Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A drive down the coast...the Southern Adriatic Coast of Italy

Anthony and I make a point to get out on a day trip while in Puglia. My parents have taken the girls for the day and we set off on our own to explore a different town. One year we went to Matera, another year we visited some coastal towns that Anthony had never been to before and another year we went to Gallipoli. I look forward to this so much each year and love exploring nearby. Although I've been just about everywhere in Puglia at this point, it doesn't grow old to me one bit.

This past trip we decided to drive up and down the coast but we had some guests with us as we thought the girls would love it. And since Mario is everywhere I am, he came too and it was a family affair. It was an awesome day. Perfect weather for driving, making stops along the coast for ice cream, pictures and resting too.

The girls visit Santa Maria de Leuca. Lots of great family trips happened here for me and I was so happy to bring my kids there for their first time.

Mario loved it too! Can't you tell?

The basilica and lighthouse...what a gorgeous sky!

Peeking out over the cliffs...

Momma and her first born. They were excited to be spending the day with us exploring and I was so excited to show them some place new.

We went to a restaurant Anthony and I visited last year on our own and knew the girls would love it. Gorgeous view from our table...

The staircase leading down to the outdoor veranda seating of the restaurant.

Daddy enjoying his meal...

The girls loved their pasta too. And drinking out of fancy glasses. No plastic cups with straws at this place.

Mario just took it all in and let us eat our fancy meal in peace! Doesn't he look comfortable?!

Photo-a-day challenge - Toy

So not technically a toy, but a pastime both girls love very much. These are Olivia's ballet slippers and I love everything about them. The color, the fact that they're worn in from wearing for several months now and the smile on her face when she puts them on herself and lines up ready for class at the studio.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Easy Banana Bread

We love banana bread around our house and I'm always up to try new recipes. Win-win if I find a recipe with better-for-you ingredients AND it still tastes good too. Thanks to the world of Pinterest, I found one that I adapted a bit and it's delicious! This recipe is 37, 36, 7, 5, and 1 year-old approved!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or make it healthier by using whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

  2. Place first three ingredients into a large bowl and lightly stir with a fork. In another bowl, combine the applesauce, honey and mashed banana. Then add eggs and lightly whisk them into the applesauce/honey/banana mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine. Do not over stir. Pour mix into greased pan. At this point, you may want to live on the wild side a bit and add some chocolate to your bread. Chocolate makes everything better! I sprinkled just a 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips right over the mix prior to baking but feel free to add more to your loaf.

  3. Bake for 1 hour and do the toothpick test in the center of the loaf. If the toothpick has a little wet mix on it, bake for an additional 5 minutes and check again. Allow bread to cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Another win-win if you have a cute loaf pan that you can just serve the bread out of rather than transferring to another plate. One less dish to have to wash! 

Buon Appetito! 

Photo-a-day challenge - Manic

Boy am I glad Manic Monday photography challenge has come to a close for me. I should have thought that one through a little more or I need to be better of thinking outside the box. That was a difficult word for me to capture each week.

But for today, the final Monday for the February Photo-a-day challenge, I captured a small image of our fridge. I left out some pictures on the top and sentimental magnets but you get the picture. What I did include were our alphabet magnets and the girls dry erase boards that presently boast their attitude chart.

Anthony and I had wanted to do something to track attitudes during two tough times in our home: morning and evening. In the morning, we're getting ready for school and they can get sidetracked, talk and giggle too long during breakfast making them late to get to the bathroom and changed for school, or just simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed and be stubborn about everything. In the evening, we're tired after a long day and can be quick to meltdowns. After trying out just a morning checklist last year and that working well, we thought this year we didn't need anything and were in the clear. Wrong.

We have been working on getting the girls to talk through their feelings rather than having voices escalate. Be nicer to one another and be more helpful around the house. The girls give themselves a checkmark or sad face for morning or evening and we talk about why they get what they get. It's rather broad, I'll admit, but we're 4 weeks in and I think it's been really helpful to them. We researched chart options and we didn't want to do a lengthy rewards chart with stickers and while our chart is very, very simple in terms of day of the week, time of day and either a check or sad face, I feel like keeping it simple for our girls is the way to go. For now. Who knows what the next wave of emotions might bring!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Photo-a-day challenge - Simple Sunday

This is the start of my last week of the photo challenge! Where did February go?! I for one am happy to see it end and bring on March. Hoping for warmer temperatures since February has proved to be one of the coldest months we've had in years! Yikes.

No fun for us since I love taking Mario out and about. And he loves it too but honestly some of these days we've had have been brutal. I'm sure folks in Canada and Alaska are scoffing at our temperatures but us southerners are not accustomed to single digit temperature days.

Thankfully we occupy ourselves indoors as best we can. And with whatever we can find too. Mario has a new love for stacking and is quite good at it. And entertains himself for a little bit also. Buys me some time in the kitchen anyway and I'll take that anyday!

My sweet boy.

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