Not a shabby view.  Lake Garda






We're about at the half way point of Summer 2013.  It's hard to know for sure because unlike in the States, our school doesn't release any calendar information until about two weeks before school starts.  It's a big unknown until we see the sign posted outside the school.  My best guess is that the kids will head back around September 9th and, for now, that's good enough for me. 

This summer has been one for the books.  We've had a good mix of free time and scheduled activities and have really enjoyed our time together.  Some of the highlights have been:

:: "Camping" (we were in mobile homes) at Lake Garda with three other families.  Nothing kicks off summer like a weekend away with 8 adults and 13 kids in an amazing part of Italy. 

:: Lots of time at the beach, various rivers and ponds playing in the sun.

:: Reading tons of books.  I'm not sure who has read more, me or Jack.  

:: Board games of all kinds.  Yes, even the dreaded Life.  It's amazing how much I loved playing that with my siblings and cousins as a kid and now I say a little prayer every time I tell someone to "go pick out a game".

:: A night in Verona to celebrate our 14th anniversary and experience our first opera thanks to sweet friends that loved on our kids while we were gone.  

:: Enjoying 30 meters of pizza with friends and neighbors at our town's pizza festival.

Throw in BBQs, birthday celebrations, dinner parties, a day in Venice with friends and I'd say the past 6 weeks have been pretty amazing.


Salad for Breakfast



One morning last week I woke to my body telling me I must feed it salad for breakfast.  My usual smoothie or veggie/egg scramble wasn't going to cut it.  

It was raw, crunchy veggies or nothing at all.

I'm not one to get too caught up on the appropriate times to eat certain foods so I obliged.

I've been on a bit of a cabbage and slaw kick (no, not the kind you get at the deli of your local grocery) and decided to come up with a Thai-ish version of my own.  I'm not much of a recipe girl when I'm throwing things together and tend to adjust as I go but I jotted down what I used that day and thought I'd share it.

Garden Veggie Slaw with Thai Peanut Dressing

1 small cabbage (green, red or half of each), shredded

1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 carrot, grated

1 small zucchini, grated

1/4 c chopped parsley

1 can garbonzos, rinsed and drained


2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T all natural peanut butter

2 T Tamari

1 T (real) maple syrup

1 T sesame oil

2 T olive oil

juice of one lime

1/4 t hot chili oil

1 t Apple cider vinegar (I like Braggs)

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Place the dressing ingredients in a lidded jar, shake well to combine.  (You can also combine them all in a small bowl with a wisk).  

Because I wanted to save some for a few additional meals I didn't dress the entire salad.  Insead I dressed it as I went.  Either way works well.  Enjoy!


I made this again today but had different ingredients on hand so I added a bit of finely sliced celery and omitted the parsley.  For the dressing I also omitted the chili and sesame oils, apple cider vinegar and lime but added some rice wine vinegar and sriracha sauce.  Unfortunately, I didn't write down the amounts but the acid/oil ratio was about the same and I enjoyed today's dressing more.

After a long weekend of fun (ahem), this really hit the spot at lunch today.







This boy of mine. 

He’s our silly, feisty, goofy one. 

The youngest, and lately, the most challenging.

As summer approached, I began to get nervous about how on
earth we would manage the days with all of the sibling arguments and complaints
about being bored.  And, to be honest, I
wondered how I would survive having this one home all day every day for three
months.  I had tried to get him into camp
with his brother and sister but he isn’t old enough.

Connor not going to camp turns out to have been the biggest
blessing of the summer.  Because having
him home, alone with me has reminded me of what a sweet treasure he is. 

I’m realizing that much of his frustrating behavior stems
from the fact that he has been in school every day from 9-4 since we moved
here.  While this was a huge positive
with regards to his learning Italian, it meant that the only time he was home
was during the two most challenging parts of the day; before school and evening
(with all of the lovely dinner and bedtime stress fun).  He came home wanting attention from Jeff and
I and while we didn’t ignore him it often wasn’t quality one-on-one love from
his mom and dad. 

This past week (and for the next two) Jack and Morgan have spent each afternoon
at camp in our town. This gives Connor and I four hours to read,
cook, rest and play just the two of us. 

It is a gift. 

I’ve realized again how funny, creative and loving he is.  It has been a delight.  One I will embrace over the next two weeks
and cherish as we shift into a new school rhythm this fall.  

Counting through the Lens

Morning light




I’ve mentioned how much I love 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp
several times.  The idea of giving thanks
in all circumstances and how that can shape one’s perception of life is

Over the past weeks, I’ve been rereading the book with my friends in Ft.
Collins, Alice and Mindy (Yahoo for Facetime!!).  We agree that the actual counting and writing
of gifts is the key to changing our perspective and yet it seems to be a challenge
for all three of us.  It’s so simple and
so hard in the midst of our day-to-day craziness. 

As we’ve talked through this, and other issues, I’ve been
drawn (and encouraged) to pick up my camera more.  To change my perspective while embracing something
that brings me great joy in and of it self. 

For me, gratitude flows when I view life, in all of its
wonderful mess, through the lens.

As that perspective shifts, the counting begins again.