Sunday, January 31, 2010

I can't wait for my new toy to arrive!


I love kitchen gadgets and can not wait to start using my newest one - the Cuisinart Hand Blender. Along with being able to use this little guy to make Olivia's food, I'm going to try it out on some of my soup recipes and also try out some new recipes. This little gadget came highly recommended by a friend of mine and she said it's great for dips and smoothies too - so much for not gaining weight before my brother's wedding in May.

My regular blender and food processor have been fine for all my pureeing and blending needs, but it's going to be awesome to use something not quite so cumbersome to do some of the more mundane kitchen tasks like slicing and dicing. It's much better on the clean-up too, which is a huge plus for me. Just another little tool to make cooking a little simpler. Now who wouldn't love that?!

Sittin' around, waiting for an airplane



Last week the girls and I went down to Maryland to visit my family for a couple of days and it was COLD! Because it was so cold, we stayed inside most of the time except for one morning when I took the girls to the BWI playground to watch the planes land. What might not sound like a lot of fun to most people, it was a TON of fun for Sofia. We stayed inside the car, where it was nice and warm, and watched them land for about 30 minutes. Driving back to my parent's house, Sofia couldn't stop talking about the planes we saw, what color they were, what they sounded like, etc. When we got home she told Anthony all about it and wanted to do it again. I think she had a good time!

Note: the blog post title is a little shout-out to one of my brother, Scott's favorite bands...Widespread Panic - I am sure he will appreciate it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Batti le manine

video

I apologize that the video came out a little dark, but you should be able to see Miss Olivia clapping her hands. I'll try to get a better video and post it soon - she is loving it, especially clapping for her big sister!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

S is for Sofia






So yesterday morning we had a few errands to run and among those were to drop off paperwork for Sofia's preschool that she will begin in the fall. As soon as we parked the car she asked me "is this my school?" Anthony and I took her back at the beginning of December for an orientation thing and she had remembered the place. I explained to her that it was going to be her school and that today we were just dropping off some paperwork and that she would start going in a few months. I also told her about the things she would do - arts and craft, reading, practice writing her name, learning to spell, etc. As soon as I was done listing stuff off, she says to me "I can spell, S-O-F-I-A is for Sofia." The teachers are going to have their hands full with my little girl.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Split Pea Soup



Super, super easy recipe for some yummy split pea soup.

Ingredients:

- 1/2 of a 1lb bag of dry split peas
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ham steak, diced
- 1/2 chicken bouillon cube
- 4 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste

Directions:


1. Place desired amount of the dry split peas into a bowl of water and allow to soak for 2-3 hours. Drain, throw out any odd looking peas (sometimes you may find one or two) and place in a pot.

2. Add remaining ingredients to the pot

What to do with 11lbs of chocolate?


Yep, that's right - 11. It is not a misprint. My father-in-law brought over an 11lb piece of Belgian chocolate. I suppose "piece" is not the word I should be using though. It is huge. And boy does it smell wonderful. Now, onto some serious internet research for recipes calling for chocolate. Or maybe that could just be our dessert for the next 3 months.

Oh, who am I kidding? 11 lbs is nothing, it will be gone in 2 weeks.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Artwork update

My friend Megan posted a comment about Sofia's recent painting and wanted to see the finished outcome in the room. So here it is:


Like I had posted, I already had pictures in these frames previously and even left the same nail spots in the wall - I'm notorious for making a mess even when hanging a picture. It has to be just right and naturally, getting it just right can take a couple of tries. For me anyway. I had bought these simple white frames at Ikea way back when and they are super cheap. For future displays, I will most likely use a slightly bigger frame and then use a mat to make the art really stand out.

Off to battle

A visit to the Battle of the Bradywine.

We had a change in plans this past weekend and found ourselves with some free time. Seeing that the sun was shining and it wasn't terribly cold out, we decided to take a drive with the girls to get some fresh air out in the country. Well, it wasn't really country, but it was as close as we're going to get for now. A huge open field for Sofia to run around in, old buildings to see and take pictures of and practically the whole place to ourselves. Perfect.












The facilities way back when


The Gideon Gilpin House

The house from the side - beautiful!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Art on display

Sofia's favorite pastime for awhile now has been painting. Give her a white sheet of paper and she will doodle it up with many creations. She's a huge fan of finger-painting. Probably because that involves painting (duh!) and getting her fingers messy. I do have to add that while she does enjoy getting her fingers covered in the goopy colors, she does not like to get any other part of her dirty and will point out to me when that has happened so I can come to her rescue with a washcloth. It's pretty amusing actually, since I was the same exact way as a child. Never liked getting my hands dirty. Oh well, regardless of whether she's neat or messy, she has a great time painting and assures me about 20-30 minutes of good, "clean" fun.

Just last week, I grabbed one of her many pieces of art we have around the house and decided to put it on display. I had four 5x7 frames with pictures in them already (scenery photos that I had taken) and took them out for her artwork. They are now on display in the upstairs bathroom, outside the girls' rooms and look adorable! And Sofia LOVED it - she was so excited to show off her framed art to Anthony!

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Day, New You

I have way too many great blogs on my reader and don't spend enough time going through every single post all the time. There just aren't enough hours in a day to do everything I'd like to do. But I came across an awesome post on Wise Bread, a great blog about saving, living frugally and even better - coupons!

The New Year always brings talk of ways to make oneself better, healthier, nicer, skinnier, frugaler (is that even a word). Whatever it might be, we all want to be happier about something at one point or another in our lives. And I thought this little (ok, it isn't that little) list summed up things nicely.

Some of my favorites from the list:

6. Spend time with your family

13. Make food you enjoy

20. Organize yourself

33. Be lazy

43. Sleep - of course, this one is only possible if your kids are sleeping too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

my girls


If you read my family blog (Hi Mom!), first of all, thank you so much. Second of all, you might pick up on the fact that I love saying "girls." My girls, those girls, the girls, our girls, daddy's girls, etc. It's the best. I will find any reason to say it during the course of the day too. "Let's go downstairs girls." "Girls, Daddy is home!" "Let's go, girls." and "Alright girls, it's time to get ready for bed." The last one is a favorite probably because that means that soon I would be able to sit back and have some of my own quiet time. Sofia listens to us about 80% of the time and she will respond right away, but poor Olivia just sits and stares at me like I have two heads. Most of the time she is smiling though so that makes up for her what-are-you-saying-to-me face.

Sometimes I mix it up too and will say "girlies" or "piccolini." When we were deciding on names for both pregnancies, I liked to say them louder than normal, as if I were calling for them. I guess I just wanted to make sure that they sounded good at a higher decibel too. We would say "Kids!" when we were pregnant with Olivia as well since we didn't know the gender and knew we would be calling them at the same time eventually.

Is it because I now don't have to call each one individually and therefore, I am being lazy. Maybe. Or is it because now it is plural and there are two beautiful faces I am talking to? Most likely. Seeing them together, even just sitting next to one another, makes my heart skip a beat.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Castelli

When in Abruzzo we always make a point to visit the quaint town of Castelli. Nestled high on a mountainside, Castelli draws visitors from all over. We wouldn't know it though because each time we visit it feels as if we're the only ones in town. The ceramic shops that line the streets are never crowded and we can take our time walking the alleyways taking pictures.



I adore this house! Each year we have visited Castelli, I have taken basically the same picture of this house. This year I was able to meet the lady of the house and she even let me in for a little tour - gorgeous on the inside as well as out. I did not take any pictures inside since I thought that might be rude. Firstly, she was not expecting guests and I am sure she wouldn't have appreciated a random girl snapping pictures of her things. Lastly, I was too entranced by the place...a tiny little staircase leading to a modern loft, high-tech kitchen in the corner and a gorgeous little balcony overlooking the cobble-stoned street below. It was breathtaking.


"Ciao!"


The view from a side-street in Castelli



The church in Castelli 2008 - the ceramic picture of the Madonna had scratches and pieces of it missing



The church in 2009 - just like new again!


Sofia - my little flower girl



Tuesday, January 19, 2010

City of Brotherly Love



Since Anthony had off yesterday and the weather wasn't too frigid, we decided to head out in the morning for a drive/walk through Philadelphia. After a brief visit to the Italian Market section of the city for some veggies, we headed over to Love Park. Sofia had so much fun running around the little park. Then we went across the street and played with all the game pieces in front of City Hall where she had even more fun.















Monday, January 18, 2010

Rub a dub dub...

one baby Olivia in a tub!



My baby girl LOVES being in the water! Splashes her hands and feet around like crazy and squealing with joy. Luckily, she is still smiling even when it's time to get out of the bathtub. I think it's because she knows she's going to get wrapped up warm and cozy AND get extra cuddling.

Lucky little girls


Sofia had a great couple of days with my family last week. Reading, favorite meals, walks outside mixed in with lots of extra hugs and kisses is the perfect recipe for fun for my little girl. We went down Friday evening to spend the weekend with them and her reaction when she saw us was amazing! She was so excited and it made me so happy! While Anthony and I were soaking up in the hugs and kisses from Sofia, Olivia got some extra attention of her own from my family. She was thinking "now it's MY turn!"

I love this picture of my two sweethearts with Zio Antonio.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

la coccinella



Sofia made a little friend while down at my parent's house...a tiny, red ladybug. She was fascinated with it and when we went to set her free outside she said "bye little ladybug!"

story time with Olivia

She was reading to me for a change...



Friday, January 15, 2010

Sofia mia


The house is TOO quiet without my little Sofia running around. My mom came up from Maryland a few days ago to pick her up and take her back down to her house to spend a couple days with my parents and Zio Antonio. They've gone out for walks, shopping, and a little lunch date too. She is getting read to, tickled and Nonna Lisa is making all of her favorite meals. Talk about being spoiled!

We are driving down this evening to spend the weekend there and to pick her up. We miss her a ton! I feel like Olivia has been looking around the house for her also. The house is quiet and with only one little Olivia to tend to, I have some free time! Free time? What is that?

Can't wait to see Sofia mia this evening!!!
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