Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fiore in Garrano

Each summer while in Garrano, the kids do a little outdoor project with Nonna Maria. Gather some flowers, fill a plastic cup half full of water, place a stem in each and a couple drops of food coloring in each cup. Viola! Easy and they love seeing them the next morning when the food coloring has changed the water and flower petals into vibrant colors!

The cugini and neighbor's daughter hang outside a lot while in Garrano together. Can't beat the fresh air in the moutains!

My little man was all about being outside and running around with the big kids. I love that face so much!

The next day and the pretty white flowers have now become colorful!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dining in Mesagne, not your average Giuseppe's

Dining in Mesagne's centro storico is my favorite place to dine. Aside from our house and my mom's amazing home-cooking that is. But if I'm going to go out to eat while in Italy, I'm going to go right into the old part of town and eat at one of the many wonderful restaurants, mostly owned by individuals or families from Mesagne. People really wanting to invest in the town and make it more spectacular with every plate of orecchiette or margarita pizza.

A short walk from our house, which makes it very convenient if I would like to enjoy some prosecco, a birra or vino bianco with our meal. Also, the spots are so adorable, the mood so inviting, and the food so fresh and delicious that I couldn't imagine going outside the town on a regular basis for my dinners.

A favorite pizza spot is "Lu Sitili" and my mom has known the family for awhile now. The father has passed and now it's run by the son and a handful of family and friends. A great group of people that work hard and put out some amazing dishes.

The decor is so perfect and right up my photographer's-eye alley. Old dishes, baskets and dried peppers hang everywhere. Old pizza paddles and beautiful artwork line the walls. And my favorite piece is the now-owner's father's bike. It's old, rusty, no more air in the tires and just beautiful. The perfect piece of art to adorn this family owned restaurant.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

little boy on a shelf

My little man has been under the weather and unfortunately not enjoying all this snow like he should be. He was in yesterday running from window to window with me to watch his sisters have fun in the snow.

I couldn't help stepping back to take some pictures of my little guy looking out...

That profile though...I love it so much.

I adore this picture and knew instantly when I took it that I was going to fall in love with this angle of my little boy.

And the beauties we were watching...they love the snow so much! It's a good thing too since it's probably going to be around for a good bit considering how much we got at once.

Monday, January 25, 2016

SNOW happy for some snow!

After a very mild Winter so far, we were so excited to get some snow. Of course, SOME turned into almost 2 feet of it which is a little more than we needed all at one time, but that's ok. The kids LOVED it and it felt like Christmas morning around here Saturday morning and the shouts of glee coming from the girls. Mario said "wow!" a bunch of times looking outside.

But first...caffe. Or what I drink around here cappuccino! 

Mommy has to at least be brewing her espresso before jumping into breakfast some mornings. I found a great homemade pancake recipe on my ever-faithful Pinterest. Olivia thought they tasted like the pancakes she had in Walt Disney World. A big pat on the back to me for replicating an amazing recipe.
Silver dollar-sized pancakes is how we do it around here...

And snowy temperatures with the constant request for hot chocolate EVERY time they come back inside...well, you need homemade chocolate chip cookies to go with it, right? Well, we do.

One of the times they went out. I must have made a hundred trips to our laundry room to keep drying their snow clothes.

My little man in his puffy suit. I love it on him so much! That smile helps make everything look good on him.

These girls have been talking snow for weeks now and asking about the weather constantly. They finally got their wish and were more than happy to get out in it while it was still coming down pretty heavily.

Little man made an appearance outdoors too. That snow outfit isn't just for show. He had the rosy cheeks and nose to prove the devotion to being out in those temps and snow.

Sledding is a favorite, but they didn't get to go the first day because roads were not yet plowed but they made do with our front porch steps. Up and down those 5 little steps and that tiny little "hill" made them so happy for a little bit.

Then they built a mini snowman and were happy doing other things.

My snow crew!

Coconut Oil and me!

I first discovered coconut oil right after Mario was born when I was doing some Pinterest "research" on dry scalp/hair issues. I go to my easy-mega-sourced Pinterest for my recipes, crafts and how-to's around the house, why not for beauty related issues too? Coconut oil came up almost immediately as a natural remedy for dry scalp and so I tried it out. It was amazing. 1 Tbsp worth smoothed out on my scalp, left it on for about 10 minutes and then shampooed and conditioned as usual. I don't always remember, but doing this once or twice a month really has helped.

In my "research" I found that coconut oil really has a lot of uses. From moisturizing hair, skin and lips, to cooking and now even pulling. Coconut Oil Pulling? What is that you ask? Oh, I'll tell you and point you to a couple sites where I got my information too.

Let me start by saying that I despise going to the dentist. I personally love my dentist, she's a sweetheart and incredibly research-based in her practice which I think is very cool. But honestly, I can not stand going. And I go 3 times a year as opposed to the 2 times the American Dental Association recommends going. I like to torture myself but honestly going more often has led to less anxiety inducing appointments as well as an easier appointment all around. I've been going for 12 years now 3 times a year so the trial period for me to see if it works is over and it works for me. But at these appointments I still have to endure the gross realization that I have a tartar problem and I have to floss 24/7 to see any change in that. And I don't like to floss. In comes a lot of helpful sites that suggested oil pulling to help with dental hygiene. 

So, the verdict? Well, I actually had my first of 3 dentists cleaning appointments this past week so it was a good week to try it out on. I did it for 4 days before my appointment and there was less bleeding during the cleaning. I still had to endure the scraper (technical term for that baking soda force spray on a pick that my dentist uses) but it wasn't nearly as anxiety inducing as normal.

You can oil pull with various types of oils, I chose coconut because I already have it on hand and I don't mind the smell or taste at all. I swish around a teaspoon worth first thing every morning while I'm on my own in the kitchen preparing for the day. No one to have to talk to, so I swish away for 10 minutes. Spit out in a trash can, gargle and brush. Finito. 

My research based dentist did tell me that she doesn't think it will do anything but it's not doing any harm either. So we talked together and I would try it out until my next cleaning appointment in 4 months and we'll see how it goes. We took a picture of my teeth to see if there will be any changes with tartar build up or whitening.

I kind of like doing my very own research project. Bottoms up!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

holding on...

I wanted to take some pictures to document our high chair. Sounds incredibly mopey and silly, right? It's not. This high chair has been amazing through Sofia and Olivia. We registered for it while pregnant with Sofia and it's served us very well these almost 9 years. Now it's time for it to move onto another family. But first, the pictures with Mario.

He's getting so big and is so good at feeding himself. He makes a mess most of the time but as my third I have to let him be more independent when it comes to self-feeding and let him do it.

A very serious face here concentrating hard on getting that melon to his mouth. 

And the feet! Let me talk to you about his feet. The chair is a perfect distance from where he sits to how his legs stretch out from the seat and he catches his toes on the inside front of the table part. It's so sweet to see those little feet stretching out.

The double footer

Man that smile gets me every.single.time. And he knows it too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fun with a two-year-old

Portraits of mine and Mario's creations with the always popular Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads. I am impressed that he still placed Mrs. Potato Head's purse in her hand though. He's a genius.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A visit to San Gabriele and Castelli

Just as in Puglia we have day trips we enjoy doing each year, we also have the same tradition while in Abruzzo. One of my favorite day trips is a visit to San Gabriele and Castelli. This year Anthony's dad, sister and the kids' cousins joined us too and it was nice getting a picture of the grandkids with Nonno Mario.

We stop into the shrine and say our prayers, light our candles and tour the beautiful sanctuary. The girls enjoy the fresh water, literally right from the mountain above our heads and we head to our next stop, Castelli and my favorite little city in Abruzzo.

The view is amazing from the small town. The Gran Sasso in the distance.

The sweetest little corner casa, have taken it's picture nearly every year we visit.

Statue in the tiny piazza in town

Typical street scene in Castelli...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

pink and grey

I adore fashion blogs. Love perusing Pinterest...the shoes, the dresses, the color combos....OH MY! In an effort to be more Instagram friendly and fashion forward, I am trying my hand and clothing shots. Not a professional fashionista but a lover of all things fashion related so we'll see.

Latest color combo I can't get enough and grey. I have always loved black and have been accused in the past of wearing too much of it. So steering away some days from my favorite black pieces for my newest grey piece...grey skinnies from Article of Society. Reasonably priced, incredibly soft, comfortable and perfect dressing up or down. Grey just may be the new black these days.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A visit to Philadelphia

With a day off from school and everything else yesterday, the kids and I decided to take advantage of our Academy of Natural Sciences membership and headed into the city. The huge benefit of having the membership is that if we just want to go for an hour we can and we don't feel like we're not getting the most for our admission price. Thank goodness for Living Social deals that come along like this for our family!

The dinosaur hall is by far the favorite for all three kids.

Happy to be out and about on a gorgeous Winter morning and not having to go to school!

How can she be turning 9 this year? My baby.

It's been awhile since we've been, so we treated ourselves to Geno's for lunch. Sofia and I were happy, Olivia and Mario not so much. Thank goodness everyone loves their fries though.

Friday, January 15, 2016

still life photography

sometimes it's fun to take pictures of random things around the newest muse. food! loving this time of year because of the obscene amount of MANDARINOs we're eating daily.  Had to link back to one of my favorite videos of Sofia "cleaning" a mandarino.

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