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

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."

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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. 

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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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Home Sweet Home... Part 1

Hello dear friends! I've been home now for a week and I'm so happy to be here. I've been visiting with my mom and sister and been doing way too much shopping than I should be doing but I really don't care.  I'm happy to be back in the home I grew up in and every time I come back it's as if I never left. This is going to be a quick post but I wanted to blog about what I've been up to so far. 

When I got to the airport in Rome I was not expecting to see this....


 There was an INCREDIBLY long line for check in and since they were so backed up they eventually had me skip the whole line.  I was there two hours before take off but apparently it wasn't enough... Thank God they did because it was a very close call. I made it through security and all the check points on time and was able to make it running through the Rome Fiumicino airport. Security has become so strict since last time I came to the States it's crazy but I'm glad it's that way because you hear so many terrible things these days and I am just glad that I got here safely. So if you're traveling overseas my advice is to make sure you get to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.


I made it eventually... It was a very smooth flight. It's about a 9 hour flight from Rome to New York.  I flew with Alitalia.  The food was ok...I mean let's be honest...airplane food always pretty much sucks but I've had worse so it wasn't too bad. The flight was packed. I watched some good movies. I can never sleep on a plane so I usually just watch movies or read. 

We landed on time and made it through customs pretty quickly.  I brought one big suitcase which was half full because I always end up buying a bunch of stuff and bringing it over...I never have enough room in my luggage... But I don't even want to think about that right now to be honest.

I landed in JFK and my mamma was there waiting for me. 


I was tired but I wanted to stay awake as long as I could to get used to the time difference. I landed at 2:00pm and stayed awake until about 8:30.  We drove back to PA and on the way home we stopped to visit my sister. I just couldn't wait to see her. She was very vocal as soon as she saw me and I knew she was just as happy to see me as I was seeing her. 


I didn't take any pictures with her the day I arrived.  This picture was taken the next day. She's such a cutie pie...she melts my heart whenever I see her. 

I had Mexican food the first day I was here...day number two was Japanese... 


Uhhh...love it! Cannot get enough of it! 

Then my mother insisted on taking me to an Italian place....womp womp... That was a bad idea. I guess I'm just so used to the real Italian food that this to me was just really bad... and we paid an arm and a leg for it!


Maybe it was just the place we went to I don't know but I've had much better seafood linguini... I'll just leave it at that...

Can't complain about the drinks though! This strawberry lime margarita was humongous and so yummy!


Other than that I've been shopping, shopping, and shopping some more.  I am loving all of the Halloween decorations that are already out. I am seriously ready for fall. I want to take all the pumpkins back with me but that is not possible unfortunately :-( I HAVE NO ROOM!!


 I'm so frustrated I can't take many things back with me.. I guess I'll just have to DIY some pumpkins when I get home.


I love it!! Halloween is a holiday that I truly miss so much in Italy.  It's just so much fun. 

My mom and I have been spending some much needed quality time together and it's nice be here with her.  I know she feels more secure with me being here for her and my sister and that makes me happy. 

 
We've been smothering her with TLC and it feels good...even though she looks rather annoyed about it in this picture I know she likes it LOL. 


Next stop is Florida to visit my Dad! 

Be back soon...

xoxo

Silvana










Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Contemplations - Commodities or Laziness?

I consider myself old fashioned and a traditionalist.  I very much value the importance of nesting and I love my home. I find great pleasure in decorating, cooking and making my house feel cozy and comfortable for me and for the people I love. I also would rather make something myself than go out and buy custom made from someone else. It's not because of the money, it's because I believe an object is of greater value if it is made with love. I am not a chef, I am not a designer or a seamstress, I am not an interior decorator, but what I do know how to do very well is put passion and love into the things I do. I am Willing to learn and it saddens me when I see others act entitled and lazy and don't have the desire to learn.  People today are just so used to buying, buying, buying everything and once they're done with it just chuck it out and buy a new one. I'll buy it...I'll buy it...they say.

Learn how to make something! Don't be afraid of a drill or a hammer, learn how to use it! You want a piece of pie? Roll up your sleeves and get out a cook book ...  It's not that hard. And if it doesn't turn out right the first time, next time it'll turn out better!

It just frustrates me so.. I feel like everything has just gotten so easy and there is a general lack of contentment with life and the resources we have available to us.  When I think back on what our ancestors used to do...rigorously by hand... I feel like such a spoiled little shit.

My Italian grandmother had 10 children and she made her own mattresses for all 10 children every year (as did most Italian families in the early 20th century). Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make a mattress by hand...with sheep wool...and then beat it with a stick to make it more comfortable? And having to do this for households with 10 or more people?

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Or washing mountains of clothes by hand.... and yet I complain about not having a dryer! Yes, you read that correctly.....I do NOT have a dryer... however I am seriously trying to negotiate with my sweetheart on this one...

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Or make bread kneaded by hand at the crack of dawn and baked in a wood burning stove EVERY MORNING...talk about a work out!


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By the way, no bread compares or will ever compare to sourdough bread that is baked in a wood burning stove...

Since then, we have made such tremendous progress and even the average middle class family can have access to every day commodities that these women pictured above could never even fathom possible. But yet they continued on with their every day, strenuous chores and were able to make the most beautiful things by putting so much passion and love in everything they made.  Today when we look at a hand made linen tablecloth, it doesn't have the same value as it did back then. Why? Because most people, especially the younger generation don't realize the effort that was put into that simple hand made tablecloth. They don't realize exactly the quality and value of the fabric and why it is so precious. 

If I have children one day, I want to make sure that they value all that is around them and they put the same passion in all that they do as I do. 

I get so annoyed with spoiled  and arrogant people.  They get under my skin so much that it makes me batty. 

To those people I say: be thankful for what you have, but most of all be proactive, be resourceful and thrifty.  Thrifty doesn't mean cheap either. There are so many resources available today to be able to learn new things it's astonishing. The World Wide Web is packed with anything and everything you could possibly need and more and for that I am so grateful. I Google everything LOL...Surely I exaggerate at times but I feel a sense of security knowing that at the click of a mouse I can find out whatever I want. It's there for me. 

Think for a moment at the immigrants traveling on the boat to America with their families. They left all they had and spent their life savings to jump on a boat and cross the Atlantic Ocean not knowing where they were going, how long it would take them to arrive, how much food to bring, what clothes to wear, what to do if their children got sick in the middle of the Ocean, no one to call, no navigator, no Coast Guard to help them if anything happened, you get the point... Oh the COURAGE to do something like that!  

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This photo above is a picture of an Italian immigrant family arriving in Ellis Island, New York.  The mother in the photo looks so old yet she's probably in her early 40's. They had the courage to make that journey for the future of their families. Without our ancestors who made everything by hand, woke up at the ass crack of dawn to prepare for the day, work hard and put food on the table, we wouldn't have all the commodities that we have today. 

For this I am grateful.


Have a great weekend my dear friends...and make something spectacular!

xoxo

Silvana


Friday, May 6, 2016

❤ To One Strong and Beautiful Woman ❤


If I could give you diamonds for every tear you've cried;


If I could give you sapphires for each truth you've helped me see; 


If I could give you rubies for the heartache that you've known; 


If I could give you pearls for the wisdom you have shown;

Then you would have a treasure, Mother, that would mount up to the skies;

That would almost match the sparkle in your kind and loving eyes;

But I have no pearls, no diamonds, as I'm sure you're well aware; 

So I'll give you gifts more precious,


My devotion love and care. 

 - Author Unknown


I Love You to the Moon and Back 


Auguri mamma.



ps - This is my 100th post!! Yay!