Sunday, August 23, 2015


The Italian and B are moving again-- and this time its to Minnesota, and it feels a bit more permanent than when they went to upstate New York.  

They dropped a bunch of stuff off to us that they didn't want to move/couldn't fit into the truck.  We will save it for them for when they visit us again. 

Truly, they are amazing people and we are lucky to have them in our lives.  We will definitely be visiting them in the Land of Thousand Lakes-- but probably only in the spring.  Dear, dear friends, we love and adore you and wish you all the luck in the world in your new adventure. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Flashback: Venice, Italy

Mom and Dad and Will and I parted ways after Siena.  They headed home via Milan and we headed to Venice. The city is amazing but the tourists!  We swarm the city and I am surprised aren't causing the city to sink faster.  It was fun to wander around the streets and over the foot bridges.  We enjoyed the museums, and the food, but mainly, we just got lost on purpose. 
line of gondolas on one of the canals

Rialto Bridge

houses along the Grand Canal

along the Grand Canal

waiting for dinner

Bridge of Sighs

Grand Canal in the moonlight

Golden screen at San Marco

Grand Canal in the moon light

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Flashback: Siena, Italy

Flashing back to our summer vacation last year, it is easy to say that of all the places we visited, Siena was our favorite city to visit.  We loved the various districts that the medieval city is divided into: dragon! porcupine! unicorn! GIRAFFE!

The cathedral with the stripes both inside and out was our favorite as well.  The stories laid out in the floor were much more interesting to look at then the religious portraits in other naves.

Tuscan vineyard on our way to Siena

stopping at a winery for a quick taste!

leaving Florence (finally!) and driving into the Siena area

lunch at an amazing cafe and grocery, Menchetti

never seen (nor tasted) tomatoes as beautiful as these

Siena's Palazzo Pubblico, where the Palio, the horse race, is run yearly

Double Eagle contrada sign

Siena Cathedral

Rhino contrada

picnic outside the cathedral, listening to a choir from University of Manchester

an amazing breakfast danish at Nannini's

Giraffa contrada

Mom and Dad on the wall at Montreggino


all of us at Volterra


Siena with the Cathedral on the hill

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Apples from Our Tree

Our apple tree is finally producing apples of an unknown variety.  Smallish, tart, and pink (if they stay on the tree long enough).  We picked about kilo of them last weekend. So far, I have made apple sauce and a delicious apple custard tart. The apples kept their shape and taste in the tart. 
my apple custard tart
It wasn't too custardy (because some slipped out of the crust during baking), but the crowd agreed that it was yummy and Will thought that the proportions of fruit-to-filling was spot on.  The custard may not have been so, ah, custardy as I had hoped because I didn't use single cream.  I used 2% milk and there just isn't enough fat in it.  Still, I was pleased with the outcome. 

It is really the first time that we have gotten this bounty from the tree.  Will's parents were exceptionally thrilled to see the amount of fruit, considering they are the ones that planted it. Once we pick the last apple, we definitely have to trim it back.  Our yard and our neighbor's yard are covered in fallen, rotting apples. 

In the meantime, I will make more apple sauce and our neighbor's kids will feed more apples to their horses.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Flashback: Florence

After Rome, we went to Florence.  Two days to wander around and see all the arts, the Duomo, the other churches, the gardens, the museums, and, of course, Pont Vecchio. 

the bell tower
Lion at the Piazza
 We wandered over from the Duomo to the Piazza della Signoria and the Palazzo Vecchio, the heart of Florence political and social life for centuries.  Into and up the stairs of the Uffizi, Italy's greatest art gallery that was built in the 1560-80 to house the offices of Duke Cosimo de Medici I. 

 Afterwards, we walked over Pont Vecchio, where gold and jewelry shops seem to multiple.


Dinner at Trattoria 4 Leoni-- I highly recommend it!!--ended a perfect day in Florence. 

 The day we went to see the David, the Orto Botanico, and the Galileo Museum.  We ended the day at the Michangelo Piazza, above Florence, with stunning views of the city. 

outside the Galileo Museum, on the zodiac sign for Taurus. 

Galileo's index finger...  gross

Mom at the Orto Botanico
The Duomo just dominates the skyline of Florence

this is what I looked like all throughout Italy.

Pont Vecchio at night