Thursday, September 29, 2011

Failed Blogger

I have been such a letdown with blogger lately. ha! I swear, I do have my reasons.

First and foremost, Kevin has switched shifts. He is now on swing shift, which is the military's version of second shift. When I found out that Kevin was going on swings I was not happy at all. When we first arrived to Aviano, Kevin was shuffled around shifts so we got to experience all of them. Right before Rosalie was born he was switched from nights to days and he's been on days ever since. For 2 years now we've been in a routine and BAM just like that, it changed. I don't do well with change. We all saw what PCSing to Aviano did to me! ha! They kind of prepared us two months out for the shift change. Finally I sat down and actually thought of what it would be like when Kevin went on swings and stopped looking at the negative of it being a change. It turns out that we LOVE this shift! Kevin gets to spend way more time with Rosalie. When he was on days he wouldn't get home until about five. We would eat dinner, Rosalie would get her bath, and by 7:30 she would be in bed. He only got 2 1/2 hours with her. With him being on swings, he's usually up by 7:30/8 and he doesn't have to leave until 2 in the afternoon, so he gets a good 6 hours with her. We've been taking advantage of the family time. We've been walking every morning and we can actually go do things as a family in the morning before Kevin has to go to work. I have decreased my internet time with Kevin going onto this shift. After he leaves, Rosalie and I usually do stuff together until it's time for her to eat dinner. After dinner she baths and then we watch cartoons and read. She still goes to bed at 7:30, but after she goes to bed I have all my daytime chores to do.. clean.. laundry.. bows. If I don't have anything that needs done, I usually read.

Reason number 2 for no blogging... I HAVE NO CAMERA! :( When we went to Tuscany the flash on my camera stopped working. I contacted Nikon and they wanted me to send it in to be serviced. They have had it since the middle of August. I was kind of irritated because it was only a few months old and I have taken excellent care of it. They said they wouldn't honor the warranty and I had to pay $100 to have it fixed. It was supposively shipped from Nikon last week and I haven't seen it yet. I'm get extremely antsy with Halloween and Rosalie's birthday coming up. Not to mention I have been crazy making bows for Rosalie and for my shop and I have no means to take pictures of them to put them on my site. I'm going to be bombarded with bow pictures when my camera finally arrives. Speaking of bows, things have really slowed down lately. With the closing of my online store and not having my camera to upload new pics, I haven't had as many orders and I really don't mind. For awhile I was so overwhelmed with orders and I wanted to make bows for Rosalie's fall clothes and I just didn't have the time. In the past month Rosalie has probably gotten about 20+ bows so I think she's set for the winter months.

Not much has been happening here. My, Mom, Dad, and Jacob are coming over for Rosalie's birthday! We're so excited that she'll get to spend her birthday with my family. I know my Mom was disappointed that she missed out on Rosalie's birthday last year. They are coming the week before Halloween and we're going to celebrate Roey's birthday early. We're not having a party this year because we spent entirely too much money last year and she'll never remember and she's not old enough to even know. I'm going to make her cake because I paid a fortune for her cake last year and was very disappointed in it. I bought a crown shaped cake pan and have been doing trial runs. I'm not to shabby! We're going to rent a bouncy castle for her and Jake and do presents and cake a few days before my parents leave. We don't really have much planned for when they come. We're going to go Festa Della Zucca (The Pumpkin Festival in Venzone). They arranged their trip around the festival because that was something my mom really wanted to do. We're just going to stay local and do things in the area. We're spent on traveling and my Dad keeps saying that he isn't coming to see Italy, he's coming to see us. lol.

Today is the Bella Befana Bazaar on base. I'm excited! I've been telling Kevin since we got here that when I leave Italy I will have an Italian made wine rack. Every bazaar we don't go until the 2nd day and by then they are always all gone. I'm making sure I'm there at 12 when they open up today so I can get a rack.

I can't believe that in 1 month Rosalie will be 2. Boy the time is flying. I have her pictures schedule, with PumpkinCharm Photography again! She's also going to get Halloween pictures done since her birthday and Halloween fall on the same week. I have 2 birthday outfits ready for her.. bows are made.. and I just ordered shoes this morning. She's outgrowing EVERYTHING. She's going to be a 50s girl for Halloween. Her poodle skirt and shirt have been here for weeks now and the bows are made. I ordered her these cute bobby socks with poodles on them and ordered her some plain white sneakers this morning. I really wanted to get her saddle shoes but no place has them small enough for her. :(

Well that's about all I have.. a little lady is getting impatient and wants to go get her bath!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Homemade Soft Pretzels

About a month ago, PCS fever set again. I started getting extremely anxious about moving back to the states and started thinking about the things I miss about America. I started getting excited thinking about being able to drive or fly and see family in only a couple of hours, instead of days wrapped up in traveling.. being able to walk into a Toys R Us to Christmas shop for Rosalie... Olive Garden... Target.. just being able to shop in stores in general... not having to use a transformer when I want to use any type of appliances... oh boy i'm getting anxious just thinking about it again hahah. In all my yearnings for American things, I started craving and I mean CRAVING Auntie Anne's Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels. Probably one of my all time favorite treats. (forget it... i'm not pregnant! just a woman missing America!)

Then I remembered a recipe that I had found and stashed in my card box that I had never attempted. It was a Auntie Anne's imitation recipe. In my opinion, I don't think it tasted like Auntie Anne's, BUT they were soo yummy! I made half with salt and half with cinnamon sugar per Kevin's request. He said he didn't like cinnamon sugar that he wanted salt. Well after he had a taste of my pretzel, he regretted telling me to do salt ones lol. I don't think the salt ones were anything spectacular.. but I didn't have them fresh out of the oven. I tried one 3 days later after they were stored in a lock'n'lock container, which was a mistake. It made them entirely too moist and gross.

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

1 1/2c Warm Water
1 1/8 tsp active yeast
2 tbls brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp salt
1 c bread flour
3 c regular flour
2 c warm water
2 tbls baking soda
coarse salt (If you chose to do salted)
2-4 tbls melted butter (for salted)
1/2c sugar + 1tsp cinnamon = perfect cinnamon sugar
1 stick of melted butter for cinnamon sugar pretzels

-Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water (1 1/2c water); stir to dissolve.
-Add brown sugar and salt; stir to dissolve.
-Add flour (Both types) and knead dough until smooth.
-Let dough rise at least 1/2 hour.
-When it's time to do the pretzels, prepare a baking soda bath using 2 c warm water and 2 tbls baking soda. Stir often. I stirred every time before dipping a pretzel in.
-After dough has risen, pinch off bits and dough and roll into a long rope (About 1 /2 in or less thick) and shape into a pretzel. I had a hard time with rolling into a rope and it took my so long to do this part. I don't know why.. but I had a hard time getting it thin.. every time I would get it about the size it should be I would end up ripping it lol. Although by the end I had perfect looking pretzels!
-Dip pretzel into soda solution and place on a greased sheet.
-Allow pretzel to rise.
-Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
-If doing cinnamon sugar: Dip in bowl of melted butter and then dip in bowl with cinnamon sugar mixture.
-If doing salt: Baste with butter and sprinkle with coarse salt.


Friday, September 2, 2011


We've been so blessed to be able to travel around Europe the past 3 years. There are so many countries and cities that we have visited and when I think about those experiences I have nothing but awesome memories. This last trip we took was the exception to that. Our trip to Tuscany went so bad that it was enough for both of us to say "We've had enough traveling." Don't get me wrong.. Tuscany is amazingly beautiful. It's like right out of a movie, but all of the things that went wrong on that trip are enough to cloud the beauty of it.

Our morning started at 2:30 am. We had to be at the base by 4 to catch our bus. I packed Rosalie a lunch and an extra cup of milk in my playtex cooler. We got to the base and in the hurry to get everything out of the jeep, I forgot the cooler. I shoulda known right then and there it was going to be a bad day.

It was almost 80 out at 4am. The bus had absolute no AC. Rosalie fell asleep as soon as we started off which was awesome.. but we had to pass her back and forth just because she gives off so much heat when she sleeps.

We stopped 3 hours at an Auto Grill, which is basically an Italian rest stop. Rosalie got a fresh diaper and dressed for the day.. got all dolled up and we headed back to the bus ready to finish our journey. We got on the bus and got Rosalie's dvd player out and got her set up with breakfast. She didn't want to eat. She didn't want to drink, which is very unusual for her. She just laid her head down on Kevin's lap. We knew something was up. She started getting clammy so Kevin picked her up and put her on his lap. Then it started.

We spent the next 3 hours dealing with Rosalie vomiting everywhere. Thank goodness she did not drink any milk or eat any cereal. She was throwing up straight water. By the team we reached our first stop, Volterra, Kevin and Rosalie were both soaking wet and stinky. The best part: I laid her out an extra outfit to take JUST IN CASE and I left it sitting on the hope chest upstairs. FML.

When we got off the bus it was like a sigh of relief for Rosalie. She started perking up and getting her color back. She even ate her breakfast. We went on a guided tour of Volterra and then had some free time. We ended up being there the same time as their local market so we hit it up. Since we've been here we've never gone to any of the local markets. It wasn't what we expected. Did you know the sell delicates at the markets? Well i don't know if they all do but this one did lol. "Hey hunny, I'm going to run down to the local market and pick up some skimpy undies."

We had lunch at a tiny lil pizza joint and it was the first time since we've been here that I was disgusted by Italian pizza. Usually I'm the first one to say "let's get some pizza instead of having a sit down meal." But holy man.. that pizza was terrible. Strike 3 for the trip.

Volterra is famous for it's Alabaster, and the Twilight Series lol. Rosalie came home with a huge alabaster ladybug, a little alabaster ladybug magnet that says "Volterra" on it, and a hand carved alabaster heart that says "Twilight, Volterra" on it.

We boarded the bus around 1 and headed to San Gimignano. It was about an hour away from Volterra. Naturally Rosalie started getting bus sick again. Thankfully she was able to hold it in though lol.

We got to San Gim. and Rosalie had enough. She was tired. She was hot. Oh, forgot to mention.. it was about 100 out. We walked into the entrance of the city and she lost it. She started crying uncontrollably. She didn't want anything. She didn't want held. She didn't want down. She didn't want to drink. She didn't want to eat. Ugh. People were staring. Kevin was at his wits end. Me? How was I acting at this point? Well to be honest, I just want to throw myself on the ground with her and start bawling my eyes out. I just wanted to go home. My poor baby didn't feel good. She didn't want to be there. She wanted to be in her own home, with her toys, with AC.

Kevin suggested just to keep on walking, keep her occupied. I suggested that he throw her up on his shoulders because she really likes that. Well both of those things were the ticket. She calmed down and was as happy as a peacock. She ended up leaving San Gim. with 2 snow globes, which we started collecting for her after we went to Austria and Kevin and I came home with some wine. I'm shocked we didn't pop it open on the ride home. Ha!

Around 5:30 we headed back for Aviano. Good riddance. We just wanted to get home. Thankfully Rosalie did not get sick on the ride home and slept the entire way. I'm so glad she did sleep though because we hit traffic and it took us an extra hour to get home. I don't know how she slept on the bus. It was so muggy and miserable. Then all of the sudden the AC started working again and the bus became a freezing icebox.

You have no idea how painful it was for me to write this entry. The.Trip.Was.A.Nightmare.

Now that you read about the nightmare we lived, how about the beauty of Tuscany......


It's probably for the best that we don't live in this town... pretty sure the jeep wouldn't fit on this road lol
Reason #1 Not to eat at the local market
Even after vomiting all morning she was still smiling.
Roman theater ruins

and San Gimignano.....