Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hope you enjoy the ride!

Another exciting part of the festival each year, are the rides that come to town. As a kid and teenager, I LOVED the rides and before we had kids I knew I would love bringing my kids here one day. And my girls LOVE the rides at the festival. There's fun music, lots of people out and about, yummy food stands and lots and lots of rides.

Surprisingly, Sofia took some coaxing to get on this year, but once she was on, she was on and didn't want to leave.

Anthony and Zio Scotty watching the girls on the swings.

Their favorite roller coaster. As roller coaster-ish it can really be for a small town carnival. It's a big, fat caterpillar with ladybugs scattered about, what kid wouldn't love this ride?

Daddy likes this ride too!

Since my girls are a big fan of the Cars movies, I knew they would love this Cars-inspired ride. Chase loved it too! Check out his little head peeking out from behind the steering wheel following the car with his cousins.

Chase and Zio Scotty also enjoyed the Dumbo ride a lot too...I think Scott's a bit more excited than Chase in this picture.

Daddy is so good about getting on the rides with the girls. This was a new ride at the festival this year and it was a big hit too.

Time for the Dumbo ride...AGAIN!

3 nights of just so much fun and how exciting for these three little cousins to get to spend them together. The girls just loved having Chase there and it was beyond amazing to witness my kids and my brother's kid just doing something together that Scott and I used to do ALL the time as kids ourselves.

I couldn't zoom in too much in this picture without making it super blurry, but Olivia's face as she spies Mater in the picture is too much. She LOVES Mater and this picture makes me smile so much. That AND Chase's face peeking again out over the car.

Three tired little cuginos after 3 days of fun, fun, fun!

Zio Scotty and Zia Chaela. How stinking cute are these two? Very blessed my brother married such a sweet girl. That and she's hysterical too!

Zio Paperoneeeee! I don't need to say anything else.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Madonna del Carmine

La Festa. Always on the 15th, 16th and 17th of July and always a wonderful time. Starts with a procession from La Chiesa del Carmine to Chiesa Madre in centro storico. There's a band, the mayor and his family walk in the procession followed by hundreds from town, a few fireworks and there are speeches.

Chiesa Madre in centro storico

On the 16th, my mom hosts some cousins for a huge lunch and we eat for about 4 hours. No joke. The kids ate first this year and did this:

while the rest of us did this:

Delicious doesn't even come close to how good my mom's cooking is but it always seems even better on this day every year.

The Madonna and the procession coming back to her home on the 17th:

The lights during this festival have always been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. Looks like the girls are right after their mother's heart and look forward to them too and ooh and aah right along with the rest of us.

They really are quite amazing!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Centro Storico, Mesagne

Another favorite of mine when in Italy is visiting Mesagne's centro storico, the old town. I'm a little insane and like to go walking through this part of the town during the afternoon and everyone (normal) is at home taking their siesta. This time of day is usually the hottest too. But, not many people on the streets leaves for freedom to take pictures without anyone really out and about.

I sort of have this thing for old doors.

Barber shop in the old town, these two were too cute for words.

I love the mix of old and new in the old town. Broken railings, doors and windows just rest amongst renovations or newer construction each time you turn around. I love it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Arts and Crafts

The girls and I went to a cool little clubhouse this morning and fun was had by all. Creative Clubhouse is an adorable art studio for children with all sorts of hands-on fun. The girls painted at an easel, painted on bubble wrap, glued numbers and letters, played with play-doh, blocks, the massive chalkboard wall and puzzles. We were only there for an hour, but it was an hour filled from minute to minute of wholesome (and sometimes messy) fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I turned 34 this weekend!

With the help of Anthony and my two little girls, I rang in my 34th year with a fun-packed day. The morning began with cake and honestly, everyday should begin with cake. The girls and I made the cake together Friday evening and I feel like I'm going to be finding sugar crystals in my kitchen for months to come. Oh well, the girls had fun and were proud to tell daddy that they helped me make my birthday cake.

After they sang me "Happy Birthday!" and we ate cake, we set off for a morning/afternoon of antiquing. I know, I have the best husband ever when my response to "What do you want to do today?" resulted in "I want to go antiquing." We loaded the girls up and off we went to Chadds Ford, PA where we came across a number of adorable antique shops.

First stop was this adorable shop, Springhouse, that was not only beautiful from the outside, but was full of great deals on the inside too. AND they made some of the furniture too that were beyond words. Just the decor on the outside of the shop is enough to make me want to hop inside for a visit...and buy a few things too!

One other favorite from the day was Brandywine View Antiques, which is 3 floors and a huge wrap-around porch of just one interesting find after another. Old chairs, shutters, milk crates, bottles, furniture galore, kitchen items, lawn decor, and paintings were just a handful of the millions of things showcased. And with all that stuff you would think it wouldn't be organized and clean, but it was and I could have spent my whole day there. Sofia and Olivia were particularly fond of this stop and were just as curious as us to see what was around each bend in the house.

Doesn't everyone need an over-sized dining room chair? Sofia seemed to think so.

After we were through with shopping, we set off to Friendly's for a late lunch and coloring. No birthday is complete without ice cream and driving home with our milkshakes just made the day all the more sweet.

And words don't do justice to a fantastic and dependable babysitter. Girls were excited to spend the evening with Ms. Maria and Anthony and I were excited to get out to dinner on our own. Anthony made the reservations to a place he had been once before, Chifa, and it was fantastic. Ambiance, food, wine, dessert...one thing was just better than the other.

A walk after dinner in downtown Philadelphia capped off a really fabulous day. Love my family for making me feel so special on my birthday. Looking forward to a fun-filled year ahead!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chase visits Mesagne

This summer marked my nephew's first visit to Mesagne and it's safe to say that he loved it. Of course he's a great baby and everyone just ate him up, but he enjoyed himself too. The girls loved being with him and I look forward to many more trips in the future together!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

il mercato

Wednesday market in Mesagne is one of my favorite days of the week while in Italy. Especially when I can roam on my own and take all the pictures I want. And why wouldn't anyone love the markets when you can literally get anything from soap and shampoo to shoes, kitchen appliances, bathing suits, toys, jewelry and snails. And, of course, tons and tons of fresh fruits, vegetables and cheeses.

Always a picture happy place for me.

I was drooling while taking the pictures. It's not hard to see why.

There are always friendly faces at the market and not just because these folks want you to buy their ware. But because, in my opinion, these people are the backbone of Italy and they want to make the customers happy so they are happy themselves. I've always preferred shopping at the open air markets or the small shops in town to the fancy boutiques and shopping malls in Italy. Just something so wonderful about knowing that the people that are selling you the fruits, vegetables, breads, jewelry, whatever it may be, are the ones that are putting in all the hard work to make their product the best.

Don't be afraid, snails are delicious!

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