Showing posts with label cerebral palsy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cerebral palsy. Show all posts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Life Lately with a Side of Italian Roasted Peppers

I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog of mine and it seems like I have so much to say I don't know where to start. Things have been hectic around these parts and my anxiety level is slowly creeping back up. I had a terrible day this past Friday and needed to blow off some steam. The day just started out bad from the moment I woke up until I left work because it seemed that everything I did was wrong, there was way too much to do and I just couldn't take the pressure anymore. I haven't been sleeping well at night as the dog wakes up at all hours of the morning barking up a storm because it's too damn hot here and so I have to leave the window open.  He hears cats outside rummaging through the trash and goes bonkers... When I wake up in the middle of the night I start thinking about a million mind starts racing and I can't go back to sleep.  The anxiety has gotten to me.. 

There are few things that calm my anxiety and one of them is shopping... The only shopping that relaxes me is home furnishing and decor that is where I went. I found this pillow that lightened my mood and took it home with me. I think it looks good and it makes me smile so it's staying on my couch for the time being.

Another thing that calms my anxiety is painting...anything... Just put a paint brush in my hand and I'm good. So my balcony needed painting as it was pretty chippy (not good chippy either). 

So I also picked up some paint and went to town. It looks so much better now and I'm glad I took care of that cause it was bugging me for some time now. 

I don't think I showed you my front door that I painted a couple weeks ago. I know I posted it on Instagram.  My dog scratched the crap out of that door and it too needed some lovin'. It looks so much better now and I am no longer embarrassed when people come over! 

I added some new accessories to my kitchen  and organized some spices and things in cute little glass jars. I just think they look more organized now as I had most in their original store bought baggies. 

Gigia has had this rodent ulcer thing on her lip for almost a year now. Her lip swells up and nothing seems to help her expect for a cortisone injection (depomedrol). It apparently is an allergic reaction but I have absolutely no idea to what...The shot lasts for about 20 days...the swelling goes down but now her lip has swollen back up and I'm nervous about giving her another shot because of the side effects.  I've changed her to a hypoallergenic diet, tried a bunch of things but nothing seems to work. She's not in pain or anything and she's acting normally but I just hate seeing her like this. She also got diarrhea after the depomedrol shot and that was great... I had to switch up the diet was a mess.  Now that the diarrhea is gone the lip swells back poor baby.

On a more positive note we went to my cousins First Holy Communion in Rome last week and that was fun. It reminded me of my Holy Communion and got me thinking about how my faith stayed with me and has gotten stronger over the years. I pray that these children don't take for granted this blessed Sacrament and that their faith accompanies them throughout their lives. My faith has gotten me through many hardships and I wouldn't be anything if it wasn't for God's strength in me. 

He's our little guy Antonio :-) He's a cutie.

This is part of the family at the restaurant and a picture of the beautiful cake. 

It was SUPER hot that day so little guy had to go and change because he was itching to go play outside with his buddies. 

That's pretty much what's been going down lately in these parts. 

Oh yes! I almost forgot about the roasted peppers! This is another typical Italian dish that is very healthy and is served as a side dish or antipasto.  It goes super well on top of bruschettas or crostini and is so easy to make. Let me guide you through the process.

Wash your bell peppers and place on a baking sheet.  Preheat the oven to 180° C (350°F).  

Roast for about 35 minutes turning the peppers over after 15 minutes. 

Place the peppers as they are in a plastic container covering them and leaving them to cool for no less than one hour. 

The steam from the peppers will facilitate the removal the skin later on. 

Once the time is up remove the stem.  You should find that seeds are mostly attached to the stem. 

The skin comes off super easy.  The peppers will release a good amount of juice.  Make sure to keep that and set aside. Place the peppers in a dish and just peel off the skin as shown below. The secret here is the time left in the container.  The longer you leave them sitting the easier it is to remove the skin. 

In a small dish combine a couple garlic cloves, a small jalapeno pepper, the juice that you set aside from the peppers and a tablespoon or so of olive oil, some salt to taste and chopped parsley. 

Mix well and add to the peppers. 

That's all there is to it.  I love this antipasto.  It's easy enough to make at home and it's healthy!

I hope you all are doing well.  Now I'm going to get back to my day finish my coffee and get ready for church. 

Counting down the days 'til my mamma gets here!  We're going to have a blast.  I know Cathy is going to miss her but she has some wonderful ladies that take excellent care of her while Mom's away so I know she's in good hands. 

I don't know about you guys but I am slightly obsessed with selfie filters and so is my mother apparently ! Cathy doesn't seem very amused though LOL! 

Have a wonderful week ahead! 



Monday, October 24, 2016

Fall is In the Air ...

Well finally the feeling of Fall has hit southern Italy these past few weeks and I love it! I came down with a really bad cold last week but I'm feeling much better now. I had such a lovely and relaxing weekend. I didn't do anything exciting but it was just nice to stay at home and relax. Mr. Amore and I fixed things up around the house, I cleaned as I usually do on Saturday mornings, and then I went for a run and took in the fresh autumn air.   I don't run on a regular basis but I like to on the weekends when the weather is nice. 

I decided I was in the baking mood over the weekend and  I happened to have 4 very ripe bananas laying around that I was probably never going to eat so  I made some delicious Banana Nut Bread so that they wouldn't go to waste.  I've been having a slice every morning with my coffee and I love it. 

I love banana nut bread. I have some Italian readers that follow my blog so before you say ...boring another banana nut bread recipe... let it be known that this is a very typical American recipe so I'm happy to share it with my International friends.

Silvana's Banana Nut Bread Recipe

4 ripe bananas
400 grams of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
50 grams of walnuts
50 grams of butter
120 grams of sugar
1 egg

It's a simple recipe, it's delicious and your house will smell great.

Mash up the bananas with a fork and mix in the ingredients. That's it. Complicated, no? I like to add the walnuts last and keep them whole. I prefer them that way but you can chop them up if you like.

Grease and flour your baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes at 200°C.

...and there you have it...


On a different note, I still haven't done much fall decorating but the pictures my mom sent of the pumpkin patch ride my sister and her friends went on have put me in the fall mood so hopefully soon I'll show you my fall decorations....better late than never right? 

Fall in Pennsylvania is just gorgeous. Here are some pictures of the beautiful pumpkin patch my sister visited. I so wish I could have been there with her. 

Those ladies in the back (including my mother) are angels on earth. They are so good with all of the children. It puts my heart at ease and I thank God everyday for the care they give these children. 

This looked like such a fun place to visit. I wish we had a place like this in Italy. 

The farm is called AGA Farms and here is the link if you're in the area and would like to visit. 

I guess I'll just have to make due visiting through Face Time calls from across the Pond! 

Have a great week ahead and God Bless! 



Friday, March 4, 2016

❤ Thank You for Your Prayers ❤

My dearest Internet friends... I haven't been reading or commenting much on your blogs because I really haven't had much time. But I promise to visit all of you soon. 

I just wanted to give you an update on my sister's condition because I know that God heard all who prayed for us. 

She left the hospital last night and is back home. My sister suffers from cerebral palsy and lately has been having stronger seizures than normal. 

She was rushed to the hospital last week because of a seizure that lasted way too long and had a million and one tests done to figure out why all of a sudden this was occurring. Fortunately she has a wonderful team of neurologists that follow her case and were able to adjust her medication to calm the seizures. Hopefully things stay this way and she doesn't have another relapse....

I had a rough week and unfortunately this is not the first time something like this has happened. My phone was by my side continuously and even during the night hours I would wake up and check my phone for any new messages that my mom would send me to keep me updated. It was a very stressful week to say the least...

But I am overjoyed to see my sister smiling again and so reassured to know that she is safe in her own bed and surrounded by people that love and care for her. 

So again I wanted to just say thank you for your prayers because I know that He listened to each and every one.

I'll be over to visit you all soon. I can't wait to see what you've been up to!

I changed up my kitchen a bit. I hung a beautiful Tiffany Style Chandelier that I am in love with and switched up the curtains, added some new art work and just moved some things around. I need to take some better pictures so here is the chandy for now. 

I haven't really been cooking anything that interesting lately... 

I did however make a creamy chicken and mushroom oven baked scaloppini with bacon bits which was pretty amazing but that's pretty much it. 

So I'll close here for now and hopefully next week I'll be a better blogger :-) 

Have a wonderful weekend and remember...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Book Review and a Prayer Request

I just got finished reading a great book yesterday and I wanted to share it with you. It's called Don't Be Afraid written by Daniela Sacerdoti and I read it all in one sitting. It's a wonderful story about a woman who suffers from severe anxiety and depression but eventually overcomes it with the help of a special person that comes into her life.  

The author does a wonderful job in describing what goes on in the mind of the depressed woman and really touches on the seriousness of this illness.

I've talked about my anxiety issues before here and this story allowed me to see that even the most difficult struggles can be overcome. 

It's funny how our minds work and how depression can just creep up on you without even a reason why. In southern Italy there is still an ignorance about depression and that it is not a serious illness.  Psychiatrists and psychologists are not necessary and strong people are never supposed to get depressed... This mentality really bothers me. The younger generation is improving but most elders still think this way.

I think that if someone is depressed they need to get help from a professional but I also think that an effort needs to be made to push the negative thoughts away by forcing yourself to think positively and find activities to keep busy. I think strength and faith is also necessary to pull yourself through the worst situations.  

In this book the main character really puts in everything she has to overcome this ugly monster that was inside of her... and in the end with some help she was able to. 

Today I ask you to please pray for my sister Cathy who was admitted to the hospital this morning. I won't go into detail but please keep her in your prayers if you can. My family and I would be most grateful. 

Thank you and I wish you all a great weekend. 

God Bless. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Contemplations - Mother Teresa's Humility

Mother Teresa of Calcutta is one of the most amazing women to have ever walked the face of this earth. The things she was able to accomplish with what little she had is something that not even the most powerful of entrepreneurs or political leaders have done. 

Mother Teresa at Prayer - source
Some background if you don't know much about her: She was only 18 years old when she joined a community of nuns and was sent to India to work as a teacher in Calcutta. She was from Macedonia (15 hour flight from Calcutta). 
Mother Teresa young - source
She taught in a private High School in Calcutta but she was never able to get over the profound poverty and suffering that she saw outside the convent. She gained permission from her superiors to leave the convent and work with the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. 

From that point on she depended on "Divine Providence" because she had no funds and was able to create an open-air school for the poor children and many volunteers joined in helping her. She then received financial support from the community that she used in starting her own order "The Missionaries of Charity" and from then on the Society has spread all over the world. It is active in 256 countries and consists of over 4,500 religious sisters.  Mother Teresa died when she was 87 years old on September 5, 1997.  

*Information found on Wikipedia and*

She was an example of love, humility and generosity. She never put her needs in front of the needs of others.  I think that there are far too few people like her today unfortunately. Some people are so far from humble it's frightening. Many people I see (especially the ones higher up on the food chain) think they are the best at everything, everyone wants to be in charge, the end result is always about earning more money and hardly ever only about the good of the people. 

Last Sunday's Gospel really opened my eyes and made me think. It was just beautiful and I would like to share it with you because I think it really touches on what I'm trying to say in this post. 

MK 12:38 - 44

 In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
"Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues, 
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers. 
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. 
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. 
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
"Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury. 
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood."

The last phrase was the one that touched me. Basically what this means is that the rich people gave their surplus, what extra money they had, but the poor widow only gave two cents. In God's eyes the widow gave more than the rich, even if of lower value -- because she gave all that she had to live. 

I thought this reading was beautiful because it expresses the true meaning of love and humility. Mother Teresa, like the poor widow, gave ALL that she had. I'm not talking in terms of money but in terms of her love and passion that God put in her heart to help those in need. 


I wish I could be more like her. To be like Mother Teresa takes takes balls!! 

I'll conclude this post with some of her most inspiring quotes that I found in a USAToday article.  I have highlighted my favorites.  Number 9 to me is the best quote that is very current to this day...

1. "I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?" - From a 1974 interview.

2. "We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful," she told her official biographer Navin Chawla.

3. "The poor give us much more than we give them. They're such strong people, living day to day with no food. And they never curse, never complain. We don't have to give them pity or sympathy. We have so much to learn from them." - From a 1977 interview.

4. "I choose the poverty of our poor people. But I am grateful to receive it (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless, of the crippled, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." - She said when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.

5. "If luxury creeps in, we lose the spirit of the order," she said. "To be able to love the poor and know the poor we must be poor ourselves."

6. "I have never been in a war before, but I have seen famine and death. I was asking (myself) what do they feel when they do this? I don't understand it. They are all children of God. Why do they do it. I don't understand." - Beirut, 1982, during fighting between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas.

7. "God will find another person, more humble, more devoted, more obedient to him, and the society will go on." - She said in Calcutta in 1989, after announcing her intention to retire.

8. "I was expecting to be free, but God has his own plans." - She said in Calcutta in 1990, when the sisters of her order persuaded her to withdraw her resignation.

9. "Please choose the way of peace... In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread. But that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life your weapons will cause." - Letter to George Bush and Saddam Hussein in January 1991.

10. "The other day I dreamed that I was at the gates of heaven. And St. Peter said, 'Go back to Earth, there are no slums up here.'" - Mother Teresa was quoted as telling Prince Michael of Greece in 1996.

Mother Teresa with an armless baby

Monday, October 26, 2015

My thoughts on Halloween and Roasted Pumpkin Recipe

Well, it's almost Halloween and I still haven't carved my pumpkin yet. I'm happy to say that Halloween is getting much more popular in Italy. About 10 years ago it really wasn't that known at all. Nonetheless, I always carved my pumpkin each year and put it out on the balcony. The neighbors probably thought I was practising some form of witch craft when I first came here lol because they didn't even know what a jack-o-lantern was. But now they know and I love teaching the children of the neighborhood how to carve or paint a pumpkin and now we even get trick-or-treaters that stop by our house :-)! I love it because it takes me back home.

Halloween was so much fun for me growing up. Those are the kind of memories that stay with you always. I had the best costumes and loved dressing up and putting makeup on because it was really the only time that my parents let me go all out with the makeup.

Italy isn't completely on the Halloween band wagon yet because the Roman Catholic Church sees it as a "Pagan" holiday but I personally don't look at it as a pagan holiday. For me Halloween is a fun children's holiday that has left me with many fond childhood memories so if I ever have children, I choose to let them create the same happy memories that I have created.

One thing I have never seen here are pumpkin patch rides. The picture above is of my sister Cathy that my mom sent me the other day. The home for disabled children that she stays at is such a wonderful institution. They take all the children out every year to a pumpkin patch and it's always such a good time for them! My first post was dedicated to my sister Cathy. You can read a little about that here if you want. Look at that gorgeous hair color! Sometimes I wish I would have never started coloring my hair... Natural hair is so much healthier...
So, I will be making my jack-o-lantern sometime this week and I'll make sure to post a picture of it. I don't get overly creative but I like to switch it up a bit through the years lol! There are such great ideas on the Internet.
I would love to do something like this with teeth. I think these are so cute. It looks a little complicated though. I'll have to try it out and see...
Moving onto the roasted pumpkin...
There are so many pumpkin dessert recipes but pumpkin is also really good served as a side dish and this particular side dish would be perfect for any Thanksgiving dinner for example. Oh and when I say really good...I mean like REALLY good.  I mean so good that after I made this I ate it all like right after taking the pictures... Yes, that good.
Cut the pumpkin into really thin slices. and grill them.
  As you place the grilled pumpkin on your serving dish drizzle each layer with a little olive oil, some thinly sliced garlic cloves and cut up jalapeno peppers and salt. Do this in layers and once done mix up the pumpkin a bit to coat each slice. 

 This is also delicious served on a slice of toasted bread or bruschettas. I hope you'll try it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pope Francis

I’m a practicing Roman Catholic. I believe in God. God is my light, my guide, my reference point for everything I need. I turn to Him and He always answers me…maybe not immediately but He has His own way of answering my prayers in His time.

My life would not exist without Him. If I didn’t have God by my side every moment of every day I would be miserable, unhappy and depressed. I need Him like I need air and water to live. I pity those who don’t believe. Those who get by day by day without being thankful or believing that they are on this earth because God gave them a chance to be here.
I feel sick to my stomach when I see heartbreaking images of people fleeing their countries because of war and terror traveling miles and miles cramped in small boats with women and children and then seeing the image of a two year old boy washed ashore because the boat flipped over in the middle of the night and he and his family didn’t make it…  It is terrifying and those children that die each day because of our continuous battle over money, power and religious beliefs deserve instead to live a life full of love, happiness and joy…not hatred, sadness and misery.
We have an amazing Pope to guide us and pray for peace along with us. I have never felt so touched by a Pope as I have by Pope Francis. Every time he speaks, his words enter my heart and stay there. Watching all that he does makes me a better person.
I know he was sent by God to help us and to make the world a better place. He does some amazing things. He does things that no other authority figure of his stature has done. He has donated 200,000 euros to families that can’t afford to pay their bills at the end of the month. He has provided public showers and bathrooms and even haircuts in the Vatican for the homeless people of Rome.
He has been seen walking the streets in the middle of the night in disguise breaking bread with the poor and sitting with them to let them know there is hope. He recently went to an eyeglass store by himself, he just walked in and asked the clerk to change his lenses. He said “I don’t want a new frame, just new lenses because I can’t see that well anymore”. The store flooded with people. Isn’t that the most wonderful thing?
He rides in a Ford Focus instead of a luxury car. He held a mass in the chapel of a prison and washed and kissed the feet of the prisoners. A 44 year old woman who was violently raped wrote to the Pope and he contacted her by phone and comforted her.
He is not against atheists, divorced or gays. He has stated that “Atheists are good people simply because they do good.” or “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge.”  He has told a divorced and remarried woman it’s ok to receive Holy Communion if she has God in her heart. He fought hard against child abuse and set up a committee to pursue the Catholic Church child abuse cases. The Pope donated the Vatican employee bonuses to charity.
He encourages cooperation between Christians and Muslims. There was a lot of controversy when he commented on the killings of the staff from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdoe. He said something along the lines of “If someone insulted my mother, I would get so upset that I would probably slap that person in the face. You cannot insult the faith of others”. If someone makes fun of something that you love and believe so strongly in, like our God, the reaction is probably not going to be a good one.
During a mass celebration a child jumped on stage from the crowd to give Pope Francis a hug and he told security that he did not want a child taken away simply because he came up to hug him so the child sat in his chair for the remainder of the mass with the Pope.
My favorite thing he said in regards to married couples which gets me teary eyed each  time is this:
“Arguing is normal in a marriage, get angry, throw plates even, but before going to bed at night…make peace. You don’t have to get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness, just give them a pat on the shoulder and a smile to let the other person know that you're not angry anymore. Married couples who separate have not managed to forgive each other in time.”
There are little things we can do to help our world be a better place. Help a sick person, call someone that is lonely….and pray, pray and pray for peace in this world. If we all pray together,  Someone is sure to listen. Life is too short to waste it on anything other than LOVE.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The heart is forever inexperienced - Henry David Thoreau

I love this phrase. I find that it really is true. The heart is always learning, hopeful and anxious about the future and what it will hold. We hope for the best and make plans but there is always a small part of us that knows life doesn't always go as intended. Sometimes we get thrown a curve ball and have to deal with issues that we weren't prepared to cope with. I am a middle child. I have an older sister who was born with cerebral palsy and who is two years older than me. She has always lived in a wheel chair and never spoke. Yet she has huge blue eyes that say so much just by looking at you. My parents were in their early 20's when they had her. They weren't expecting a disabled child, there was nothing that they could do but love her, nurture her and help her grow into the beautiful woman she is today.

To be completely honest, I don't know if I would have had the courage to have 2 more children after having a disabled child, but they did and I thank God for that. Even though my sister never spoke, there has always been an extra special bond between us. We shared the same bedroom when we were little. We had twin beds only hers was a hospital bed and I had a pink canopy bed. When I was scared at night because of a thunder storm or when I couldn’t sleep, I used to sneak in her bed and hug her tight until I fell asleep and I would feel safe knowing she was there even though she couldn’t walk or talk. Thousands of miles separate us today and months go by when we don’t see each other but when I fly over to visit her during the holidays and look into those big blue eyes and kiss that face, I feel safe again and I know she’s been waiting for me, excited to hear my stories. I’m the luckiest girl in the world because my sister is an angel.