Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Make it a December to Remember

I cannot believe that December is already here! Time seems to have flown by these past few months.  The weather is also just getting colder in these parts so maybe that's why it seems like we jumped directly from summer to winter.  I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed because I'm leaving for the States in a couple of weeks (ahhh!!) and I have SO MUCH STUFF TO DO before I leave!! 

Via
Since we'll be away for the holidays, I didn't go all out with the Christmas decorations this year. I did of course put up my tree in mid-November because I had guests over for Thanksgiving and I just really wanted the tree up. 


We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at our house and I had some family from Brindisi stay over that weekend.  It was really nice and I'm so grateful for them.  They know I get homesick especially during American holidays and such so it meant a lot that they made the trip up to see me. I guess it was more of a Christmas tablescape  rather than a Thanksgiving table setting but I had already put the tree up so it would have been hard for it not to be "Christmassy" I guess.


I'm so excited about spending the Holidays in the States this year. It's been a while since I've celebrated Christmas in the US.  This year I'll be spending Christmas with my mother and sister in Pennsylvania and New Years in Florida with my father.  I am also SUPER excited about seeing my beautiful niece Lydia who has grown so much since the last time I saw her. She probably won't recognize me when I see her but we do Face Time every so often so I'm hoping she remembers me <3.  

I'm going to miss my little fur babies while I'm gone but I know they'll be in good hands. Billy will be staying with my Aunt in Brindisi and I've decided to leave Gigia at home and have my next door neighbor check up on her everyday that way she doesn't get stressed out about changing houses. 

I am also SO ready to see some snow this year!! It's been way to long. It doesn't snow where I live in Italy and that is one thing that I miss so much come winter. It just doesn't seem like Christmas without a little snow, right?

I've still been practicing yoga regularly in the evenings after work and have really been finding it very therapeutic.  I did end up subscribing to YogaGlo and am happy that I can access it wherever I go so I know I'll be practicing in the States as well. It really helps with my anxiety and I've also found that I have become more flexible and have been in a better mood since doing it. Whenever I skip a few days I find that I'm more tense and irritable. So I have to say that I am very pleased with the App and for me it's money well spent.  I actually cancelled my subscription after the free 15 day trial and decided that maybe I could just use videos on YouTube for free but I found that they were night and day compared to the videos available on YogaGlo so I ended up renewing my subscription and am so happy I did. 

In other news... I changed my hair color...again. I don't know how long this color will last but I have to say I do like it so far! I feel very festive  LOL. I've been getting lots of compliments so I'll keep it like this for now. 


Hope all is well with you my friends and that your December is fabulous!!! 

xoxo, 

Silvana




 

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 things...my 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 stores...so 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 again...anyways...it was a mess.  Now that the diarrhea is gone the lip swells back up...my 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! 

xoxo, 

Silvana



Sunday, June 18, 2017

To My Father

Dear Daddy,

You carried me on your shoulders and showed me the world.


You taught me how to ride a bike and drive a car as I was your favorite little girl.

You pushed me to never give up and keep going when I was ready to quit.


You even created my very own math computer program to help me appreciate the subject I hated the most (LOL...true).


Every moment I spend with you, you teach me something new.


You manage to lift up my spirits whenever I'm sad and blue.


I may not need you to hold my hand anymore, but I will always need you to hold me in your heart.

Happy Father's Day.

I love you,

Silvana


Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Year of Hope.

Hello my friends and Happy New Year!  I hope you are well and that you had a pleasant holiday. The holidays are way past us now and in the beginning of every new year, as most of us do, I find myself thinking about the future...thinking about what's going to happen this year. For starters I will be turning 35.... ugh. 

When I was younger, I imagined I would be a mother to three beautiful children by now (my perfect number...3).  That's all I ever wanted. I'm not career savvy, I'm not one of those women who do all that they can to climb the ladder and have a wildly successful career...that's just not who I am. Things don't always go as planned so instead of my three children I have a job that I enjoy and am thankful for and two fur babies that mean everything to me. I have a man by my side that loves me like no other man has ever loved me and I have a house that embraces me with a feeling of warmth and comfort every night when I come home from work. I have friends and relatives that I laugh with until my belly hurts...but I am missing something important. 

I know there are many options out there for couples like us but my faith comes from God and only Him. "Unexplained infertility" is what we were told...which is worse in some ways because if we knew what was wrong we might actually be able to fix it but there IS nothing wrong....

Sometimes I get very frustrated and upset because I feel like my prayers are ignored but I continue praying and that small light of hope dims somewhat as time goes by but never burns out. Right before New Years, I was in my car stuck in traffic and the radio station I was listening to aired the final General Audience speech that Pope Francis gave of 2016. 

The Pope focused on the story of Abraham from the Book of Genesis.  Here's a summary:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.”  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
This is a translation of the Pope's speech in regards to this passage: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises.  Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land.  Although the fulfillment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope.  Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God.  Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment.  It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants.  Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.

These words touched my heart and were the words that I NEEDED to hear in that exact moment to nourish that dimming light inside me. 

I wanted to share this with you just because I know how it feels to be frustrated and discouraged. I want this year to be my year of hope. As Pope Francis said...if all we have left is to look up at the stars, it's time to put your trust in God. There is nothing better than gathering up all your worries and putting them in God's arms. Hope never disappoints. 



Speaking of bringing hope to others... did you hear about what Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay (band that I absolutely adore) did on Christmas Eve? He showed up at a crisis center in West London on the night of Christmas Eve and surprised a huge crowd of homeless, volunteers and staff by playing all his songs and rocking out with everyone there without any publicity at all.  Someone that worked at the crisis center posted a picture with Chris Martin on Instagram writing "That moment when Coldplay's Chris Martin drops into the Crisis at Christmas shelter, with no fuss, no fanfare and no press, to help make tea and coffee and also play guitar so the guests can have a sing song. Thank you for coming down and getting stuck in."

via 


I loved this story.... This is what we need more of in this world. These are the things that give people Hope. 


Thanks for reading and God Bless. 

xoxo,

Silvana

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...


YUM!

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! 

xoxo

Silvana

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Home Sweet Home... Part 2

Well, I guess I should post part 2 of my trip before summer is officially over.  I've been back for a few days now and am still slowly recovering from missing my family and jet lag.  You would think I would be used to saying goodbye to everyone when I leave since I've been doing it my whole life but every time is like the first time. It hurts. Not knowing when I will see them again is an uncertainty that is not easy for me to deal with. But that's what we do...we go on with our normal routine and look forward to the next time I will get to see the people I love the most. Many don't understand why our family lives so far apart and it's not easy but we have the fortune of being able to visit different parts of the world and visit places that not everyone gets the chance to see. 

So where did I leave off? Oh yes, Mr. Amore and I left from the Philadelphia Airport to Fort Myers Florida to visit with my father.  We went from really hot in Pennsylvania to really really hot and humid in Florida but thankfully we had amazing weather for our entire stay and did not get any thunderstorms which I was told is very unusual for August in Florida. 

We got home and relaxed a bit.  That night we had DELICIOUS tenderloin steaks that my father made on the grill.  No pictures...sorry but they were exquisite. I haven't had a steak like that...ever...I think.

The next day we packed up the car and drove to Disney. I really wanted to spend a couple days at the "Mouse House" as my father calls it LOL and it was a lot of fun. 

We stayed at the Old Key West Disney Resort and it was just beautiful. When you go to Disney it's like being on another planet. The people are exceptionally nice, everyone is smiling and you never see rude staff anywhere neither at the parks nor in the resorts. If visiting the theme parks, try to stay at one of the Disney Resorts because they have buses that take you directly to the parks, drop you off in front and they run like every 15 minutes or so. You don't have to worry about parking and the resorts will hook you up with tickets and everything so you are ready to go in no time. 

via
We spent half a day at Disney's Hollywood Studios and it was H-O-T...of course I was an idiot and wore jeans the first day not realizing just how bad of an idea that was until about the third line I was waiting in under the scorching hot sun...then I wanted to die.


Anyways, we were much better prepared the next day with shorts, hat, sunblock and lots of bottled water! We went to Epcot in the morning and I have to say that we had so much fun that day. Epcot is just amazing. They have so many awesome rides and there are so many attractions to see. I would definetly say Epcot is more the adult version of Disney World. 


My absolute favorite ride was Soarin' Around The World.  It is an amazing attraction that carries you all over the most spectacular wonders of the world.  It seems as though you're actually soaring in a hang glider and is so realistic with scents and sounds.  Soo fun!  The line is super long but so worth the wait...trust me. 

Oh and definitly download the Disney App if you can so you're able to sign up for Fast Pass and see how long the waiting times are for the lines. That definelty saved us a lot of time. You can't get Fast Pass for every ride but we were able to use it for a few of them. 

My other favorites were Mission: Space and The Sum of All Thrills. These were all amazing rides.  Disney leaves me dumbfounded every time. It really is a magical place. 

Last but not least we stopped at the Magic Kingdom...how can you go to Disney and not visit the Magic Kingdom?? Not possible. 


We took the Monorail from Epcot and arrived in the afternoon. Since we were all adults and it was really hot we decided it would be a good idea to sit somewhere and grab a bite to eat while sipping a nice cold beer, right? Wrong. They don't serve alcohol in the Magic Kingdom...anywhere... Did you know that? I did not... womp womp.

The lines were incredibly long and we only went on three rides before we called it a day. I chose to go on the rides that I loved when I was a little girl: Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World and Space Mountain. We had Fast Pass for the first two rides but we had to wait an hour and a half for Space Mountain. There was a girl that actually fainted in line I guess because of the heat. I felt terrible for that poor girl. It was worth the wait though. I screamed my lungs out the entire ride and it was quite therapeutic actually :-). 

We drove back to Fort Myers right after that and got home really late. We rested up and the next day we went out on my dad's pontoon boat. I didn't know what a pontoon boat actually was and had a picture in my head of the raft from Gilligan's Island but this is actually what a pontoon boat looks like: 


We took the dogs out on the boat and I was so surprised at how well they did. They were the cutest with the life jackets on. 


This little girl was just a puppy when we got her and I was so happy to have seen her again. She's such a good dog and so well behaved.  She did really well on the boat even though she has some bad arthritis in her front legs but we just didn't want to leave her home alone. 


We took the dogs on the Dog Beach and they loved it. The beach was absolutely beautiful and so clean. I loved watching all the dogs run around in freedom and just play.  


I took this picture as we were coming up to the Dog Beach. We all had a great time on the boat and the Sea-Doo. I have to show you the picture of my Dad with Mickey on the Jet Ski. You should have seen him on that thing. He rode that like a champ! It was the cutest thing. 


So we just rode around Sanibel Island that day and it was such a great day. That jet ski was so much fun to ride on. I wish I got more pictures because it is a beautiful area.


We went home and had to get ready to fly back. That's when the sadness started to set in. We had such a wonderful time and it sucked to have to go back. The last night my father made us the juiciest Boneless Rib Eye Roast on the rotisserie that I have ever tasted in my life. The meat was sooo tender. Just looking at these pictures makes my mouth water.. 



That pretty much sums up our trip to Florida...we said our good byes, got on a plane and headed to Boston (close to where my brother lives) and there we would take our connecting flight to Rome. We happened to have a 10 hour layover...and just when I thought I wasn't going to see my brother or his new baby girl.... 

He came to pick us up and take us to his house. 

And that's where we met for the very first time...


I am an Auntie to the most beautiful, happiest baby girl that hardly ever cries and who loves to drink ice water and has the strongest little arms I have ever seen on a 7 month old baby. I was so happy for those precious hours that I got to spend with my baby brother and his beautiful family. I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished.  He is a great father to this beautiful little girl. 

Then he drove us back to the airport and we headed home. 

And now here I am back in Italy...writing this post and missing my family very much again as I look at these pictures. In the end family is all that matters and I thank God for mine every single day. 

xoxo