan to my home to spend Easter with him. His Dad, Step-mom, Sister Stephanie, Sissies- Sophia and Savannah were there to stay the weekend. Christopher was very overwhelmed by the unexpected and that satisfied me. 
The Miller family

Lansing and I

We spent the weekend at church, building bird houses, in the kitchen, touring waterfalls, hunting eggs, and enjoying each others company. The girls were able to get some pony rides from my sister, and they walked around in their little          
The Buzzelli Family
 high heels waving their magic wands and enjoying "Bobo" <--What they call Christopher. Friday we dined at my parents' restaurant as a family of twelve, there was only a few minor water spills, but the amount of smiles overpowered the spills. Saturday my mom treated Margot, Stephanie, and I to pedicures which was nice- my toe nails have been bare for a while. Then I enjoyed watching my curls fall to the floor as mom and I visited the hair salon. We shopped around a little at TJMaxx, where I bought a dress for Easter, picked out a shirt for Christopher, and found a gift for my dad's birthday. Then the Chefs put in some practicing time for our upcoming practical (stay tuned for a post soon regarding this practical). And when we returned home we started to dye the eggs; a whole flat. Then off to church where the girls fell asleep in their darling dresses. I should mention that I was sleeping on the couch in the living room, which is connected to the kitchen. So it was not a surprise that I heard the pitter patter of hooves--wait wrong holiday....the hippity hippity feet of the bunny sorting eggs at five o clock in the morning. And then I was excitedly awakened at seven to hunt for the eggs. The Easter bunny luckily put some tea in my basket which my partner and I enjoyed as we are trying to get over a cold. Chris rushed outside to race Lansing and collect the most eggs, but mid-race he saw Sophia's eyes looking up at him and forfeited his title in order to assist his sister with the eggs that were out of her reach. We then got dressed for mass and celebrated the real meaning of Easter together as a big family. 

Claire surfing through the eggs
We made egg salad for lunch and then the cousins arrived. Unfortunately my Uncle had taken ill, but his girls- Sarah, Claire, and Aunt Kim made the trip to spend Easter afternoon with us. Claire is my god daughter, and it is always a pleasure to be able to play with her. She just turned one yesterday, and after a year full of growing, strength, and love- she is a healthy little girl (who by the way, keep your fingers crossed, is going to be quite a tom boy). I just cannot wait until she can walk with me and talk to me. Sarah on the other hand is doing all of that. She is even potty trained and told me that she enjoyed the "cheesy-potatoes" that I made for dinner. The comic relief of the afternoon was when my mom tried to sneak away with the baking soda to put out an oven fire. Nothing burned- but the house was smoked out a bit, and my dad decided that was when he wanted to turn up the music, and children started crying, and the kitchen was getting crowded.. It was all a little overwhelming to say the least, but all you can really do is laugh. Another hit at dinner, was a trifle that I made. Chris was not a big fan, and I would say that the alternative version I made was not as good as the normal version I create, but we were going a healthy route because of all the chocolate that had been consumed earlier that day. 

Monday was my father's birthday, "71-wow". My dad is a great man, who has raised (is still in the process of raising) six children and is enjoying life. Most of his time is spent mowing lawns of numerous rental properties, commuting to and from New Jersey to support his family, and helping to manage the King Ferry Hotel. A lot of people are surprised to hear that my dad is "old", but I think the term is relative. Yes, we listen to the radio, read the newspaper, are taught manners, and religiously go to church- but without these values we would not be who we are today. And anyone who has ever met my dad, understands that he is a child at heart, and maybe his body is 71 years old, but he has a long way to go. A year ago my father had a heart attack which slowed him down. He is not good at being sick and staying home; he is always moving, active, and ready to start a new project. He has recovered and has even graduated from cardiac rehab, which he is very pleased with.  I am very proud of my father, he teaches me every day and always reminds me to not forget who I am. We celebrated his birthday by making an angel food cake, grilling steak and salmon, visiting some of the near by parks, and assembling a birdhouse that he received from my uncle. It was a celebration that he is sure to remember.
Sarah and Claire 

Chasing waterfalls

When Chris and I wheeled out of the driveway on Tuesday morning, we were both solemn. My mom was in tears and I had to hold my tears back, as always. It's always bitter sweet returning to school, getting back to reality, but this time was a little more bitter. We are in our last eight weeks of college, forced to find a job, and a home. Growing up, crazy stuff. Christopher and I both expressed our fears to each other, and we thanked each other for the wonderful weekend that could not have happened without one another. We are facing the scary world together: Real Couple vs. Big World. End of Transmission. 

Easter Trifle
1- 9x13 yellow cake
1box -vanilla pudding (can be replaced with greek yogurt for a healthier option)
1pt heavy cream
1 bag frozen mixed berries

1. Thaw the berries in the bag, reserving the juices.
2. Bake the cake. Many insist on making cake from scratch, but Betty Crocker has been doing it for years, so I let her do the work, that way I know it is sure to be consistent.) 
3. Make the pudding, or mix the yogurt with a bit of honey for flavor. 
4. You will need a big bowl, usually glass bowls are used for trifles- they are layered so it looks pretty in a glass bowl. 
5. Crumble the baked cake in your hands, I always layer the cake first, followed by the berries, then the pudding, and I continue to follow this pattern. It is to your advantage to use frozen berries because they delicious juice soaks into the cake. 
6. Top with whipped cream. 

This is a very easy and simple recipe which I think is delicious. It was the first time that I substituted the yogurt for the pudding, and I have not mastered it yet, but it is doable. This is my mother's recipe. It can easily be altered. Best of luck. 

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