Friday, April 24, 2015

Mesagne, Mesagne, Mesagne


I love Mesagne. The town where my mom was born and raised and where I was raised for about 11 years. I have really loved taking my family back each year and feel so fortunate that we can make this trip to spend with family and friends. I'm just about finished posting pictures from the first part of our trip, each year we begin in Southern Italy and then move to central Italy with Anthony's part of the family. But the last days in Mesagne are always bittersweet, sad to be leaving but happy at another year full of amazing memories made. Whether it was just hanging out around the house, with neighbors and family, at the beach, traveling or out on the town, each moment is so special and the pictures bring back so many happy memories.



Blessed that Mario was such a great traveler last year on his first trip over and spent time with some very special people. Good friends and family are the biggest reasons to be traveling back to Italy each year and spending time with the people we love.


Annual picture with Nonna Lisa and Nonno Nicky outside our home...can't wait to take another one this year!!!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hanging out with my 16-month-old


I love this kid so much. He is just changing so much day to day and I feel like I'm enjoying one thing so much about him and then there's something else happening and moving us right along and now he's 16 months old. Sigh. Goes too fast.


But I'm a lucky lady that I get so spend my days with him and I wouldn't trade them for anything. He is definitely a mamma's boy...and a daddy's boy and a sister's boy too. Loves us all and gives the sweetest little hugs and kisses. Laughs at his sisters making funny faces, giggles when daddy tickles him and brings me a book and climbs on my lap for a little snuggle.



Climbing on EVERYTHING! Has mastered all the chairs and sofas in the house as well as the piano bench. Our little pianist in training...


I love my son.


Monday, April 20, 2015

a lot of pictures...


April has been busy and it's not even over yet. I love it though because thankfully it's been all good things that we look forward to...

Grandparent's Day at the girls' school...


celebrating Sofia's birthday along with Zio Scotty and Mason's in Maryland...



Easter, of course was super fun in Maryland...I love Olivia's little Easter bunny drawing she did in art class


Easter family picture...


Nonna and Nonno with the kids, everyone's smiling - I love it!


Me and my not so little brother


Father Pat was in town again for Easter this year and we enjoyed spending time with him!


These kids love their Zios!


Easter Egg Hunt in the backyard!


Mason checking out his loot!


The hammock was pulled out again for the season, the kids enjoy this so much.


Silly Zio Scotty, I do love this picture though!


I adore these kids. Missing a couple here though...


Happy Grandparents and their grandchildren


Funny Face picture!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Simple Tortellini Pasta Salad


Spring is here and while we haven't had the most consistent of warmer weather days, it is well into April and I'm ready to move on from Winter. Not quite ready to bring out the flip flops, but one thing I absolutely love about warmer days - pasta salad! Now, you can naturally eat pasta salad anytime of the year, but I mainly prepare it during the warmer months of Spring thru early Fall. There's just something about grilling while the kids run sans heavy coats in the back yard and I have a bowl of pasta salad ready to go in the fridge.

We were just at a fundraiser and it was potluck style. A friend brought a store bought pasta salad and I quickly tried to re-create it (with some minor tweaks) the week after. It was so good! Just a few very simple ingredients mixed together and a basic Italian dressing. Let it sit in the fridge overnight to completely absorb, add a little more dressing and a quick mix and serve. Easy!

Ingredients:

- A good fresh tortellini (I love Buitoni fresh stuffed pastas) and used the 3 cheese tortellini
- cherry tomatoes, chopped in half
- Fresh mozzarella, chopped in half (I love BelGioioso brand and used the pearls but any mozzarella chopped in bite-sized pieces would work)
- jar of marinated artichokes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
-a good salami, skin covering removed and chopped
- Italian dressing

What to do:

- cook pasta according to package directions, drain and run cool water over to stop the cooking
- combine tomatoes, mozzarella, artichokes and salami in a large bowl and give a good mixing
- add pasta and dressing and combine well
- place in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours, overnight is best though so dressing can really absorb into each bite

Buon Appetito!

And the the best thing about pasta salad is that you can really throw in whatever you have on hand. I honestly always have the above ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator so that's an easy one for me. Other items to add could be - cooked chopped asparagus, garbanzo beans, olives and cucumber. You can't go wrong and it's fun trying new combinations!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fun times at the National Museum of Natural History


Over Easter weekend while in Maryland, we took the family to Washington DC on a rainy Good Friday. Thankfully there's plenty to do indoors in DC. So a Smithsonian it was and we decided on the National Museum of Natural History. A favorite of Anthony and mine since we went there on one of our very first dates.

The kids had so much fun touring the place, each with their own map in hand and discovering what each hall had in store for us. Olivia loved the dinosaur bones and the gems & minerals halls and Sofia was very excited to see the Hope Diamond. Both were very happy to pick out a gift each in the museum store too.



And this kid? He was pretty content in the stroller for the most part too. Lots to take in, I think we have another museum fan in the family!




Rainy day but doesn't keep the smiles away.


Anthony and Father Pat, in town for the Easter holiday with the family.

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