Monday, October 26, 2015

Last night in Mesagne

Our last evening in Mesagne is always bittersweet for me. The end of an amazing time in my home away from home, but leaving with great memories and another year for my kids to have spent time in the town where I grew up. Family night out to dinner and a walk through centro storico is my perfect way to end an amazing vacation in my favorite town.

My girlfriend's boyfriend owns an amazing restaurant right in the heart of centro storico in Mesagne and it's delicious. Here's Giovanni on a separate night when the kids and I took a walk through town...

Amazing chef, business minded and kind individual. I'm going to stress the amazing chef part because dinner was out of this world incredible.

We basically didn't order and he just kept having food brought out to the table. One delicious thing after another. Not a bad way to spend my last dinner in Mesagne.

Girls love the traditional orecchiette he served up too!

This little man is hysterical. Just had to throw that out there.

My brother Antonio joined us for dinner and maybe a glass of prosecco too. Shh!

Family pictures in centro storico following our meal. We had to do some walking after sitting and eating for hours.

I love Olivia's shy little smile in this picture so much.

Funny face pictures with Zio!

We could not get a picture of the three of them side by side. Something about a little man not wanting to stand still.

Oh look, he does stand still.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

my big and my small

these two. fresh out of their baths and snuggled in our bed. these two are something else. especially in this picture when all i can think about is when sofia was that small and look at how big she is now. sofia loved curling up in our bed (still does really) and snuggling. mario has his hand underneath him resting on the pillow with his big big sister. he loves curling up and snuggling too. obviously. he says "coozie" meaning let's get cozy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

God Bless Claire Anna

My cousin Jeff and I are blessed to be godparents to sweet little Claire Anna and celebrated with family and friends this past weekend. Keeping with tradition, my dad did the baptism for Claire as he has done for all the other kids and it was very special. This adorable little girl wore a handmade gown that her grandmother made for her, she said it took about 100 hours! It is gorgeous!

Great weekend in Maryland celebrating and just being together.

Happy end of the weekend to you all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fall Fun at Highland Orchards

A must for me during this gorgeous time of year is to head out to some orchards and do things that make us feel like we live on a farm. You know because real farm life is full of the shenanigans we got ourselves into on Sunday at Highland Orchards.

Don't farmers take time out of their very busy schedule to take funny pictures...

run through tunnels squealing...

pretend to be a scarecrow...

or play silly games that involve painted pigs...

and milking fake cows. I do have to say that Olivia and Mario really enjoyed "milking" the cow, they thought it was hysterical.

More silly pictures during our farm visit...

and then of course the hay bale maze which Sofia loved!

My big girl.

Fans of the tiny tractors...

She had to wear the boots of course. Every good "farm" girl needs a pair of pink boots!

They are getting SO big!

Sofia's first visit to Highland Orchards in 2010...

Another visit, same spot in 2012:

But let's be honest...the real reason we go is for the apple cider donuts! All that "hard" farm labor sure works up an appetite!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Teaching Italian to Children

So the post title may seem a little misleading considering the blog pictures are made up of my son eating blueberries. But there's a point I promise you.

From day numero uno with our 3 kids (in utero honestly), I have been speaking to our children in Italian. Whether it was reading a book in Italian or just talking about daily activities. It's not all day, every day, but it's enough times that they each are comfortable with the language at their age and for it not being technically their first language. They grasp basic questions and statements no problem and do well with numbers and ABCs. Our oldest amazes me regularly with how much she she can comprehend of the language but she's also the one I spoke to the most in Italian since very little. A goal I set for myself each January is to aim to speak more to them in Italian and get them to speak it back.

That's the kicker, neither of our oldest two regularly speak Italian in response to us. Their responses I'd say come back in English more than half of the time. More than half of the time is better than not at all, but for as much as they hear the language around our house and with their Nonni, I'd thought I'd hear it more from them. They both struggle with getting the response incorrect in Italian that they just fall back to their given language knowing they'll get it right.

That's where these pictures come to make a little more sense...

Little man picks up on Italian so well and repeats often words in Italian that are spoken to him. He'll pick out one or two words at this point in a phrase said to him in Italian, pick a word or two to repeat back to us and remembers it the next time. The girls were both like this too and eventually I slacked on speaking to them as often as I should have been and encouraging them to repeat words back to me in Italian, that they both just revert to English most of the time. I need to get back to encouraging them, like I encourage my toddler during the course of the day, to repeat back to me in Italian the word or phrase.

One of Mario's first spoken Italian words was "uva" - grape. He loves uva and gets excited when he sees them. Blueberries look like grapes in that they are small and round so he calls them "uva" too. I've actually hardly said to him the word "mirtilli" which means blueberries in Italian.  I gave him the word for grape early on when he began eating them and that stuck in his adorable little head as an actual grape AND a blueberry. I don't correct him, but I will as he gets older and can attempt to say "mirtilli".

Learning the English language is work enough for little children that introducing another language at the same time just might be a recipe for disaster. I don't know, everything I've ever seen or heard is that teaching them young is the best approach. Teach them the English and Italian word together and they'll get to be comfortable with both languages and hopefully not struggle to speak in either language.

It's all really a learning process for me, I know children learn differently and while verbal repetition might be good for some, doesn't mean it works for everyone. But I'm going to try to go back to what I was doing early on with Sofia and just speak to them as often as possible in Italian and make sure they are learning the words for both family languages. Because at the end of the day, it is our heritage and I don't want to lose that with them. I hear from so many people of Italian immigrants that they wish their parents had spoken to them in Italian and taught them their language.

This kid really loves his "uva"!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Easy Asparagus and Mozzarella Quiche

So, I didn't take a picture BEFORE I cut into this quiche and I should have since Mario and I ate half the pie plate before I realized I wanted to take a shot. I guess that should tell you how good it is. 


4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup mozzarella shredded cheese
1 cup chopped asparagus (rinsed and dried)
Tsp. of salt and pepper each


Grease bottom and sides of a pie plate and set oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour into prepared pie plate. Cook for 45-50 minutes, until set and center is no longer wiggly. Or not set. I don't know a grown-up term that would mean not set. But if you move the pie plate at all and the center wiggles, it's not ready.

Serve warm or cool. Delicious both ways. Refrigerate leftovers. If you have any.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

getting crafty

We take crafts pretty seriously around this house. Everyone seems to love to do something or another when it comes to being creative...coloring and painting, play-doh and cutting, you name it, they do it.

Even the baby.

Girls and I love crafting together and sometimes it's just a simple cut and paste flash cards, painting or more painting. We like to paint.

I had been collecting toilet paper rolls for a little bit now to make a Halloween decoration for the house and it's slowly coming together. We painted the rolls white this past weekend and now all that's left are the faces, hole punch a couple holes and string up for a ghost garland. More photos to come!

Monday, October 5, 2015

cookies and basil

I had a pretty productive weekend. A little bit of relaxing, a couple movies with the family, cooking, baking, prepping for the week ahead, parades and ponies. Well, just one pony, no plural. But there was definitely a pony so I had to add that to my weekend.

But the cookies thing was definitely a hit with the girls, me included. I had plenty of frozen over-ripe bananas and didn't feel like making banana bread. We love it around here but wanted to try something new. Googled some idea of over-ripe bananas and found this little gem. Oh my goodness EASY and TASTY! Who doesn't want that? She calls for two ingredients (mashed bananas and oats) which is what I did and then added in mini chocolate chips. Chocolate makes everything better. But the list is endless of what you could add: raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, coconut, etc.


2-3 mashed bananas
1 cup oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Dash of cinnamon 


Set oven to 350 degrees F and place parchment paper on baking sheets.
Combine ingredients and using a tablespoon, plop down rounded cookies onto baking sheet.
Cook for 15 minutes, until browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Your kitchen will smell amazing!


I also had an abundance of basil on my porch pot and with the awful rainy weather we had I was worried about my plant succumbing to the heavy rain and wind. Trimmed the stalks and brought them in to pluck and freeze. I did rinse them first and blotted with a towel. A quick freeze and then added to baggies to hopefully enjoy throughout the Fall and Winter.

Another amazing aroma for the kitchen.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Buon Compleanno Mama!

Wishing a very happy and special birthday to my mama. A wonderful mother, nonna and person inside and out. Thankful everyday to call her mom...and I do call her EVERYDAY. Sometimes multiple times.
I love you mom and thank you for all you do for our family and your grandchildren! Have a special day and year ahead!!!
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