andiamo: April 2015


sicilian easter soup

4.30.2015

There was once a time when I tried my hand at cooking. I enjoyed it immensely. I would pour myself a glass of wine and turn up some Mumford and Letty would play happily in the bouncer or the high chair and it was fun! It had to be a new recipe though. Always something new. 

But Matt! That chef! He would peek his head over my shoulder. He would make suggestions. He would want to help! The nerve! Just as I was about to throw in the literal towel I got pregnant with David and found raw meat disgusting and so it just worked out better. Matt cooks. I clean up. 

This dish was one of the things I tried. I tried it for an Easter of course and I tried it for my Grandpa. This is a family recipe, his mother's (and Letty's name sake's) to be exact, so pressure was on. The pronunciation of this soup sort of sounds like a sneeze. We say shoosh-shay-doo. Any other Italians have a different pronunciation I would loooove to hear it. Like we say Letteria La-tear-ee-ah others say Leh-ter-ee-ah. Major difference there. When I say it in the latter way I always do that Italian backwards handwave thing. 
Anyways! The soup! While not Easter I had promised my dad around Easter that I would whip this up for him and make my siblings eat it. 

The recipe below serves six. Six hearty Italians.

Sciusceddu

Meatballs:
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp garlic powder or 2 cloves
2 tsp parsley flakes 
2 tbsp grated parm or Romano cheese 
1 egg
1 c unseasoned breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper 


For soup:
3 small cans chicken broth or one container (I think you could always use more of this. At least enough to cover the balls)
2 lbs ricotta
4 eggs
1/2 c grated parm or Romano cheese 
2 tsp parsley flakes 
1 tsp salt 

Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Place meatballs in broth and reduce heat to medium and cook until balls are done, about a half hour. Meanwhile in a large bowl mix ricotta, eggs, cheese, parsley and salt. After meatballs are cooked place cheese mixture over broth and balls. Cover and simmer about 15-20 minutes. 

Prepare yourselves. This is stick to your ribs kind of food. Quite filling! And I would say as my dad had something like seven balls that he enjoyed it!





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diy sharpie coffee mugs

4.29.2015

Oh my-LANTA how I love this. I want to buy all the cheap white coffee mugs in all the land and I want to Sharpie the hell out of them. I have soooo many ideas. Soooo few mugs.

I did extensive research as to the best method to sharpie one's mug. Most importantly you cannot use just any old sharpie, no. You must use an oil-based sharpie paint pen. Say that ten times fast. You'll also need cheap mugs, I hear the cheaper the better, rubbing alcohol, toothpicks, q-tips and assorted paper towels and cotton balls. But mainly just the pen and the mug.
Clean the mug with rubbing alcohol and make sure to remove any price tags or stickers (why do they insist upon those stickers??). Then once that dries you just start writing and decorating away! If you make a mistake you can simply use the rubbing alcohol to wipe it away. The toothpick or q-tip can help get into smaller areas if you just need to fix something minor.

Now I let my mugs dry for three days, but I have read other people don't do that. I was just erring on the side of safety. After those three days place them upside down in the cold oven and set it to 425 degrees. Then bake them for one hour. Turn the oven off and let the mugs stay in there till they cool. And that's how it's done.







Watch out everyone I know in real life, you'll probably be getting one of these at some point.




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diy three-tiered serving tray with dollar tree finds

4.28.2015

Do you ever have a diy project that just doesn't turn out quite like you imagined? Been left feeling disappointed have you? Well, so have I. 

I wanted this server. Or this one. Or this one if it was larger.... Or if any of the above were more appropriately priced or say, available to the general public. Side eye to you Sams Club.

But since I am not made of money I took to the local Dollar Tree and whatever supplies I had on hand to make my own. And here's how! Not that I love it. Because I don't.

Supplies (all Dollar Tree finds totaling $9.54):
5 glass candlesticks
3 round cake pans
1 pizza pan

Things I happened to have on hand and found most useful:
Silver spray paint
Hot glue gun
Brown spray paint
Black paint
Paintbrush

Spray paint all the candlesticks silver. I used hot glue to attach them to one another and to the cake pans as well. You can use masking tape to help steady them while they dry. I just glued two of them together by their "tops". I glued one upside down to the center of a cake pan as well for the top of the tower. I glued one cake pan upside down to the bottom of the pizza pan to give it some height. Then I just eyeballed it to center the rest, gluing two candlesticks to the pizza dish and the cake pan and so on up the ladder. It then looked like this. And my hatred for it was fierce.


I marinated in it for a few days and I still hated it. It was too shiny. It just wasn't Pottery Barn. I decided I could either try to make it look more rustic or find another home for it somewhere in the house or just throw it away... so I might as well try it. 

I spray painted the entire thing with brown spray paint. Obviously just misting it, I sprayed from a distance away, trying to focus on the edges and the candlesticks. I figure the more all over the place the better. No uniformity here. Then when that dried I dry painted the edges and candlesticks with black acrylic paint to my heart's content. There probably isn't a right or wrong there... If I messed it up I just wiped it away with a paper towel. 

While I'm not 100% on the finished product it is an immense improvement from where I started. But still no Pottery Barn.


And what else does one do when one is me but shop in one's own home for decor items. It's not exactly what I had in mind but it'll get there. I've got my eyes on a few things I'm hoping to pick up and switch out later. 


So what about you? Any diy projects disappoint you lately?




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[17/52]

4.27.2015



Dominic, aged 19 weeks: He's no longer stationary. If we lay him down in one spot and check on him a minute later he could have rotated or somehow wriggled his way off the rug, etc. He is getting stronger with his tummy time and dare I say, might actually enjoy it for five minutes. I think we've gotten to the we have lost all the hair we are going to lose stage. Let's start growing it, shall we?

David, aged 2 years: This is his signature "I'm tired" move. He even does it when you are holding him, legs wrapped around you, worming his arms under his chest and his hands by his belly. It's always been some kind of comfort thing I guess? He won't sleep this way anymore, not since he was a baby, but he still does the move. Also! I am letting his hair grow out again and I am just starting to see the first signs of a curl and it makes me have all the heart eyes. His hair here was perfect!

Letteria, aged 4 years: I am sixteen going on seventeen.... that's what I think in my head whenever I look at her and catch a face like this. But we have a very little girl problem, one of nail biting. She has an ingrown nail on her hand and her foot, because don't we all trim our toenails that way? They are looking quite bad and painful and we need nip this in the bud. Or the nail.


Past weekly shots here.





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five "problems" solved

4.24.2015

1| Our diy kitchen table, made by Matt of course, had one problem. It was long (which was lovely) but it had a small base. It would start to tip if someone leaned on one end and this of course didn't bode well for dinners. Matt solved the problem by throwing four legs on it. Sturdy and safe. Solved. 
2| These CAT trains are fantastic and David loves them. He loves them so much that he takes the tracks apart and carries them all over the basement. And then they break. Plywood, paint and a stapler later and wala! CAT island!!


3| Our lovely laundry room was missing something. An "O" to be exact. Matt made me one, because to buy one of the size I wanted? Shiz gets expensive. I just found a font I liked on PicMonkey and then free handed it onto a large piece of plywood which he then cut out and I painted.

4| I got all involved with these essential oils you know? And really had no idea what I was doing or what they would be used for. I just went ahead and prepped a rollerball of each oil and a "blend" for cold symptoms so that way I am already prepared. Eucalyptus, Lemon, Peppermint, Lavender and the Immune Strength. Clearly the IS is being used all the bloody time.

5| I suppose this is only really a problem for someone OCD such as myself. I found the below wooden tray at a local store and was told it was a drawer from a key factory? Anyways I don't buy old things. I just don't. Antiques alarm me. I usually tell my mother that someone probably died sitting in/wearing/using said item and it gives me the skeeves. With our new end table though the tray (or drawer) needed a new home. This problem is solved. Albeit temporarily. Not that the photo does it justice.


Linking up with all these lovely ladies: 
http://meetatthebarre.blogspot.com/





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diy pallet entertainment center

4.23.2015

Don't you always watch The Sound of Music? Well we do, especially when watching television above our brand new pallet entertainment center, courtesy of Handy Matty. Cantstopwontstop.

Our original entertainment center was from Target and years upon eons old. It was okay as far as entertainment centers go, but I had a few beefs with it. The doors were a child hazard. Crawling babies like to push on them to stand up (I would know, I've had no less than three babies knock them out because of this standing business). Now that the center lives upon a ceramic tile floor I had visions of glass in palms and well yes. That's beef number one. Beef number two which this picture does not demonstrate is that there is a slight warping in the center. It just goes down in the middle. Matt denied this for years but I finally got out a level and was proven right (obviously).

So. Money being of the essence it was left alone. Until the pallet mule. And then well, it was a whole other ball game.









So between the stain and some wood used to frame this came to about $12... so carry the two and that's CHEAP. And all thanks to my Handy Matty.




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just a tale of an april day

4.22.2015

Over the weekend we had a rare and gorgeous day. The temperatures hit the high seventies, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, the birds were singing! We brought out the water table, the sprinkler, bathing suits and sunblock and spent close to seven hours outside. And I'm the only one with a sunburn! And oh the sprinkler fun! We rarely set the thing up because you know, a water table and a pool should be more than enough. Letty squealed like a preteen seeing Nsync live and David attacked the very same sprinkler with a shovel. With gusto. Take that water! It should also be noted that Letty has outgrown every single one of her one piece bathing suits! She came down in one for swim lessons last week and I was all oh dear girl.... Not appropriate. Thankfully our Fitzs keep us fully stocked and we have a few two pieces to choose from. Stop growing!! All the feels!!






Also, news on the home front: we moved our swing set! As seen here, the set was placed towards the back of our yard on a slight decline. I hated it the first time I watched Letty swing on the thing. When the swing went back the playset lifted ever so slightly and my heart would stop and I would have horrible visions and equally overly dramatic things. So I asked the men who pick things up and put things down in my life to move it from that side of the yard to a less dangerous location on the other side.

And then I got the bright idea that kids need things to play with outside (you know, other than their imagination and water tables and balls and a playset and sprinklers and a pool and frisbees) and so asked why don't you make the bottom of the playset a sand box Matt? He barely let the words out of my mouth before he was out the door on his way to Home Depot to purchase landscape fabric and oodles and oodles of bags of sand.  Kid at heart that one with a dream of digging in the sand with his children. This seventy degree day was the day he chose to dig out the ground and make it a reality. For me. The Loather of Sand.

Letty sat on the swing serenading Matt with lyrics of her own creation: oh my daddy is a good daddy, he's a good boy, and so on and so forth continued the flow of positive reinforcement whilst her daddy dug and dug and dug some more. He stapled down the fabric and dumped a great deal of sand into the newly formed sandbox. And then he told me how proud of me he was for allowing the children to have said sandbox. To which I rolled my eyes. Twice.

Not five minutes into playing in it David dropped everything and came running up the steps and into the house repeating: get a backhoe get a backhoe getabackhoe! Which is really why I decided they could have a sandbox I guess. The boy needs to dig. I shouldn't pin down his creativity. What's a little sand settled into the bottom of my bathtub when creativity is involved?











Anyway. It was a nice day. And now you know.




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