Hello ... Nice To See You Again!

Things are starting to look up again. This past summer was rough for me but I'm feeling like my old self again. I smile at the sweetest things in life and laugh at myself when I have unknowingly done something foolish. Through it all, though, my kids have always kept me on my toes, and more importantly, grinning from ear to ear whenever they are around. :-)

Everyone is back into a routine. The kids are back in school and daycare, and my husband and I are back to work. Fall is slowly creeping up with shorter days and longer nights, cooler temperatures, and the wonderful colours that the season has in store. Don't get me wrong. I miss the long summer days and freshly picked strawberries, but I do LOVE the scents and warmth that fall brings. :-)

(Left) Boys napping on flight from Paris to Boston.  (Right) Brotherly love while waiting for connecting flight to Detroit.

Since my last post, a lot of things have happened in my life. For starters, I returned to Canada with the kids, just as I had promised my mom. This year's trip wasn't as stressful as last year's, but it was long. Once we set foot on Canadian soil, it felt really good to be home, but more importantly, to see my mom again. 

Red Velvet & Chocolate Cupcakes, my brother's and SIL's pizza, Cassata Siciliana
One of the first things we did after we arrived, was celebrate my mom's and my son's birthdays. We had red velvet and chocolate cupcakes for the kids, and of course, my dad ordered the famous Italian Cassata Siciliana for my mom. The family party wasn't complete without my brother's and SIL's pizza (they own a pizzeria). The party really put everyone in a good mood, especially my parents (it's not something that they're used to). They eagerly and happily watched their grand kids unwrap the birthday presents.

The next huge event was unwrapping the HUGE Easter egg that sat in my parents' dining room for a year and a half. My dad had saved it for the kids to open. The egg was almost as tall as me (I'm about 5'2 or 150 cm tall) and it weighed a whopping 6 kg / 13 lbs! I wasn't sure what to do with all that chocolate. The kids ate quite a bit and my dad froze the leftover for another time. Inside the egg was an adult size watch. The funny thing is that it ticked the whole time that it was inside the egg, but a week after it was unpacked, the battery died. Go figure ... lol.

The two older ones wanted to play in the water, while the younger one wanted to play at the playground.




On another day, a very close friend of mine took us swimming for the day, and then to the Greenview Aviaries Park & Zoo, located in Morpeth, Ontario, not far from Chatham. You know, I worked in Chatham for almost 5 years and never knew that there was a zoo near by ... but then again, that was before I devoted my life to motherhood. My favourite moment at the zoo was when the goats were gnawing on the wooden deck and there may have been a little tongue action going on (see photo on the right).  ;-)

After the trip to the zoo, things quieted down a bit until my aunt and my cousin arrived from Italy. They arrived a week before I left, and the entire time that we were together, all we talked about was food. I asked my aunt about the things that my grandmother in Italy used to make, such as taralli, pane anitco (old world bread), and my personal favourite, maccheroni calabresi. Below are some of of the things we made.

Old World Calabrian Bread

The first thing that my aunt showed me was how to make the pasta madre (sour dough for bread) before yeast was commercially available back in my grandmother's day. One evening after midnight, my aunt rolled out the filone (left above) and the round bread for friselle (right above). I unfortunately didn't take any pictures of the final product because we ate it all as soon as it came out of the oven. The bread was denser and chewier than what you would get with normal yeast you buy at the store. The flavour kept you coming back for more. I will have to make this bread again soon.

Maccheroni Calabrese ('mparetatti)

Then my aunt showed me how to make my all-time favourite pasta dish ... maccheroni calabresi. My grandmother always made them for me each time we visited for the summer. It's been years since I had them last. My aunt and I woke up at six one morning to make them. I figured that we would be done in an hour but they took us a lot longer than I thought. Traditionally, this type of pasta is made with hard wheat (semolina) and water. We only had all-purpose flour in the house and made the dough with flour and egg. Adding the egg was a mistake. It made the dough very soft an it was hard to pull off the needle. Next time, I will try making them only with semolina flour and water. But regardless of the aesthetics, the pasta tastes delicious with my dad's homemade tomato sauce.

Ever since my mom got sick back in 2006, my dad has been doing all the cooking. Every time I go back home, I always learn a new dish from him. One of my favourite dishes that I learned this time is sautéed peppers with cream cheese. It's a very simple dish to prepare, but it's packed with loads of flavour.

It's amazing how my dad took care of my mom. It definitely is true love. He woke up at the same time every morning - regardless of how little sleep he got the night before - and prepared her breakfast, fed her, and then gave her her medication. The nurse would come to the house, get her dressed, and then mom would sleep in the recliner until noon. Dad would make minestrone for lunch and if she was awake, she would eat by herself, otherwise, he would feed her. In the evening, he baked baked fish or chicken breast with potatoes, but by this time my mom was wide awake and ate alone. Mom always got three home cooked meals everyday. Everyone said that if my mom is still alive, it's because of my dad. He is one of the most determined people I know and never gives up, no matter what.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

After our return to Germany, my husband went on vacation with our oldest and youngest sons. They went to Regensburg (a gorgeous city in southern Germany) for two weeks. Anton and I stayed home. I started working and Anton had to go back to his daycare. He attends a speech therapy facility and the caregivers had recommended that he should start immediately, so he doesn't miss too much of the program. My husband and I had mixed feelings about this but we agreed none-the-less. Now I see that it was the right decision for him.

When my husband and the kids returned, Oma took the kids for another week to Travemünde (official webpage here), on the Baltic Sea, not far from Lübeck. Johann was there the entire week, but Emil was there during the first half of the week (he had to come back because school started) and Anton was there during the remainder of the week.

Travemünde, Lübeck, Germany

Beaches on Priwall Island right across from Travemünde in northern Germany



I think the kids had a great summer but my husband and I somehow "missed out" on the family fun. For the past nine years that we have been married, we have spent every summer in Austria, but this year we had to take separate vacations. For the past year, my kids have attended three separate educational facilities, and each one had different summer vacation dates. We planned our schedule accordingly, so an adult was always present with the kids at all times.

A long needed haircut to tame the curls :-)

Writing this post has made me realize that the trip to Canada, my time alone with Anton, and my return to work, have changed the way I see things - in a more positive way. I am much happier these days. I feel that I have found my old, happy self. This started with a long needed haircut that I got when I was in Canada. :-)

To keep that positive energy going, I have decided to update my wardrobe. When I sorted through my closet, I hadn't realized how outdated my clothes really were. I got rid of half of what I owned. Over the last few weeks, I have been finding outfits that compliment my size 14/16 (European size 44/46) curvy figure. I have come to terms that I will never be slim, nor do I want to be. I lead a relatively active life and eat everything in moderation. My motto is to work on weight maintenance and not weight loss.

I also decided to spruce things up around here. I opted for a cleaner, more elegant look than what I had before. Change is always good. :-)

Till next time.

Rosa

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Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).