Sunday, September 28, 2014

Santa Sabina

A favorite night stroll for us while in Mesagne, is the beach town of Santa Sabina along the Adriatic Sea. It's always good for a nice walk through vendors set up along the beach selling everything from cell phone covers, hats, homemade soaps and clothes. There's also the carousel that the girls love each year. And of course, gelato. There's always gelato. 

Mario can not wait to get on that carousel when he's bigger. 

Not to mention, Santa Sabina is known for gorgeous sunsets. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ceci - oh how we love chick peas

Chick peas. Delicious and good for you. This is one of our favorite recipes to make with this superfood. Easy and perfect for the fall.

Short pasta (elbow, ditalini, or mini shells)
1 can of Ceci (or if using dried beans, a half bag soaked in water overnight)
Half onion chopped
2 ribs of celery chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
15 oz can of chopped tomatoes
4 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place onion and celery in a pot with the olive oil and allow to cook until onion has softened. If using canned chick peas - drain, rinse and add to pot. If you used dried chick peas, drain water from overnight and add to pot. Cook chick peas for a few minutes with onion and celery. Add a dash of salt and pepper.  Pour water in and cook on low heat for about 30-45 minutes (or until chick peas are tender). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Cook the pasta in a separate pot and once pasta is at your desired liking, drain and add to vegetable mixture.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

centro storico, mesagne

I'll never get tired of walking through the old city of Mesagne.  So glad I have two little sidekicks to keep me company as I discover new shots.

Monday, September 22, 2014

9 months young

Mario Luca turned 9 months last week and here are some of the adorable things he's doing these days: 

We clap, like all the time and for everything. We sing a clapping song in Italian and on cue Mario begins clapping away. Or we'll say "Yay!" to something marvelous someone did in the house and he starts clapping.

And he's waving "Ciao, Ciao!" He loves it. Thinks he's pretty darn special when he does it too and looks around making sure we see that he's waving. One morning daddy went to get him from his crib and he was still a little whiney so mommy came up and he stuck his arms out to me and he turned and waved ciao, ciao to daddy. Funny and he doesn't even realize it.

He's also crawling everywhere, has been since 7 and a half months really. Pulls himself to standing pretty quickly and just began cruising along the couch or a chair. Mommy is going to have to keep her running shoes on all the time soon I think.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

lunching with olivia

Olivia is in Kindergarten this year and while our school does offer full day Kindergarten, we decided to only send her 3 days a week full day and 2 days half day. We did a similar modified schedule with Sofia when she was in Kindergarten and it was great. I get that little bit of extra time with her and we won't get these days back with our little ones at home. She has lunch with Mario and I, sometimes we go for walks, meet up with friends or just have a lazy afternoon around the house waiting for Sofia to get home.

I love this picture of Olivia eating and "reading" her comic book while I prepared lunch for Mario and myself to join our little girl. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

A trip to San Cosimo and a cake!

Each year in Mesagne, we visit the shrine of San Cosimo e Damiano just outside the city of Oria. These two saints were my Nonna's patron saints and a pilgrimage she used to make on foot each year, about 20 kilometers. There used to be a zoo within the site and I'm sad to say that last year they closed it down due to lack of funds. It was small, but so perfect. I have fond memories of visiting San Cosimo and making our traditional visit to the church, taking a walk through the zoo and then strolling the little market. Glad my girls were able to visit the zoo but sad that Mario will only have our pictures of the zoo to talk about with his sisters.

Love his little face peeking out here, clearly it was time for him to nap.

The girls and I decided to make a cake for a neighbor for her birthday and while I handled the actual baking part, I let the girls decorate it on their own. Needless to say, they were so excited. Give my girls some icing and sprinkles and you'll make them very happy.

Mario enjoyed watching them make a mess, I mean masterpiece!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

What to do with lots of chocolate? Chunk it up and add to your baking. I revised my banana bread recipe to make muffins and everyone loved them! The perfect addition to breakfast or an afternoon snack.


1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp natural applesauce
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chunks


In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine the eggs, bananas, oil, milk, vanilla and applesauce. Add the smaller bowl to the flour mixture bowl, stirring just until combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill just a little more than halfway. I sprinkled a little more chocolate on top because who are we kidding, we have a bunch of sweet teeth in our home. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Big girl starts Kindergarten!

So today Olivia began Kindergarten and I found a few more grey hairs. Coincidence? She jumped out of bed this morning and ran around like it was Christmas day! She loved wearing a uniform - mommy loves it too - and she loved walking in with her big sister and loved running out to the car after school with Sofia too. I was at the school for office duty at lunchtime and I went over to say hi at her table and she was all smiles and hugs for me. It was the best to see how happy she was on her first day of Kindergarten.  Let's keep the smiles going for the remainder of the school year!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

this guy

He must have overlooked the memo where he's only 8 and a half months and acting much older than he should be. He started crawling the day after we returned from Italy at seven and a half months!!! And now is full on pulling himself up on EVERYTHING!

Don't get me wrong I love seeing the smile on his face as he's just made this major milestone, but he's my little baby. He's growing too fast!

The feet are too much. As are his little arms holding himself up on the couch.

I mean, come on now. ADORABLE!

Oops, he tried taking a step and fell. Love that face so much.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Older siblings to the rescue!

Sofia had just turned 2 when Olivia was born and thankfully at an age where she was beginning to understand more right from wrong and developing her learning and listening skills. Sofia still got a lot of attention being that she was only 2 and needed it more than a newborn baby did. Olivia wasn't a fussy baby and slept and ate well from early on which also made it easy for Anthony and I to focus more on the big sister and Olivia chilled out nearby.

Getting pregnant a third time I was a little anxious to how both would react to a newborn in the house. They're both older and definitely understand right from wrong, but they still need attention too and I was concerned what they would think when they saw us, and others too, fussing over the baby. Honestly, I didn't need to be worried at all for these last 8 and a half months. Being 7 and 5 allows us to be able to talk to the girls in a way that they get why the baby cries, needs alone time or just wants to cuddle with mommy or daddy. Having said that though, we still almost daily need to have those talks with the girls so they understand more about their baby brother and why certain things happen. But it's easier having those conversations now that we've gone through it once with a two-year-old.

Both girls have really gone full speed ahead on being a good older sister to their baby brother.

Just a few things that they can do really well with him without me going into panic mode:

Sofia loves reading to him, anything from his little baby books to her chapter books:

- they both set him up on the floor with his toys to hopefully deter him from getting into whatever non-baby toy they are playing with:

-  they amuse him being silly:

Ok, I get easily amused by them too!

It's important for us to have these regular conversations on having a baby in the house and what it means for all of us but I don't want them to think he's made of glass also. Sofia is comfortable carrying him for short distances and definitely gets vocal if she is having trouble or he is too squirmy. Olivia is comfortable just sitting on the floor with him on her lap and we definitely don't push it with her and know her comfort zone well. She's happier just crawling after him or playing with him on the floor.

It's a huge help to me while I'm doing a small chore or in the kitchen nearby, to know that he's well looked after by his big sisters. I'm always within earshot of them playing and my girls know to get me in the event that something is wrong. Or if they just want to show off that they've dressed him up in their dress up clothes for the millionth time. Something they have way too much fun doing. 

Some pictures from a few days ago...big sisters really enjoyed playing dress-up with little brother...

teething babies and their sisters things...

fun with his big sister Olivia

he didn't seem to mind too much though.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Someone's off to 2nd grade!

Sofia is off to second grade today. Can not believe it! It's only a half day, but still the house is so quiet even with Olivia and Mario. I need to mentally prepare myself for next week when Olivia begins Kindergarten and it's just Mario and I and then the house will REALLY be quiet. 

Naturally we had to do the obligatory "funny face" shot! Love these girls together so much!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our last day of summer vacation

"Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one." - Dr. Seuss

One of my favorites quotes and a great way to sum up our summer vacation. So many wonderful memories made with our 3 babies and so much to be thankful for. 7 weeks in Italy where we consumed numerous gelatos, played at the villa, plenty of time spent with family and friends, fun at the beach, down time just hanging out at the house there too reading and drawing, eating, and just being together. The last 3 weeks since we've been home have been filled with friends, family, trips to Delaware and Maryland, a trip to the zoo, plenty of smiles, a handful of pouts and just a whole lot of fun. Sad to see the summer come to an end.

And as I kissed my girls goodnight tonight I was a little sad at the thought of the start of a new school year too. Sofia begins second grade tomorrow which means another year of Monday-Friday full days and not home with me, getting bigger and just learning a whole bunch of new things. Olivia doesn't begin Kindergarten until Monday so we still have a couple days at home with her, but soon she'll be in school more than she was last year and that also means more time away from home. And me. Sad face.

But, I also begin a new year with having a little one around and enjoying some one and one time with Mario. He's not going to know what to do with the quiet that will be our home. Olivia will still be home with us two days a week in the afternoons, so I'm going to try and cherish that time as much as possible since I know next year she'll be full day, all week. Another sad face.

This is just a great reminder that while our days are not always perfect - the girls argue sometimes, the baby doesn't sleep through the night yet, laundry piles up and dust collects on soon-forgotten craft projects - that these are still moments that make up my life and I take them all. The good, the great and the not so wonderful ones. Those moments are my life and I wouldn't trade them for the world.
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