Friday, December 04, 2009

Woot! Woot!

I just got a message from a seller at Etsy that I won anything I want out of her shop for simply doing her poll.
It was hard to pick an item but I thought that this item would be most practical for me...

Sparrows in Green Basket Tote Bag

I of course, could not pass up getting a new bag and this would be so cute for casual days. Ok so my everyday is casual but heck, It's so cute and springy-feeling.

She also makes cute little girls dresses and shirts and the sweetest slippers. Check out her shop here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Saturday at Lago d'Iseo

We have friends who live in Sarnico (near Bergamo) that we haven't seen since before we moved to Canada. Giovanni finally had a Saturday off that worked out (well sort of) with them so we could get in a bit of a visit.

It was a perfect day! We got in the car early in the morning and headed out of this gloomy, grey, overcast day to spend the day at the lake. When we got there the sun was out, it was warm (ok except for the ever so slight breeze off the lake). We met Marino and took a little walk along the lake so Isabella could feed the swans... we remembered to pack old bread this time. She loved it!

Isn't Sofia just rockin' this kitty hat I made her? I just love this picture I got of her.
Isabella and I played in the leaves for a bit.... Giovanni was worried about us stepping in the "poopies" from dogs.... people should just learn to pick up after their dogs so little kids (and moms) can enjoy playing in the leaves... I said who cares and we went on about playing...
This little walkway went out over the water... really this town is so nice... I told G we should move there... we'd be closer to his sister as well plus we'd maybe get a bit nicer weather other than the permanent grey we get all fall and winter.
We stopped for lunch with Marino. Elena (Marino's wife) joined us as well as their son.Then Marino showed us the playground nearby so Isabella could have some fun... even Sofia enjoyed her first swing ride. Yes, her first. There aren't any playgrounds near our house with swings (don't even get me started on the playgrounds in our town!) Needless to say, Sofia LOVED the swings. Can you tell by the 2 tooth grin from ear to ear?This playground was so nice... first off it was fenced... not like the big playground in our town which has tall grass and is not fenced... did I mention ours is right on the state highway running through our town? Yep, we've never visited THAT playground. Anyways, this playground had all rubber on the ground and well kept playgound equipment (unlike the "new" playground near our house which is only 2 years old and the merry go round is already broken and my 2 yr old can't even go on it... but I digress). It has 3 little areas - 2-4 years and 5-10 I believe and 11 and up.... very nice playgound, heck I'd move just for that! Also there's a cute little gazebo shaped coffee house right inside the playground. Perfect for cool days like that Saturday. We went in to warm up and for a hot chocolate.
We had just a tiny bit of bread left.... so we had to feed ALL of the birds and swans again. Another man with his daughter came and let Isabella throw in some of their bread too.

It was such a nice day out of the house. The girls were so tuckered out! As soon as we were in the car they pooped out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Etsy Feature

I've decided to do a little feature of fellow Etsians shops once and a while and since this weekend there are big sales going on and Christmas is almost upon us I thought I'd do another one.

Here's a darling little shop with a little bling for the holiday season... (I'm sensing a pattern in my choice of features here - hee hee)

Kattfive's Creations

Flights of Fancy Antique gold butterfly necklace

This beauty would be great for your holiday parties! I love butterflies and this shade of acqua is so pretty. She also sends this little gem in a gift box which saves you having to find one if you are planning on giving it as a gift... and this would make a wonderful stocking stuffer for the girly-girl in your life (I know, I'm a girly-girl) or even for one of your best girl friends. Why not buy it for the gardener in your life or your mom? I'm sure my grandma would like it or my mom (I know, I'm a mom too and I'd love to get this as a gift!)

Kattfive writes:

Elegant antique looking butterfly filigree placed as a centerpiece on this pretty antique brass chain, which has beautiful emerald Czech glass beads inserted in between the chain. A timeless piece.

So what are you waiting for? Get over there and do a little shopping!

Friday, November 27, 2009

These are too cute!

There's a giveaway going on here for the pattern for these.... they are just too darn cute!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Etsy Blog Feature

So I decided to help some other Etsiers out in hopes that the sales fairy will leave some dust on my shop... here's 2 cool shops.
Leaf Thai Silver Necklace with Green Charms by Flaunt Designs Jewelry

Is this piece not refreshing? I just love the look of it! This past summer we were overwhelmed with purple everywhere here in Italy so it's a nice change to see green.

Flaunt describes this piece as, "Thai silver leaf pendant on a sterling chain, with emerald Swarovski crystal and faceted green aventurine gemstone charms. Pretty necklace which celebrates nature. Thai silver is more pure than sterling, being 96 - 99% silver content. This leaf was handcrafted by the Karen Hill tribe in Thailand. The sterling silver box chain is 18 inches long, with spring ring fastening. The handcrafted sterling & Swarovski crystal accent charm is an 8mm sphere of sparkly emerald green, the gemstone charm is a faceted, 6mm rondelle of milky green aventurine."

It sounds like a wonderful gift to buy someone this holiday season doesn't it? I know I would LOVE to see this in my stocking (hint hint befana). Flaunt has a lot of other gorgeous items in shop ranging from $8 up so get over there and snatch up something!


Set of 6 Winter Snowman Themed Wine Glass Charms by Cre8tiveQT

This is a mommy like me putting her earnings into the bank for her wee on like me....
She said her daughter wants a computer so lets give a little girl a dream come true.

These are cute little charms perfect for your holiday parties! Ever been to a party and set down you glass only to find you set it beside someone elses and now you aren't sure which is yours? That's where these fancy little charms come into play. Joanne gets the snowman, Suzy has the brrr... and so on. Practical AND cute! Ok so I'm a wine lover so this item is totally perfect for me! Ha! Ha! Cre8tiveQT also has some sweet little bracelets at really low prices that would be great for your teen's stocking this Christmas. I know times are tough this year so why not pop by this shop and do a little shopping, save some loot for yourself and help that little girl get her computer? Sounds good!


Don't forget to pop over to my shop as well!

to check out the Christmas card sale!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Card (Ok Revised Card) In the Shop

I got a convo the other day asking if my snowman card came in another colour as a lady liked it but had a son.... (the pink is obviously too frew frew for boys).

I decided it was a great idea listing the same card in a more masculine tone... here's the result:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Feeling Lynette-ish....

Oddly enough I've been feeling a bit like her these days, especially the early days on DH... as I watch the old episodes, I (scarily) can totally relate to her.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is this Not Gorgeous?

I pass this yard all the time when we go shopping for groceries... but the other day it was particularly more beautiful than most days...
I think it's the fact it was actually sort of sunny. Yes, sunny...

Right now it's autumn in Italy and if you've been here in autumn, you know, the sun is not a thing you see often. Ok so we don't already have snow, and no it's not freezing but everyday it's a greyish shade of BLAH! (Ok I can say this because I live here now... if I was a tourist I probably wouldn't even notice it cuz I'd be distracted by the old buildings and sites).

Just had to share this autumn beauty.
Quoting Rachel Ray... "Yum-O!"

I'm busy making pizza for tonight... I hope it turns out as good as last time.

Here's a shot:

While I'm no Betty Crocker or Rachel Ray, I do seem to have a knack for making kick ass pizza lately (the proof is in the picture above). I made pizza the other day and it was soooo good! Even Isabella ate more than usual (ok so that's like 2 more bites than her usual 4 as she isn't a pizza person) then I used the same dough (using mother yeast - I'll explain in a bit) to make mini calzones cuz I was at the end of my wits trying to find something to make other than pizza and rice the other day (I didn't go shopping so the cupboards were limited). I saw mini calzones on the Kraft Kitchens website and decided to try to make my own. (Yes, that's the mini calzone below in all it's yummyness.... with ragus sauce and cheese....mmmm)

Isabella actually ate 2! That's a big deal in our house AND she kept saying "Yum mommy, buono!" Well, that little comment from my food critic was enough for me to decide to try it again in the future!

Ok so I know you are wondering what mother yeast is and for those who are cooks, you probably know...

Mother yeast is when you make dough and save a portion in the fridge, the next time you go to make bread or pizza (like me) you use it and add to it - flour, water, oil, salt - NO MORE YEAST PACKETS. The end result: much yummier pizza with less of a yeasty taste. Believe me, once you try it, you won't really want to go back. We learned this trick from Giovanni's Auntie Evelina - that woman can make pizza! (Probably helps too that she has a real wood burning pizza oven!)

So tonight I'm trying it again... hope it works, it's been in the fridge a few days. Oh yeah, if you want to try this mother yeast thing out, you need to work the dough at least once a week... yeast like us, gets hungry.... you need to feed it flour and water to live....

Good luck if you try it out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New card in the shop...

Well I added a new card to my shop yesterday... just in time for Christmas.
(Click photo to go there now)

Remember, my sale is on until Nov. 25th, then all Christmas cards go back to $15... so hurry on over and save $3!
Help me out!

So I just joined Top Mommy Blogs and I could use a little help getting some votes...

All you have to do is click here:

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

or here:

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Thanks so much! You might even find a blog you like as well!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is this not cool?
I found this via another blog.... so I checked out the site and can you believe there are only 2 shops internationally selling these? Guess where one of them is located! Sondrio, it's just a few hours from here near the mountains. G and I went there a few years ago, it's beautiful and I would love to go back and see it... and possibly check out the shop where these items are sold. They are so Alice in Wonderland! I just love it! Click the pict to check out the website...
These are so cute for your kitchen!

They are super cute measuring cups! I found them on La Alicia's blog (she popped on by and left a note.) She found them on

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Finally Done!
I finally finished the hat I was working on for Isabella. Turned out pretty good considering I didn't know what the heck I was doing (ok so a little bit).
I saw these amazing hats Kristy makes over at Noodle Noggins and thought I wanna try my hand at it. I sort of know how to crochet... if it doesn't work, I'll just take it apart and make a scarf! haha!

So I found this pattern here at Etsy, and VOILA!

I think it came out ok considering my yarn was a little on the fine side for the pattern and the fact I ripped it out 3 times before getting the right sizing. I had to do a little modifying to make it work. It's a wee tight for Isabella so I doubt she'll be wearing it a whole lot (unless mommy wears it around the house to try and stretch it a bit - haha).

Why don't you go try something new? go pick up the pattern...

My new project? Girly-ing up some hand-me-down jeans of Isabella's. They are boy jeans and since Isabella's hair refuses to grow, people already think she's a boy... gotta bling up the jeans!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Making Banana Bread

I decided to make banana bread the other day with Isabella. I had some bananas that were getting way too brown for my liking but thought they were perfect for bread.
Isabella liked helping as well... almost too well because I caught her eating it! Yucky!
Ok, so anyways, I thought I'd share this yummy recipe to those who wish to try it. It's my mom's recipe but I like to modify it a bit.

Danish Banana Bread
3/4 cup oil (I like to only use 1/4 cup and 1 extra banana)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas (usually works out to about 5 bananas - remmeber i like to add 1 more)
1 tsp vanilla
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I add a bit more and a bit of cinnamon as well)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups nuts chopped (almonds are a nice choice but here I decided to take advantage of the season and use Italian roasted chestnuts)
2 tsp baking sodadisolved in 2 tbsp hot water

Mix all your wet ingredients together including mashed bananas and baking soda mixture. Mix well. Now add all your dry ingredients.
Pour into 3 bread pans greased with butter and bake at 350 F for 45-60 minutes.
You may want to try adding mini chocolate chips to the mixture - it makes this bread even more delish!

Isabella helping me mix the ingredients.

Yummy bananas and castagna (Italian chestnuts)

This is what the chestnuts look like when you buy them... you need to roast them or you won't be able to get the shells off.
The mixture of all the ingredients minus the nuts.
And this is what the chestnuts look like after roasting... you need to cut them open just a tad or you'll be having chestnut fireworks in your kitchen. Just use a sharp knife to make a little slit in the shell on one side. We also have a special pan designed for roasting nuts. Oh yeah, remember to open the windows and turn on your fan so you don't smoke out the house. If you have a BBQ - even better!
And this is what we do while we are waiting...
And waiting... and waiting for the bread to finish baking....
And voila! Doesn't it look scrumptious? This stuff doesn't last long in our house! 2-3 days tops!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Free Christmas Card Contest!

That's right people! You can win a free Christmas card design courtesy of me!

What do you have to do?

Pop on over to Scrap 3's blog and do the following:
1. Comment on the post
2. Visit my shop Bella Expressions (and hopefully shop there as well)
3. Become a follwer to Scrap 3
4. "heart her store" (Doohickies&Such)

A winner will be chosen by her on October 28th.

What are you waiting for? GET OVER THERE!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Halloween-ing We Will Go!
I added a new card for Halloween to my shop over at ETSY.
It's super cute and what a cute way to show off your little princess or goblin to grandma and friends!

Isn't my little model cute? That's Isabella's first Halloween picture. Oh how time flies!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving at Cesenatico

Giovanni had to work thi weekend but got to take us with him on Thanksgiving Sunday to Cesenatica, Italy. We had to leave the house by 6 a.m. but heck, it was worth it! Plus I think Isabella and Sofia got to steal a few hearts that day.... the bus was full of older people... lots of new nonnas and nonnos for them to flirt with!
Giovanni and Isabella checking out the "fishies" in the canal in the center of town. They were both down on their knees looking at the little crabs all climbing on the canal walls and watching the little fish swim by. They even tried to feed the fish Ritz crackers... but the fish just swam away... apparently they don't know the yum factor of Ritz crackers like my kids do.

All these boats are the museum here. These are boats that really used to be used for fishing etc on the sea. Now they are tied up here for people to enjoy and learn about them. What a fantastic museum hey?Sofia had to get in the shot as well... sorry hunny, you're too small to get on your knees to check out the fishies, maybe next year. She is pretty cute rockin' out in the stroller though.
So when Sofia and I were walking along the pier to get over to where Giovanni and Isabella were playing on the beach we had to walk past these little fishing houses. See the brown one there? They were enjoying the sea's bounties for lunch... they kept dropping the net and pulling it up. I saw them feasting out on the deck with full platters and yummy bottles of vino! Now if it was Thanksgiving here, that would be an awesome Italian way to do it!
Isabella and Giovanni hard at work building the Fortress of Champions. Giovanni would build and Isabella would destroy whilst trying to help.... I guess you could say we had our own mini war attack on our own Castello. Giovanni evenually had to give up the fight and retreat.... for a nap that is. Momma was in charge of helping from here on in.... and thus the result was this:
Isn't it pretty? Now that's a castle fit for a Queen and her 2 Princesses. Isabella did 90% of the decorating. She even got soaked finding shells in the water. We originally tried to keep her dry but the sea was calling and when that happens to my little Pisces there's no fighting it. Heck she didn't care, until it was time to change and head back to the bus that is.
This was our lunch as there was no room for the stroller at the restaurant where we were supposed to eat with the group. Instead I went and got some french fries at the restaurant on the beach and we finished that off with some bananas and persimmon we bought earlier. Sofia thoroughly enjoyed the persimmon... we heard many a "numm numm"s coming from her little mouth. Of course this picture I had to post despite it not including Sofia.... I was trying to take a picture with me in it for a change and look at the lovely turkey face my husband makes... haha... thought you were funny hey?
And finally, after all my bellyaching (as my husband would say), I finally got in a family shot. I'm usually on the other end of the camera so it's nice to finally be in at least one photo for the girls scrapbooks. Aren't we just so beachy cute? I'm rockin' out my brand-spankin'-new pagmina I bought for 5 euros.... not a bad deal... it's pretty blue and soft... perfect for beach photos.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Blog Feature! Help the Lady raise moolah for March of Dimes!

Baby Makin(g) Machine featured me in her blog post here!

She is offering everyone the chance to win fabulous items from Etsy shop owners and trying to rais e funds for March of Dimes. What a great idea hey? I offered up a cute card design to a winner AND a scrap kit to a lucky winner. Get on over there and check it out!

If you missed the link, here it is again:
Baby Makin(g) Machine

Friday, October 02, 2009

A Funny for Friday

Woot! Woot! Plus check this out!

I'm being "showcased" over at Pink Patrice's blog!
She did a blog post about my Bella Expressions shop over at Etsy.

Check it out here:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You have to check this out.

This person makes the prettiest jewellery with a little sand and resin.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Page Pet

pYzam Page Pets
FreeFlashToys Page Pets

Monday, September 07, 2009

I'm so Anxious!

So I got an email saying our hats will be here soon from the Etsy Shop "What's On A Name" (see post below). Oh I can't wait to get them! Isabella has already seen me checking out the shop and asked "Bella hat too? Fia hat too?" I told her yep, mommy was getting here a pretty new hat and Fia one too - here's hoping Sofia will were the darn thing! Let's just say that anytime we put something on Sofia's head, she rips it off immediately.... so we'll see how it goes... I may just have to come up with some cute little earflap additions to attach to the hat!


So that said, we are also waiting to get a package from nonna and nonno....
they picked us up some new "backpacks" like Dora the Explorer's. Ok so these backpacks are WAYYYY cuter than Dora's pack and they come with an ingenious little tail (ok leash people). Anyways, we had such a hard time finding one for Isabella before we came back to Italy, we figured we better put the grandparents on the lookout for another one for when Sofia starts running around. We also had grandma pick up a few extra, seeing as how we've been stopped NUMEROUS times here in Italy by people wanting to check out the brilliant little bag.

These backpacks are a Godsend to anyone who has a strong-spirited (good choice of words hey?) wee one. Isabella has escaped from us in a parking lot a few times while trying to get her into the car and she so is not about to hold our hands when we go for a walk.
Check this out!

Ok, so I found this awesome shop via "Our Homeschool Fun blog"
OHF blog is doing a freebie giveaway of one of Kid-N Around Creations felt food packs.

I went to check out the shop and found these:
Are they not just the cutest you've seen? And they are great toys to pack up in your purse cuz they really aren't that bulky or heavy. They are so bright and fun as well!
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