Tag Archives: birthday

Brown Sugar Shortbreads

18 Jan


In a few days my dear grandmother is turning 91 years old.  At almost 91 my grandmother has more energy than I do and a social schedule that would make an 18 year old jealous.  This wonderful woman is sweet, kind, funny , caring and so generous.  In other words, the perfect grandmother (and great-grandmother!).

In the past I’ve mentioned that during my childhood I spent many days in her cozy little kitchen learning how to bake.  It’s definitely there that my passion for baking was ignited.  And over the years I’ve been slowly teaching my own kids the art of making the perfect biscuit or bobo ball just as my grandmother taught me.


Today I made up a batch of my grandmother’s Brown Sugar Shortbreads.  These cookies are so buttery and rich and make your house smell like absolute heaven when they’re baking in the oven.  Usually you should make a thumbprint in the balls of dough and fill it up with jam before baking but I thought for the occasion of my grandmother’s 91st I’d make little jam filled hearts in the middle.  And they turned out perfectly.  I think I’ll be making these by the dozen to give out on Valentine’s Day as well.  Believe me, cookies like these will make people feel loved.


Brown Sugar Shortbreads

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1 3/4 cup flour
pinch of salt

1. Cream butter and brown sugar.

2. Add egg yolk and mix to combine.

3. Add flour and salt and mix until becomes  dense dough.

4. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly then either make an indent with thumb (or a carrot heart like me!).  Fill hole with favorite jam.

5. Bake in 350 (180) oven for 10-15 minutes.



As you read above in the recipe, I carved out a heart in a carrot to use as my “stamp” for the middle of the cookie.  My kids thought I was nuts but it actually worked out perfectly in the end (and let me tell you how hard it is to carve a carrot with a half-healed broken wrist!).

We’ll be enjoying these this week-end and sending loving birthday thoughts to my grandmother in Canada.


Wouldn’t a sweet little decorated box filled with these delicious cookies make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?



25 May

Yesterday I was….

Gently settling into my new role as a 38 year old.

Appreciating the beautiful sunny warm day after what seemed like months of rain and cloud.

Knowing this is going to be a beautiful year for me and my family and friends.

Appreciating and being grateful for all the wonderful people in my life, near and far.

Trying not to think how close I am to….40.  How is that possible?

Eating lots and lots of cake.  Seriously a lot.

I whipped up this cake yesterday and it was really tasty.  I used sugar cookie dough for the crust and baked it with a cheesecake filling.  Then I poured melted dark Belgian chocolate on top and sprinkled shaved white chocolate on top of that.  A serious calorie bomb.  Inspired by this recipe from the wonderful Delicious Stories blog.

10 (x2)

28 Mar

Ten years ago today my life (and my belly button) changed forever.

I still can’t believe it was a decade ago that I was waiting in the operating room of a small rural Italian town, surrounded by 20 doctors, nurses (and what seemed just innocent bystanders) getting ready to meet “La Principessa” and “La Contessa”  for the first time.

And I still remember the awe I felt when they showed me those miniscule little babes for the first time.  Awe at how tiny they were.  Awe at how they looked and how completely different they were from one another (we hadn’t know whether they were identical or fraternal beforehand).  Awe at how much my life had changed from one second to another.

The last 10 years have gone by in a flash and have been so full of love, adventure and so many amazing times together as a family. I’m so excited  and curious to see what life brings Eva and Chloe in the future.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to be pretty amazing though.


20 Mar

The time has come to start the planning, organising and decorating for my twin daughters’ birthday.  And this year being the big double digit birthday means they’ll be a lot to celebrate and with a lot of people.

I went into my sewing room with plans to organise laundry and iron.  This is what I did instead.  Not sure if it’s going to be a pinata (all that work to be bashed to pieces!?) or a decoration to hang from a tree.   Now off to organise some surprise activities for the girl’s party this week-end…

Tree skirts

9 Mar

While my mom was visiting we got to do some really nice sewing projects together.  Aprons, zipper pouches and a few simple skirts for my daughters.  Every year in March I make each of my twin daughters a special skirt (and crown) for their birthday which is on March 28th.  This year I bought some really nice (I think) tree/bush patterned material in Canada.  I love the different greens in the print, the cotton is really nice and soft and it’s definitely not something you’ll find in a kid’s clothing store in Italy. 

I know the bright yellow isn’t the typical colour you’d pick to go with this material but I just love the combination together.   I had to take the skirt into a local fabric shop to buy the binding for the hem and when the salesgirl saw it she was horrified.  She looked at it and said “e molto….particulare”.  In other words it’s the ugliest thing she’s ever seen.  So it’s obviously not to everyone’s taste…

I used a thick elastic band for the waistline because it’s so comfortable for the kids to wear.  Plus, if they grow a bit then it still fits.  I’m thinking of making one for myself for when I eat one of those 4 hour Italian lunches and my pants always end up feeling a little too tight for comfort.

So 2 skirts with images of 2 different types of forests for 2 very sweet little girls who will be turning double digits in a few weeks (gulp).

Birthday Crowns

12 Jan

Something I do for every birthday of my three children is make them a birthday crown.  When they were small I would design it myself but as the kids get older they get to tell me the colours and fabrics that they prefer.  I have a series of photos from the past years with the birthday crowns and they are great to look back on and see how much they’ve changed and grown.  My daughters display all of their crowns on the top of the bookcase in their room.

This year my daughters turn 10 in March and I’m already wondering what kind of special crown I can make to commemorat them turning double digits.  I vow to sew these crowns for many years to come.  When my son turns 34 he will be receiving an envelope from his mama with a homemade crown.  Whether he likes it or not.

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