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Gratefully Grateful *22*

21 Jul

This has to be the strangest July weather-wise since I moved to Italy 13 years ago.  Usually at this time of year the weather is unbearably hot and humid and all we want to do is eat gelato and swim at the lake.  This year July has offered us cool temperature, lots of rain and even some hail and wind storms.  My kids keep telling me that it just doesn’t feel “summery” at all (except when we decided to head to Milan on Saturday and it was 38 degrees and nauseatingly muggy).

I personally am not complaining because we’ve been able to get house projects done without sweating profusely and we manage to actually sleep at night without the need of fans blowing from every direction (and last night we even needed to dig out a blanket).

But I know the intense heat will arrive and with it that lazy summery rhythm that we all love and look forward to.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the last little while.

IMG_8554Despite the milder temps we still make time to visit the lake on a daily basis.  We love those long lazy evenings with friends on the beach enjoying impromptu aperitivo picnics.IMG_8550My view from the picnic blanket.  I’m not complaining.IMG_8519A little family project that we’ve been working on this summer.  The kids pooled their savings and purchased this vintage camper.  Unbelievable how much it has changed since this photo was taken.  More pics soon.

IMG_8578Colourful walls in Milan.  And long skinny 12 year old legs.IMG_8182I came across this shot I took of Sweet Paul’s Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango and Thai Basil.  Must make again soon.  So good.

Have a great week everyone!

Gratefully Grateful
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Gratefully Grateful *21*

23 Jun

Oh June.  You’re a month that knocks me off my feet.  The end-of-year parties, going-away parties, birthday parties, school parties, bbq parties, recitals, plays, events and just about anything else you can think of have been keeping our days (and most evenings) BUSY.

Not to mention the World Cup which is all everyone is talking about over here in Italy.  Usually we’re a family that knows absolutely nothing about football (soccer).  We don’t understand the game, wouldn’t recognise a player if he walked past us nor really ever cared about who was winning or losing.  But somehow that has all changed and my Belgian husband and kids have become crazed.  You should have heard them screaming when Belgium made the winning shot (goal?) in last night’s game.  Hilarious.

Here are a few images to add to my Gratefully Grateful series…

IMG_8356 Test shot for our upcoming photo booth at a local pyjama run in support of kids with cancer.  A few years ago we folded those paper cranes (actually 1000 in total) for a little friend of ours who was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  He’s doing really well at the moment and we couldn’t be happier. (holy top knot!)IMG_8330If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen a similar photo to the one above.  I bought these golden raspberries at a local farm and have fallen head over heels for this fruit.  Sweeter than the traditional red ones but with a with a slightly different taste.  Can’t wait to make an Italian Crostata with Golden Raspberry Jam in the coming days.IMG_8322Happy to have this little guy back after 4 days away from home.  He had a blast in the mountains with his class but was overwhelmed with joy at the Welcome Home banner that his sisters made for his return.  
IMG_8286Last week our new couches arrived and with it 5 huge cardboard boxes.  My kids got out the paints and spent hours playing with and decorating those boxes.  Love that.  Who says tweens are miserable and always bored?  Mine definitely aren’t.

Have a great week!

Gratefully Grateful
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Gratefully Grateful *20*

17 Jun

It has been a while since I published a Gratefully Grateful post.  I’ve sat down several times to do it but for some reason just couldn’t.  And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to be grateful for lately.  It’s actually quite the opposite.

I’ve spent time with wonderful people (Mom!), visited beautiful places, eaten delicious meals, read interesting books, taken lots of memorable photos and planned exciting future trips.

But I’m happy to be back here today and share some of my favourite images of the last few weeks.  I really do love looking back on these posts and remembering the little moments and details behind them.

So…

Here’s to the end of the school year which is (slowly) coming to an end.
Here’s to sultry hot summer days and melted gelato dripping down my kid’s arms.
Here’s to the copious amounts of fresh local seasonal fruit that has taken over my entire fridge.
Here’s to upcoming rock concerts that we’ve been waiting for ages to attend.
Here’s to soon being able to spend lots of homework-free days and nights with my three favourite little (big) people.

IMG_7880The perfect combination of bright yellow farm equipment and vibrant red poppies.  With the addition of the world famous Barolo vineyards in the background.  IMG_7981A dapper young lad on his way to lunch at the famous Slow Food restaurant Boccondivino in the small city of Bra (Piemonte).  He loved it by the way.IMG_7816Another gorgeous rose arrangement in the beautiful Villa Porta Bozzolo. IMG_7810I give her less than a year before she’s taller than me.

IMG_7904Now this is my kind of chapel.

Have a great week folks.

Gratefully Grateful
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Gratefully Grateful *19*

26 May

It has been a busy and eventful few weeks around here.  My mom arrived from Canada for a long awaited three week visit and I turned the big 40 years old.  Now I just have to get used to writing and saying the word 40.  I’m pretty convinced that this is going to be a glowing and wonderful phase of my life.

I’m so lucky to be heading into my 40s with so many beautiful things in my life: my three incredible kids, my loving and patient husband, the fact that I live in one of the most gorgeous countries, my (relatively) good health, all my amazing family (I still have my 2 grandmothers!), the ability to show my kids the world and my circle of loving and hilarious friends.  How could it not be a great new phase of my life?

Here are a few images of what has made me happy lately.
DSC03251Spending the last day in my 30’s driving around in this old Citroen and dining at the famous restaurant D’O.  The car may be loud and feel like a tin can but the funk factor cancels all that out.

IMG_7762A little visit to a local villa for a lovely rose market and exhibition.  Lots of new rose plants have made it into my garden the last few days.DSC03267The poppies that are in bloom everywhere you look at the moment.  That bright orangey red pop of colour on the green fields is so gorgeous.IMG_7766These stunning rose bouquets.  I would love to fill every room of my home with these.

Wishing you all a lovely week ahead.

Gratefully Grateful
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Gratefully Grateful *18*

14 May

So much to be grateful for last week.  Especially a surprise week-end away with some of my closest friends.  It involved a famous flower market in Milan, lots of foreign foods, Pina Coladas and some charming little vintage shops.  It’s amazing what a few days away from your daily grind can do to your spirit and energy level.

Throw in a relaxing Mother’s Day on Sunday including breakfast in bed and kid made art and poetry and I was (am) a happy woman.

Grateful to have been able to see and appreciate…

IMG_7618   …carnations in every possible colour.  Gone are the days of them being considered “grocery store flowers”.
IMG_7573

…huge origami cranes and lilly pads in a lovely fountain in front of an even lovelier old villa.IMG_7602 …this little scenario that I would like to re-create in my own garden.  So lovely.IMG_7638…old metal watering cans filled with bright flowers.

Wishing you all a lovely week (it’s already half over!).

Gratefully Grateful

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Gratefully Grateful *17*

4 May


As I sit here gazing out of the window it looks as though there is a blizzard happening outside.  But instead of snow it’s a flurry of fluffy little poplar seeds (as captured by an IG pal here).  I’m sneezy and have a piercing headache but I have to admit that it’s a really lovely site.

Yesterday I spent the entire day in the kitchen baking muffins for a local market today.  We’re donating all profits from the bake sale to the Bianca Garavaglia Association which helps organise special activities and events for kids with cancer who have to spend months in the hospital.  As some of you know, helping causes like this is something that is really near and dear to my family’s heart.  So you can imagine how happy my kids were to sell every single muffin that we made (close to 100).

Earlier in the week a friend of mine and I organised a “Serata Americana” with our kids (the husbands had organised a meal of intestines and insects so we escaped).  We prepared hamburgers, hotdogs and french fries.  We drank lemonade and Coca Cola.  And then we watched Grease (in Italian) with bowls of popcorn and M&Ms.  My kids loved it and have since asked for poodle skirts and black leather jackets.  Love evenings like that.

So, as you can see I had a lot to be grateful for this week.

And on top of all that I’m (also) grateful for… IMG_7280-001…my first bunch of roses from my garden.  Oh and they smell so so lovely too!IMG_7423…geraniums.  And the fact that they are pretty AND can survive even though I’m a horrible gardner and that Birdie lays on top of them all day long.IMG_7357…our Serata Americana that saved me from eating these cricket kabobs.  See, I wasn’t exaggerating when I wrote about the husbands eating insects.  Blech.

Wishing you all a lovely week ahead.

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*, *16*

Gratefully Grateful *16*

28 Apr

I can’t seem to get my GG posts up before my week is over.  I always have big plans to post on Sunday evening but then as soon as I sit down on the couch after the kids are in bed I become useless.  I can’t even manage conversation or full sentences with my husband.  Anyone else out there afflicted by this?

Last week was a good one.  A lovely day shopping in Antwerp (adore that city), a delicious sushi dinner with old friends, a lovely bike ride in the Belgian countryside, a serving of my daughter’s homemade lava cakes (they are so good) and a sunny return to Italy.  On Saturday we spent the afternoon lunching with friends outside in the hot sun followed by an evening aperitivo with other good friends (including a few IG acquaintances!).  Life is good (even if we just found out that someone in London spent 2000 euro on a limousine rental with our credit card – I hope they had a good ride!).

This week I’m grateful for…

IMG_7236…the Urban Jungle Blogger series.  It’s so much fun to integrate more green plants into my house and be part of a community of fellow urban gardeners.  And for once in my life I’m succeeding in keeping them alive (knock on wood).  IMG_7227…the sweet smell of these Lilly of the Valley flowers.  And the sweet skinny legged girl holding them.IMG_7099…that they still love to blow the dandelion seeds (me too!).

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead!

Gratefully Grateful *1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*, *15*

 

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