Hey friends! Hope that those of you who celebrate had a wonderful and memorable Christmas with your families and friends. Was Santa good to you this year? 🙂

As we unwrapped our presents on Christmas morning, I couldn’t help but think that the best gifts have already been gifted to me – my family, children, health – and I couldn’t be happier for it. In that sprit, I wanted to share a few things I am grateful for this Holiday season.

Family in town

My husband’s family is here for the Holidays and it’s been so nice! We don’t have any relatives in Tucson, and having them in town for Christmas has been a special treat. Kids absolutely love being spoiled by the grandparents, and we just try to soak in all the time we can!

I especially enjoyed an opportunity to catch up with my sister in law since she doesn’t get to visit as often. One of the days I took her out for a girls lunch date. She is a vegetarian, and I knew she had to try Urban Fresh, one of my all time favorite places to eat in Tucson. They feature local fresh plant-based food, amazing selection of fresh pressed juices, delicious smoothies and daily specials that will make you drool. The owners are so warm and kind, I love chatting with them!

On Christmas eve I made a reservation at North Italia and it ended up being a perfect night. While we waited for our table, the server offered us to wait outside. What better than gathering around the fire on a frosty night?

Once our table was ready, we asked for the Chef’s board appetizer. It’s such a crowd pleaser! Guys devoured the prosciutto, and I nibbled on the olives and asparagus.

This guy… He swept me off my feet back then, and I still have not recovered.

We chatted about everything, enjoyed the food and soon realized it was waaaay past Maria’s bed time!

On Christmas day everyone was up early to open the presents. We ate a small breakfast, and I prepped a bunch of appetizers for the basketball game. Including jalapeno poppers, bbq meatballs, baked mozzarella marinara dip sauce with bread, and this cheese board:

It was a perfect lazy day lounging, watching the games, playing with new toys and relaxing.

Mother-son dates

My 8 year old boy is so sweet and selfless, but I know how much he craves time with his mom. Which can be hard to achieve with a demanding toddler in the house. So lately I’ve started a new tradition. We are going to have a mother-son date every month, where it’s all about Dmitri. I think it’l be a great way to keep our connection strong. I’m thinking something along the lines of movie dates, bike rides, mini hikes together.

When I heard about the Moscow Ballet touring in Tucson with The Nutcracker, I knew it would be perfect for our December date.

Since we never talked about the Nutcracker story before, I ordered Dmitri the book from Amazon. It’s been fun reading it with my boy and anticipating our date.

The ballet performance and music by Tchaikovsky were absolutely amazing! We kept pointing at the characters as we recognized them from the story.

I really love it how open minded my son is about new experiences. Hey, this was no Star Wars but he went with it. He really makes me proud.


I just can’t get enough of these two cuddle bugs in their matching Christmas PJs. It’s definitely bitter-sweet because I wonder how many more years we have before they get too old for all the matching and cuddling.

The other day I read that a typical mom wakes up with an image of a perfect day and a perfect mom she is going to be that day. But that rarely happens. We as moms often tend to impose super high expectations on ourselves. We want to serve delicious food to our families, house must be clean, kids shuffled to all activities, homework checked, play dates arranged etc etc.

And then we still need to find time to just be. Be present with out children, get down on the floor and tickle their little feet or chase them around the house. It’s the moments like this – when we are spontaneously laughing together – that remind me “I am enough”.

Good tea and good reads

There is nothing more relaxing than cuddling up with a cozy blanket, a warm cup of tea and a good book on a cold December day.

I’ve made a conscious effort to unplug from the Internet and read more lately. Luckily my Amazon wish list is pretty much entirely consistent of books I want to read. That’s where I found this book.

The Mistletoe Promise has a romantic Holiday story and it’s a total page turner. Check it out if you want a fun and easy read!

Now that Christmas is over, I am starting to think of the next year. We expect a few big changes and it will definitely help to have a plan.

Do you believe in New Year resolutions? Do you like to set goals for a year ahead? 

I’ll be sharing my ideas with you all in the upcoming week. Hope you have a wonderful day!



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