Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 The Most Amazing Year Yet!

I cannot honestly believe that today is the very last day of this most amazing year they call 2010!! Seriously this year changed out lives so much but we couldn't be more grateful for all the changes!!

2010 is the year we finally became parents to the most gorgeous baby boy ever! And man oh man has he grown up quickly! I can't believe the child we brought home from the hospital is the same little man! Both equally as cute but the things he can do now!! It just blows my mind how quickly he has grown in 9 short months!! I truly understand when my mom told me time flies and we grew up way too quickly!!

His first ever picture from the hospital :)

4 months old taken by Sandra in Aviano :)

Almost 8 months old taken by Fritsche Photography also done here in Italy :)

Its really amazing to just see how big he has gotten over the last several months. Simply amazing!

Our son really has made our year but we have also just had a great year!

1. We were matched in February with our birthmother! The day changed our lives forever!
2. We left for the birth of our son at the end of March and he was born during our travels.
3. The beginning of April we met the most beautiful baby boy ever!
4. We also made several new friends throughout the adoption process! Its amazing how adoption can bring together so many people :)
5. My hubby got a new job which has made our little world that much better!
6. My sister got a new start :)
7. We've celebrated many firsts with our baby boy! Can't get more exciting than that!
8. Became part of an adoption support group that is amazing and we LOVE the people who are part of it!!

We are also very grateful for our amazing family (yes you friends know you're family too!) and all they do for us! They love the newest addition to our family to death and we couldn't honestly ask for much more than that, but they are all spoiling him to death which he is thoroughly enjoying! I'm just so thrilled with this past year its not even funny and I'm kinda sad to see it go :( Its brought so much new life changing things that were amazing I can't even wait to see what 2011 has in store for this little family!!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

We had the greatest weekend :)

On Saturday we got to meet the cutest newest baby girl ever (there are several adorable baby girls we know) and I had almost forgot how fragile a newborn baby can feel! Baby boy has gotten so big so fast and it was only 8 months ago he was smaller than this baby girl! I can't believe my little tank use to be that tiny!! I loved holding her and she ALMOST I stress the word ALMOST because as many of you know we've decided not to parent another infant but more than likely toddler to young child age the next time we adopt :) I adored holding her though and truly missed when my little man was that little!

Afterwards we had kebabs from our favorite shop with our friends the Petraes. They're one of our most favorite people over here (we do have a few so don't worry you may be one as well LOL). They brought baby boy some super awesome gifts! My favorite a Dallas Cowboys shirt! Yes they rock like that! So we had an enjoyable evening with them.

On Sunday we woke up to a surprise of no power for over six hours! We didn't let it get us down though. We enjoyed each others company and played with baby boy until we were able to shower and go out for the day.

Once we were able to shower we headed up to Udine for our friends little girls 1st birthday party! It was so fun! Our friends little girl kept giving our little man Kisses it was soooo cute! He also got to meet Santa Claus (our friends dad dressed up for the kids) and Nathan just wasn't having that! If you know him you know he is a very happy go lucky baby and LOVES people so it was odd to see him cry! He really did not like Santa at all and balled his eyes out. Daddy did rescue him and he'd bury his face in daddy's chest and then peak at Santa and start to cry all over again. It was so cute and so sad all at the same time! I did get pics of everything but I'm waiting for my new adapter to come in the mail so when it gets here I'll do a giant post with tons of pictures!

I hope everyone else had a fantabulous weekend :) I know we did and we're blessed to have all these amazing people in it to make it so great!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I LOVE Shutterfly

I absolutely love love Shutterfly and I seriously just discovered them. We made our Christmas Cards through them and so far everyone has loved them! I also placed our first order of pics through them and they came super fast even living all the way overseas! This is the Thank You Card I've created for all his gifts he's getting this year the little stinker! Seriously check them out you can do so much more as well!

Glitter And Gold 2011 Holiday Thank You 3x5 folded card
Create modern holiday cards at Shutterfly
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Coming to End

I cannot believe Christmas is almost here! Someone find me a machine that slows down time and keeps my baby a baby :( He's going to be one years old before I even know it and I'm not too crazy about that idea!!

I will admit though I am super excited about his first Christmas and yes I probably got him way too many toys for his age but he is our first and only child for goodness sake! I can spoil him all I want within reason of course. Don't worry I didn't go into buying him gifts and I certainly didn't charge anything :) But he is definitely a spoiled little man! And the gifts we have aren't even including the ones our families are going to send man oh man is he going to make out this year LOL

I do think some of the toys daddy picked out for his son are ones he would like to play with which I think is freaking hilarious!

Well what have we done this month?

Nothing too exciting. We did get to go and see the Harlem Globetrotters live on base and that was sooo much fun. We of course took lots of pics and of course my comp will now no longer read the damn card! The hubby is going to get a new adapter and hopefully that will fix the problem and if it does I'll post more recent pics of the cutest baby boy ever and pics from that night as well :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I started this once and then changed my blogs and started new ones and it got lost in the shuffle. I am going to try it again since I've been pretty faithful to this blog!

Here are the rules if you missed the first round:

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as New Year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

  1. To make quilted Christmas ornaments
  2. To make a quilt out of Nathan's 1st year of clothes
  3. To make Nathan a scrapbook/lifebook (made an album and first year book)
  4. To make an album of our travels
  5. To make a cookie salad
  6. To get brave and make a yeast bread
  7. To try 50 new recipes (1. Mint Brownies 2. chicken spaghetti 3. soft chocolate cookies 4. truffle pie 5. sloppy joes 6. meatloaf 7. beef stew with beer and paprika 8. Alfredo Sauce 9. pasta alla vodka 10. parmesan chicken brocoli 11. another mac and cheese recipe 12. pepper jack mac and cheese 13. chocolate chip kiss cookies 14. upside down pepperoni pizza casserole 15. chili cheese potato bake 16. beef tostadas 17. lasgna soup 18. noodle bake 19. knock you naked brownies 20. Hershey's chocolate chip cookies 21. easy granola bars 22. michigan granola bars 23. No bake granola bars 24. white chicken enchiladas 25. spicy dr. pepper shreddedd pork 26. BBQ Chicken Pizza )
  8. To make truffles yum!
  9. To make Irish Carbomb cupcakes
  10. Make a homemade cheesecake
  11. To organize the crawl space and get everything into plastic tubs
  12. To get Nathan a toy box/bin something! (I found some bins that could be utilized for this instead of tossing them Jan. 2011)
  13. To work on my weight! 50 lbs sounds reasonable in this amount of time! (3 more off go me!)
  14. To pay off some bills! (May something 2011!! YAY!)
  15. To save x amount in savings
  16. To see Rome
  17. To see Pisa/Florence
  18. Take the Crotia Boat Tour
  19. To go to Oktober Fest
  20. To allow a friend to baby sit Nathan (we're not too fond of this but it will have to happen eventually) (I left him with some friends while I ran an errand. It may have been for an hour but hey it counts!)
  21. To pass things Nathan outgrowns/doesn't need to those who need them (done regularly)
  22. To thin our home out by at least 300 items :) (1. Blender, 2. stand mixer, 3. exersaucer, 4. highchair, 3. suitcases 4. glasses 5. bookshelves 7. glider 8. baby bouncer 9. bottles/sterilizer 10. ps2 11. xbox 12. desk 13. diapers 14. moby wrap 15. old clothes 16. highchair (another one) 17. books 18. flower pots 19. license plate holder 20. vases 21. purses)
  23. To Not Drink coke for a whole month! or sobe! no caffine!
  24. To finish all my teas before I add to my collection
  25. To make a playdate a month for Nathan
  26. To take Nathan out for a walk everyday for one month
  27. To have a Christmas angel whether it be from the tree at the bx or donations to somewhere like Reece's Rainbow
  28. To get a better camera so we can get this little turkey on camera better! he's too fast for the one I have lol (got a new one!! Yay! see new toy post! may 2011)
  29. To finish the third blanket I started to crochet
  30. To actually knit a blanket or scarf just to complete something lol
  31. get Nathan a new bedroom set when we move to the states
  32. sell all Nathan's baby things before we move (sold his moby wrap, cloth diapers, giving away/donating clothes, handing down toys and bottles to cousin, sold the glider from his room)
  33. spend a christmas with family and not military family but actual fam ily
  34. pay off my car
  35. look for an affordable truck
  36. start having a movie night with my boys :) (love movie night with my boys)
  37. plan like a monthly game night with friends (well its not games but we eat together monthly so that counts!)
  38. to go to a concert!
  39. to get my monthly budget on track with the hubby's approval (budget on track woohoo!)
  40. to make a meatless meal a week
  41. to get a better cleaning routine down
  42. to read the entire bible
  43. to read at least 10 books on my bookshelf that I haven't read (on hold til after move)
  44. to cook something with coconut oil
  45. to stop using paper towels (we stopped for awhile but the hubby refuses to stop)
  46. to stop using paper plates (we are officially done with paper plates woohoo!)
  47. to get some plastic and/or non breakable cups (my mom sent me some for nathan and his little friends woohoo Dec 2010)
  48. to get a couple bread pans (I bought some Paula Deen metal ones that I LOVE! DONE!)
  49. to clean the kitchen out and get rid of things I don't use (yay done!)
  50. to get some more storage containers for the kitchen
  51. to start fixing up the Mustang so it can be a daily driver
  52. to get at least one in classroom class done
  53. get a tattoo in honor of Nathan
  54. Watch 26 movies I've never seen starting with each letter of the Alphabet
  55. go camping
  56. go sledding
  57. build a snowman
  58. run a 5k
  59. donate blood
  60. become a bone marrow donor
  61. make pasta from scratch
  62. send a post card to post secrets
  63. make a living will
  64. have a family potrait taken
  65. try zumba
  66. do p90 and actually finish it
  67. to go to Carnivale in Venice (went this year 2011 with a bunch of awesome friends!)
  68. to attend one of the high school plays on base
  69. open a savings account for Nathan
  70. to frame all the pictures of nathan we have so far
  71. get a new hair cut
  72. dye my hair
  73. go a whole week without complaining :)
  74. make my own cleaning supplies (loving the laundry soap, using baking soda instead of comet)
  75. make Nathan's Halloween costume
  76. learn Spanish
  77. start to learn to play the guitar
  78. get a sewing machine
  79. have a family picnic
  80. take a cooking class
  81. take a cake decorating class
  82. decorate my bedroom (just got a mirror to redo for it, now to find some artwork)
  83. cross stitch something
  84. give a friend a homemade gift (I made accordian photo albums for bday gifts this year three done! I gave friends handmade bracelets this year as well)
  85. not log onto facebook for a week!
  86. give up junk food for a month
  87. participate in a charity walk/run
  88. start the adoption process at our next duty station!
  89. learn to make my own curtians
  90. do a cleanse
  91. start a family tradition
  92. no fast food for a month (done while the hubby was gone)
  93. visit my sister in Texas
  94. visit friends in South Carolina
  95. write a list of important people in my life and send them all cards :)
  96. ask 10 people to recommend a book and actually read it
  97. write one new poem
  98. rewatch every season of Gilmore Girls
  99. find 5 movies that relate to adoption in a postive way (1. Meet the Robinsons, 2. Despicable Me 3. Tarzan 4. Hercules 5. Angels in the Outfield)
  100. try five new restuarants in Italy (1. chinese 2. Japanese Osaka)
  101. go geocaching at least once!
Ok so this is starting today Dec. 4, 2010 and should end around August 31, 2013 (wow that seems forever away!)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review: Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

I literally just received the books Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball in the mail yesterday and finished it before lunch time today. My son fell asleep in my arms and I really couldn't move and I honestly didn't want too because I was really enjoying this book!

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball A Novella Written by Donita K. Paul

It is a super sweet story that was mixed with a bit of magic which I honestly found a bit odd being a Christian fiction book and I wasn't quite sure if the characters in the book were a form of angels, but I truly enjoyed the bit of magic that was seen through out the whole book. I loved the story of two very different families, two very different people and how they came to find God, and how they came together.

I also really loved the character Sandy. She truly is an angel and I love how she talks about being a true child of God and being childlike. It was amazing. This is definitely a book I'll be telling friends about and recommending to them to read! Especially those who have special angels of their own at home!

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

My Little Man is Getting Teeth!!

So our little prince is getting his first teeth at 8 months old! He's not getting one, or two, or even three but four at the same time! My poor little man! He has not been sleeping well and I'm sure he's in pain from all his fussiness, but he's a trooper and as long as mama is holding him he's a happy camper which makes me happy since normally he is totally a daddy's boy!

We did have his pictures taken over the weekend and from the previews I've seen so far they are stinking adorable!

Here is a little preview for all of you!
They were done by a wonderful photographer here in the local area. You can totally look her up here at Fritsche Photography and trust me you won't be disappointed with her work!!! Plus it helps that I have the cutest baby boy in the world!!!

Other than teeth and pictures not much else is new in our wonderful little family :) We had an awesome Thanksgiving. My little man ate a TON and loved every minute of it. We have decorated our tree and hung our stockings and I'll post pics of that later since they're on the other computer! Baby boy already has a whole tree full of gifts and I still have to wrap a couple more and wait for all the families to get here in the mail. As many of you can imagine being the only grandchild on both sides of the family is going to make for a very spoiled boy! I can't wait though :) Today is also his 8 month birthday :( means he's going to be 1 in four short months. Oh and Nathan is pulling himself up and standing and is practicing standing on his own which means walking isn't far behind which I'm terrified of!

Well I hope everyone is having an amazing time of year! I know we are enjoying it teething and all :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

I am thankful for....

Happy Thanksgiving Pictures, Images and Photos

I am thankful for so much this year. Its been a truly blessed year and we couldn't have asked for more!
  • I am thankful for the most amazing and understanding hubby who ever walked this earth. 
  • I am thankful for the chance to be a mommy to the most amazing baby boy ever!
  • I am thankful that our adoption plan went quickly and smoothly.
  • I am thankful that our adoption is final!
  • I am thankful for our adoption group and the amazing people in it.
  • I am thankful for amazing family and friends who have been forever supportive of our little family.
  • I am thankful for the amazing opportunity to live in Italy and to be able to see some of the world. 
  • I am thankful to have all the things and comforts in my life that so many live without. 
  • I am thankful for an amazing sister and an amazing friend love you Meg!
  • I am thankful that I've had the same best friend who is forever caring and giving love you Jennifer!
  • I am thankful for my health, the health of my hubby, and my amazing little man. 
  • I am thankful that God makes all things possible and without him none of this would be possible.
  • I am thankful our housing situation worked out for the best.
  • I am thankful we have amazing people to spend Thanksgiving with. 
  • I am thankful my hubby has an amazing job to go to everyday now with awesome coworkers and super cool squadron to be a part of. 
  • I am thankful for so much. I love the life I have. I love my family and am truly blessed. Thank you God for everything you have given us. I am thankful for all the above and so much more!
I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend. Remember to give thanks for all the great things that go on in our daily lives. We are a truly blessed people and have many amazing opportunities given to us at all times.

I'd also like to thank all of you who have been so supportive of our little family. We feel truly blessed to have you in our lives!

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Another Year Almost Gone

    I am absolutely amazed at how quickly this year has flown by!! I can't believe we have this month and next and we get another whole new year! Maybe it had a lot to do with my baby boy coming and realizing how quickly time truly does fly! I can't believe how big he's gotten, all the things babies learn so quickly in that short amount of time!! It still feels like we brought home our little giant just last week :( and to think he'll be one in four months (and yes being the freak that I am I have already started planning things and buying things for his birthday. It won't be exactly what I had in mind but still fun! If you wanna join in on the festivities let me know! LOL)

    For some reason I have been reflecting on the past and our time here in Italy. Granted my first year here wasn't the happiest of ones, but after all is said and done we have truly enjoyed our time here. We have met some of the most amazing people who I know will be lifelong friends and we have also met others who tried to make our life hell for some unknown reason. Those of you who are great know who you are and those who tried to make our lives miserable know who they are as well (although if you're reading this you're way stalkerish! creepy!).

    As with most things you truly do learn from your experiences and so have we. We're even thinking of extending here and traveling a bit more with our little man since we weren't able to do much this year with all the craziness that is adoption (which those of you on our same journey or been here before totally understand!).

    The adoption is self my oh my was every emotion you could ever mix up into one person! Seriously! But it was so worth it in the end and we have the most amazing son ever! We LOVE and ADORE this little man. He is just amazing to watch. He is sooo smart, almost too smart of his own good and it drives me nuts sometimes, but boy does it make his daddy laugh! We are truly enjoying every minute we have with him and love everything he does. God truly blessed us with an amazing little soul. If you met him you totally understand what I'm talking about!

    We are so looking forward to this whole holiday season as well. A lot more firsts for our little man! Plus my hubby's new squadron rocks and we have all sorts of activities to do on base as well! Totally looking forward to the lunchoen. I'm totally looking forward to taking my little prince to the MXG Children's Christmas party! How fun will it be to start doing family things like this every year?!?! Yes I already RSVP'd our little family to go!! I'll take pics of our little man. Plus the squadron party will be fun as well :) I can't wait to decorate for Christmas this  year! Now only if my new things will come in for the holidays! so excited!!

    Even with the negatives we've endure during our time here the positives always seem to out way them. We've been truly blessed with everything :) 

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Pictures of my little giant

    My little giants hands are sooo big!

    Baby boy enjoying his friend

    He was so happy to have someone to play with and watch cartoons with it was so cute!

    I just oiled his scalp and he looked so stinking cute in his durag!

    Yes, its a disposable diaper...he gets one before bed so he doesn't wake up wet in the morning. It was only fair to him.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Hair Products

    My newest obsession in life is hair products and not for myself but for my son! I know sounds weird at first but if you've seen pics of him you know he has the most amazing head of hair for a seven month old and I'm reading anything and everything I can get my hands on about his hair and about hair products. Man oh man if you want to confuse yourself def check out an African American Haircare line! There are all sorts of things you can use and no two heads of hair use the same products, amount of products, and it can get rather confusing! Thank goodness he is still a little guy so its pretty manageable and he's not having to go to school, but we are trying to keep his curls and hair as natural as possible so we know as parents how to properly care for it when he wants it grown out to braid or what not. So far I've tried a baby line for him its called It's a Curl...I'm not sure if I like the line or not...I think I'm leaning towards not because his hair still seems really dry to me. But it has a tear free shampoo its organic and made specifically for babies if you're interested in trying it. The website is and they have a children's line and an adult line as well...

    I am looking at a couple other online sites as well. and to buy products from as well. I prefer the all natural products for my son which is rather funny now that I think about all the horrible crap I put in my own hair, but I'll just deal with one head at a time! There are a few other sites I've been on that are all natural but these two have peaked my interest for the time being.

    I've also been using pure coconut oil to oil his scalp with boy oh boy does it smell good and is absolutely one of the best oils out there. It can literally be used for everything! Haircare, skincare, and even cooking and eating it! I'm not a fan of eating coconut so we haven't tried this but our little man sure does smell good!!

    If anyone else out there in cyber world has any suggestions on haircare lines I could look at def let me know!

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    I Love the Fall

    There is just so much goodness everywhere during this time of year especially when you live overseas!

    I love carving pumpkins and baking pumpkin seeds which we did this year and they turned out so yummy! Check out my recipe blog Recipes To Live By for Cinnasweet pumpkin seeds so good!!

    I can't wait for Thanksgiving and all the yummy goodness that comes with that! I am already baking breads and will probably have to freeze a few! I will be posting the recipes soon :)

    And the festivals here are amazing....its beautiful in Europe during the fall. My favorite time to be here!

    I can't wait for Christmas...Little man's first one! We ordered new stockings, a family ornament, his first ornament, so many gifts for him! I love it!

    I love the fall....

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Happy Halloween!

    Just because he's so stinking cute in this pic!
    Our attempt at decorating...not great but hey we worked with what we had!

    My favorite pumpkin! He looks awesome!

    I love this guy too he's just more traditional :)

    We weren't going to dress baby boy up but we had this old time baseball outfit that my mom sent him so we decided to use that as his costume instead of buying him a new one. I think he looks stinking cute, but then again I am his mama LOL.

    My little man with his pumpkins. His first Halloween!

    My two boys all dressed up for Halloween. I love them!

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Random Ramblings

    I forgot to post pics from my birthday picnic last month! We went to Lake Barcis and it was absolutely beautiful! The weather was amazing and our little man was in the best of moods. I didn't want to do anything too big for my bday so I spent it with the two most important people in my life and couldn't have asked for a better day!

    Sept. 19, 2010 Lake Barcis :)

    We have seriously amazing news to share with everyone! Our adoption is final! Baby boy is ours now and forever and officially has our last name now woohoo us!! A super awesome woman here makes cakes and made one for our adoption day and of course we let Nathan have a tiny piece which he made a big ole mess with but it was really fun to watch! Here's a couple pics from our special night!

    For my little prince :)

    He is like what the heck is this!

    It was so funny to see his face! I love when he tries new textures!

    daddy and son

    He really loved the cake in the end.

    Its amazing the things God does for our familes on a daily basis. We have truly been blessed this past year and couldn't have asked for more. Our adoption came together so smoothly and so quickly. The way everything flowed together was truly a blessing because if you know anything of the adoption world for us to be picked only two months in and to actually have our baby and no failed places is simply amazing. We have been constantly told by the social workers and agencies and even other adoptive families that we are definitely one of the lucy ones. I thank God everyday for this little man and for making things go so smoothly. We would love more than anything to have a second child in the next couple of years but honestly I am terrified to start the process again because the second time around couldn't possibly go as easily....could it?

    The housing situation here in Aviano went crazy and thankfully we were not affected by it at all! My amazingly wonderful hubby is going to be starting a new job at the Group in the near future and I am so excited for him! He will be getting so many new experiences and learning and bettering himself in the process. I'm really proud of him! He is also now the treasure of Aviano AFSA on base and I'm extremely proud of him getting out there and becoming apart of something. Plus he has been really helpful and encouraging on this whole adoption support group I'm trying to get started on base. God does truly work in amazing ways!

    We are also considering extending here for a year, but it depends on the housing situation of course. We really don't want to have to worry about living on the economy. We are enjoying our time here and our new little family. We love all the things we get to see and baby boy already has more stamps in his passport than most adults...too bad he's getting a new one here in a month! I guess he'll just have to start over and get even more!

    Life is good. God is amazing. Our Family is awesome!

    Diesel protecting his baby...he loves his baby!

    His first time in his high chair!

    Look oh so cute!

    Hey! Hey You! I'm talking to you! So freaking cute!

    He likes to do leg presses now! Yeah I can't leave him alone with that toy anymore I'm terrified he's going to hurt himself! He is def all boy though LOL. OH and he growls now soooooo funny!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Aviano Adoption Support Group

    As you all know we have adopted the most beautiful baby boy ever. He is literally the light of our life and through everything we went through and did we wouldn't change any of it.

    If you have never been any where in the adoption process its hard to understand the feelings and emotions that go into and sometimes its nice to have a person or a group to go through it with. When I began our journey I joined a yahoo group called Adoption for Americans Abroad that was started many years ago by Randy Barlow the social worker that we worked with to get our adoption process started. On this site a super amazing person found me and started emailing me long before I ever made it to Italy. Brandy and I were each others adoption buddies and I was so glad that someone had found me and was going through the same thing because seriously if you've never done it then its hard to understand. It was because a great support group like the one above that helped us to connect with one another and to have a friend to help us along our way. I am happy to say that we both were able to adopt and that our children are literally a week apart from each other! How something like that happened I will never know, but it was all part of God's plan for us!

    Because of this amazing experience I've had with Brandy (who I truly call a great friend) and because we are very open about our adoption experience we have met several other families who have adopted, want to adopt, or are in the process of adopting. These same people have encouraged me to form a support group and although it has taken me months to actually get on board and do the leg work I have finally done so. I am really excited about it and about bringing a much needed support to our area. With the help of several others we are getting our Aviano Adoption Support Group off the ground! I am really excited about it all!! We now have a Facebook fan page Aviano Adoption Support Group and also a yahoo group (which is private so I must add you) Aviano Adoption Support Group Yahoo Page and our own email if you'd like to contact us at

    I have amazing people helping me with all parts of this group. One family has been amazing enough to all us to have our Welcome Luncheon (our first meeting ever!) this Saturday in her home and I couldn't be more thrilled! I have amazing people who have been helping me figure out how to become a base group, where to go, ideas of where meetings can/should be held, moderators for the group and so much more. Plus we have a few other families also interested and getting our name out there! I am trying to pick one day a month where we can get the families together and to also find a place we can all gather that is family friendly. I will def post when I figure this all out!

    Its amazing how things come together when they're suppose to. God sure does work in amazing ways!

    Thank you all so much for your support!!!

    Click to join AvianoAdoptionSupportGroup

    Click to join AvianoAdoptionSupportGroup

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Italian Cooking Class

    I had the most fun ever today! I got to take a cooking class in a local Italian woman's home and it was so neat!! If you know me at all you know I love to cook, so this was a real treat for me. My hubby paid for the class for me for my birthday which was last weekend. The menu was a bit different than what I had originally signed up for but it sure was a lot of fun and yummy anyhow!

    We started out the class with dessert because it has to set in the fridge. We made Tiramisu which I'm totally not a fan of because I'm not a coffee drink and think the taste is just awful. Here are some pics of the Tiramisu coming together.

    Making the first letter of Tiramisu

    Dipping the lady fingers in a espresso and coffee liquor (ick!)

    Making the second layer

    Me being a dork

    Tasting the cream that goes over the lady fingers

    Justina tasting the creamy filling :)

    Our instructors melting the sugar.

    Tiramisu Recipe


    1 cup sugar
    2 1/2 tablespoons water
    5 egg yolks
    2 cups Mascarpone cheese (if you can't find this they said cream cheese is a good substitute)
    1 cup Heavy cream
    1 package Savoiardi or ladyfiners (sponge fingers)
    2 cups strong italian coffee (espresso)
    1/4 cup kalua liqueur
    Cocoa powder


    1. In a pan over medium heat, combine sugar and wather and bring to a boil. When transparent it is ready. (about 5 minutes)

    2. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and start whipping the yolks, add sugar syrup slowly, whipping continuously, until cold, pale yellow and thick. This will take about 7 minutes. (don't add the hot sugar too quickly because it will cook the eggs)

    3. Folding bottom to top add mascropone cheese.

    4. Wash beaters well and whip heavy cream

    5. Now with a spatula add cream to the mascarpone folding bottom to top.

    6. In a deep bowl put coffee and Kalua

    7. Quickly dip each ladyfinger into the mixture (do not keep too much liquid or it will be really soggy)

    8. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with soaked ladyfingers

    9. Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the ladyfingers. Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with the remaining mascarpone.

    10. Refrigerate for several hours.

    11. Before serving sprinkle with cocoa powder.

    **This is a super easy process. I always thought tiramisu was something that would be hard to put together, but surprisingly it wasn't too bad I don't like it! I'm not a coffee fan but everyone in my class LOVED it, so this just may be something you want to try!**

    She then showed us how to peel a tomatoes, by cutting an x in the bottom and then putting them in a boiling pan of water for 10 seconds

    and as you can see it pulls off quite easily

    Me cutting up tomatoes

    still cutting up tomatoes for Pasta all Norma

    Justina cutting up zuchinni for the risotto.

    she had them start it since it was the only thing that needed to be chopped

    The eggplant cooking for the Pasta alla Norma

    You have to continuously stir the risotto as it cooks and keep adding vegetable broth for 20 minutes. If you also notice the spoon has a hole in the center and this spoon is suppose to help it stay creamy. We all took turns stirring cause our arms got tired.

    Pasta a la Norma


    3-4 medium oval shaped eggplants
    3 lbs fresh tomatoes (or you can use canned)
    2 1/2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic chopped
    1/4 teaspoon salt, kosher
    1 lb tortiglioni or rigatoni
    6 leaves of fresh basil
    6 tablespoons of goat cheese or parmesan cheese

    • Wash eggplants and cut them into cubes (cut seeds out because they're too soft)
    • Put in a strainer and salt them. Leave for about half an hour. so they loose their water
    • Wash and cut a cross into the bottom of the tomatoes
    • Plunge them into boiling water and as the water goes back to a boil take them out. (about 10 seconds) Then rinse with cold water.
    • Peel and dice them, take seeds off. Set aside
    • Squeeze the water out of the eggplants
    • Using 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil fry eggplants until golden
    • Take eggplants out of pan and set aside
    • In sauce pan add remaining olive oil and garlic, do not let brown
    • Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add basil leaves (torn by hand).
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
    • Cook pasta according to directions on package
    • Drain pasta and transfer to the pan with tomatoes sauce
    • Pour over eggplants and mix well for 1 minute over medium heat
    • Arrange pasta on plate and sprinkle with cheese and serve
    Risotto with Zucchini


    12 ounces Rice for risotto (carnaroli or arborio)
    10 ounces zucchini, diced
    1 tablespoon onion, chopped
    2 1/2 pints beef stock
    2 ounces butter
    4-5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    salt and pepper


    1. Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.

    2. In a saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion over medium heat for two minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    3. Add the rice and toast, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.

    4. Add the wine and allow to bubble briskly until evaporated.

    5. Add 1/2 cup broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until the broth is nearly all absorbed. Continue cooking, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to absorb before adding the next. The risotto is done when the rice is tender and creamy, about 20 minutes.

    6. Remove from heat. Add the buter and parmesan and stir for 1 minute.

    7. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

    Getting ready to eat.

    Enjoying our risotto and wine the first course omgoodness it was a lot of food!

    We had a great time! If you're in the area or coming to visit def ask us about taking a class! We are hoping to do another one next month! Woohoo us!