Monday, June 25, 2012

My bags are packed, we're ready to go...

It always amazes me how this time of year gets here so quickly. We begin planning our annual trip to Italia right around February, but the day of departure feels like a million years away at that point. So much goes into planning for our trip...plane tickets, car rental, packing, gifts, etc. All of which I enjoy doing since the outcome is something so special to family in Italy.

This year I am flying on my own, with the girls. No husband, no baby brother to be there with me as I travel with two very precious pieces of little girls. But, I'm trying to remain positive and just hope for the best. Of course, I've planned too which means countless distractions for them in the form of coloring books, new crayons, stickers, books, little toys and the iPad. All the thought that went into the activities and they'll probably play with the iPad until the battery gives out on us.

A 2 hour wait in the airport, 8.5 hours of airtime and then a 2 hour drive to the house...Italia - here we come! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


T minus 1 day! So many memories shared in Italy with our families and can not wait to create some more. Just have got to get through the travel portion first and THEN, I'll be all set.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My 365 Project - 118

happy weekend!

Last minute errands to run this weekend before we depart for Italy. And I have a chair reserved for myself for a well-deserved manicure and pedicure. Oh and packing to do as well. Everything is laid out nice and neat-ish in our dining room and now just to move those piles into the luggage and carry-on. We shall see how this goes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My 365 Project - 117

Nothing like adding fresh basil to the kitchen to bring out some wonderful memories of Italia. Which we will be making more of some very soon.


Ahhh, M&M cookies. Quickest way to my girls' hearts. That and play-doh. They are easily entertained. This week anyway.

I've posted it before, but here it comes again. Just in case you have a bag of M&M's sitting around your pantry and you've prepared yourself to only eat cookies for the next few meals. They are GOOD!


1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce package M&M’S


Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into butter/sugar mixture. Stir in M&M’S. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 11-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft. Cool on sheets and then cookie racks. Store in tightly covered container.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My 365 Project - 116

Fresh flowers are a lovely way to be welcomed into a room. Even when walking into the room you have two attention-seeking kids attached to either leg.

Buon Giorno!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Buon Compleanno Nonna

Happy Birthday to my Nonna, who would have celebrated her 91st birthday today. She was a very special lady, made me laugh so much and I miss her still everyday. I know she is watching over us and loves my little girls so much.

My 365 Project - 115

And so it begins...packing for our annual trip to the motherland. Excited is a major understatement. Girls are excited too and as our departure day draws closer, they are asking more about who we will see and what we will do. Love that this tradition has become so special to them as well.

I'm quite the planner when it comes to packing. I would hope to be after doing this basically every year of my life. Not including the years that I lived in Italy, of course. But packing for the family is quite different than the pre-children days. Then, I would literally pack two days in advance, throwing my favorite outfits together, any gifts for friends and family and toiletries. Finito. Now, in addition to outfits, toiletries and gifts for all, I need to plan for activities in the airport, on the plane, possible layovers and travel to and from the airport in Italy. They won't just snuggle up on the plane with a good book and a bottle of water. Weird.  But I go prepared. I have activities coming out of my ears by the time we are ready to head out for the airport.

Just some of my past favorites:

- A new coloring book and new crayons for each child
- Flash cards
- Travel Bingo - thank you to a sweet friend this year for buying it for the girls
- New books
- Stickers and a sticker book
- Small toys - trains, cars, ponies, etc. (I like to let them help me pack their backpacks, but then I go and sneak in a couple of surprises too)
- Snacks, snacks, snacks! - I do not like plane food and so far, neither do the girls. Can't say I blame them though. All this money spent on tickets and we still get over-dry chicken, a limp salad and a extremely gooey brownie with nuts on top. My kids will not eat any of that. 

This year I'm adding a couple of new things to the list. Our iPad for one and yes it sort of feels like cheating, but it's a LONG flight. So, when coloring and stickering and snacking bores them, thank you iPad apps.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day with Thomas the Train

We set out this morning to Strasburg, PA for a Day Out with Thomas. As in the train. As in Olivia's favorite thing these days. It was a huge hit. We made it a surprise for the girls and from start to end, it was amazing. The weather was in our favor, overcast and a little chilly so perfect for walking around and standing in the line waiting to board the train.

Here Olivia is peeking through the trees to catch a glimpse of Thomas as he pulls into the station:

All aboard! The coaches were very cool and authentic. Even down to the ticket takers adorable caps.

Mommy and Sofia ready to take a ride on our favorite blue engine!

Of course, Olivia was all smiles and ready to go too!

Waving to everyone and loving it!

Thomas meets Famiglia Palumbi! I'm not going to lie, it was super fun! Fun atmosphere, but just great to see the girls having such a good time and excited to be there.

Some of the cool buildings and trains on the grounds.

Then we headed to the store. Or stores I should say. There were more Thomas items here than I've ever seen anywhere else and the girls went into overdrive. Olivia came home with this plush Thomas that I feel is almost as big as she is but once she got a hold of him and hugged could we say no? It was the only thing she wanted to bring home.

Holding onto her purchase and wanting to take a picture in front of 'Toby' her other favorite engine from the story.

Great morning topped off by some yummy Friendly's!

As we're loading up into the car, Olivia says to me "That was so much fun!" The girls have been talking about their Thomas adventure all evening and I am sure it will be a special memory for them both. It definitely is a special memory for me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My 365 Project - 114

Fingerprint art for Father's Day!

All you need is some canvas, paints, brushes and little fingers! I painted the background and the stems and leaves (you can tell, right? I am no Picasso) and let the girls go to town with their finger-painting.

Friday, June 15, 2012

My 365 Project - 113

Love me some sleepy-eyed Olivia shot. Although she acts like a tough 3-year-old at times, she really is just momma's little baby when it's time for her nap.

Why do they have to grow so fast?!

Playday with Simon

Cugino Simon was with the girls and I for the day and oh what fun they had...

lots of play for the cousins!

A cut above

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day around our home. Well, outside the home to be more accurate. Sofia chopped off almost 10 inches of hair for a new (and easier) summer hairdo. It's adorable and she absolutely loves it!

I know getting a haircut isn't such a big deal but it is when you have a little girl who is very girly and loves her long hair. She calls herself Rapunzel and loves when it's in different styles. We had been talking about it for some time and off we went to have a surprise lunch with Daddy and then onto a fancy hair salon for the haircut.

She looks just a tad nervous in this picture, right? She was still a little on the fence.

Of course Olivia came with us too, it was quite the family affair.

Here goes nothing. Laura made it into a ponytail so we can now send into Locks of Love to donate. Another big factor into getting it as long as possible so we could send it into be made into a wig. We talked about it with Sofia here and there and hopefully she will understand that a little child will be benefiting from this major haircut.

Ah! That's a lot of hair to come off at one time!

Funny face time! She loved the fancy salon chair and the full length mirror right in front of her.

Wonderful place and person for Sofia to receive her first salon service haircut.  Laura was great with her and Sofia loved her!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My 365 Project - 111

Just a sneak peek of the most recent craft project - for Daddy!

Pasta, Pedicures and Play...

Yesterday we hosted a playdate at our house with a friend of Sofia's and the three girls played together so well. First was just some playing on their own and the big girls were so good to my little babydoll. A few times, Olivia would come to "check on me" but then she happily returned to her sister and girlfriend.

Mixed in with just good ol' fashioned playtime, were food coloring pasta for necklace making and pedicures. Both lots of fun and all three girls enjoyed very much. And EASY! Fun and easy, everyone likes that combination.

We colored the pasta before our playdate so I could allow the pasta to dry in enough time. I let the girls help me pick out the type of pasta we used and the colors for each. Little things like that and they think it's the best thing in the world. After they did their "important job," I handled the messy stuff.

1. Place 1/4 cup white vinegar in a plastic bag and add 2-3 drops of food coloring.
2. Put pasta in the bag, seal and shake it up. The girls liked helping with that part too.
3. I put down wax paper on baking sheets. After each pasta was placed in the bags and the colors were to our liking, I poured them out onto the wax paper covered sheets.

5. If it had been warmer out, I might have just placed the sheets outside to dry in the sun, but yesterday was a very rainy day. Instead, I dried them in the oven set at 200 degrees and for about 10 minutes each.
6. Behold our dried colorful pasta!

After some playing together, the three girls were excited to sit and make their necklaces. I tied one larger piece of pasta to the end of our necklace strand and this way they could lace the pasta without the pasta falling off the other end.

So much fun and a very good hand-eye coordination task for the girls, especially Olivia.  

Sofia's friend put hers on right away but the girls wanted them to hang on the doorknob for daddy to see when he got home from work. How pretty are they?!?

Tea time in the girls' room with their friend...I love Olivia's little seat.

Little sister was tasked with bringing the tea items from the basement into their bedroom. She came downstairs to me to say "Mommy, I have to go get the stuff for our tea party!" She didn't care that the older girls were telling her what to do.

Just before lunch, we did pedicures. I have a ton of nail polish that the girls love going through, but I picked out just some of of their favorites to have them choose from and they really had fun with it.

Pretty little toes. Sofia and her friend painted each toe a different color while Olivia opted for just the one color. She wanted to be different.

Quiet play time waiting for their friend's mom to come pick her up. They were so great together and it really was such a fantastic morning. Sofia and Olivia talked about it the remainder of the day and I was happy that despite the rain, we did some very fun things indoors.

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