Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Feast of Madonna del Carmine

A very favorite tradition of ours during the festival in Mesagne is lunch on the 16th. The 16th of July is the feast of the Madonna del Carmine and for a long time now we've gathered at our house with our cousins to celebrate this day together. Lots of food, some wine and laughter and then even more food.

Mario loved the extra attention this year from cousins. And Zio Antonio

Hugs from his big sister always help too. Love our traditions and love our family.

Monday, September 28, 2015

scenes from annapolis

With the long weekend thanks to the Pope being in town, we headed to Maryland for a few days to hang with my family. With Nonna and Nonno at work one day and Daddy working from their house, I decided to take the kids out to downtown Annapolis. One of my favorite cities in Maryland.

Annapolis holds a very special place in my heart. I spent my high school and college years hanging out down by the water or strolling Main Street with a ice cream cone from Storm Bros. Lots of great memories. And I'm so happy to say that my girls love Annapolis too. We're not a boating family, but there's something about being down there that makes you feel like you are anyway.

So many great spots for a quick bite...

or a salute to the state flag. 

Fleet Street and the very famous blue garage. I'd love to know how many people have had their picture taken in front of this garage. It has to be well into the thousands.

Cute little front stoops..

and shops that know how to decorate their walls.

An absolute favorite of ours...Kilwin's! Ice cream and chocolate. You can not go wrong here.

Second breakfast for the girls. Big smiles all around!

more from the fesitval

With 3 days of fun surrounding the festival, there is so much to take in and enjoy. And to capture on camera to show off to you all. But we love it all and try to take in as much of it as possible during those 3 days knowing we won't be able to enjoy it again for another year.

We got to enjoy Zio Antonio this year in Italy at the festival since he skipped out on Italy last summer. The girls love him so much!

And of course there are the rides. Which this year this guy was able to enjoy. He loved the cars the best!

And the girls, well they are practically experts on these rides and look forward to them every summer. A favorite of Olivia's are the swings...

and there's Sofia on her favorite arms up in the air and all!

Then, of course there are mommy's favorites...

the sweets...

the salty...

and the jewelry...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

future terrapin!

So we have been very fortunate to inherit a ton of boys' clothes from our families. tons! I love seeing my little man in outfits that his cousins wore before and it's nice knowing the clothes are getting a second (or third) go around. What do I love though? That my sister-in-law went to the same college I did and had a college tee for her boys that I could happily throw my little guy in too. And I love it on him.

He looks good in UofMD red! My little future terrapin! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Easy Black Bean Dip

Oh my goodness. This simple dish is a breeze to put together and just so delicious! Perfect for a snack, part of a simple lunch or a side for dinner. And the best part is you can just add whatever you like to spruce it up a bit. After combining ingredients and allowing to sit in refrigerator for a couple hours, just prior to serving I diced an avocado on top and upped the wow factor to this yummy dish.


1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, washed and diced
2 ears of fresh corn, saw the kernels right off into the bowl
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 cup of Italian dressing
1 avocado, diced

What to do:

This is the easy part, just combine everything together and give a good stir. Allow to sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Add the diced avocado and enjoy! Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips or layer on top of grilled chicken or baked fish. Perfect BBQ side dish too!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

La Madonna del Carmine

So thankful to have celebrated another festa in Mesagne this past summer with the family. It is something we ALL look forward to. Three days of fun, fun, fun! The festival begins and ends with a procession and everything in between is eating, drinking, rides, music and shopping.

With our Zia Netta, my Nonna Vincenza's only surviving sister

Zia Netta, mom and dad

Taking it ALL in and loving it!

Festa Family! At it again celebrating one of my favorite holidays in Mesagne!!! So blessed to be able to share this with my husband and kids

Nonno Nicky is silly

These girls LOVE the procession...the lights, the music and seeing La Madonna del Carmine

Madonna del Carmine

At the edge of the villa, where the Madonna has been placed momentarily while several speak of the festival. Short prayers, more words and then music, music, music!

After dinner at a favorite pizzeria in centro storico, it's time to head out to the vendors and of course, the rides! One last family shot:

Friday, September 4, 2015

mercato, market day in mesagne

Wednesdays are very happy days for me in Mesagne because it's market day! Each Wednesday from about 7am to whenever it gets too hot during the summer months, mostly noon, area vendors set up their "shops" on the outskirts of town. Anything and everything. You name it, the market most likely has it and rather than go to the nice air-conditioned mall on the other side of town, for the most part you're supporting the people that are doing the actual selling to you. No middle man at the market! 

My favorite places to visit at the market are the food stands. Naturally. Fruits, vegetables, fish and candy too. Most times at the fruit and vegetable stands, you're dealing right with the farmer themselves or other times their spouse or child. It's the best!

A Wednesday does not pass during our summer time in Mesagne that I'm not up and ready to go. Aside from the very hot days, the girls are usually anxious to get there too. We know the cheese guy and we always get some freebies! Good reason for me to go too! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015


I can't take credit for this picture. This is ALL my brother in Italy this past summer. Snapped this on his phone stepping out front to this image. My beautiful, intelligent and funny little girl took her book outside to read. Words can't express how happy it makes me when she just wants to read and read and read.

Makin' momma proud!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

First Day of school pictures!

Yesterday morning they were off to 1st and 3rd grades! Armed with happy summer memories for them to hold onto during the long days of school and even longer days of winter that will be here before we know it.

My little girls, two of the three best summer companion anyone could ask for.

Yesterday morning as we unloaded in front of the school. Big smiles, light backpacks (not for long) and ready to tackle the year ahead.

Now it's just this little man and myself for the next 9 and a half months.

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