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The Friday Five: Recipes

Friday, August 26, 2016
I'm gonna share my Pinterest-worthy favorite recipe's. I will NOT be sharing extra Pinterest-worthy pics. I do have my trusty cell phone pictures though. So there's always that!

1. Strawberries-n-Cream Trifle

My mom made this a long time ago from one of her Light & Tasty magazines which I confirmed with the recipe here. It says it was originally posted in 2003. And that's when we first made it. I swear. This dessert is awesome because it's big and yummy. Serves 12. Also, I made my own Angel Food Cake. With Betty's help. So good. 

2. Aunt Tammy's Salsa
 I don't really want to share this recipe because we are thinking about bottling it and making bank. Because it's awesome. If you really want the recipe, let me know. I accept PayPal.

 3. The Cake Everyone Knows About but Maybe Not? 

So you do the whole yellow cake mix and a can of pumpkin and you get: 

Then you poke it and put sweetened condensed milk and caramel over the top. And cover it with whipped cream and crushed Skor candy bars. mmm. 

 4. THESE Peanut Butter Cookies (no peanut butter required)

Here's the recipe. Their pictures are WAY better! I'd like to note that these cookies were my first success in the Italian oven. And for that, they earn the most gold stars ever. If gold stars are a thing still. 

5. Em's and Her Mom's Squash Burros 

El Pato
Spices of sorts

Saute the squash and onion until they are as done as you like them. 
Add beans and el Pato, spices and cheese 
Put in a tortilla with sour cream and extra cheese if you want

The kids will love it because it tastes delicious and you can't even tell there's squash in it. It's also filling! Em's and her mom totally make their own beans and do other fancy things. But I don't. I think she crock pot's her beans. But alas, not all of us can be like Em. 

This pic was taken in Paulden America. A long time ago! 

Does someone have an excellent recipe for Cherry Chip Cake? I am dying over here because I want that so bad and I can't get it in Italy. Sad. Please help me. 

The Friday Five

Friday, August 19, 2016
I was congratulating the kids on their hard work at putting the trampoline up with David. Nevie immediately said, "Well, I didn't really help but I did jump. It's all put together." I'd also like to note that Genevieve has been talking about being "dehydrated". And then the other day she was explaining to Lara's boys that the game they held in their hands was a game she wasn't allowed to play because, "It's fo teenagers". I love her growing vocabulary. She makes me laugh daily.

Today. Omg. I laugh out loud when I think about this still... I got out of the car with Sadie to unload some stuff at the thrift store. She saw my capris (?) and said, "Are those pants too short for you?" I immediately started laughing out loud because before leaving the house today I decided that I realllllly needed to get rid of these things because they are fugly. They are the stretchy pant version of Mom Jeans. Oh man. It's bad. I'll go get a pic. What's worse is I wore them with my Old Lady Shoes. I was a wreck. But I was definitely comfortable.

The other night at a restaurant we went to, I was asking the waiter if I should come with him to the counter to pay. In some restaurants, like the Chinese one we recently visited, we take the check to the counter and pay there. So I was trying to ask if that's what I should do there. I think he thought I was hitting on him because he wanted me to go do a shot at the bar with him. "Just one," he said jokingly. I said that I couldn't so he settled for kissing my hand. Only in Italy.

I scored a pair of American of Martinsville nightstands worth probably 9 hunna dollars or so and I got them for $9 each. I'm having trouble deciding what color to paint them because I want to paint mine pink but I'm not sure David would be down for that. To be honest, I haven't asked him. I will right now. I'll write what he says as he says it. "I wouldn't prefer that but if you show me what color scheme it works well with them, I'll think about it." At least he cares about style. Am I allowed to paint them mismatched colors? I think that I am because they are the exact same piece. This is where some interior design knowledge would come in handy. I need my friends who are experts to help me please.

I love Italy. I don't know if I've said that too much yet. I probably will continue to say it too. There is so much to love! There's also a few things I would like to take note of. I'm having trouble figuring out their timelines. They take riposo from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and don't eat dinner until 7ish. Most restaurants are open until 2 a.m. which is maybe why the Carbinieri (Police) rang our doorbell at 4:30 a.m. about the alarm going off next door. Wait, what? Why did that happen? I don't understand. I actually appreciate the lateness for the most part except when we want Indian food at it's 5 p.m. lol.

My focus is not very good right now because I'm watching a show. My focus in life though, is good! I'm actually really really excited for some things coming up here soon. I hope you'll stay tuned. :-)

5 Things About This Week

Thursday, August 11, 2016
1. Yesterday was David's 33rd Birthday! I love the number 3 and I love this guy! I was hoping to do one of those 33 Things I Love About You but don't worry, I didn't. Maybe it'll be 34?  He had to work so we were planning on a dinner out and some delicious cake later provided mostly in part by my mom (Thanks Mom!) We scored with some Skor candy bars (something we can't get here) and enjoyed a delicious cake. The best part was though is that we got to enjoy it with some friends that I ran into at the library. I'm telling you, God and the Universe are on my side because how in the world do two best friends, living in different countries, meet at a library at the same time without even knowing it? Divine intervention, that's how. They joined us for dessert at our messy house later that evening. I am SO thankful for them and for it working out. It really made the day so great.

Isn't he hot??? 

Nevie and Sadie did the candles! 

2. The other day I went and had my nails done at an Italian place. Here's the website if you live in Vicenza and need spa work done. Elena was my technician and although her English wasn't amazing, she was! We used Google Translate a lot. Because I know a little bit of Spanish, I was able to understand a lot of what she said in combination with context. Anyway, we were talking about children. She has 1 boy who is 14 years old and who she called "terrible" and then laughed. She also has a dog named Olivia who is 10 years old. Olivia joined us for the evening after everyone left. It was amazing. I told her I had tre kids. She immediately said, "Brava Lisa! Brava Lisa!" and I immediately felt happiness in my heart. Never in a million years would anyone in Germany say that to me. Instead, I got big eyes and menacing looks when I went anywhere in public with my kids, especially during school hours. lol. I'm exaggerating but still.

3. Jackson finished Harry Potter yesterday. The entire series. I made him wait for quite a long time to read the 7th book because I wanted to read it with him. He got impatient and I felt bad so I let him read it. He finished it in less than a week. This to me, is such a big big big deal! Harry Potter is Lyfe. The only thing I'm somewhat sad about is he got interested right AFTER we did the Warner Brothers tour in London. I want to go back with him now that it's fresh in his mind. I think it would be such a blast.  He is a crazy fast and good reader. He's read the Lightening Thief series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Space Case (the 2 that are out), and a few other random books. I'm wanting to stick with series' for hm because it really helps keep him motivated. Do you have any recommendations?  #pleasesendbooks
Jackson and our very precious HP Books. (I love the covers and the colors!) 

4. Another universe/God are on my side story: We have this canister

My very own Martha Stewart Vintage Storage Container
David loves it. When we moved in and unpacked it, David asked about the Sugar version of it. With his upcoming birthday, I decided to take a look around and see if I could find it. We purchased our first one at the PX. I knew they weren't there anymore because I had looked relatively recently. I found websites with links to Macy's and looked there. "This item is no longer available" was a common theme. I checked eBay and Amazon. I even begged my bff to let me buy hers. I wasn't having a lot of luck! And THEN! and THEN! We decided to take a trip into the on post thrift store. And guess what was there? The OTHER THREE CANISTERS! I could not believe my eyes. All of them were sitting neatly in a row minus the Flour one which we already had. It's almost unbelievable to me until I realize that Someone loves me. So Nevie wrapped the Cookies one, Jackson wrapped the Sugar one, and Sadie was thoughtful and wanted to get him shoes, so she wrapped those. I kept the Coffee for myself. wink. Why do you think I'm capitalizing those words? Maybe because they deserve it? Anyway, I'm hashtag thankful.

The wrapped gifts. Nevie really did all of it by herself. She cut the (small) pieces of wrapping paper and taped it! 

5. Our house is coming along! It's been really nice for the kids to have a space they feel comfortable in. Not that they didn't before, but each kid has their own room. Nevie plays house in hers, Sadie reads and does art in hers, and Jackson also reads and does computer things in his. I'm struggling so very very much with not understanding why Italians don't believe in closets. We have some real fugly borrowed ones that we are using for clothes. We were spoiled in Germany though because we had a huge ol' basement to store our crap in. We are having to get really creative and therefore I'm getting rid of lots of stuff and I'm happy. Because I'm minimalist at heart remember? Anyway, here are some pictures. Okay two pictures.

I love this EVERYTHING! I love her drawings and her words and her soul! And her cute face! 

This is just my stove. It's gas. And beautiful. Thank you Italy!

Not a Travel Blog: The Road of 52 Tunnels

Monday, August 8, 2016
Strada delle 52 Galleries
The Road of 52 Tunnels

We drove for an hour to this gorgeous place! I wish I would have taken a picture of the road that gave us all a little anxiety. We weren't in a small European car. We were in our Murican car which proved useful in that people backed up and moved out of the way for US! I'm thinking of going back just to get a picture because you would have died. It was the width of a walking trail. The saving graces were the small areas of larger width that allowed passage of two cars with their mirrors pulled in, and one side of tires either up against the mountain side or VERY close to the edge of a large drop. Cars honk as they go around corners to alert oncoming traffic of their arrival. We got smart and started doing the same on the way home.

It was worth it though! 

A brief history (cause you know I'm all about them pics, bout them pics, bout them pics): 

Construction on the road began in 1917 and was intended to substitute another road which was only passable in the summer and through enemy territory (WWI). This road was accessible by mule, not near the enemy and usable all year round. According to the sign at the beginning of the road with no attributable names, the completion of the road was defined as, "an enterprise of giants, that no other work equals along the entire European front" and, "a miracle of courage and work of unequalled greatness", and "a true and significant marvel in the grandeur of military engineering".

I couldn't agree more from what we saw and that was only a little bit. It was also hard not to think of the work and the effort and the history that was made while it was being built and after completion. I was in awe!

I think we made it to 10 tunnels? I'm not sure. At the very beginning of our hike, we saw a group of guys who were on their way back and who were clearly speaking English. David quickly said something to them so we stopped to chat for a minute. They had started in the early morning (it was around 3ish when we saw them) and I asked them if it was worth it. I remember the one guy saying, "Worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? No." We all chuckled and I'm sure his compadres agreed.

The kids did VERY well! I'm super proud of Genevieve who not only did it in her "Kids" (Keds) but also did it mostly on her own! David only had to carry her through the first few tunnels before she was brave enough to carry her own flashlight and use her own legs. The older two had a lot of fun. By the end and on the way back, Sadie didn't even want to use her flashlight. She was also very content to help carry the backpack.

For all the whining they do about wanting to stay home and not go anywhere, they sure do well once we get them out there.

Now the pictures (some of which you could probably have seen via Google although these ones are strictly mine. I can't help it, #ILovePhotography)


We'll take you here if you want to come visit!